Finalists Announced for 13th Rochester Sports Banquet

Finalists Announced for 13th Rochester Sports Banquet Photo: Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.

December 06, 2017 07:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The finalists for the 2017 Rochester Sports Banquet have been named.

Five finalists in each of five categories were selected from close to 100 nominations by a 14-person panel of Rochester media representatives and sport experts. The 25 finalists represent a wide variety of sports.


Here are more details on the finalists: 

Team of the Year

  1. PEM Boys Track & Field;
    • Class A MSHSL State Champions in Track and Field. Dominated the State meet scoring 58 points, 16 points more than the 2nd place team. Also captured Section 1A title, Sub-Section 3A title, and Three Rivers Conference title. During the 14 events at the state meet alone, they broke 13 school records.
  2. Kasson-Mantorville Wrestling;
    • Repeated as Class AA State Champions by defeating Simley 45-18 score in the state championship match. They finished the 2016-7 season with a 25-0 season record.
  3. Goodhue Girls Basketball;
    • Repeated as Minnesota Class A State Champions. Goodhue defeated top-seeded Mountain Iron-Buhl 73-51 in the state championship game.
  4. Zumbrota-Mazeppa Softball;
    • Repeated as Minnesota Class AA State Softball Champions. In the state final they beat the top seed, number one ranked and previously undefeated team from Maple Lake 4-1. To qualify ZM (24-6) defeated the state’s second- and third-ranked teams to get out of its own section before besting top-ranked Maple Lake (26-1) in the final.
  5. Rochester Shock 9th Grade AAU Basketball Team;
    • Won Minnesota state championship and went on to finish second at the AAU Run 4 Roses D-1 National Tournament. The team complied a 96-13 win/loss record in 2017 with a team consisting of all girls from the same high school. Were recently honored at the MN Lynx game for their accomplishment.

Coach of the Year

  1. Kevin Nelson (Z-M Softball);
    • Guided his team to the Minnesota Class AA state championship in 2016. Currently ranks in the top 10 all-time winningest softball coaches in the state of MN. Career record of 486-172 with multiple sub-section and section titles.
  1. Link Steffen (Z-M Wrestling);
    • ZM Wrestling - Led the #4 seated ZM Wrestling team to the school’s first ever state wrestling title.
  2. Randy Rager (RCTC Wrestling)
    • Led RCTC to the non-scholarship school championship at the 2017 NJCAA Wrestling national tournament. Rager is in his 13th season at the helm of the Yellowjacket program and was recently honored with the 2017 NJCAA Coach-of-the-Year.
  3. Josh Wieme (Goodhue Girls basketball)
    • Goodhue Girls Basketball – Led team to a repeat as Minnesota Class A State Champions. Goodhue defeated top-seeded Mountain Iron-Buhl 73-51 in the state championship game.
  4. Jamie Heidt (Kasson Mantorville Wrestling)
    • Coached his team to a repeat as Class AA State Champions by defeating Simley 45-18 score in the state championship match. They finished the 2016-7 season with a 25-0 season record.

Female Athlete of the Year

  1. Makayla Griffin – Kasson Mantorville Soccer;
    • 1st team All State, finalist for Ms. Soccer MN; 16 goals 13 assists. Career of 55 goals and 55 assists (2nd all-time in KM history) 
  2. Mara Quam – Kenyon Wanamingo Track/Volleyball/Basketball;
    • State Champ in Long Jump; 3rd place in Triple Jump State Meet; averaged 28 points per game in basketball (2016-2017 season)
  3. Kristin Scott  - Kasson Mantorville, Basketball
    • Holds KM records in points (2,253), rebounds (1,158) and blocks (433); will play for D1 Iowa State.
  1. Kara O’Byrne – Stewartville, Softball;
    • Stewartville Softball – All State First Team and Ms. Softball Finalist; pitcher; 17-4 record; 0.67 ERA and 283 strikeouts this season. .449 BA with 7 HR’s and 26 RBI’s this season hitting. Will play @ D1 North Dakota State.
  2. Abby Mueller  – John Marshall, Gymnastics;
    • Gymnastics (Rochester); Level 10 USA Gymnast; Invited to Nastia Liukin Cup (event restricted to top 18 junior & top 18 senior gymnasts in the country)… she took 5th in the All-Around in the juniors (younger age group) division. 12th place finish in the All-Around at Junior Olympics

