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Ready to tackle marathon
Roy Koenig, Sports Analyst
Roy Koenig, sports wrap, steele county times

The 40th annual Twin Cities Marathon is Sunday. I’ll be running. And walking. And probably limping at times. Hopefully, I won’t have to resort to crawling. I’ll be happy and smiling for a lot of it, but also grimacing now and again. The people that line the streets to cheer on random strangers like me are very inspiring and will keep me going.

I started running for exercise in 2006 while sitting in a hotel in Fairbanks, Alaska during a road trip covering the Southern Minnesota Express junior hockey team. At the time, I thought to myself, ‘Can I run a mile?’ I ran exclusively on a treadmill initially. I started running ‘for fun’ a number of years later with my daughter and her friends.

Eventually, I went out on a limb and ran the STRIVE Wellness Run during the Steele County Fair. Then one day I watched my daughter finish the Twin Cities 10-mile at the State Capitol. I realized people of all shapes, sizes, and ages were runners. I also saw the first of the elite marathoners come in. It’s one thing to see it on TV or read about a two-hour marathoner. It’s quite another to actually see how fast they are running at the end of 26.2 miles.

At the time I never fathomed I would run, or even want to run a marathon. However, something clicked while running at organized events. The people are positive, encouraging, and inspirational. Owatonna has a great running community. I’ve connected with a couple of groups for both street and trail running. Many of them take part in the TCM, Grandma’s (which I have yet to do), the City of Lakes events, Goldy Gopher and others.

I’ll always remember seeing Owatonna Blue among the spectators while running my first TCM in 2019. Turns out it was Doug and Katie Wanous cheering on their daughter Millie who was doing her first, and I’m pretty sure last marathon. I spoke with Millie afterward. We were both quite relieved it was over, rather than in a state of euphoria in crossing the finish line that I was told might occur.

She was inspired to take the plunge after helping a friend train for a marathon. Wanous loved the interaction with kids along the way and how the city of Minneapolis shut down the streets and felt like a “ghost town.” Owatonna teacher Adam Drever ran his first that year as well. His wife influenced his decision to run. He enjoyed the fanfare, the signs and the atmosphere.

As impressive as completing a marathon is, I know many Owatonna runners who hoof it for 50K, 100K, and even 100-mile endurance events. And don’t even get me started about OHS grad Ryan Kalan who finished the MOAB 240-mile event through canyons and over mountains in Utah last fall. (No typo. That’s 240 miles.) Actually, I will try to follow up on the subject at another time. It is quite an inspiring story.

Huskies blank the Spartans

There aren’t many rivalries better than Owatonna versus Rochester Mayo, in virtually any sport. That is fueled by the success both schools enjoy in most activities. The Spartans came to Owatonna for a girls’ soccer match Sept. 20 with four shutouts to their credit. The Huskies quickly nixed that idea in the seventh minute with the first of three goals by Ava Stanchina on a great individual dribbling effort. Her second came a minute later in traffic off a great cross.

Kennedy Shammel scored twice in Owatonna’s 5-0 win. Keeper CJ Frear-Boerner had numerous stellar stops and Anna Mollenhauer came in for the closing minutes, with the ball in the Huskies’ end, to preserve the shutout. The Huskies defenders were fantastic. McKenna DuFrene, Emily Schmidt, Molly Achterkirch, Macy Stanton, Aubrianna Werk, and Kate Havelka all broke up scoring chances for Sparty. The defense/goaltending as a whole, earned the Players of the Game honor.    

OHS scores early, often

The Owatonna boys’ soccer team rolled past Faribault 5-2 on Thursday night. Garrett Karsten scored the first of his three goals 13 minutes into the contest. Less than 30 seconds later, Leroy Delarosa put the Huskies up 2-0. Benny Bangs powered home a penalty kick after he was fouled in the box with 10 minutes left in the first half. Karsten scored within the next minute to put OHS up 4-0 at the break. He got his hat trick 14 seconds into the second half. He appeared to score another one late in the game, but was called for a foul.            

Special delivery

As Owatonna football players prepared for their game on Austin’s turf field last week, they couldn’t find turf tape anywhere. The product prevents burns on their arms from sliding on the artificial surface. Well, Justin Gleason’s grandparents came across a surplus amount of tape at a Sioux Falls sporting goods store. They picked up a few rolls and drove to town for Gleason and his teammates. Owatonna will join the ranks of teams with a turf field next season at the new high school.

New route

Like other years, the Owatonna High School boys’ cross country team will run the game ball from the town of the Huskies Homecoming opponent. This year, for the first time, that’s Northfield. Chatelaine is proud of his teams’ stats. I believe it is 1,743 yards per carry and no lost fumbles, based on one mile per runner between handoffs. He was still in the process of planning the route when I saw him at an early season cross country workout.

Let’s play hockey

The three little words hockey fans await. The Steele County Blades junior hockey team opened their season with a win Friday. They are a young squad with a handful of returners from a successful season last winter. They’ve picked up some veteran players to add to the mix with the rookies.

Defenseman Anders Thorager is back for his third season and takes on the role of captain. He said, “More responsibility has been put on my shoulders. My time with older guys the first year taught me how to act when you’re this age…You definitely have to realize that you’re a role model to a lot of the younger guys.” Thorager is from Stillwater, but his father David played for Owatonna High School, “It’s cool to have that feeling, walking in here, knowing my dad played.” David was a captain for OHS for two seasons.

Steele County plays four road games before opening its home schedule on Friday, Oct. 7 at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Find out more at

Medford Hall of Fame

Four individuals and one team will join the Medford High School Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 8. Becky Noble, Zach Keller, Jan Svenby, Pat Heger, and the 1981 football team will be enshrined. This is the 2021 induction class and the third group to be recognized. The Medford Hall of Fame began in 2017 and selects a new class every other year.

The ceremony will be at the Owatonna VFW with a 5 p.m. social time, 6 p.m. dinner, and 7 p.m. program. Tickets are $20. Email Kevin Werk at for tickets. 

Youth 1ST Pigskin and Pork

Youth 1st of Owatonna presents its annual fundraiser on Oct. 6 and 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Let your nose lead you to the fresh-off-the-grill racks of ribs. Meal deals are also available with sides and a drink. Youth 1st will offer free deliver on orders of 10 or more. Call or text 612-968-9192 to order. Door prizes will be available. Funds raised benefit the Youth 1st team awards program and the Owatonna Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship Fund.

Owatonna Live Schedule

Tuesday, Sept. 27
OHS girls soccer vs. Rochester JM, 7 p.m.
OHS volleyball vs. Winona, 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 29
OHS girls swim/dive vs. Rochester JM, 6:30 p.m.
OHS boys soccer vs. Mankato West, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 30
OHS football vs. Northfield (homecoming) 7 p.m. (simulcast on 100.9 FM KOWZ)
Blooming Prairie football at St. Clair, 7 p.m.
Medford football vs. WEM (homecoming) 7 p.m.

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