Staff Directory 10644451

Rachel Blount

Reporter/Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4389
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Rachel Blount is a sports reporter for the Star Tribune who covers a variety of topics, including the Olympics, Wild, college sports and horse racing. She has written extensively about Minnesota's Olympic athletes and has covered pro and college hockey since joining the staff in 1990. 

An Iowa native, Blount is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She has won numerous state and national writing awards. Her favorite stories to tell are those that convey the emotion and humanity of sports. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Pat Borzi, who also is a sportswriter.
Recent content from Rachel Blount
Carleton had previously canceled football and other fall sports.

Carleton becomes first MIAC school to cancel winter sports

In a news release, Carleton officials said restricting off-campus travel and outside visitors has helped limit COVID-19's "direct impact'' on campus this fall.
Olympic hopeful Regan Smith is not learning or swimming competitively at Stanford. Instead, she’s taking online classes and training close to home.

World champion Lakeville swimmer changes plans for education, Olympics

To train for next year's Olympics, Regan Smith spent the summer doing early-morning workouts in an outdoor community pool, and she's put off attending Stanford to better prepare for Tokyo.
Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon said not competing this fall has been “different, and a little surreal.”

McCutcheon says U will likely play 22-match Big Ten volleyball schedule

Gophers coach is all right with the long wait until January to play: "The whole year is a little off."
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents met at McNamara Alumni Center and by videoconference Friday.

Regents save outdoor track but cut three sports that will leave 'a scar for the rest of eternity'

The Gophers men's gymnastics, men's tennis and men's indoor track and field programs were dropped, but an amended resolution spared outdoor track and field.
U student athletes protest sports programs being cut

Angry donors say 'we'll be canceling everything' if Gophers sports are cut

The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote Friday on a resolution to eliminate three men's sports. If it passes, some donors plan to stop donating and buying season tickets for football and other sports.
Gophers athletes staged a sit-in to protest sports programs being cut outside the McNamara Alumni Center on Wednesday.

Foreshadowing? Some U coaches had program elimination clause in new contracts

While the University of Minnesota's plan to cut three sports caught many by surprise, the school started putting the language into some contracts last year. 'Our intent is to continue this practice,' AD Mark Coyle said.
Sept: 16: Gophers student athletes rallied outside Morrill Hall to protest against plans to cut four men’s sports from the school’s athletic progr

Plan to cut three Gophers sports heads toward a vote

Resolution is on agenda for meeting next Friday.
Gophers student athletes sang the Minnesota Rouser after concluding a march and protest against plans by the university to cut men’s sports last mon

U will drop 41 women athletes in addition to cuts for men's program

In addition to terminating three men's teams, the Gophers athletics department also plans smaller rosters for eight women's and two men's teams, according to data obtained by the Star Tribune.
Gophers men’s gymnastics coach Mike Burns, pictured in 2016, is determined to save his program despite the decision to drop it.

Demise of U men's gymnastics part of national trend in the sport

NCAA men's gymnastics has been contracting for decades, a trend that accelerated sharply with the elimination of three more programs in the past month.
Horses were paraded around Canterbury’s paddock area before the sixth race Thursday night.

Canterbury Park closes with record wagering season

Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said the track will take a financial hit of several million dollars despite a record-setting betting year that was sparked by out-of-state wagers.
Gophers student athletes sang the Minnesota Rouser after concluding a march and protest against plans by the university to cut some men’s sports

400 march to protest Gophers' proposed cut of three men's teams

Athletes, coaches, fans, donors, kids and dogs all took part, chanting and holding signs with slogans such as "Coyle Ain't Loyal" and "People over Money."
University of Minnesota gymnast Shane Wiskus, in February.

Star Gophers gymnast Wiskus rips Coyle for making 'horrible mistake'

Current and former athletes on the three discontinued teams felt a mix of anger, sadness and loss as news of the program cuts spread.
St. Thomas president Julie Sullivan, the Tommies' future-focused leader, didn’t delay when a window to D-I athletics opened.

St. Thomas president saw opening with ouster from MIAC sports

Julie Sullivan, the Tommies' future-focused leader, didn't delay when a window to D-I athletics opened.
Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta

Iowa cuts four sports as pandemic creates major budget shortfall

Iowa announced that with the Big Ten's postponement of fall sports, its athletic department projects a $100 million budget deficit.
Ready to Runaway, with Alex Canchari aboard, won the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes in June at Canterbury Park. She has finished first seven times and se

Ready to Runaway paying off after being claimed sight unseen

Ready to Runaway, claimed for $25,000, has won nearly 10 times that.
Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon, whose team reached the Final Four last year, is hoping for a 20-match Big Ten schedule followed by an NCAA tournament.

