Staff Directory 10645246

David La Vaque

Reporter | High school sports
Phone: 612-673-7574
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

David La Vaque is a high school sports reporter for the Star Tribune. 

La Vaque previously spent 18 months covering high school sports at the Woodbury Bulletin. La Vaque has written frequently about Minnesota State High School League news, football, hockey, lacrosse and track and field. A native of St. Paul, La Vaque lives in Woodbury. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Communication Studies, Rhetoric and Applied Business. La Vaque is researching a book on the history of the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament. In his free time, he enjoys running and biking and listening to music.
Recent content from David La Vaque
Hastings’ Todd Field is empty now. As for this fall, if the Raiders play, it’s uncertain how those game nights will look: Will there be any fans?

High school league sets summer plans despite hazy fall outlook

The Minnesota State High School League will allow coaches to start working with athletes on June 15, the first concrete step toward possibly resuming competition later this year.
State Senator Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center.

Prep sports eligibility rules get fresh heat from government, parents

The Minnesota State High School League is exploring revisions of two contentious league bylaws that help determine student-athlete eligibility.
Colin Hagstrom, right, was a hockey hero for Mahtomedi, scoring the winning overtime goal in the Class 1A final. He also is a lacrosse player for the

Mahtomedi two-sport seniors say hockey title eased sting of spring sports loss

Billy Buttermore and Colin Hagstrom captured a state championship in their final Mahtomedi athletic season.
The principal of Edina High School, Roland Ring, stopped by Southwest to offer congratulations after the city school beat the Hornets 1-0 for the 1970

50 years later, Southwest's hockey title win over Edina stands taller yet

Minneapolis Southwest vs. Edina was a fierce local rivalry at a time when 11 city schools had hockey teams, and the intersection of 50th and France was known as 'state title crossroad.'
On what proved to be the last night of the girls' basketball state tournament on March 12, the combined Hopkins and Farmington bands played several tu

Prep basketball teams deprived of tournament get consolation honor

All teams in contention for basketball state titles when the COVID-19 pandemic ended play will be known as "finalists'' and receive trophies and medals.
The Jordan baseball park, also known as the “Mini Met,” has been a frequent host of state tournament baseball games.

Everyone loses as high school spring sports are called off

The Minnesota State High School League made the announcement shortly after Gov. Tim Walz said that Minnesota schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
Minnetonka's Luke Tollefson playing safety in 2018. Of his winless 2019, he said: "Losing every week is tough. You could see it on the faces of the gu

Winless or last place: Three state athletes show dignity amid struggles

A winless season, a last place finish at state and a senior's season ending injury didn't keep these high school athletes from finding strength during the high school season.
North St. Paul’s Shaliciah Jones wanted to win three individual gold medals this spring as a senior.

Rare sweep of sprints by North St. Paul track star Shaliciah Jones in jeopardy but she keeps leading

North St. Paul senior Shaliciah Jones hoped to sweep 100, 200 and 400.
Esko players watched a game from the outfield fence as they waited for their game to start last June 6 at the girls' softball state tournament in Nort

'People want answers.' Over 200 school officials on prep video conference

"We recognize that working with unknowns and a great level of uncertainty is very difficult and can be very frustrating for everyone," MSHSL executive director Erich Martens said.
Maddie Dahlien took a shot against Bayliss Flynn, her summer soccer teammate, in a true 1-on-1 workout Monday. No other players were were on the pitch

Missing teammates: Prep athletes challenged by being #AloneTogether

Edina's Maddie Dahlien and Lakeville North's Bayliss Flynn are finding creative ways to develop their skills in multiple sports, but crave the normalcy of a spring sports season.
Members of the Rochester Lourdes girls' basketball team hugged after the MSHSL announced the cancellation of the state tournament on March 13. No prep

Return of spring sports more in doubt after governor's comments

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday gave a strong signal to suggest students would not return to their school buildings before the current academic year ends, which almost certainly would mean no spring sports season.
The Blake girls’ lacrosse team played Minnehaha Academy in a game at Blake’s south campus in Hopkins on April 18, 2019.

