Staff Directory 10645246

David La Vaque

Reporter | High school sports
Phone: 612-673-7574
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

David La Vaque is a high school sports reporter for the Star Tribune. 

La Vaque previously spent 18 months covering high school sports at the Woodbury Bulletin. La Vaque has written frequently about Minnesota State High School League news, football, hockey, lacrosse and track and field. A native of St. Paul, La Vaque lives in Woodbury. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Communication Studies, Rhetoric and Applied Business. La Vaque is researching a book on the history of the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament. In his free time, he enjoys running and biking and listening to music.
Recent content from David La Vaque
Against the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, players from Warroad and Minneapolis played their Hockey Day Minnesota game at Parade stadium. Warroa

Minneapolis, Warroad take stage for 'unreal' Hockey Day Minnesota

Warroad, ranked No 3 in Class 1A, beat host Minneapolis 5-1. But participants saw beyond the scoreboard.
Minneapolis hockey coach Joe Dziedzic skated with his players during practice last week at the Northeast Ice Arena in Minneapolis.

State of Minneapolis hockey: 'There are still some guys who can play'

Hockey Day Minnesota is putting the sport's spotlight on Parade Stadium and the teams that practice and play in the city.
Rosemount junior defenseman Jake Ratzlaff can now revisit the verbal commitment he made to the Gophers program as a ninth-grader.

Rule changes lower profile of hockey recruiting, even in Minnesota

The excitement that surrounds the recruitment of top high school prospects in football and basketball is largely absent in hockey, even in hockey-rich Minnesota. Here's why.
Rosemount senior Jonathan Mann and his parents Kathy and Steve

Rosemount's Mann finally wakes up as a Gopher

Rosemount star receiver Jonathan Mann committed to the Gophers 20 months ago, and on Wednesday made it official.
St. Anthony warmed up on the field prior to a game this season against Fridley.

Bigger Metro District football sought in order to improve scheduling

The Minnesota State High School League heard a proposal to add at least four more teams to the 28-team district. It also approved paid admission at tennis state tournaments.
Pierz running back Matthias Algarin ran for 165 and three touchdowns — the third one gave the Pioneers a one-point victory.

Matthias Algarin scored three touchdowns as Pierz won its fourth state football title

He scored the winning TD with 38 seconds left.
Wayzata offensive linemen Jac Carver (71) and Joe Salonek (78) celebrated as it became apparent the team would clinch the Class 6A title. (Aaron Lavin

Wayzata offensive line delivers another 'sexy' performance

Wayzata's five up front cleared the way for a title.
Rocori quarterback Jack Steil extended the ball for a second-half touchdown against the SMB Wolfpack. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for another

Rocori edges Minneapolis North in overtime for Class 4A state title

The Spartans won in overtime, beating Jalen Suggs on a two-point pass.
Chaska linebacker Stevo Klotz (above, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown run vs. Coon Rapids) doubles as a running back for the physical Hawks.

Physical rematch expected when Chaska, St. Thomas Academy go face-to-face in 5A Prep Bowl

Chaska (11-1) has posted five shutouts this season and reached its first state tournament championship game since 1974. The same playing style worked for St. Thomas Academy (11-1), author of six victories by shutout.
Rory Guilday of Minnetonka, who has helped the Skippers to a 4-0 start this season, is one of nine Minnesota high school players selected to the U.S.

New Minnetonka girls' hockey coach seeing fruits of new team's depth

Tracy Cassano spoke of "squeezing all the juice from the lemon" in terms of getting everything possible out of players at previous coaching stops…
Totino-Grace, led by co-head coaches Adam Sharratt (pictured) and Tim Parkos, is moving up to Class 2A this season. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngi

Competitive fit drives eight hockey programs to change classes

A total of eight boys' hockey programs are vying for different postseason goals this season.Northfield and Totino-Grace are moving up to play in Class 2A…
Gabby Krause (18), Jamie Nelson (10) and Peyton Hemp, (5) of Andover. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • – Andover, MN – November 20,

Andover's championship quest gets gritty with Slimy, The Brick and speed

A state tournament-ending loss last year taught the Huskies that they need to score more "dirty goals,'' an approach their talented top line has embraced.
Mason Langenbrunner (center) joined the Eden Prairie this year after playing for Cloquet. His father, a former NHL player, took a new job that brought

New faces at Eden Prairie raise title expectations, require adjustment

A program that came close to winning it all last season has added three top players who played elsewhere last year to a strong returning core.
Wayzata running back Christian Vasser dove into the end zone in the first half to score one of his three touchdowns. He rushed for 269 yards on 44 car

Christian Vasser carries Wayzata to Prep Bowl with 269 yards rushing and three touchdowns

He rushed for 269 yards and three TDs in 44 carries vs. Lakeville South.
Jalen Suggs of SMB was chased by Alex Nelson of Hutchinson in the first quarter. Suggs ran for 102 yards and threw for 210.