Gophers volleyball: Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst

The Gophers were eager to get started after reaching the Final Four last year and adding the nation's top-ranked recruiting class. The next few months will test their ability to manage uncertainty.
Minnesota State Mankato’s football team reached the 2019 Division-II national championship game.

NSIC cancels all its sports competitions through the end of 2020

The league, with nine Minnesota schools, joined the national trend of canceling sports this fall.
Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon talked to his players in a huddle during a match against Florida in the NCAA volleyball tournament last December.

Decisions ahead: Winter sports at U, altered schedules for fall teams

University coaches are awaiting more details on what their teams will be allowed to do in the fall and how schedules can be put together for play after January 1.
Jockey Denny Velazquez celebrated a 2017 victory at Canterbury Park.

Canterbury jockey gets maximum suspension, $10K fine for illegal device

Electrical devices, commonly called "buzzers," are used to shock horses to make them run faster. The jockey, Denny Valazquez, also had a loaded firearm on track property.
Mankato Free Press photo Minnesota State Mankato’s football team will have to wait for 2021 to compete again.

NCAA cancels Division II and Division III fall championships

D-II schools such as Minnesota State Mankato, in particular, were awaiting the NCAA's ruling.
The Olympic rings in the water in Tokyo last month.

Olympic countdown resets for Tokyo and hopeful athletes

The Tokyo Games, postponed a year by the coronavirus pandemic, would have opened Friday.
Fall colors were still hanging on during the a MIAC football battle of the Johnnies and Tommies in 2018. Football games, along with other fall sports,

MIAC to move several fall sports, including football, to the spring

Some coaches and athletes have been told that football, volleyball and soccer are among the sports that will switched from this fall to the spring if the NCAA and public health officials allows it.
Jockey Denny Velazquez smiled in the winner’s circle after winning a race on May 5, 2017, the opening night of the racing season at Canterbury Park.

Top Canterbury jockey suspended for alleged possession of shock device

The Minnesota Racing Commission suspended Denny Velazquez, a top jockey at the Shakopee racetrack. A hearing in the case is tentatively set for July 30. Buzzers are used to shock horses to make them run faster.
Olympic gymnastics hopefuls Suni Lee, of St. Paul, and Grace McCallum, of Isanti.

Minnesota gymnasts Lee and McCallum back in training for Tokyo

Earlier this month, Grace McCallum's Twin City Twisters and Suni Lee's Midwest Gymnastics reopened their facilities, allowing them to return to training for the postponed Olympics.
Jockey Jareth Loveberry, center in mask, rode Summer Assault to victory in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park.

At Canterbury Park, virus presents challenges and opportunities

The track announced new travel restrictions for jockeys, expanding its efforts to prevent the pandemic from disrupting the season as has happened at several other tracks around the country.
Sunisa Lee of St. Paul was runner-up at nationals — a feat her father was unable to witness after he was seriously hurt in an accident.

Father's injury weighs on her, but South St. Paul gymnast Suni Lee stays on course for Olympics

Suni Lee's focus is on her Olympic dream, and her dad's recovery from a spinal injury that has left him paralyzed.
“I know the army of people fighting for what’s right. They won’t back down.” Maggie Nichols

'We're still fighting': Netflix doc tells whole story of 'Athlete A,' Maggie Nichols

Filmmakers spent 2½ years making "Athlete A," named for the alias that protected Maggie Nichols' identity in early court documents against USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
Race leaders went past Lake Harriet during the 2019 Twin Cities Marathon.

Twin Cities Marathon will convert to virtual event

The Twin Cities Marathon wasn't exactly canceled. But its conversion to a virtual event — with entrants running any 26.2-mile route on any day in October — will make it the most unusual in its 39-year history.
Gophers fan Elvera "Peps" Neuman ran around the court to try to get fans energized in the third quarter Saturday against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Gophers' beloved 'Blanket Lady' was once a star athlete, too

A basketball pioneer from the years before Title IX, Elvera "Peps" Neuman now channels her enthusiasm toward the Gophers.
St. Thomas football coach Glenn Caruso.

