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BREAKING NEWS

Fifteen Bucs honored by BSC

Athletes rewarded for their accomplishments

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Apr 18, 2021

The All-Conference teams have been announced for the winter sports by the Big South Conference. There were 15 athletes from Blue Earth Area who received either All-Conference or honorable mention recognition for their accomplishments.

The honorees in boys and girls basketball, gymnastics and wrestling are listed as follows:

Boys basketball

The Bucs finished the season with a 7-2 record in conference action and finished in second place in the East Division of the conference, behind State champion Waseca. The five senior starters for the BEA basketball squad all received post-season honors from the BSC. Cameron Anderson and Braden Gudahl were named to the All-Conference team while Sam Keister, Gavin Storbeck, and Austin Thielfoldt received honorable mention.

Anderson averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds in nine conference games this year. It is the third consecutive year the 6-foot-2 forward had been named to the All-Conference team.

“Cameron will not only be remembered as perhaps the best athlete and our all-time leading scorer in our program’s history, but he is also one of the most humble and unselfish teammates.” BEA boys basketball coach Colby Swanson said.

Gudahl, a guard, was the leading Bucs’ scorer in conference games with a 15-point average. He also pulled down 4.4 rebounds per game.

“Since Braden was in elementary his strength has always been his shooting. His improvement from his freshmen year to his senior season is due to his extreme dedication to improve his strength and skills in the off-season,” Swanson commented. “Braden is a great example to younger players in how to build confidence in your own abilities.”

Keister, a 6-foot-6 center, averaged 8.8 points and 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots during conference play this season.

“Sam’s unique ability to alter shots at the rim, rebound and defend the other team’s big guys was vital for our team this season,” Swanson noted. “Sam improved offensively this season because of how much more time he put into working on his game this past offseason.”

Storbeck averaged 9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game in BSC action this season from his position as a 6-foot-1 forward for the Bucs.

“Gavin is a gamer. He was willing to do all the little things to help his team win,” Swanson said. “He played with all-out effort, only taking great shots and getting shots for his teammates. He is definitely deserving of this award.”

Thielfoldt put up an average of 9.1 points per conference game while also averaging 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals. It is the third consecutive season he has been named to the BSC All-Conference team or received honorable mention.

“As our only five-year letter winner in our basketball program’s history, I will remember Austin for his heart and leadership to help transform the mentality of BEA basketball,” Swanson shared. “Austin’s impact in doing whatever it takes to help our team improve and win surpasses any individual accolades and will certainly last beyond the five seasons he played.”

Girls basketball

Two BEA players were recognized by the BSC by receiving honorable mention for the 2020-2021 girls basketball season. Arika Howard and Téa Armstrong are both seniors who have been starters for the Bucs for many years.

It was the second consecutive year Howard received post-season recognition after being named to the All-Conference team her junior year. In nine conference games this season, the 5-foot-6 forward averaged 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals for the Maroon and Gold.

Armstrong was the floor general for the Bucs from her position as the point guard. She averaged 5.1 points during conference play while pulling down an average of 3.1 rebounds per game. She also led the team with 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

“I am very happy for both Arika and Téa,” BEA girls basketball coach Al Cue said. “They have both worked very hard and have given a lot to the basketball program over the years. They, and their fellow seniors, will be greatly missed next season.”

Gymnastics

Addison Armstrong and Haley Kalis were both named to the 2020-2021 BSC gymnastics All-Conference team. It is the third consecutive year that Armstrong, a freshmen, and Kalis, a sophomore, have both been named to the All-Conference team.

“Addison had a tremendous season. She showed so much improvement this year, especially on the floor where she earned All-State honorable mention,” BEA gymnastics coach Rachel Cole commented. “She worked hard in the off-season to get stronger and it showed. Addison is extremely self-motivated and hard-working.”

The coach had this to say about Kalis.

“Haley had a successful season. She was strong coming into the season and earned her personal best floor score. She also showed improvement on the bars,” Cole said. “Midway through the season she suffered an injury in practice. While the injury did not keep her out for very long, she faced a minor setback trying to get over the fear of the skill she fell on. Fortunately, she overcame that and finished her season very strong. Haley works hard and is seen as a leader by all of the girls on the team.”

Wrestling

Five BEA seniors and one junior were named to the BSC wrestling All-Conference team.

Seniors Ty Peterson, Max Ehrich, Nick Frank, Logan Johnson, Luke Mertens, along with junior Kean Hicks, received the post-season honors.

Hicks had a 22-7 record this season and is 44-43 in his career.

“Kean made a huge step from last year,” BEA mentor Randy Wirtjes noted. “You could see it at the end of last season and it carried into this season. I look to him to be a leader of the BEA team next year.”

Peterson finished his career at BEA with a record of 101-21. He had 52 career pins and closed out his senior year with a 29-2 record.

“Ty was a two-time State qualifier and I really believe he would have been back this year had he not gotten injured in the Super Section,” Wirtjes offered. “He is going to wrestle in college and I am looking forward to watching him.”

Ehrich qualified for State twice and medaled both times, finishing fourth last year and third this year. His record was 33-2 this season.

“Max has a career record of 153-48. That puts him towards the top in all-time wins for a Buc wrestler,” Wirtjes said. “He had 55 career pins and was a two-time Section champ in a tough weight class. He loves to compete and is a great leader.”

Frank had a 26-9 record in his final season at BEA and finished with a career record of 79-37 with 41 pins.

“Nick took third in a really tough Section last year and then qualified for State this year,” Wirtjes noted. “He lost his first match at State but battled back to take sixth place and earn a medal. He is a silent leader who leads by example and is a great role model.”

Johnson had a career record of 38-31 with 21 pins.

“Logan had a nice senior year with a 23-9 record and he took third in the Super Section,” Wirtjes commented. “He had some big wins. Logan is very unselfish and was good about double weighing. Being able to weigh Logan and Luke (Mertens) in at both 220 and 285 pounds was a nice advantage for us when we were planning our strategy for the meets.”

Mertens finished his career with a record of 62-31 with 27 pins.

“Luke had an excellent season with a record of 32-3. He qualified for State twice and brought home a fourth-place medal this year,” Wirtjes said. “He is an excellent example of someone who put the time in the weight room. His confidence really came on and he became a way more aggressive wrestler this year. He was another good leader for the team.”