Suggs changes up play in final minute

Quarterback called an audible that led to victory.
Wayzata running back Christian Vasser (4) said Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight’’ brings out his team’s emotion and fight. “This is

Wayzata's wait for big moment hits a new high note

Wayzata teams have been inspired before games by "In the Air Tonight" from 1981 to now.
Owatonna players were left to deal with the end of a 29-game win streak that included back-to-back state titles in Class 5A.

Two-time defending Class 5A football champion Owatonna loses in state quarterfinals

St. Thomas Academy knocks off two-time defending 5A champs.
Lakeville South’s Riley Mahlman (86) sacked Mounds View’s Cole Stenstrom for a big loss in Friday night’s Class 6A quarterfinal in Eden Prairie.

Lakeville South defeats Mounds View in Class 6A football quarterfinals

Shabaz, Patterson execute timely gains for Cougars.
Coach Nick Rusin talked to the Coon Rapids High School football team after practice on Monday. The Cardinals play Saturday in the state tournament for

Back at state after 36 years, once-struggling Coon Rapids shows it has a move or two

Coon Rapids, which recently lost 23 games in a row, is 7-3 this season under a new, energetic coach and has shed its "loser" tag.
Edina forward Tella Jungels (19) struggled to control the puck as she tried a wraparound against Minnetonka goaltender Brynn Dulac (1) in the first pe

Fall state tournaments can only mean one thing: Let's play girls' hockey

The earliest-starting of the high school winter sports seasons drops the puck Thursday night at 16 games, one of them a Class 2A matchup between Andover and three-time state champion Edina.
Pained faces were par for the course as a pack of runners dug deep during the Class 2A cross-country state championship race Saturday at St. Olaf Coll

Mounds View boys edge Eden Prairie for first 2A cross-country championship

Coach's emotions spill over in aftermath of his first title.
Mounds View linebacker Owen Pfeilsticker (32) celebrated a tackle he made on special teams against Buffalo in the first half.

Mounds View routs Buffalo for spot in Class 6A state quarterfinals

QB Cole Stenstrom and the Mustangs' defense shined.
Farmington’s Anna Fenske (252), left, finished third and Wayzata’s Emma Atkinson (352) fourth in the 2018 girls’ Class 2A cross-country meet. Fe

Cross-country teams seek state meet peak with titles on the line Saturday

Cross-country's state meet demands peak production when stakes are highest.
Orono’s Clare Gagne made a save as Mahtomedi’s Anna Wagner jumped over her. The Zephyrs later won on a penalty kick.

Mahtomedi rallied on two penalty kick goals to win third straight Class 1A girls' soccer title

Mahtomedi girls' soccer coach Dave Wald called Orono goalkeeper Clare Gagne a game-changer, among the best Minnesota-produced players at her position.So as his team trailed…
Noah Hermanson, second from left, and his Holy Angels teammates celebrated after his overtime goal against Blake.

Holy Angels edges defending champion Blake in Class 1A boys' soccer title game

Time ticked away in overtime of the Class 1A boys' soccer tournament championship game. Gut-wrenching penalty kicks would likely decide the outcome. Holy Angels sophomore…
East Ridge goalkeeper Nick Wagner made the winning save in a shootout with St. Paul Central on Tuesday in the Class 2A boys’ soccer semifinals.

East Ridge had a plan to win shootout in state soccer semifinals and it worked

Miles Sitcawich made the big goal, Nick Wagner the big stop.
Edina’s Will Swanda (13) and Washburn’s Jameson Charles battled for the ball during the second half.

Edina scores twice after red card given to Washburn keeper

Hornets scored twice after a red card on Washburn's keeper.

Benilde-St. Margaret's routs Holy Angels 50-16 in Class 4A playoffs

Benilde-St. Margaret's overwhelmed Holy Angels 50-16 on Saturday in a Class 4A, Section 5 semifinal, a product of the Red Knights' talent and temperament."Our coaches'…
Shakopee coach Ray Betton celebrated a victory over Farmington with his players Friday night after several nights this season didn’t conclude as wel

Shakopee survives dramatic conclusion against Farmington

After several close losses, the Sabers survived a hectic finish.
Lakeville South Head Coach Ben Burk encourages Lakeville South LB Logan Rasmussen (51) before game against Lakeville North. [ Special to Star Tribune,

After losing football coach, resilient Lakeville South just kept winning

The Cougars, after their coach resigned amid a police investigation, have not lost under interim coach Ben Burk and earned one of four No. 1 seeds for the Class 6A playoffs.
Holy Angels linebacker Toby Vetsch sacked Orono quarterback Teddy Deters in the fourth quarter.

