Staff Directory 10645246

David La Vaque

Reporter | High school sports
phone: 612-673-7574
David La Vaque has covered high school sports with an emphasis on the North Metro suburbs since 2004.
Recent content from David La Vaque
Blaine’s Kathryn and Caleb Van Arragon, a seventh-grader and a junior, respectively, hope to play well in their section golf meets.

Blaine siblings shooting for spots in state tournament

Junior Caleb VanArragon of Blaine has qualified three times already.
Anoka boys’ tennis player Nick Spiering shares captain duties with fellow seniors Owen Maloney and Justin Melby.

Anoka tennis' grass-roots growth spurs record success

Team won 14 in a row to earn No. 3 seed in playoffs.
Wayzata’s Blake Buysse won the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:38.85.

Wayzata boys win True Team state meet for sixth year in a row while girls win first crown

Wayzata boys win True Team state title for sixth year in a row while girls win first crown
Stillwater’s Mason Green passed the ball ahead in a 13-2 victory over White Bear Lake last week. He has 12 goals for the Ponies.

Stillwater boys' lacrosse takes lessons from up-down week

The Ponies' lacrosse team followed a big win with a disappointing loss.
Tillie Turner and Chaska Spears share an interest in their cultural ties to lacrosse, a sport with centuries-old roots in North America. The two are h

Native lacrosse players link past to present

Prep athletes connect to their roots in the game. "They're born with it; it's in their genes," says the founder of Twin Cities Native Lacrosse.
Todd Wilkinson waited to watch his son Adam run the mile for Minnetonka on Friday. [ANTHONY SOUFFLE / anthony.souffle@startribune.com] High school ath

Rosemount hurdler wins at Hamline Elite Meet

Jonathan Mann, a Gophers football recruit, won the 110-hurdles Friday night.
Maple Grove junior Sawyer French, who suffered a stroke last August, worked out last Thursday. Part of his skull was removed as part of his recovery.

Felled by stroke, Maple Grove runner rebuilds left side with grit, smile

Felled by a stroke that disabled his left side, Maple Grove's Sawyer French is back on the track.
Mounds Park Academy senior Brock Bliese is seeking his third Class 1A individual golf title, but he hasn’t won one since 2015.

Mounds Park Academy's Bliese takes swing at golf history

Brock Bliese, Class 1A individual state champion in 2014 and 2015, can become just the second boys' golfer to win three state tournament titles.
Last April it was warm enough for short sleeves for Chanhassen outfielder Alex Velazquez.

Shorter prep baseball, softball games approved to combat weather woes

By mutual agreement, teams now can play two 5-inning games in a doubleheader format for the rest of this season only.
Blake’s Sophie Skallerud, left, and Payton Crosby battled during a drill. Blake will play host to the first Lacrosse Day Minnesota.

Lacrosse Day Minnesota debuts Saturday with stacked field, top players

Daylong event will launch new season, put spotlight on steady growth.
Wayzata senior Anders Sonnesyn.

Anders Sonnesyn, Star Tribune Metro Boys' Nordic skier of the Year

Finishing second feels likea win with the Wayzata standout's team-first attitude.
The Minnesota State High School League approved a new five-year contract with Xcel Energy Center on Thursday and discussed raising revenue through tic

Ticket price hikes possible for prep tournaments at Xcel Energy Center

League staff and board members discussed ways to increase revenue through two primary streams: ticket prices and school activities fees.
Delano guard Calvin Wishart averaged 42 points in three section games. He has signed with Division I Georgia Southern.

Delano comes into Class 3A boys' basketball tournament well-tested by strong schedule

The Tigers played 13 games vs. top 20 teams.
Cooper guard Ty’neecia Longs was entrusted by her celebrating teammates to hold the Class 3A championship trophy after beating Northfield.

Cooper applies pressure but doesn't feel it, throttles Northfield for Class 3A girls' basketball title

Cooper used defense to make up for lack of size, frazzle Northfield and win first state title
The Hawks Aja Wheeler got ahead of Willmar’s Hannah Johnson for a layup at Target Center.

