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HAYWARD-ASHLAND (18-7) VS. HUDSON (20-5) What: Wisconsin Sectional 1 championship When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Chippewa Area Ice Arena, Chippewa Falls
ST. PAUL — Warroad girls hockey coach David Marvin was asked what he planned to do with the extra free time after the Warriors defeated Hibbing-Chisholm 5-2 on Wednesday in the Minnesota Class A state tournament quarterfinals. "Not to be smart, but where else would we go? Warroad?" Marvin said, drawing a hearty laugh. The dynamic duo of senior Mariah Gardner and junior Madison Oelkers had a hand in all five goals, and senior goalie Emma Brunelle had 28 saves as the Warriors dispatched the Bluejackets at Xcel Energy Center.
Hibbing-Chisholm and Duluth Marshall were involved in a close game last week in the Section 7A girls hockey championship in Virginia when the Hilltoppers had a golden opportunity to generate some offense with an apparent breakaway. Suddenly Hibbing-Chisholm senior defenseman Katie Carpenter emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, to knock the puck harmlessly away. The Bluejackets pulled away for a 4-0 victory while qualifying for their 12th trip to the state tournament.
HIBBING-CHISHOLM (17-10-1) VS. WARROAD (17-8-2) What: Class A quarterfinal When: 1:30 p.m. (approximately) Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul Internet: Prep45.com
American Birkebeiner executive director Ben Popp was asked if Monday was the day he was most worried about, with rain potentially putting a big damper on Saturday's 44th running of the cross-country ski marathon from Cable to Hayward. "How about Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday?" Popp said, laughing. "Those three days are going to be really critical." Popp knows he can't control the weather, but he can have his team prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at them.
COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL — NORTHERN STATE 60, UMD 57 Northern State was shooting better than Minnesota Duluth and was getting one offensive rebound after another in the second half of their NSIC women's basketball game Friday night at Romano Gym, prompting one Bulldogs observer to say, "I don't know how we're in it." One of the equalizers was UMD's 3-point shooting, but unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they didn't make them at the end as they fell 60-57 in an entertaining game before 390 at Romano Gym.
BIWABIK — Ely senior Erin Bianco and the other top finishers at the Nordic ski state meet were whisked away to a news conference immediately after crossing the finish line Thursday at Giants Ridge. Bianco was polite, answering all the questions thrown her way, but she soon wanted to be somewhere else — celebrating with teammates.
PREP ALPINE SKIING — STATE MEET BIWABIK — As Hermantown senior Tyler Winberg crossed the finish line at the state Alpine ski meet Wednesday at Giants Ridge, his high school skiing career over, the disappointment was evident in his gradual, sloping movements. As Winberg exited the finishing area, the first person to greet him was his sister, Ashley, who gave him a hug. Tyler didn't say much, but he didn't have to. Nothing else needed to be said.
VIRGINIA — Longtime Hibbing-Chisholm girls hockey coach Pete Hyduke met with assistant Emily Erickson for burgers at Palmers in Hibbing last May to discuss the upcoming summer hockey season. But Hyduke had more on his mind than that, and he turned to Erickson and said, "Let me know when you think you're ready (to take over the varsity program)." Erickson, showing the same confidence she had as a player, turned to Hyduke and without hesitation said, "Coach, I think I'm ready."
COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT — MEN'S BASKETBALL Brandon Newman remembers tagging along with his father to the Barnum gym, where he would run around with his light-up shoes. The varsity basketball players looked like giants, but before practice, they would often get the squirt involved. "Sometimes they would throw the ball to me, or lift me up by the hoop and see if I could shoot it," Newman said. "But when practice started, I had to sit on the sidelines and watch." That didn't last long.