The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Jim Rueda

April 5, 2012

Rueda: A few thoughts before moving on to the spring seasons

— It’s desk clearing time as we officially end the winter sports season and prepare to enter the next few months of spring sports.

Here are a few things that have been hanging around my desk for awhile that deserve mention in the paper.

Sean Murphy honored

Standout athlete Sean Murphy of Nicollet High School will be honored by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame at an awards dinner on Sunday, April, 22 at the University of St. Thomas.

Murphy has been selected as a 2012 scholar-athlete award winner.

The quarterback and safety has attended every Nicollet High School football game since kindergarten.

Sean is “a leader for our team both on an off the field,” said head football coach Tom Murphy, who also happens to be Sean’s dad. Sean is a four-year letterwinner who made all-conference teams in 2010 and 2011, was named academic all-state in 2011 and was the 2010 conference co-offensive player of the year.

Sean has served on Nicollet’s student council for five years.

The guest speaker at the 6 p.m. dinner will be NFL and College Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Bell. WCCO-TV news personality Frank Vascellaro is returning for his fifth year as master of ceremonies.

To purchase tickets to the event go to

Up and comer

We don’t usually report on the athletic exploits of third and fourth graders in our paper, but in the case of Charlie Pickell, I’ve decided to make an exception. Pickell is a young wrestler whose dad, Heath Pickell, was a standout wrestler for Mankato West a while ago.

Charlie competed in the National Youth Wrestling Association State Tournament last weekend and earned first place in 3-4 grade, 64-pound division. Over the course of the season, Charlie has compiled an 80-3 record with 45 pins and three technical falls.  

MRC awards

The Minnesota River Conference has announced its all-conference boys basketball team for 2011-12 and Watertown-Mayer’s Nate Kratch and Bob Hennen are the top honorees.

Kratch has been named the MRC’s most valuable player while Hennen has been tabbed as the league’s coach o the year.

Among the other All-MRC selectees are sophomore guard Aaron Bigaouette and sophomore center Gavin Duwalter of Belle Plaine, senior guard Dalton Zeug of Montgomery-Lonsdale, junior forward Tyler Bates of Sibley East and senior center A.J. Smith of Le Sueur-Henderson.

Among the honorable mention picks area Alec Koepp (Belle Plaine), Jordan Trnka (Montgomery-Lonsdale), Kyle Goetsch (Sibley East) and Christian Dwyer (LSH).

Jim Rueda is the Free Press sports editor. To contact him, call 344-6381 or e-mail him at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Jim Rueda