Cooper defeated Willmar with depth, defense in Class 3A girls' basketball

The Hawks had 13 steals in beating Willmar.
Maggie Miska of Grand Rapids tipped the ball away from the Raiders’ Annalee Olson-Sola.

Northfield overpower Grand Rapids in Class 3A girls' basketball

Taller Raiders overpower Grand Rapids eventually.
Cooper guard Ty’neecia Longs shot a layup against Benilde-St. Margaret’s in a Class 3A section final last Thursday. The Hawks won to advance to th

Different background, same goal: Cooper, Mankato West make state debuts

Cooper makes its trip to state as the favorite, Mankato West as a long shot.
Walker

Sammy Walker scores a first for Edina, named Mr. Hockey

The Gophers recruit was named Mr. Hockey.
Orono High School forward Landon Wittenberg (13) celebrated with his teammates after scoring in the third period. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE � anthony.souffl

Orono center's faceoff success provides a sturdy starting point

Orono’s Landon Wittenberg leads the season highlight reel with his game-winning goal. But his many victories at the faceoff dot also meant a great deal…
Orono forward Jack Suchy (16) celebrated with coach Will Scholz after their overtime win against Breck School in the 2A section championship in Minnea

Coach's early-season rant pushes right buttons for boys' state hockey champion Orono

Sticks, gloves and helmets went flying Saturday as jubilant Orono players celebrated their first Class 1A state championship. In December, a thrown water bottle in…
Alexandria's Jack Powell scored on Hermantown goalie Cole Manahan in the third period Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

'Harmantown lost' is news worth spreading at Class 1A hockey tournament

"HERMANTOWN LOST" is all-caps stuff. "ALEXANDRIA WON" plays, too.
Former Minnesota Wild winger Mark Parrish was also a star at Bloomington Jefferson High and St. Cloud State University.

Mark Parrish savors success at Orono, where he coached

The former Wild player spent two seasons coaching the Spartans.
Edina’s Mason Nevers has been part of two top lines — and takes after his talented dad.

Edina's Nevers makes any linemate better

A strong case could be made for Edina's forward unit of Mason Nevers, Sammy Walker and Jett Jungels being the state's best.
Ricky Lyle (15), Austin Jouppi (8) and the rest of the Duluth East team opened state tournament play with a 5-0 victory on Thursday in St. Paul.

Duluth East players got the message during a no-frills bag skate last month

A coach-ordered, no-frills skate in the early hours last month had the desired effect on Duluth East players.
Minnetonka coach Sean Goldsworthy, son of North Stars legend Bill Goldsworthy, has the Skippers on a 10-game winning streak leading into the Class 2A

Goldsworthy returns to Minnetonka to lead Skippers to state

Sean Goldsworthy left St. Olaf to coach at Minnetonka, drawn back to his high school roots.
A blend of speed, toughness and relentless competitiveness has made Sammy Walker a team leader and the top metro hockey player this season.

Edina's Sammy Walker chosen Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in boys' hockey

Edina's Sammy Walker is the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year
Minnetonka's Dylan Healm

Boys' hockey tournament features familiar powers returning after absence

Though stacked with tradition-rich programs, the Class 2A boys' hockey state tournament field feels oddly fresh.
Hill-Murray’s Ben Helgeson (9), Charlie Strobel (27) and Henry Eischen (6) celebrate Eischen’s first-period goal in Friday night’s section champ

Hill-Murray renews postseason rivalry with White Bear Lake with section final victory

Henry Eischen's goals help Hill-Murray pull off section-final upset over White Bear Lake
Centennial’s Jake Pierson put the pressure on Maple Grove goalie Ethan Haider on Thursday at Aldrich Arena.

This time, Centennial defeats Maple Grove for state berth

Cougars avenge last season's section loss to Maple Grove
Minnetonka’s Josh Luedtke found the upper right corner of the net against Holy Family goalie Conan Hayton in the second overtime.

