Column: On the Rebound

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Local athletes make good on the big stage

By Jeff Budlong, sports editor

In a time of me, first athletes that seem to clog up the airwaves and newspapers I enjoyed a breath of fresh air last week talking to a group of state-bound athletes from United South Central.

Golf is a sport based on the individual. It is just you versus the course. There are no teammates that can take the shot for you and you cannot pass up the big shot. That 10-footer to save par is what has to be made to grind out a good round. It is not always a relaxing prospect but it is what draws many to the game.

Getting the opportunity to sit down with Rebel senior Tyler Pederson I went into the interview with questions already in my mind. After all, this is the fourth straight year that Pederson has qualified for state and I thought for sure I knew what he was going to be talking about.

Hold the tape.

From the first question I asked: &8220;What does it feel like to be a four-time state qualifier?&8221; not an answer went by without mention of his teammates.

Pederson was far less thrilled about making it to state and more disappointed that his teammates would not be joining him. The Rebels had had several golfers step up and play very well as the season went on but as Pederson said &8220;it didn’t happen.&8221;

As his individual success continued he became less concerned with his own ability to advance to state and more determined to find ways to help his team improve.

The USC girls’ team did qualify for the state meet and that is exactly how they plan to play it. There is no I in this group.

Goals for this group are not about individual success or glory. Team goals are modest &045; hoping to beat at least one other team that will be golfing at Izatys today and tomorrow.

The Rebels have enjoyed a lot of success over the years but state appearances are still a special thing and so is their approach to it.

The good news did not stop there for USC as the girls’ track team qualified in eight events for state and Brad Tomschin will represent the boys in the 800.

The Rebels girls’ squad is not only talented but young as well. USC does have strong senior leadership which will be well represented at Hamline University this Friday and Saturday, but there are also several young runners who will be making the first of what appears to be many trips to the state’s biggest high school stage.

The Rebels have powered themselves through the regular season and sections and now they will be looking to put a cap on what head coach Kent Viesselman calls a special group.

&8220;Our girls’ team turned in a very impressive performance,&8221; said Viesselman. &8220;They left no doubt in anyone’s mind

that this is an exceptional team… not just a

good team … an exceptional team. A lot of the credit for this performance, and the great season we’ve had to this point, has to go to our excellent student leadership and our nine seniors.&8221;

Congratulations also goes out to the NRHEG duo of Alison Anderson and Heather Schmit who will be running in the 200 at the state meet.

The state meet will mark the close of a fast and fun spring season for area athletes.