Friday, November 30, 2007

35th Annual B-B-E Jaguars Wrestling Invitational - Four Jaguars Make Finals....Jaguars Girls Basketball Defeats Benson 59-43 at Benson Invitational

A Jaguar wrestler celebrating a wrestleback win at 125 on Friday night at the B-B-E High School.

The Jaguars will host seven area teams in their annual invitational that kicks off the 2007-2008 season. The tournament typically lasts between 6 to 7 hours. This is the 35th annual invitational held to open the wrestling season at B-B-E, dating back to before the pairing in 1988.

**Update from the tournament= After the first round, the Jaguars found themselves in last place. Browerville/Eagle Valley and Eden Valley-Watkins raced off to a wide lead. Then when the first and second rounds of wrestling was complete (setting up the wrestlebacks and parts of the semi-final brackets), the Jaguars had moved up to a sixth-place tie (24 points) with Chokio-Alberta/Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley.

Standings at 7:00 (points)=
1- New London-Spicer (158)
2- Browerville/Eagle Valley (106.5)
3- Dawson-Boyd (77)
4- Eden Valley-Watkins (73)
5- Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (58)
6- B-B-E/CAGCB (24, tie)
7- Holdingford (20)

**Update at the conclusion of the tournament= Austin Kampsen (145) took second place and Jerry Villalbazo (HWT-275) won the third-place match during the finals round.

The Jaguars girls basketball team defeated the Benson Braves in the second semi-final game at the Benson Invitational tonight 59-43. They will face the Maccray Wolverines in the championship game. Maccray won against Paynesville Area 52-26 in the early game tonight.

Weather-permitting, the third-place game would be at 6:00 on Saturday, with the championship to follow.

The weather outlook says the B-B-E area will get 5 to 8 inches of snow on Saturday, with a winter storm warning in effect as of Friday night.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jaguars Girls Basketball Falls in Season Opener to sub-section rival Sauk Centre 70-49

The Jaguars fell behind by as many as 16 points before closing to within a 10-point deficit midway through the second half. Ballhandling became an issue as the second half played out, and the blowout was underway.

Sauk Centre is a new playoff opponent for the Jaguars, in the new Sub-Section 6AA-East. They were also rivals during numerous deep playoff runs our girls basketball program had in the early to mid-1990s. Almost as a rule back then, B-B-E won against Sauk Centre.

The Jaguars next play at Benson on Friday night in an invitational tournament, playing in the late game at about 8:00.

Area scores in girls basketball action:
New London-Spicer 44, Eden Valley-Watkins 37 (EV-W was ranked #4 in the pre-season Class 2A associated press poll)
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 95, St. Cloud Cathedral 31
Albany 77, Pierz 47
Melrose 39, Holdingford 32
Ortonville 45, Benson 42
Paynesville 42, Kimball 37

The River Lakes Stars boys hockey team, of which B-B-E is a co-op member, fell to Prairie Centre Area (Sauk Centre/Melrose) in their season opener by a 7-3 score. The game was held at Sauk Centre's civic arena. The Stars fell into a 3-1 hole after one period and never recovered.

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Darkness Falls on B-B-E

I wish to extend my deepest wishes of God's comfort to the Don & Susan Leukam family. As the West Central Tribune's online newspaper stated earlier this morning, 51-year old Susan Leukam of Belgrade died on Monday following a freak accident at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar last Friday. Susan was the mother of former three-sport standout Tracy Leukam (class of 2001) as well as boys basketball star Robby Leukam (Class of 2005). Tracy was on the first Jaguars volleyball team to win the Central Minnesota Conference in 2000. Robby was on the last Jaguars boys basketball team to make the section championship, in March 2005.

The Leukam's have contributed an untold amount of volunteerism and school pride to B-B-E over the years, and Sue will be greatly missed. From 2002 up until last year Don gave heavy amounts of time and energy to the B-B-E Booster Club. This tragedy also touches the family of one member of the C-squad volleyball team, who was a niece of Susan.

Every day we have with our friends and family is a gift.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Winter Sports Season Kicks Off This Week...Volleyball Awards Banquet Held Monday

...But before it does, the Jaguars volleyball team will hold their awards banquet tonight (Monday) at the St.Francis de Sales Parish Center at 7:00. The awards will be published in this week's local newspapers.

On Tuesday, November 27, the Jaguars girls basketball team travels to Sauk Centre to avenge last year's 57-49 season-opening loss to the Mainstreeters, who ended up 22-5 last season and Sub-Section 6AA-West Runners-up. They return a host of experience from last season, including six players who found action in the starting lineup.

The Jaguars finished 12-13 last season, including 7-7 in the Central Minnesota Conference.

This Friday (Nov 30) the Jaguars wrestling team opens their season with the annual Jaguar Invitational, hosting seven area teams. The tournament begins at 3:30. The Jaguar matmen went 5-13 overall in dual meets during a shortened season last year. They return 12 letterwinners from that team, however, and look to improve on that mark.

