The Rochester Amateur Sports Commission has announced the finalists for the annual Rochester Area Sports Banquet.
The annual event will be held on Jan. 29 and is being moved to the Rochester Event Center near the airport. Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen will be the featured speaker.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by call the RASC at 280-4701 or at the website rochsports.org/sportsbanquet.
The top five finalists for the top categories include:
Team of the Year:
• Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys track and field. The Bulldogs won the Class A state title and set 13 school records during 14 events at the state meet.
• Kasson-Mantorville wrestling. The KoMets repeated as Class AA state champions. They finished with a 25-0 record in dual meets.
• Goodhue girls basketball. The Wildcats repeated as Class A state champions. They defeated top-seeded Mountain Iron-Buhl 73-51 in the state championship game.
• Zumbrota-Mazeppa softball. The Cougars repeated as Class AA state champions. In the state final they beat the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Maple Lake 4-1. To qualify Z-M (24-6) defeated the state's second- and third-ranked teams to get out of its own section.
• Rochester Shock ninth-grade AAU basketball team. The Shock finished 96-13, won a state championship and was second at a national tournament. The team consists of all girls from the same high school (Mayo).
Coach of the Year:
• Josh Wieme, Goodhue girls basketball. Led the Wildcats to their second Class A state title.
• Link Steffen, Z-M wrestling. Led the fourth-seeded Cougars to the Class A state title, the first state wrestling title for Z-M.
• Kevin Nelson, Z-M softball. Guided the Cougars to their second consecutive Class AA state championship.
• Jamie Heidt, K-M wrestling. Led the KoMets to a second straight Class AA state championship. K-M finished the season 25-0 in dual meets.
• Randy Rager, RCTC wrestling. Directed the Yellowjackets to the non-scholarship school national championship. Rager is in his 13th season at RCTC and was also named the 2017 NJCAA Coach of the Year.
Male Athlete of the Year:
• Matthew Hurt, John Marshall basketball. Now a sophomore at John Marshall, Hurt became JM's all-time leading scorer as a freshman. He is rated in the top players in his class in the entire nation.
• Sebastian Vile, Mayo tennis. Was the Class AA state runner-up at the individual state tournament. Is ranked the No. 1 18 and under player in the Midwest.
• Brady Berge, K-M wrestling. Won his fourth state championship and was named Mr. Wrestling in Minnesota. Finished his prep career 282-5, was ranked No. 1 at his weight class in the country. Is now wrestling at Penn State.
• Bailee O'Reilly, Goodhue wrestling. Won a second straight Class A state championship at 160 pounds. Attending the University of Minnesota to wrestle.
• Tysen Schmidt, P-E-M track and field. The senior won the Class A state championship in the 400-meter dash, was second the 200 dash, fifth in the triple jump and was part of the state runner-up 4x100 relay. Helped the Bulldogs win the Class A state title and joined the Marines after he graduated.
Female Athlete of the Year:
• MaKayla Griffin, K-M soccer. Was first-team All State as a senior and was a finalist for Ms. Soccer. Had 16 goals and 13 assists as a senior and finished career with 55 goals and 55 assists.
• Mara Quam, Kenyon-Wanamingo volleyball/basketball/track and field. Class A track and field state champ in long jump and third in triple jump. Averaged 28 points per game in basketball. Now playing volleyball at Minnesota State, Mankato.
• Kristen Scott, K-M basketball. Set K-M career records for points scored (2,253), rebounds (1,158) and blocks (433). Now playing Division I ball at Iowa State.
• Kara O'Byrne, Stewartville softball. As a senior pitcher she had a 17-4 record and 0.67 ERA. She also hit .449 with seven homers and 26 RBIs and was first-team All-State and a Ms. Softball finalist. Now playing Division I ball at North Dakota State.
• Abby Mueller, Rochester amateur gymnast. She is a Level 10 USA Gymnast, one step below Olympic level. Was invited to Nastia Luikin Cup (event restricted to top 18 junior and top 18 senior gymnasts in the country). She took fifth in the All-Around in the juniors division. Also had a 12th-place finish in the All-Around at Junior Olympics.
Adaptive Athlete/Team of the Year:
• Sean Healy, Rochester Raiders adaptive hockey, softball. Helped both teams reach the state tournament and was named All-Tournament in both sports. Finished as Raiders' all-time leading scorer in adaptive hockey career (150 points) and scored 50 points during the 2017 season.
• Philip Fritzke, Special Olympics athlete with the Rochester Flyers. He participated in golf and bowling in 2017 and earned a gold medal in each sport.
• Shelley Lowery, Special Olympics swimming. At the state meet she placed second in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 50 breaststroke. Also won a silver medal at state bowling event.
• Alex Steffl, Special Olympics athlete with the Rochester Flyers. Helped lead the Flyers to their first state championship and was the team's the leading scorer. Helped the Flyers basketball lace placed second at the Area Games, first at the state tournament, and second at regionals. In track and field won two gold medals and a silver at the state meet. One of four male Minnesota athletes to represent Team Minnesota at the USA Games in Seattle.
Rochester Flyers Blue team. Won the gold medal at spring state tournament. Won first place at the regional tournament as well. Every player scored at least once during the state tournament.
Guy N. Limbeck's Local Sports Notebook regularly runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays.