Out of the seven high school sports that comprise the winter season, two West Fargo teams have yet to suffer a loss: girls basketball and wrestling.
The Packers girls basketball team sits atop the Eastern Dakota Conference standings with no losses and four wins to its credit, including a decisive victory against Fargo Shanley.
The strong start is in stark contrast to recent years when similar teams have struggled to even make it to postseason play. This year's Packers team, however, seems to be firing on an entirely different level.
In three of their four games, for example, the Packers have won by a minimum of 20 points. The only game that was closer came Thursday against the Deacons, when West Fargo won 60-51.
It was the first loss for last year's state tournament runner-up.
Lexi Lennon, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, sparked West Fargo against the Deacons with a team-high 17 points
Last week's other contest came Saturday against Devils Lake. The Firebirds (1-3) trailed by 20 points at the half en route to a 59-35 thumping.
West Fargo sophomore Cassidy Thorson put up a game-high 15 points in the win. Lennon also tallied double digits with 11 points.
The Packers only have one game before a long, and much earned holiday vacation. They host winless Grand Forks Central (0-2 EDC, 0-3) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. West Fargo's next game occurs in 2012, when they travel to Grand Forks Red River on Jan. 5 for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Wrestling places sixth at Minn. Christmas Tournament
West Fargo's wrestling team is having another banner year, and is undefeated in dual play with seven wins.
It also took first place at the Dan Unruh tournament in Wahpeton earlier this season, and most recently placed sixth at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament in Rochester, Minn.
Last week's competition began Tuesday with a dual against Fargo Davies. West Fargo picked up eight pins en route to a 53-21 victory to hand the Eagles (3-1, 5-4) their first conference loss of the season.
Over the weekend, the Packers made the long trip to Rochester in southern Minnesota for the annual Christmas Tournament. Competition is fierce at the two-day ordeal, as 34 teams from around the region square off.
Perennial powerhouse Apple Valley (Minn.) walked away with the championship after garnering 291.5 points to beat out second-place Simley by nearly 100 points. The Packers held their own, however, and finished a respectable sixth place with 127 points.
While no West Fargo wrestler came home with an individual title, several did earn medalist honors.
Top-seeded Jordan Shearer finished runner-up at 113 pounds. The freshman had two straight pins followed by two decision wins to reach the championship bout, before falling by a 9-3 decision to the No. 2 seed, St. Michael-Albertville's Tommy Thorn.
Another second-place finish came from Preston Lehmann at 182 pounds. The Packers junior was seeded second and had two pins and two decision victories en route to the title match. Top-seeded Micah Barnes of Simley took the title with a close 7-6 decision.
The Packers also garnered seventh-place medalist honors from Angelo Shepherd at 138 pounds, Shelby Schulz at 160 pounds, and Drew Johnson at 195 pounds.
West Fargo was slated to visit Moorhead on Tuesday for a dual competition, but results were not in by the time the Pioneer went to press. Their next match is a whopper, however, as the much-hyped Rumble on the Red runs Dec. 29-30 in Fargo.
Boys basketball: After a tough overtime loss to open their season against Davies on Dec. 9, the Packers picked up two critical wins last week to improve to 2-1 overall. On Thursday, West Fargo defeated Fargo Shanley 72-64, behind 6-foot-2 junior Justin Heisler's 12 points. Then Saturday, the Packers handed Devils Lake a 70-65 loss, thanks in part to Heisler's team-high 19 points. West Fargo was scheduled to host Valley City on Tuesday, but results were not in by press time. They play again at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30 in Grand Forks to take on Central (1-1).
Boys swimming and diving: The Packers hit the pools with a vengeance this winter, and haven't slowed down one iota. Last Friday, they visited Moorhead and handed the Spuds a deflating 143-42 loss. Then on Saturday, the Packers went north for the Grand Forks Pentathlon, where they took first place overall with 219 points, and had swimmers Ethan Doll and Adam Smestad finish 1-2 in the pentathlon. In all, the Packers took first place in every event save for diving and the 100 breaststroke. West Fargo eighth grader Gabe Brown also made a big splash, bringing home four individual titles. The Packers' next competition is a dual in Grand Forks on Jan. 6 at 5:30 p.m.
Hockey: The Packers boys hockey team's next competition will be the three-day Fergus Falls (Minn.) tournament, beginning Dec. 27. The West Fargo girls have their next game Dec. 27, a road trip to Mandan at 2 p.m.