Staff Directory 6370599

David La Vaque

Reporter | High school sports
Phone: 612-673-7574

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
Prior Lake at Blake. April 30, 2022. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner

Q&A with Blake School junior Abby Ziehl, a goalie for all seasons

Standing just 5-2 hasn't stopped Ziehl from playing goalie in soccer, hockey and lacrosse. "She is a competitor through and through," one of her coaches said.
Isaac Cin of Lakeville South ran through some training drills Saturday at the TCO Sports Garden fieldhouse in Vadnais Heights.

Prep football players in Minnesota have new tool to get noticed

Signing Day Sports has a new partnership with Minnesota football coaches that could accelerate its goal of connecting overlooked athletes with college programs.
Mike Randolph became the St. Thomas Academy boys’ hockey coach less than a year after he left Duluth East, where he had coached for 32 years.

Ex-Duluth E. hockey coach Randolph takes job at St. Thomas Academy

"I don't think I've been this excited in a long time," said Randolph, who coached at Duluth East for 32 years before resigning last year amid an investigation. "My phone has been going nuts. It's humbling."
Farmington runner Ramy Ayoub crossed the finish line to win the boys’ 800 meters.

Gophers football recruit making his mark in shot put

Tony Nelson of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton broke the shot put record on Friday in the Hamline Elite Meet.
Trent Eigner

Randolph set to apply after St. Thomas Academy ousts hockey coach

Trent Eigner said he was surprised to learn his contract wasn't being renewed. The team's assistant, longtime Duluth East coach Mike Randolph, said he'll 'probably apply' for the job.
Totino-Grace forward Demarion Watson held his team’s first place trophy after winning the Class 3A state championship.

Totino-Grace soars in stretch run to beat DeLaSalle for Class 3A crown

Senior forward Ahjany Lee scored six straight points to fuel late comeback.
Clockwise from top left: Leo Torbor, Park Center; Carter Bjerke, Wayzata; Nasir Whitlock, DeLaSalle; Patrick Bathl, Totino-Grace.

Boys' state basketball tournament: Class 4A, 3A title game capsules

Give top seeds Park Center (4A) and Totino-Grace (3A) have an edge in depth and talent, but they'll be facing opponents out to avenge early-season losses.
Patrick Bath (21) goes over Puohlrah Gong (5) or two of his 27 points in Totino-Grace’s 77-39 victory over Mankato East. Class 3A semifinals, Totino

Class 3A semifinal: Totino-Grace overwhelms Mankato East

The Eagles advance to the first championship game in their program's history.
DeLaSalle’s Nasir Whitlock (3) drives for a layup in the second half against Princeton’s Cooper Nowak. Whitlock had 28 points, six assists and fiv

Class 3A semifinal: DeLaSalle back in familiar territory

The Islanders, located in Minneapolis, have won 12 state championships, their most recent coming in 2019.
Totino-Grace’s Hannah Herzig (11) brings the ball up court through St. Paul Como Park defender Kaylynn Asberry (24). Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, Sport

Class 3A and 4A girls' basketball: 1 vs. 3 in mirror finals

A look at Saturday's big-school title games
Roseau's Max Strand named Mr. Hockey

Roseau's Max Strand named Mr. Hockey

The senior forward led the Rams with 36 goals and 78 points.
Andover players celebrate their 6-5 win against Maple Grove after the second overtime in the Class 2A Boys Hockey State Championship Game Saturday, Ma

Double OT thriller gives Andover Class 2A state title over Maple Grove

Senior forward Logan Gravink scored at 8:59 of the second overtime period to win the all-important third meeting this season of rising Northwest Suburban Conference powers.
Hermantown’s Ty Hanson (2) fights for the puck against Warroad’s Damond Gardner (13) during the third period of Hermantown’s 3-2 win over Warroa

Defensemen Janzig, Hanson bask after their work lifts Hawks to title

Hermantown's Beau Janzig and Ty Hanson faced a challenge in Warroad's Daimon Gardner and Jayson Shaugabay but kept them in check.
Hermantown’s Ty Hanson (2) stayed between the puck and Warroad’s Daimon Gardner on Saturday.

Defensemen Beau Janzig and Ty Hanson bask after their work lifts Hermantown to title

The Hawks faced a challenge in Warroad's Daimon Gardner and Jayson Shaugabay, but kept them in check.
Andover forward Gavyn Thoreson, after an empty-netter that gave him two goals in the game Friday, went to the glass to enjoy the moment with fans.

