2019 had some big highlights in local sports in the KRFO listening area. A team won a state championship. A couple of individuals won gold. There were a few other medal-winning performances for teams and individuals. A couple of career school records were set. Several local athletes have gone on to make their mark at the collegiate level as well.

Blooming Prairie's football team coming home from US Bank Stadium with a Prep Bowl championship in their first appearance in a football final takes the biggest headlines of 2019. To do so with a dominating win over BOLD, who eliminated the Awesome Blossoms in 2018, is icing on the cake. To have a Sports Center Top Ten touchdown catch come out of the game puts a few sprinkles on the icing.

Medford had the local marker cornered on individual gold medals at state competition. The Tigers Charley Elwood won a state title at Xcel Energy Center. Medford's Luke Johnston closed out a stellar track and field career by sweeping first place in shot put and discus among wheelchair athletes for the third straight season.

Owatonna's gymnastics team captured third place for the third straight season at the state meet at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. Medford volleyball took home third place honors from Xcel Energy, a year after making a big splash in their tournament debut with a runner-up finish.

OHS football qualified for state for the fourth straight season. The Huskies had their 29-game winning streak snapped by St. Thomas Academy in the state quarterfinals, leaving Owatonna short of US Bank Stadium for the first time in four years.

The Huskies' Keenan Young placed second in the 300 hurdles at the state track and field meet. Medford's Willie VonRuden took second at the state wrestling tournament. So did Owatonna's Cade King, who became Owatonna's all-time leader in career wins. Colton Krell of the Westfield Razorbacks finished third at state wrestling.

Medford's Emma Kniefel rose to first on the school's all-time scoring list for basketball.

Some recent local graduates are competing, or waiting their turn, in college. OHS grad Jason Williamson suffered a knee injury during spring practice for the Gopher football team but is recovering. Classmate Sydney Kretlow is a runner for the Gophers. Fellow Huskies grad Peyton Robb is off to a strong start in his college wrestling career at Nebraska.

Basketball has been the ticket to college sports for Owatonna's Jenna Zeman (Wisconsin-River Falls) and Nolan Malo (Gustavus Adolphus) in addition to NRHEG's Oakley Baker (St. John's) and Benji Lundberg (Gustavus Adolphus).

Let me know of other local graduates playing college sports to feature in the future. Reach me at roy.koenig@townsquaremedia.com or at 507-451-2250.