ST. PAUL – Not one to be shy about sharing her emotions, perhaps Alaina Bennett didn't smile wider than when being called on a ball-handling violation at last week's state volleyball tournament. It was during the Class A consolation championship match against mighty Mayer Lutheran on Saturday. Bennett was whistled for a double contact error, sending the ball spinning into the bright lights of the Xcel Energy Center. The Carlton junior middle hitter pulled her blue jersey over her eyes and shed a cheek-to-check grin toward her understanding teammates.
While it doesn't take long to see how fast Makayla Suominen swims in a pool, keeping up with the Cloquet senior's swimming career needs considerably more time.
While coaching and teaching go hand in hand, so do early mornings and late nights. Yet, the trade-off is no competition, with the often-combined professions making for ever-lasting relationships and memories that span a lifetime. Just ask Jeff Gronner and Dave Foster. While not related by blood, one could argue the two Cromwell-Wright coaches and teachers are siblings through physical education, X's and O's, or anything called a sport. That's because the pair of coaching Cardinals are two of a kind.
Returning home from a work trip in Seattle last weekend, Jerimy Hallsten's flight didn't land in the Twin Cities until near midnight, followed by a darkened southbound drive and almost a 2 a.m. check-in at his hotel.
CARLTON – With a future collegiate hockey career on the horizon, Taylor Nelson could certainly play her fair share of games on the Xcel Energy Center's ice.
MOOSE LAKE – Since being the water boy in sixth grade for the Moose Lake-Willow River football team, Aidan Szczyrbak has always looked up to Dave Louzek.
CROMWELL – During the midway point of a win-or-go home volleyball match last week, Cromwell-Wright's Jordan Jokinen jammed her right wrist while diving after a ball.
CLOQUET – Sam Rengo of Esko ran his way to a third state cross-country meet last week, but was quick to admit the competition in the Northland is among the fastest in the state.
Whether it's on offense, defense or standing alongside the slim sidelines of the Cromwell-Wright football team this fall, senior Jaden Gronner loves being coached by his father, Jeff.
CLOQUET – Not long after a half-hour run winding through the multicolored trees that engulf Cloquet's Pine Valley this time of year, Jordan Allen made his way from cross-country practice to fall musical rehearsal.