By John Rittenhouse
Two members of the Luverne High School boys' team spent their weekend competing at the Select 17 Spring Hockey Festival in Plymouth.
LHS sophomores Chris Morgan and Tony Smedsrud were members of Section 1A-1AA team that played three games during the three-day event that began Friday and ran through Sunday.
The eight teams that make up the field consist of 17-year-olds representing every section in the state, and the teams play three games each.
The purpose of the event is to develop potential members for the Minnesota Select 17 Team, which will play in a national tournament later this year.
Twelve evaluators watched every 22-minute, two-period contest. The evaluators will invite 50 players to try out for the Minnesota Select 17 Team later this spring.
Morgan and Smedsrud played with the 18-athlete Section 1A-AA team. Their teammates came from Winona, Albert Lea, Austin, New Ulm, Lakeville, Owatonna and the Rochester Lourdes, Mayo and Century programs.
The way things panned out, the experience was a humbling one for Section 1A-1AA. The team dropped all three games it played, finishing eighth at the event.
What made the situation even more challenging for the Luverne athletes was they were asked to play different positions than they played during the winter season.
Smedsrud, a wing for the LHS team, played as a center last weekend. Morgan, a defenseman for the Cardinals, played as a wing in Plymouth.
The Cardinals didn't contribute to the scoring for the Section 1A-1AA squad during its three outings.
Section 1A-1AA opened the event by playing Section 8A-8AA on Saturday.
With players representing programs like Moorhead, Warroad, Roseau and Bemidji, Section 8A-8AA skated to a 6-2 win over the team of local interest.
Section 4A-4AA, with players representing schools like Fergus Falls, Elk River, Osseo Robbinsdale (Armstrong and Cooper), beat Section 1A-1AA 7-2 later Saturday.
Section 1A-1AA played a better game against Section 3A-Section 2AA during Sunday's game for seventh- and eighth-place before falling 5-4.
The Section 3A-2AA team was made up of players from the St. Paul area.