Mighty Anoka-Hennepin rolls to another state championship

  • Article by: PAUL KLAUDA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 18, 2012 - 1:20 AM

Spanning all three adapted sports, the program has won seven consecutive titles.

Early in the second period, after the Anoka-Hennepin adapted floor hockey team had scored its seventh goal, the trio responsible for all of them -- linemates Zach Theroux, Tyler Kurkowski and Austin Fraser -- celebrated with tapped gloves, knowing glances, even a Tim Tebow pose while a vocal fan called it:

"Very nice teamwork!"

They were barely half-done.

Six more goals went in before the period was over. Their outburst capped a second unbeaten season for the Mustangs (16-0) and a second championship with a 13-3 defeat of St. Cloud Area in the Cognitively Impaired Division of the state tournament at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

During the team photo celebration after the victory, Mustangs players held up both hands to show seven digits. They have won seven consecutive adapted sports state championships -- two in soccer, three in floor hockey and two in softball.

"These kids really play with heart and soul,'' said Anoka-Hennepin coach Bill Newell, who got a water-bottle victory dousing from Kurkowski after the game.

Of seniors Theroux and Kurkowski, he said: "Zach and Tyler are relentless. You aren't going to find any better competitors anywhere, and they're also good kids. They like to get everyone involved, regardless of skill level and experience.

Kurkowski, sporting team color purple hair for his 18th birthday, credited his teammates, coaches and fans. "It's no big deal, it's just a game," he said.

St. Cloud (12-3-1) reached the final game by defeating previously unbeaten Dakota United in a semifinal.

Robins are another repeat dynasty

Earlier, another collection of defending champions capped their second consecutive unbeaten season in the Physically Impaired Division of adapted floor hockey. Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka (15-0-1) defeated Dakota United (13-2-2) 7-2.

The difference-maker? The Robins defense, which started the year with more question marks than it ended with Saturday, said coach Marcus Onsum. Junior goaltender Charlie Wittmer made 27 saves from his wheelchair and defenders Andy and Mike Madson expertly cleared pucks away from trouble.

Onsum said sophomore Joe Dubisar -- who scored three goals -- "played out of his mind," showing his skill at finding small openings to score.

Dubisar deflected the credit to teammates, especially Wittmer. The big goaltender answered his teammate's claim that he is the best by saying, without a hint of boast, "Yes, I'd say that's very true.'' He offered pretty solid proof: In two seasons of playing goalie in a wheelchair, he has yet to lose a game.

The win was the Robins' eighth adapted floor hockey championship in 19 years of tournament play.

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  • Anoka-Hennepin’s Tyler Kurkowski prepared to shoot — and score — during the CI Division championship game against St. Cloud Area on Saturday in Bloomington. Anoka-Hennepin won 13-3.

  • ADAPTED FLOOR HOCKEY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

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