"We played well, we won 10 matches and got a player through to the semifinals individually," Johnson said. "The players had fun, too, which is one thing that we're confident will bring them back next spring. We tell them that not every winter is like this last one — some are, but we play through it."
For Cloquet, their first 18 outs at Grand Rapids on Tuesday, May 15, came with only one hit, and they entered the seventh inning trailing 3-0. But those last three outs — well, they were a bear for the Thunderhawks to get. By the time the Thunderhawks had recorded those 21 outs, Cloquet had sent 11 men to the plate in an epic seventh inning, and scored seven runs on six hits to earn a 7-3 win.
Kendra Kelley completed a trifecta Tuesday by winning the 200- and 400-meter dashes as well, finishing 1-2 with senior Erin Turner in the 400. She also won the long jump to finish her day as a quadruple winner. Harmony Tracy and Lauren Cawcutt finished 3-4 in the 1,600 meters, earning 47 team points. Cawcutt was third in the 3,200 meters and junior Kelly Lorenz was third in the 100 and 300 hurdles. <
"We've played pretty well," coach Ron Tondryk said. "We have work to do but the results have been good."
p>First, the snow kept them indoors, and then three crushing wins in their first four games followed in which they scored 46 runs, including Tuesday's 21-4 win over Cromwell-Wright. Abby Mickle worked four innings and struck out six while allowing two hits and hitting a home run to help herself. She also drove in four runs. Alaina Bennett had two hits and scored three runs, while Alena Wallin drove in three and scored twice.
On Tuesday, the Lumberjacks' defense betrayed them in a 12-1, five-inning loss at Superior. All 12 of the Spartans' runs were unearned. "That's a product of not being outside for practice," coach Rick Norrgard said. "It's a function of not being able to work on the things we needed to work on."
"Two years ago, we were one goal away from getting to the Robbie (last four)," coach Tim Madsen said. "This year was a lot different and it hurts a lot more." After winning the third game of their best-of-five first-round series by 3-2 on Friday night to stay alive, the Wilderness were eliminated with a 5-3 loss in Saturday's fourth game at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.
It takes a couple of days to get used to being outside. We're making do, because we have to. The kids are responding." One player responding especially well is eighth-grade outfielder Dana Jones, who is 12-for-17 at the plate, translating to a .706 batting average. "She struck out her first plate appearance last weekend but after that she's been incredible," Tondryk said.
Mike Patenaude, who helped found the club 25 years ago, is stepping aside — right as the Minnesota State High School League has approved boys volleyball as a spring varsity sport starting next school year. The club, based out of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, will now be run by Sierra Michaelson and her sister, Jessica Wolff.
And now, Kuhlman joins a select group. Brett Hull isn't in it. Bill Watson isn't in it. Chris Marinucci, Junior Lessard and even Derek Plante isn't in it. It's the group of national champions. "Those are unbelievable players," Kuhlman said. "It just goes to show how hard college hockey is. Our team needed contributions from everyone."