Even though Blue Earth Area sports are done for the year, that doesn't mean I can't look back at some great achievements, unfortunate breaks and impressive moments.
So, here it goes, in no particular order, these are the moments that stuck out for me this past year.
Kysten Zierke tears anterior cruciate ligament in first football game of the year.
Right before halftime of the Bucs opening game, Zierke collided with another player and was briefly on the ground.
The injury sidelined Zierke for the remainder of the season. It also ended his high school wrestling career (he advanced to the State Wrestling Tournament the year prior).
Before the injury, Zierke had 133 rushing yards with a touchdown and also threw for 70 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown pass to senior Calvin Sanders.
Luke Schavey replaced him and came bursting onto the scene in his first start. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns and also contributed 99 yards on the ground in a 38-18 thrashing against the Mound Westonka White Hawks.
Boys cross country team finishes second at the South Central Conference Championship.
The boys' runner-up finish was the best since 2006, according to coach Tom Plocker. They also had three runners finish in the top 11 spots.
Zach Vaske (18:14) finished fifth overall and took home All-Conference honors.
Isaac Miranda, (18:52) finished eighth overall.
Mike Ankeny (19:05) contributed to the team's success as well by finishing 11th.
Jenna Stevermer leads Bucs to victory versus Le Sueur-Henderson/Kaitlyn Olsen's impressive double-double.
The senior forward posted a career high 25 points and added seven rebounds in a convincing 59-47 victory on Feb. 3 in Blue Earth.
Olsen scored a season-high 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had four steals in a losing effort against Jackson County Central in a game played on Feb. 11.
Luke Monson sets new school scoring record.
Monson scored 44 points and grabbed 13 rebounds versus United South Central, but, it was not enough as the Bucs fell to the Rebels, 77-76 in an overtime thriller.
The senior forward scored 30 of his career high 44 points in the second half.
Monson continued his hot streak and put up 40 points, on 13-for-21 shooting, and registered 13 rebounds in the losing effort in the next game against Le Sueur-Henderson.
Karleigh Wolff advances to the State Tennis Tournament.
Wolff lost her opening round of play by scores of 6-2, 6-4, to Mikayla Wing of Staples-Motley.
She then dropped to the consolation quarterfinals, where she lost a hard-fought match against Fairmont's Allison Moeller.
Leon Chaudhari earns All-Conference honors.
Chaudhari, a foreign exchange student from Germany, was the only Buc to earn the All-Conference honor.
Four BEA wrestlers qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament.
At the Section 2A Individual Wrestling Tournament, Adam Legred took second at 106 pounds, Zach Buseman second at 113 pounds, David Franta second at 170 pounds and Martin Granados was BEA's lone Section Champ at 285 pounds. All four moved on to the State Wrestling Tournament in Minneapolis.
Granados was the lone Buccaneer to place in the top six. He finished in sixth place at the State Wrestling Tournament.
Girls track team advances to ninth straight State True Team Championship; Girls 4 x 400-meter relay team places second at State and Taylor Grandgenett fails to repeat as State Champion because of fall.
The Bucs finished first at the Section 2A True Team on May 6. The next closest team was United South Central, falling 91 points short of BEA's final tally.
The girls finished in sixth place at the State True Team Meet in Stillwater.
At the State Class A Track Meet, the 4 x 400-meter relay team consisting of Taylor Grandgenett, Karli Olsen, Anne Franta and Shayna Stevermer, finished second overall behind Osakis High School for the third consecutive year.
Their final time of 3:58.96 was a new school record for the 4 x 400 event.
Grandgenett produced her fastest-ever 300-meter hurdles time (44.59) and qualified for the finals.
However, she smashed the sixth hurdle and tumbled to the track, finishing in ninth place.
Bailey Olson advances to State 200-meter dash for the first time.
At Sections, he produced his fastest time ever.
"Bailey is an exceptional athlete who came through on the big stage," Plocker says.
Olson narrowly missed making the finals during the State competition, with a time of 23.19.
Natali Fellows qualifies for first appearance in State Tournament.
Fellows needed to get past Albert Lea's Sam Nelsen in order to qualify for the State Tournament.
Fellows and Nelsen each finished their round with a 94 at the Ridges at Sand Creek golf course in Jordan to tie for sixth overall.
Her bogey edged Nelsen and Fellows earned the last spot for the State Tournament.
At State, Fellows had a two-day total of 179, shooting 93 on the first day and followed it up by dropping seven strokes and carding an 86 on the final day. She ended up tying for 43rd place.
United South Central boys and girls golf teams advance to the State Golf Tournament for the second consecutive year.
The USC boys golf team took second place as a team at the State Class A Golf Tournament, while the girls finished in sixth place.
Leading the Rebels was sophomore Ryan Pederson, who shot a final round of 75. He opened the tournament by shooting a 10-over 82. Pederson finished in seventh place overall.
Leading the way for USC was junior Kyley Bullerman who finished in a tie for 30th with a two-day total of 187 (94-93).
USC boys basketball team falls one game short of making the State Tournament.
Coming into their Section 2A championship game with a 13-game winning streak, USC was determined to make it 14, but unfortunately, did not happen.
They were edged by Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 69-61 on March 7 in Bresnan Arena at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Junior USC guard Nate Pederson scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, had three assists and three steals to lead the Rebels.
USC sends three wrestlers to State Tournament.
The Rebels had two Section champs; Colten Carlson at 182 pounds and Dylan Herman at 145 pounds. Plus, Derek Herman claimed second place at 152 pounds.
USC Rebel Colten Carlson had the highest finish at the State Wrestling Tournament, taking second place at 182 pounds. His Rebel teammate, Dylan Herman, battled through six matches and took fourth place at 145 pounds.