Although the 2018-2019 winter appears to be far from over the sports seasons have come to an end for the Osceola Chieftains and the St. Croix Falls Saints. It is hard to put an end to a season at any time but once again fans of the area were treated to some high quality performances and have many great memories to latch on to. With the end of the winter sports season the Middle Border and West Lakeland conference have recognized the top athletes from each sport.
The St. Croix Falls wrestling team had an impressive 11 wrestlers take first place at the Lakeland conference meet and are recognized as all-conference performers. Placing first at the conference meet included Zack Clark, Tanner Gaffey, McKinley Erickson, Kyle Zehm, Austin McCurdy, Bennett Bergmann, Josey Wilson, Mason Will, Luke Theamert, Graidy Guggisberg and Kole Marko. Having 11 wrestlers win their respective weight class at the conference meet is a school record for the Saints. Coach Dan Clark has to be excited for next season as nine of the 11 all-conference members return next season.
Although the Middle Border does not recognize the first place winners at the conference tournament as all-conference, Osceola did have two wrestlers place first in their weight class at the MBC conference tournament. Sophomores Thomas Oswald and Nick Carlson each earned the top spot on the podium at the conference meet.
Oswald knows that despite earning the recognition there is no time to rest on his laurels. “If you aren’t getting better, you get worse,” he said, “so in the off season you have to put in the most work. Also there is always someone out there that’s better than you and there is always something you can do to improve.”
The St. Croix Falls girls basketball team went 12-0 to win the West Lakeland conference and ended the season 21-3 overall and claimed the Regional championship for their area. Leading the way for the Saints were all conference members Emily McCurdy (1st team), Olivia Miron (1st team), Josey Kahl (2nd team) and Azalea Edwards (honorable mention).
“Becoming all-conference is a lot of behind the scenes work,” McCurdy said. “Playing in the off season, going to camps and going to school early to shoot all adds up to create the player people see in games.”
The Osceola girls basketball team had a nice season with the highlight being a 55-52 win over the Prescott Cardinals the last MBC game of the year. The Chieftain win knocked Prescott from the top spot of the conference standings. Prescott went on to win the Regional tournament before falling in Sectional play. Senior Katie Haase (2nd team) and junior Emily Fox (2nd team) were recognized by the MBC for their outstanding play.
Osceola played with a motto of ‘All In’ the entire season and Haase’s comments about being named to the all-conference team reflected that attitude. “I am extremely grateful for the incredible group of girls I had as teammates this year,” she said. “My teammates pushed me every day in practice and I could always count on them during games. They are what makes playing the game so enjoyable.”
The St. Croix boys basketball team rebounded from a sub-par season in 2017-2018 and made significant improvement in the season just finished. The Saints completed their season at 6-6 in West Lakeland conference play and was 11-11 overall. SCF had three players receive all-conference mention including Kullan Parks (2nd team), Declan Greenquist (honorable mention) and Trevor LaMirande (honorable mention). All three of the Saints honorees are juniors and will be counted on to help St. Croix challenge for the top spot in the conference next season.
Parks was excited about his team’s progress this season. “I was pleased to know that all the hard work that we have been putting into the sport was finally starting to pay off,” he said. “Last year we had a rough season going 4-19 so being able to pick up eight more wins on the season and going 12-12 was a big deal for me.”
This past season was fun for the area fans. Next season promises an even greater amount of excitement as most of the OHS and SCF athletes that were either all-conference or won first place in the MBC wrestling tournament are back. A total of 22 athletes were honored from Osceola and St. Croix Falls from the recently concluded winter sports season. Of the 22 athletes honored 19 will be back next season.