Hayfield’s Perfect Baseball Team Named Team of Year at Rochester Sports Banquet – Post Bulletin

Record another win for the 2021 Hayfield baseball team.

The Vikings set a perfect 26-0 record last spring, capturing the Class A state championship. On Monday, the Vikings picked up some more hardware at the Rochester International Event Center when they were named Team of the Year at the Rochester Sports Banquet.

“It’s a good thing for our city,” Hayfield baseball coach Kaskey Kreckling said. “It’s been a great year to be a Hayfield Viking and be a part of the community.”

The Hayfield baseball team won the team honor and one of the other five finalists was the Vikings basketball team. That team, led by Coach of the Year finalist Chris Pack, won the Class A Championship less than three months prior to the baseball team’s championship.

“We won it as a baseball program, but it started with basketball,” Kreckling said. “They started that run in the playoffs in basketball and it just continued into the baseball season and we just kept it up. It was really an award for both teams.”

Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa gymnastics team’s Sawyer Gorman and Mayo multi-sport standout Cayden Holcomb were named the Female and Male Athletes of the Year.

Gorman was All-State in four events and the state champion in the floor exercise. She also helped PIZM take second to the state in the Class AA state team competition.

“It’s really amazing and I’m honored to win this award and represent Rochester and the area,” Gorman said. “Everyone has worked hard to be nominated. Everyone should feel just as honored.”

Gorman is a freshman at Arizona State University, but she made the trip back to Rochester to attend the event.

“I was lucky enough to fly just for this night,” she said. “So it’s great that I could be here and celebrate with everyone. I am super happy.”

Gorman does not participate in college gymnastics. She has a new challenge and studies biological sciences.

“I wanted to go far and push myself into a new state,” Gorman said. “I love it and super happy that I can challenge myself far from home. It’s been great.”

Cayden Holcomb

Holcomb wrote in four events as a junior at Mayo, two in the spring. He was All-State in a few athletic events. But his standout senior football season last fall put him over the top for the Male Athlete of the Year award. He helped Mayo earn a state berth and set single-season and career school records for receptions.

Holcomb’s father, Donny, is Mayo’s head coach and his younger brother, Carter, was one of his teammates. He was grateful to them, as well as the rest of his teammates.

“Nothing would have happened without them,” said Holcomb.

Chatfield’s Jeff Johnson was named Coach of the Year. Johnson led the Gophers to the Class AA state soccer championship and a 13-1 record during the 2021 season.

“You have to have a great team to get an award like this,” Johnson said. “So (I am) quite honored and humbled. To be honest, I didn’t expect it.”

Jeff Johnson mug.jpg

Jeff Johnson

Chatfield did have to overcome a major obstacle when junior standout Sam Backer was ejected in the second half of the state semifinals. He missed the rest of the semifinals and the entire championship game.

“We had a group of kids who were trying their best and it all came together,” Johnson said. “You have to have a bit of luck to dodge COVID, stay healthy and put together the best game plan to win it all.”

Peyton Gunnarson of Lewiston-Altura was the Adaptive Athlete of the Year. Gunnarson won state titles in two wheelchair events at the boys’ track and field competition last spring. He is attending a meeting in Arizona and will not be able to attend Monday’s event.

John Marshall grad Matthew Hurt was the Post-Secondary Male Athlete of the Year. He finished his two-year men’s basketball career with Duke and now plays professional basketball in the G League with the Memphis Hustle.

Byron’s Ayoka Lee was named the Post-Secondary Female Athlete of the Year. She has had a stellar career in women’s basketball at Kansas State, leading the Wildcats this season in scoring (23.5 points per game) and rebounding (10.6).

Former Minnesota Twins infielder Corey Koskie spoke at the event, which returned after it was canceled a year ago due to COVID-19.

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