Conference titles. Sectional championships. A state gold medal. As well as a silver and a bronze. Athletes in southern Minnesota celebrated a wide variety of victories in 2021. The winter preparation sports season for the 2020-21 school year has started late due to the pandemic. But when it started it was fantastic throughout the region.
Landen Johnson of Owatonna – then a junior – won a state wrestling championship. Cael Robb – a sophomore at the time – placed sixth. Matt Seykora also qualified for the national competition. OHS as a team won a share of the Big Nine title thanks to a dominant late-season victory over Faribault.
Medford’s fight saw Tommy Elwood and Josiah Hedensten come home with fourth-place medals. Brennon Hoffman has also struggled in the state.
Owatonna’s men’s basketball won the section championship, beating Lakeville South 94-85 on the road. Shakopee dominated the Huskies in the state quarterfinals.
OHS Gymnastics won its fourth consecutive third place finish in the state. Kaitlyn Cobban – then a sophomore – was second on beam. Senior Lucy Macius stepped onto the podium with a sixth place on beam. Senior Lindsay Bangs missed individual qualifying for state due to injury, but ended her career as Owatonna’s all-time leader for state medals. She competes in gymnastics with Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
The Huskies’ men’s hockey defeated Farmington JV in a sectional tournament game, then played an instant classic at Lakeville North, who went 2-0 for the Panthers. The match was a defensive and goalie gem with Owatonna’s Preston Meier dueling with future Gopher Skylar Vetter.
Owatonna’s women’s hockey won a road playoff game in Dodge County, before losing to Farmington in the section semifinals.
The Dodge County men’s hockey team grabbed attention with their first-ever trip to the state tournament behind a strong offensive offense, led by state top scorer Brody Lamb, who scored six goals. in their quarterfinal victory over Hermantown, who was forced to field primarily a JV team. The Wildcats made it to the state title game, where they lost to Gentry Academy. Lamb scored ten goals during the tournament.
Waseca won a thriller against Caledonia in the AA men’s basketball title game, 51-49. Hayfield won the Class A crown in boys’ hoops. BP’s Megan Oswald set the school’s scoring record for women’s basketball.
If you do these 7 things, you are the epitome of Minnesota
If you see someone adopting these seven habits, the chances are good that you are in the presence of a real Minnesotan.
In Memoriam: 2021 deaths
In memory of the musicians, actors, producers and others who died in 2021.