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Another Trek to the 'X' for Boys Hockey

posted by Andrew Tichy

The MHS Boys Hockey Team celebrates after defeating Brainerd in the 8AA Section Championship on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The Spuds fell to eventual state champion Edina in the MSHSL State Quarterfinals. 
Photo: Rogan Isbell | The Spud

By: Rogan Isbell

The clock struck triple zeros in Bemidji on February 27th. This was supposed to be the year the streak got snapped. The Spuds were not even supposed to be here today. But a dream became reality when Moorhead defeated Brainerd 3-2 in the boys’ hockey section 8AA championship game to advance to state once again. A wave of euphoria rushed through the entire team, as the players stormed onto the ice in celebration. But that was not the end of their journey.

Unfortunately for the Spuds, state did not quite go how they wanted it to. A 4-2 loss against #1 Edina on Thursday followed by a 3-2 loss against #5 Duluth East on Friday ended their season. But the Spuds still made a great run, which cannot be taken away from them. As cliche as it may sound, junior defenseman Luke Gramer says the amount of work they put in during the off months will determine their success for the upcoming season.

“We just got to continue to work harder than everybody else… we got a lot of guys coming back, so if we can just work hard and play together, I like our chances [of going back to state]”, Gramer said.

For a program as historic as Moorhead hockey, it was certainly abnormal for them to be in the role as the underdog. They weren’t even predicted to make it to the championship game, let alone win it. Also, a lot of players on this year’s team had to work hard to bounce back from various types of adversity of their own. Senior Tommy Horan broke his jaw in the first shift of the section championship last year against STMA. Senior Nick Searls missed a majority of his junior season with a concussion. And senior Nolan Westra’s mother passed away in October after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. This didn’t affect the mojo of the team; if anything, it made them stronger.

“We just embraced that role [of being an underdog]. A lot of people didn’t believe in us, but we believed in ourselves, and proving people wrong is one of the sweetest things”, Gramer said. They certainly embraced that role, as they won the last nine games of the regular season and won their three section games by a score of 13-2.

The Spuds will lose six seniors after this season. Each one brings something a little bit different to the team, but there are two in particular Gramer says he will miss the most.

“[The senior I’ll miss the most is] probably Kyler Kleven or Tommy Horan… Tommy’s a big leader, a big energy guy, so he’ll be missed. And Kleven is just a really good hockey player, so we’ll miss him too”, Gramer said.

The last time the Spuds missed the section championship game was in 1999. Here are some things that took place in 1999:

South Park was at its peak popularity and released a theatrical movie in June. Bill Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice. Pokemon fever was wild, as Pokemon cards were the highest selling toy of the year. Google was founded. People still made trips to BlockBuster.

The Spuds are the Patriots of hockey, finding ways to adjust their roster and keep getting results. Their destination may not have been ideal, but the journey cannot be overlooked. They’re like a cup of hot chocolate; they’re just better in February. Now pass me the marshmallows.

Girls Basketball wraps season at sections

posted by Andrew Tichy

By: Riley Swenson

The Moorhead girls basketball team had high hopes for the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out how they had hoped. That’s not to say it was a terrible season though. They were 13-14 and earned the number 4 seed in the section playoffs which meant a home game. The Spuds played well in that game, tying it on a late 3-pointer from sophomore Sam Zimmerman. But after a timeout, Buffalo would drive to the hoop and make a layup as time expired. “I was sad but mostly frustrated and mad because I know we could’ve played better,” said junior guard Rylie Polomny.

“Heartbreaking, it’s tough working so hard all game and being so close, but losing at the very last second,” said junior guard Megan Haugo. The good thing for the Spuds is they have a lot returning next season after only graduating two seniors, and that game can be a learning experience.

“It should motivate us to want to work harder and to have the mindset to prove people wrong,” said Polomny.

“I never want to have that feeling again, so I will work as hard as I can to not have that happen again,” said Haugo.

The Spuds will have all offseason to work and bounce back from that loss. They have very high hopes for the season again next year as they have many key contributors coming back, including all 5 starters. With plenty of leadership coming back, they know what they need to fix, and how to fix it.

“I’m looking forward to coming together as a team and playing together,” said Polomny.

“A fresh start for our team. Hopefully we can start strong and keep building from there,” said Haugo.

A fresh start is exactly what they will get next year. But until then, they will have to live with tough end to their season.

Weightlifters go back-to-back at State

posted by Andrew Tichy

By: Francisco Martinez

As difficult or as weird as it might seem, often times it’s necessary to flashback

to your previous pieces of work. A couple of months ago, I was fortunate enough to meet with Moorhead High School Weightlifting Coach, Cory Herrmann, who gave his take on the team, and expected the team to qualify and be one of the teams to beat for the State Tournament. This was after having winning the title the previous year, so I questioned him if there was any sort of fatigue or not enough interest to do well, since the team already won. Not only was I completely incorrect, but team member Terruth Massy took some of her time to answer some of my questions.

