The end of the 2022-23 prep sports winter season brought several section runners-up in multiple different sports from the area. Some area teams, like the New Ulm Area wrestling team, went a step further with multiple state qualifiers and multiple state medals. Ellie Dake, pictured above in a March 4, 2023, file photo by Travis Rosenau, took home a fourth-place medal from the 2023 Girls State Wrestling Tournament at Xcel Energy Center. NUA also saw Evan Thompson take home a fifth-place medal from the Class AA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in March. Thompson finished as the 2022-23 All-Journal Wrestler of the Year.
On the basketball side of things, the Minnesota Valley Lutheran boys came a win from making it to the Class AA state tournament. The Chargers finished their season 25-4 after a Section 2AA finals loss to Maple River. During their playoff run, the Chargers beat Tri-City United, Belle Plaine and Norwood Young America leading up to the section finals. Pictured above in this file photo by Ari Selvey is MVL’s Ben Pearson (12), in 2023’s section semifinals game with NYA (Central) at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Cedar Mountain boys basketball also had a Cinderella run in the playoffs, coming one win shy of reaching the state tournament. Heading into the playoffs, the Cougars were 11-15. The Cougars defeated Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s and Lester Prairie in the playoffs, however, to reach the Section 2A finals, where they were defeated by Mankato Loyola to finish 14-16. For girls basketball, Sleepy Eye had the longest playoff run in the area and advanced to the Section 2A finals after playoff wins over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Mountain Lake Area/ Comfrey and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s. BOLD ended Sleepy Eye’s season in the section finals, however, giving the Indians a 23-7 finish
The New Ulm boys and girls hockey teams each finished a win shy of making state. The New Ulm boys team defeated Fairmont and Mankato West in the Section 3A playoffs before falling to Luverne 4-2 in the section finals on March 1 at Gustavus Adolphus College. The girls team defeated Marshall 1-0 in overtime in New Ulm in the Section 3A playoffs before falling 4-0 to Luverne in the section finals. (pictured in this file photo by Ari Selvey is New Ulm’s Kaden Larson (21), from New Ulm’s section semifinals win over West at Gustavus.)
In this June 1, 2023, file photo above by Travis Rosenau is members of the New Ulm Cathedral softball team celebrating at Caswell Park on June 1, 2023, after defeating St. Mary’s a second time to advance to state.
The spring season saw both New Ulm Cathedral softball and baseball teams advance to state. The Greyhounds softball team defeated previously unbeaten Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s twice in the section finals to earn a trip to state, while the Greyhounds baseball team defeated Sleepy Eye twice in the Section 2A finals to advance to state. The softball team finished 18-8 with a 1-2 finish at state, while the baseball team went 21-6 and took third place at the Class A State Baseball Tournament at Faber Field in St. Cloud. Pictured in a file photo by Travis Rosenau top-right is pitcher Levi Franta (15) during a state tourney game with Yellow Medicine East on June 13, 2023.
Pictured right in a June 2, 2023, file photo by Ari Selvey is New Ulm High School pole vaulter Emily Pearson, who finished second in the girls pole vault at the Class AA State Track and Field Meet in St. Michael with a top vault of 11 feet, 3 inches. She also finished her senior year with the school’s girls pole vault record of 11-9.
The 2023 fall season saw two area teams make it to the state tournament. The Springfield Tigers made it back to the Class A State Football Tournament for the second year in a row. The Tigers defeated the newly-formed Sleepy Eye United football team, a coop featuring Sleepy Eye High School and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s High School players, in the Section 3A finals at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall on Nov. 3, 2023. Pictured left in a file photo by Travis Rosenau is quarterback Jakob Nachreiner (12) celebrating after the Tigers took down SEU to advance to state.
Pictured above in a file photo by Travis Rosenau on Sept. 29, 2023, Cedar Mountain’s Cooper Freitag rushes for a touchdown during a nine-man football win over Red Rock Central in Morgan. The Cougars ended up defeating RRC again, this time in the Section 2, Nine-Man Football Championship at Cottonwood High School on Nov. 3. That was the first time a Cedar Mountain football team had ever made it to the state tournament. While the Cougars were eliminated in their first state game against the Ottertail Central Bulldogs at Buffalo High School, the cities of Morgan and Franklin were proud of their history-making football team.


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