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Rachel Blount

Reporter/Columnist | Sports
phone: 612-673-4389
Rachel Blount is a sports and general assignment reporter, with a particular emphasis on Olympic sports.
Recent content from Rachel Blount
Minnesota Wild Eric Staal (12). ] CARLOS GONZALEZ ï cgonzalez@startribune.com ñ April 17, 2018, St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center, NHL, Stanley Cup P

Staal focused on winning, not justice after cross-check suspension

Eric Staal says he's more worried about helping to keep the Wild alive in the playoffs than Josh Morrissey's nasty hit.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck made a save in the second period. It was one of 30 shots stopped by the Vezina Trophy finalist in his first postseas

Jets goalie Hellebuyck puts bad games behind him

Connor Hellebuyck bounced back from Sunday's stinker with shutout win over the Wild in Game 4 and has a chance at the league's Vezina Trophy
At 6-5 and 260 pounds, Roseau’s own Dustin Byfuglien is an imposing presence for the Jets.

Byfuglien provides bruising plays but takes few penalties

The size and judgment of Jets defensemen Dustin Byfuglien keep Wild players alert.
Jessie Diggins poses for a selfie with Kris Hansen

Olympic champion Diggins comes home to Stillwater for parade

Back home as a gold medalist, Jessie Diggins rolled down Main Street in the back of a white pickup, the Olympic medalist reveled in Saturday's snowflakes as if they were nature's ticker tape.
Wild center Eric Staal finished the regular season ranked fifth in the NHL in goals and 14th in shooting percentage.

Wild's Staal has goal record; now he wants to lead a deep playoff run

The center ended last spring's brief postseason run in the hospital, where he was taken after a frightening headfirst crash into the boards during a Game 5 loss to St. Louis.
Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon practiced for the first time Monday since he suffered a partial right hamstring tear March 13.

Wild's Spurgeon practices for first time in nearly a month

The poise Spurgeon could offer the defensemen during the playoff series against the Jets would be a major lift to the Wild if he is able to suit up for Game 1 Wednesday at Winnipeg.
Bulldogs player from Saskatchewan grieving after Humboldt team tragedy

Bulldogs player from Saskatchewan grieving after Humboldt team tragedy

UMD's Blake Young played for the Battleford North Stars of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, of which Humboldt is a member
Top: Bulldogs forwards Karson Kuhlman (20) and Jade Miller celebrated Kuhlman’s pretty first-period goal in Saturday’s NCAA championship game. A

Kuhlman doing it all in his UMD finale

The Frozen Four's most outstanding player leaves it all on the ice for his last game
Gophers gymnasts Ivy Lu, left, and Lexy Ramler hope to lead their team to a top-two finish in an NCAA regional on Saturday at Maturi Pavilion.

U gymnasts Lu, Ramler on everyone's radar at NCAA regional

Language intrigue notwithstanding, Ivy Lu and Lexy Ramler are winners.
Sandelin

What pressure? UMD plays 10th one-goal NCAA tournament game in a row

Thursday's victory moved the Bulldogs' record to 7-3 in those nail-biters. To get to the Frozen Four, they beat Minnesota State Mankato 3-2 in overtime and defeated Air Force 2-1 in the West Regional.
Shane Wiskus is taking the Big Ten and college gymnastics by storm as a freshman in a sport dominated by upperclassmen.

Gophers' Wiskus a 'game-changer' for men's gymnastics entering Big Ten championship

A lot of people can do the things Shane Wiskus does, but few can make it look so effortless

Jordan Greenway prepares for jump from college hockey to Wild

Wild expects Jordan Greenway to be huge (6-6) boost down stretch.
An NCAA championship gave a gang of Texas supporters reason to get excited Saturday night at the national championship meet.
Texas takes first in the

Texas wins NCAA swimming championship

The Longhorns surged past California and Indiana in the closest finish in 16 years, scoring 449 points to beat the Bears (437.5) and the Hoosiers (422).
Better than before: North Carolina State swimmers broke a record in the 400 freestyle relay, the one they set Friday.

Gophers finish 15th in NCAA men's swim meet

A strong final day lifted the Gophers to 67 points. Three individuals — Conner McHugh, Bowe Becker and Nick Yang — advanced to the championship or consolation finals.
Florida’s Caeleb Dressel celebrated Friday after he successfully defended his NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly, breaking his own record in the p

Indiana revives history in NCAA swimming push

Indiana, 50 years after era of swimming dominance, is poised to win title again.

