Prep report: Spartans head back to state girls hockey for first time in 17 years

Superior defeated Hayward for a sectional title.

Hockey player holds plaque up over her head.
Superior captain Autumn Cooper holds up the Spartans' sectional championship plaque after they defeated Hayward 7-5 on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 to earn a trip to the state tournament in Middleton.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Superior unleashed its good and bad sides on Saturday in a WIAA sectional final in Spooner, Wisconsin, and the good side won out as the Spartans claimed a historic 7-5 victory to earn a trip to the state tournament.

It is the first time the Spartans have been to Wisconsin’s final four since 2006 as they pursue their first state championship since 2005.

Superior found itself down 2-1 four minutes into the second period, then exploded for five goals in a span of 10:54 over the middle of the period.

Hockey players celebrate a goal.
Superior’s Gabby Olson (20) celebrates her second-period goal with Addy Benson (27) during the Spartans 7-5 victory over Hayward for a section championship Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 at the Spooner Civic Center.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“When these girls start moving the puck quickly and efficiently as we did today, we’re tough to beat,” Spartans coach Doug Trentor said. “The proverbial light went on and everybody started moving the puck up the ice and we started to fly.”

The Spartans carried a 6-2 edge into the second intermission but made things complicated from themselves by taking a stunning array of penalties, including four minors in the first 2:48 of the third period. With that advantage, the Hurricanes rapidly got back into the game, scoring three power play goals in a span of 87 seconds.


“I thought once we got back to 5-on-5, that we’d still turn out the game OK,” Trentor said.

Indeed, Superior quickly stopped the bleeding as leading scorer Autumn Cooper blunted the Hayward run with a shorthanded goal 37 seconds later.

Superior had to kill two more penalties in the third period but finished off the victory.

Goalie makes kick save.
Superior goalie Kaylie Nault (1) makes a shorthanded kick save on Hayward’s Reese Sheehan (3) in the third period of the Spartans' 7-5 victory for a section championship Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 at the Spooner Civic Center.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Next up? A state tournament matchup on Thursday at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton, Wisconsin just outside of Madison.

”The outpouring of the support from the community has been outstanding. Frankly, this program needed this, they really did,” Trentor said.

Cooper had three assists to go with her key goal to stop the Spartans’ slide. Addy Benson scored twice for Superior in the second-period surge.

Kaylie Nault made 27 saves for Superior (19-5).

“She’s a battler. She’s one of those kids where it doesn’t matter what the score, she’s gonna be mentally strong,” Trentor said.


The pairings for the four-team state tournament featuring the Spartans, Hudson, Bay Area and (Madison) Metro Lynx will be determined on Sunday.

Puck squeaks past goalies leg.
Superior’s Makaela Reinke (11) sneaks the puck past Hayward goalie Makenna Hutchison (33) in the second period of the Spartans' 7-5 section final victory Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 at the Spooner Civic Center.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram


Smith wins state title for Northwestern

After two years on the second step of the Wisconsin state wrestling podium, Ian Smith could not be denied the top prize on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the individual state meet at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Smith prevailed in a close Division 2 195 pounds final against Chase Matthias of Two Rivers.

The Northwestern wrestler held a 1-0 lead after two periods. Matthias tied it with an escape point with 1:52 remaining in the match, but Smith scored a takedown with just 11 seconds to go that provided him the decisive points despite a second escape point for Matthias with two seconds left.

According to WIAA records, Mike Kauther is the only other Tigers wrestler to win a state championship, which he did in Division 2 at 135 pounds in 1998.

Smith was the only Northland champion on Saturday but not the only wrestler to earn high honors. Northwestern’s Tanner Kaufman ended up as runner-up in Division 2 - 170 pounds.

His championship match against Silas Dailey of Plymouth was controlled by Dailey, who won his state title on a 16-0 technical fall, scoring three near-falls over the course of the match.


Tommy Brown came up through the Division 2 - 113 pounds consolation bracket to score a third-place finish. After a major decision win in the consolation semis gave him a chance to wrestle for third, he won a 3-0 decision over Wyatt Magolski of New London.

In Division 1, Connor Krueger of Superior ended up in fifth. He was pinned late in his consolation semifinal but won a 10-4 decision against Nikita Adamov of Wauwatosa West/East in the fifth-place match.


Section 7AA

The Duluth swim team will send its largest contingent in program history to the state meet after winning its fourth consecutive section title on Saturday in Coon Rapids.

Duluth finished with 513 points to lap the field by more than 200. They won all three relays, plus six other individual events.

Grant Wodny came within .12 of a second of his own Section 7AA record in winning the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minutes, 40.23 seconds. Wodny also rolled to the 500 free win in 4:41.04.

