Staff Directory 10644451

Rachel Blount

Reporter/Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4389
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Rachel Blount is a sports reporter for the Star Tribune who covers a variety of topics, including the Olympics, Wild, college sports and horse racing. She has written extensively about Minnesota's Olympic athletes and has covered pro and college hockey since joining the staff in 1990. 

An Iowa native, Blount is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She has won numerous state and national writing awards. Her favorite stories to tell are those that convey the emotion and humanity of sports. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Pat Borzi, who also is a sportswriter.
Recent content from Rachel Blount
Sunisa Lee of St. Paul was runner-up at nationals — a feat her father was unable to witness after he was seriously hurt in an accident.

Father's injury weighs on her, but South St. Paul gymnast Sunisa Lee stays on course for Olympics

Sunisa Lee's focus is on her Olympic dream, and her dad's recovery from a spinal injury that has left him paralyzed.
Mikko Koivu’s 2018-19 season was cut short because of a knee injury.

Koivu will play in first game since knee surgery on Saturday

Mikko Koivu is keeping his expectations low for his first game in 7½ months, hoping just to feel comfortable enough to continue moving forward.
Leandro Goncalves celebrated a victory aboard Mr. Jagermeister during Festival of Champions races at Canterbury Park on September 1

Milestone year at Canterbury Park in Shakopee is one for the books

Canterbury Park president Randy Sampson is already looking ahead after Year 25. "We're doing as well as we've ever done."
Chaska native Pat Smith won a gold medal at last month’s Pan American Games in Peru.

Former U wrestler Smith peaking as 2020 Olympic Trials approach

Pat Smith moved up a weight class and begins competition Monday at the world championships in Kazakhstan.
Kylie Miller, a transfer from UCLA, was named Big Ten setter of the week Monday.

UCLA transfer Miller filling Gophers volleyball setting void

With Samantha Seliger-Swenson gone, Minnesota has made a quick adjustment at the key position.
Hugh McCutcheon directed his team during a match last season

Gophers volleyball rights the ship with sweep over Florida

After losing two straight, the Gophers came home and beat the No. 7 Gators..
A large crowd of fans came to watch the Gophers intersquad scrimmage inside Maturi Pavilion on Aug. 24

U volleyball team hits bump on the road; home opener Saturday

The Gophers had not lost back-to-back matches this early in the season since 2015, when they started 0-2. That team went on to reach the Final Four.
Gophers gymnast Shane Wiskus won the vault competition at the U.S. championships in August.

Firm grasp: U.S. championships a game-changer for U gymnast Wiskus

Following a viral moment last month, Gophers gymnast Shane Wiskus is thinking more ambitiously about the next steps in his career. He is competing this weekend at a U.S. selection camp in Colorado Springs.
Jockey Leandor Goncalves road Mr. Jagermeister to victory in the $100,000 Minnesota Sprint Championship at Canterbury Park on Sunday.

Back home, Mr. Jagermeister wins Minnesota Sprint Championship

His lone race at Canterbury Park this year makes him 7-for-9 on the track.
Mister Banjoman won the Minnesota Derby in early August and stands second in earnings at Canterbury Park this summer. Aug. 10

Mr. Banjoman helps his owner acquire a taste for the homegrown at Canterbury Park

Mister Banjoman shows reluctant buyer Minnesota-bred strength.
Setter Kylie Miller joined the Gophers after playing volleyball for three seasons at UCLA.

U volleyball has high hopes again, entering Friday's opener

The No. 3-ranked Gophers need to replace their star setter, but their top five hitters return from a team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 last year.
Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, left, introduced new Wild General Manager Bill Guerin

Guerin's take on Wild: 'A lot of work to do, but a lot of potential'

Following Thursday's introductory news conference at Xcel Energy Center, Wild coaches, players and executives lauded Bill Guerin, 48, for his broad range of experience and reputation as a unifying force.
The Gophers volleyball team practiced Monday inside the updated and newly air conditioned Maturi Pavilion.