That same evening, the Jaguars girls basketball team travels to the Benson Tournament, a two-night affair which generally kicks off the girls basketball season across West Central Minnesota.

On Friday at 6:00, MACCRAY plays Paynesville Area. Following that game at around 8:00 our Jaguars will take on the host Benson Braves. On Saturday, the third-place game takes place at 6:00, followed by the championship.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jaguars Football Banquet on Thursday Night

The season-ending banquet will be held at the St.Francis de Sales Parish Center, beginning at 6:30.

Next week I will publish awards for the Jaguars girls tennis team, the Jaguars football team, and any other awards that I am aware of by Sunday night regarding our Jaguars volleyball team.

**Fresh update on Saturday= Next Monday (November 26) the Jaguars volleyball team will host their awards banquet at the St.Francis de Sales Parish Center.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Team Welcomed Home Today - Celebration at the High School

A nice crowd of parents and school-age fans of the Jaguars volleyball team was on hand this afternoon at the High School main gymnasium to celebrate the team's state tournament trip this past weekend.

Coach Weller gave special note to all seven seniors on the Jaguars volleyball team. That number of seniors is the most since the 2003 season, when eight players graduated from the team ('04). The 2004 roster had six seniors, the 2005 had five, and the 2006 roster had six.

Post-season volleyball awards will be published in two weeks in the local newspapers.

Next week's papers will include team awards for Jaguars football and Jaguars girls tennis.

Thank you for your interest and dedication to the Jaguars sports program!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Jaguars Fall in "State" Consolation Semi-Finals, Finish Outstanding Season 27-5 Overall

It was a tough 3-0 loss to stomach for the team, after putting up a good battle with Mayer Lutheran yesterday. They put together a nice run near the end of game three, showing the large B-B-E crowd on hand just how strong their level of play could have been throughout the match.

It came too little, too late, however, and the Northern Freeze team advances to face the Wheaton Warriors in the consolation championship on Saturday morning.

The loss was difficult for the team, and it will take awhile to get over, no doubt. The seniors on the squad especially should take solace in knowing they played a huge part in getting the B-B-E volleyball program to the "next level"...where their off season work pays off with a trip to the Big Dance.

They know how to pile up the wins, including in Section tournament play, but have yet to master the formula for winning at the State tournament. It is two different creatures to battle, winning in the regular season, and then doing battle with Minnesota's best volleyball teams. The process of becoming one of the top volleyball programs in Minnesota continues.

The Jaguars will be welcomed home at the B-B-E High School on Sunday at 1:00.

See you there.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Hammers Away at Mayer Lutheran - Crusaders Dig & Dig - Result = 3-1 Loss in State Quarters

The Jaguars volleyball team (27-4) fell in four games to sixth-ranked Mayer Lutheran (18-13). They will take on Northern Freeze (27-3-2) in the consolation semi-finals at 3:00 on Friday at the XCel Energy Center. The Northern Freeze fell to third-ranked Bethlehem Academy in another state quarterfinal match in a 3-0 loss.

After winning game one 25-18, the Jaguars fell in a cliffhanger in game two 25-23.

Games three and four went to Mayer Lutheran 25-19, 27-25. The Jaguars had a 23-19 lead in game four, hoping for a deciding fifth game, but could not hang in the end as they fell into the consolation bracket.

Truly not for cliches' sake, the Jaguars gave 110% and played great against a fellow Class A volleyball power. The Jaguars were digging and hitting as best as they've done all season long. They came into the tournament ranked #7 in the final AP poll, and they showed they deserved every bit of that ranking.

Right now Class AA teams are playing. Stewartville is about to face Delano in a Class AA quarterfinal. I spoke with the Stewartville head coach just a few minutes ago. I told him how Mayer was digging at everything we were pounding down their way, even finding a few of our power hitters' would-be kills to the back row. In a tourament earlier this season, Stewartville lost 2-1 to the Crusaders. He told me that they were digging at everything the Tigers hit their way as well.

(And yes, he vividly remembers us from 2005.)

An additional note...the B-B-E communities provided a larger crowd than any Class AA team I've seen so far today (Marshall, Hibbing, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Stewartville, Jordan, and Delano). Hats off to our B-B-E community!

Photos and a handful of statistics will be posted tonight.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fan Bus Available (riding in style via coach) Thursday and Friday for State Volleyball Tournament - **Scouting Info on Mayer Lutheran Posted

Sign-ups can be done before NOON on Wednesday at either the high school or elementary school offices.

Both days, the bus(es) will leave at 11:00am from the elementary and 11:15am from the high school.

**Also, on Wednesday morning the public is invited to join the K-12 student body for a rousing send-off/pep fest for our state-tournament bound Jaguars volleyball team. It will begin at 10:15.

