8th grader Noah Chase is the last one standing in Hillcrest's 2015-16 sports season. After shooting an eye-popping 167, Noah earned himself a trip to the Class A State Golf Tournament. When Noah turned-in his card he noted he was only 8 strokes off the pace, falling in the middle of a pack of high school students who are looking at Noah's grade and taking a second glance.
Waving to Noah as he passes Hillcrest and continues to state is Hillcrest's successful 4X800m team. In the Section meet last week the Comets blew opponents away from the start. Hans Holzner started the race and earned Hillcrest a nearly 50m lead before handing the baton to fellow junior Luke Bowman. Bowman stayed with Holzner the night before the race, and the two mentally prepared for the section meet. Luke set his stop watch, closed his eyes, and hit the timer while he was laying down in bed. His mental preparation had him running his fastest time in his head, beating his personal record before he stopped his watch and opened his eyes. The dream leg would become a reality after Holzner passed him the baton at the meet. Luke beat his mental time by 1 second, running a 2:04 800m and setting a new personal record by over 5 seconds.
When Bowman passed the baton to Toby Simonsen Hillcrest was holding tight to their 50m lead. Simonsen retained the lead. As the baton passed to Tommy Thompson there was a rush around the stadium. Thompson quickly circled the first 50m and could hear the pounding footsteps of his competition. They hustled to catch Tommy.
As the race neared the final 100m Tommy was drafting his opponents. Tommy kicked in his final push, knowing this could be the last time he ran the straightaway this year. Next to Tommy ran two other teams, each beating their body and crossing thresholds of exhaustion in the final 30m. When Thompson crossed the finish line there was a one-two-three punch on the track. The final footsteps across the line had all three runners nearly collapsing. It was a race for the annuls of history. Hillcrest hadn't been beaten all season. Their final time was 8 seconds faster than their school record sub-section time. Each runner in Hillcrest's platoon ran their best time of the season. Hans Holzner ran 2:01, and the all junior team congratulated him as they looked at their 8:21:93 time. It was the best race of their year, and they blew past the school record.
After the track team closed their season there was a caravan that followed the Baseball team as they worked to keep their season alive in playoffs. The caravan barely got settled in their seats before the Comets scored their first run. After Jordan Foss singled, Reggie Undseth stepped into the box and took a pitch off his mid-section. Trey Bosek stepped past the white painting marking the batters box a few times before he connected on a low pitch that dribbled from home plate into the infield. Foss was sick of standing on the base path and leapt decisively off Bosek's hit. Watching the ball, Foss rounded third as the throw went to first base, scoring easily.
The Comets made it 2-0 in the 3rd off more hustling on the base path. Sean McGuire reached on a fielder's choice before Undseth took another pitch off his body. With McGuire watching the pitcher's feet, he darted for third on an errant pick-off move and rounded 3rd as Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE) dug the ball out of the fence behind first base.
The Comets went on to commit 7 errors in the following innings, playing what Coach Steve Undseth called their worst game in the field all season. Their errors gift wrapped 4 runs for BBE, closing the season with the playoff loss as they ended their season 4-2. The Comets closed their season with a record of 11-9.
As the Comets closed the game with the ceremonial handshake they looked in the stands to see the Lady Comets, who closed their season a few weeks earlier. The Lady Comets nearly created a moniker as heart attack Hillcrest in their final handful of games. Fans knew that no matter what deficit Hillcrest faced in the second or third inning, the Lady Comets would pull together a multi-run inning in the final few frames. So when Hillcrest fell behind in the first inning on the back of three errors, there was hope.
In the bottom of the first Hillcrest put a run on the board after giving up 4 runs in the first. Senior Annie Murphy reached first base on a single, stole second during Sophie Iverson's at bat, and scored after Iverson tripled.
The Comets looked to continue their bounce back in the second after Senior Emma Royce walked to first base. Tara Fercrenzy hit Royce around to start what looked to be a rally inning. After Karina Larson walked and a few Comets made the pitcher work, Jordan Matranga walked to load the bases. With one out Hillcrest looked to bounce back with a full deck of base runners.
With Megan Aasness stepping in with a tight strike zone and quick feet on the base path, Hillcrest's base coaches were leaning in to see what would happen. But after Aasness popped out to the pitcher and Annie Murphy followed suit with a ground out the Comets grabbed their gloves to curb more damage on the field having left the bases loaded.
Nicole DeKok did good work from the mound considering only two of her pitches were working. Primarily using her fastball and changeup, DeKok earned 5 strike outs and retired 12 batters in a row after a four run 1st inning where 3 of the runs were unearned.
The Comets saw great production from the bottom of the lineup, who went 2 for 8 with 6 walks and all 3 Comet runs. As the Comets look forward to next season they have building blocks in place to make another run at the playoffs, despite losing state steals record holder Megan Aasness. The Lady Comets close their books with an 11-7 record.
The Comets are now in the off-season, meeting 3 times per week as they look forward to the 2016-17 school year.