Prep athletics fill up holiday break

CARDINAL TAKES FLIGHT — Fairmont forward Brady Allen elevates over Worthington’s Logan Huisman (left) to tally two points during regular-season basketball action Dec. 12 in Fairmont. Allen and the Cardinals tip off the Kwik Trip Holiday Tournament against St. Clair at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Bethany Lutheran College campus in Mankato. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Discovering that both the Sentinel’s internet and Associated Press services were rendered lifeless over the Christmas weekend made me think of how both technologies have made us somewhat sedimentary.

A mere swipe of your finger and the world is at your beckoning call. Instead of glancing at snippets of life blurring by on a cell phone’s tiny screen, it’s time to layer up, breathe in some of that fresh Minnesota air and watch area athletic events up close and personal this week.

Fairmont head boys basketball coach Jared Thompson’s Cardinals and Martin County West mentor Cliff Anderson’s Maverick boys hoopsters tip off prep sports action on Wednesday.

Fairmont (6-1), a winner of its last three games, squares off against St. Clair, which has won four of its last five games en route to a 4-3 overall record, in a 6:30 p.m. first-round clash in the Kwik Trip Holiday Tournament on the Bethany Lutheran College campus in Mankato.

The Cardinals and Cyclones play in the North Gym, followed by Maple River (4-4) battling Le Sueur-Henderson (3-3) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The winners of those two games return for an 8:30 p.m. semifinal game Thursday on the same court, while the losers tip off at 8 p.m. Thursday at Younge Gym.

In the top half of the bracket at Younge Gym on Wednesday, Minnesota Valley Lutheran (5-1) faces Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (0-6) at 6 p.m., followed by New Richland- Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (6-0) clashing with St. Croix Lutheran (4-1) at 8 p.m.

The Kwik Trip/Bethany Lutheran event wraps up on Friday.

In Redwood Falls, MCW (3-3) plays Lakeview (4-4) in a 4:30 p.m. first-round game Wednesday at the Redwood Valley Invitational. The loser plays the loser between the host Cardinals and Benson at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for consolation, while the event’s championship is set for an 8 p.m. tipoff.

If you’re looking for a shorter drive than Redwood Falls or Mankato, then head 20 miles east to Blue Earth for the two-day, four-team holiday hoops tournament.

United South Central (0-6) and Jackson County Central (5-4) girls tip off the varsity portion of the BEA Holiday Invite at 1 p.m. Thursday at the high school gymnasium, with the Rebels (3-3) and Huskies (5-1) boys squaring off at 3 p.m.

Host BEA (4-5) girls go head-to-head against the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars (0-6) in a 5:30 p.m. opener, while the host Bucs (1-5) close out the first round against the Jaguars (2-5) in a varsity boys game at 7:30 p.m.

The BEA Holiday Invite concludes Friday, with the consolation girls game at 1 p.m., the girls championship at 3 p.m., the boys consolation contest at 5:30 p.m. and the boys championship at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.

If you prefer wrestling or hockey, you have options Thursday through Saturday.

The Class AA, No. 12-ranked Fairmont/Martin County West Red Bulls (5-0) grapple in the Rumble on the Red at 10 a.m. Thursday at the FargoDome.

The event will feature more than 1,400 varsity and junior varsity wrestlers representing 65-plus teams on 22 mats through Saturday.

The Red Bulls, who captured top team honors at both the Maher Invitational on Dec. 2 and the Redwood River Riot on Dec. 15-16 in Redwood Falls, will send seven top 10-ranked Class AA grapplers to the circle in Fargo, N.D.

No. 3-ranked 113-pounder Jaxson Rohman, eighth-rated 120-pounder Connor Simmonds, No. 10-ranked 126-pounder Jordan Wolter, ninth-rated 132-pounder Zac Ringnell, top-ranked 138-pounder Payton Anderson, No. 9-ranked Nathan Simmonds at 160 and No. 2-rated 170-pounder Collin Steuber will take aim at individual and team hardware at the 12th annual showcase.

Second-round action starts at 9 a.m. Friday at the Rumble on the Red, with mat action concluding on Saturday.

If you’re leaning toward hockey, then you have two choices on Thursday — the Fairmont Area boys playing Prairie Centre at 3 p.m. in first-round action in the Morris Benson Area Invite at the Morris Civic Center or the Fairmont Area girls taking on Luverne at 8 p.m. at Centennial Sports Arena at the Schwan’s Cup.

The MBA boys tourney wraps up Friday in Morris, while the Schwan’s Cup open girls division play pits Fairmont Area vs. Arrowhead at noon Friday at Super Rink 7 in Blaine, and the area Cardinals capping Cup play against Eveleth-Gilbert at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Super Rink 3.

Fairmont head coach Sara Junkermeier’s Cardinals girls basketball program (4-3) tips off the Windom Holiday Invite against the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints (2-6) at 6 p.m. Friday in Windom.

The loser between FHS and KMS plays for consolation honors at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Windom, with the championship game set against the winner between host Windom (2-7) and Heron Lake-Okabena (1-5) for 3 p.m. Saturday.

So, turn off the internet, silence your cell phone, gas up your vehicle and support the area sports teams during the holiday break.