Holy Angels, Waconia win on road in football section quarterfinals

The Stars took an early lead in the rematch and held on.
Edina’s Sophia Boman didn’t demand the ball. But good things happened when it got to her.

Challenged to score more, ego-free Sophia Boman delivers for Edina

Girls' Metro Player of the Year: Edina's scoring production took off when Sophia Boman took charge.
Darley Florvil became a veteran leader and generous influence on a young Washburn team.

Barefoot no more, Darley Florvil brings soccer passion to Minneapolis Washburn

Boys' Metro Player of the Year: Washburn's Darley Florvis adds playmaking flair to his scoring touch .
Champlin Park midfielder Grace Marshalek, shown in the section final against Roseville on Oct. 15, is one of the keys to the Rebels' attack. Photo: Ea

Unbeaten top soccer seeds Champlin Park, Edina steeled for state tournament pressure

The quarterfinals in Class 2A start Tuesday with the Rebels' girls' team playing Stillwater. The Hornets' boys' team plays Wednesday, when the Class 1A tournament also starts.
Eden Prairie defensive back Michael Tomsche intercepted a pass by St. Michael-Albertville quarterback Kolby Gartner, setting up the Eagles’ game-win

Eden Prairie tops St. Michael-Albertville as both teams try to get right for the playoffs

Eden Prairie overcame a key injury to top "beat up" St. Michael-Albertville.
Edina’s Will Swanda is a finalist for Mr. Soccer. Photo from Minneapolis Washburn vs. Edina, 8/22/19 Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine

Soccer section upstarts, undefeated teams set to play for berth at state tournament

Tuesday is championship game day for Class 2A teams, including two teams yet to experience defeat. Class 1A finals are later in the week.
Tartan junior wide receiver Dorian Singer hauled in a 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter at Simley on Friday night, helping the Titans to a frosty

Tartan enjoys a little cold comfort in victory at Simley

The Titans corrected their troubles at Simley from 2018.
Rosemount receiver Jonathan Mann (1), who has verbally committed to Minnesota, returned a kickoff during the second half of the Irish’s game against

Humble Gopher recruit Jonathan Mann returns to form for Rosemount

When the occasion calls for a more "scholarly" look, as Rosemount senior Jonathan Mann puts it, he slips on eyeglasses with black and gold frames.One…
Jeff Papas of School Space Media did play by play during a livestream of a recent volleyball game between Cretin-Derham Hall and White Bear Lake.

Livestreaming of prep games seen as double-edged sword at the gate

Livestream providers say their efforts heighten interest. Those running postseason playoffs, which rely on ticket sales to balance budgets, say they "can't afford to give away the product.''
Lakeville South running back Johnny Shabaz broke away from Lakeville North defensive back Carter Patterson (33) on one of his two touchdown runs.

Lakeville South upsets Lakeville North, ending 10-game losing streak to Panthers

Shabaz's two TD runs propel Cougars past No. 1 Panthers
Skiers left the start line during the boys’ Nordic skiing state meet 5K classic-style race on Feb. 14 at Giants Ridge Ski Resort in Biwabik, Minn. F

More high school state tournaments face possible paid admission

The cash-strapped MSHSL could vote on that proposal as soon as Dec. 5.
Wayzata receiver Daeshawn Bush (6) celebrated his 10-yard TD reception with QB Thomas Schmidt during the first half on Friday. Wayzata led 14-0 at the

Wayzata beats Eden Prairie 17-7, end losing streak going back seven years

Trojans utilize a grinding approach to end their seven-year run of losses to rival Eagles
Lakeville North quarterback RaJa Nelson has sparkled in the starting quarterback role this season. Photo: DAVID JOLES •

Touches of excellence: How Lakeville North, Champlin Park and Hutchinson moved their best athletes behind center

Lakeville North, Champlin Park and Hutchinson all shifted receiving stars behind center this year
Tyler Krebs worked with the Lakeville South football team on Aug. 12, the first day of practice this year.

