Jim Rolbiecki

Sports/activities had trying season

Sports and activities, which has been a mainstay in Minneota for many years, underwent an unusual year due to the pandemic. All of them had a scaled-back season or no season at all.

(1) Girls basketball state tourney halted
The Minneota girls basketball team was seemingly headed to a Class A state title after routing Red Lake 57-37 in the quarterfinals on March 13 at Williams Arena.
As the Vikings prepared to take the floor for a noon semifinal game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Saturday, March 14, state tournament officials gave the team the bad news; because of the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases the remainder of the tournament would be cancelled.
Players and coaches were devastated at the top-ranked Vikings were favored to win the state championship.
Minneota finished the season with an impressive 31-1 record under coach Chad Johnston.
Abby Hennen was named the team's Most Valuable Player, as well as being All-State and the Camden South Conference Most Valuable Player. Morgan Hennen was All-Conference and All-State. Natalee Rolbiecki was also selected to the All-Conference team.

(2) Football team wins section
Despite having the regular season delayed and cut by two games, the Minneota Vikings won all six conference games and then prevailed in the first Section 5A game.
Prior to the semifinal game, the Minnesota State High School League allowed only one more game to be played due to the governor's recent order. So instead of playing the semifinal game, the section representatives decided that the only fair thing would be to let the top two seeds, No. 1 Minneota and No. 2 BOLD, play for the championship. The other two semifinal teams played for third place with Lac qui Parle Valley topping Canby 27-12.
Minneota beat BOLD 14-7 to win the Section 5A game on Friday, Nov. 20 in Minneota.
In the season wrap-up, Minneota's Beau Banish was named the conference's Most Valuable Lineman, while AJ Myhre was the Most Valuable Defensive Back and kicker Peyton Gillund was the conference's Most Valuable Special Teams player. Also earning All-Conference honors were Jacob Hennen, Jacob Citterman, Joey Rybinski and AJ Josephson.

(3) Five wrestlers to state
Five Minneota wrestlers qualified for the state tournament after an impressive showing in the Section 3A meet in Canby.
Blake Reiss, a senior, won four of six matches and finished fourth in the state at 145 pounds at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis. He finished the season with a 39-10 record. He was also named an All-State Representative.
The other Minneota state qualifiers were: Eric Carrasco at 113 pounds, Zack Fier at 126, Kade Lozinski at 132 and Jonah Gruenes at 138.
Fier, a freshman, and Lozinski, a sophomore, finished 2-2 at state. Fier finished the season 29-14 and Lozinski went 31-12. Gruenes, a sophomore, was 1-2 at state and finished the season 38-10.
Carrasco, a junior, lost his only match at state and finished 37-5.

(4-8) Individual milestones

(Boerboom scores 1,000th point)
Senior wing Nolan Boerboom recorded the 1,000th point of his career on a free throw and Minneota defeated Adrian 65-62 in a boys basketball games on Feb. 10.
Entering the game on Parents' Night, Boerboom needed five points to reach the milestone. That point came late in the first half when his free throw spun around the rum twice before descending through the cords. He finished with 14 points and six assists to become the second Viking on this year's team with over 1,000 career points, following senior post Logan Sussner who reached the mark last season.

(Rolbiecki gets 1,000th kill)
Junior hitter Natalee Rolbiecki recorded the 1,000th kill of her career in the Vikings' three-set sweep of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton on Nov. 5 in Tyler.
Rolbiecki finished that match with 15 kills and 17 digs.
She was later honored for her accomplishment during the Vikings' Parents' Night match against Canby on Nov. 13 in Minneota.
Rolbiecki joined teammate Abby Hennen, who recorded her 1,000th kill the previous season.

(Sussner notches 1,000th rebound)
Senior post player Logan Sussner had over 20 rebounds in a game four time during the season and eventually pulled down the 1,00th rebound of his career in a 66-57 loss to Central Minnesota Christian on Jan. 6.
Sussner finished that game with 13 rebounds and 14 points. He scored his 1,000 career point as a junior.
Sussner was selected the Most Valuable Player in the Camden South Conference. Nolan Boerboom and Jacob Citterman were also named all-conference.

(Yost gets 1,000th assist)
McKenna Yost, a junior, notched the 1,000th set assist of her career in Minneota's 25-15, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18 victory over Willmar on Thursday, Nov. 19 in Minneota.
Yost finished the match with 30 assists and 14 digs.
The Vikings finished the shortened season with a 13-1 record.

(Carrasco, Reiss win 100th)
Eric Carrasco, a junior, and Blake Reiss, a senior, each reached the 100-win mark for their careers in a home triangular on Jan. 28.
Carrasco secured his 100th career win with a 16-0 technical fall over Tyler Schickedanz of Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley/Montevideo United in his 120-pound match.
Reiss, wrestling at 152 pounds, pinned Avery Wittnebel of Dawson-Boyd/LQPV/Montevideo United in 4:30.
The Vikings beat DB/LQPV/Montevideo United 62-9, but fell to Worthington 32-30 in its other match.

(9) Rolbiecki's round of 30
Jim Rolbiecki shattered the Countryside Golf Club senior course record when he shot a 30 on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Rolbiecki, a former longtime teacher and coach who was inducted into the Minneota Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015, sank four birdies and an eagle in his bogey-free round while golfing with his wife, Becky.
He needed only 10 putts over the nine holes, with his longest putt needing to be only eight or nine feet. His previous low score was a "31 or 32".
His eagle came on the par-4 No. 8 hole. His tee shot took a big bounce and the ball landed pin high, settling only eight feet from the cup.
"That's the first time I've ever driven the green on that hole," said Rolbiecki, who sank the putt for an eagle-2.

(10) Robotics team wins region
The Minneota Robotics team, competing in a three-team alliance, won the FIRST Robotics Northern Lights Regional title at the Duluth Convention Center on March 7-8.
This was the first time Minneota made it to the best-of-three championship round in the nine years it has competed in the event. The previous year was the first time Minneota had qualified for the playoffs.
St. Paul finished as the top seed and earned the right to select two other teams to join them for the three-team alliance. St. Paul selected Minneota and New Brighton.
By winning the region title, Minneota's team qualified for the National Robotics competition in late April in Detroit. But the Vikings never got the chance as the nationals were cancelled due to the pandemic.

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