As the calendar turned from January to February, competition heated up as and athletic teams jostled for postseason position, with the Spartans Nordic ski squad already having taken part in a conference championship battle.
Richfield Nordic Skiing
The competed in the Classic Suburban Conference championships on Feb. 2 at Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wis., with several Spartans claiming laurels following classic and pursuit races.
Jake Bauer took all-conference with a fourth-place combined boys time of 26 minutes and 57 seconds, was also so honored following a fifth-place combined turn of 32:30 in the girls competition.
Ben Nygaard (29:09) and (29:25) claimed boys All-CSC honorable mention laurels after placing 14th and 18th, respectively; Erin Brault (35:00) and Erica Strom (35:03) had back-to-back respective finishes of 13th and 14th to earn honorable mention girls awards.
In junior varsity competition, Hannah Yaglowski finished first amongst first-year girls skiers, with Rachel Youngquist placing third overall in the girls race; Nick Pritchard placed fourth overall in boys competition.
Richfield Girls Basketball
With a pair of lopsided road victories in conference play, the easily hung on to its No. 1 ranking in the Class AAA poll.
The Spartans disposed of North St. Paul 69-47 on Jan. 31, then routed South St. Paul 76-47 on Feb. 3 to bring their record to 17-3 overall and are a Classic Suburban-best 8-0.
's 20.8 points-per-game average leads the squad, with netting 11.0 ppg, 10.1 ppg and 10.0 ppg through 20 games.
Richfield is currently on a five-game winning streak and has lost just once—62-57 to Class AAAA's —since Dec. 12.
The Spartans can all-but clinch the conference championship this week as they face their closest two Classic Suburban rivals with a trip to Simley on Tuesday followed by a home game versus Hill-Murray—ranked ninth in Class AAA—at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Richfield thumped then No. 4-ranked Hill-Murray 67-48 on its own court on Jan. 10 and bested Simley 66-41 at home on Jan. 27.
Richfield Boys Basketball
The got a little bit of payback for one of its ever-so-narrow losses earlier this season by defeating 57-51 at home as the second round of Classic Suburban play began on Feb. 3.
The win was the Spartans' third in a row and sixth in its last seven games following a three-game losing streak that included a 68-66 setback at St. Thomas on Jan. 3.
With the victory and a 73-66 home victory versus North St. Paul on Jan. 31, Richfield improved to 11-5 overall and a third-best 6-3 in the conference standings.
Shawn Bear continues to lead the Spartans with a 16.9 ppg average, followed by Jared Noonan at 15.2 ppg and Dashawn Jones at 13.1 ppg.
Up next for Richfield is a home game versus at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, followed by a trip to Hill-Murray on Friday night.
Richfield Boys Hockey
A nightmarish homestand for the continued on Feb. 2 as the Spartans concluded a stretch of five consecutive games on its own ice with a 16-2 loss to Hill-Murray—the No. 10-ranked team in Class AA—in its lone contest of last week.
In the home stretch that has lasted since Jan. 19, Richfield went 0-5 versus Classic Suburban foes and was outscored 51-9 in falling from a record of 7-7-1 to 7-12-1 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
Mick Dhein is pacing the Spartans with 56 points, with Tyler Martinez logging 50 points and Sam Schrick posting 38 points.
Richfield heads out on the road for the first time since Jan. 14 with a trip to Henry Sibley on Thursday evening, followed by a return home to take on South St. Paul at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Holy Angels Girls Hockey
The Holy Angels girls hockey team got in its lone Missota Conference victory of the season in its second-to-last attempt before closing out the regular season with a loss last week.
A 2-0 road win at Farmington on Jan. 31 gave the Stars a conference mark of 1-11 before an 8-1 loss at Shakopee put the finishing touch on a 4-21 pre-playoff record.
Amanda Navratil leads the team with 11 points, with goaltender Caroline Reister claiming the team's lone shutout with 42 saves against the Tigers.
Holy Angels begins Section 5A Tournament play on Feb. 9 against a yet-to-be determined opponent.
Holy Angels Girls Basketball
The losing skid hit nine games for the last week as the Stars concluded a winless three game homestand with a pair of loss from both in and out of conference play.
Totino-Grace topped Holy Angels 50-41 on Feb. 1, with New Prague—ranked 10th in Class AAA—defeating the Stars 50-39 on Feb. 3.
The back-to-back defeats dropped Holy Angels to 5-15 overall and 0-8 in the Missota with a trip to Red Wing up next on Tuesday night before Chanhassen pays the Stars a visit at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Evan Wise leads the Stars with a 10.8 ppg average, followed by Kate Banovetz at 10.2 ppg.
Holy Angels Boys Basketball
The claimed a win at home and before a loss on the road last week to bring its record to 9-8 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Stars topped visiting Red Wing 74-61 on Jan. 31, then fell 65-50 at New Prague and are 5-5 since New Year's Day.
Danny Sullivan is averaging an even 16.0 ppg this season, with Jordan Dembley at 13.8 ppg and Charlie Koontz at 10.3 ppg.
Up next for Holy Angels is a trip to Chanhassen on Friday night in its lone game of the week.
Holy Angels Boys Hockey
The swept a two-game homestand last week, defeating Farmington 3-2 on Jan. 31, then blanking Shakopee 7-0 on Feb. 2 to improve to 6-13-2 overall and 7-2-2 in the Missota standings.
Mario Bianchi's 44 points lead the team, with Tony Haeg logging 34 points and Frankie Mork 32 points; goalie Brett Pierce has logged a team-best .884 save percentage so far this season.
The Stars play at Northfield on Monday, then host Chaska at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.
Results from competitions involving Richfield boys swimming/diving and gymnastics were not made available. Scores and statistics may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.