To most, the holidays are a time of celebration and joy. To Novalany, this time of the year has a more profound effect.
Novalany lost his mother to cancer nine years ago. He's normally gregarious -- his coach, Bill Maresh, calls him "my fun-loving 195-pounder" -- but the memory of his mother has made for some muted holiday celebrations.
"Every year as the holidays approach, he struggles," Maresh said.
This season, Novalany has had to deal with an added weight, an injured sternum that forced him out of the lineup. Needing to occupy his mind, Novalany approached the coaches, feeling it was time to get back on the mat.
"I could see in his eyes something was wrong," Maresh said. "I had my assistant coach take him for a walk and find out what was up. He started to explain about his mother and become very emotional."
They agreed to let him wrestle. Novalany made sure they didn't regret the move, pinning all three of his opponents in Friday's Armstrong Quadrangular.
"He received many silent hugs this week," Maresh said. "At the end of matches, Trent could hardly raise his arms up due to the pain in his sternum. He was wrestling for his mother, and I believe he received the strength to do so from her. He is a very good young man."
At 35.0 points per game, the junior guard is the leading scorer in the metro. She had a particularly good week last week, leading the Titans to three victories. She scored 125 points, including 45-point outings in victories over Simley and Duluth East.
The latest in a long line of talented Hanson brothers, the senior forward had 41 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and made four three-pointers in a 95-93 overtime victory over Cooper. He added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a victory over Minneapolis Edison.
In a meet at Chaska, Lieberman took part in five of the eight pool records set by the Eagles. He won the 200 and 500 freestyles and was a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relays (leading off with a record 100 freestyle), all of which set pool records.
The junior goalie did not surrender a goal against two quality opponents. She blanked two-time defending Class 2A champion Minnetonka, stopping 26 shots in a 3-0 victory, and held Irondale scoreless in an 8-0 whitewash. Miller now has four shutouts and a .970 save percentage.
The career assists leader and total points leader in Totino-Grace history, the senior forward added to his totals with four goals and 13 total points as the No. 3, Class 1A Eagles scored 24 goals in victories over Rogers, St. Francis and Achiever N.E. Academy.
The senior has stepped up since the loss of Katie Quigley to a knee injury. She won the all-around and set a personal best with a score of 37.575 -- tied for the best in the state so far -- in leading the Raiders to a victory over Mounds View.