Banner year for Rosemount, Eastview, Farmington, Apple Valley athletes
Memorable sports moments were plentiful during 2022 in the Dakota County Tribune coverage area, and 2023 promises more of the same. Before moving ahead, here’s a look at some of the highlights of an eventful year.
Rosemount is track town
Rosemount has become the high school track and field capital of Minnesota. The Irish girls won their third consecutive Minnesota State High School League team championship as well as a third straight True Team championship. The boys team narrowly missed a second straight team title, finishing fewer than five points behind Class 3A champion Andover. After setting an all-time state record in the girls triple jump during the regular season, Ava Cinnamo won the event at state. She also took first in the 300-meter hurdles and second in the 100 hurdles and long jump. Hayden Bills set an all-time state meet record in the boys discus to help the Irish boys team to second place.
Girls wrestlers in the spotlight
Girls brackets were incorporated into the state wrestling tournament for the first time in 2022. Twelve girls won weight-class championships, including sophomores Grace Alagbo of Apple Valley and Riley Myers of Eastview. Myers won the 138-pound state championship and Alagbo was first at 145. Both are juniors this season and will have the opportunity to defend their championships. Elsie Olson of Eastview and Hanah Schuster of Apple Valley also reached the state semifinals and earned medals.
Rosemount’s girls sought a state soccer championship for several years. The 2022 state tournament was the Irish’s fourth appearance in the event since 2016, but time was running our for several players who will move on to Division I college soccer next fall. The Irish had a 21-1 season, winning their final 17 games and finishing with back-to-back 1-0 victories over Stillwater and Edina in the Class 3A semifinals and championship game. Senior Taylor Heimerl, the team’s leading scorer with 20 goals and 18 assists, scored in the first half of the state championship game against Edina.
No Prep Bowl payoff
Maple Grove returned to the Class 6A football championship game after falling short against Lakeville North in 2021. The Crimson got their title this time, defeating Rosemount 27-10. Maple Grove took advantage of two uncharacteristic Rosemount turnovers and converted them into touchdowns in the second quarter. The Irish (12-1), who played in the school’s fourth state football championship and were seeking Rosemount’s first title since 1981, had a stout defense featuring defensive end Hayden Bills and linebacker Kade Gilbertson. They also re-tooled their offense to emphasize ball control and it worked in two victories over Eden Prairie as well as wins against Lakeville South and Centennial.
Dream delayed, not denied
Farmington’s Ramy Ayoub was favored to win at least one event at the 2021 Class 3A boys track and field meet. He suffered leg cramps in the 400-meter final but still finished second. The leg problems knocked him out of the 800 final, where he was the top seed. In 2022, he was back and healthy and won the 400 in an all-time state meet record of 47.34 seconds. Ayoub also finished fourth in the 800 before moving on to the University of Minnesota to continue his track and field career.
Rosemount’s Lucas Gerten proved to be a quick study in diving, winning the state Class AA championship as a sophomore. He was in fourth place with three dives remaining but jumped to the lead and won by 1.4 points. He’s on pace for an outstanding 2022-23 season too, having broken several records already, including his school’s six- and 11-dive marks.
Eastview senior Asher Ozuzu made a promise to himself to get the most he could out of his final high school soccer season, and he delivered. Ozuzu led the state with 39 goals, breaking the previous school record by 11, and won the Class 3A Mr. Soccer award. He led Eastview to second place in the South Suburban Conference. He sprained his ankle early in the Class 3A, Section 3 championship game against Rosemount, but despite limping noticeably scored the Lightning’s goal in a 2-1 loss.
The 2022 cross country season was one of the best in South Suburban Conference history. Two SSC teams, Rosemount and Lakeville North, finished second and third in the state Class 3A boys meet, and Lakeville South was 10th. Rosemount’s Ryan Mulrooney and Lakeville North’s Andrew Casey finished in the top 10 individually. Four SSC girls teams reached the Class 3A girls meet, including Farmington (seventh) and Eastview (12th).
Back to the title game
Defending Class 4A baseball champion Farmington returned to the state title game, but this time the Tigers didn’t get the result they wanted. An 8-1 loss to Stillwater in the championship game ended the Tigers’ season at 23-4. Farmington was 44-10 over the last two seasons. A number of Tigers players will move on to college baseball, including Kyle Hrncir, the starting pitcher in the 2022 championship game. Hrncir, who also led Farmington’s basketball team in scoring, will play baseball and basketball at Upper Iowa University.
Apple Valley qualified for the state wrestling team tournament 35 consecutive years from 1983 through 2017, with the Eagles winning 25 championships in that period. They did not reach state as a team from 2018 through 2020 but returned in 2021 after defeating Farmington in the Class 3A, Section 2 championship match. Although Farmington didn’t reach state as a team, it was a good tournament for the Tigers individually as Davis Parrow (106 pounds) and Cole Han-Lindemyer (170) finished second in their weight classes. It was Han-Lindemyer’s second consecutive state runner-up finish.
Three Eastview High School coaches who led their teams to state championships stepped down in 2022. Jenny Raiche coached Lightning dance teams to 20 jazz and high-kick titles in 20 years at the school. Tom Strey was head baseball coach for 22 years and led Eastview to the 2012 Class 3A championship. Scott Gustafson’s boys soccer teams won the 2012 state Class AA championship and were runners-up in 2011 and 2013. Gustafson has been in the soccer program since 1997, when Eastview opened, and was head coach the last 20 years.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.