Practices for high school fall sports began Monday, and soon local teams will be playing for real.
Girls tennis teams could start playing matches as early as Thursday. Apple Valley will wait until Friday before going to an eight-team tournament in Stillwater. On Monday, Eastview and Lakeville North will be hosts of triangular meets at 9 a.m.
Soccer and volleyball teams can play season openers Thursday, Aug. 24. Boys soccer games scheduled that day include Apple Valley at Simley (4 p.m.), Cretin-Derham Hall at Eagan (7), Rochester Mayo at Lakeville North (7), and Rochester Century at Rosemount (7). Eastview plays St. Paul Central at 5 p.m. in the opening round of a tournament at Stillwater.
Girls soccer games Aug. 24 include East Ridge at Eagan and Rochester John Marshall at Lakeville South in 5 p.m. matchups. Eastview plays host to Henry Sibley at 6, De La Salle is at Burnsville at 7 and Minneapolis Southwest plays at Apple Valley at 7.
Burnsville is at Northfield, Farmington is at Owatonna and Lakeville North is at Wayzata in Aug. 24 volleyball matches. Two-time defending Class 3A champion Eagan plays its opener at Minneapolis Southwest on Aug. 29.
Farmington’s boys and girls cross country teams will travel to Duluth for their season-opening meet Aug. 24, while Eastview’s girls will go to a meet at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls the same day.
Football scrimmages are Saturday, Aug. 26, including the annual Watermelon Bowl at Burnsville High School starting at 9 a.m. Also that day, Rosemount will be host to Eagan and Visitation in a girls swimming and diving triangular. Diving starts at 8 a.m. with swimming events at 11.
In Week 1 football games Aug. 31, Hopkins is at Apple Valley, Eagan is at Minnetonka, Lakeville South is at Edina, Eastview is at Eden Prairie, Burnsville is at Lakeville North, Rosemount is at Wayzata and Eastview is at Eden Prairie. All games are 7 p.m. Farmington plays at Woodbury at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.
New football scheduling procedures this season have, among other things, restored the Burnsville-Prior Lake trophy game, which will be Sept. 29 at Burnsville. However, it also means Apple Valley won’t play any of the other three schools (Eastview, Eagan and Rosemount) from District 196. With Apple Valley a Class 5A team for postseason play, its schedule has been adjusted to consist of mostly Class 5A teams.
Previews of local football teams will appear on SunThisweek.com and the Sun Thisweek and Dakota County Tribune print editions the week of Aug. 28.
Erik Westrum to coach
Erik Westrum, who starred at Apple Valley High School and the University of Minnesota before playing professional hockey for 11 years, will be head coach of a high school team this fall. He recently was named coach of the Southwest Christian/Richfield co-op team.
One of his Westrum’s assistant coaches will be his father, Pat Westrum, who was head coach of Apple Valley’s 1996 state Class AA championship team. Erik Westrum played on that team and was named all-tournament and all-state that year. He remains Apple Valley’s career scoring leader.
He played four years at Minnesota and was a two-time Gophers MVP. Later, he played for the Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild in the NHL, as well as professionally in Switzerland. Westrum now owns an insurance agency in Prior Lake.
Another former AVHS head hockey coach will return behind the bench this winter as Jerry Hayes takes over as head coach at Irondale High School.
U.S. Senior Amateur
Randall Garber and John Barry, both of Lakeville, will play in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship beginning Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
Garber, 67, shot 70 to finish first in a local qualifier July 24 at Wayzata Country Club. Barry shot 73, placing second and earning one of the other four qualifying spots. Both play out of University Golf Club.
Barry, 55, qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur in his first year of eligibility. It’s the second time in the national tournament for Garber, who also qualified in 2010.
The 156 qualifiers will play two rounds of stroke play Aug. 26-27, with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play. The championship match will be Aug. 31.
Emma Welch of Lakeville had a two-day total 2-over-par 146 to win the girls division at the Minnesota PGA Section Junior Players Tour Tournament of Champions last week at Breezy Point Resort. Welch’s sister Megan won the same tournament in 2015. Both are Lakeville North High School students and play on the golf team.