Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s getting downright freezing outside, so if you’re willing to venture out there’s nothing better to do than take in a great high school sports match-up this weekend.
There are plenty of them to go around. One of the better girls basketball match-ups of the season takes place on Saturday, while two hockey juggernauts also square off on Saturday. There’s a battle of conference rivals west of the Twin Cities on the basketball court Friday night, and there’s quite the wrestling match on tap in the Mississippi Eight Conference between two top-five teams.
Here’s what’s on tap this weekend on the prep sports scene throughout the Twin Cities metro.
Wrestling: (1) St. Michael-Albertville at (5) Cambridge-Isanti
There’s quite the wrestling match on tap Friday night in the Mississippi Eight Conference as No. 1-ranked St. Michael-Albertville travels to No. 5-ranked Cambridge. The Knights earned that top ranking after coming out winners at the Clash National Duals after Christmas. It’s a likely preview of the Section 7AAA title match, and it’s our featured match-up for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
When you look at it on paper, it’s a very intriguing match. St. Michael-Albertville has 12 of 14 weight classes ranked in the top 10 individually, with five of those 12 being ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in AAA. The Bluejackets have four ranked wrestlers, two that are third in their perspective weight classes.
There are two weight classes where ranked wrestlers will square off, and it appears 145 pounds should be the featured match of the night. No. 3-ranked Travis Holt of Cambridge likely faces No. 4-ranked Lincoln Mallinger. Another match featuring ranked wrestlers is at 195 pounds, where No. 3-ranked Ricky Briggs will likely face No. 8-ranked Dakota Johnson.
Of course, match-ups can fluctuate when teams weigh in before the match and coaching staffs decide where they want to put certain athletes. STMA’s other ranked wrestlers include Mitchell McKee (106), Tommy Thorn (120), Mark Voss (132), Cole Sladek (138), Mitchell Eull (220) and Jordan Joseph (170).
The Bluejacks have other ranked wrestlers in Ty Torgenson (152) and Cody Skog (160).
It should also be noted that these two squads have already faced each other this season. St. Michael-Albertville beat Cambridge-Isanti 42-15 at the Coon Rapids Triangular in early December. It should be a great match-up on Friday between two rivals, setting the stage for when are likely to meet up with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Saturday Boys Hockey: Breck (11-2-1) at St. Thomas Academy (12-1-1)
If you’re looking for a high school hockey fix this weekend, two of the top teams in Minnesota are meeting up in a non-conference clash in the east Twin Cities metro. Top-ranked St. Thomas Academy hosts No. 3-ranked Breck in Mendota Heights Saturday afternoon. The two teams met in the Class A state semifinals last year, with the Cadets winning a 1-0 nail-biter on the way to the state championship. Earlier this season at the Schwan Cup, St. Thomas Academy won again 2-1. Matt Colford leads Breck with 18 goals, while Tom Novak’s 12 goals leads the Cadets. It should be a great game.
Friday Girls Hockey: Edina (11-5-4) at Eden Prairie (14-3-3)
A pair of rivals square off Friday night in the Lake Conference for girls hockey as No. 4-ranked Eden Prairie hosts No. 5-ranked Edina. When the two teams met earlier this season, the Hornets came away with a 2-1 victory. Edina is 6-1-1 in its last eight games, and Eden Prairie has been up and down with three wins in its last six games. The Hornets are paced by Taylor Williamson’s 20 goals, and Eden Prairie is led by Charly Dahlquist’s 22 goals.
Saturday Girls Basketball: DeLaSalle (13-3) at Benilde-St. Margaret’s (10-5)
Two of the top teams in Class 3A will do battle Saturday night in St. Louis Park as No. 9-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s hosts No. 2-ranked DeLaSalle in non-conference action. The Islanders are 13-3 on the season coming off a state championship. They’ve also won 13 of their past 14 games after dropping two straight to open the season. The Red Knights have lost two straight after winning five of their past six games. DeLaSalle is led by Tyseanna Johnson, who averages about 21 points per game. Benilde-St. Margaret’s is led by Grace Coughlin’s 18 points per game.
Also of note: Saturday is Hockey Day Minnesota, a now annual celebration for one of the state’s most popular sports. The high school games involved will include Eagan against Hibbing at 10 a.m. and Benilde-St. Margaret’s against Grand Rapids at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be on TV, and both will be played on Lake Pokegama.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and John Lauritsen will have all the action covered.