Blake School extends sports shutdown to May 1; spring coaches hope, wait

The private school, one of the metro area's prominent athletic powers, is believed to be the first in the state to extend its sports program cancellations through April.
The family of Hill-Murray hockey player Charlie Strobel. From left, brother Ryan, mother Jill, father Mike, Chevy the dog, Charlie. Submitted family p

Heartbeat of an angel: Minnesota-bound Charlie Strobel removes all doubts

The star of Hill-Murray's hockey state tournament title run brings a blue-collar mentality to his game, inspired by a brother whose life he helped save in 2015.
The combined Hopkins and Farmington bands played several tunes together at the end of the Hopkins vs. Stillwater game.

High school league will base future actions on government directives

The meeting stemmed from what MSHSL executive director Erich Martens called the ''unbelievable and unpredictable'' disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This spring’s virus scare poses Benilde-St. Margaret’s girls’ lacrosse coach Ana Bowlsby difficulties for team bonding.

Minnesota spring sports teams cling to hope despite forced spring break

The COVID-19 restrictions challenge prep teams to train in creative ways but the spring sports seasons have not been called off outright.
Members of the Rochester Lourdes girls' basketball team including, Marissa Houfek, left, and Ella Hopkins, hugged each other after they left Williams

Minnesota high school sports abruptly canceled, 'devastating' those involved

The girls' basketball state tournament, which still had two days left of tournament play, was called off. No state champions will be determined.
Mahtomedi's Adam Johnson (10) and Dylan Duckson (22) fought Hermantown defenseman Jackson Lucia (4) for the puck

Mahtomedi sets record for fewest shots by title winner

Mahtomedi was outshot 42-12. The previous low for a title-winning team in a championship game came in 1977 Rochester John Marshall had 14 shots on goal vs. Edina.
The penalty boxes for both teams were full in the second period after a dust-up at the end of the first period.

Physical Hermantown-St. Cloud Cathedral play produces rare mayhem, 11 penalties

Two 10-minute misconducts were among the 11 penalties called at the end of the first period — six on Cathedral and five on Hermantown.
Hermantown junior defenseman Joey Pierce had a goal and two assists Friday in the Hawks’ 6-2 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral.

Hermantown's 'X-factor' Joey Pierce stifles high-flying opposition

Junior defenseman Joey Pierce was dominant in stopping St. Cloud Cathedral.
Blake celebrated a goal in the second period.

For victorious Blake, the 'holy grail' of 2A hockey is where it's at

The Blake School opted up to Class 2A before the 2017-18 season and plays among the largest schools. It was curious timing, since the Bears had not made a Class 1A tournament in the previous 10 years.
St. Cloud Cathedral celebrated after Bradyn Balfanz scored in the first period. [Shari L. Gross, Star Tribune]

St. Cloud Cathedral-Hermantown rematch is 'going to be a riot'

Since their Jan. 3 meeting that ended in a 5-5 tie, St. Cloud Cathedral and Hermantown hoped for a state tournament rematch. They got it, in an 11 a.m. Friday semifinal showdown
Andover forward Luke Kron (7) tried to move in on Elk River goalkeeper Josh Koziol (35) in the first period but had his shot broken up. Photo: ALEX KO

Where is the heck is Andover? On the ice, it's first in everything

On the heels of the suburban Anoka County school's girls' team winning its first hockey state title, the No. 1-seeded boys' team has its sights set on the same.
Warroad’s Grant Slukynsky (27) , the team’s leading scorer, crashed the net on a rush against Minneapolis in Hockey Day Minnesota game Jan. 18 at

Boys' hockey tourney pairings suggest top seeds not safe, no blowouts

The seeding for the Class 2A and 1A state tournaments reflects considerable parity among teams, on the heels of a tumultuous regular season for top-ranked teams.
Hill-Murray’s Nick Pierre (7) celebrated his game-winning goal.

