Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
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The Rosemount boys hockey team was shut out by Eastview for the second time in 12 days in the opening round of the Section 3AA tournament last Thursday night. The Irish gave up two goals in the first four-plus minutes and never got on the board in a season-ending 4-0 loss at Apple Valley Sports Arena. Senior goaltender Austin Leslie stopped 34 Eastview shots. The Irish were outshot 38-27. "I don't think anybody on this team was ready to give up. We played pretty hard and ended the season on a great note," first-year head coach Brad Stepan said. "We knew Eastview was a good team.
Rosemount's streak of five straight section championships came to an end Friday at Hidden Oaks Middle School. The Irish qualified six athletes for state in eight events, but came up 14 points short of Lakeville South's 364 1/2 points. They easily outdistanced Lakeville North 350 1/2-312 1/2 in the battle for second place. The Cougars clinched the title by edging Rosemount by less than a second in a fast 400 freestyle relay where the top six teams all achieved state-qualifying times. "It came down to the last relay and Lakeville was just faster than us," Rosemount coach Tami Carlson said.
Rosemount freshman Abby Nelson went into her second state meet hoping to finish in the top six in the balance beam and reach the medal stand. Coming within 25-thousandths of a point of winning an individual state title was just icing on the cake. Nelson moved up from 14th last year to third place Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion with a score of 9.525.
Rosemount coach Brett Larson put a positive spin on his team's 29-28 loss to Henry Sibley in the Section 3AAA team tournament semifinals Friday night at Henry Sibley High School. If they had won, the Irish would have had to face Apple Valley in the finals. The national powerhouse went on to destroy Henry Sibley, 65-9. "That's the good news. You just have to face Apple Valley anyway," he said. "It was a great dual from a fan's standpoint. It's still frustrating for the fans and coaches, but it was a good dual all-around.
Eagan came up with the final run in a game that was full of them last Tuesday in Rosemount. The Wildcats closed with a 16-4 spurt to spoil the Irish's Senior Night with a 46-41 victory at Irish Gym. The Irish led 11-4 in the opening minutes, but Eagan used a charge late in the first half to even the score at 23-23 heading into the break. The visitors then went up 29-23 to open the second half, but the Irish answered with a 14-1 charge that gave them a seven-point lead with nine minutes to go.
A slow start left Rosemount with too big a hole to get out of in Friday night's loss to ninth-ranked Lakeville North. The Irish trailed 42-22 at the break and fell behind by as many 22 points before closing the gap to three points late in an eventual 77-65 South Suburban Conference setback at Irish Gym. The win improved the Panthers' record to 18-4, while the Irish slipped to 6-16 with their fourth straight loss. "We played very flat in the first half," Rosemount coach Bryan Schnettler said. "The lesson from the game is that if you play hard good things will happen.
For Rosemount hockey coach Brad Stepan, the two games that most represent his team's progress over the last three months were both losses -- a 4-2 loss to 12th-ranked Prior Lake and another setback by the same score in Saturday's regular-season finale against No. 14 Bloomington Jefferson. "Prior Lake pounded us (8-0) earlier in the year and Jefferson beat us 9-1, so we feel like we're getting better," he said. "The kids have bought into what we're trying to do. Hopefully we're ready to make some noise in the playoffs....
Rosemount earned its second best score of the year, qualified two gymnasts for the state meet and placed second as a team at the Section 3AA Championships Friday night in Eagan. The eighth-ranked Irish scored 143.45 points, just over two points off the pace of sixth-ranked Park of Cottage Grove's 145.65. "Our score would have won five other sections, so it was a pretty good day," said Rosemount coach Jason Passeri, who guided the Irish to an 8-0 mark in the South Suburban Conference and was named section Coach of the Year for the third time.
Senior Sheldon Hatlen was part of three of Rosemount's four first-place finishes during a 99-85 loss to Lakeville South in the final meet of the regular season last Tuesday at Rosemount Middle School. "Lakeville South is a strong team. We had some good races against them,"?said Rosemount coach Tami Carlson, whose team finished 6-3 in the conference. "The boys have been working extremely hard all season to do well at sections and to qualify for state.
No team in the state played a tougher schedule last week than the Rosemount girls basketball team. Two of the top three teams in Class 4A came to Irish Gym for South Suburban Conference games last week and both came away with victories. No. 3 Eastview drilled 12 of 17 shots from beyond the three-point arc and 20 of 23 from the free-throw line in shooting down the Irish 80-54 last Tuesday, and No.