Under investigation, Lakeville South football coach Krebs resigns

Tyler Krebs took over as the Lakeville South coach in 2017 and guided the Cougars to the Class 6A semifinals in 2018. He'd previously been the coach at Burnsville.
ydney Pelzer is a starter for Concordia Academy. She also focuses on softball and only picks up a volleyball at open gym in the summer or in the yard

Dying breed of prep athletes defy year-round club sports model

Varsity soccer and volleyball players who don't compete on off-season club teams are increasingly hard to find in the Twin Cities metro area.
Rosemount receiver Jonathan Mann grabbed a short pass over the middle and scored the second of his four touchdowns vs. Farmington.

Rosemount's Jonathan Mann scores four touchdwowns in rout over Farmington

The future Gopher scored on a kickoff and three catches.
Wayzata’s Christian Vasser plowed into the end zone on a 2-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter against Prior Lake. He rushed f

Wayzata edges Prior Lake in football showdown

The Trojans' late winning TD came on a 95-yard drive in the fourth quarter
Cross-country is one of five sports, along with golf, tennis, Alpine and Nordic skiing, that do not charge admission at state championship events. Sit

Minnesota State High School League faces largest budget deficit ever

A projected deficit of $407,000 for the current fiscal year, which would be an unprecedented shortfall, comes as the league recently approved expanding classes in three sports
Coach Brian Vossen’s Lakeville North team, rated No. 1 in the metro, will host Eagan in Week 2.

'Nothing pretty' week one for many prep football teams sets up 'huge jump' in week two

Most prep football coaches say their teams make their biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2
Geno Uhrbom of Greenway Nashwauk Keewatin, who won the boys’ Class 1A cross-country championship last November, is back to defend his title as a jun

Cross-country runners, teams to watch this fall already breaking from the pack

Mounds View and Stillwater boys at top.
Richfield quarterback Ryan Miles scored on a 20-yard run in the second half. He also had an 81-yard scoring run and three touchdown passes..

Richfield ends 19-game losing skid

The Spartans gave coach Kris Pulford his first win.
Lakeville North quarterback RaJa Nelson ran 16 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns, including this 44-yard keeper in the third quarter.

Lakeville North begins defense of its state title with victory over Woodbury

Lakeville North puts multi-purpose star behind center in season-opening win
Participation in 11-player football nationwide dropped for the fifth straight year, and to its lowest level since 1999-2000.

Prep sports participation drops nationally for first time in 30 years

Declines in football and basketball were the biggest contributors, according to a 2018-2019 nationwide survey. Minnesota showed a tiny increase overall last year and one official said its football numbers are stable.
Senior forward Olivia Lovick, at practice Monday, is one of four Centennial captains this fall. Photo by David La Vaque, Star Tribune.

Different paths, same goal for Centennial soccer teams' seniors

The girls' team won the Class 2A state title in 2016 and hasn't been back since. The boys reached state for the first time last year and are itching to get back, too.
BOLD’s Jordan Sagedahl rounded third base in the fifth on his inside-the-park home run. He also pitched a one-hitter.

BOLD routs New York Mills in Class 1A baseball title game

Watching the baseball he smacked roll to the right-center field wall, BOLD junior Jordan Sagedahl figured he would reach third base.Getting waved home instead gave…
Jack VanOverbeke (1) drove against St. Thomas Academy’s Ben Mansur in the state semifinals.

Boys' lacrosse championship preview: Prior Lake scheme vs. undefeated Benilde-St. Margaret's

Undefeated BSM faces a Prior Lake team playing under a first-year coach.
Simley’s Isabella McCauley buried the Class 3A girls’ golf field, finishing 9 under par for a record-tying score of 135. No other competitor broke

Patiently aggressive freshman wins Class 3A girls' golf title

Simley's Isabella McCauley won the Class 3A girls' championship with a record-tying score.
Luke Williams of St. Thomas Academy celebrated after scoring one of his five goals.

St. Thomas Academy, Eden Prairie, Benilde-St. Margaret's and Prior Lake win in boys' lacrosse state quarterfinals

The Cadets, first-time entrants, edged Mahtomedi in a state quarterfinal.