Class 2A Section 4 Hill-Murray 3, White Bear Lake 2Shorthanded goal caps rally

The Pioneers trailed 2-0 before beating big rival.
Andover celebrated earning its first trip to the state tournament after beating Elk River/Zimmerman 8-1 on Thursday night in Duluth for the Class 2A,

Andover finally makes state hockey tourney

The top-seeded Huskies rolled over Elk River/Zimmerman after losing in the section finals the past two years.
Chaska goalie Carter Wishart (39) lunges toward a loose puck as it slides across the crease during Saturday afternoon’s game against Prior Lake. Wis

Volatile boys' hockey sections approach finals with No. 1 anything but certain

Two top seeds are out in Class 2A, one them thanks to surprising Chaska. State tournament spots are on the line starting Wednesday with a double-header at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Andover players rushed to gather around goalie Amanda Pelkey to celebrate the Huskies’ 5-3 win over Edina in the 2A championship game. It was the sc

Andover rallies to beat three-time defending champion Edina

Huskies rallied to beat three-time defending champs for second time this season
Edina goalkeeper Uma Corniea stopped a Maple Grove shot in the third period Friday night at Xcel Energy Center. Corniea made 21 saves in the Hornets�

Class 2A edina 3, maple grove 0Edina one step away from fourth consecutive title

Uma Corniea in net was the difference for the Hornets again.
Andover players celebrated Peyton Hemp’s second goal of the game, with 42 seconds left in the third period, that forced overtime with Minnetonka.

Andover edges Minnetonka in overtime to reach Class 2A state title game

Unlike last year, it was the Huskies who advanced to the finals in overtime.
Andover's Peyton Hemp (5) and Edina's Vivian Jungels (22) battled for the puck in the teams' first game of the season on Nov. 7. Andover defeated Edin

Disciplined Edina, speedy Andover eye 2A girls' hockey title matchup

But don't rule out Minnetonka, other coaches say. In Class 1A, defending champ Breck and Warroad could meet for a third straight year in the finals.
Breck forward Olivia Mobley (17), the girls’ hockey metro player of the year, looked to pass the puck off as she went down during a game against Way

Olivia Mobley of Breck is Metro Player of the Year

Record-setting Olivia Mobley stands with Mustangs greats.
Gentry Academy hockey coach Joe Cullen tried to sneak a shot past junior goaltender Alex Timmons during practice [ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@

With prominent hockey profile, improved Gentry Academy challenges perceptions

Private school's hockey profile revives memories.
Edina’s Emma Conner (16) and Tella Jungels (19) skated to goalie Uma Corniea after the Hornets beat Wayzata on Friday.

Nothing easy this time but Edina holds off Wayzata

But No. 1 Edina still navigated its way back to state.
St. Anthony warmed up on the field prior to a game in September.

MSHSL raises school fees again, adds new one to fix budget shortfall

Increases of 33%, set to go into effect next fall, replace a more moderate fee hikes imposed a year ago as the board seeks to close a projected $407,000 deficit.
Marie Moran (15) and Mandy Moran (14) of Apple Valley stood at attention during the national anthem before a game against Simley on Jan. 21 at Eagan C

Top-scoring line of sisters gives Apple Valley the finishing touch

The Moran sisters — junior Mandy, ninth-grader Marie and seventh-grader Makayla — have amassed 96 points between them and elevated the Eagles' hope of reaching the state tournament for the first time since 2003.
Against the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, players from Warroad and Minneapolis played their Hockey Day Minnesota game at Parade stadium. Warroa

Minneapolis, Warroad take stage for 'unreal' Hockey Day Minnesota

Warroad, ranked No 3 in Class 1A, beat host Minneapolis 5-1. But participants saw beyond the scoreboard.
Minneapolis hockey coach Joe Dziedzic skated with his players during practice last week at the Northeast Ice Arena in Minneapolis.

