BETH KURKOWSKI

Mahtomedi • gymnastics

Her meet-winning all-around score, 36.8, was far from the best from last week’s section meets. Considering the senior’s injury history, however, that score looked sweet.

Kurkowski’s list of gymnastics-related ailments looks like that of an NFL player: A broken foot, a fractured ankle, multiple broken toes and sprained ankles, a broken elbow, torn ligaments in the same elbow, a bone bruise in her foot, and a strained hip flexor. The latter two injuries she suppressed to win the Class 1A, Section 4 all-around title. In addition, she won the balance beam and uneven parallel bars.

“This is my last year, so I’m very motivated to get through this,” Kurkowski said. “You have to be mentally tough, although I’m very sore right now.”

She’ll hang up her leotard after the meet and plans to study astrophysics at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. The future looks bright, but she knows she’ll miss gymnastics, no matter how taxing it’s been on her body.

“It’s kind of like your identity,” she said. “I’d meet people and say ‘Hi, I’m Beth. I’m a gymnast.’ It’s doing something not a lot of people can do.”

 

MATT ANDERSON

Holy Family • hockey

The junior defenseman with the enviable hockey hair flow had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 road victory over St. Michael-Albertville. He also had three assists, including an assist on the game-winner with three second left in regulation, in a 5-4 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral.

 

TOMMY ANDERSON

Eagan • Alpine skiing

After failing to qualify for the Alpine skiing state meet in 2015, the senior earned a measure of redemption by winning the 2016 meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. He was the fastest finisher in both runs during the meet, winning with a combined time of 1:07.76.

 

TRAE BERHOW

Watertown-Mayer • basketball

The 6-foot-4 junior wing continued to make his presence felt on the score sheet. In his last four games, Berhow has averaged 27.5 points per game, including a career-high 40 points in a one-point victory over Annandale on Feb. 5. Berhow is averaging 25.9 points for the Royals (17-9).

 

MARGIE FREED

Eastview • Nordic skiing

The senior wrapped up her high school career by winning the girls’ Nordic skiing individual championship. She won the skate race by 25 seconds, then held off runner-up Erin Moening of St. Paul Highland Park in the classic race, winning the pursuit title in a combined time of 32:44.6

 

CHANEY NEU

Champlin Park • gymnastics

Just a seventh-grader, Neu has improved in nearly every meet this season, capped off by winning the Class 2A, Section 5 all-around championship. She won the uneven bars (9.25) and balance beam (9.375), was second in the floor exercise and third in the vault to finish with a total score of 37.65.

 

TAYLOR WENTE

Maple Grove • hockey

The junior forward and University of Minnesota recruit led the Crimson to its first state tournament berth. She scored five goals in two Class 2A, Section 5 playoff victories, including a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over Centennial in the championship game.

JIM PAULSEN

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