Ronningen, Cardinals headline NDAPSSA high school awards
GRAND FORKS -- Langdon-Edmore-Munich won both the volleyball and girls basketball Class B state championships during the 2019-20 high school year. On both teams, Callie Ronningen was the player who led the Cardinals to the titles.
Ronningen has been selected as the North Dakota female athlete of the year in the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2019-20 school year. The award is given out annually by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Ronningen paced the undefeated (27-0) L-E-M basketball team with averages of 18.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.6 steals and was second on the team with 5.7 rebounds a game. She was a repeat first-team all-state selection and was named Class B senior girls basketball player of the year as well as being a Miss Basketball finalist.
Ronningen led the 38-3-2 L-E-M volleyball team in kills (441), digs (547) and blocks (67, tied for first). The University of Jamestown volleyball commit was named to the Class B all-state team for the third consecutive season.
“This was the first time a Class B school has won the state girls basketball and volleyball championships in the same school year,’’ Cardinals basketball coach Rob Scherr said. “Callie was the leader on both those teams. She’s a special athlete, always putting team first. Sometimes we had to get on her to be more aggressive and take charge.’’
Ronningen finished her high school career with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in basketball and more than 2,000 kills and 2,000 digs in volleyball.
“That tells you what kind of all-around athlete Callie is,’’ Scherr said. “She’s a coach's dream.’’
Other finalists: Jes Mertens, Devils Lake, and Reile Payne, Fargo Shanley.
Other high school award winners selected by the NDAPSSA are:
Devils Lake girls basketball: The Firebirds graduated three starters from the team that was runner-up in the 2019 Class A state tournament. Rebuilding went well.
Devils Lake opened the season with 22 straight wins before dropping a 79-70 decision to Fargo Davies in the East Region tournament semifinals. The Firebirds bounced back, winning a loser-out state-qualifier game, then won two straight at the Class A state tournament.
After the semifinals, however, the season was canceled to end a Devils Lake-Fargo Shanley state championship matchup. Devils Lake was 2-0 against the Deacons this season. The Firebirds finished 25-1.
First team all-stater Jes Mertens paced a balanced lineup that also included all-East Region selections Jailyn Martinson, Ramsey Brown and Abby Johnson. All four averaged between 11 and 12.8 points in the balanced, high-powered offense.
Other finalists: Langdon-Edmore-Munich girls basketball and Langdon-Edmore-Munich volleyball.
Female team coach
Rob Scherr, Langdon-Edmore-Munich basketball, and Justin Klein, Devils Lake basketball: Scherr and Klein were co-winners of the award after their two basketball teams had a combined 52-1 record.
Scherr’s Cardinals were 27-0 relying on balance. Ronningen was not only L-E-M’s lone all-stater; she was the team’s lone pick on the all-Region 4 team. Scherr’s starting five all averaged between 6.5 and 17.7 points.
Scherr also had the Cardinals playing stingy defense. The result was L-E-M almost doubled its opponents in scoring average, getting 64.8 points a game while allowing an average of 33.6.
Klein also had a team built around a balanced offense.
No Firebirds player averaged as many as 13 points a game. Yet Devils Lake had a 72.6 scoring average that was highest among all of the Class A teams in the state.
Devils Lake led Class A girls basketball with a 72.6 scoring average. That was only a 3-point drop in scoring average from a year ago, despite Klein having to work three new starters into the lineup and rebuild his bench.
Other finalist: Rob McIvor, Devils Lake hockey.
Langdon-Edmore-Munich football: The Cardinals had a second straight undefeated season, repeating as Class A state champions. They did so in dominant style.
Langdon-Edmore-Munich capped a 13-0 season by beating Minot Bishop Ryan 42-14 in the state championship game.
That was a typical margin of victory. In each of its 13 victories, L-E-M had a winning margin of 28 or more points. The Cardinals scored 39 or more points in every game while not allowing more than 16 in any game. They ended the season averaging 47.4 points a game while allowing an average of 7.5.
Langdon-E-M was led by first-team all-staters quarterback Simon Romfo, linebacker Grant Romfo and wide receiver Jackson Delvo and second-team picks Sean Gette and Jesse Fetsch.
Other finalists: Hillsboro-Central Valley football and Bismarck High wrestling.
Cade Feeney, Bismarck Century: The senior is a multisport standout who wasn’t able to play baseball -- a sport he’ll play at North Dakota State University -- due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Feeney excelled in football and basketball.
Feeney was named Class AAA senior football player of the year after leading the Patriots to a 12-0 season and the state championship. Feeney accounted for almost 2,000 yards in total offense, as he passed for 1,293 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 703 yards and 13 TDs. He was intercepted only once all season.
The senior was a second team all-state selection in basketball with a strong all-around game. He averaged 21 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals.
In his career, Feeney played on state championship teams in football, baseball and basketball and earned all-state honors in all three sports.
Other finalists: Carson Henningsgard, Hillsboro-Central Valley; Oscar Benson, Hillsboro-Central Valley; Elijah Klein, Mandan; and Bo Belquist, New Rockford-Sheyenne.
Male team coach
Mike LaMoine, Grand Forks Red River hockey: LaMoine was named interim head coach of the Roughriders at the end of October, approximately a month before Red River’s season opener. The Riders finished the season 18-7-2 and state champions.
LaMoine, a former defenseman for the UND hockey team, brought defense to the Riders. Other than a 4-4 tie against East Grand Forks Senior High, Red River held every opponent to less than four goals. Noah Burger and Nick Antonenko, splitting time in goal, had a combined 1.7 goals-against average.
Red River took the No. 4 seed into the East Region tournament. LaMoine’s stingy defense went 6-0 in the postseason, with its 4-3 win against Grand Forks Central in the state semifinals the most goals allowed in those six games.
Eleven teams had at least one all-state pick. Red River had no all-staters, but it had a state title under LaMoine.
Other finalists: Rick Smith, Four Winds-Minnewaukan basketball, and Jordan Wilhelm, Bismarck High basketball.