Records Fall, History Made in Steele County Sports in 2021
2021 in Steele County and Owatonna sports featured awe inspiring streaks, record-shattering performances, and a few doses of historical happenings.
Blooming Prairie sports made the jump to AA in most activities this school year. BP had a great football season and extended their winning streak to a staggering 28 games. It came to an end just short of the state tournament, with a loss to Maple River in the section finals.
OHS football faced Mayo in the section final, in an instant classic that featured huge plays and many lead changes in the second half. The Spartans squeezed past the Huskies, ending Owatonna’s reign atop the section.
Southern MN was well represented at the Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium. Mankato West, Chatfield, and Leroy-Ostrander all won state titles. Kasson-Mantorville and Plainview-Elgin-Millville were runners up.
Owatonna swimmer Logan Norrid continued her assault on the OHS record book and went to state in two events. Diver Mya Dutton made her state meet debut this fall.
OHS runners Preston Meier and Carsyn Brady qualified for state cross country again, and were joined by teammates Connor Ginskey and Anna Cox.
Faribault BA took third at the state volleyball tournament. Cannon Falls played at state for the first time.
Among the spring highlights in 2021:
- OHS girls lacrosse won the Big Nine title. The boys captured the conference championship and beat Northfield in a wild triple-overtime game at OHS
- Three Blooming Prairie golfers played at the state tournament. Jessica Ressler finished in the top ten. Hallie Strunk finished 22nd. And Maggie Bruns played at state in her first season of competitive golf.
- State track and field participants included Owatonna’s Justin Gleason (fourth in the long jump), Jack Titchenal (fifth in 110-hurdles) Ryan Gregory (16th in 300-hurdles), Triton’s Owen Petersohn (top five placings in both hurdle races), Blooming Prairie’s Annaka Forsberg (fourth in high jump) and Xavier Rennie (sixth in 110-hurdles) and Medford Jackie Cole (ninth in long jump).
Owatonna’s senior Athletes of the Year for the 2020-21 school year were Sarah Kingland and Payton Beyer. The Josten’s Junior Athletes of the Year were Olivia Herzog and Grant Achterkirch.
The Daikin Soccer Complex in Owatonna had its ribbon cutting last spring. The site features a full-sized pitch and several mid and small fields.
Looking back to summer highlights in 2021:
- The OHS clay target team finished eighth out of 40 teams at the MSHSL-sponsored tournament in June.
- The Owatonna VFW baseball team qualified for the state tournament in August.
And a few things to look forward to:
- An announcement from the Minnesota State High School League of the addition of a shot clock in boys and girls varsity basketball for 2023. Coaches are excited about the move, though some wish it could happen more quickly.
- History will take place in January when a junior hockey game is held as part of Hockey Day Minnesota for the first time. The contest will feature the Steele County Blades against the Minnesota Mullets on Sunday, January 23 at Blakeslee Stadium at the Minnesota State University-Mankato.
- The state amateur baseball tournament is coming to the region in 2022. Faribault, Dundas and Miesville will host games late next summer.