The Princeton Union-Eagle » Sports Community newspaper of Princeton, Minn. Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:12:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tigers tamed by Marshall in first state appearance Wed, 18 Mar 2015 11:21:38 +0000 Inside_State 4

“They” say there are life lessons found in all games– part of the reason why we play in the first place. For the Princeton girls basketball squad, the lessons learned from the March 17 venture to the Target Center will become more apparent as the sting of an ended season begins to subside in a day or three.
Marshall, making its 10th appearance at State, displayed a tenacious defense while downing Princeton 65-30 in the Class AAA quarterfinal matchup of Nos. 4 and 5 seeded Tiger squads. The girls from the southwest corner of the state had the look of a team with unfinished business after they ended last season as runners-up to Park Center.
Marshall (28-2) next faces top-seed and No. 1 ranked Orono (28-1) in the March 19 semifinals at Williams Arena. The Spartans opened the tourney by handling Thief River Falls 70-42 in the earlier game at the Target Center.
On the flip side, the Tigers of Princeton were making their inaugural step into the big dance, and a nice-sized fan contingent followed them down to Minneapolis on St. Patrick’s Day eve.
“The lights are super-bright stepping on to that court for the first time– it kind of hurts the eyes. But once you get used to it– oh my gosh– the rush you just get is incredible. It was the experience of a lifetime; I wouldn’t want it with any other group of girls,” said Princeton senior co-captain Haley Sandin.
Marshall’s quickness on defense while filling the passing lanes was a key reason the Princeton girls began the game with a string of turnovers. At the other end, Morgan Saugstad hit her first two shots, including a three-pointer, and points were added for a 9-0 Marshall lead. Sandin got the Tigers’ first State bucket on a swished floater, then she drove for the next bucket, too, to make it 14-4.
An Anna Oakes’ free throw and a Taylor Laabs make were Princeton’s next scores, but Marshall turned up the heat on its three-quarter court trap. Mixed with a few misses, the Princeton girls went nearly six minutes before their next point came from a Julia Bjurman free throw.
Senior guard Sarah Buyse began knocking down three-pointers and a few free throws while scoring 13 in the first half. Her last make from the arc had Marshall up 36-10 before heading into the break with a 42-14 edge.
“Oh my gosh, they are a very well-coached team. No. 3 (Buyse) was obviously the one we needed to stop. She is a very talented player, and I’m glad I got to experience playing against her,” explained Sandin. “Once we got the nerves out and we weren’t as intimidated of the big court, we kind of started playing our game. Just wish we could have done that earlier, it would have been a much a better experience. I thought we had so many great shots, they just didn’t fall for us. It just was not our shooting night.”
Her Tigers’ best stretch was coming out of the half-time break. Laabs converted a couple of steals into buckets, and Jenna Doyle hit a nice shot off an inbounds pass to cut it to 42-20. But Marshall answered back with a 10-0 run which included a Buyse steal-and-finish.
Laabs, Danielle Chmielewski and Oakes put in the next Princeton points, but Marshall began wearing down the clock with long possessions. Soon players were subbing in, the game turned to running time, and then the players were back in the locker room. The Tigers closed the winter with a 20-9 overall mark.
“I’ve said this before to countless people, Marshall basketball is all about relentless defense,” said Tiger head coach Andrew Fenske, a Marshall native himself. “Since I was going there, that’s all they are about there– great ball pressure. They are going to take away lanes; they are going to take away everything. They’re going to wait for you to make a mistake, and they capitalize well on them.”
Oakes finished with 11 points and Laabs scored 10 to lead his Tigers. Sandin (4), Doyle (2), Chmielewski (2) and Bjurman (1) finished up the points column. Doyle led PHS with six rebounds, with three each grabbed by Sandin, Andie Jackson and Laabs. Buyse paced Marshall with 16 points, and Saugstad added 14.
After the lineup of hugs was completed and the girls were on their way to the bus, Coach Fenske finished, “The girls have nothing to hang their heads about for how hard they played and how they represented. And, I tell you, the community backing for our girls was nothing short of incredible. It’s an awesome feeling; it’s a great community. I’m so glad these girls took us here– took me here– along on their ride.”

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Former Tiger to NCAA tourney Wed, 18 Mar 2015 04:12:15 +0000 sports_MariahC College
Princeton graduate Mariah Clarin is a senior starting forward on the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team which gained entry into this year’s NCAA tournament. The Jackrabbits (24-8) defeated rival South Dakota 72-57 in the Summit League championship and will open the NCAAs this Friday. Clarin is averaging 11.6 points/game and 6.7 rebounds/game to go with 30 blocks and 27 steals for the Jackrabbits.

