COLUMN: Sports year 2018 was deserving of awards

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Since we don’t do year-end reviews in our newspaper anymore, last year I started a new concept of plugging some of the ending year’s highlights into this column space, so the calendars don’t change without at least some recognition.

     In last year’s column, I gave (made-up) “awards” for various things as a way of highlighting the accomplishments of the year. As 2018 was another great year of Monticello Panther sports success in a variety of sports and a variety of ways, I thought I’d do that again.

     It’s only the second year of this, so it’s too early to call it a tradition, but we’ll see how it goes.

     So here we go with the best of Monticello sports – and assorted others ­– from 2018:


     Most Dominant Stretch: The Panther girls basketball team went on a 28-0 run, going from a 25-23 deficit to a 51-25 lead, in the regional final, on their way to earning a trip to the state tournament. That the run happened against a previously-unbeaten team, Osage, made it that much more remarkable. At State, the Panthers won a quarterfinal game over Clear Lake before falling in the semifinals to Sioux Center. It was Monticello’s fifth State trip in the past 12 years.

     Best Milestones: Chase Luensman achieved his 100th career wrestling victory. And two Monticello girls basketball players reached the career 1,000-point mark: Taylor McDonald and Lauren Ries.

     Standing Tall Award: Monticello set a team wrestling record by having three Panthers reach the state tournament podium in the same year. Chase Luensman and Kain Luensman both were fourth at State; Lake Stahlberg was eighth.

     Nationally-known Award: MHS graduate Matt Manternach, now an Iowa Hawkeye, qualified for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Nationals in the 800-meter run. Also, the MHS dance team placed in two events at its national meet.

     Look Who’s Back Award: Monticello girls golf reached State for the second time in four years. The state tournament also marked four straight trips for Lauren Ries, who was 15th this past season.

     Bring it Home Award: Monticello’s 4x800-meter relay team of Taylor McDonald, Gabrielle Steiner, Jordyn Patterson and Paige Holub won a state title.

     Twice is Nice Award: Panther baseball repeated as River Valley Conference, North Division champion, with a late-season sweep of Cascade playing a key role for the second straight year.

     Distance Award: MHS graduate Jerry Frawley, running a 26.2-mile race for the first time, won the Omaha Marathon. Anthony Kinley, also an MHS alum, overcame cold and rain to complete the prestigious Boston Marathon.

     Special at State Award: The Jones County Special Olympics team reached the State Softball Tournament, and won its division.

     Worth the Wait Award: For the third straight year, Monticello won the Cowbell Trophy with a last-minute comeback win over Anamosa. This one took a little longer, partly because there were 98 points scored in the Panthers’ 50-48 win, and mostly because there was a three-hour lightning delay during the game.

     Double-deuce Award: Monticello kept its state cross country qualifying streak alive, making its 22nd straight appearance in Fort Dodge. The Panthers finished sixth.

     Maquoketa Valley Highlight Award: The Wildcat boys cross country team qualified for State for the first time since 1995, and placed seventh out of 15 teams.

     Midland Highlight Award: Depending on your perspective, it could have been a co-district football championship and 9-2 record, Trent Rickels qualifying for state cross country, or the Midland girls’ 4x400 relay reaching the finals.



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