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Ankle sprains hobble tournament stand-outs

CORRECTION RAN FRIDAY (12/20/02)

Elk River High School senior Matt Annen is 6 feet 6 inches tall. His height was incorrect in a column on page 1C Thursday.

----------------------------------------------------------- The two most high profile basketball players coming to Rochester next week for the Rotary/US Bank Holiday Classic boys and girls basketball tournaments have been battling injuries for most of the season.

Lakeville senior Liz Podominick, who suffered a high-ankle sprain during a preseason scrimmage against Bloomington Jefferson in November, missed the first game of the season but has played the past five.

Podominick, who will play for the Gophers next year, played against Rochester John Marshall on Nov. 30 and scored 16 points. She's healthier now than she was then, she said.

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"The last few weeks I've been playing at about 80 percent," she said. "Now, I think I'm finally getting to where I was before the injury. I'm at about 90 to 95 percent."

Lakeville, ranked sixth in Class AAAA, faces Rochester Century at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 26 in the first round of the girls tournament at Lourdes High School.

Matt Annen, a 6-10 Elk River senior who has committed to play Division I basketball for Ohio University next year, rolled his left ankle about two weeks ago. He has played in just one game this year and is expected to miss two more games Friday and Saturday.

"It's been healing pretty fast," Annen said. "I hope to be back for the Rochester thing."

Despite Annen's absence from the lineup, Elk River is 4-0. Elk River, ranked sixth in Class AAAA, plays fifth-ranked Eden Prairie at 2 p.m. Dec. 26 in the first round of the boys tournament at Mayo Civic Center.

Both Annen and Podominick said they look forward to the annual tournament in Rochester.

"I think Rochester is a great city with all the walkways and stuff," Annen said. "It's just a little something different. The facilities are really nice, and it's kind of fun just to stay in a hotel with your team for a couple of days."

Podominick agreed.

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"I like playing in the tournament because you can't plan so much what you're going to do against a certain team," she said. "Sometimes I think you can overthink. In the Rochester tournament, it's just playing basketball. …; Our joke is that Rochester is our home away from home because we're down there so often."

Chatfield graduate Danica Finseth started as a freshman this fall for the St. Olaf women's volleyball team. Finseth and the Oles were 1-1 at the NCAA Division III tournament in St. Louis, Mo.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa will have two new coaches this spring. Chuck Ohm, who used to coach girls basketball at Triton, will be the Cougars' new baseball coach. Dawn Guse, who used to coach girls golf and volleyball at La Crescent, will be the Cougars' boys and girls golf coach.

The Class A, top-ranked Rochester Lourdes boys hockey team expects Christopher Kern to return to the lineup Saturday when the Eagles travel to Minneapolis to face second-ranked Blake.

Century graduate David McAlpine scored a game-high 25 points, including 5-for-6 from three-point range, for the North Dakota State College of Science last weekend. He has started 12 of 13 games.

When Stewartville junior Cole Roeder recorded his 100th varsity wrestling victory last weekend, he joined Clint Campbell, Chad Nelson and Travis Bartels in the Tigers' 100-win club.

Rochester runners who compete in the annual State Fair Milk Run 5K race should note that the race will no longer start on the track in front of the grandstand. The demolition of the State Fair grandstand was to begin today. An 13,000-grandstand will be built on that site, and the race track will be gone.

The final "Vikings Live Show With Chris Walsh" airs at a new time this week, 7 p.m. Sunday on KWEB-AM (1270) and KNFX-AM (970). The show will be broadcast from Rookies, and Walsh is scheduled to appear with Matt Birk, Corbin Lacina, Hunter Goodwin, Everett Lindsay and Hayden Epstein. Birk and Lacina are Cretin-Derham Hall graduates.

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Eight Rochester athletes were awarded Early Risers Exchange Club athlete of the fall season awards: Molly Eagen (JM swimming), Ker Atak (JM soccer), Courtney Ludwig (Century volleyball), Yaw Aning (Century soccer), Molly Bahr (Mayo soccer), Brent Johnson (Mayo football), Megan Tiegs (Lourdes tennis) and Ted Garry (Lourdes football).

Troy Young's local sports notebook appears Thursdays and Saturdays. He can be reached at tyoung@postbulletin.com.

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