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Sports for the week of November 10, 2004

State bound!

First match is Thursday night at Xcel Center

The Panther girls volleyball team has qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2001, when Tracy/Milroy/Balaton won the Class A state championship.

"It is nice to be back at the state tournament and in our own right," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "In 2001 we were so focussed that several of the girls said they really didn't enjoy it as much as they should have. I know I was really uptight! This time we are going to try to enjoy the experience. We have some really mentally tough girls and I think we can enjoy the experience and still play up to our abliity."

By a strange coincidence, in the last year of the 212 Conference, four conference eams have qualified for state. Kerkovern-Murdock-Sunburg and Central Minnesota Christian have qualified in Class A while MACCRAY and TMB have qualified in Class AA.

A fifth area team, Marshall, qualified for the Class AAA tounrey.

The Panthers open against Esko at 5:00 P.M. at the Excel Energy Center while Wabasha-Kellogg meets Pine River-Backus in the same bracket. Dilworth -Glyndon-Felton, MACCRAY, Kasson-Mantorville and Mayer Lutheran finish out the Class AA field.

Esko has a 27-2 record on the season.

YME ends Panthers' state dream

The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton Football Team lost to Yellow Medicine East 34-6 in the Section 6AA finals at the Fargo Dome last Friday night. The Panther season ended with the best record, 7-4, since an 8-3 2000 season. YME improved to 8-3 and will play Eden Valley/Watkins, at Granite Falls this Friday in the state tournament quarter finals with the winner playing in the Metrodome a week later.

"Seven turnovers are just too hard to overcome," said Panther Coach Randy McIntire . "Five of them came at crucial times and really hurt us. Some of the kids had their heads down right after the game but they quickly recovered because it was a great season. One we can be proud of."

"The turf made it much more difficult to stop the sweeps," said Panther Junior David Schiller.

He was referring to the fact that the game is so much faster on turf and it is easy to take the wrong angle on defending the sweeps.

Sensational sixth at state

The Panther's Jillian Tholen finished in sixth place in the Girl's A Championship cross-country races held at St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota Saturday with a time of 14:44.1.

"Jillian had a great ending to an excellent season," said Panther Coach Marie Clauson. "The first mile was a slower pace than expected. There was some during that first mile she was leading. She likes races that start out at a fast pace better than slow, so I think she wanted everyone to pick it up a bit. By the second mile the pack fell from about 12 runners to six runners. Jillian had a very strong finish, one of her strongest to date. I know she would have passed the 5th place runner if she had had a few more meters. Her time was very impressive and she was very pleased after the race, as she should be."

Section 3 had a great day for individuals scoring 5 in the top 20 of the race.

"I think sometimes people underestimate how stiff the cross country competition is around this area, but the results show that Southwest Minnesota has some excellent runners in both classes," said Clauson.

On Thanksgiving weekend Tholen will participate in the Foot Locker High School Regional Cross Country Meet in Kenosha, Wisconsin.