St. Thomas gets 'encouraging news,' inches closer to joining Division I

Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said Wednesday's decision was "a positive step forward" for the Tommies and the Division I conference.
In this Sept. 27, 2014, file photo, St. Thomas coach Glen Caruso leads his team onto the field

NCAA decision on St. Thomas' proposed move to Division I expected today

St. Thomas should get some long-awaited clarity about its future Wednesday night, when the NCAA is expected to announce whether the school can move directly from Division III to Division I.
St. Thomas is expected to find out if it can pursue a move into Division I athletics directly from Division III when the NCAA Division I Council meets

After delay, St. Thomas expects to learn its Division I fate this week

If St. Thomas is allowed to go jump directly from Division III, it would become a member of the Summit League in most sports.
Regan Smith practiced at Bluewater Aquatic Center in Apple Valley last July.

Left high and dry by shutdowns, Lakeville's Smith keeps positive

Lakeville North senior and two-time world champion Regan Smith just got back in the water Monday, after coronavirus-related shutdowns closed her pool for more than two months.
Jockeys and exercise riders worked out their horses as Canterbury Park prepared to open its 52-day race schedule Wednesday.

First race at Canterbury: Learning new COVID-19 protocols

A 52-day racing season will begin in Shakopee on Wednesday. There will be horses flying down the track, money won and money lost. So much else, though, will not be normal.
Canterbury Park got final approval Monday to begin its live racing season, as the Minnesota Racing Commission voted unanimously to green-light a 52-da

Wanna bet? Walk-up wagering will be allowed at Canterbury entrance

For those who aren't among the 250 fans per day invited to attend Canterbury Park when the season starts Wednesday, the track is setting up betting windows just outside the track.
Jockey Leandro Goncalves celebrated Mr. Jagermeister's win during Festival of Champions races at Canterbury Park in September.

Longshot pays off: Decision to allow some bettors at Canterbury a 'complete shock'

The latest executive order by Gov. Tim Walz, issued Friday, permits 250 patrons at restaurants and entertainment venues beginning Wednesday. For the time being, Canterbury will admit fans by invitation only.
Kyra Condie

Peak performance: Condie didn't let spinal fusion deny Olympic climbing dream

Determined Shoreview native Kyra Condie, despite limited mobility in her back since surgery at age 13, keeps training for the Tokyo Games, pushed back to 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic.
Canterbury began allowing horses back into its stables May 8.

Walz green lights Canterbury, Running Aces races without fans

Canterbury plans to open a 52-day racing season June 10, and Running Aces plans a 50-day harness racing season, opening June 20.
Leandro Goncalves celebrated Mr. Jagermeister win during the 2019 Festival of Champions races at Canterbury Park.

Canterbury cuts marquee race purse in half because of pandemic

The Mystic Lake Derby purse will be $100,000 this year, with the race scheduled for July 15.
University of St. Thomas fans cheered from the stands late in the second half of a football game last season.

St. Thomas still viewing move to Division I as best strategy

The pandemic has not yet created any barriers to St. Thomas's ambitions, but the school's athletic director said said the plan "is not without our challenges from a financial standpoint."
Olympic shot putter Maggie Ewen was able to come home again to train for the postponed 2021 Games, with her parents’ barn in St. Francis serving wel

Olympic plans on hold for Minnesotans, but workouts go on

Do-it-yourself training setups and venues have become sole options for Tokyo hopefuls.
Sota King is bred and owned by Suzanne Stables.

Triple-Crown winner American Pharaoh's Minnesota-born colt not yet ready to run

Sota King, a 2-year-old colt born on a farm south of the Twin Cities, needs more time to develop before following in the footsteps of his 2015 Triple Crown-winning father.
Exercise riders must wear face masks now at Canterbury Park.

Canterbury aiming for June 10 opening, 52-day racing schedule

A 65-day Canterbury Park season was supposed to start Friday. Instead, the track announced a revised 52-day schedule Wednesday that would begin June 10, probably with no spectators allowed.
Leslie Mawing was one of the first exercise riders on the track as Canterbury Park opened for training Tuesday. He wore a mask, as required by everyon

Canterbury Park puts safety first as long as COVID-19 lasts

While trainers, exercise riders and other staff wait for a decision on the Canterbury Park season, they are getting used to the list of new safety requirements.
St. Paul’s Toni Stone waited her turn to make baseball history, and batted an estimated .243 in two Negro League seasons.

