New Season, New Field—Softball Season Kicks Off

As the days get warmer, the bats start cracking as another softball season kicks off. The softball team has been looking forward to the construction of a new softball complex. “I would say that there are some better things about this field; we have a complex now and a concession/news building now, some nice cages and a pit behind the dugout.” said Junior Katie Carlson. The passage of the 2014 bond has allowed the school to update various amenities for the different sports teams. This includes the new fields that are being built for both the baseball and softball team.

The softball team has had a lot of success in recent years making a back-to-back appearance in the state softball tournament and they hope that this upcoming season is successful as well. “I think it’s possible,” said Junior Codi Zwack. “We just need to take it one game at a time and just stay focused.” The Bison softball team has their first game on April 6th, although it will be an away game in Big Lake. We wish them luck for a successful season!

A Tennis Story

It was a cloudy, rainy day in Cambridge, Minnesota, but tennis stops for nothing, and so Logan Miller had a tennis meet in the rain.

Miller was a freshman, and this was his first year playing high school tennis, though he had also played in middle school. On the outside, Logan was a quiet kid, but fiercely competitive. Logan didn’t intend to lose this match, especially given the long drive to Cambridge.

“It took us about an hour and a half to get to Cambridge, so about three hours round trip. When we got there, it was going to start, but then it started to rain so they had to postpone the match. Given the three hour trip, we really didn’t want the meet to be cancelled, so we waited out the rain.”

After about an hour, it stopped raining, so the match could begin. It was a singles match, and Logan was up against a Cambridge kid named Jacob. The first set ended with a win for Jacob, the second a win for Logan.

“I was feeling pretty good going into the third set,” he said, “but at that point the time was getting pretty late, so they decided to end the match with a superbreaker.”

In order to win a superbreaker a player only needs to reach ten points and win by two.

“We started off the set, and it didn’t go very well for me.”

Jacob just kept scoring, over and over, until he had reached nine points while only allowing four points from Logan.

“At that point, it was 9-4,” Miller said, “and so if he scored the next point he won the entire match.”

Miller, who had driven an hour and a half to get there and sat through rain for an hour, did not want to lose this match.

Slowly but surely, he began to eat away at his opponent’s lead.

“I came back to 8-9,” Miller said, “and I served the best serve I’ve ever done.”

At this point, Jacob would still win if he scored this point.

“And somehow he managed to return it. I don’t know how he did it, but he did.”

“At this point I saw that my serve had been back far enough, so that I knew that if the shot I did next was just a little tap over the net, there was no way in heck he could sprint up and hit it back over.”

Logan, adrenalin pumping, knew he had to get this point in order to not lose the match.

“So I tapped it over, the ball hits the white tape on the top of the net, it bounces up…

“And it lands back on my side.”
Logan had lost the match.

RoboHerd Runs into ‘The Perfect Storm’ at Regionals

RoboHerd. It’s a name many have heard, or maybe seen while walking down the tech ed hallway. But not many really know what it is. So what is the robotics team, and what does it do?

In early March, the RoboHerd had their first and only competition, the Lake Superior Regional in Duluth. At competitions, the teams work to complete challenges outlined in the “game,” the list of challenges which is released at the beginning of the season. The competitions are scored individually, but each group works together with other teams to complete challenges, which didn’t work out well for the RoboHerd. “You get put into an ‘alliance’ of two other teams and then compete against another alliance, so there are six robots out on the field at a time,” said instructor and metal shop teacher Ben Wandmacher. “Unfortunately, our teams didn’t really match up. Most of the time, we scored at least half of the points for our alliance, if not more.” Considering this, the team does better than many other teams. “We got ranked according to how well we did with our alliances,” said team captain David Putz. “Even though that was kind of bad, according to points, we were still in probably the top fifteen [out of sixty-four] teams.”

The RoboHerd also had some technical difficulties during their practice rounds, which freshman Jared Schultz thought may have thrown them off a little as well. “Our robot has to be configured to the place’s internet, and ours wasn’t configured [by the hosts] right, so we couldn’t connect,” Schultz said. “Because of that, we only got two of our five practice rounds, which wasn’t enough to really be ready.”
However, the team still had fun. “The Duluth trip is my favorite part of Robotics,” said David Putz. “Duluth is really fun and it’s definitely a key part of the robotics season.”

A Tradition Lives On Through Recognition of the Varsity Boys Hockey Players

The definition of the word “team” from Merriam-Webster is as follows: a group of people who work together [for a common goal]. The Buffalo Bison Boys’ Hockey team meets just that definition, working together and utilizing their individual strengths in order to reach a common goal: a win. When the boys achieve that common goal, Coach Aaron Johnson of the Varsity Boys Hockey team acknowledges key players of the game by giving them a “game puck,” a hockey puck decorated with the player’s name, date, and game they received it after. This game puck is used as a symbol of recognition.

“Anything you can do to raise spirits and makes guys feel like they’re important pieces of the puzzle,” said Coach Johnson.