Terruth Massy is a Senior in Moorhead, who just completed yet another

Weightlifting Season, and was one of the few to qualify for the State Tournament. A big question was how would the team motivate themselves, which was associated with their competition. “I feel great, glad that we won, especially since Fargo tried to prevent us from qualifying”, stated Massy. The mindset and feeling of someone trying to interfere on your way to success seems like a good source for motivation, but the year still had its difficulties. “The hardest part was being in the same exact weight for your weight class”, explained Massy. “And I injured my knee and had to figure out a way to somehow clean and jerk without hurting my knee even more”. Winning despite the obstacles and injuries sure must have felt rewarding, but now it’s time for the “new generation”. “My favorite part of weightlifting is bonding with the team and the coach”. Massy is one of numerous Seniors who have left their mark and importance of the team, so it’s time to pass the baton to the new the new leaders of the team. When asked about any sort of recommendations she has for people thinking about getting into Weightlifting, she said “Just stick to it, don’t worry about what your friends say”. That seems like some pretty helpful and significant advice from a veteran, who described the Weight Room as her “Second Home”.

Ammerman reaches coaching milestone

posted Feb 24, 2019, 1:42 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Riley Swenson

On January 17th the Moorhead Spuds boys hockey team was set to face their section 8AA rival, St. Michael-Albertville. The same team that knocked off the Spuds last year in the section championship game. Moorhead was looking for revenge, but that wasn’t the only story of the night. Head coach Jon Ammerman was looking for his 100th career win. The Spuds would win that game 5-2. But Ammerman wasn’t looking for the spotlight. “I think it’s more of a credit to our players. This is our 6th year now as a staff and we’ve been really fortunate to have some really good players and that’s turned into success in terms of wins and losses,” said Ammerman.

It’s been a very successful career so far for Ammerman. He knows that not every win means that same and there are some that have special meaning to him. “Our section championship in 2017, that’s one that sticks out for sure. The state semifinal win against Lakeville South was a fun game, so those 2 probably more than others,” said Ammerman.

Over those 6 years of being a coach, Jon isn’t the same guy. As a coach you have to adapt to the game, and Ammerman has. “I’d say I’m a little more patient in letting things play out and allowing the kids to figure out where they stack up. Winning a game in December maybe isn’t as important as allowing kids to be in uncomfortable situations or different situations with the hope that that allows them to be more successful towards the end of the year,” said Ammerman.

But it’s not just the win total that’s important to Ammerman. Although he loves winning, he knows there’s a lot more to his job than that. “Building relationships with kids and pointing out the successes they have. I think that my assistants probably do a better job communicating on the day to day basis, but pointing out to kids when they do something that we’ve been working on and that they’re trying things that are maybe uncomfortable for them. Kinda those little victories within the game,” said Ammerman.

Jon Ammerman loves his job and loves coaching. But he has one goal he’d love to accomplish. “In Moorhead with our hockey team, one goal is to eventually win a state championship, but ultimately right now it’s something I really enjoy to do,” said Ammerman.

The Spuds will play in their 19th consecutive section championship game on Wednesday night in Bemidji against the third-seeded Brainerd Warriors. A win would send the Spuds to State for the second time in three years. They fell in the 2017 championship game to Grand Rapids.

Harden-Hayes leads Spud basketball resurgence

posted Feb 24, 2019, 1:35 PM by Andrew Tichy

Senior Maleeck Harden-Hayes shoots a free throw at a game at MHS earlier this season.
Photo: Rogan Isbell | The Spud

By: Rogan Isbell

Maleeck Harden-Hayes, the senior captain for Moorhead basketball, has offers from MSUM, NDSU, SDSU, and University of Sioux Falls. Despite all the offers, the thought isn’t really concerning him right now.

“My mind is strictly on this season. I’m playing out senior year and I will then make my decision,” he said regarding his college decision.

It’s certainly been a roller coaster of a decade for Spuds basketball. In the 2011-12 season, the team made it to the state tournament. However, a few difficult years were to come for the Spuds, including a three win season in 2015-16. Then, Tyler Bormann was hired as their next head coach and the team slowly began to turn things around. Moorhead improved gradually, from three wins, to seven, to twelve (and a section upset against St. Cloud Tech), to fifteen and counting this year.

“Coach Bormann has really affected the attitude of our team. Everybody’s always picking each other up and trying to get the best out of everybody. There’s no room for selfishness or a me-first mentality,” Harden-Hayes said about the impact of Bormann.