Gophers volleyball gets cool treat: An air-conditioned home

The addition of air conditioning to the Pavilion — part of a $5.1 million package of improvements — has cooled off a building that used to feel like a blast furnace in summer and early fall.
Kevin Peraza saved a few high-difficulty bicycle stunts for the final day of competition Sunday, in Dave Mirra’s BMX Park Best Trick at the Summer X

Competitors revel in setting, perks of Minneapolis' staging of X Games

In its 25th edition — and third consecutive year here — the event continues to evolve with new contests, sites and formats.
Aori Nishimura of Japan repeated as the winner in Women’s Skateboard Street in the X Games on Sunday.

Japan impresses at X Games in preparation for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Japanese athletes won nine medals, including three Sunday during the final day of competition at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Thrills but also spills: Dawid Godziek crashed on the last ramp during the the Real Cost BMX Dirt competition Saturday at the X Games at U.S. Bank

'It feels like everything just exploded': Crashes part of the deal at X Games

Resilience is a big part of the X Games, where the spills are as breathtaking — and nearly as plentiful — as the thrills.

Little brother does much more than just tag along at X Games

When Jagger Eaton was younger, he looked up to his big brother Jett, skateboarding alongside him every day. Now that Jagger's an X Games…
Maggie Ewen (shown competing for Arizona State in the 2017 NCAA championships) won a bronze medal in the women’s shot put Sunday at Drake Stadium to

Ewen, two former U runners make U.S. team for world championships

Hassan Mead and Ben Blankenship join former St. Francis star Maggie Ewen, who won a bronze medal at the U.S. track and field championships, on the American team.
The United States women's 4x100m medley relay team (from left, Lakeville's Regan Smith, Lilly King, Kelsi Dahlia and Simone Manuel) posed with their g

More gold for Lakeville's Regan Smith plus another world record

Regan Smith's first leg in the 400-meter medley relay gave herself a world record and helped the U.S. team set a record in the event, too.

Ewen finishes fourth in nation in hammer throw

The St. Francis native posted a personal best in the hammer at U.S. meet.
Ben Blankenship, at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio

Former Gophers runner Blankenship reaches final in U.S. 1,500-meter run

Stillwater native Ben Blankenship will race Sunday in Des Moines for a spot in the world championships.
A stadium-record shot put by top-ranked Ryan Crouser topped a field in Des Moines.

Rosemount's Otterdahl sixth in shot put at nationals

Payton Otterdahl, who won the NCAA indoor shot put title last winter in his final season at North Dakota State, faced a daunting field at Drake Stadium
Regan Smith of Lakeville reacts after her women's 200 backstroke semifinal at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Lakeville teen sets world record in 200-meter backstroke

Regan Smith, who will be a senior at Lakeville North, shocked the swimming world — and herself — by smashing the world record by more than a half-second.
Competitors leap over the water pit during a preliminary heat in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Championships athletics meet, Thursday

Minnesotans Ferlic, Ali among steeplechase elite at USATF championships

Mason Ferlic and Obsa Ali got what they wanted on the first day of the championships, advancing to Saturday's 3,000-meter steeplechase finals in Des Moines.
John Betts, sitting backwards facing the horses, runs the starter's car for the harness races as his wife Sandy steers

At Running Aces, hooves pound, manes fly and the '95 Caddy rolls on

For John and Sandy Betts, who have gotten more than 5,000 races off to a good start at Running Aces harness track in Columbus, every 1-mile business trip is a joy ride.
The Australian and American stars and stripes waved before the Aussie Peppers and Canadian Wild met in fastpitch softball earlier this month in North

Australia's national women's softball team finds summer home — in Mankato

Mankato is going the extra mile to serve as home for the Australian national fastpitch team. "This is massive. The whole community has gotten behind it," one player said.
The Aussie Peppers celebrated their comeback victory in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Canadian Wild on July 3 in North Mankato, Minn.

About the Aussie Peppers of Minnesota

A closer look at the Australian softball team that is spending a few months in Minnesota.
Gophers diver Sarah Bacon will be competing in both the 1-meter and 3-meter individual events at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in South Korea.

U's star diver Bacon needs to change her game to live Olympic dream

In diving circles, Gophers diver Sarah Bacon is recognized as a master on the 1-meter board. But that won't help her pursue a dream of getting to the 2020 Olympics.
Johnnie Jamison, Canterbury Park track superintendent

Keeping horses safe: This man knows all the dirt at Canterbury Park

Johnnie Jamison, who oversees a 1-mile dirt oval that was fully renovated last fall, can sometimes be found in the middle of the night checking on the race track surface.
Gabe Grunewald in 2017.

