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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A couple of early losses didn't concern first-year Rosemount girls hockey coach Josh Hoekstra - especially after his team bounced back with a victory over previously-unbeaten Apple Valley. The Irish got in the win column with a 4-2 decision over the 4-0 Eagles in their South Suburban Conference opener Saturday at Apple Valley Sports Arena. "I was so pleased with the win because we had a total team effort," Hoekstra said. "We had scoring from all three lines and once again our goaltending and defense were incredibly solid.
While finishing a distant sixth place at the 2010 Section 3AA Championships, the Rosemount girls swimming and diving team probably couldn't have imagined they would be swimming as front-runners at the same meet a year later. But that's exactly where the Irish found themselves during the Section 3AA finals Friday at Richfield Middle School.
The Rosemount boys cross country team wrapped up the fall season with its second straight top-10 team finish Saturday at the Nike Cross Nationals Heartland Regional meet. The Irish, fifth last year, placed seventh out of 26 teams with 221 points in action at Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls. They defeated state championship teams from Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota. Minnesota Class 2A champion Stillwater won the meet with 96 points. They will be joined at Nike Cross Nationals by Hartland Hustle, which was second with 104 points.
The Rosemount girls hockey team accomplished a lot last season. It earned the best record in program history at 22-7-1, finished second in the South Suburban Conference, reached the No. 9 spot in the Class 2A rankings and qualified for the Class 2A State tournament for the first time ever. This year's Irish face the difficult task of building on that success while replacing five key seniors and playing under a new head coach - Josh Hoekstra. "I am excited to be taking over a program that has experienced so much recent success.
The post-race awards ceremony inside the Skoglund Center gym has been a part of the state meet routine for the Rosemount boys cross country team over the last six years. The last three times the Irish have competed as a team at St. Olaf College - in 2006, 2007 and 2010 - they have found their way onto the podium after finishing in the top three. The fifth-ranked Irish ran well Saturday, but missed another trip to the award ceremony by a matter of seconds as they placed fourth out of 16 teams in the Class 2A State Championships in Northfield. "The boys had a great season.
It looks like the team race at Saturday's Class 2A State boys cross country meet may wind up being a battle for second. Stillwater has been ranked first throughout the season and the Ponies did nothing to make anyone believe otherwise at last week's Section 4AA Championships. They defeated runner-up White Bear Lake 28-81 and posted an average time of 15:59 - and spread of just 37 seconds - between their top five counting scorers. If the Ponies' top four runners can match their section times of 15:40, 15:51, 16:02 and 16:07, they could bring in all four ahead of the No.
It took one of the state's best teams and one of the state's best players to knock Rosemount out of last week's Class 2A State Tennis Tournaments. Rosemount, competing in the team tournament for the second time in three years, advanced past Brainerd 4-3 in the opening round last Tuesday before falling to eventual runner-up Rochester Mayo 6-1 in the semifinals. The Irish then lost a 4-3 nail-biter to Elk River in the third-place match last Wednesday, leaving them with a program-best fourth-place finish in the eight-team field at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center.
Rosemount was without Natalie Busher, Meghan Schuster, Jillian Blanc and Laurel Officer when it took the floor for last Wednesday night's Section 3AAA tournament opening round game at Burnsville. Those four players -- along with Nicole Valentini, who returned for the section match --missed most of the second half of the season with injuries.
Rosemount locked up a share of its first conference title since the 1980s by beating Eastview 103-83 in the final dual meet of the regular season last Tuesday at Rosemount Middle School. The Irish finished in a three-way tie with Lakeville North and Prior Lake as all three teams finished with 8-1 records in the South Suburban Conference. "Winning the conference is a big accomplishment and the girls were very proud of themselves for all their hard work and effort throughout the season," Rosemount coach Tami Carlson said.
Turnovers were Rosemount's undoing throughout the regular season, a nd that didn't change in Saturday's Section 3AAAAA semifinals. The top-seeded Irish turned the ball over five times and fourth-seeded Eastview turned all five into touchdowns as it advanced to face Prior Lake in the section finals with a 49-13 victory at Irish Stadium. The Irish finished the season with a record of 5-4. In the five victories, the team had just six turnovers.