Purdue's Steele Johnson claims fifth NCAA diving title

He came back from a foot injury and a three-month break to win on the 3-meter board.
Florida’s Caeleb Dressel splashed in joy after winning the 50-yard freestyle in the NCAA meet in a record-setting time.

U.S. record broken at NCAA men's swimming and diving meet at U

Florida star Caeleb Dressel won his fourth title in the 50-yard freestyle in 17.6 seconds, a laughably fast time.

Gophers' Bowe Becker places third in 50-yard freestyle in NCAA swim meet

He finished behind winner Caeleb Dressel of Florida and Ryan Held of North Carolina State.
The NCAA men's swimming and diving championships are being held through Saturday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota.

Two records in first event in NCAA men's swimming meet indicate more will fall

North Carolina State relay, leadoff Indiana swimmer stun.
Gophers junior Bowe Becker won the 50 freestyle at the Big Ten meet and set a conference record. In this week’s NCAAs, he’s seeded second in the e

Gophers swimmer Becker is turning a diagnosis into a dream

Junior Bowe Becker started swimming to battle rheumatoid arthritis; now he's world-class.
Afton’s Jessica Diggins celebrated on the podium after finishing in second place in the 10-kilometer freestyle pursuit in the final race of the Worl

Another milestone for Jessie Diggins with second-place finish in World Cup standings

The Afton gold medalist took second in the season-ending race as well.
USA players posed with the gold medal after beating Canada in a shootout.

Crushing fear and doubt, U.S. women win hockey gold

The U.S. women beat Canada 3-2 for the Olympic gold medal in a shootout at Gangneung Hockey Centre, riding a stout performance from goaltender Maddie Rooney of Andover and the pond-hockey chops of North Dakota's Lamoureux twins.
Jessie Diggins carried the flag for team USA at Closing Ceremony on Sunday night. ORG XMIT: MIN1802251126030952

Afton's Diggins hoists U.S. colors at Olympics Closing Ceremony

South Korea concluded one of the most efficient Games in recent memory Sunday.
U.S. skiers Kikkan Randall, left, and Jessie Diggins of Afton, Minn., after winning the gold in the team sprint in Pyeonchang, South Korea, on Thursda

Diggins 7th in final Olympic race; Minnesotan Frankowski 21st

Jessie Diggins, who won a gold medal Wednesday in the team sprint, fell on the first lap on the 30-kilometer race and found herself playing catch-up the rest of the way.
The Minnesota and Duluth themed mask of USA goalie Maddie Rooney (35).

Minnesota Strong: Local athletes return home with impressive Olympic medal count

Athletes from this pocket of the world did the U.S. proud, and they have the medals to prove it
United States' team celebrates after defeating Canada during the men's curling semi-final match at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea,

Stone-cold stunner: U.S. curlers bump Canada, play for gold next

The upset continued a remarkable roll for Team Shuster, the Minnesota-rich men's team was left for dead last weekend after staggering through two losses that dropped its record to 2-4
Jessie Diggins celebrates after winning the gold medal in the during women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing final at the 2018 Winter Olymp

Digging deep, Jessie Diggins celebrates historic gold medal

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall captured gold in the women's team sprint. The medal was only the second ever won by a U.S. cross-country skier at the Winter Games and the first gold.
Becca Hamilton delivered the rock during the U.S. women’s team’s 10-4 win over China on Monday night. The U.S. beat Denmark 7-6 earlier in the day

U.S. curlers have good day at rink

The women's team won twice while the men's team edged Canada to stay alive.
Afton's Jessie Diggins has the posssibility of two more chances of a medal after already competing four times.

Diggins makes no apologies over not winning any medals

The Afton skier isn't focusing on the hardware, but instead on the best finishes ever for U.S.
Mirai Nagasu of the United States landed a triple axel that generated buzz around a team that’s not expected to be a factor in singles.

U.S. women's figure skating struggling to generate interest

Too many jumps, too few rivalries have eroded interest in Games' glamour sport.
Becca Hamilton delivered the rock during a game vs. China on Monday night.