Recalling Toni Stone: First woman to be a regular in men's baseball

When Toni Stone of St. Paul signed with a Negro League-era men's team, it was seen as a publicity stunt. But she was good enough for a regular spot in the lineup.
Sign of the times: Live racing will return at Canterbury Park soon, but without fans — and no in-state wagering

Online, phone betting plan dropped from horse racing bill at Legislature

With horses set to arrive at Canterbury Park this weekend, track officials are making plans for a shortened racing season. But Minnesotans who want to wager on races might be out of luck.
Horses are headed back to the barns on May 8 at Canterbury Park

Canterbury cleared to open stables in key step toward live horse racing

Canterbury officials said the barns and training track will open on May 8, with only essential personnel allowed on the grounds. Running Aces harness track can open, too.
Canterbury Park has requested a critical sector worker exemption that would allow horses and people to move into the stable area beginning May 4, even

Return of racing? Canterbury seeks to have horses, workers arrive May 4

Canterbury park officials have submitted a plan to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to take the first step toward live racing: getting horses on the grounds.
St. Thomas football coach Glenn Caruso addressed the media last August.

St. Thomas won't learn D-I fate until June at the earliest

The NCAA postponed its decision on the Tommies because of the pandemic.
Andrew Offerman, Canterbury Park’s vice president of racing operations, made his way around the tracklast month.

Canterbury Park officially delays start of racing season

In addition to the 1,500 horses that were expected to come to the Shakopee, arrangements need to be made for seasonal staff who would normally live in close quarters at the race track
Tiz the Law, ridden by Manuel Franco, wins the Florida Derby horse race at Gulfstream Park, Saturday, March 28.

Minnesota-fed racing network seizes moment almost all its own

Minnesotans Matt Carothers and Todd Schrupp are riding along with TVG as it provides a slice of live sports amid a pandemic.
Suni Lee of St. Paul was on track to have a breakthrough Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo.

'A little bump in the road': Chasing medals must wait for Minnesota's Olympic hopefuls

A new date for the Tokyo Games hasn't been announced, and with the coronavirus still spreading, it's uncertain how qualifying will be affected or when athletes can resume training and competing.
Andrew Offerman, Canterbury Park’s vice president of racing operations, made his way around the track on Friday. Live racing is supposed to begin on

Off-track fretting: Horse racing industry is hanging on by a nose

Canterbury Park expects to press on this season, but are worried about horse owners who are financially strapped and might not be able to afford their animals' keep.
People gathered to take a look at Olympic flame on display north of Tokyo as calls grew for the games to be postponed.

IOC now considering postponing Olympics as nations, athletes speak out

The IOC said its executive board "will step up its scenario-planning" in response to the coronavirus, which has shut down qualifying events and disrupted training.
The Olympic flame from Greece arrived in Japan on Friday amid questions about whether the Tokyo Games will go on as scheduled this summer.

USA swimming and track leaders urge that Olympics be postponed

With the coronavirus shutting down sports worldwide, USA Swimming wants the Olympics to be postponed a year.
Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competed in the floor exercise during the 2018 NCAA championships in St. Louis.

Maggie Nichols looks back on her college gymnastics career and smiles

The Oklahoma star from Little Canada finished with 22 perfect 10s.
Jessie Diggins (center in red), the Olympic gold medalist from Afton, skied with local high schoolers at Theodore Wirth Park Tuesday morning. She was

World Cup race canceled, gold medalist Diggins skis with teens at Wirth Park

As many as 20,000 fans were expected at Theodore Wirth Park on Tuesday for the now-canceled World Cup cross-country ski races featuring Jessie Diggins. "We got so many people excited about skiing," she said.
Several local Olympic hopefuls, including Suni Lee of St Paul (left) and Grace McCallum of Isanti (right, next to all-around winner Simone Biles at th

Coronavirus disrupts athletes' path to the Olympics

With disrupted schedules and Games no sure thing, Olympians can only train.
Server Julie Hvidsten, rear, hugged casino executive host Azure Alder as they prepared to close Canterbury Park on Monday.

