The Bottom Line: COVID rears its ugly head again

Ben Stoterau
Redwood Falls Gazette


It appears some semblance of normalcy for area athletes will now return to COVID-19 hell as we brace ourselves for another potentially long shutdown.

As someone who competed as a Redwood Valley Cardinal many moons ago, my heart goes out to the kids of this pandemic era who have had a lot taken away from them because of this deadly outbreak.

Leaving the politics aside, again, this is just an unfortunate set of circumstances for a young group of kids who will never have this opportunity again.

I feel for the Redwood Valley girls volleyball team, a group led by six talented seniors – Sydney Sommers, Hannah Schjenken, Haley Garman, Sydney Mertens, AJ Guggisberg and Aubree Hicks – who were 8-3 (two of those losses to unbeaten Marshall) this season as I write this and previously were 50-23 overall since their sophomore season.

Could they have gotten past Marshall (9-0) or New London/Spicer (9-3) in the Section 3AA playoffs?

We’ll never get to know now.

That group is also going to suffer the effects of possibly no winter sports season. The group would’ve returned a healthy Sommers, and Garman with a big year was in line to surpass Celestine Frank for number one all-time in career scoring.

That almost undoubtedly will not happen now and that’s a shame.

The Redwood Valley football team put together a solid COVID shortened season but will not have the chance to compete at the state tournament.

It will be the end of the line for veteran senior standouts like Carter Johnson, Logan Josephson, Jaxon Lang and others who won’t get that chance to give Blue Earth Area another run and had to settle for a match-up with TMB to end the season Nov. 20.

Don’t get me wrong.

For a fall sports season that seemed doomed in August, it was great to have any action at all, but it wasn’t the same.

Now, it appears the winter sports season is in serious jeopardy. It could be a long winter.

Remarkably, the NFL season has managed to go forward with relatively little trouble.

While COVID has definitely not spared the league, it has been able to manage it well enough to continue to play games weekly as we head into the final half of the season.

The Vikings – left for dead a month ago – have quietly crept back into the playoff conversation thanks to three straight division wins.

Rick Spielman was proven right by giving Dalvin Cook an extension before the season as he has lit up the league and has helped the Vikings get back on track.

People forget, the Vikes lost one point games to Tennessee and Seattle.

Win those and they would be 6-3 and right on track to potentially grab a top three seed.

The NFC seems surprisingly feeble this year.

Who is the best team? Green Bay? Seattle? Arizona? Tampa Bay?

The Vikings beat Green Bay at Lambeau, and choked away a win at Seattle. Arizona should be 5-4, and Tampa Bay barely beat the Giants and lost to Chicago.

Of any year I can remember in recent memory, this is the year you want to just get into the postseason and see what happens.

Tank for Trevor?

That was never gonna happen folks.

The Jets might just go 0-16.

Finally, it was a great year for golf all over the state but especially around here at the Redwood Falls Golf Club and Dacotah Ridge Golf Club.

Ryan Fernelius did a great job of restoring the Redwood Falls Golf Club back to some normalcy and has it back on track while superintendent John “Woody” Wodash took advantage of a great summer weather wise to get a ton of stuff done on the course and had it looking amazing all year long.

Tyler Pendleton does a great job out at Dacotah Ridge and has that track as one of the top public draws in the state.

Speaking of Dacotah Ridge, late this summer, former Redwood Valley grad and now local teacher Logan Swann recorded an ace on the par-4, 369 yard first hole during a tournament held there.

That’s some Bryson Dechambeau stuff right there Swanner.