Posted On: 09/20/18 5:49 PM

The season is about two months away so it’s time to start sorting through the conference previews, starting with the Big Nine.   

2017-18.  Order of Finish (our 17-18 preseason prediction follows in parenthesis)

1.Rochester JM(1),  2. Austin(2),  3. Owatonna(3),  4. Mankato East(4),  5. Northfield(6),  6. Mankato West(8),  7. Rochester Mayo(5),  8. Rochester Century(11),  9. Winona(7),  10. Faribault(10),  11. Red Wing(9),  12. Albert Lea(12)

Conference Commentary

Top Ten in State: Rochester JM, Austin, Mankato East

Rochester John Marshall has the best player in the state and a top five players in the nation in Matthew Hurt.  The coaching of Jim Daly and the play of Hurt pushed JM to 26-3 with wins over East Ridge, Osseo, and Lakeville South last year plus the Big NIne teams.  With Montrae Hiatt, Simon Werven, and Lincoln Meister returning there are solid players around Hurt.

When it comes to graduation losses Austin and Mankato East were hit heavily.  Austin has a large part of their line-up to rebuild and while East has a very good 2020 group there are some big shoes to fill.  Medi Obang, the Deng Brothers (Dongrin and Ngor), Moses Idris,  Teyghan Hovland, and Agwa Nywesh all have the talent to keep Austin in the mix.  East has better returning players in Jax Madson, Joich Gong, and Jordan Merseth, but maybe not as many. 

Potential Top Ten:  Northfield

The Raiders are surely a team to keep an eye on.  Mason Zick will be one of the best players in the league and he will have help from Blake Christensen and Mitchell Stanchina as Northfield should be around 20 wins again working their way into the top ten in state.

Compete with Most:  Winona, Mankato West, Rochester Mayo, Rochester Century, Owatonna

So who is next?  Rochester Mayo has Gabe and Mason Madsen so an improvement on that 13-14 record is expected.  Mayo has some veterans back with the Madsens too.  Winona had no business being 8-19 last year so we expect a much better year with Jake Reeck and Bradley Winter as seniors.  West was a surprise last year and Century was a massive shock in how they jumped in the standings.   Owatonna won’t fall too far but they are a mystery because of a big loss of seniors. 

Rebuilding: Faribault, Red Wing, Albert Lea

Albert Lea went winless again so we feel bad for them.  Red Wing took a hard hit falling to five wins and Faribault won six.  We don’t see much improvement from these squads coming this winter (record wise). 

18-19 Conference Predictions

Big Nine

  1. Rochester JM
  2. Austin
  3. Mankato West 
  4. Northfield
  5. Rochester Mayo
  6. Owatonna
  7. Winona
  8. Mankato West
  9. Rochester Century
  10. Red Wing
  11. Fairbault
  12. Albert Lea


Preseason All Big Nine

First Team

Matthew Hurt, Rochester JM, Sr (MVP)

Gabe Madsen, Rochester Mayo, Sr

Mason Madsen, Rochester Mayo, Sr

Jax Madson, Mankato East, Jr

Bradley Winter, Winona, Sr

Second Team

Joich Gong, Mankato East, Jr

Jake Reeck, Winona, Jr

Medi Obang, Austin, Sr

Jason Williamson, Owatonna, Sr

Mason Zick, Northfield, Sr

Third Team

Dongrin Deng, Austin, Sr

Jack Fisher, Rochester Century, Soph

Montrae Hiatt, Rochester JM, Sr

Teyghan Hovland, Austin, Soph

Mitchell Stanchina, Northfield, Jr

Simon Werven, Rochester JM, Sr