Canterbury Park closes down simulcasting and casino

Canterbury President Randy Sampson hopes the 65-day season won't be delayed, but other horse racing facilities around the world were canceling cards or barring spectators.
Slater Crosby, left, and Kelly Donahue, recently examined the course at Wirth Park for the World Cup cross-country ski race that was called off on Thu

World Cup cross-country ski races scheduled for Minneapolis called off

Theodore Wirth Park event was expected to draw 20,000 fans.
Regan Smith after she broke the world record in the 200-meter backstroke at the world championships last July.

Lakeville swimmer Regan Smith plots her Olympic course

The Lakeville teen is picking her path while finishing high school.
Desiree Linden, winner of the 2018 Boston Marathon, is one of the favorites to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.

U.S. Olympic berths in the marathon are on the line Saturday

About 700 will compete for one of six U.S. spots in 2020 Olympic marathon.
Interim head coach Dean Evason wants to see the Wild play at a quicker tempo.

While their fathers watched, Evason tells Wild to pick up the pace

The start of the Wild's annual fathers' trip wasn't the only reason behind the high-energy workout before the team left for a road trip that starts tonight in Vancouver.
University of Minnesota gymnast Shane Wiskus.

Minnesota's Olympic hopefuls wrestle with best way to chase dream

Gymnast Shane Wiskus, wrestler Gable Steveson and two more University of Minnesota athletes are juggling college meets, coursework and Olympic qualifying. Others have chosen a different path.
Wild left winger Kevin Fiala has seven points in his past four games.

Wild's Fiala starting to fulfill potential with hot streak

With seven points in his past four games, Fiala has given the Wild the production it hoped for when it acquired him from Nashville last February.
St. Thomas could be playing Division I sports as soon as 2021.

St. Thomas' move to Division I looking 'very optimistic' after key NCAA meeting

Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple said "very positive progress'' was made at the NCAA convention regarding St. Thomas's bid to reclassify from Division III to Division I.
This week, at the NCAA convention, the University of St. Thomas expects to gain more clarity on how — or even whether — NCAA rules will be changed

Switch to Division I would mean the end of life as St. Thomas knows it

This week, at the NCAA convention, the University of St. Thomas is expected to gain more clarity on how — or even whether — NCAA rules will be changed to allow the school's direct move from D-III to D-I.
St. Thomas football fans brought a sense of humor to the Tommies’ game against St. John’s this past October.

How big of a leap for St. Thomas athletics? Answers start coming very soon

The NCAA will discuss rule changes next week that could pave an easier promotion path for schools such as St. Thomas.
Wild goaltender Alex Stalock stopped Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov.

With solid foundation, Stalock looks to continue strong play in Wild's net

In his first start since Jan. 9, Alex Stalock stopped 20 of 22 shots to beat Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau talked with players along the boards during the team's outdoor practice on Jan. 1

Slumping Wild 'needed a break' to recharge mentally

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau seemed to be at wit's end following Tuesday's performance, which featured costly defensive breakdowns, too many penalties and a lineup-card mistake. Wednesday, the team had the day off.
Zach Parise and the Wild face three surging opponents on the schedule.

Wild begins rugged stretch while mired in slump

This week's gantlet begins Tuesday at Pittsburgh, then home to face Tampa Bay and Central Division rival Dallas.
Matt Dumba and the Wild practiced outdoors on Jan. 2 at the ROC in St. Louis Park. Dumba has donated $11,200 to help Australians battling the fires in

Wild's Dumba saddened by fire devastation in Australia

In an effort to help fire-ravaged Australia financially, Matt Dumba, who vacationed there last April, donated $100 for every point scored by the Timberwolves on Tuesday.
From left, the Gophers' Taylor Morgan, Kylie Miller, Stephanie Samedy, Rachel Kilkelly and Adanna Rollins greeted each other after losing to Stanford

Gophers volleyball season exceeded expectations

After their Final Four loss to Stanford on Thursday, coach Hugh McCutcheon told his team how proud he was.
Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer drove a spike past the Gophers' Regan Pittman (21) for a point Thursday night.

Defending champion Stanford sweeps Gophers in NCAA volleyball semifinal

Kathryn Plummer dominated for the Cardinal, which will play for its ninth national championship.
Wisconsin's Dana Rettke embraced Baylor's Yossiana Pressley after Thursday's semifinal.

Badgers upset Baylor in volleyball behind defense, timely hitting

The Badgers lost a set for the first time in this tournament but bounced back to win three in a row over the NCAA tournament's top seed.