Toivonen set to haul in passes at North Dakota

It would have been easily understood had Travis Toivonen picked basketball for his college sport. After all, he's a 6-foot-4, 205-pound star forward on the unbeaten Red Wing boys team.

09-11 mitchell mccarty sj.jpg
Rochester Mayo's Mitchell McCarty was a big weapon all season for the Spartans from his wide receiver position. McCarty will play next season at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.

It would have been easily understood had Travis Toivonen picked basketball for his college sport. After all, he's a 6-foot-4, 205-pound star forward on the unbeaten Red Wing boys team.

Toivonen is averaging 20 points and nine rebounds, and is among the best defenders in the Big Nine Conference.

No matter.

Today, the Wingers senior will sign to play another sport he dominates, football. Toivonen is using National Signing Day to make that official, penning his name to a Division I scholarship at the University of North Dakota.

Toivonen loves basketball. But he feels even stronger about football. And having a Division I scholarship in the offing? Yeah, that didn't hurt, either.


"It was a really tough decision," said Toivonen, who was the most prolific pass catcher in Minnesota this year with 1,228 yards receiving. "It's pretty close how much I like football and basketball. But I do think I love football just a little bit more."

Toivonen was a Red Wing football starter since the second game of his sophomore year. Each season he got better, including finishing with close to 700 yards receiving as a junior.

Thanks to plenty of off-season work, and steady improvement by quarterback Tait Kelly (committed to Division III Gustavus for football), Toivonen turned in the most impressive season in the state this past year.

He showed excellent hands, size, strength, and speed (4.6 in the 40) en route.

All of that puts him in position to succeed at North Dakota, which finished 7-4 this past season and seems on the rise.

Toivonen can't wait to get started. He hopes to get a head start on conditioning for the next level by going out for track and field this spring, possibly in addition to his usual spring sport of tennis.

• A third Red Wing senior is also committing to play college football next year. That is 5-11, 210-pound Omonte Bowens. The running back/defensive end will play at Central Lakes Community College.

WSU finds area talent


Winona State is taking full advantage of the football talent in the southeast corner of the state.

The Warriors are signing four Rochester-area players today. They are Chatfield linebacker/fullback Carter Duxbury (6-2, 210), Caledonia offensive center Hunter Hoscheit (6-2, 295), and Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Chase Rahman and Anthony Rosckes.

Rahman (see front-page story) is a 5-10, 195-pound running back, and Rosckes a 6-5, 320-pound offensive lineman.

Duxbury was a three-year starter for Chatfield and a two-time all-conference player. Hoscheit helped lead Caledonia to an unbeaten season and a state championship this season, Rahman ran for 2,084 yards and 24 touchdowns, and Rosckes is coming off a season which was wiped out by a broken ankle.

Winona State finished just 5-6 this past year but has been traditionally one of the better teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Three from JM signing

Rochester John Marshall reached the state tournament for the first time since 2004. Today, they will show off that talent with three signing Division II scholarships.

They are linebacker Brady Tuckner (6-3, 195), lineman Emmanuel Tetteh-Jada (6-3, 270) and linebacker Riley Schreader (6-1, 210).


The rangy and athletic Tuckner, who will sign with NSIC and national power Minnesota State, Mankato, is coming off a broken leg. He sustained that in the state quarterfinals. Tetteh-Jada was the Big Nine Conference's defensive player of the year and is bound for another NSIC power, Minnesota-Duluth. Schreader is a speedy linebacker who's signing with Minnesota-Crookston.

• Two others signing with Crookston are Cannon Falls' Gabe Hall (6-1, 215-pound fullback/linebacker) and Kyler Banks (6-1, 165-pound receiver/defensive back).

McCarty to Northern State

Rochester Mayo has a Division II-bound football player, Mitchell McCarty.

McCarty is a big one at 6-5, 190 pounds. He finished with 502 yards receiving and five touchdowns. He's signing with NSIC team Northern State. McCarty will be joined there by Wabasha-Kellogg offensive tackle Mike Guidinger (6-4, 284).

Mayo's Nathan Sheridan, a 5-9, 165-pound receiver, is signing with Division III team Minnesota Morris.

Other football signings

One of the top performers in the Rochester area recently has been Southland linebacker Jackson Koenigs. Koenigs was a monster in the middle for the Rebels at 5-11, 220 pounds and running a 4.8 40. The three-time all-conference player is signing with Division III school Iowa Central. Koenigs had 129 tackles his senior season, with five sacks.


Triton's Max Henderson is signing with Division III Concordia (Moorhead). The 5-8, 200-pound running back finished just shy of 1,000 yards rushing this season, with 13 touchdowns.

Kenyon-Wanamingo's Ted Androli (5-11, 165-pound running back/linebacker) is bound for Minnesota-Crookston.

• One prominent player who has not made a commitment yet is Stewartville linebacker/running back Jordan Johnson. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder is still waiting for the right fit, according to Stewartville coach Aaron Meyer. Johnson was a tackling machine this past season for the Tigers, who advanced to the state Class AAAA semifinals and finished with just one loss.

Soccer signings

Three Rochester Mayo girls will be signing soccer letters of intent today.

Abby Hess is headed to Division I Marquette, Rebecca Schmitz to Division II Sioux Falls (S.D.) and Kaitlin Meyer to Division III Viterbo (La Crosse, Wis.).

Those three helped Mayo to an undefeated Big Nine Conference season this past year.

Marquette is a Big East power in women's soccer. Hess, a forward at Mayo, is joining a team that won conference titles in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.


Hess was first-team all-state this past season. Schmitz was a midfielder for Mayo and Meyer a goalie. Meyer recorded 13 shutouts in 16 games this season.

• Rochester Century goalie Amanda LaDue is signing with Division III Wisconsin-River Falls. LaDue, an all-state player, allowed just 14 goals this season (0.91 goals-again average). She finished her three-year varsity career with 22 shutouts.

• Plainview-Elgin-Millville/Dover-Eyota's Cole Martin will be signing with Division III Wartburg (Iowa) men's soccer team. Martin, a goalie, had a 1.03 goals-against average in his three years as the Bulldogs' starter.

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