U.S. women curlers raise record to 4-3 by beating China, Denmark

Nina Roth's last stone settles it in a 7-6 victory.
John Shuster’s success rate of 73 percent through six games is the lowest of the 10 Olympic skips, and the U.S. also is last in team shooting at 79

USA men lose two in curling; playoff hopes between rock and a hard place

Only three round-robin games remain for the Americans to try and scramble back into contention.
Gigi Marvin (19), of the United States, and Russian athlete Fanuza Kadirova (17) battle for the puck during the third period of the preliminary round

Therapy, prayer get U.S. hockey player Gigi Marvin back to Olympics

Marvin had been dealing with chronic hip injuries for months leading up to the 2014 Olympics. After the Sochi Games, her body shut down to the point where it could not handle any physical exertion.
Jessie Diggins got a hug from her mother, Deb, at the end of the women’s 10-kilometer free at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in the Winter Games. ] C

Minnesota parents mark Olympic journey in years, tears

Mothers and fathers of Minnesota-linked Olympians made the 6,400-mile journey to South Korea to share in an experience that is as rewarding for them as it is for their children.
Even the mascots insist on keeping your hands clean at the Olympics.

Postcard from the Olympics: Hands down, Korea cleans up in hospitality, kindness and sanitizing

Unlike some other recent Olympic hosts (I'm talking about you, Sochi, and you, Rio), Gangwon Province was clearly ready for the Winter Games, and it has put its own spin on the Olympic spirit with a tide of Korean efficiency and hospitality.
Russian athlete Nikolai Prokhorkin (74) celebrates after scoring a goal against the United States during the second period of the preliminary round of

Russians push past U.S. 4-0 in men's hockey throwback to Big Red Machine

The Russians won the group in pool play, earning a bye into the medal-round quarterfinals.
Yuzuru Hanyu put together a gold medal routine in the free skate, after entering the Olympics after a long injury layoff.

Hanyu skates to Olympic men's singles title; USA's Chen 5th

Yuzuru Hanyu's free skate earned him a historic repeat gold medal, well ahead of Nathan Chen who made a remarkable rally after the short program but ended up fifth.
Jessie Diggins got a hug from her mother Deb at the end of the race. Diggins of Afton, MN finished fifth in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle at Alpe

No time for heartbreak: Diggins eyes medals in cross-country team relays

Jessie Diggins of Afton finished fifth in the 10-kilometer freestyle Thursday, her best chance for an individual medal. But she has relay races to come.
Yuzuru Hanyu won men’s figure skating gold in Sochi, and the 23-year-old is looking good for Pyeongchang, too, after his 111.68 in the short program

Defending men's figure skating gold medalist Hanyu in position to repeat

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu blew away the field with a score of 111.68 in Friday's men's figure skating short program, showing no lasting effects of an ankle injury that has kept him off the ice.

Big Two in women's hockey see gap starting to close

On the 20th anniversary of women's hockey at the Olympic Games, the U.S. and Canada are again heavy favorites to play for the gold medal. Both have secured automatic berths into Monday's semifinals.

U.S. women's curlers rocked by Japan, rebound to defeat Great Britain

Trounced 10-5 in its opening game, the U.S. women's curling team rebounded for a tight win over Great Britain in the next game.
John Shuster’s comeback hit a pinnacle when he delivered the final rock during the U.S. Olympic curling team trials. Team Shuster beat Team McCormic

After huge rejection, Duluth's Shuster back in Olympics with lots to prove

In 2014, USA Curling met in Blaine to choose a group of its best players to prepare for future international competition. John Shuster wasn't on the list and used the rejection as motivation for where he is today.
Team USA curlers (from left) Nina Roth, Tabitha Peterson, Aileen Geving and Corey Christensen built their own chemistry for their 2018 Olympic run.

Women's curling team didn't choose each other, but built strong connection

Women from Minnesota and Wisconsin are chasing the same dream.
Aton's Jessie Diggins will race in Tuesday's classic sprint cross-country skiing event at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Afton's Diggins will start in Tuesday's classic sprint

She has made major strides since the 2014 Olympics, which she hopes to show in Tuesday's classic sprint at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Emily Pfalzer (8) Susanna Tapani (77) and Hannah Brandt (20) fought for the puck in the first period of the U.S.-Finland game.