While players like Drew Hagen and Harden-Hayes were expected to get better this season, they lost six seniors, including four that got regular minutes. As a result, some people (myself included) doubted if Moorhead would have a successful season. But they’ve come out of the gate steaming hot, in large part thanks to the play of Hagen and Harden-Hayes, but also for some other reasons.

Harden-Hayes has this to say about how the team has succeeded early: “We’re a really fast team; we can get it down the floor and score a lot in transition, and get mismatches. The young guys are stepping in and really giving valuable contributions, like Belind [Alemadi] and Donnavin [Hinsz]. We got a lot of shooters, and we’re just balanced all-around, which gives us a great chance to win any given night.”

Despite great play from the supporting cast, Harden-Haye’s simple dominance has helped the Spuds win close games. He was put on the watch list for Mr. Basketball of Minnesota, and has had several jaw-dropping performances, his best being a 42-point and 10-rebound night in a 91-80 win at Buffalo. One way he’s been able to dominate is in the paint. At 6’6”, he has been able to dunk since the 10th grade. The home crowds at Spuds games start to leave their feet seemingly every time Harden-Hayes gets into the paint in anticipation of a monster jam.

Lastly, some people change due to extra pressure or recognition. But Harden-Hayes hasn’t let anything cloud his vision of what’s important.

“The awards, the offers, it’s all nice. But my number one focus is getting better each and every day and making sure we play the best we can. Our eyes are on a deep section run; we have the ability to get to state,” added Harden-Hayes.

He hit 1,000 career points on Saturday, February 9th against Monticello, which makes him just the tenth boy to do that in Moorhead’s history. With his talent and work ethic, he should be able to succeed no matter where he goes to further his basketball career.

Dance Team continues strong season

posted Jan 29, 2019, 9:06 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Payam Selman

This year has been a great year for the dance team at Moorhead High School as they perform at big sports events, like the recent basketball game.

Carly Newhouse, a junior, had a lot to say on their performance and upcoming dance events.  “I feel that the performance went pretty well considering we made changes to the routine the day before” Newhouse said. Newhouse mentioned that if they had more practice with the new choreography, it would have been nice. She also added that the coaches would not have sent them out on the court if they weren’t ready. The dance has a variety of places they will be performing and as they perform they awe the crowd. The following dates are where and when the team will be performing next: Mounds View on January 26, Sections on February 2, and Friends and Family Night of February 11 at the Moorhead High School. “I am very excited for those events,” says Newhouse.

“Getting to compete at sections is my favorite of the entire season. Dancing at Friends and Family Night is a great way to end the season and is a lot less stressful than competitions,” Newhouse concluded.

Weightlifters pick up another 'W'

posted Jan 29, 2019, 9:04 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Ethan Lien

Snatch. Clean and Jerk. These are two events that the weightlifters of Moorhead High School competed on the weekend of January 12. Both boys and girls competed last week in a meet in Little Falls, Minn. In weightlifting, meets are divided into weight classes, which are decided by their own weight. Examples of this include 109+, 96-108, and 89-95. All these weight classes are measured by kilograms, not pounds.The other teams competing included Little Falls, and other teams from around Minnesota. In a weightlifting competition, there is not a cut and dry team winner of the meet, but Moorhead picked up more medals than other competitors, so Moorhead basically won the competition. Crisanto De’Agostino, Nolan Meyers, and Haaken Peterson all picked up first place medals in their weight class competitions.

“I am so proud of myself and everyone else. This meet was amazing and I had a ton of fun,” said Jack Greelis, 16, who also competed on the 12th. Greelis picked up a third place medal, which he was grateful to win.

“Winning this medal means a lot to me. I’m very happy I decided to join weightlifting,” Greelis added.

The Spuds will keep getting stronger and stronger as the year goes on. Their next meet is Saturday, February 2, right here at Moorhead High School.

Weightlifters off to 'strong' start

posted Jan 18, 2019, 11:02 AM by Andrew Tichy

The Weightlifting team boards the bus ahead of a meet at Little Falls
Photo: Rogan Isbell | The Spud

By: Rogan Isbell

Last year was just the second year of Olympic weightlifting being a varsity sport at Moorhead. That didn’t stop Moorhead from placing third in the junior varsity division and first in the varsity division for the 2017-18 season.

Many people are not aware of the differences between powerlifting and weightlifting. Powerlifting is the three standard strength exercises most people are familiar with: bench press, back squat, and deadlift. Weightlifting uses the snatch and clean and jerk; both exercises use nearly every muscle in your entire body. The weights an athlete successfully lifts in both exercises are added together; they then qualify for state if they match or exceed the qualifying total, which is based on age, weight, and gender.