However, this year the senior wasn’t alone. Joey Zelen, a freshman, swept the sprints, taking the 50 free in 21.99 and the 100 free in 49.02 for clear victories in both.

Leif Ziring, a Duluth senior, was the top diver, while sophomore Landon West took the 100-yard backstroke.

Section 6A

Grand Rapids finished just ahead of host Hibbing for top team honors at the section meet, which concluded Saturday.


The Thunderhawks finished with 466 points, followed by the Bluejackets (411) and Rock Ridge (398.5).

The big prize was to qualify for next weekend’s state meet, which required a top-three individual finish or otherwise qualifying time.

Gunnar George picked up a pair of firsts for Rock Ridge, taking the 50-yard freestyle ‘splash and dash’ in 21.66 seconds, then winning the 100 butterfly by a blowout in 51.67.

Rapids’ Joe Loney had the distance events covered, taking the 500 free in 5:20.53 after he’d already claimed the 200 free in 1:55.93.

The day’s other double winner was Mesabi East junior Carter Steele, who touched first by more than a second and a half to win the 100 free in 48.15, then later took the 100 breast in 55.34.

The state meet takes place at the University of Minnesota, starting on Thursday.


Cloquet 68, Providence Academy 61

The Lumberjacks rallied from seven points down at the half to claim a nonconference home victory on Saturday.

Key to the turnaround was defense, as Cloquet held the visitors to just 18 second-half points after allowing 43 before the break.


Kollin Bonneville and Jack Battaglia led Cloquet with 18 points apiece, while Marco Mayorga scored 13.

The Lumberjacks survived a 29-point game from the Lions’ Dylan Perrill.

Cloquet (12-13) will try and even up its regular-season record in the regular season finale vs. Proctor on Thursday.

Northwestern 72, Cumberland 51

The Tigers put the wraps on a 22-2 regular season and helped coach Nolan Graff achieve his 100th coaching win in five seasons at the helm.

Cole Lahti had a team-best 21 points, while Jase Nelson added 14 and Bryce Oswskey 10 for the Tigers, who completed the Heart O’North Conference schedule 17-1.

Northwestern is idle until a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal on Friday night.

Duluth East 70, Centennial 34

Jobe Juenemann’s 22-point game led a balanced Greyhounds attack to a win in their regular-season home finale.

East goes into the final week of the regular season 19-5 and on a four-game win streak.



South Shore 66, Solon Springs 62

The Eagles came up just short in a Division 5 regional final on Saturday night, Feb. 25 in Port Wing.

Solon, the fourth seed, grabbed an early 10-point lead that the Cardinals overcame for a 26-18 halftime advantage.

They had another narrow edge after back-to-back buckets from Claire Holmstrom and Ella Postl put them up four with 3:45 to play, which South Shore negated to make a tie game at 59 inside the final minute.

Kiley Mueller made both halves of a one-and-one to break the tie, and after getting the defensive stop, Mueller repeated the feat for a four-point lead.

Kyra Latvala knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end for Solon but the Eagles couldn't add to their total and South Shore protected its top seed and moved on to the sectionals.

Holmstrom and Bailey Monson paced Solon with 19 and 16 points, respectively, while Lilly Truchon's 28-point night led South Shore.

Solon ends its season 18-9 overall.

Mountain Iron-Buhl 58, Mayer Lutheran 46

The Rangers won on the road in a end-of-season matchup featuring the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the state basketball rankings.

MI-B took control of the game, outscoring their opponents 30-18 in the first half and holding that same margin at the finish.

Jordan Zubich only made two shots from the outside, but still finished as the game’s high scorer with 21 points, and added five rebounds and five steals.

Sage Ganyo kicked in 13 points and Hali Savela 12.



Cloquet 68, Providence Academy 61

Breck 87, Hibbing 48

Esko 79, Holy Angels 63

Littlefork-Big Falls 72, Carlton 48

Duluth East 70, Centennial 34


Mountain Iron-Buhl 58, Mayer Lutheran 46

In Minnesota Section 7AAAA, Duluth East pulled another postseason upset at Blaine.
St. Croix Central came away 4-2 winners.
In Division 5, Northwood/Solon Springs routed the top seed and will play for its own berth to state.
Northwood/Solon Springs advanced, but top-seeded Northwestern got upset in Division 3.

Player shakes hands as she skates by her bench.
Superior’s Autumn Cooper (21) celebrates her third period goal with her teammates during the Spartans 7-5 section final victory over Hayward on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 at the Spooner Civic Center.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Coach smiles as he looks at plaque.
Superior head hockey coach Doug Trentor smiles as he admires the team’s section final championship plaque after his girls defeated Hayward 7-5 on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25 at the Spooner Civic Center, to earn a trip to the state tournament.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

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