Minnetonka wins in two overtimes, Edina in a rout to earn spots in Class 2A boys' hockey tournament

The Skippers tied the score with 3.2 seconds left in regulation.
As Erich Martens assumes leadership of the Minnesota State High School League, he brings decades of experience in sports and adminstration as a teache

Q&A with new high school league boss: Club sports, eligibility and more

Erich Martens stakes over an organization still in the process of instituting a series of recommendations to improve transparency in the way it does things.
Edina’s Lolita Fidler positioned herself in front of Centennial goalie Mackenna Stoterau, helping Emily Oden score the game’s first goal in the se

Edina girls' hockey captures second consecutive state title, beating Centennial 2-1

Edina captured its second consecutive title, avenging an earlier loss to Centennial
Breck's Engelhardt achieves a first with Class 1A title

Breck's Engelhardt achieves a first with Class 1A title

Breck girls' hockey coach Ronda Engelhardt made history Saturday, becoming the first former state championship-winning player to coach a team to a title.
Gabbie Hughes of Centennial, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in girls’ hockey, is known for being driven and scoring amazing goals.

Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in girls' hockey: Gabbie Hughes of Centennial

Centennial scoring machine Gabbie Hughes has helped drive her team to state
Edina’s Aliyah Lance (22) and Emily Oden (16) celebrated with teammates after Lance scored in the last second of the second period. The Hornets won

Edina beats Blake in girls' hockey

Hornets defeat Blake in unusual section final between defending girls' hockey state champions
St. Paul United teammates smothered Catherine Kerin after she scored the winning goal in overtime against South St. Paul.

United escapes in overtime to beat South St. Paul

Shoot first, worry about aiming later.So went St. Paul United's offensive game plan for Thursday's Class 1A, Section 4 championship game. The team's main obstacle:…
Brainerd boys’ basketball coach Scott Stanfield saw no other avenue than resignation, he said, after intense pressure from parents became unbearable

Brainerd responds after coach quits because of parents' pressure

Scott Stanfield's resignation inspired his athletic director, Charlie Campbell, and his peers throughout the metro area to revisit how best to make coaches want to stay in an environment fueled by intense parental expectations that can boil over into conflict.
The Edina girls' hockey team, shown winning the Class 2A title a year ago, is ranked No. 1 going into sectional play this season.

Girls' hockey sections loom ahead

At least half the Class 2A girls' hockey teams ranked in the top 10 won't survive this week's section semifinals and championships.
Minneapolis Public Schools Athletic Director Trent Tucker watched a tennis match in 2013. He resigned from his post on Thursday.

Trent Tucker resigns, another placed on leave from Mpls. athletics posts

Trent Tucker, director of athletics for Minneapolis high schools, and Southwest High School AD Ryan Lamberty both made news Friday.
Osseo's Zach Theisen

Osseo's Theisen, Irondale's Findell feelin' 3-point groove

Osseo's Zach Theisen and Irondale's Sophie Findell are both record setters.
Irondale heavyweight wrestler Tyheem Cobb practices with two much lighter former college wrestlers. It’s helping him.

Irondale heavyweight Tyheem Cobb breaks into top 10 with better technique

Tyheem Cobb practices with two former college wrestlers at 133 and 141.
Minnesota State High School League Executive Director Dave Stead

Stead set to leave MSHSL on April 2

Dave Stead has led the high school league as executive director the past 30 years.
From left, Champlin Park teammates Megan Munneke, Erica Hicks, Gabby Mocchi and Amanda Pollard celebrated a year ago after Hicks scored her 1,000th ca

Four seniors together since fourth grade lead Champlin Park girls' basketball team

Last season, the group helped Champlin Park to its first 20-victory season in more than a decade.
Senior guard Michael Jones is hoping to lead the Royals to another Suburban East title and a deep state tournament run.