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Archer aiming for two-sport fit at Gustavus Wed, 18 Mar 2015 04:10:34 +0000 sports_SamA College
Princeton senior Sam Archer will take his academic and athletic skills to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter next year where he will join the Gusties’ football and baseball programs.
“First off, I really like the academic side of things at Gustavus– it’s a very good academic school. As of right now, I’m planning on majoring in business management,” said Archer at the March 13 ceremony ear-marking GAC as his college choice.
Archer said the Gustavus football coaches will be looking at him in the quarterback role he started the past two varsity seasons for Princeton. This past fall, he completed 73 passes for 1,264 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Tigers, along with gaining 192 ground yards at QB.
Sam’s arm strength will allow him to compete at catcher for the Gustavus baseball squad. He also has been a solid pitcher and clutch gap hitter for the varsity and Legion squads the past two years.
“I know (Princeton native) Dalton Mattson really well who has been on the Gustavus baseball the last two years. I’ve talked to him a lot, and he has had nothing but good things to say about the program,” said Archer.
Mattson is the starting first baseman for the Gusties during their 1-4 start to this season. Last spring, the baseball team went 7-24 overall, and the Gustie football team was 6-4 overall last autumn.
At Friday’s ceremony, Princeton activities director Darin Laabs spoke on the many times Archer earned Academic All-Conference awards for football, baseball and Jazz band which went along with his athletic awards.
“Sam is a leader in our school, and people can look up to him. We are celebrating his carrying on that tradition at his new school next year,” said Laabs.
Archer and the Tiger baseball team had the opening practice for the 2015 season on Monday, March 16.

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A first State berth for Tiger girls basketball Fri, 13 Mar 2015 02:02:34 +0000 Ashley Schramel pushed the ball upcourt after making a steal against Grand Rapids in the March 12 Section 7AAA title tilt in Duluth.  Photos by Greg Hunt

Ashley Schramel pushed the ball upcourt after making a steal against Grand Rapids in the March 12 Section 7AAA title tilt in Duluth. Photos by Greg Hunt

The Princeton girls basketball team did something Thursday, March 12 that no other team in the program reached– earning a berth in the Minnesota State basketball tournament.

The Tigers got there with a 79-70 win over Grand Rapids at Duluth Denfeld High School. Taylor Laabs led Princeton scorers with 27 points, hitting from the line during crunch time. Julia Bjurman added 15 points for the Tigers with stellar outside shooting in teh second half. More Princeton scoring in the championship:  Haley Sandin 10, Ashley Schramel 8, Andie Jackson 7, Jenna Doyle 6, Danielle Chmielewski 3, Anna Oakes 2 and Reilee Schepper 1.

The Tigers (20-8) were seeded in the No. 5 slot for the Class AAA Tourney, sending them against No. 4 Marshall for the 8 p.m. quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 17 at the Target Center. Marshall (27-2) was the AAA runner-up to Park Center last year.

Also in that half of the brackets are No. 1 seed Orono (28-1) and Thief River Falls (26-3). In the other half, Park Center (22-7) returns to defend its title as the No. 2 seed, and New Prague (24-4) is the No. 3 seed.

Semifinals are March 19 at Williams Arena (noon/2 p.m.), and the championship is Saturday, March 21 back at Williams Arena (6 p.m.).


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Hallbeck signs with Iowa Lakes baseball Mon, 09 Mar 2015 01:00:12 +0000 Luke Hallbeck, pictured at his Feb. 20 signing ceremony to Iowa Lakes along with parents Bill & Michelle Hallbeck and sister Chelsey.

Luke Hallbeck, pictured at his Feb. 20 signing ceremony to Iowa Lakes along with parents Bill & Michelle Hallbeck and sister Chelsey.

Princeton senior Luke Hallbeck will be heading south to Iowa Lakes Community College next school year for classes and joining the Lakers’ baseball program.

His classmate and Tiger teammate, Joe Bernard, already signed on with Iowa Lakes, and Bernard thought Hallbeck would also be a good fit at the Estherville, Iowa campus.

“Joe and I went to a bunch of training camps and showcases together. He told me about Iowa Lakes, the coaches and the teammates. I called the pitching coach, went down there to pitch in front of them, and they liked me,” explained Hallbeck.

Hallbeck’s off-season training at the Minnesota Baseball Academy has helped increase his fastball to the mid 80s as he gets ready for his senior season in Princeton.

“Jesse at the academy is working with me a lot on control– throwing which pitch where I want when I want. So if I want to throw a curveball for a strike, I throw a curveball for a strike. My fastball is up to 85 mph, so location is my big focus,” he said.

Hallbeck also has played infield positions for Tiger and Legion ball, so he brings that versatility to the field. But pitching is what the Lakers will look at first from the right-hander.