This tradition started back in the ’80s at Armstrong High School when Coach Johnson’s dad was his coach. He started it because his team was doing well and he wanted to recognize them, just as it’s done today. The tradition started off as a player just getting a game puck for playing well and then expanded to where Johnson’s mom or other coaches’ wives would write fancy calligraphy on the puck in a more formal recognition. Johnson has carried on this tradition since, doing it all ten years he’s been a high school hockey coach.

After the team has won a game, the coaches take a few minutes and talk. They each throw out a couple of names who they think deserve a game puck. Most nights, three to five guys get recognized.

“They choose who really pushed the team to do their best,” said sophomore goalie Nathan Mueller.

“It just boosts your confidence because you know you’re playing good and the coaches tell you that,” said senior Blake Habisch, the leading scorer on the team, who has earned a few game pucks for some of his accomplishments, including a hat trick.

Nathan Mueller said, “They boost confidence and kind of encourage you to perform like that again.”

Mueller has gotten five shutouts this season and received a puck for each one. But even though these pucks are confidence boosters, they’re not usually something the players use as motivation.

“I just think that the most important thing is getting a team win,” said Habisch.

The one that sticks out the most in Coach Johnson’s mind is when senior Mateo Johnson received his.

“The kids were just so excited for Mateo and that’s one of those special moments where you just get to see how much it meant to the entire group,” Coach Johnson said.

During the first game against St. Francis, Mateo Johnson scored his first varsity goal, earning himself a game puck.

“It was nice, it felt like I got noticed,” said Johnson about receiving the game puck.

To Coach Johnson, it’s all about the recognition of his team. He wants the players to feel included, especially when they perform well.

“We want to recognize guys for the contributions they make to helping us win,” Coach Johnson said.

The team members agree: Mateo Johnson said, “It’s a good way to recognize the players that stand out each game.”

When you’re recognized, it’s something to be proud of. Receiving a puck is like receiving a trophy for these players.

As Coach Johnson expressed, “We go to kids’ houses for team practice and things like that and you see their pucks laying in their bedroom on their mantel or on display so I think it means a lot to the kids to be recognized by their coaches.”

STMA-Buffalo Rivalry

The St. Michael Albertville and Buffalo rivalry exists in all sports, some more than others. Athletes sometimes play this team harder, not even always for the game records, but occasionally just for their pride.

“When I played St. Michael in lacrosse it wasn’t so much that I cared if we won or lost because I don’t get too beat up over it, it is a lot just beating them because they are just so mean on the field. Beating them just feels good.” Sophomore Lily Hershley says about her experience playing the rivals.

The rivalry takes place in even the more calm sports. “Even with baseball being a more mellow sport there is definitely a lot more energy in the game. The preparation to play St. Michael is always just more intense than playing any other team.” Senior David Watermiller explains.

The boys baseball team defeated a top ranked St. Michael 6-5 in a thrilling game. St. Michael was ranked 13th in the state at the time and looking for another bid at state. “It’s nice to finally beat those guys, you can just tell they’re all cocky pricks,” stated David.

The boys and girls of the track and field team understand the frustration and rivalry that come with competing  against St. Michael too. “It’s different with track and field, but it does start to get old seeing them win in just about everything” said Senior Jordan Thielman. Both the boys and girls track teams suffered losses to the St. Michael track team.

“It was hard losing to them last year with knowing a lot of the kids, so we were extra prepared for the game,” said Senior Kevin Kemp. It was a close game all the way through with a 6-6 tie at halftime. “We knew it was going to be a hard game but if we played well, we were going to win,” stated Kemp.

After the third the boys were down by three and needed some people to step up. Senior Brady Hartman came to the call by finishing the game with 4 goals. But it was Senior Gavin Welch scoring the game winning goal with just 2 minutes to play. “I was able to use my speed to beat him to the net, and then I had a good finish low on the goalie,” said Welch.

The Bison wrap up their season Friday with a game against Hutchinson. The boys have had a good season with only three losses, and hope to make a run in a tough section 8 for boys lacrosse.

Roboherd Rolling to Regionals

Buffalo’s Roboherd will be rolling out to the Regional Competition March 4th where they will compete against 62 other teams ranging from Edina to Irondale to hopefully move on to the next competition.

“We have 35 kids signed up, and we have 15 to 25 kids here working on the robot on any given night”, said tech-ed teacher Benjamin Wandmacher as he pulled out a calculator and typed some numbers into it. “We have put roughly 200 hours into this project altogether.”

With the amount of time and dedication put into the group’s robot, the Roboherd hopes to bring competition to its opponents in this year’s competition run by FIRST. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, and the group hosts robotics events in many places in the US and elsewhere.

For the Roboherd though, there is a lot that is going to need to happen in order to move on to the next competition.

A regional robotics competition starts off with practice rounds, where you work out problems with your team’s robot. Then, teams are placed randomly in groups of three called alliances. No one is eliminated at this stage, but the goal is to earn the most amount of points for your alliance.

Teams are then ranked based on points earned, and then the top eight teams are able to choose two more teams who did not make the top eight to form the final alliances. The new alliances compete with each other, and the top team moves onto the next competition level.

So far as who usually wins or is the top team, Wandmacher explains that, “It all depends, any team could win, unlike football and track. It really depends on the situation, robot, and other variables.”

