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A look back at 2018

Sports in 2018

December 30, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

With the end of 2018 now here, let's look at what that brought in the area of sports.

Yes, some teams and individuals made trips to state competition and new records were set. Let's start with winter sports.

2017-18 winter sports

Article Photos

State bound

The North Union girls punched their first ticket to the state tournament under the 'North Union' name. The Warriors earned the trip with a 50-48 win over Western Christian and then edged Panorama 47-46 in the Class 2A state quarterfinal. However, the Warriors' run ended with a 62-53 loss to Cascade, Western Dubuque in the semifinal round. North Union's starting five included four seniors in Samantha Hagedorn, Hallie Reese, Breanna Anderson and Kate Anderson, but sophomore inside player Chloe Lofstrom led the team in scoring and rebounding.

Estherville Lincoln Central and Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire both sent a pair of wrestlers to the state wrestling tournament with all four earning medals.

In Class 2A, ELC sent Lincoln Coakley and Jason Peta. Coakley's run to the tournament included overcoming an injured ankle just to make it through the sectional meet. At state, the junior battled to a fifth-place finish at 170 pounds..

Peta earned an eighth-place finish at 113 pounds.

GT/RA's Kolton Roth ended his career with a second-place finish at 138 pounds in Class 1A. He had a tough final against top-ranked Gable Fox of Don Bosco-Gilbertville, losing by a point, 11-10.

Teammate Carter Murray earned an eighth-place medal at 182 pounds.

Other highlights

The Estherville Lincoln Central Boys Basketball program has struggled through the years without a winning record. Since posting a 13-7 record in the 1996-97 season, the Midgets have not finished with a record above .500. ELC closest in 2013-14, posting a 12-12 mark to finish exactly at .500.

To accomplish the feat of finishing above .500 in coach Nick Gruhlke's first season, ELC needed a last-second 3-pointer by Jacob Heinrichs in a playoff game against Okoboji. Heinrichs' heroics were captured are video and went viral. That gave ELC a 12-10 record before the Midgets ended the year with a loss to eight-ranked Sioux Center in the next round of the playoffs. But 12-11 is still above .500.

While ELC is unlikely to finish above .500 this year, the Midgets shouldn't have to wait another 21 years for a winning record.

Meanwhile, the ELC girls struggled to a two-win season, but the second win was a victory over defending Class 3A champion Pocahontas Area in the first round of the playoffs. Also for the ELC girls, senior Morgan White set the school record for career made 3-pointers. Junior Josie Condon set the single season record for made 3-pointers at 44.

2018 Spring sports

A wet spring in 2018 postponed and canceled many sports events. The ELC boys' golf team didn't get on the course until the last week of April.

However, area teams still had their share of state qualifiers in track, golf and tennis.

State Track

North Union senior Riley Bauer won the Class 1A 800-meter run and set the record in that event. He finished second in the 1600-meter run, third in the 3200-meter run and sixth in the 400-meter dash. With Bauer's points and a fourth-place finish from Elliott Hagebock in the high jump, the Warriors finished sixth in the team standings in Class 1A.

GT/RA sent a contingent to the 1A meet and finished with three medals in the boys' meet. Senior Jacob Conlon had a hand in all three. He placed fifth in the 800-meter run and seventh in the 400-meter dash. He also helped the 4x800-meter relay team to a seventh place finish. Running with him in that event were Kolton Roth, Cameron Johnson and Chris Conlon.

In Class 2A, Estherville Lincoln Central sent a small contingent with three girls events-the sprint medley relay, Riley Christoffer in the 200-meter dash and Morgan White in the long jump. Taylor Myers was ELC's lone boys' participant, as he finished 15th in the 3200-meter run.

State golf

A senior-dominated ELC boys' golf team advanced to the Class 2A State Golf Tournament for the second time in four years. Four members of that team-Trey Jacobson, Hunter Wheatley, Jacob Bosch and Collin Wodtke, had qualified for the state meet as freshman. Along with junior Blake Miller and sophomore Izaak Sander, ELC finished fifth in 2A.

State tennis

ELC juniors Kendall Evans and Josie Condon qualified for the 1A Girls State Tennis Tournament and returned home with a sixth-place finish in doubles-the highest finish in school history.

2018 Summer Sports

The ELC Baseball Team showed they were again the 'boys of summer,' as the Midgets qualified for the Class 2A State Tournament for the second straight year.

ELC faced a familiar opponent at Principal Park in Des Moines, taking on Centerville, who had defeated the Midgets 2-1 in 2017. The Big Reds again had ELC's number, winning 6-3 in a 2A quarterfinal. Centerville went on to win the 2A state title. ELC finished the season with a 25-4 record.

Meanwhile, the North Union softball team had a successful season, but the Warriors' bid for a fourth-straight trip to the state softball tournament came to an abrupt end in the 1A regional final. The Warriors finished the year with a 25-5 record.

GT/RA also had a successful season, finishing 19-11 on the year.

2018 Fall sports

Like spring, rain hampered the 2018 fall cross country season. However, ELC junior Taylor Myers stepped up his game with top 10 finishes all season on the way to earning a third consecutive berth to the state cross country meet.

Myers ran his best race of the season at the Class 2A meet in Fort Dodge, placing 10th with a time of 16 minutes, 54.5 seconds.

The ELC volleyball team was the only area team to finish with a winning record at 17-11 this past fall.

On the football scene, Ryan Rezac took over the ELC football program after several years as assistant. The Midgets went 3-6 in his first year. Despite the record, ELC senior Briar Rowley rushed for 1,379 yards on 232 carries with 13 touchdowns.

Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire made the switch from 8-Man football to 11-man football, a change that will last two years.

2018 Winter sports

With the 2018-19 winter sports season nearly half done, there is much to look forward to as 2019 begins.

The Estherville Lincoln Central Girls Basketball Team shows its potential for a successful seaosn with a 7-4 start while North Union girls are 6-2. Warriors junior Chloe Lofstrom has the potential to reach 1,000 career points before the end of the season.

Several other wrestlers have shown potential in reaching the state tournament and peforming well. GT/RA currently has four ranked wrestlers.

2019 will bring more records, highlights and memories. Happy New Year!



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