The finalists for the 15th annual awards ceremony at the 2020 Rochester Area Sports Banquest have been announced. The winners will be announced at the 15th annunal awards ceremony that will be held on Monday, January 20th at the Rochester Event Center. There are many different representatives from area communities across Southeast Minnesota.

Minnesota Golden Gopher Head Volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon will be on hand as the guest speaker for the banquet, hosted by Rochester Sports.

The five finalists in each of the five categories were determined from close to 100 nominations by a 14-person panel of Rochester media representatives and sport experts. The finalists are:

Team of the Year

  1. Stewartville Volleyball:
    • #1 ranked team all season. Won Class AA State championship.  Team received Gold Academic Team Award for cumulative GPA of 3.75-4.00.
  2. Lourdes Softball:
    • 25-3 record & Class AA MN State Champs; Outscored opponents 240-71; 5 seniors were Academic All-State; Team was Academic All-State Gold with 3.882 combined GPA; 4 All-Tourney Members @ State Tournament; 2 All-State players.
  3. Lourdes Girls 4x100 Relay:
    • Won the Class A MN State event; set school record at 49.37 seconds;
  4. RCTC Volleyball:
    • Ranked as high as #1 in the country in NJCAA D3; finished 4th at NJCAA National Championship. 31-4 record.
  5. St. Charles Boys Track & Field:
    • Won MN Class A State True Team Championship; Team members placed in the top 5 in several events including 3,200, 1,600, 800, pole vault and high jump. 

Coach of the Year

  1. John Dzubay: Stewartville Volleyball:
    • Team won state championship. 5th in his coaching career.
  2. Corlis Hicks – Rochester STEM fencing team:
    • Started program at the STEM school. Team & individuals have competed in MN State High School fencing league state tournament and national events.
  3. Amber Zitzow – RCTC Volleyball:
    • Team finished 4th at National Tournament. Second consecutive top 4 finish @ National Tournament.  Team Finished 31-4 overall and 14-0 in MCAC play.  She was Region 13A and North Plains District Coach of the Year.
  4. Becky Macken – Lourdes Softball:
    • State Champions for first time ever; 24-2 record
  5. Eric Klein– St. Charles Boys Track & Field:
    • Won Class A State Team Championship

Female Athlete of the Year

  1. Alyssa Ustby – Lourdes Soccer, Basketball, Softball:
    • 3-time all-conference in basketball (2018-2019 player of the year); averaged 25 ppg; 11.9 rpg; 3.1 apg; 3.4 spg. 1760 career points and 931 career rebounds (school record in rebounds); .367 batting average in softball; 5-year starter and 4-time all-conference and 2-time All-Section; 4 year starter for soccer. Committed to play basketball at U of North Carolina basketball
  2. Kaitlyn Prondzinski – Stewartville Volleyball:
    • 4-year HVL All-Conference selection, 2-year All-State (2018 & 2019) and was on the 2019 All-Tournament Team. She finished her high school career with 1175 kills and 104 blocks. Committed to playing VB at Illinois State.
  3. Annie Wendt – Mayo Track & Field:
    • State Champ for Long jump with a distance of 18 ft 8.5 inches. Second place was 17-11.5. Runner Up in Triple Jump at State meet. Jumped same distance at state champ, but lost tiebreaker.
  4. Lexi Chase – Chatfield Softball:
  5. Emilee Buringa – St. Charles Softball:
    • 3-sport stand out. 13-time letter winner in soccer, basketball, and softball. 4-time all-conference, 3-time all-section, and 3 1st team all-state selections. School record holder in all time career batting average (.558) and stolen bases (121). In 2019 she recorded a .575 batting average, 30 stolen bases, and .651 on base percentage. She has signed to play D1 softball at North Dakota State University, starting in the Fall of 2020.

Male Athlete of the Year

  1. Jack Fisher – Century Football, Basketball & Track:
    • All time points and assists leader at Century High School. First team Big Nine. 2-time all-district WR. MFCA all-star team. Led Big SE Red District in interceptions (8), catches (57) and yards (1120).  13 Touchdowns. Scholar athlete with 3.8 GPA.
  2. Patrick Kennedy – Kasson-Mantorville Wrestling:
    • 3-time MSHSL state champ; Career Record of 190-20; National Fargo Tournament and “Who’s #1” Champion. 73-0 in last 2 seasons.
  3. Jeron Matson – K-W Wrestling:
    • State Champ (3rd championship); 30-1 record
  4. Tyler Ryan – K-W Wrestling:
    • State Champ (2nd championship); 34-2 record
  5. Matthew Hurt – JM Basketball:
    • MN’s Mr. Basketball; committed to play at Duke Univ.; selected to McDonald’s All-American Game; averaged 37.0 ppg; 12.3 rpg; 4.7 apg.

Adaptive Athlete/Team of the Year

  1. ZED Zorros (ASD Adaptive Bowling Team):
    • First year of bowling program formed by Hayfield, Blooming Prairie & Kasson-Mantorville; won the MSHSL State Championship in ASD division
  2. Steven Casey – Miracle League Softball:
    • Good athlete from the Miracle League softball program and player who is recognized for his character and extra efforts. He is always respectful and helps out with setup & tear down before and after the league games.
  3. Rochester Flyers Football Team:
    • 1st & 2nd place at Area Competition; 1st place at State Games; recognized for their sportsmanship. Team consists of 30 athletes, 10 unified partners and 6 staff; Some members of team were selected to represent the Vikings & MN Special Olympics as the Unified Vikings team.
  4. Rochester Raiders Softball Team:
    • Took 3rd place at the State Tournament
  5. Noah Johnson – Rochester Raiders adapted floor hockey:
    • Noah was born with Cerebral Palsy. His form of Cerebral Palsy affects all 4 limbs which by definition means he is a quadriplegic. Noah also suffers from uncontrollable seizures. He has had 3 different brain surgeries to try and get the seizures under control. Noah and his family were notified by medical personnel that he would never participate in any activities. Despite all of these obstacles, Noah worked very hard in physical and occupational therapy to be able to participate in Rochester Raiders adapted athletics as well as Rochester Mustang sled hockey. With great termination, Noah was able to stand from his wheelchair and walk short distances. Noah was nominated to be a captain for the Raiders floor hockey team his senior year due to his work ethic and never- ending positive attitude.

Other awards that are scheduled to be handed out will be the Post High School Male and Female Athlete of the Year, as well as the Lifetime Achievement award. Tickets are available for $40 as well as business tables for $400. They can be purchased by calling the Rochester Sports office at 507-280-4701 or online HERE.


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