Grunewald to be honored with Tuesday public ceremony

Tuesday would have been her 33rd birthday.
After Gabriele Grunewald's burial, family, friends, and supporters gathered for a song and a one-mile run/jog/walk to honor Gabriele just outside Hill

Grunewald remembered as she lived her life: Running for hope

Her friends, family and admirers paid tribute by running or walking 1.405 miles — her favorite number — on the Minneapolis Diagonal Trail along the edge of Hillside Cemetery, where she was buried.
Gabe Grunewald, pictured in April 2018.

Gabe Grunewald's funeral, visitation and memorial run announced

The late runner's funeral will be held Monday at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald, shown in 2017, continued to compete and train long after being diagnosed with cancer as a senior with the Gophers in 20

Runner Gabe Grunewald dies after long battle with cancer

Gabe Grunewald, 32, was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2009 and inspired thousands with her bravery and resolve.
Gabriele Grunewald (shown training in 2017), the Minnesota distance runner who gained a legion of fans during her long bout with cancer, is in grave c

Ex-Gophers runner Grunewald in grave condition, moved to comfort care

Gabriele Grunewald, the Minnesota distance runner who gained a legion of fans during her long bout with cancer, is in grave condition and was moved to comfort care Sunday afternoon.
Gable Steveson warmed up before wrestling against Rutgers at Maturi Pavilion in January.

'Refreshed' Steveson seeking spot at world championships

The Gophers heavyweight wrestler has turned the page after finishing third at the NCAAs as a freshman.
Sarah Murray, one of the coaches of the combined Koreas team answers a reporter's question after the practice match between the combined Koreas team a

St. Mary's hires Sarah Murray as women's hockey coach

The Faribault native and former standout player at Minnesota Duluth coached the unified Korean team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Gabriele “Gabe”Grunewald trained at Macalester College in 2017 with husband, Justin.

Champion runner Grunewald returns to ICU in Minneapolis

The distance runner's husband, Justin, described her harrowing battle and said she's "not out of the woods yet."
In this Jan. 25, 2019, file photo, U.S. Women's National Team member Kendall Coyne Schofield skated during the Skills Competition, part of the NHL All

Showdown intensifies between NWHL, unionized players

The NWHL announced two player signings, making clear it is forging ahead on a day a new union formed.
Gophers first baseman Hope Brandner was the hero Saturday with a walk-off homer.

Gophers walk off Georgia, await winner of Drake-Georgia

Hope Brandner's walk-off home run in the eighth inning ended a Gophers rally in dramatic style, giving them a 2-1 victory over Georgia in Saturday in an NCAA softball regional.
St. Thomas wide receiver Tanner Vik carried the Holy Grail trophy after the Tommies beat St. John’s at Target Field on Sept. 23, 2017.

If MIAC ousts St. Thomas, what happens next? It's complicated

Move to Division I? That process takes more than a decade to complete. What about the rivalry with St. John's or a move to another Division III conference? Experts provide some answers.
Glenn Caruso’s St. Thomas football team entered the field before a game.

Augsburg leader sees consensus to boot St. Thomas from MIAC

In an email obtained by the Star Tribune, Augsburg's Paul Pribbenow wrote that the athletic conference of Minnesota colleges "would have imploded" if that consensus hadn't been reached by the presidents of the member schools.
Gophers distance runners Megan (left) and Bethany (right) Hasz.

Hasz twins divide and conquer distance events for Gophers

Megan and Bethany Hasz, from Alexandria, have set records for the Gophers, heading into the Big Ten meet.
Flavien Prat on Country House, left, raced against Luis Saez on Maximum Security, third from left, during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on S

Canterbury racing official: Derby DQ call tough but totally correct

David Hooper knew something was amiss when he watched the horses come out of the final turn during the Kentucky Derby. "We could have had a major accident. Thank God we aren't talking about a disaster today."
Richie Gary, right, ridden by Eddie Martin Jr. inched ahead of Sink The Bismarck, ridden by Constantino Roman, in the home stretch to win the first ra

Opening race at Canterbury is shaded in gray

Richie Gary, in a small field in the rain, opened Canterbury Park's 2019 season with win in the first race
Randy Sampson guided the effort to get Canterbury reopened in the 1990s. His father, Curt, risked a chunk of his personal wealth to provide the seed m

Canterbury still hitting its stride, 25 years after lengthy shutdown

Built for $85 million in 1985, the track in Shakopee hosted huge crowds and high-end racing during its first two seasons. Then the challenges began.