State of Minneapolis hockey: 'There are still some guys who can play'

Hockey Day Minnesota is putting the sport's spotlight on Parade Stadium and the teams that practice and play in the city.
Rosemount junior defenseman Jake Ratzlaff can now revisit the verbal commitment he made to the Gophers program as a ninth-grader.

Rule changes lower profile of hockey recruiting, even in Minnesota

The excitement that surrounds the recruitment of top high school prospects in football and basketball is largely absent in hockey, even in hockey-rich Minnesota. Here's why.
Rosemount senior Jonathan Mann and his parents Kathy and Steve

Rosemount's Mann finally wakes up as a Gopher

Rosemount star receiver Jonathan Mann committed to the Gophers 20 months ago, and on Wednesday made it official.
St. Anthony warmed up on the field prior to a game this season against Fridley.

Bigger Metro District football sought in order to improve scheduling

The Minnesota State High School League heard a proposal to add at least four more teams to the 28-team district. It also approved paid admission at tennis state tournaments.
Pierz running back Matthias Algarin ran for 165 and three touchdowns — the third one gave the Pioneers a one-point victory.

Matthias Algarin scored three touchdowns as Pierz won its fourth state football title

He scored the winning TD with 38 seconds left.
Wayzata offensive linemen Jac Carver (71) and Joe Salonek (78) celebrated as it became apparent the team would clinch the Class 6A title. (Aaron Lavin

Wayzata offensive line delivers another 'sexy' performance

Wayzata's five up front cleared the way for a title.
Rocori quarterback Jack Steil extended the ball for a second-half touchdown against the SMB Wolfpack. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for another

Rocori edges Minneapolis North in overtime for Class 4A state title

The Spartans won in overtime, beating Jalen Suggs on a two-point pass.
Chaska linebacker Stevo Klotz (above, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown run vs. Coon Rapids) doubles as a running back for the physical Hawks.

Physical rematch expected when Chaska, St. Thomas Academy go face-to-face in 5A Prep Bowl

Chaska (11-1) has posted five shutouts this season and reached its first state tournament championship game since 1974. The same playing style worked for St. Thomas Academy (11-1), author of six victories by shutout.
Rory Guilday of Minnetonka, who has helped the Skippers to a 4-0 start this season, is one of nine Minnesota high school players selected to the U.S.

New Minnetonka girls' hockey coach seeing fruits of new team's depth

Tracy Cassano spoke of "squeezing all the juice from the lemon" in terms of getting everything possible out of players at previous coaching stops…
Totino-Grace, led by co-head coaches Adam Sharratt (pictured) and Tim Parkos, is moving up to Class 2A this season. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngi

Competitive fit drives eight hockey programs to change classes

A total of eight boys' hockey programs are vying for different postseason goals this season.Northfield and Totino-Grace are moving up to play in Class 2A…
Gabby Krause (18), Jamie Nelson (10) and Peyton Hemp, (5) of Andover. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • – Andover, MN – November 20,

Andover's championship quest gets gritty with Slimy, The Brick and speed

A state tournament-ending loss last year taught the Huskies that they need to score more "dirty goals,'' an approach their talented top line has embraced.
Mason Langenbrunner (center) joined the Eden Prairie this year after playing for Cloquet. His father, a former NHL player, took a new job that brought

New faces at Eden Prairie raise title expectations, require adjustment

A program that came close to winning it all last season has added three top players who played elsewhere last year to a strong returning core.
Wayzata running back Christian Vasser dove into the end zone in the first half to score one of his three touchdowns. He rushed for 269 yards on 44 car

Christian Vasser carries Wayzata to Prep Bowl with 269 yards rushing and three touchdowns

He rushed for 269 yards and three TDs in 44 carries vs. Lakeville South.
Jalen Suggs of SMB was chased by Alex Nelson of Hutchinson in the first quarter. Suggs ran for 102 yards and threw for 210.