Andover knocks off No. 1 seed Hill-Murray to reach Class 2A title game

A day after he scored a winner in double overtime, Gavyn Thoreson got two more goals in the semifinals to lead the Huskies into Saturday's finals against Maple Grove.
Andover’s Gavyn Thoreson has his coach’s attention, for better or worse.

X Files: Andover coach Manney, the microphone is yours

Andover coach Mark Manney is establishing himself as the place to go for quotes, for fun, for truth, for humility. He got going Friday night, and he didn't stop until those listening were entertained and informed. That and more from the X.
Warroad forward Daimon Gardner (13) celebrates with forward Matthew Hard (9) after scoring in the first period of a MSHSL Class 4A semifinal boys hock

A grinder positioned among glamor, Warroad's Matt Hard seizes his moment to shine

His overtime goal against Mahtomedi propelled the Warriors into the state final for the first time since 2009.
Maple Grove forward Joshua Giuliani (19) scores his hat trick point against Prior Lake goaltender Trevor Boschee (1) in the second period during a Cla

Maple Grove's Joshua Giuliani finds the shots for a hat trick and the solution for Alex Bump

The senior forward went beyond offense, taking on Prior Lake's standout with words and defensive deeds.
Hermantown forward Joshua Kauppinen (20) was mobbed by teammates after scoring in the first period Friday.

History resoundingly refuses to repeat as Hermantown dispatches Alexandria this time

The No. 1 seed Hawks, who fell to the Cardinals this time of year in 2018, scored seven goals in a row.
Minneapolis defenseman Leo Warner celebrated when his team won its section and secured a spot in the Class 1A boys’ hockey tournament.

A tournament team of its own brings inspiration to all Minneapolis

Despite playing a sport that's almost entirely a South Side pursuit, the hockey players representing the city have crossover appeal. "The name on the jersey is Minneapolis," North High football coach Charles Adams III said.
Senior forward Wilson Dahlheimer has 23 goals and 24 assists for Monticello.

Names and numbers: facts about teams in the Class 1A boys' hockey state tournament

Regular-season success rates and experience in the postseason range wildly for the schools that qualified.
Minneapolis coach Joe Dziedzic wears his fedora as a tribute to two coaches.

Class 1A boys' hockey story lines: Joe Dziedzic's hat, Alex Lamont's post and more

The tournament features rematches, second chances, Minneapolis coach's nod to history and his goalie thanking cold, hard steel.
The 2021-22 boys’ hockey All-Metro first team, photographed at a backyard rink in Circle Pines. Back row, from left: Alex Bump, Prior Lake; Cayden C

Introducing the 2021-22 boys' hockey All-Metro teams

Spread over three squads, the list hits east, west, north, south, public, private, big class and small class.
Drew Fisher had 28 goals and 31 assists for Cretin-Derham Hall this season and toughened up, too.

Gritty but smooth, Cretin-Derham Hall's Fisher is boys' hockey Metro Player of Year

A senior forward, he made himself more important than his 28 goals and 31 assists by blocking shots, backchecking and being "a different Drew."
Hill-Murray defender Leo Gruba kept control of the puck on one knee in the first period Friday.

Hill-Murray rolls by White Bear Lake, reaches boys' hockey state tournament

The Pioneers defeated the Bears in the section final for the 14th time in 19 meetings since the mid-'80s.
Brendan Bodin is hoping to help Hill-Murray win the Section 4AA hockey title. His father, Brian (right), was a standout for White Bear Lake, his son�

51 Hours of Fury: Bonin family on both sides of Section 4AA title game

Son Brendan is a senior forward for the Hill-Murray Pioneers. Dad Brian ranks as a legend for the White Bear Lake Bears ("My team," he says.) The schools meet tonight in the Section 4AA final.
Cretin-Derham Hall forward Drew Fisher (22) scores on Eastview goaltender Jay Svaren (32) in the second period. Eastview played Cretin-Derham Hall in

Boys' hockey: Cretin-Derham Hall turns back Eastview in section final

Marko Belak posted a shutout, and the Raiders will take an 18-game winning streak to Xcel Energy Center.
Minneapolis forwards John Bebler (9) and Ben Matthews (12) skated toward the student section to celebrate with their fans after Minneapolis defeated D

'We lived up to the hype.' Mpls. public school team makes state for first time since '94

The victorious players left the ice and waded through dozens of Minneapolis youth hockey players, who looked up at them with wide eyes and smiles after the city cooperative beat Delano for the Section 2A title.
Vivian Jungels (Edina) metro player of the year in Circle Pines, Minn., on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022.