Male Athlete of the Year

  1. Brady Berge – Kasson Mantorville, Wrestling;
    • Mr. Wrestling MN (MN Wrestling Coaches Association); 4 time state champ; will wrestle at Penn State; #1 ranked wrestler in the country @ 160 lbs.; career record of 282-5.
  2. Sebastian Vile – Mayo, Tennis;
    • Mayo Tennis – State runner-up in Class AA tennis. #1 rated U18 in Midwest.
  3. Matthew Hurt – John Marshall, Basketball;
    • JM Basketball; JM’s All-Time leading scorer (as a sophomore)
  4. Bailee O’Reilly – Goodhue, Wrestling;
    • Class A Minnesota State Championship 160 weight class (2nd straight state championship) 
  5. Tysen Schmidt – PEM, Track;
    • PEM Track – 400 M State Champ (48.61 seconds – fastest time in Class A & AA at state meet, only ran in the event for final month of the season); 2nd place in 200 M with 21.74 seconds time, member of 2nd place 4x100 team, 5th in triple jump. Broke school records on 7 occasions during the 2-day state meet

Adaptive Athlete/Team of the Year

  1. Sean Healy – Rochester Raiders, Adaptive Hockey;
    • In 2017, Sean finished his Rochester Raiders adaptive hockey career as their all-time leading scorer (150 points).  He scored 50 points during the 2017 season and was selected to the All-Tournament hockey team for the third time in March of 2017.  In adaptive softball at the Minnesota State High School League tournament, Sean was named to the All-Tournament team for the third time.  Sean has been named to six Minnesota State High School League All- tournament teams during his high school career and was inducted into the John Marshall Wall of Fame in the summer of 2017.
  2. Philip Fritzke – Rochester Flyers, Special Olympics;
    •  He participated in Golf and Bowling in 2017.  He earned a gold medal in each sport.  Not only is he an athlete that gives it his best at all times he is a great "Team Player."  He is friendly, outgoing, cheers on others, and always has a positive attitude.  He is so appreciative of the time that Volunteer Coaches provide and never forgets an opportunity to say thank you!
  3. Shelley Lowery – Rochester Flyers, Adaptive Swimming;
    • Shelley placed in several categories at the Minnesota State meet: 100M Freestyle – 2nd place, 100M backstroke – 4th, 50M Breaststroke – 6th.  She also earned a Silver Medal at state bowling event.  
  4. Alex Steffl – Rochester Flyers, Adaptive Hockey;
    • Led the Flyers to their first State Championship. Was the leading scorer for the season and has 46 career goals in 3 seasons. Basketball - Flyers placed 2nd at the Area Games, 1st at the State Tournament, and 2nd at regionals. Track and Field - Gold medal in 4x100 relay and 200m, Silver medal in 100 m run at the State Meet. Was chosen as 1 of 4 male athletes to represent Team MN at the USA Games in Seattle, WA in July 2018. Flag Football - Team placed 2nd at Area games and State Tournament.
  1. Rochester Flyers Blue Team, Adaptive Basketball;
    • Won the gold medal at spring state tournament.  Won first place at the regional tournament as well.  Every player scored at least once during the state tournament.

In addition to these awards there will be awards handed out to a Post High School Male and Female Athlete of the Year as well as Volunteer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Coaches Lifetime Achievement. A sports focused silent auction benefitting Bolder Options will be held prior to dinner followed by Lindsay Whalen speaking and concluding with the awards.

The winners will be announced at the 13th annual awards ceremony to be held from 5:30-8:30 PM on Monday, January 29th at the Rochester Event Center. Lindsay Whalen of the World Champion Minnesota Lynx will be the guest speaker at the banquet, which is hosted by Rochester Sports and sponsored by Home Federal Bank, ABC 6 News and K-FAN Radio.

For tickets, those interested should call (507) 280-4701. For additional information and details, visit


Sean Tehan

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