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Sports from the week of September 26, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

`Best team volleyball of season' takes bite from Apple Valley elites

Tracy/Milroy/Balaton's Panther volleyball established themselves as one of the top teams in the state by winning the prestigious Apple Valley Volleyball Tournament last weekend. They won four matches, all against class AAA teams while losing only one game.

Participating teams were Alexandria, Apple Valley, Bloomington Jefferson, Burnsville, Central Minnesota Christian School, Chaska, Eagan, Hibbing, Lakeville, Marshall, Moorhead, Renville County West, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Tracy/Milroy/Balaton, White Bear Lake and Windom.

TMB opened play Friday evening with a 15-7, 15-1 win over Burnsville and took the measure of White Bear Lake, 15-9, 15-6.

In the semifinal match against Bloomington Jefferson Saturday, they won 15-12, 10-15, 15-7.

The Panthers were pitted against Robbinsdale Armstrong, the Class AAA defending state champion, in the championship. Armstrong got off to an 11-5 lead in the first game but at that point in the game TMB's senior middle hitter Rhonda Bitker, sent a resounding kill over the net that ricocheted off an Armstrong player. That kill sparked the Panthers and they went on to score nine consecutive points behind the serving of Maria Ankrum and Jenny Otto and won the game 15-11.

TMB got off to a 9-1 lead in the second game and won it 15-9 to take the championship.

"We played our best volleyball, as a team, of the season in the last game of the championship match," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "I am happy with the way we performed in the tournament."

"The girls played well," said Gervais. "Jenny (Otto) had a sore shoulder coming into the tournament but she put that out of her mind and played very well. Kristen (Rokke) made plays that I had never seen her make before."

Turnovers hurt gridders in 38-28 Renville County loss

The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton football team lost to the Renville County West Jaguars in a shootout in Danube Friday night. The loss evened the Panthers' record at 2-2 and 0-1 in the 212 Conference. The Jaguars improved to 3-1 (their only loss was to Lac Qui Parle Valley) and 1-0 in the conference. The Panthers also lost possession of the "Gold Brick" (212 Conference traveling trophy) to the Jaguars.

"We played well tonight," said Jaguar Coach Jerry Wallskog. "We took good care of the football and didn't turn it over."

"We had some good things and some bad things in this game," said Panther Coach Joe Kemp. "The bad things were the 3 turnovers but the good thing was that the kids learned that if they stick to the game plan and execute they can do well."

"Games are frequently won or lost on the first possession of the second half," observed Kemp. "The last few minutes of the first half and the first few minutes of the second did us in tonight."

Panthers host BOLD in homecoming game Friday

The Panther football team will face the two pre-season 212 Conference favorites in the next two weeks.

TMB hosts BOLD in a homecoming battle this Friday. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. The Panthers are at home against Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City the following week. BOLD has been the perennial conference champion in the 212 Conference and appears to be very good again this season. The only game they have lost has been to ACGC last week as the two titans battled to a 14-9 ACGC win at Olivia.

Runners are Good Samaritans in Canby race

The Panther cross country team finished fourth in the Canby Invitational on Sept. 18.

The team scores were: Canby, 36; Marshall, 55; Red River Valley, 78; Tracy/Milroy/Balaton, 79; Milbank, 98. Yellow Medicine East and BOLD fielded incomplete teams.

"We could have finished much better but our top two runners, Kristin Sweetman and Jillian Tholen stopped to help a Canby girl who had fallen and lost some time," said Panther Coach Brian Michelson. "The Canby girl had evidently cut the corner too closely as she went around a tree and stumbled on one of the roots. The Canby girls were all in awe of our girls for stopping to help. I was very proud of them."

The Panther individual results in the varsity meeet were: 12) Kristin Sweetman, 17:48; 14) Jillian Tholen, 18:02; 15) Kelly Laleman, 18:03; 21) Andrea VanMoer, 18:32; 22) Rebecca Gervais, 18:35; 23) Johanna Schmidt, 18:38; 28) Dani Jones, 18:52.

Junior varsity racers were: 10) Jackie Bruss, 19:11; 11) Megan Pool, 19:23; 14) Jessica Lenertz, 19:42; 18) Jessica Coulter, 20:20; 23) Jackie Vroman, 21:08; 26) Ashlee Domine, 22:52; 28) Emma Miller, 23:40.

Junior high runners were: 2) Julia Olson, 8:21; 6) Ashlee Vandromme, 8:44; 7) Celia Brockway, 8:45.