High school deals with a tragedy

Published 6:15pm Saturday, March 2, 2013

MANKATO — The Hayfield and Southland girls’ basketball teams were battling to keep their seasons alive in Mankato East High School Friday.

But in the crowd, there was a different battle going on: the battle to overcome a tragedy.

Tess Landherr
Tess Landherr

Friends and family honored Southland junior Tess Landherr, a 16-year-old from Rose Creek who died after a collision with a bus last week, and Anna Bruggeman, a 15-year-old from Rose Creek who was injured in that crash. Bruggeman is on Southland’s junior varsity basketball team.

In Landherr’s memory, the Hayfield and Southland fans wore as much yellow as they could, and the Viking and Rebel girls’ basketball teams each wore yellow ribbons in their hair in honor of Landherr — whose favorite color was yellow.

“A lot of the girls are really close. We decided it was the right thing to do,” Hayfield head coach Fred Kindschy said. “It’s a tough situation to play in and it’s unfortunate.”

Besides wearing yellow, the Vikings, who won the game 60-51, also gave the Southland basketball team a card and a balloon before their game to wish them well. Hayfield sophomore Jo Bungum said the two school districts are very close, and the incident hits close to home in both communities.

“We know a lot of the (Southland) girls in our grade, and I’m sure it didn’t help them tonight,” Bungum said.

Southland head girls basketball coach Bob Sheehan said Hayfield did its best to help the Rebels feel comfortable in an uncomfortable time.

“It was very great of them to do that,” Sheehan said. “It was very classy of them to show their respect that way.”

A funeral for Landherr will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, 2013, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Rose Creek with Father Tom Loomis officiating. There will be a 3:30 p.m. rosary and a 6:30 p.m. wake service on Saturday at Mayer Funeral Home where friends may call from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.