ACADEMIC ACCOLADES

Monday, November 5, 2018

Last week when we published a story listing the Class 1A, All-District 9 grid honors, we failed to include the All-District Academic football players and cheerleaders.

We apologize to all and will try to do better.

Cherokee had a total of 13 students make the all-district elite list. Football players at the head of the class were Alex Paulsrud, Carson Mongan, Trevor Lundquist, Cole Pitts, Mason Goebel, Dylan Hamilton and Creighton Schubert. Cherokee cheerleaders garnering academic all-district honors are Megan Brown, Josie Hodgdon, Asha Loutish, Nicole McLaughlin, Taylor Richardson and Kinsy Voss.

A tip of the hat on this wonderful achievement by all.

To earn these coveted academic accolades, students must maintain a 3.25 grade point average.

CRYSTAL BALL

Girls’ basketball starts today. They’re in the gym.

Looking ahead, we’re excited about Cherokee basketball and wrestling teams this season.

Let’s take a gander into the crystal ball.

Cherokee’s girls are highly regarded despite the loss of six seniors. Gone are 1,000 point plus, three-point ace Paityn Hagberg, now at Briar Cliff. Also gone are top talents Lindsay Williams (8 pt. avg.), Bri Sleezer (10 pt. avg.) and Skylar Gerdes (7 pt. avg.).

But coming back after missing last season with a torn ACL will be two-time all-stater, senior Payton Slaughter. The gritty senior will be a game changer for the Braves. She was a big reason Cherokee played in the state tournament in 2016 and 2017. She has a never-quit attitude and brings it with her to every game.

Another senior this season is relentless competitor six foot lean and mean Kassidy Pingel. She brings a bunch to the table and averaged 16 points and seven rebounds last year. We look for this young lady to have a breakout year. Other top seniors in the mix are lefty Lily Anderson and Kiley Kennebeck. Anderson saw considerable playing time last year could have a big impact.

We anticipate big things from a pair of sophomore returnees who saw ample time on the court as freshman last year. Look for the high flying athleticsim of JeMae Nicols to make a big mark on the season. And you’ll also see a pure shooting Teagan Slaughter hauling a lot of the mail. As freshmen, Nicols averaged 13 points a game and collected 95 steals to lead the Lakes, while Teagan averaged eight points as a frosh and will bring more confidence to the floor this season.

Last year, Cherokee claimed its first Lakes Conference title since 2005 with a 21-2 record. They finished atop the league in scoring with an 81.7 points per game average.

Cherokee Coach Heath Hagberg and Assistant Coach Brandon Slaughter have got to be licking their chops for the season to start.

Now for the boys.

We’re shaking the crystal ball and seeing better things for Coach Mark Hurd and his basketball Braves.

Cherokee’s boys finished 6-16 last season and lost one senior to graduation, Jack Benson.

Returning are four junior starters from last year - Alex Paulsrud, Ryan Hurd, Kobe Grell and Cole Pitts. We look for this foursome to enjoy a little “payback” this winter. The talent is there.

We look for Hurd, 6-5, to up his 11 points average considerably. Then Paulsrud (9.7 pt. avg.), Grell (9.6) and Pitts (7.8) will have to up their games as well.

The Braves will also look to senior Dre Bezoni and juniors Trevor Lundquist, Carson Mongan and Bryce Lussier for help. All four of these players have the ability to make a positive mark on this year’s team.

Time will tell.

Cherokee wrestlers return 10 letter winners under seventh year Coach Austin Todd. “We’re a young and eager team and will be guided by a core group of seniors,” said Todd. “We’ll go as far as our seniors lead us.”

Cherokee’s two state tourney representatives from last year are gone. Tyler Zeiman is at Northwestern College, and Mason Hill is no longer a student here, transferring to River Valley. Also gone from this year’s team is Kade Jorgensen (138) and Bronsan Reis (160).

Veteran lettermen back are seniors Dane Jurgensen (28-20) at 145-152, Hunter Shaw (26-22) at 138, Treighton Schubert (32-17) at 195, Wyatt Kraft (10-8) at Hwt., Daenan Pierce (14-22) at 170; Juniors Damon Williams (28-20) at 126-132, Kaleb McGee (6-14) Hwt., and Michael Burkhart (12-4) at 113; Sophomores Cale Wood (19-22) at 145-152, and Simon Mummert (20-16) at 106.

Todd cited junior Burkhart as one he is looking to for an immediate impact. “He was hurt last year, but we’re looking for big things from him this season.”

Cherokee is in a sharing program with MMCRU and will get two wrestlers in freshmen prospects Brennen Stodden at 120 pounds and Nate Harvey at 113 pounds.

Also figuring to make an impact this year for the Braves is sophomore Carson Fuhrman at 160, and freshmen Nick Clark and Sam Collins at 132 and 182, respectively.

“Honestly, I’m excited about the season. We could have a phenomenal season is some of the untested guys come through,” said Coach Todd.

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