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NRHEG girls one win away from state

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CELEBRATE — Members of the NRHEG girls' basketball team celebrate during the final moments of the Panthers' 69-50 victory over Blue Earth Area for the Section 2AA South Sub-Section championship Monday night at Minnesota State Mankato. The Panthers improved to 29-0 for the season. They're scheduled to meet St. Peter Friday at 8 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Section 2AA championship and a berth in the state tournament. From left: Hannah Lundberg, Raelin Schue, Anna Schlaak, Jade Schultz, Carlie Wagner and Tori Raimann. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

The upset alert lasted only one game for the NRHEG girls’ basketball team.

The Panthers, who survived a test from Hayfield earlier in the week, had their way with Blue Earth Area 69-50 to win the Section 2AA South Sub-Section championship at Minnesota State Mankato Monday night.

It puts the Panthers 29-0 for the season and one win away from the state tournament. They play St. Peter Friday at 8 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.


Unlike Friday, when the Panthers were sluggish in a 45-32 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded Hayfield at New Richland, NRHEG handled second-seeded BEA for the second time this season, building a 13-4 lead midway through the first half. It was 34-23 at the break.

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UP IN THE AIR — NRHEG's Dustin Esplan lifts Jesus Romero of Pelican Rapids during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Esplan dominated the match 14-1. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)

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SHOW HIM THE LIGHTS — Dustin Esplan puts Jesus Romero of Pelican Rapids on his back during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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ALL BUSINESS — NRHEG head wrestling coach Paul Cyr, left, leads Seth Petranek to his first match in the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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HEARTBREAKER — NRHEG's Seth Petranek lifts James Nelson of ACGC during the opening round of the state tournament Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Petranek was the aggressor in the match but lost a heartbreaking 2-1, four-overtime decision on a controversial call.


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

NRHEG took two wrestlers and some high hopes to the 2012 state tournament.

They did not come home empty-handed.

Seniors Dustin Esplan and Seth Petranek earned medals, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul last weekend.

“Even tough I wish boys guys could have ended their seasons with a victory, I am extremely proud of the way they competed and represented NRHEG at the state tournament,” said Panthers coach Paul Cyr.

For both, it meant a lot of wrestling. It included highlights, heartbreak and redemption.


Panthers vanquish Vikings in sub-section semis

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ROUGH AND TUMBLE ACTION — Katie Cole of the NRHEG girls' basketball team (14) battles for the ball with Hayfield's Abby Blanchard during a tough sub-section semifinal in front of a packed house in New Richland Friday night. The Panthers won 45-32, improving their record to 28-0. They'll next face Blue Earth Area Monday, March 5 at 7:45 p.m. at Minnesota State Mankato for the sub-section title. If they win Monday, they play for the Section 2AA championship and a state tournament berth Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. (Star Eagle photo by Jim Lutgens)


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

No one ever said getting to the state tournament was easy.

That’s why they call it the big show.

The top-seeded, undefeated NRHEG girls’ basketball team took another step in that direction Friday night, surviving a tough challenge from No. 4 seed Hayfield before emerging with a 45-32 sub-section semifinal victory in New Richland.

The Panthers, 28-0 and rated No. 2 in the state in Class AA, advanced to Monday’s sub-section final against No. 2 seed Blue Earth Area at 7:45 p.m. at Minnesota State, Mankato. If they win Monday, they Panthers play Friday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Section 2AA title and a state tournament berth.