It was quite a year for outstanding individual athletic performances in both the Dunn-St. Croix (DSC) and Big Rivers (BRC) Conferences, particularly for a number of athletes from Elk Mound.
Out of the seven Dunn County athletes who received the top honor of earning Player of the Year titles, six proudly represented the Mounders during various 2017 sports seasons. Starting off part two of our top 10 sports stories of 2017 is a compilation of all Dunn County athletes who stood out in their conference.
Dane Lew was named Player of the Year in the Dunn-St. Croix conference for the 2016-17 basketball season. In addition, Lew was also named a first-team all conference player. The Elk Mound senior averaged 14.9 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game for a total of 113 grabs.
Elizabeth Fasbender was named the Dunn-St. Croix (DSC) co-player of the year, alongside Durand senior Ambree Schlosser, for the 2016-17 basketball season. Fasbender led the Mounder team to a 20-5 season, a conference title and a Division 3 regional title. The 5-foot, 8-inch guard finished her senior season with 12 ppgs and four rebounds per game, for a total of 99 grabs during the regular season.
Allison Lindquist was named DSC Player of the Year and received first team all-conference honors for the 2017 softball season. The Elk Mound junior earned her honors after collecting 42 hits over the season, including 11 home runs, 21 singles, nine doubles and one triple. She also led the team in RBIs with 51.
Ethan Kjellberg was named the DSC Player of the Year for the 2017 baseball season, and was a first team all-conference selection. He finished his junior season with a 7-2 win-loss record, two shut outs and 67 strike outs in 53 innings pitched. When he wasn’t on the mound, Kjellberg took care of first base, where he made just two errors in 151 innings played and held a .977 field percentage.
His success followed him at the plate as well, leading the Mounder team in hits with 34 including 24 singles, seven doubles, two home runs and 30 RBIs to finish the season with a .420 batting average.
Brady Redwine was named DSC Player of the Year for the 2017 football season. The junior running back finished the regular season with the majority of Elk Mound’s rushing yards at 2,088 on 268 attempts and 31 touchdowns in 10 games. He averaged 208 yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry.
In addition to being named Player of the Year, Redwine also received first team honors for his offensive efforts in the backfield. He wrapped up all-conference honors with honorable mention as a defensive end, accumulating 54 tackles, including 31 solo tackles. He also had two sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Morgan Radtke spiked her way to Player of the Year for volleyball in the DSC conference for the 2017 season.
The junior middle hitter/middle blocker led the Mounders in kills for the regular season with 397 and a .306 kill percentage. She also led in blocks by a wide margin at 42 solo and 48 assists for a total of 90 blocks. Radtke was a star server as well, racking up 44 aces with a percentage of .869 and helped bring the team to the regional final where they fell to Regis.
Menomonie’s Justin Evans was named Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Rivers Conference for the 2017 football season. He was the only Menomonie athlete to earn PoY this year.
The senior running back dashed his way downfield for 1,946 yards on 295 attempts this season, totaling 31 touchdowns. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry and 162.2 yards per game. Against Hudson on Sept. 15, Evans had his best rushing game of the year with 312 yards on 37 carries and five touchdowns.
Making the hometown proud
In September, 2016 Menomonie High School graduate Nathan Stanley began his role as the starting quarterback for the University of Iowa. Stanley made his QB starting debut on Sept. 2 against the Wyoming Cowboys.
Nate Stanley is used to the spotlight, as the former three-year starter for coach Joe LaBuda and the Mustang football team. Stanley was also a four-year starter in both basketball and baseball.
Many of the touchdowns he threw his sophomore year at MHS went to his older brother, Luke Stanley. As such, Nate is primed for the big stage of being a starter. The Big Ten Conference is one of the largest stages in collegiate sports.
“Nate has always been a young man who could handle pressure,” LaBuda said. “His great leadership skills, unwavering character, intelligence and tremendous work ethic is what will allow him to be able to handle this big stage at only 19 years old. ... Physically he has everything coaches are looking for in a Big Ten quarterback: great size and a big arm.”
