MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With prep football in our rear-view mirror, it’s now time to look ahead to the winter prep sports season.

It should be an eventful winter sports season regardless of what sport you follow. From the basketball hardwood to the hockey rink to the wrestling mat, there will be great match-ups and tournaments everywhere over the next four months.

Here are just a few things to keep an eye on as the snow starts to fly and the temperatures dip.

Tyus Jones: The Future of Minnesota Basketball?

Tyus Jones is just a sophomore at Apple Valley High School and he’s not old enough to drive yet, but he’s one of the most sought after basketball players in the nation. He’s already received a scholarship offer from Gophers’ coach Tubby Smith and has been contacted by all the major Division I programs. He’s a point guard that nearly led Apple Valley to the state tournament last year as a freshman despite a kidney injury early in the season. Jones is rated the top point guard in the nation in his age group, and it’s worth getting out for a night just to watch him play. He can score, pass, defend and lead, everything you want from a point guard.

Will St. Thomas Academy Stay On Top In Hockey?

St. Thomas Academy, one of the dominant Class A hockey programs in the state, beat Hermantown in overtime last year to win its latest state championship. The Cadets, ranked No. 1 in Class A to start the year, aren’t shy about playing tough opponents early on this season, either. They beat No. 8-ranked Duluth Marshall 4-3 in overtime to open the season on Saturday. St. Thomas Academy continues a tough early stretch Saturday at Hill-Murray (No. 6 in 2A) and Dec. 14 at Rochester Lourdes (No. 5 in Class A). The Cadets will also play in the Gold Division of the Schwan Cup over the holidays.

Apple Valley Continues Its Wrestling Dominance

Apple Valley pretty much cruised to a Class AAA state wrestling championship last year, giving up a total of 22 points in three matches in the team portion of the state tournament. Judging by preseason rankings, the program isn’t going anywhere. The Eagles won their opening match 52-6 over Prior Lake, a state tournament team from last year. Apple Valley has wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the state in all but one weight class. It also has arguably the best prep wrestler in the nation in Brandon Kingsley at 152 pounds. The Eagles also have seven others who are either ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in their weight classes to start the season.

Another Dahlman Stars At Braham

To say the Dahlman family in Braham is a basketball family would be an understatement. Isaiah Dahlman broke a state scoring record with the Bombers before going on to play for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Noah Dahlman, his younger brother, was a star player there before he went on to play Division I at Wofford. The latest Dahlman is a star for the Braham girls’ team, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 2A. Rebekah Dahlman scored 47 points on Saturday as the Bombers beat Maranatha Academy in the Tip-Off Classic in Hopkins. Braham also has wins over Onamia and Mora. Dahlman will be the player to watch in that area this season.

Is Northfield The New Gymnastics Power?

When it comes to Minnesota high school gymnastics, it was Roseville and then everyone else until about two years ago. That’s when Northfield emerged and won its first Class AA state championship in school history. Virtually that same squad repeated as state champions last year with a school record score of 150.4. The Raiders are led this year by the senior duo of Sveta Mason and Meaghan Howell, and their squad is the favorite until somebody knocks them off. They haven’t lost a dual meet in three years.

It’ll be a fun winter ahead regardless of whether you’re taking in basketball, hockey, wrestling or any other sport. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.


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