Edina's Vivian Jungels is named Ms. Hockey

The senior played on two Class 2A championship teams and had 177 career points — the most by a Hornets defenseman.
Edina’s Vivian Jungels, who was named Ms. Hockey on Sunday, is the Hornets’ career leader in assists (124) and points by a defenseman (177).

Edina's Jungels wins Ms. Hockey Award

Edina defenseman Vivian Jungels played on two Class 2A state championship teams and had 177 career points — the most by a Hornets defenseman.
Andover forward Sara Kaiser sneaked the winning goal past Minnetonka goaltender Sophia Johnson with 1:40 left in the Class 2A final.

Andover rallies past Minnetonka, wins 2A girls' title on Kaiser's late goal

The top-rated team in Class 2A all season, the Huskies weren't accustomed to allowing more than two goals or trailing after two periods. They overcame both to finish a 30-0 season.
Minnetonka players kept their jubilation tight after they defeated Edina 2-1 in the Class 2A semifinals.

Minnetonka knocks Edina out of the way in pursuit of the Class 2A state championship

The Skippers cleared a semifinal barrier that had stopped them the past three seasons.
Andover forward Maya Engler (11) celebrates after scoring a goal against Gentry Academy in the first period of the MSHSL state tournament Class 2A gir

Andover puts in one exceptional minute, rolls over Gentry Academy and into final

The Huskies scored three goals in a burst at the start of the third period.
Daimon Gardner of Warroad

Mr. Hockey, Frank Brimsek award finalists named for 2022

Ten skaters and three goalies are finalists for the top two individual awards in Minnesota high school hockey.
Grace Sadura (7) of Minnetonka celebrates after scoring a goal in the first period Thursday, February 24, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Cla

Minnetonka begins scoring early in quarterfinal, makes an afternoon of it

Victory over Burnsville moves the Skippers into a semifinal against Edina, a familiar opponent.
Hannah Halverson (10) of Edina celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the first period Thursday, February 24, at Xcel Energy Center in St.

After time searching, Edina finds the net repeatedly in its quarterfinal victory

Northfield goaltender Maggie Malecha stood strong for nearly a period before the defending champs got rolling.
Proctor/Hermantown’s Hannah Graves skates around Albert Lea goalie Rachel Dopplehammer and scores Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at XCel Energy Center in

Defending 1A champion Proctor/Hermantown keeps alive its hope for a repeat

Victory over Albert Lea sends the third-seeded Mirage into the semifinals against No. 2 Orono
Orono’s Lyla Ryskamp shot the puck past Mankato East goalie Annaliese Rader for Orono’s 5th goal of the game during 2nd quarter action Wednesday,

Orono girls' hockey starts fast and stays strong, defeats Mankato East in quarterfinals

It began with four goals in the first period and included a hat trick by Iyla Ryskamp.
Apple Valley’s Michelle Sikich (10) and Shannon Hilligan (3) celebrated the first girls’ hockey state championship in 1995.

Girls' hockey tournament is prime connection to Title IX's anniversary

Minnesota was the first state to sanction girls' high school hockey and the 28th annual tournament begins today at the X with the Class 1A quarterfinals.
Minnetonka goalie Sophia Johnson

What's eating at Edina? Girls' hockey state tournament story lines

The defending 2A champion Hornets, Minnetonka's senior goalie and a coaching comeback are among things to watch as the state tournament starts its four-day run.
The Star Tribune All-Metro girls’ hockey first team, from left: Grace Sadura of Minnetonka, Emma Peschel of Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Hailey Hansen

Meet the 2021-22 Star Tribune All-Metro girls' hockey team

The list runs three teams deep, with college plans for the top dozen players, and stretches across the Twin Cities.
For her skills as a defender and for the passing and puck-handling she provides in that role, Vivian Jungels of Edina is the girls’ hockey Metro Pla

Edina's Vivian Jungels is the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in girls' hockey

She's a defender with an offensive bent who leads her team in assists. She most certainly is not a goaltender.
Rogers rides a rare No. 1 seed into the boys' hockey section playoffs

Rogers rides a rare No. 1 seed into the boys' hockey section playoffs

A change in assignments means the team stays closer to home for the postseason.
Minnetonka’s Grace Sadura chased a loose puck in overtime, and she eventually scored the winning goal.

