Late-inning nightmares have reared their ugly heads for the Foley Falcons baseball team in recent postseason appearances. Another tough turn of events arrived for the team against the Cathedral Crusaders in the Section 6AA quarterfinals June 1, as a seventh-inning wild pitch led the Crusaders to a 4-3 win. “It was a tough way to lose,” said Mike Beier, Foley baseball head coach. “It’s difficult to end that way, but we played all right.”
Senior Jonah Wendt and junior Gavin Gross are going to be busy this week. Along with playing for the Foley varsity boys tennis team in the Minnesota State High School League Class A Team Tournament, the Falcons duo also qualified for state in doubles. Wendt and Gross won four matches over two days at the Section 6A Tournament May 26 and May 30 at the Pine City High School tennis courts. They will play in the state doubles tournament June 8-9 at Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center in Minneapolis. After winning their first two matches over Brooklyn Center without losing a game, Wendt and Gross found themselves trailing a set to their Pine City opponents before rallying for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory in the semifinals. They had an easier time in the championship, defeating their Mora opponents 6-1, 6-2.
The Foley boys golf team hopes their final regular-season meet is a precursor for what is to come. The Falcons finished fourth in the 16-team Cragun’s Invitational at The Legacy Golf Course in East Gull Lake. Foley finished with a score of 326, topping Granite Ridge Conference champion Albany by one shot. Tyler Smith shot 80 to lead Foley, while Dylan Dancer, Cam Evenson and Treydan Smith all shot 82 to complete Foley’s team score.
The last two weeks of the amateur baseball season have taken the Foley Lumberjacks in various directions. The latest stop was the Stearns County Classic tournament, where the team picked up a well-earned 6-4 win over the Starbuck Stars June 4 in Lake Henry. Michael Moulzolf completed five innings for the win, while Hunter Hamers came on for a timely two-inning save.
Foley’s senior class of boys track and field athletes put together a fantastic farewell at the Section 5AA finals June 2. Pole vaulter Ethan Novak clinched his spot at the 2023 Class AA Minnesota State High School League Track and Field State Meet, while fellow upperclassmen Teagan Duevel and Mitch Thell each found third-place finishes in a ninth-place finish for the Falcons at Monticello High School in Monticello. “It’s a great way to end everything,” said Dave Dahlstrom, head coach. “You always hope for the seniors to end their career with a personal best.”
Down the stretch, the Foley Falcons softball team were playing some of its best softball, moving runners around the bases with situational hitting and relying on a capable trio of pitchers to keep the team competitive against anyone.
As the regular track and field season comes to a close, the Foley girls team looks ahead to the Section 5AA meet with eager anticipation and hopes that their season will be extended beyond sections.
Despite having greater expectations in production from his talented offensive lineup, Foley Falcons baseball head coach Mike Beier did not expect what the batting order brought to the table against Annandale May 23.
The Falcons boys track and field team traveled to Zimmerman May 23 to compete in the Last Chance meet with five other schools. This meet gives the athletes an opportunity to calibrate their mechanics before sections Wednesday, May 31. Not only did some calibrating happen but a school record went down and personal bests were achieved.
As the Foley High School clay target team prepared to bring its best shooters to the line for the Mid-Sota Champion Tournament, head coach Todd Kobenia was excited to get an opportunity to see how the Falcons stack up in an apples-to-apples comparison with other teams. In windy conditions, the tournament took place May 24 at Del-Tone Shooting Range in St. Cloud.
The Foley boys golf team has one final tune-up before their chance to make a run for the state tournament. The Falcons’ busy schedule continued last week with a Granite Ridge Conference meet in Becker and an invitational at Eagles Landing Golf Course in Fort Ripley. Their final regular season competition is the Staples-Motley Invitational Wednesday, May 31, at The Vintage Golf Course in Staples.
Sure, the Foley High School tennis team won the section last year. That fact has not tempered the Falcons expectations for this year, as they earned a return trip to the Minnesota State High School League Class A Boys Tennis State Tournament. Though it was not as dramatic as the road to the 2022 Section 6A title, it was no less satisfying for first-year head coach and former Falcons state participant Zach Kantor.