What to know ahead of Canterbury Park's 25th season

Dates: Friday through Sept. 14 (66 racing days) Opening weekend: Live racing begins Friday (6 p.m. first post) and Saturday (12:45 p.m. first post), with eight…
Exercise riders and jockey trained horses on the track at Canterbury Park ahead of the 2019 meet season opening in early May.

Horse deaths at Santa Anita cause concern at Canterbury

Horse racing's constituencies — including trainers, horse owners, track management and regulatory bodies — often have differing agendas, impeding their ability to work together.
University of St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso celebrated with his team after a 207 victory over St. John's. at Target Field in Minneapolis.

MIAC presidents discuss issues, postpone decision on St. Thomas

Sources told the Star Tribune that presidents seeking to oust St. Thomas would push to change conference bylaws, instituting a cap on enrollment at a level that would exclude the Tommies..
Will college presidents boot St. Thomas from the MIAC?

Will college presidents boot St. Thomas from the MIAC?

School presidents are believed to be meeting Thursday to discuss if St. Thomas is too big - and its teams too good - for the main athletic league of Minnesota's private colleges.
Gophers gymnast Lexy Ramler practiced earlier this month.

Show-stopper and team leader, Ramler brings thrills to U gymnastics

Those who follow Gophers gymnastics know Lexy Ramler can captivate an audience, with performances so enthralling they can't look away. Here's her story and a look at her in action.

Nichols, Trautman want Oklahoma gymnastics back on top

Olivia Trautman and Maggie Nichols lead top-ranked Oklahoma into NCAA meet.
Jason Zucker talked to reporters as Wild players cleaned out their lockers Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Wild winger Zucker faces uncertain summer

After some of his buddies were traded during the season, he could be on the block as a hot commodity.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and General Manager Paul Fenton appeared at a season ending news conference Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Boudreau gets vote of confidence; Parise finished year with broken foot

The Wild missed the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, and players were realistic as they cleaned out their lockers. "We've got a lot of work to do," said winger Zach Parise.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett held the net aloft following the Cavaliers’ national championship Monday — standing on a special ladder designed for t

Why of course the Final Four has an official ladder and scissors ...

Champions' annual ritual features the Final Four's own official ladder and scissors
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said being eliminated from the playoffs left him feeling blue like Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore but that the team is st

Wild aims 'to put on a good show' in final two games

"We're playing to win," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday, the day after the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Minesota Whitecaps won the NWHL title during their first season in the league.

After Canadian women's league folds, NWHL announces expansion

The league champion Minnesota Whitecaps will now be one of seven teams in the league, which will include two teams in Canada for 2019-20.
Winger Zach Parise, the Wild’s leader in goals and points, has missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury, a costly absence for a sco

Parise's absence adds to Wild's scoring challenge

The Wild's leader in goals and points has missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury, a costly absence for a scoring-starved team.
Nico Sturm

Wild signs free agent center Sturm

The native of Germany is a Hobey Baker Award finalist for Clarkson.
Brad Hunt wasn’t getting much playing time with Vegas, but since coming to the Wild in January he is a regular.

Wild defenseman Brad Hunt enjoying new son, new team

The Bemidji State product barely played this season with the Golden Knights, whom the Wild visits on Friday night.
Sisters Amy and Sarah Potomak have combined forces at the U, helping lead the Gophers back to the Women’s Frozen Four.

