Spring preps start today

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2000

The spring high school sports season swings into full action this week with area baseball and softball teams taking to the local diamonds.

Monday, April 03, 2000

The spring high school sports season swings into full action this week with area baseball and softball teams taking to the local diamonds.

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The third and final leg of the 1999-2000 area prep sports calender should be as exciting as the first two. In the fall the LeRoy-Ostrander football team made it to the quarterfinals of the State Nineman football playoffs while five Austin girls swimmers – seniors Becky Sanford and Amy Martin, junior Sarah Heins, freshman Meghan Walsh, and eighth-grader Lauren Goettsch – made it to State in a total of six events and Packer tennis player Laurie Alonso made it to the State tournament in singles. Finally, another eighth-grader, Hayfield’s Sara Halvorson, competed in the State Cross Country meet in Northfield. Halvorson is looking to go to her second State Meet this spring. She has already set a school record in the 3200 meters in an indoors meet.

The winter season saw the young, upstart Packers girls hockey team making it all the way to state behind the outstanding goal tending of lone senior Katie Fedoryk. The Hayfield Vikings girls basketball team also made it to state as did a slew of area wrestlers led by state champion Thad Pike of Hayfield and Austin’s Mike Cunningham who came home with second place finish. Packer freshman Beau Webber dove at the Minnesota Aquatic Center in the State meet and Austin/Austin Pacelli sophomore gymnast Amy Bickler vaulted to a fourth place finish in her first state meet appearance.

Big things should be in store for area teams this spring. Both the Austin and Pacelli softball teams finished in fourth place in last year’s state tournament in Mankato and have almost their entire lineups back this year. Pacelli teams up with Lyle this year and joins the Southeast Conference. They should be playing some highly entertaining games against Southland and LeRoy-Ostrander/Grand Meadow. L/P begins its initial softball season on Thursday when it hosts Glenville-Emmons at Todd Park.

The first softball game of the season is on Tuesday in Blooming Prairie. First year softball coach Chad Gimbel leads his Awesome Blossoms against non-conference rival Hayfield. The Blossoms have a score to settle in this match up. In the fall and winter two highly talented Blooming Prairie girls team’s season ended at the hands of the Vikings in the Sub-Section finals. It won’t happen a third time as Blooming Prairie is in Class A in softball this spring while Hayfield is in Class AA. Softball and baseball have both increased their state tournament bids by eight with a third class added in the year 2000.

The first baseball game of the season takes place today. A strong Hayfield Vikings squad hosts Stewartville. The Vikings were Sub-Section champs last year, beating LOGM in the title game at Marcusen Park. Marcusen sees its first action of the spring season on Tuesday with the Packers taking on the Winona Winhawks at 5:00 p.m. On Thursday the Packers host Mankato West in a doubleheader at 4:00 p.m.

The Austin Packer boys and girls track team also begins competition today at the Albert Lea Time Trials. Three other area track teams compete in Hayfield on Thursday. The Vikings will host Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Southland and Lyle/Pacelli in the inaugural meet on the new track at Hayfield High School.

Finally the Austin girls golf team will play its first competitive rounds on Friday in Charles City while the boys tennis team plays its first competitive sets Saturday against Lakeville at Wescott Field.