Suggs changes up play in final minute

Quarterback called an audible that led to victory.
Wayzata running back Christian Vasser (4) said Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight’’ brings out his team’s emotion and fight. “This is

Wayzata's wait for big moment hits a new high note

Wayzata teams have been inspired before games by "In the Air Tonight" from 1981 to now.
Owatonna players were left to deal with the end of a 29-game win streak that included back-to-back state titles in Class 5A.

Two-time defending Class 5A football champion Owatonna loses in state quarterfinals

St. Thomas Academy knocks off two-time defending 5A champs.
Lakeville South’s Riley Mahlman (86) sacked Mounds View’s Cole Stenstrom for a big loss in Friday night’s Class 6A quarterfinal in Eden Prairie.

Lakeville South defeats Mounds View in Class 6A football quarterfinals

Shabaz, Patterson execute timely gains for Cougars.
Coach Nick Rusin talked to the Coon Rapids High School football team after practice on Monday. The Cardinals play Saturday in the state tournament for

Back at state after 36 years, once-struggling Coon Rapids shows it has a move or two

Coon Rapids, which recently lost 23 games in a row, is 7-3 this season under a new, energetic coach and has shed its "loser" tag.
Edina forward Tella Jungels (19) struggled to control the puck as she tried a wraparound against Minnetonka goaltender Brynn Dulac (1) in the first pe

Fall state tournaments can only mean one thing: Let's play girls' hockey

The earliest-starting of the high school winter sports seasons drops the puck Thursday night at 16 games, one of them a Class 2A matchup between Andover and three-time state champion Edina.
Pained faces were par for the course as a pack of runners dug deep during the Class 2A cross-country state championship race Saturday at St. Olaf Coll

Mounds View boys edge Eden Prairie for first 2A cross-country championship

Coach's emotions spill over in aftermath of his first title.
Mounds View linebacker Owen Pfeilsticker (32) celebrated a tackle he made on special teams against Buffalo in the first half.

Mounds View routs Buffalo for spot in Class 6A state quarterfinals

QB Cole Stenstrom and the Mustangs' defense shined.
Farmington’s Anna Fenske (252), left, finished third and Wayzata’s Emma Atkinson (352) fourth in the 2018 girls’ Class 2A cross-country meet. Fe

Cross-country teams seek state meet peak with titles on the line Saturday

Cross-country's state meet demands peak production when stakes are highest.
Orono’s Clare Gagne made a save as Mahtomedi’s Anna Wagner jumped over her. The Zephyrs later won on a penalty kick.

Mahtomedi rallied on two penalty kick goals to win third straight Class 1A girls' soccer title

Mahtomedi girls' soccer coach Dave Wald called Orono goalkeeper Clare Gagne a game-changer, among the best Minnesota-produced players at her position.So as his team trailed…
Noah Hermanson, second from left, and his Holy Angels teammates celebrated after his overtime goal against Blake.

Holy Angels edges defending champion Blake in Class 1A boys' soccer title game

Time ticked away in overtime of the Class 1A boys' soccer tournament championship game. Gut-wrenching penalty kicks would likely decide the outcome. Holy Angels sophomore…
East Ridge goalkeeper Nick Wagner made the winning save in a shootout with St. Paul Central on Tuesday in the Class 2A boys’ soccer semifinals.

East Ridge had a plan to win shootout in state soccer semifinals and it worked

Miles Sitcawich made the big goal, Nick Wagner the big stop.
Edina’s Will Swanda (13) and Washburn’s Jameson Charles battled for the ball during the second half.

Edina scores twice after red card given to Washburn keeper

Hornets scored twice after a red card on Washburn's keeper.