Potomak sisters reunite, helping Gophers reach women's Frozen Four

The Potomak siblings will wrap up their first season together at the U at this weekend's Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn., starting with Friday's semifinal against Cornell.
The Wild’s Jason Zucker, shown above fighting for the puck with San Jose’s Brent Burns, says he thinks it’s great that the Wild will finish the

Wild must continue to play its best against the best

With all of its remaining games against teams currently in playoff position – starting with Friday's at Washington – the Wild hope the pattern of playing its best games against the best teams holds.
Penn State's Anthony Cassar scored on a take down over Minnesota's Gable Steveson during the Big Ten Championships at Williams Arena earlier this mont

Score to settle: Steveson enters NCAAs looking to avenge only loss

Apple Valley's Gable Steveson didn't waste time feeling sorry for himself after losing in the heavyweight title match at the Big Ten tournament, his only defeat after 30 victories.
After placing 63rd in the 500-yard freestyle in her first Big Ten Championships, the Gophers' Chantal Nack won that event in her final conference meet

Nack can top off 'incredible' Gophers career at NCAA swimming meet

Chantal Nack started slow, now is a Big Ten champ competing in the NCAAs.
Katie Mcgovern, left, and Jonna Curtis celebrated Lee Stecklein's (2) overtime goal at Tria Rink on Sunday

'Can you believe it?' Whitecaps work OT to win NWHL championship

Lee Stecklein scored 49 seconds into overtime for the winner, sparking a loud celebration at Tria Rink in St. Paul as the Whitecaps beat the Buffalo Beauts.
A sellout crowd took in the Minnesota Whitecaps win over the Metropolitan Riveters in the WNHL semifinals Friday

Whitecaps' first season leads to title game and other successes

Minnesota's National Women's Hockey League team has been a boon to the league.
Whitecaps goalie Amanda Leveille stopped a shot by the Riveters’ Madison Packer during the third period. Leveille made 35 saves. win over the Rivete

Whitecaps reach NWHL final in their first year in the league

The Whitecaps defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-1 in the Isobel Cup semifinals at Tria Rink. That put the Whitecaps into Sunday's championship game against Buffalo.
Gophers goalie Sydney Scobee makes a save last Sunday against Wisconsin at Ridder Arena.

Gophers prep for Princeton, one win from Women's Frozen Four

Minnesota is 9-1 in the NCAA quarterfinal home games, and this one is back at Ridder Arena.
“The more rest, the better,” said Jason Zucker, center. But the Wild’s winger said Wednesday’s practice was “needed.”

In a six-game rut, Wild works to right its power play

The Wild enters Thursday's game against Dallas one point out of a wild-card berth yet without a power-play goal in six games. The first faceoff is vital, and it's something we've been lacking lately," Bruce Boudreau said.
Penn State’s Anthony Cassar leaned into a decisive two-point takedown of No. 1-ranked Gophers heavyweight Gable Steveson in the title bout in the Bi

U heavyweight Steveson loses for first time in Big Ten title match

After going 30-0, U freshman Gable Steveson lost 4-3 to Penn State's Anthony Cassar in the finals. Here's the full story and video of the title match.
The Minnesota Whitecaps (shown gathered around co-head coach Ronda Engelhardt during an October practice) have secured the top seed and home ice for t

Whitecaps eager for semifinal after tickets sold out in 25 hours

In their first NWHL season, they secured the top seed and home ice for playoffs.
Gophers heavyweight Gable Steveson (shown in a January match vs. Iowa) advanced to Sunday's finals.

Gophers' Steveson reaches Big Ten heavyweight final

The unbeaten freshman is the only Gopher still in contention for a title.
The Gophers' Nicole Schammel skated against Wisconsin in last year's Frozen Four.

Schammel still thriving for Gophers, even with Olympic teammates back

Gophers coach Brad Frost worried the senior might ease up, but she keeps delivering.
Penn State’s Mark Hall, an Apple Valley native, is 23-0 this season and the top seed at 174 pounds.

Big Ten wrestling tournament at Williams Arena: What to watch

Unbeaten Penn State heads the Big Ten field; the Gophers, led by Gable Steveson, seek a top-five finish.
Minnesota Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney.

WCHA Final Faceoff preview

A look at this weekend's tournament at Ridder Arena.
Olympic gold medalist skier Jessie Diggins was recognized at a Vikings game in October. Diggins is currently competing for gold at the world champions

Olympic gold medal set a new course for Diggins

Currently fifth in the World Cup overall standings, Jessie Diggins, 27, said it has been "a year of learning" as she figures out how to pace herself off the snow as well as on.
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