“I’m super-excited for this upcoming season here. This group of guys has played together for so long. We’ve played together since third or fourth grade travel ball, and we played T-ball before that. We could have a lot of seniors in the starting lineup,” said Hallbeck. “Our new head coach, Jordan Neubauer, has been around baseball a long time, and we still have (assistant coach/Legion coach Troy) Kinney. Yeah, it should be a good time, and we should have a good Legion team, too.”

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Augsburg is next hockey stop for Walter Sun, 08 Mar 2015 02:00:40 +0000 Bridget Walter is pictured between parents, Tom and Anne Walter, along with sister Larkin at the Feb. 28 celebration for her joining Augsburg College hockey.

Bridget Walter is pictured between parents, Tom and Anne Walter, along with sister Larkin at the Feb. 28 celebration for her joining Augsburg College hockey.

Princeton senior Bridget Walter will take her skating and scoring skills down to Augsburg College in Minneapolis next year when she agreed to attend school and play hockey for the Auggies. A celebration on the program choice was held for her on Feb. 28 at Princeton High.

“I love the city, but Augsburg’s a really small school, and I like that a lot, too. Class sizes are small, and you can get one-one-one time with the teachers,” she said of her choice.

Walter said the Auggies are looking at her staying in the forward position where she has spent the last four varsity seasons for the Tigers. Bridget is the all-time leading scorer for the Princeton girls, finishing with 164 career points after recording a team-record 29 goals to go with 28 assists this season.

“I did an overnight visit at Augsburg a couple weeks ago and got to see a hockey game. I would say they are a big passing team. They have a good relationship with each other and get along well,” said Walter. “Over the years, they have done a lot better in the MIAC conference.”

Activities director Darin Laabs emceed the college celebration, listing the number of seasons Walter has earned All-Conference and Academic All-Conference honors on both the Tiger girls soccer and hockey squads. Walter was a solid midfielder for the first Tiger soccer team to make State last fall, and the hockey girls put together a program-record 18-win season this winter.

“We are thrilled that Bridget has found something that she’s good at and kept developing it. I value her grit, her toughness and her competitive spirit,” he said. “Playing here at Princeton is a great first step for Bridget, and we hope she has continued success.”

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Girls basketball: Tigers advance in playoffs Fri, 06 Mar 2015 03:45:16 +0000 Jenna Doyle scored 20 points to lead the Princeton girls basketball team to a 74-42 win over No. 4 seed Hermantown in quarterfinal playoff action March 5 at Duluth Denfeld.

The Tigers rolled to a 50-25 halftime lead. Anna Oakes (10), Haley Sandin (13) and Taylor Laabs (10) also scored in double figures for the Tigers, and Ashley Schramel scored 8 points.

The victory lands the top-seed Princeton girls (19-8) in the March 12 Section 7AAA championship (7 p.m. back at Duluth Denfeld). Challenging them will be No. 2 seed Grand Rapids (22-6) who knocked out No. 3 North Branch 70-56 in the late semifinals March 5.

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State Wrestling medals, Swim team accomplishments & basketball Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:04:06 +0000 Jake Pramann wrestling in Saturday's 170AA consolation semifinals where he decisioned Milaca's Otten 2-1.  Photo by James Stitt, Waconia Patriot

Jake Pramann wrestling in Saturday’s 170AA consolation semifinals where he decisioned Milaca’s Otten 2-1. Photo by James Stitt, Waconia Patriot

WINTER PLAYOFF UPDATES – Many Princeton highlights came out of a busy Winter 2015 playoff weekend.

Senior Jake Pramann went 3-2 to take 4th place in the Class AA 170 lb. State Wrestling tourney at the Xcel Center. This was Pramann’s second trip to State for the Tigers.  Junior teammate Brent Chambers finished 2-3 with a 6th-place medal at 220 lbs.


Princeton placed a strong third in the Section 2A boys swimming & diving team standings when the finals were held Feb. 28 at Richfield. Dustin Moinichen earned a State Diving trip when he placed 4th with 267 points. Also advancing to State were Nicholas Johnson in the 50 Freestyle (3rd, beat State standard with a 22.3), the 200 Medley Relay of Trent Lange, Johnson, Luke Paplham, Tommy Milam (2nd, 1:45.1) and the 200 Free Relay of Ryan Kreft, Milam, Paplham and Johnson (3rd, beat State standard with 1:31.0).

The Class A meet at the U of M Aquatics Center opens with the March 5 Diving prelims, followed by the March 6 Swim prelims and the March 7 finals for all events.  The Class A State sessions all begin at 12 p.m. noon.

