Column: Sports quotes of the year

It’s always the writer’s job to make a feature story or games story interesting, but speaking from experience, it’s a lot easier to make it interesting when athletes give good quotes.

Here’s a list of the top 10 athlete quotes from the last prep sports season in no particular order.

1. “You know that feeling when something so good happens it doesn’t even hit you until later? This is like the opposite of that. It’s so bad and I know it’s just going to keep getting worse because we were so close,” Austin soccer player Jacob Brehmer after the Packers lost to Simley 2-1 in the first round of the Class ‘A’ state soccer tournament Oct. 31

Brehmer’s post-game interview was the most composed I’ve ever seen an athlete after a tough loss. He was definitely hurting, but he was still able to put the loss in proper perspective.

2. “A lot of people were doubting us and they thought we’d be crying right now. But we’re the ones with smiles on our faces,” Blooming Prairie football player Cooper Nelson after the Awesome Blossoms beat No. 1 ranked New Ulm Cathedral Nov. 14 to get to the Class ‘A’ state semifinals in the Metrodome.

The postgame jubilation by the Awesome Blossoms couldn’t have been described any better as a crushed New Ulm team loomed in the background of the celebrating Blossoms.

3. “I still get the really bad goose-bumps and butterflies before every match, even if it’s against someone who’s not that good. I still get nervous. I think it helps me so I don’t do anything reckless,” Austin wrestler Mike Hirsch on Feb. 3.

Hirsch went on to take second place at the Class ‘AAA’ wrestling meet, so it was surprising to hear that he was nervous before all of his matches.

4. “Good shooters keep on shooting and I just decided shoot it because we were down and it went in. I don’t really know (how much it was contested). I just focus in on the rim and I see the distance and shoot it,” Hayfield basketball player Tanner Kramer after making a key three-pointer in a comeback win against Stewartville Feb. 15

The attitude of a gunner put into words. It was especially refreshing to hear Kramer admit that he didn’t even realize how contested the shot was.

5. “They’ve been running that (press) on us since fifth grade and we’ve always beaten it with T.J. (Fritz) and Jamaal (Gibson). T.J. just dribbles by it and if they try to double him, he finds the open guy and we get a lay-up on the break,” Austin basketball player Connor Gunderson after the Packers handled Owatonna’s full court pressure in a 72-64 win Feb. 23.

I guess practice does makes perfect.

6. “I saw some girls fall and body slide, so I was just happy I didn’t do that,” Austin cross country runner Haley Splinter after running in the Class ‘A’ state cross country meet Nov. 7

The thought of cross country runners body sliding is a little funny, but it also shows the intensity of the state meet.

7. “I want the other girls to see my time and be a little bit scared. That’s what you want,” Austin swimmer Averi Splinter before swimming in the Class ‘A’ State meet for the fourth straight year.

The perfect level of confidence without bragging.

8. “I knew it was out and I just wanted to cry,” Blooming Prairie softball player Sam Johnson after a walk-off homer in the Section 1A tournament May 29.

Johnson actually would’ve had a grand slam, but it was she was called out for making contact with a teammate before crossing the plate. Still, she was full of emotion after hitting a big homer for BP team that went on to the state tournament.

9. “It’s nice to not have 80 shots allowed and win a game. We can say it was a group effort and it’s the first time this year we’ve played a full game. We competed with a Big Nine team and we haven’t done that for years,” Austin boys hockey goalie Aaron Dooley after the Packers beat Mankato East in their first Big Nine win in two years Feb. 4

After two years of watching the Packers continuously lose by five goals or more to Big Nine squads, it was nice to see them get the monkey off their back against the Cougars.

10. “I was begging my doctor to do something. I negotiated with him to make a deal that if I just served and got out as soon as the next rotation started, that would be good enough for me,” Blooming Prairie volleyball player Marie Morem, who came back from an ACL/MCL tear in just four months of rehab.

Morem’s perseverance showed how hard some prep athletes work to get on the playing field and how much it means to some students.

Well, that’s the list for now, let’s hope next year’s prep seasons bring as much fun as this last year did.