Abigail “Abby” Palmer was a valuable member of the Pequot Lakes Patriots volleyball team as a three-year All-Mid-State Conference selection and three-time MVP before graduating last spring.
This fall, Palmer took her volleyball talents to the St. Catherine University Wildcats in St. Paul and had an immediate impact as the freshman outside hitter as she finished second in digs and third in kills for the season.
On Sunday, Nov. 17, Palmer was rewarded for her efforts as she was chosen most valuable player for the Wildcats’ Division III team.
“Abby has been a great addition to our team this year,” said head coach Corey Phelps. “Her competitiveness and athleticism set her apart from her peers. We are very much looking forward to the impact she will continue to make not only on our team, but in the conference in future years.”
The Wildcats’ season, which concluded on Nov. 2, was a bit of a struggle with the team finishing 1-10 in the talented Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association and 8-22 overall.
“We had a big rebuilding year, and I was a starter right away,” Palmer said last week. “We played well in the beginning of the season, but then we played some of the toughest teams in our conference, like St. Thomas, St. Benedict and Bethel. We lost those three matches, and then we kept losing matches after that.
“It was frustrating. We all tried hard, but I think we went through a mental lapse. We didn’t win as many matches as we hoped, but we did go five games in most of those losses.”
Palmer, who is a nursing major, continues to participate in off-season volleyball workouts and is considering competing in the outdoor track and field season for St. Catherine.
“I’m going to the (track) practices for now, but I’m not sure,” said Palmer, who was a member of the Patriots’ 4x100-meter relay that won a state title last spring. “I might go out for jumping (events) or javelin.”
Palmer has been so busy with volleyball and school work that she wasn’t able to return home to watch her old volleyball team compete this fall.
“My mom sent me articles, so I did follow them,” she said of the Patriots. “I really enjoyed playing volleyball in high school.”
* Pequot Lakes graduates Emily and Mattie Lueck helped the College of St. Benedict women’s basketball team win its Tip-off Classic last weekend. The two combined for 25 points as the Blazers defeated the University of Wisconsin-Superior 65-53 on Saturday, Nov. 16. Emily, a junior, had 13 points while Mattie, a sophomore, had 12 points and 10 rebounds. In the Tip-off opener on Friday, Nov. 15, Mattie had two points and six rebounds while Emily had eight points.
* 2013 Pine River-Backus graduate Autumn Ackerman came off the bench for Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team in the loss to St. Benedict’s. Ackerman, a 5-foot-11 forward, scored two points in both games at the Tip-off Classic – a loss to the Blazers and a 61-40 win over Macalester College.
*Another 2013 Pine River-Backus graduate, Tatum Sheley, played well in the first three women’s basketball games with the Bemidji State University Beavers. She scored six points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench in an 84-80 win over Mayville State on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Sheley then played two games in Colorado – scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds in an 85-76 victory over the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs on Friday, Nov. 15, and had two points, four assists and five rebounds in an 85-61 win over Western State (Colo.) on Saturday, Nov. 16.
* Pequot Lakes graduate Luke Landecker was a sophomore guard for the Central Lakes Conference Raiders football team, which recently finished as state runners-up. Landecker, a two-year starter for the Raiders, received All-Minnesota College Athletic Conference honorable mention for the southern division this fall.
“Luke was also a second team all-conference pick last year when we won state,” said CLC coach Greg Medeck. “I really appreciate what he did for us the past two years when we’ve won 19 games. He’s a great kid, and it was nice to have a local connection on our team.”
* Pequot Lakes graduate Joey Bergquist is spending a lot of time at Breezy Point Arena. Bergquist is the primary netminder for the Breezy Point North Stars while also serving as goaltending coach for the Northern Lakes Lightning girls’ high school hockey team. It’s been a tough start to the season for the North Stars, and Bergquist has a 2-10 record with a 5.09 goals-against average.
* The Brainerd Warriors will be making their first appearance in the Prep Bowl when they play top-ranked Owatonna for the Class 5-A championship at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, in the Metrodome. Two Pequot Lakes teachers have a special interest in the game as junior high teacher Steve Stoxen’s son, Tommy, is the Warriors’ quarterback while high school instructor Tommy Smith’s son, Cole, is a starting safety for Brainerd. In a 20-19 semifinal win over Chaska on Saturday, Nov. 16, Stoxen completed a 26-yard touchdown pass while Smith made a key tackle on a fourth-down play to end Chaska’s drive in the final minute.