Road to gold? USA, Canada open with very different hockey wins

The two teams that are expected to play for the Olympic gold medal in women's hockey began the Winter Games tournament in very different ways.
U.S. Olympic Winter Games cross-country skiing hopeful Jessie Diggins poses for a portrait at the 2017 Team USA media summit Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017

Ski's the limit: Diggins digs deep in pursuit of Olympic gold

Afton's Jessie Diggins dreams big, with sights set on becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing.
Spectators made their way to the Gangneung Curling Center on Thursday. As the first Olympic competitions began there, the temperature was 9 degrees, w

Olympic cold has Minn. athletes feeling right at home in S. Korea

After two Winter Games that were glaringly short on winter, Minnesota's athletes say bring it on.
The NBC sports broadcasting team, from left, Fred Gaudelli, Mark Lazarus, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya, Al Michaels, and Drew Esocoff

NBC lets Super Bowl, not Michaels, do the entertaining

NBC got the exciting game it wanted, and did it justice with a broadcast that honored its pledge to keep the focus squarely on the action instead of the sideshows.
The NBC broadcasting team in town, which includes, from left, Chairman Mark Lazarus, broadcasters Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya and Al Michaels an

NBC's 'Sunday Night Football crew has covered Super Bowls before, but none like this

NBC's crew has been here before, but that doesn't limit the nerves or keep it from trying something new.
NBC sports broadcaster Cris Collingsworth found his post-playing days niche as an NFL analyst. He has won 16 Emmy Awards in 28 years.

Calling NFL games a taxing job for ex-Bengals receiver Collinsworth

Colleagues say Cris Collingsworth's on-air manner reflects who he is outside the booth: Often funny, sometimes provocative, and utterly, unashamedly in love with football.
Maggie Nichols is introduced during the 2016 Olympic gymnastic trials.

After abuse scandal, Nichols' mother says USA Gymnastics has 'totally ignored us'

Gina Nichols of Little Canada said her family has received no apologies nor any offers of help from USA Gymnastics after the sex abuse scandal involving the team's doctor, who is currently in prison.
Jessie Diggins

Afton's Diggins officially qualifies for Olympics

Three top-eight finishes in the World Cup of cross-country skiing earned Jessie Diggins another spot the on U.S. team.
St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen (20) of Moorhead was picked for the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team.

NHL's absence from Olympics opens door for players with Minnesota ties

St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen is one of five with state ties named to the team.
Dani Cameranesi, right, will get another chance to beat Renata Fast, left, and Team Canada.

Eight with Minnesota ties make U.S. women's Olympic hockey team

Gigi Marvin will be playing in her third Olympics; Lee Stecklein and Amanda Kessel are headed for their second. All are former Gophers.
Matt Hamilton was congratulated by John Shuster.

Hamilton siblings win friendly battle at mixed doubles curling Olympic trials

It will be a rematch, as Cory Christensen and John Shuster advanced to the finals to face siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton. Christensen and Shuster lost their playoff opener to the Hamiltons
John Shuster, at the U.S. Olympic curling team trials last month. Shuster and Cory Christensen rolled through the round robin at the U.S. Olympic tria

Top seeds set in U.S. Olympic trials for mixed doubles curling in Blaine

John Shuster and Cory Christensen rolled through the round robin at the U.S. Olympic trials for mixed doubles curling, starting on a 4-0 run and finishing with only one loss.
With the addition of mixed doubles curling, Jamie Sinclair of St. Paul still has a chance to be an Olympian.

Minnesota curlers keep Olympic dreams alive

Those who missed singles cut can try again in mixed doubles, a fast-paced, aggressive counterpart to traditional curling.
Rooney and the U.S. team faced Finland in November in the Four Nations Cup.

Andover's Rooney set to be top U.S. Olympic goalie

Maddie Rooney is among three goaltenders on the 26-member U.S. team, which will face Canada on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
John Shuster was greeted by his family after his team won the Gold Medal at the U.S. Olympic curling team trials. Team Shuster beat Team McCormick to

Shuster clinches record-setting fourth U.S. men's Olympics curling team

John Shuster guided his foursome to a 7-5 victory over Team Heath McCormick to win the third and deciding playoff game at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Matt Hamilton called out after delivering the rock during Friday action at the U.S. Olympic curling team trials.

