Finalists announced for annual Rochester Sports Banquet
Honors will be awarded in seven categories for area athletes, teams and coaches at the Rochester Sports Banquet on Jan. 17 at the Rochester Event Center.
ROCHESTER — Rochester Sports has announced the finalists for the 2022 Rochester Sports Banquet and the winners will be honored at the 17th annual event on Jan. 16, 2023, at the Rochester Event Center.
Five finalists in each of five categories were selected by a panel of Rochester media representatives and area sports experts. The 25 finalists represent a wide variety of sports. Two others will also be honored along with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Ben Leber, a former Minnesota Vikings linebacker and current media personality, will be the guest speaker at the banquet. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and is hosted by Rochester Sports.
Banquet tickets are now available for $50 each as well as business tables for $500. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Rochester Sports office at (507) 280-4701 or online at RochesterMNSports.org.
Here are are the five finalists in five categories that will be honored.
Team of the Year
• Century girls track 4x100 relay (Class AAA state champions).
• Chatfield softball (Class AA state champions, first girls state championship in school history).
• Hayfield boys basketball (repeated as Class A state champion).
• Lourdes girls tennis (Class A state champion).
• Chatfield football (Class AA State runner-up).
Coach of the Year
• Jerry Chase, Chatfield softball.
• Charro Coleman, Byron gymnastics, and girls track and field.
• Chris Mensink, Fillmore Central football.
• Tage Puetz, St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura girls soccer.
• Ben Maes, Lourdes girls tennis.
Female Athlete of the Year
• Claire Springer, Chatfield softball (All-Conference, Class AA State All-Tournament Team).
• Hannah Hanson, Mayo volleyball, basketball, track (All-State in volleyball and track, All-Conference in volleyball, track and basketball).
• Lilly Meister, John Marshall basketball (All-Conference, All-State, Minnesota Ms. Basketball nominee, Post Bulletin Player of the Year).
• Anika Reiland, Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostander/Kingsland track (second in state in 100 and 200, and 4x200 relay state champion).
• Rylee Nelson, Zumbrota-Mazeppa volleyball (All-Conference, All-State, Post Bulletin Player of the Year).
Male Athlete of the Year
• Noah Billings, Rochester Nordic ski team, mountain bike team, triathlete (ranked No. 4 nationally for triathletes under age 17).
• Bennett Berge, Kasson-Mantorville wrestling (Section 1AA and Class AA state champion, world silver medalist).
• Gavin Gust, Dover-Eyota wrestling (Section 1A and Class A state champion, 40-1 record).
• Jarod White, Pine Island track and field, football (Class AA pole vault state champion with state record for class, nationally ranked).
• Joe Sperry, Lourdes baseball (led team to third-place state finish in Class AA, two-time first-team All-State pick, Post Bulletin Player of the Year).
Adaptive Athlete/Team of the Year
• ZED Zorros, bowling (state qualifiers).
• Tyler Gunnarson, track and field (100-meter dash wheelchair state champ, state record for a freshman and third fastest time in state history at any grade level).
• Rochester Raiders adapted floor hockey (fifth place/state consolation champions).
• Goodhue County, ASD bowling (ASD state champions).
• Will Adamson, Rochester Raiders adapted floor hockey (led team to fifth-place state finish).
In addition to these awards there will be awards handed out to a Post-High School Male and Female Athlete of the Year as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award.
A sports-focused silent auction benefiting the Rochester Sports Foundation will be held prior to dinner.