Tartan girls post record-setting regular season

Titans have a remarkable year

In the two years that Tartan girls hockey coach Nick Fuerst has been at the helm, the Titans have gone from mediocre to very good.

For the first time in the history of the school — playing as a single entity — Tartan has finished with a winning record in regular-season play.

Last season the Titans finished 6-5 in the Classic Suburban Conference, but overall they went 11-12 during the regular season.

But the team’s incremental progress was a harbinger of good things to come.

This year, as the girls bought into the system introduced by Fuerst, they had a new wave of enthusiasm. And it paid off with a Metro East Conference mark of 9-4 — good for second place — and an overall record of 16-7.  

The 16 victories in the regular season were the highest in the 19 years of Tartan girls hockey history.

In the first season of girls hockey — 1994-1995 — in the former St. Paul Suburban Conference, a combined team of North High and Tartan players, under the tutelage of Barb Halbrehder, had a regular season mark of 16-5. The North-Tartan team went on to lose the opening Section 3 game to Mounds View, 2-1 in seven overtimes.

The next season (1995-1996), the Nor-Tans went 15-8-2 with a first-round win in sectional play. It was the final year of the combined District 622 schools in girls hockey.

In the 21 previous years of Tartan playing, that was the only two seasons in which the Titans — combined with girls from North — posted a winning season.

It should also be noted that in that first year of girls hockey in Minnesota, there were just four teams in the St. Paul Suburban Conference. They were North/Tartan, Park/Woodbury, Henry Sibley and South St. Paul.

Playing as a single school for 19 years, the 16-7 record — 9-4 in Metro East Conference play -is the only time Tartan has won that many regular season games.

The Titans came close in 2009-2010 when they posted a conference mark of 7-7, but were 10-15-1 overall.

In the 19 years of Tartan girls hockey — including 2005-2006 when they played a JV conference schedule —the Titans have an overall record of 140-313-18 and a conference mark of 65-180-5.

That makes their Metro East Conference second-place finish all the more outstanding.

Congratulations are in order to head coach Nick Fuerst and to the entire 2014-2015 Tartan girls hockey team as they celebrate their record-setting season!

Quick takeoffs

On the volleyball court last fall, NORTH grad TARA JASKULSKE led the UW-EAU CLAIRE team in service aces and was second in digs during a tournament in which the Blu-Golds went 3-1 . . . The next time you run into well-known local prep sports booster DON REGAN — he was one of the original four people who had key roles in the construction of POLAR ARENA — be sure to congratulate him. REGAN was recently named MINNESOTA Banker of the Year! Great going DON REGAN! ... BILL HALBREHDER was recently honored with a “Breaking Barriers Award” Feb. 4 at the 29th Annual National Women’s and Girls Sports Day at the Landmark Center in downtown ST. PAUL. The former NORTH HIGH activities director and boys and girls hockey coach, and former co-coach of the AUGSBURG College women’s hockey team is now president of the MINNESOTA girls hockey coaches association. Good going and well deserved, BILL! ... TARTAN grad MICHAEL BRUDZINSKI is the recently appointed TARTAN girls swiming and diving coach ... It was recently announced that MSHSL Media Director HOWARD VOIGT stepped down from his post effective Jan. 11 after 25 years. That he will be missed is a huge understatement.  One can only wish him well in his future endeavors!  ... Hey RUTH, you hang in there!

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com or 651-748-7826.

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