Nate is the son of proud parents, Donita and Jay Stanley, and younger brother of Luke, who is blazing his own trail playing football for the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
The Sept. 2 debut set the stage for Nate Stanley to begin leading the Hawkeye team. It is a big deal to make a college football team — but it is a huge deal to be named a starter. Add on the pressure of being a starting quarterback in the Big Ten, and that is ultimate.
Making a splash
This year marked the inaugural debut of Lake Menomin WaterX, a summer event featuring snowmobiles ridden on water.
The event kicked off the weekend of June 24-25 when 51 registered riders gathered on the beach of Lake Menomin at Wakanda Park to race their snowmobiles across the water.
The two-day event was hosted by the Menomonie Lion’s Club, its first WaterX fundraiser. Wyatt Kreutzer of the Menomonie Lion’s Club said the organization wanted to bring a big community event to the area.
“The Lion’s Club enjoys supporting our community and everything in and around we do in our community,” Kreutzer said. “This was a great way to involve the community other than just doing things for them behind the scenes.”
The Lion’s Club plans to make Lake Menomin WaterX an annual event in Menomonie, and fans of the sport are excited and look forward to watch the races once again.
The Lake Menomin event is now one of seven events the International Water Association (IWA) holds, which includes events in Moose Lake, Minn., Brainerd, Minn., Grantsburg, Rock Valley, Iowa and Ely Watercross. Two races a year are held in Brainerd.
Jerry Tongen, vice president of the IWA said he was happy to have added another event to the schedule.
The concept of WaterX was created in 1977, and the first races were held in Granstburg. The sport grew quickly in popularity and the IWA, a nonprofit organization, was created in 1988 by a group of pioneers of the sport who wanted to make a uniform set of rules and procedures with which the events could operate for the sake of fair and safe competition.
Eat your spinach
There were some mighty strong athletes that came out of Colfax High School this year. Two of them power-lifted their way to a trip to nationals after qualifying during the state meet held on March 11 and 12.
Junior Spencer Herrick not only qualified for nationals, he set two personal records with a bench of 237 pounds and a 601 pound dead lift. He also executed a 468 lb, squat.
Junior Mikaela Leibfried wowed spectators after setting a new state record in the 114 pound weight class after executing a 320 pound dead lift. She also completed a 341 lb. squat and benched 170.9 lbs.
“Mikaela had an amazing performance, our coaches could not be more proud,” head coach Matt DeMoe said. “She got second place, and it came down to the last lift for the championship.”
Along with breaking the bench press record, Leibfried also took third in the WILKS total, effectively became the third best lifter of all the girls in every weight class in the equipped division. (WILKS total is the total weight lifted divided by body weight).
“It was an outstanding accomplishment,” DeMoe stated.
In addition to the two lifters going to nationals, two athletes set personal records during their lifts at the state meet.
Jezz Tweed, 105 lbs, set a personal record for her dead lift of 220 lbs. She went on to finish second in her weight class after squatting 153 lbs and benching 83 lbs. She completed eight of her nine total lifts.
Makayla Mattson, 198 lbs, set not one, but two personal records at state with a 143 pound bench and 303 pound deadlift. She also executed a 215 lb squat.
“It was a great day for Makayla,” DeMoe said. “Her confidence at state meets is amazing. Two years in a row she has had personal records at state on the biggest stage for powerlifting. We are very proud.”
The national competition was held March 28-April 2 in Scranton, Pa.
To the bitter end
The Mounders and the Bulldogs battled it out for the rights to the Division 3 baseball regional title on May 31 at Elk Mound Village Park.
It was a game that could have gone either way, but it was Elk Mound that found just what they needed just at the right moment to squeak by the Bulldogs with a 5-4 victory.
It was Elk Mound’s sixth regional title in the last nine years.
“It’s a testament to the great players and consistency of our program,” Elk Mound coach Paul Andrea said. “But there were many twists and turns, and we are fortunate to move onto sectionals and live to play another day.”
Elk Mound moved on to match-up against the Durand Panthers, whom they shared the conference title with, where their season came to an end with a 10-0 loss.