The weightlifting team has only participated in one meet so far, the Mustang meet in Sheyenne on Saturday, December 15th. These meets start pretty early in the morning; weigh-in can be as soon as 7:00 A.M. Moorhead had eight individuals who matched the qualifying total and are automatically eligible for state, with senior Hailey Sonnenberg also having a high enough total to qualify for nationals in Chicago later this year.

Weightlifting is not the most recognized or the most popular winter sport, but that doesn’t stop senior Jameson Cozad, who offered some insight about the team and their season.

“I definitely think more schools should offer it [weightlifting]... it definitely teaches you how to work hard, and the gains that you make here can help you in other sports. I wouldn’t be as good of a football player without weightlifting,” Cozad said about the benefits of weightlifting.

Because Moorhead won the state championship last season, there may be a temptation to sit back and take it a little bit easy; that is not the attitude of this squad.

“We’ve got a good group of hard workers, both the veterans and the new guys. Coach Hermann and all the others do a good job of preparing us, and hopefully we just continue to get better and build off of the last meet,” Cozad said.

Cozad earned second place at the state varsity meet last year in the 105+ kilogram weight class. He did not participate at the Mustang meet due to a college visit at St. Cloud State University, but he will be looking to potentially get over the hump this season. He and the rest of the team have confidence, but more importantly, they can back up that confidence. The Moorhead weightlifting team has their next meet Saturday, January 12 at Little Falls.

Dance Team kicking the competition

posted Jan 18, 2019, 11:00 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Riley Swenson

For senior captain Haley Steffes, competitive dance is her life. She loves dance and how unique it is.

“What’s different about dance compared to other sports is that we only have 2 minutes and 45 seconds to show what we can do,” says Steffes. This can make dance very difficult, as one little slip-up can ruin their whole routine and they may not have time to make up for it. But Steffes and the rest of the dancers love the challenge and how different the sport is.

“Our goal is to always improve our scores and make sure we work our hardest every day,” says Steffes. This is a part of the sport that many people enjoy, because it’s not all about winning and losing. Instead, most of the time it’s about doing your best, trying to improve from last time, and learning from your mistakes.

So far the season has been very successful for the dance team. “It’s been really good, we’ve gotten 3rd and 4th place and we’re improving a lot,” said Steffes.

One of the reasons they’re improving could be because of new head coach Mrs. Stetz. “Coach Stetz always pushes us to be our best,” says Steffes.

The dance team looks to continue their success the rest of the season behind Coach Stetz and Steffes. Although they know it’ll be tough, they just try to get better each day and hopefully continue to get good results.

Gymnastics off to flying start

posted Jan 18, 2019, 10:57 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Francisco Martinez Caballero 

Even though it’s clear that this is one of the most dangerous and skill-requiring sports, gymnastics is often overlooked by sports fans. A perfect way to describe the sport is that it’s a sport of perfection. Any mishandles on the bar, slips on the balance beams or rings, and even moving a millimeter after landing a flip. The slightest of mistakes or movements can cost you glory for yourself and your entire school. With that being said, it’s often hard to watch gymnastics. Just like baseball, gymnastic meets take up numerous hours to watch, which is a reason many people don’t watch it. For me personally, I can’t help to look away when I see someone running full speed to run into a vault a do a flip while somehow keeping their balance, or when I see someone hanging out in the air while leaping from bar to bar. However, I feel that for me, as well as most people in the United States, that having the U.S. Olympic Team and Simone Biles dominated the competition. Due to this, it’s safe to say that the sport has grown, especially here in Moorhead High.

In a traditional gymnastics event for high school, the events that take place are the vault, uneven bars, beam and floor, all containing their advantages and difficulties. For Moorhead High School, these events have been like kryptonite as the team has been no more than mediocre for the last couple of years. However, with an upcoming year tend to come new people who feel more motivated. One of those members is Riley Kvavelog, who will be competing for the team as a senior. She’s one of the best and recognizable members of the team and she took part of her time to answer a couple of questions. When asked about why she got into gymnastics, she said it had to do with her brother; “I used to play hockey like my brother, but I didn’t want to compete with him”, explained Riley. “So I just switched over to gymnastics and fell in love with it”.  It sounds like a simple statement, she just didn’t want to play the same sport as her brother. Instead, she became not only one of the best gymnasts for our school, but a captain as well. “As the captain, I need to do a good and lead by example so that the other members get an idea of how to get better”, stated Riley. Finally, when asked about expectations and goals, she simply stated: “I think we’ll be better than last year”. “Our goal is to reach and compete in the State Tournaments”. Nevertheless, it should be a pretty exciting season for the gymnastic teams, and people should tune in more into our underrated team.

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