Benilde-St. Margaret's routs Holy Angels 50-16 in Class 4A playoffs

Benilde-St. Margaret's overwhelmed Holy Angels 50-16 on Saturday in a Class 4A, Section 5 semifinal, a product of the Red Knights' talent and temperament."Our coaches'…
Shakopee coach Ray Betton celebrated a victory over Farmington with his players Friday night after several nights this season didn’t conclude as wel

Shakopee survives dramatic conclusion against Farmington

After several close losses, the Sabers survived a hectic finish.
Lakeville South Head Coach Ben Burk encourages Lakeville South LB Logan Rasmussen (51) before game against Lakeville North. [ Special to Star Tribune,

After losing football coach, resilient Lakeville South just kept winning

The Cougars, after their coach resigned amid a police investigation, have not lost under interim coach Ben Burk and earned one of four No. 1 seeds for the Class 6A playoffs.
Holy Angels linebacker Toby Vetsch sacked Orono quarterback Teddy Deters in the fourth quarter.

Holy Angels, Waconia win on road in football section quarterfinals

The Stars took an early lead in the rematch and held on.
Edina’s Sophia Boman didn’t demand the ball. But good things happened when it got to her.

Challenged to score more, ego-free Sophia Boman delivers for Edina

Girls' Metro Player of the Year: Edina's scoring production took off when Sophia Boman took charge.
Darley Florvil became a veteran leader and generous influence on a young Washburn team.

Barefoot no more, Darley Florvil brings soccer passion to Minneapolis Washburn

Boys' Metro Player of the Year: Washburn's Darley Florvis adds playmaking flair to his scoring touch .
Champlin Park midfielder Grace Marshalek, shown in the section final against Roseville on Oct. 15, is one of the keys to the Rebels' attack. Photo: Ea

Unbeaten top soccer seeds Champlin Park, Edina steeled for state tournament pressure

The quarterfinals in Class 2A start Tuesday with the Rebels' girls' team playing Stillwater. The Hornets' boys' team plays Wednesday, when the Class 1A tournament also starts.
Eden Prairie defensive back Michael Tomsche intercepted a pass by St. Michael-Albertville quarterback Kolby Gartner, setting up the Eagles’ game-win

Eden Prairie tops St. Michael-Albertville as both teams try to get right for the playoffs

Eden Prairie overcame a key injury to top "beat up" St. Michael-Albertville.
Edina’s Will Swanda is a finalist for Mr. Soccer. Photo from Minneapolis Washburn vs. Edina, 8/22/19 Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine

Soccer section upstarts, undefeated teams set to play for berth at state tournament

Tuesday is championship game day for Class 2A teams, including two teams yet to experience defeat. Class 1A finals are later in the week.
Tartan junior wide receiver Dorian Singer hauled in a 64-yard touchdown in the first quarter at Simley on Friday night, helping the Titans to a frosty

Tartan enjoys a little cold comfort in victory at Simley

The Titans corrected their troubles at Simley from 2018.
Rosemount receiver Jonathan Mann (1), who has verbally committed to Minnesota, returned a kickoff during the second half of the Irish’s game against

Humble Gopher recruit Jonathan Mann returns to form for Rosemount

When the occasion calls for a more "scholarly" look, as Rosemount senior Jonathan Mann puts it, he slips on eyeglasses with black and gold frames.One…
Jeff Papas of School Space Media did play by play during a livestream of a recent volleyball game between Cretin-Derham Hall and White Bear Lake.

Livestreaming of prep games seen as double-edged sword at the gate

Livestream providers say their efforts heighten interest. Those running postseason playoffs, which rely on ticket sales to balance budgets, say they "can't afford to give away the product.''
Lakeville South running back Johnny Shabaz broke away from Lakeville North defensive back Carter Patterson (33) on one of his two touchdown runs.

Lakeville South upsets Lakeville North, ending 10-game losing streak to Panthers

Shabaz's two TD runs propel Cougars past No. 1 Panthers