Posted On: 09/24/18 4:00 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 

Big South – East (LAST YEAR)

  1. Waseca
  2. Fairmont
  3. New Ulm 
  4. St. Peter
  5. St. James
  6. Blue Earth

Big South – West (LAST YEAR)

  1. Marshall
  2. Worthington
  3. Pipestone
  4. Jackson County Central
  5. Windom Area
  6. Redwood Valley
  7. Luverne

Conference Commentary

Top Ten in State: Waseca, Marshall

Waseca will surely be one of the top teams in state after DeLaSalle.  They have an elite player in Class AAA in Malik Willingham, some veterans, and a top sophomore group in Minnesota (Morgan, Dufault, Willingham).   Marshall is Marshall, they continue to put up good numbers with tough, smart, skilled players.  Love their line-up with Matthew Onken and Noah Puetz up front, Bryce Lance handling, and Bryce Paulsen on the wing.  Marshall will be quite tough .

Potential Top Ten:  Jackson County Central, Redwood Valley

Jackson County Central and Redwood Valley are both teams that were around .500 last year but they talent is there to be very good.  Especially at JCC.  Rudy Voss should have a huge year and talent returns with him.  JCC is a team that should spend time in the top ten.  Redwood Valley isn’t as deep losing four of their top seven but Cole Woodford has a chance to have a special year. 

Compete with Most:  St. Peter, Worthington, Pipestone, St. James, Luverne,

St. Peter is tough to know.  Not sure you can say they are rebuilding when two of the top three guys are back (and Wyatt Olson is a top player in the league) but they need many pieces to step up. St. James has our interest.  A 10-16 team last year but all the top guys were juniors a year ago so the record should be turned around.  Parker Jones, Kobe Mohwinkel, and Peyton Hanson all return for St. James.  Pipestone has enough numbers to usually make games a fight and Luverne brings back all of their key pieces from a 9-win team. 

Rebuilding:  Blue Earth, Fairmont, New Ulm, Windom

Fairmont is both rebuilding and they can compete with most teams.  They lost their five top players to graduation but some nice players off the bench are back.  Can Dustin Schultz lead the way? And what will the depth be?  Tough to know.  Blue Earth struggled last year but their 2020 group led by Grant Strukel is pretty good.  New Ulm was a .500 team a year ago and Reece Melby is a nice player.  That said a lot of numbers need to be replaced.  Windom has a really nice player in Kobe Lovell but we aren’t sure how much more around him there will be.  The program is good enough to be better than most in the previous category. 

18-19 Conference Predictions

Big South – East

  1. Waseca
  2. St. James
  3. St. Peter
  4. Fairmont
  5. New Ulm
  6. Blue Earth

Big South – West

  1. Marshall
  2. Jackson County Central
  3. Redwood Valley
  4. Worthington
  5. Luverne
  6. Windom Area
  7. Pipestone Area

Big South Overall

  1. Waseca
  2. Marshall
  3. Jackson County Central
  4. Redwood Valley
  5. Worthington
  6. St. James
  7. St. Peter
  8. Fairmont
  9. Luverne
  10. Windom Area
  11. Pipestone Area
  12. New Ulm
  13. Blue Earth


Preseason All 

First Team

Malik Willingham, Waseca (12)

Ryan Dufault, Waseca (10)

Matthew Onken, Marshall (12)

Rudy Voss, Jackson County Central (11)

Cole Woodford, Redwood Valley (12)

Second Team

Wyatt Olson, St. Peter (11)

Reece Melby, New Ulm (11)

Andrew Morgan, Waseca (10)

Bryce Paulsen, Marshall (12)

Andrew Hesebeck, Jackson County Central (11)


Third Team

Kyreese Willingham, Waseca (10)

Kobe Lovell, Windom Area (12)

Noah Puetz, Marshall (11)

Karasharo Ojulu, Worthington (12)

Jordan Hassing, Jackson County Central (12)


Fourth Team

Matt Olsen, Waseca (12)

Dustin Schultz, Fairmont (12)

Seth Lockensgard, St. Peter (12)

Grant Strukel, Blue Earth (11)

Terbuto Ochothow, Worthington (10)

Breaden Rieck, Pipestone (12)