June 23, 2011 at 9:12 a.m.
Although there was some tough times for some traditionally strong programs at Chisago Lakes High School this spring, one program took a giant step forward.
The Wildcat boys tennis team continued their climb up the North Suburban Conference ladder, and finished on the top rung, winning the conference championship.
Although it was a three-way tie at the top with CL, St. Louis Park and Benilde-St. Margaret's all tied for the lead, that meant three conference titles went out.
Leading that charge was a gang of All-Conference award winners. At first singles, German foreign exchange student Johannes Rau earned All-NSC after blazing through the regular season. Rau only lost twice on the season at singles, and both times was to Dusty Boyer, a three-time state title winner from Forest Lake.
At second singles, ninth grader Joe Turnquist continued to evolve into a complete tennis player and showed that with an All-Conference award. Although he was thrown into the fire at first singles last year as an eighth grader, he was allowed to take a step back with the arrival of Rau and really refine his game against a more level field, and he dominated.
Vinny Gorski was in the same boat as Turnquist. Last year, he was a ninth grader playing second singles against some very quality opponents and he struggled at times. With a year under his belt and the ability to play third singles, Gorski found his groove as a player and earned an All-NSC award.
At first doubles, both Brett Lizotte and Brian Hynes earned All-Conference. Lizotte earned it for the second year in a row at first doubles. He teamed with David Rau to go undefeated throughout the regular season last year, and this year, him and Hynes only had one setback all year. The impressive record earned the duo the All-NSC award.
At second doubles, Swedish foreign exchange student Albin Anner and eighth grader Will Gillach teamed up to form a top notch pair. The team only lost twice this year as they mostly dominated the second doubles points all season long.
Seventh grader Blake Lizotte earned All-NSC Honorable Mention from the fourth singles spot, which is a tough accomplishment. Most fourth singles and third doubles players don't get a ton of looks for All-Conference awards, but Lizotte impressed enough people to earn the award.
Boys Track and Field
A couple of runners made a big splash in the conference throughout all four short and middle distances for Chisago Lakes.
Cory Lushanko was All-NSC in the 100 and 200 meter dash. The senior went on to finish third at state in both events, becoming one of the most successful Chisago Lakes' competitor in quite some time.
Fellow state tournament competitor junior Luke McKenzie earned All-Conference in the 400 and 800 meter run. He qualified for the state tournament in the 800 meter run, and was fractions of a second from finishing in the top nine.
Eric Brown also earned All-Conference in the 100 meter dash.
Alex Vitalis broke the school record in the pole vault en route to earning All-Conference in the event. The senior had been knocking on the record's door since last year, and he finally cracked the mark with a jump of 13'11"
Lushanko, Brown, Vitalis and Jeff Sargeant also teamed up to win All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 4x100 meter relay.
Andy Magnuson earned two awards, getting All-Conference Honorable Mention in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs.
The boys awards were rounded out with an All-NSC Honorable Mention for Peter Tengwall in the high jump.
Jordan Fowler-Wacholz, Ryan Merry, Stephen Rawson and Sargeant were all on the Academic All-Conference team.
Girls Track and Field
Two more short runners earned All-Conference honors for the girls at Chisago Lakes. Kara Herr earned All-NSC in the 400 meter run and Victoria Seiberlich garnered the same honors in the 200 meter dash.
Junior Zoe Hansen was the only competitor, boy or girl, for Chisago Lakes to earn three awards. She was All-NSC Honorable Mention in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, as well as the triple jump.
Other All-Conference Honorable Mentions included Rebekah Meyer in the 400 meter run and Jenna Zais in the 100 meter dash.
Leah Zais and Mary Burch earned Academic All-Conference honors.
Although the baseball program, which is traditionally strong and competing for a state berth in sections at the end of the year, struggled this year, that didn't stop the kids from performing in class.
Despite not having any All-Conference or All-Conference Honorable Mentions on their team, Patrick Cavanaugh, Joe LaBarre and Tyler Rivard all earned Academic All-Conference honors for the Wildcats.
The girls of the diamond fared a bit better than the boys, and it showed in the awards.
Kasey Eichten led the way, earning All-NSC honors as a pitcher/first basemen. The senior was the Wildcats' workhorse, starting nearly every game for them. She was also an effective hitter who was usually in the clean up spot for Chisago Lakes.
Also earning All-Conference for the Wildcats was Miranda Beimert and Danielle Tossey.
Tossey was a force at the plate, batting in the middle of the order all year. She also could man more than one position, playing outfield and first base.
Catcher Kayla Checkalski earned All-NSC Honorable Mention for the Wildcats after an impressive first year behind the plate. The junior managed the staff well and provided quality leadership from an underclassmen.
Tossey, Claire Habel and Jennifer Horst earned Academic All-Conference in the last semester.
Although the boys golf team took a bit of a dip this year on the course, mostly due to terrible weather conditions throughout the season, they still had some bright spots.
Kyle Hagglund earned All-Conference Honorable Mention, as well as being named to the Academic All-Conference team.
Jesse Patterson also earned All-Conference Honorable Mention for the Wildcats.
Aubrey Lawlor was the lone Wildcat from the girls golf team to win an award. The senior earned Academic All-Conference honors for her performance in the class during the spring season.
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