The Mayer Lutheran Crusaders appeared in the Class AA state tournament in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2006, they fell in the sub-section championship to eventual Class AA state champion Jordan.

Falling to Class A in 2007, like our Jaguars, they remain strong as ever, and their 17-13 overall record may be misleading. They have gone toe-to-toe with numerous Class AA and AAA teams this year. For example, at a recent tournament, the Crusaders beat Class AA power Stewartville in a 2-1 match. The Stewartville Tigers are in the state tournament again, as Section 1AA champions. The Tigers locked horns with our Jaguars in the 2005 state quarterfinals, as any B-B-E volleyball fan can vividly remember.

After losing to Jordan by a 3-0 sweep on October 11 (19-25, 18-25, 12-25), their head coach was quoted as saying, "Overall we played a very up-tempo game and strong defense which we know will help us during the playoffs." Jordan is the top-ranked team in Class AA, with a 29-1 overall record. They are in the state tournament as well, after winning the Section 2AA title over the weekend. Their only loss is to Class AAA Shakopee, who is 28-1 overall and will play in the state tournament.

Make no bones about it, Mayer Lutheran is tough as nails and will present the toughest challenge our Jaguars have faced since September 15 when they met St.Cloud Cathedral in the semi-final match of the Sauk Rapids Invitational (a tough 2-1 loss). The Pine River-Backus battle in the section final was a good test that is just a preview of what will come at "state".

I will try to get more info on the Crusaders posted on Wednesday.

Another fun fact: Class AAA Maple Grove lost in the Section 5AAA final to Blaine (23-5) in a five-game match over the weekend. Maple Grove lost 2-1 in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted tournament to our Jaguars on September 8. They finished the season 17-11 overall.

A sidenote...wanna hear the craziest thing in the world? Ok maybe not that crazy but it sure is noteworthy. The Rockford Rockets football team is in the Class AAA state tournament, after winning the Section 5-3A championship. This is only one season removed from a 1-7 disaster during which they were smoked by our Jaguars in a 27-0 drubbing in week two in 2006. The Central Minnesota Conference has three teams in the state tournament, with Rockford joining Eden Valley-Watkins and Pierz in the big show.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

It was a BarnBurner! Jaguars Volleyball State-Bound...Again! 3-1 Throttling of the Pine River-Backus Tigers in the Section 5A Championship

The Jaguars volleyball team displayed great heart and stamina in their fourth straight section championship match tonight, at the Bertha-Hewitt High School. Facing Pine River-Backus out of the north half of Section 5A, the Jaguars stormed back from a 0-1 deficit in games to run the table and advance to the state tournament for the second time in three years.

The Tigers and Jaguars entered the match with combined 52 wins between both, against a combined 5 losses.

After the match began at 7:07, the Tigers took game one 25-19. The Jaguars did not look like a shadow of their usual form. In game two the Jaguars came out firing and after overcoming an early deficit to tie it at 9-9, then buried them the rest of the way with a 25-14 win to even the match at 1-1.

A see-saw game three went to the Jaguars 25-17.

After beginning at 8:08, game four went to the Jaguars as well by a 25-18 score. They were in control the whole way in the final frame and left no doubt what the outcome would be.

It was a truly grueling match, and though the Jaguars have rarely played longer than one hour at a time on "game night", they were more than up for the task. With no doubt they will advance as the best team from Section 5A.

The Class 1A seventh-ranked Jaguars, 27-3 on the season overall, will face sixth-ranked Mayer Lutheran (17-13 overall) out of Section 4-1A at 3:00 on Thursday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center in St.Paul.

Before the evening was over, the volleyball team was greeted by a rousing reception at the high school parking lot and the auxiliary gymnasium in the high school. Complete with blaring firetrucks and the Belgrade police, the team and coaches met with around 100 parents and fans to celebrate the school's second section championship in B-B-E history.

At the high school, Coach Weller talked about the team's incredible comeback after dropping the first game to the Tigers. The team made three goals back in August, and they have met two (perfect Central Minnesota Conference season, and a state tournament berth).

This week they will go for goal number three.

Stay posted for information regarding pep fests and the "send-off" on Wednesday morning, when the team and coaches will depart for St.Paul.

****Fresh update on Monday at 1:28=

A pep fest will take place at the high school on Wednesday morning at 10:15. The team and coaches will depart for St.Paul once the pep fest is complete.

Coach busses are being offered for $11 on Thursday and $11 on Friday for fans not interested in fighing Twin Cities' traffic on both days. They would leave the elementary school at 11:00am, and the high school at 11:15. Approximate return time would be 7:15pm.

Sign-up deadline is NOON on Wednesday at either school building.

Class will not be in session on Thursday and Friday.

More photos will be posted on my sports photos website throughout today. I have 195 to go through from last night, and I'm still not through the 185 I took up at Brainerd on Tuesday night.

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