Hayfield's perfect baseball squad named Team of Year at Rochester Sports Banquet
Sawyer Gorman, Cayden Holcomb named Female, Male Athlete of the Year
Chalk up another victory for the 2021 Hayfield baseball team.
The Vikings posted a perfect 26-0 record last spring and they captured the Class A state championship. On Monday at the Rochester International Event Center, the Vikings picked up some more hardware when they were named the Team of the Year at the Rochester Sports Banquet.
“It’s a good thing for our town,” Hayfield baseball coach Kaskey Kreckling said. “It’s been a great year to be a Hayfield Viking and to be part of the community.”
The Hayfield baseball team won the team honor and one of the other five finalists was the Vikings boys basketball team. That squad, headed by Coach of the Year finalist Chris Pack, won the Class A state championship less that three months prior to the baseball team’s championship.
“We won it as a baseball program, but it started with basketball,” Kreckling said. “They started that run in the playoffs in basketball and it just fed right into baseball season and we just kept it going. It really was an award for both teams.”
Sawyer Gorman of the Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa gymnastics team and Mayo multi-sport standout Cayden Holcomb were named the Female and Male Athletes of the Year.
Gorman was All-State in four events and the state champion in the floor exercise. She also helped PIZM place second at state in the Class AA state team competition.
“It’s really awesome and I’m honored to win this award and represent Rochester and the area,” Gorman said. “Everyone put in a lot of hard work to be nominated. Everyone should feel honored just as much.”
Gorman is a freshman at Arizona State University, but she made the trip back to Rochester to be at the event.
“I was fortunate to fly in just for this night,” she said. “So it’s awesome that I was able to be here and celebrate with everyone. I’m super happy.”
Gorman is not competing in college gymnastics. She has a new challenge and is majoring in biological science.
“I wanted to go far and push myself in a new state,” Gorman said. “I’m loving it and super happy that I’m able to challenge myself a long way from home. It’s been great.”
Holcomb lettered in four events as a junior at Mayo, two in the spring. He was All-State in a pair of track and field events. But his standout senior football season last fall put him over the top for the Male Athlete of the Year award. He helped Mayo earn a state berth and set school single-season and career records for receptions.
Holcomb’s father, Donny, is Mayo’s head coach and his younger brother, Carter, was one of his teammates. He was grateful to them as well as the rest of his teammates.
“Nothing would have happened without them,” Holcomb said.
Chatfield’s Jeff Johnson was named the Coach of the Year. Johnson guided the Gophers to the Class AA state football championship and a 13-1 record during the 2021 season.
“You’ve got to have a great team to get an award like this,” Johnson said. “So (I’m) pretty honored and humbled. Honestly, I didn’t expect it.”
Chatfield did have to overcome a major obstacle when junior standout Sam Backer was ejected in the second half of the state semifinals. He missed the rest of the semifinals and all of the championship game.
“We had a group of kids who worked their tails off and everything came together,” Johnson said. “You have to have a little luck as far as dodging COVID, staying healthy and trying to put the best game plan together as possible to win the entire thing.”
Peyton Gunnarson of Lewiston-Altura was the Adaptive Athlete of the Year. Gunnarson won state titles in two wheelchair events at the track and field boys state meet last spring. He is attending a meet in Arizona could not be at Monday's event.
John Marshall grad Matthew Hurt was the Post-secondary Male Athlete of the Year. He closed his two-year men's basketball career at Duke and is now playing professional basketball in the G League with the Memphis Hustle.
Byron's Ayoka Lee was named the Post-secondary Female Athlete of the Year. She is having a stellar women's basketball career at Kansas State and leads the Wildcats in scoring (23.5 points per game) and rebounding (10.6) this season.
Former Minnesota Twins infielder Corey Koskie was the featured speaker at the event, which returned after not being held a year ago due to COVID-19.