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Another Tiger sports year gone

June 8, 2009

by Matt Kane

When the final race of the Class AA state track and field meet finished Saturday, it marked the end of the fourth year of the Delano Herald Journal’s strong relationship with the athletes, coaches and athletic administrators at Delano High School. And, as the sports editor at the Herald Journal, I want to thank everyone who sent me statistics, gave me quotes at the end of a win or loss, informed me on schedule changes, and tipped me off about a great story idea during the 2008-09 school year.

I’m not going to pretend that I pleased everybody with my work this past school year, but I can honestly say I attempt, every week, to be fair to everyone I write about, and I try to meet the demands of the community through my work.

Every sports season over the nine years I’ve been covering high school athletics is a memorable one, and this year’s three seasons at Delano High School were no different.

For the second-straight season under coach Becca Rue, the Delano volleyball team showed it was one of the best teams in Minnesota by making it to the Class AA state tournament. The lady Tigers didn’t leave the Xcel Energy Center with the first-place trophy, but playing in the big dance will be something the departing seniors will remember, something the returning players will strive to repeat, and something the future players will dream about.

On the tennis court, Delano senior Kelly Rensink made the beginning of what turned out to be a trying year memorable with her third straight state meet appearance. For the second consecutive year, Rensink went with doubles partner Abby Farniok. Like the volleyball team, the Tiger tennis duo didn’t leave the University of Minnesota with the first-place medals, but both should be proud of what they have accomplished for themselves and the Delano tennis program.

The winter season saw the boys basketball team enjoy one of its most successful seasons in school history, and individuals from the wrestling and boys swimming teams traveled inside the I-494 loop to finish their seasons at state tournaments.

Senior wrestlers Trenton Seck, Ben Brasket and Eric Nelson all went out on the state mats, and juniors Dalton Sowers and Joe Hessing did the same with hopes of returning at the end of their senior seasons.

In the pool, the quartet of Will Chandler, Jake Lawman, Blake Asbury and Adam Arveson swam in the preliminary round of the Class AA 200-meter medley relay, and Lawman went solo in the 100 breaststroke in his final season.

The final season of the high school athletic year is spring, and three Delano athletes strung out the spring as long as they could with berths in the state track and field meet. Seniors Alyssa Rasmussen and Justin Collins went out near the top, and junior Devin Sowers made the most of his first track season.

State tournaments are the reward for success, and those teams and individuals who make it to state tend to be remembered more often than those who don’t make it. But I hope, through the Delano Herald Journal, all the athletes from every team can be remembered.

From seasons where wins were few and far between to those that ended with teams and individuals competing on the biggest stages in the state, everything is worth covering.

As a mediocre three-sport high school athlete who spent all three sports seasons watching from the bench much more often than from the middle of the action, I know there truly is more to a team and a player than records and results.

Athletic abilities are not the same in everybody, but the effort and dedication a player gives for the sake of his or her team makes bleeding ink onto news print worth it every week, no matter the outcome.