FOLEY – Growing up as an athlete at Foley Public Schools, Paul Backowski looked up to the members of the Foley Athletic Hall of Fame and one day hoped to be enshrined in the hall himself. Through an incredible athletic career defined by hard work and drive, the 2005 Foley High School graduate achieved his longtime goal, as the three-sport Falcons athlete was inducted into the hall of fame to kick off Foley Night of Excellence May 21 at Foley High School in Foley. “I’m really thankful it happened, and it’s an opportunity to really reflect on how influential coaches, teammates and teachers were on my development both as an athlete and as a person,” Backowski said. Backowski fell in love with sports through his grandfather, who frequently browsed sports sections of newspapers at the local and national level as a huge fan of sports. This made an impression on Backowski, who began a long-winding period of athletic participation in fifth grade, starting with football and basketball but expanding to anything that caught his eye. “When it was pickup basketball, softball, kickball at recess, whatever it was, from an early age, it was fun to play sports,” he said. “I had fun playing any sort of competition.” And as he grew, Backowski developed a physical profile perfect for competing in a multitude of athletics. By the time he arrived on the Foley Falcons varsity football team as a ninth grader, he stood at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, and his large frame made him a strong fit for what he eventually established as his premier position on the gridiron: offensive tackle. “Coach Larry Herm came up to me in practice when I was in ninth grade and said, ‘You like pancakes?’” Backowski said. “I was like, ‘Pancakes? I love pancakes.’ We had pancakes once a week, and I was thinking, ‘Is he going to invite me to breakfast?’” Coach Herm later explained to Backowski that a pancake meant something entirely different in football; a pancake block is when an offensive lineman drives a defender back with so much force that they end up flat on their back. As it turns out, Backowski loved that, too, along with all aspects of football. “There’s 11 players on the field at any time,” Backowski said. “If one person out of 11 goes the wrong way or doesn’t do their job, it doesn’t result in a positive play. But, if all 11 players are working together and execute the plan and play, then as a team, you generally find success.” With Backowski serving as a dominant tackle and defensive end, Foley indeed reached high levels of success. The Falcons made it to the section finals as the Rum River Conference champions during his sophomore season and won the conference title once more during his senior campaign, when he accumulated 52 pancakes and did not allow a sack. For Backowski, it was the product of developing a work ethic and gaining the confidence others had in him. “College athletics was something I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure if it was attainable,” he said. “There were a lot of coaches and teammates who believed in me before I believed in myself.” This translated into Backowski’s other pursuits as well; along with dabbling in baseball in junior high, he also played varsity basketball and track and field for the Falcons, making it to the Minnesota State High School League State Track and Field Championships in the shot put as a sophomore, junior and senior and qualifying as a discus thrower as a senior. After graduation, Backowski fulfilled his desire to play collegiate football, playing for the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the North Dakota State University Bison. “Foley did a great job of preparing me for what college could look like and would look like,” Backowski said. Backowski’s competitiveness helped him not only in any athletic setting he desired but also in the workforce after completing his education. He has worked for three agriculture companies and is currently employed at Ceres Global Ag in Golden Valley and lives in Mound with his wife, Sara, and infant son, Henry. Through it all, Backwoski has used life lessons taken from his various sport-driven environments and applied it to all aspects of his life. “It’s the culmination of a lot of practice, studying and work,” Backowski said. “It was really understanding if the work is put in, good things will happen.”
The Foley Falcons softball team outhit the Pine City Dragons 17-11, coming alive as an offense in a 17-12 win to end the regular season May 19 at Pine City High School in Pine City. Foley’s offense kept it afloat in the high-scoring matchup, with Hailey Weis finishing the game a homer away from the cycle; her single, double and triple all scored runs for the Falcons.
The Foley High School boys varsity tennis team has completed the end of the regular season, and the team’s progress throughout the season has been nothing short of impressive. Its most recent success was marked by earning the top seed in the section draw May 16 by defeating the Sartell Sabers at Sartell High School more convincingly than the last time the two teams met only a week ago.
Sweet, sweet four-peat. The 2023 Granite Ridge Conference Championship May 16 in Milaca became an event filled with outstanding performances by the Foley High School varsity girls track and field team, starting with the 3,200-meter relay and finishing with the 1,600 relay.
The Granite Ridge Conference meet was a good battle May 16 at Milaca High School in Milaca. With only three events left to score, the top four spots were all within four points. Overall, the …
At the Foley High School clay target team’s final regular season joust May 22 in Monticello, the Falcons took fourth place of eight teams. Although the Falcons are used to finishing with a higher placement, Foley shooters cemented themselves with the top spot in the conference with their performance. Helping the Falcons along to success at the Monticello Rod and Gun Club were medalists Grace Zimmerman, who took third place in the novice division; Bridgett Bursch, who took second place among varsity girls individuals; and Kaden Reding, shooting a 25 straight.