Minnetonka overcomes Holy Family in overtime, advances to girls' hockey state tournament

The Skippers reached state for the fourth consecutive time, dispatching the Fire in the section final a second year in a row.
Joey Edgar (6) of Rosemount and Addie Bowlby (10 of Burnsville fight for the puck in the first period Wednesday, February 16, at VMCC Arena in Inver G

Burnsville turns deficit into spot in Class 2A girls' hockey tournament

Rosemount scored 24 seconds into the game, and that fired up the Blaze in the section final.
St. Paul Johnson senior goaltender Damian VanDanacker ranks among the state’s best with a .932 saves percentage despite seeing 38 shots per game.

Q&A: For St. Paul Johnson standout, goaltending is a family thing

Surrounded by young hockey teammates, senior goaltender Damian VanDanacker sees plenty of shots. But he doesn't take any at his fellow Governors.
Karyn Bye Dietz, who addressed the U.S. women’s national team in October, will be keynote speaker at the Ms. Hockey Award banquet.

Prep notes: Ms. Hockey banquet again away from usual St. Paul site

Our prep reporters unload their notebooks, including that Olympic gold medalist Karyn Bye Dietz will be the keynote speaker Feb. 27 at Inwood Oaks in Oakdale.
Simley players celebrated during a January game against South St. Paul.

Girls' section hockey: Simley keeps its players, Blaze handles adversity and more

The Spartans, no longer losing players to other programs, are a top seed in section playoffs that begin this week and are hoping for their first-ever trip to state.
The Minneapolis boys’ hockey team, led by coach Joe Dziedzic, is ranked fifth in Class 1A.

Hockey in the city: Minneapolis has a state tournament contender again

The last time a Minneapolis public school team went to the state tournament was 1994. This year's group, comprised of players from around the city, has a 16-4-1 record and is hoping to end that dry spell.
Andover defenseman Mackenzie Jones (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Warroad in the second period Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 at

Andover tops Warroad in battle of No. 1-ranked girls' hockey teams

Dave Marvin, whose Warroad team holds the No. 1 rank in Class 1A, said his team benefited from seeing a tough 2A opponent
Clockwise from top left: Margo Nightingale on the Alpine hill, Isak Nightingale on the Alpine hill, Isak on the Nordic trail and Margo on the Nordic t

A rare pair: Nightingale siblings succeed on Nordic trail, Alpine hill

Isak and Margo Nightingale of Mounds Park Academy compete in each of the skiing divisions offered by the Minnesota State High School League, and they do it well.
Hill-Murray goalie Nick Erickson makes a save in a recent game vs. Grand Rapids

Hill-Murray's top goalie off team, 'no longer a student' at school

Senior Nick Erickson's last game was a Jan. 6 victory at Tartan. He entered the season as the Pioneers' No. 1 goaltender after posting a 14-2 record as a junior.
David Marvin watched his Warroad girls’ hockey team play Monday at Bemidji. Marvin has another mission, driven by son Max’s death by suicide three

Marvin family's teachings go beyond hockey, and message is heard far from Warroad

The Max Foundation, established after Max Marvin died by suicide, is spreading the word on helping young people with their mental health.
Surrounded by teammates, coaches and campus minister Sister Linda Soler, offensive lineman Lucas Heyer,  the top recruit among football players in the

Heyer calling: Hill-Murray star heads to Stanford as state's top recruit

Wednesday's ceremony did not signal the start of Lucas Heyer's college football journey. His began more than a month ago when his team lost in the state playoffs.
Spencer Alvarez

Resilient, respected Alvarez makes way from Columbia Heights to U

Spencer Alvarez is believed to be the first Columbia Heights athlete to join a Big Ten football program since the 1980s. His journey hasn't been without setbacks.
Nick Gilles (83) of Minnetonka found his way clear of the pack eventually during the Class 3A state championship race.

Nick Gilles of Minnetonka is the Boys' Cross-Country Runner of the Year

A near miss in track and field taught him a lesson about "running to win" that led to a state championship.
Ali Weimer (right) eventually made her way past all the competition at the state championships.

Ali Weimer of St. Michael-Albertville is the Girls' Cross-Country Runner of the Year

A senior, she broke through a barrier, posted the best times of her life and won a state championship.
Jake Sondreal of Cretin-Derham Hall during practice earlier this month.

