Although the winter sports season did not come to fruition for hundreds of athletes around the state, student-athletes still got a chance to celebrate their achievements as athletic conferences named their standouts.
In the Minnesota River Conference, a number of Belle Plaine and Scott West athletes stood at the front of the pack as their respective seasons drew to a close and earned all-conference honors.
Senior forward Josh Gregory led the Tigers in points this season with 14.5 points per game, adding 6.4 rebounds per game in the process. As a strong scorer, Gregory finished his varsity career in Belle Plaine with over 900 points.
“Josh was a leader on the court and in the weight room,” as mentioned in the comments prepared by athletes’ coaches in a release from the Minnesota River Conference.
Gregory was a three-year starter for the Tigers.
Senior Forward Dylan Kahle earned all-conference honors through his dynamic play style on both ends of the court. His length and athleticism created scoring opportunities, rebounds, steals, and blocks.
“Dylan handled the ball like a guard and still finished at the rim,” the release said. “Dylan has been a joy to coach and is a great person on and off the court.”
Kahle also led the team in charges taken.
Senior point guard and forward Noah Schumacher earned his stripes as a utility player for the Tigers and was regularly seen guarding opposing teams’ best players. Schumacher played all over the court and excelled in distributing the ball or using the backboard to score. Schumacher regularly scored double-digit figures and averaged over 6 rebounds a game, while often leading in assists.
“Noah gave maximum effort, consistent energy and played both ends of the floor,” the release states.
Junior, Cade Morrison
Junior guard Sara Lenz, who was also selected by the Minnesota River Conference coaches as the conference player of the year, earned her all-conference honors as an explosive offensive threat for the Tigers. Lenz averaged 16.4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals per game. Lenz is a four-year starter, two-year captain and returning all-conference player.
“She could shoot a three and get to the basket and free throw line as well as hit the mid-range jumper,” the release states.
Junior Lauren Johnson led the team with 16.6 points per game and was proficient at scoring from any part of the floor. Additionally, Johnson averaged 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals per game.
“She was also an excellent free throw shooter and leader for the team on the court,” the release states.
Coaches reported she was a difficult matchup due to her versatility around the floor.
A four-year starter for the Tigers, Jaylen-Struck Schmitz was described as a “true point guard” in her ability to make plays.
“Jaylen did whatever it took to help make her teammates successful,” the release states.
Struck-Schmitz used her quick foot speed to make life difficult for other teams’ quicker guards. She averaged 9.2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals per game.
Junior, Lizzy Schmidt
Sophomore, McKenna Ziemke
Scott West Sophomore lightweight Zach Tracy won his bracket at the Minnesota River Conference tournament. In addition to placing third at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tourney, Tracy took fourth at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and third at Rumble on the Red.
Senior Jace Demmers won the 160 lb. bracket at the MRC tournament but not before winning the Rumble on the Red Tournament. Demmers also took third at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. Demmers was voted the MRC most valuable wrestler.
Senior Trent Rasmussen earned all-conference honors for the first time in the 195 lb. bracket this season.
As the no. 10 ranked heavyweight at the time of his MRC victory, Struffert earned his first conference championship. Struffert took sixth place at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and a fifth place finish at the Rumble on the Red.
Junior, Tory Pumper
Eighth Grade, Leo Siekmann
Sophomore, Ashton Holbrook
Senior, Colton Bahr
Junior, Blake Riemer
Junior, John Jack Wiese
Junior, Hunter KvasnickaSophomore, Gavin Fahey
Six-year Belle Explosion Dance Team member and two-year captain, senior Kara Reitz is known for her leadership by her coaches.
“Kara has an incredible work ethic and is a powerful leader on the team,” the release states.
Reitz previously earned all-conference honors in the 2018-19 season and earned honorable mention in the 2017-18 season.
Senior Hannah Skluzacek is a six-year dance team member and was a captain of the Explosion Dance Team this last season.
“Hannah knows how to set goals and get her team on board to chase their dreams together,” the release states.
Senior Kaitlyn Holmbeck earned all-conference honors after a six-year stint on the Explosion Dance Team.
“She is a great role model for younger dancers and is very encouraging to her teammates,” the release states.
Senior and six-year dance team member Brooke Adameitz is known for her leadership.
“She maintains a positive attitude and outlook on every situation and is a great competitor,” the release states.
Senior and three-year dance team member Skye Jacobs is known for her technical ability.
“She holds herself to a high standard of excellence,” the release states. “Skye has a contagious work ethic and knows how to push her teammates.”
Sophomore, Emily Maciej