Kacie Riggs of Eden Prairie is the Star Tribune girls' lacrosse Metro Player of the Year

Veteran presence gives the Eagles stability on both ends of the field.
Joe Fahnbulleh of Hopkins ran the last leg of the boys’ 4 x 200-meter relay, which Hopkins won in 1:25.58. The Royals also won the 4x400 relay to cl

Hopkins boys, Rosemount girls win track and field state titles

The Royals won the Class 2A team title in the last event.
Blaine’s Madison Schmidt cleared a jump during the girls' high jump competition at the Class 2A track and field state meet Friday at Hamline Univers

Minnesota High jump state record-holder repeats as champ in a jump-off

Blaine junior Madison Schmidt, the first prep girl to clear 6 feet, defended her Class 2A title by winning an unusual two-person competition to determine the state champion.
Members of the Hopkins relay teams (left to right): Wyatt Lubarski, Sam Leervig, Joe Fahnbulleh, George Jackson, Jaylen Champion, and Ty Bennett. Phot

'The buzz is real' for Hopkins' record-setting relay teams

Hopkins' relay teams are beating the clock this year.
Mahtomedi’s Ethan Russell battles a White Bear Lake defender for the ball during the second quarter of Wednesday night’s Section 4 Championship. T

Mahtomedi cruises past White Bear Lake to reach boys' lacrosse state tournament

Colin Hagstrom's role as the Mahtomedi lacrosse faceoff specialist typically is well-defined.Battle for the faceoff, which he often does successfully. And then, get off the…
Top: Mahtomedi’s Ethan Russell, center, battled with multiple White Bear Lake defenders for the ball Wednesday.
Bottom: Stillwater’s Lauren Einan

Stillwater extends girls' lacrosses state tournament streak by beating Hill-Murray

Whether scoring late in the first half or clamping down on defense in the second half, Stillwater never allowed the girls' lacrosse Section 4 final…
Hopkins Kamali Chambers (2) held the ball when the score was tied for most of four overtimes during a 2014 state tournament game against Shakopee.

Basketball coaches executive upset over shot clock, 'Sweet 16' rejections

Hopes for a 35-second clock and a reseeding of teams in the state's largest class were turned away from the Minnesota State High School League board, which approved added classes for three other sports.
Dakota United infielder Samuel Gerten, who drove in the game-winning run, dived to make a defensive stop during his team’s 8-7 victory over Rocheste

Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville and Dakota United win adapted softball state titles

Games came down to the wire with a walkoff or extra innings needed to win the championships.
Senior Brooke Lewis of Eden Prairie, shown here surrounded by Chanhassen players in an April 30 game, said a victory this season over Prior Lake aveng

Loaded sections mark start of girls', boys' lacrosse playoffs

Section 2 play for both boys and girls feature three ranked teams.
The coaches associations in cross-country, soccer, tennis, volleyball and track and field want to add classes for Minnesota State High School League s

More classes for state tournaments? Coaches want them in five sports

The state high school league's board of directors is scheduled to vote on a batch of proposals as its meeting on Monday, adding a third or fourth class to five sports.
Former East Ridge wrestling coach Matt Everson, who works from home, is pushing back against the school district for what he claims are false reasons

Honored wrestling coach speaking out on ouster from East Ridge

Matt Everson won section Coach of the Year honors for leading East Ridge wrestling to its first state tournament berth. Several weeks later he learned he was out of a job.
An official watched as Benilde-St. Margaret's Eric Weber scored over Mahtomedi's Jimmy Walker during last year's boys' lacrosse state tournament semif

Want to be a ref? Clinic tonight aimed at college students, filling need

Representatives from various sport officiating associations will answer questions for prospective official tonight at Tartan High School in Oakdale.
Minneapolis boys' lacrosse coach Aron Lipkin has played and coached the sport for years, but this is his first navigating it as an openly gay man.

Coming out brings freedom, complexity for gay Minneapolis lacrosse coach

Since Aron Lipkin came out publicly last fall, the coach found mostly support, and a new awareness of derogatory behavior that can permeate the sports culture.
University of Minnesota volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon spoke in support of boys’ volleyball Thursday at the Minnesota State High School League boa

Lakeville schools part section ways, Minnetonka girls' hockey joins loaded Section 6

The changes were approved by the Minnesota State High School League, which also voted against a boys' volleyball bid to get consideration as a league-sanctioned activity.
DeLaSalle’s Tyrell Terry finished with 19 points and 10 assists against Waseca. “He’s arguably the best point guard in the country,” Islanders

DeLaSalle win another championship trophy

DeLaSalle won its seventh state title in eight years and 12th overall.
Malik Willingham, left, and Andrew Morgan, right, hugged an unidentified teammate after Waseca’s 79-69 victory over Austin in the Class 3A semifinal

Two sophomore lead Waseca over Austin in Class 3A boys' basketball semifinals

Ryan Dufault had 30 points and Andrew Morgan 23 for Waseca.
DeLaSalle’s Tyrell Terry was fouled by Reilly O’Neil, left, of Princeton. Terry, who had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, said he is used t

DeLaSalle crushes Princeton in Class 3A boys' basketball semifinals

The Islanders pulled away from Princeton in the second half.