Veering rock helps Team Shuster force Game 3 at men's U.S. Olympic curling trials

John Shuster struck for three points in the second end, then took advantage of a fluke errant final shot by Heath McCormick, setting up a Saturday finish with the Olympics on the line.
Jamie Sinclair of St. Paul calls out instructions after delivering a rock during the U.S. Olympic curling trials on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, at Baxter A

Team Sinclair forces deciding third game at women's U.S. Olympic curling trials

Last rock ties Team Roth in best-of-three playoffs.
Heath McCormick called out after delivering the rock during Thursday action at the U.S. Olympic curling team trials. Team McCormick beat Team Shuster

Team McCormick takes playoffs lead at U.S. Olympic curling trials

Heath McCormick, who missed two critical shots in the round-robin finale, guided his team with a sure hand in two games Thursday to get to the playoff round and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker scored six goals over three games last week.

'An absolute battle' of a practice led to game results for Wild

Before playing vastly improved hockey to close out a four-game road trip last week, the Wild was put through a daunting practice. "It was exactly what we needed," Jason Zucker said.
Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker celebrated after scoring a goal in the first period against the New York Islanders last month.

Zucker's goals are for a good cause - $1,600 each

Jason Zucker and his wife, Carly, launched a fundraising campaign last month for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
Cory Christensen is a 22-year-old skip from Duluth who, despite her youth, likes her team’s chances at the Olympic curling trials in Omaha.

Christensen likes young team's chances at U.S. Olympic Curling Trials

Cory Christensen's team brings youth to the ice - she's 22 - but also a strong competitive mind-set.
Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker (16) celebrates after scoring as Montreal Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren (39) and defenseman Jordie Benn (8)

Zucker's first-career hat trick gives Wild needed victory over Canadiens

Jason Zucker scored three times in the third period to break a scoreless tie and Devan Dubnyk recorded his 25th career shutout Thursday night in Montreal.
Montreal Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren

Minnesota native Lindgren impressing as fill-in for Canadiens' Price

Charlie Lindgren, who played for Lakeville North and St. Cloud State, became the toast of Montreal by going 2-0 last week.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov (47) knocks down Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) in front of Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk during the fi

Despite improvement, Wild losing streak continues in Toronto

Jason Zucker scored twice for a Wild team that put forth a better effort on Wednesday night but could not break a three-game losing streak, falling to the Maple Leafs.
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs center Dominic Moore (20) during the second period of an NHL hockey game W

Early arrival of Stalock's new baby puts Dubnyk in Wild's net

The early expansion of the Stalock family could mean Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk will start both games of a back-to-back set that ends Thursday in Montreal.
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau addressed his team during a practice earlier this season.

Wild put through tough love practice after lifeless loss

Monday's loss at Boston earned the Wild a harsh video session to dissect its mistakes, followed by an hour of high-tempo, end-to-end drills repeated over and over.
The Bruins’ Matt Beleskey knocked the Wild’s Luke Kunin to the ice during a first-period fight in Boston on Monday night.

Wild creates its own problems in loss to injury-depleted Boston

The Wild struck first, then got soft around the net, slow in the neutral zone and sketchy in goal as Boston scored four in a row. Goalie Devan Dubnyk was yanked after two periods.
Wild winger Charlie Coyle broke his right fibula in an Oct. 12 game at Chicago and still has another three to five weeks to go before he will be ready

Wild's Coyle stays behind, misses annual game to hometown

The native of East Weymouth, Mass., who grew up watching the Bruins on TV, had to cheer from the couch again when the Wild played at Boston on Monday — though this time, he was rooting for the opponent.
Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault (24) tried, but failed to get the puck past Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) in the second period. ]

Plenty of standouts as Wild cuts through hapless Canadiens 6-3

Following a scolding from coach Bruce Boudreau for a lack of "self-preparation" in recent games, the Wild showed what it can do when it is fully engaged.
The Minnesota Wild's Matt Cullen, right, celebrates his first-period goal against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, at Xcel Energy Cen

Cullen enjoys milestone-filled night with Wild

He understands the fascination, but Matt Cullen still finds it a little surprising. At an age when the candles on his birthday cake represent a fire hazard, the Wild forward still is plugging away in the NHL, back in his home state after abandoning his plans to retire.
Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers, right, of Denmark, celebrates as he scores on Minnesota Wild goalie Alex Stalock, left, during the third period of an N

Dumba's third-period misplay boosts Winnipeg to 2-1 win over Wild

A careless drop pass early in the third period resulted in a two-goal lead for Winnipeg and a seat on the bench for the rest of the game for defenseman Matt Dumba.
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