Woodbury guard among best in strong senior class in boys' basketball

Michael Jones averages 28.1 points but is under the radar in a strong class.
Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner, whose Pioneers contend regularly for state titles, expressed some support for periods being lengthened to college and

Longer season, periods proposed to keep top Minnesota prep hockey players from leaving state

Coaches' association proposing to add games as a way to retain top talent.
Andover forward Claire Butorac, above, learned a lot from seniors on the Huskies’ 2015 state tournament team. Left, Andover sophomore Jamie Nelson i

Andover veterans hope to lead Huskies to girls' hockey state tournament again

Three Huskies on the 2015 state tournament team are leading current group.
Waconia strength and conditioning coach Josh Anderson, left, coached soccer player Devin Breeggemann and basketball player Courtney Freeberg, right, i

Minnesota high schools bulking up their weight rooms

Growing emphasis on strength and conditioning to serve a broad spectrum of prep athletes has schools spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for weight room equipment and improvements.
Ben Brinkman prepared to shoot the puck against the Hill-Murray goaltender in a game at Braemar Arena on Jan. 21, 2017.
Edina is charging a $100-per-g

Want to livestream Edina boys' hockey? It'll cost you $100 a game

Those seeking to show home games of the school's highest-profile sports team on the Internet must pay a $100 per-game fee, imposed to counter effects of an attendance drop.
Image of the new Tria Rink.

First puck drops Thursday night in St. Paul's new Tria Center

St. Paul Johnson and North St. Paul will play in the first game at the Minnesota Wild's new practice facility.

Ex-Gopher resigns as White Bear Lake assistant girls' hockey coach

Girls' hockey assistant crossed privacy norms.
Rosemount's Jacob Smith was all smiles as he posed for pictures surrounded by his family after he signed to play football for Brigham Young University

Big guys can't wait this time of year, either, as Rosemount lineman signs with BYU

The team captains pushed each other in practice to improve.
Pierz running back Reese Kapsner high-stepped out of a tackle on the way to the end zone.

Pierz beats turnover-prone St. Croix Lutheran 34-21 in 3A Prep Bowl

Pressure leads to eight St. Croix Lutheran fumbles as Pioneers finish unbeaten.
Minnetonka wide receiver Jackson Owens caught a long touchdown pass from Aaron Syverson in the final seconds of the first half. It cut Eden Prairie’

After Minnetonka's 'Hail Mary' TD, Eden Prairie gets tougher

The Eagles gave up only 72 passing yards to Minnetonka after halftime.
Holy Angels quarterback Joseph Heimbold (9) and receiver Mason Wolf went airborne during the Angels’ victory celebration Friday.

Class 4A: Holy Angels stops Cloquet 14-0 in Prep Bowl for first state title

Holy Angels makes a few big plays at right time in securing its first championship
Minnetonka football head coach Dave Nelson, right, sat beside his father, former coach Stan Nelson

Minnetonka football makes a mission to bring back 'brotherhood of trust'

Unified Minnetonka plays Eden Prairie at 7 p.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium, the third Prep Bowl meeting between Nelson and Eagles coach Mike Grant.
In this in-camera multiple exposure, Eden Prairie’s Antonio Montero was photographed Friday at Eden Prairie High School. ] AARON LAVINSKY ï aaron.l

Eden Prairie's Antonio Montero named Metro Player of the Year

If it's a big Eden Prairie play, chances are Antonio Montero made it
Erich Martens, newly approved executive director of the Minnesota State High School League.

Minnesota State High School League approves new executive director

He will replace longtime executive director Dave Stead early next year.
Owatonna players, including quarterbacks Abe (3) and Sol Havelka (6), celebrated the Huskies’ impressive victory over Brainerd.

Owatonna quarterback puts on show with seven touchdown passes against Brainerd

The Huskies aired it out for 451 passing yards.
Champlin Park’s Chaney Neu was upside down on one of her vaults at the state meet last season. She won the Class 2A all-around title as an eighth-gr

North-metro winter sports revving up

Hill-Murray in hockey and Champlin Park gymnast Chaney Neu among those to watch
Cloquet’s Tim Pokornowski (3) rushed for a career-high 249 yards in the Lumberjacks’ 40-21 win over South St. Paul.

Class 4A semifinal: Cloquet unleashes bruising ground game to beat South St. Paul

Lumberjacks back in title game for first time in 41 years.
Erich Martens, recommended candidate to become executive director of the Minnesota State High School League.

