• 66°

It was a great year to be a Packer

It’s been an extremely long year of Austin sports, but it’s also been one of the best years I’ve covered at the Austin Daily Herald.

The Packers had approximately 100 athletes represent the community in state tournaments this year and it’s been a whirlwind to keep up with. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Austin had athletes reach the state level in boys soccer, boys and girls cross country, boys swimming, boys and girls basketball, gymnastics, dance, boys and girls track and field, baseball, and adaptive bowling.

Rocky Hulne, Austin Daily Herald Sports Editor

The state qualifiers have included perennial powers like the Austin Packer Dance Team, Packers boys soccer and boys basketball programs, who have established themselves as among the best in the state, and we’ve also seen some programs like girls basketball and baseball burst onto the scene.

My head gets a little dizzy when I try to recall the highs and lows of these accomplished athletes, but there are a few that will always come to mind.

Abby Lewis cemented her status as one of the hardest working athletes I’ve covered as she competed in her fifth state cross country meet and she helped the Packer girls basketball team get to its first state tournament since 2008 while setting the school’s career three-pointers record.

Austin sophomore Logan Kelly continued to make huge waves in the pool as he re-set two of his own school records at the state swimming meet as he took second in the 100-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley.

The boys soccer team was able incorporate players from 10 different nations as it continued it scored its second straight third place finish and the Packer boys basketball team used a lineup of mostly new players to vault into a third place finish at state.

Although the most impressive state run may have been that by the Austin baseball team, which knocked off the top-two seeded teams in the Minnesota Class AAA State Tournament last week en route to taking third in its first trip to state since 1990.

Every athlete who made to to the state level year has a lot to proud of and for those who haven’t graduated, the bar of expectations has just been raised a little higher.