Boys' hockey preview: 5 story lines, 1 dream team, 10 players to watch

The top offseason storyline? Cretin-Derham Hall, loaded on the top line, carries great expectations for the 2021-22 season.
Lakeville South High School quarterback Camden Dean (12) celebrates after defeating Maple Grove High School 13-7 in the Minnesota High School football

Prep Bowl notes: Lakeville South offense suits its quarterback to a Power-T

Camden Dean indicates he doesn't miss the passing stats as much as he likes winning the state title.
Dassel-Cokato High School running back Eli Gillman (10 upends Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School tight end Kyler Lamb (11) in the fourth quarter of

Second-half drives propel Dassel-Cokato past Plainview-Elgin-Millville in Class 3A

Chargers running back Eli Gillman rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns.
Hutchinson piles on the power in winning Class 4A Prep Bowl, its sixth state title

Hutchinson piles on the power in winning Class 4A Prep Bowl, its sixth state title

The Tigers overwhelmed Kasson-Mantorville with their running game, winning 42-14
Lakeville South head coach Ben Burk spoke to the team before the game.

Coaches' routes converge at the top in Class 6A football title game

Either Maple Grove's Matt Lombardi or Lakeville South's Ben Burk will secure his school's first state title.
Mayer Lutheran’s Ty Hoese (2) rolled out of a tackle by New York Mills’ Braeden Peterson (59) in the first half as New York Mills played Mayer Lut

Star Tribune Prep Bowl picks

After a season of picking winners, it's time to pick the champions.
Woodbury’s Joey Gerlach, shown leaping at the legs of Maple Grove’s Tanner Albeck, was named first team All-Metro on defense.

Meet the 2021 All-Metro football first team defense

Here are the top defensive players in Twin Cities area prep football, including the All-Metro second team.
SportsEngine Stock Photos

Class 5A semifinal: Mankato West earns shot at fifth state title with 42-7 victory over Rogers

Ryan Haley fueled the Scarlets with three second-quarter touchdowns in the final semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Annandale’s Joe Bowman (8) got a hand on Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Kaiden Peters (23) as he rushed the ball in the first half Saturday.

Class 3A semifinal: Plainview-Elgin-Millville advances with 28-6 victory over Annandale

The Bulldogs return to the Prep Bowl for the first time since winning it all in 2002.
Class 5A semifinal: Mahtomedi topples Cooper 34-7 to advance to Prep Bowl

Class 5A semifinal: Mahtomedi topples Cooper 34-7 to advance to Prep Bowl

The Zephyrs scored on three consecutive first-half possessions as the Hawks struggled to keep pace.
St. Michael-Albertville High School running back Jarrett Bennett (20) fumbles against Lakeville South High School in a 6A football state tournament se

Class 6A semifinal: No. 1 Lakeville South takes advantage of takeaways in 40-14 rout of St. Michael-Albertville

The Cougars turned fumble recoveries into touchdowns early on and rolled from there to stay undefeated.
Blaine swimming and diving head coach Kristen Luedtke (right) and her father and assistant coach Dave, smile for a 2019 photo. This fall, they led the

Father-daughter duo leads Blaine's swimming and diving excellence

Head coach Kristen Luedtke and her father Dave, an assistant, built the Bengals into a consistent state meet-caliber program.
Prep football state semifinal staff picks: Class 1A, 3A and 5A

Prep football state semifinal staff picks: Class 1A, 3A and 5A

Football state tournament semifinal action continues Friday and Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
SportsEngine Stock Photos

Prep football state semifinal staff picks: Nine-Man, Class 2A, Class 4A, Class 6A

Breaking down four classes of prep football action at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Ava Lindsay, who played for Breck last season and has committed to the Gophers, is among six newcomers at already-powerful Minnetonka.

Girls' hockey preview: 5 story lines, 1 dream team, 10 players to watch

The biggest story in the offseason? The already powerful Minnetonka Skippers made major roster moves, including some key transfers.
Class 5A quarterfinals: Mankato West beats St. Thomas Academy 21-14

Class 5A quarterfinals: Mankato West beats St. Thomas Academy 21-14

Getting to the semifinals required the Scarlets to stop St. Thomas Academy twice in the fourth quarter.
Lakeville South High School defensive back Ryder Patterson (2) intercepted a pass in the endzone against and Shakopee High School in the first quarter

Top-ranked Lakeville South fends off Shakopee 42-28 in Class 6A quarterfinals

The Cougars got the go-ahead score from running back Josh Jacobson midway through the fourth quarter.
Maple Grove’s Derrick Jameson (3) broke free for a seven yard gain and a fourth quarter first down Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 in Eden Prairie. The Mapl

6A football: Maple Grove's big plays lead to 31-12 victory over Woodbury

Crimson senior running back Derrick Jameson ran for touchdowns of 59 and 74 yards.