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Fairmont earns 15 all-Big South Conference selections in 5 sports

FAIRMONT — Fairmont’s athletic programs set the bar high this fall by producing multiple state qualifiers, with the No. 8-ranked Cardinal football team still one win away from reaching the Class AAA state quarterfinals.

Fairmont senior Laura Thompson and freshman teammate Macy Hanson each continually rewrote the cross country program’s record books en route to qualifying individually for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. Class AA state meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

Fairmont Area head coach Matt Nielsen and his Cardinal girls soccer players made history when the 16-year program earned its first-ever appearance in the Class A state quarterfinals last Wednesday in Waconia.

Fairmont’s girls netters returned to the Class A state team tennis tournament after a 27-year absence and exited the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis with a fourth-place showing last Wednesday.

After generating all of those accolades and a boxful of hardware in the form of trophies, plaques and medals, it only makes sense that the Cardinal programs would add to their collective resumes when five of the Big South Conference fall sports released their postseason honors on Monday.

Senior first singles player Claire Nemmers, senior third singles netter Maggy Totzke, and the state-qualifying senior doubles tandem of Ellie Hernes and Lauren Davis all netted Big South East Division all-league honors for their performances on the prep tennis courts in 2021.

Fairmont captured both the East Division championship and the overall Big South Conference crown before winning the Section 2A title to advance to state for the first time since 1994.

Marissa Benz, a Class A individual singles state qualifier, and Addison Armstrong each collected all-BSC tennis honors for Blue Earth Area, while Buc teammates Olivia Dutton, Kylie Rosenau and Grace Hanson were tabbed as all-conference honorable mention.

While Fairmont Area finished as the Big South’s girls soccer runner-up to Waseca (11-1) with a 9-1-2 league mark, the Cardinals merited four first-team all-league selections and one honorable mention choice.

Senior forward Rayah Quiring, senior midfielders Sami Lenort and Mackenzie Householder, and senior defender Carissa Saxton garnered top league honors, while senior keeper Cadee Becker was tabbed honorable mention.

Ironically, junior forward Prince Lebbi and senior midfielder Eli Broomfield received honorable mention status for Fairmont Area, which reached the Section 2A championship match for the first time since 2012 this fall.

Fairmont Area placed third in the Big South boys race with a 6-5-1 mark behind seasonal champion Worthington (12-0) and runner-up New Ulm (7-5).

Thompson and Hanson earned all-Big South honors, and were joined by freshman teammate Carys Gudahl, who claimed honorable mention status, on the elite postseason select team.

The Cardinal girls cross country runners finished second behind Marshall in the large division of the BSC.

Sophomore Gavin Artner rounded out the Cardinals’ 15 postseason honorees by collecting honorable mention status on the Big South’s boys cross country list.

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