Senior Ashley Schramel breaks in the clear for a bucket in the Feb. 28 home win over Denfeld.  Photo by  Greg Hunt

Senior Ashley Schramel breaks in the clear for a bucket in the Feb. 28 home win over Denfeld. Photo by Greg Hunt


Princeton girls basketball, seeded No. 1 in Section 7AAA, opened the playoffs with a 72-32 home victory over Duluth Denfeld on Saturday after leading comfortably 42-18 at the half. Haley Sandin was top scorer on the night with 26 points.

The Tigers (18-8) next face No. 4 seed Hermantown (15-10) in the section semifinals, 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 5 at the Duluth Denfeld gym.

The other 7AAA semifinals will have No. 2 Grand Rapids (21-6) taking on No. 3 North Branch (14-12). The championship will be March 12 back at Denfeld.


No. 2 seed Hermantown received 21 points from Kole Zuidmuller and 19 from Thomas Madison while defeating No. 7 Princeton 89-61 in the Section 7AAA boys basketball quarterfinals. The Tigers closed the season with a 5-22 overall mark.

The Hawks face No. 3 Cloquet, and top seed Chisago Lakes plays No. 5 Grand Rapids in the March 3 semifinals in Duluth.

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Wrestling: 2 Tigers in mix for titles Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:01:47 +0000 Two Princeton Tigers will be wrestling in the state championship semi-finals Saturday in the Class AA State Wrestling Tournament as they seek to be crowned state champions.

Senior Jake Prahman, will wrestle Carter Nielsen of Foley at the 170 weight for the right to advance to Saturday’s championship. In Friday action, Prahmann defeated Wyatt Ireland 8-6 before earning a 5-1 decision over Kasson-Mantorville’s Andy Bigelow in the quarterfinals.

At the 220 weight, Brent Chambers advanced to Saturday’s semi-finals against Kevin Kneisel of Delano with a 1-0 decision over Foley’s Saylor Schmidt in the quarterfinals. In his opening duel, Chambers defeated Paxton Woods of South St. Paul by a 10-4 decision.

Princeton’s heavyweight entrant Eric Elsner lost a 8-3  decision to Alec Gausman of MAHACA. He did not advance to the consolation bracket.

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Tigers lock up No. 1 seed for 7AAA playoffs Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:42:30 +0000 NO GAME WITH ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE ON FEB. 26 – Princeton’s win over St. Francis helped lock in the top seed for the Section 7AAA girls basketball tournament which begins this Saturday.

With the No. 1 seed, the Tigers (17-8) will host No. 8 Duluth Denfeld (6-19) for a 6 p.m. game on Feb. 28 in the quarterfinals. Princeton handled the Hunters 80-36 back on Jan. 17.

A victory would send advance the squad to the Thursday, March 5 semifinals at Denfeld’s gym. In that half of the brackets are No. 4 Chisago Lakes (10-15) and No. 5 Hermantown (15-10). The Tigers split with the Wildcats in conference play this winter and knocked off the Hawks the second game of the season.

In the other bracket half, Grand Rapids (20-6) is the No. 2 seed, and North Branch (13-12) is the No. 3. The 7AAA championship will be held a week later on March 12 back in Duluth.

** The Tigers Feb. 26 Mississippi 8 crossover game with St. Michael-Albertville was cancelled.

Senior Haley Sandin surpassed the 1,000-point mark of her Tiger career last week. Sandin scored 37 points in the Tigers’ two games.

Senior Haley Sandin surpassed the 1,000-point mark of her Tiger career last week. Sandin scored 37 points in the Tigers’ two games.

• On Feb. 17, host North Branch slipped past the Princeton girls 66-64. A big Tiger highlight in the game came when senior Haley Sandin swished the front end of a one-and-one with two minutes left in the first half which had her reaching the 1,000 point mark of her hard-working career. After a brief recognition ceremony, Sandin knocked down the second free throw and went on to lead the Tigers with 18 points that evening.

Adding scoring against the Vikings were Sonia Stay (8), Jenna Doyle (7), Danielle Chmielewski (6) and five points each from Ashley Schramel, Anna Oakes and Julia Bjurman.

At home Feb. 20, Princeton swept the Saints in M-8 games with a 64-56 victory. Sandin again led the offense with 19 points, Doyle popped for 11 points and Andie Jackson scored 10.

Mississippi 8 Girls Basketball EAST) Princeton 8-5, 17-8; North Branch 6-6, 12-12; Cambridge-Isanti 5-7, 12-12; Chisago Lakes 4-8, 10-14; St. Francis 4-7, 9-15. WEST) St. Michael-Alb. 12-0, 21-3 all; Rogers 10-2, 17-7; Buffalo 8-5, 15-10; Big Lake 4-8, 9-16; Monticello 0-12, 4-20

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