And the award goes to …

Published 9:47am Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Column: Second Thoughts

Call me a copycat but ESPN.com’s Page 2 recently ran a column giving Golden Globes-style awards to players, coaches and teams with worthy performances in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Needless to say I loved it.

Rex Ryan won Best Director, and Aaron Rodgers won Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama.

Finding stars at the professional level is easy so I’m going to do ESPN one better and give similar awards to our local celebrities.

Best Director — Larry Goodnature, head coach, Albert Lea wrestling.

On paper, the Owatonna wrestling team was supposed to beat Albert Lea. Despite key injuries, the Huskies’ head coach Scot Davis told the Owatonna People’s Press he still thought his team would win. Didn’t everybody? Goodnature didn’t and instilled the same belief into his wrestlers who answered with an award-winning 35-15 beatdown of their conference rival.

Breakthrough Performance in a Drama — Andrew Lau, forward, Glenville-Emmons boys’ basketball.

I’m not sure if one of the area’s top players can qualify for a breakthrough performance but the Wolverines’ Lau took his talents to a new level Friday with 43 points in a dramatic 86-74 win at Immanuel Lutheran. Lau has stepped up and led the Wolverines to an 11-0 start this season despite an early-season injury to standout guard Peter Hansen.

Best Actress — Carlie Wagner, guard, NRHEG girls’ basketball

Only a ninth-grader, the Panthers’ Wagner is averaging 22 points per game this season and has scored 20 or more in eight of her past 10 games. She had a season-high 31 points in the Panthers’ opening-season win over LeSeuer-Henderson and has led the team to a perfect 8-0 Gopher Conference record and 12-2 start.

Best Screenplay — Conner Kortan, 189 pounds, Albert Lea wrestling.

What do all good scripts have? Rising action, a climax, an unpredictable ending and perhaps a fight? Thursday’s wrestling match between Albert Lea’s No. 7-ranked Conner Kortan and Owatonna’s No. 2-ranked Coyte Kuefner had all four, including a headbutt from Kuefner at Kortan following the Tigers wrestler’s 7-5 upset of Kuefner in the tense rivalry dual.

Lifetime Achievement Award — Roy Nystrom, head coach, Albert Lea boys’ hockey.

Since passing Willard Ikola for fourth all-time nationally in career high school hockey coaching wins, Nystrom slid into third place Saturday following the Albert Lea boys’ hockey team’s 3-2 win over Red Wing. Now with 624 career wins, Nystrom has the Tigers at 3-2 in the Big Nine Conference, good for fourth place, and 10-6 overall.