Blast from the past: November

10 Years AgoMarkling and Holker help lead Magic to section final
With Monticello’s dream season coming to a nightmarish end Saturday, the 2002 Monticello football team remains the last one to advance to the section final.
The Fall of 2002 started out promising for the Magic. A win over St. Michael-Albertville gave the program its first win in 19 tries. Unfortunately, Monticello wasn’t able to carry the momentum forward. The Magic lost their next six games in the powerful North Suburban Conference before knocking off St. Francis in the last game of the regular season.
This time, the momentum stuck. In the section quarterfinals, the fifth-seeded Magic traveled back to STMA for a rematch. Much like the first meeting, Monticello controlled the Knights. After beating them 6-0 to open the year, the Magic threw up another shutout in the postseason, this time winning 21-0.
The visitors first struck early in the second quarter. Quarterback Kevin Markling connected with Todd Goudy on a 59-yard pass to move the Magic near the goal line. The next play, Monticello stuck with what worked. Markling found Goudy for a two-yard scoring strike and the early lead.
That score held till the half. The second half was Greg Holker time. Just minutes into the third quarter, Holker capped a Magic drive by rushing six yards for a touchdown, giving Monticello a 13-0 lead.
On the other side of the ball, the defense, led by Mark Holker, continued to force turnovers and keep the Knights at bay. STMA would finish the game with a whopping six turnovers. Midway through the fourth quarter, Greg Holker took the ball and jaunted 14-yards into the end zone, helping seal the Magic’s section semifinal berth. Holker finished the game with 118 yards rushing to go with his two touchdowns.
In the next round, Monticello headed north to take on top-seeded Grand Rapids. The game proved to be a mismatch – just not in the way people likely expected.
The Magic jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the state-ranked Thunder-hawks, and continued to cruise from there, winning by a final margin of 41-15 to earn their first section berth in years.
Monticello started the scoring on their opening possession. Markling found Brandon Veches for a 66-yard scoring strike. Shaun Villaverde added an 18-yard touchdown run before Markling and Veches hooked up again, this time for 30 yards and a score, to provide the opening quarter margin.
Grand Rapids scored late in the second quarter to cut Monticello’s margin to 21-7, but that was the closest they would get. Markling opened the second half with a 5-yard touchdown scramble, and Holker, and his younger brother Kevin, each added scoring runs down the stretch. Markling threw for 212 yards on the game with 96 yards going to Veches and 85 yards going to Mark Geyen. Holker ran for 139 yards.
In the section final, Monticello ran out of magic. Playing in Princeton on the first day of November, the Magic fell behind 21-0 early. They roared back, and were twice able to cut it to a one score game, but could never quite erase the early deficit. Princeton won the game 27-20, denying Monticello its first state tournament appearance since 1988.
Ten years later, they remain the only Magic team of the 2000s to advance to the section final.

18 Years AgoMagic volleyball takes top-ranked team to the wire
If Monticello hadn’t been stuck in the toughest section of Class AA, the 1994 volleyball season might have ended a bit differently.
As it was, Monticello earned two hard-fought wins (each in five sets) just to earn a semifinal showdown with Chaska, the second ranked team in the entire state.
The Magic, who went 18-5-1 in the regular season, didn’t back down. Even after a horrendous first set.
Monticello, new to the atmosphere of the section semifinals, dropped the first 14 points of the first set, getting overwhelmed by a final score of 15-2. But they bounced back quickly. In the second set, Heather Kanthak served up a run of three points to give Monticello their first lead, 5-4. After forcing a side out, Holly Soltau and the Magic took control. Soltau reeled off eight straight points, with two Chaska timeouts sandwiched in between, to put the underdogs up 13-4. They would hold on to win 15-7.
The third set proved just how fickle momentum can be. Chaska took control again from the get-go, rolling to an 11-2 lead and a 15-6 win to apparently quell any upset hopes.
But again, the Magic weren’t done. Even when Chaska jumped to an 8-0 lead in the fourth set.
Instead, the Magic got stronger. Michele Dinius and Britt Miller each went on a serving run that pulled the team within a point. After falling back behind by three, Monticello surged forward again, now pulling ahead 12-11. With Kanthak back at the serve, Monticello didn’t relent. Aided by a big time spike from Chanteil Walter, the Magic reeled off three straight points, forcing a fifth set.
In the fifth set Monticello held leads all the way up to 8-7. But in the end, the second-ranked team in the state wasn’t going to be denied their chance at a state bid. Chaska rallied its way to a 15-12 win and an eventual state tournament berth.
Walter had 16 ace kills, seven blocks, nine digs and was 11 for 12 serving. Miller and Kanthak each added ten kills of their own.

39 Years AgoSwimmers compete in first meet in school history.
This month, the Monticello girls swimming and diving team will likely find some amount of success at both sections and state. The boys swimming and diving program will officially begin practice as they look to defend their second place state finish from a year ago.
But just 39 years ago this month, Monticello swimmers were taking to the pool to compete for the first time ever.
In Monticello’s first-ever meet they competed in a triangular with Coon Rapids and Cambridge (hosted by Cambridge). Monticello scored just 22 points, compared to 74 for Cambridge and 78 for Coon Rapids, but that meet started to build a base for what has now become one of the best programs not just in the school, but in the area.
At the meet, Monticello was led by Dwight Wildman, who placed in the 100-yard fly and the 200-yard individual medley, as well as Dean Kendall, who turned in a quality swim in the 50-yard freestyle.