MSHSL committee recommends new executive director; some concerned about process

Erich Martens, a high school principal in central Minnesota, is expected to replace Dave Stead as the organization's executive director.
Maple Grove’s Joe Raymon was tackled by three Eden Prairie players in the first quarter of the Eagles’ 26-0 victory Thursday night at U.S. Bank St

Class 6A semifinals: Eden Prairie revs up in second half to dispatch Maple Grove

Leading by only six points at halftime, the Eagles ground down resilient Maple Grove.
From left, kicker Andy Peterson, quarterback Curtis Haugen and wide recever Joe Raymon all played pivotal roles in Maple Grove scoring three touchdown

Maple Grove football team moves past the 'one-minute miracle'

After Maple Grove's stunning rally, the Crimson now must solve Eden Prairie in the Class 6A state semifinals.
Williamson

Owatonna runs through Mahtomedi with seven touchdowns from star running back Jason Williamson

Jason Williamson has hit that mark twice this year.
Cretin-Derham Hall players celebrated their victory over Edina in White Bear Lake on Friday. The Raiders scored two touchdowns in the second quarter a

Cretin-Derham Hall prevails against Edina

The Raiders last made it this far in the state tournament six years ago.
Coach Ben Wolfe watched his Orioles practice for their Class 5A state quarterfinal vs. Brainerd on Friday in St. Cloud.

First winning season in 45 years lands St. Louis Park in state football tournament

The season started with four Marines waiting for the Orioles for a morning workout after a lock-in at the school. It continues Friday night with a quarterfinal match-up against Brainerd.
Emily Covert, a junior from Washburn High School in Minneapolis, won the girls’ 2A race at the state cross-country meet on Saturday at St. Olaf Coll

Minneapolis Washburn junior wins Class 2A girls' cross-country title

Wayzata swept the boys' and girls' Class 2A titles in Northfield.
Khalid Hussein, third from left, will lead a strong Wayzata team at the Class 2A cross-country meet. He was the individual runner-up a year ago. The T

Wayzata boys, girls teams favored in Class 2A cross-country meet

Two former state champions will duel in Class 1A girls' race.
Maple Grove’s Caleb Robinson, left, and Natan Lidukhover of Wayzata contested the ball Monday in their Class 2A semifinal match.

Stillwater, Wayzata to play for 2A boys soccer title after winning semifinal matches

Ponies answer early goal with five, will play Wayzata in final.
Holy Angels receiver John Kosmach hauled in a touchdown pass with Mound Westonka’s Sam Dufault defending in the first half Saturday.

Holy Angels' defense picks up the slack in 34-7 win over Mound Westonka

The offense put up points but made mistakes along the way.
Blaine receiver Peyton Downey brought in a long catch against Armstrong defender Maurio Easley during the second quarter.

Blaine routs Armstrong 59-21 in Class 6A playoff

Blaine scored on the opening kickoff and was relentless vs. Armstrong
SMB’s Thomas Washington was wrapped up by Orono’s Grant Perry (7) and Taylor Reeves (20) Tuesday.

Orono rolls over SMB in football playoffs

After brief stutter, Bobby Striggow's three TDs lead Spartans in first round
Coach Carl Pierson during a Fall League practice for Waconia girls basketball players in 8th and 9th grade. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ ï cgonzalez@startribune

Crunch time never ends for Minnesota's high school coaches

School teams are less important to today's athletes, but for their coaches, the demands of the job -- and expectations -- continue to grow. The third of a three-part series on the state of youth sports.
Maple Grove’s Meredith Haakenson is headed to Michigan to play next year.

Star Tribune Metro Girl's Soccer Player of the Year: Meredith Haakenson

Fiery drive started early for Meredith Haakenson of Maple Grove.
The athleticism of Edina’s Matt Lindberg had the school’s football coach calling him.

Star Tribune Metro Boy's Soccer Player of the Year: Matt Lindberg, Edina

Foot speed, instinctive ball touch propels Edina's Matt Lindberg.
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