One of these variables is what the competition game is each year, as every year robots need to be built for different purposes and goals in order to win. This year’s game is called Stronghold, and is explained briefly by Junior Jim Ostvig as an “obstacle course mixed with a basketball game played by robots.”

FIRST releases an official video every year detailing the new years game, and no team knows what type of robot they’ll have to build before the video is released.

This year’s regional competition will be held in Duluth on March 4th, as the Roboherd hope to bring it to the table and move on with their robot to the next level of competition.

Student Care Committee: Bringing you happiness and health through random acts of kindness

Student Care Committee (SCC) has been dedicated to helping students at BHS ever since it was founded 14 years ago, and now works closely with Buffalo’s Bounce Back Project. The Bounce Back Project is an organization dedicated to promoting health through happiness, and Buffalo and Montrose school districts are the 1st in the nation to partner with Bounce Back and really integrate their concept into their schools. When the Bounce Back Project came to Buffalo looking for an organization to jumpstart the project SCC was almost too perfect of a match. SCC’s motto is “ Bringing happiness through random acts of kindness,” a very similar concept to that of the Bounce Back Project.

Bounce Back has helped to shine a light on this little committee after 14 years of being hidden in the shadows of a larger similar group named Students Stepping up(SSU). The group does a very good job of making themselves well known at BHS, and has over 100 members. SSU works to organize the sales of Valentine Carnations and Veteran Candy Canes, and travel to elementary schools on Friday to help teachers tutor the young children. SSU is so big and so well known that students that want to make a difference in the school often sign up for SSU without having even heard of SCC, which may be the reason SCC has 29 students compared to SSU’s 100+.

Student Care Committee’s biggest year-round project is their “Gratituesday” notes that they deliver to members of different organizations thanking them for all that they do for Buffalo High School. They also worked to organize the school’s “ Jeans for Teens” fundraiser that takes place all throughout December. Teachers pay to wear jeans the whole month, and the money goes to help pay for care packages for students in need. These packages are delivered to students on all ends of the spectrum, including homebound and hospitalized students. The care-packages often consist of basic necessities ( i.e. shampoo,conditioner, bars of soap) as well candy and a greeting card.

The most famous care-packages show up around Christmas time, the money raised from the Jeans for Teens program is used to by a variety of different gifts for students in need. The students on the committee line up assembly line style and drop toiletry items, as well as other gifts such as travel mugs and headphones, into a gift bag. Afterwards,  the head of the committee Mrs. Krista Kern, goes through and personalizes the gifts. She adds money for gas, or a gift card to a grocery store tailoring the gift to the need of each individual student. The whole town pitches in for these care-packages, some stores donate gift cards, others send money, or send products from their store.

The advisor of the committee, Social Worker Mrs. Kern, finds immense joy in seeing students put so much time into helping their peers.

Over the course of time that Mrs Kern has run this committee she has found that, “Seeing this little committee grow from just a tiny group of people to a large group striving to bring happiness has brought me such joy. My job is to help students, and seeing the way the students in the committee want to help others the way I do is such an amazing thing to be apart of, let alone run.”

From “Gratituesday” notes delivered by 1st block teachers, to little caring acts demonstrated both in and out of school, Student Care Committee strives to bring everyone happiness and health through their random acts of kindness.

Bison Boys Golf Team Headed to STATE for the Second Time in a Row

On Wednesday May 27th, the Bison Boys Golf team earned a state bid for the second year in a row.

On the first day of sections, the Bison shot a team total of 308 led by Seniors Jake Ramsey and Gunnar Goodmanson who both shot a 76. They were followed up by Junior Ben Zitur and Sophomore Tom Russet who both shot a 78. The second day of sections they shot a 310 and were led by Ramsey (73), Zitur (77), Russet (78) and Senior Josh Fischmann (82).

“I’m just blessed to be able to play with such a good group of hardworking guys.” said Goodmanson “We all put in the work and it’s paying off.”

The Bison will be headed to Bunker Hills golf course in Coon Rapids for the State meet on June 9th and 10th.

Passion Series: Rebecca Kohnen

A new-found hobby is always exciting, but usually only lasts a couple of years or so. Senior, Rebecca Kohnen found her hobby in 7th grade but for her, it’s more than just a hobby. Photography is her passion.

“I started getting into photography when I was in 7th grade. My class at my old school, Salem Lutheran, took a trip to Washington DC. Every single day we were there I had to buy a new memory card because i was taking so many pictures,” said Kohnen

Going on that trip was the point when Kohnen realized photography is something she wants to continue with, and be successful in.

“The minute I got home, I sat and went through every picture and edited them. That’s when I first realized I wanted to be a photographer,” explained Kohnen.

As time went on, Rebecca’s passion for photography didn’t fade. She had her mind set on continuing to take and edit pictures.

“When i got into high school the first thing I did was ask my counselor if there were any photography classes. My sophomore year i took visual tech and my junior year I took yearbook. In yearbook my junior year I would take pictures whenever I had the chance. The summer after my junior year I took a few of my friends senior pictures and also my own. Then during my senior year, McCallum made me and four others the photography editors on the 2015 yearbook staff, with that I got the chance to take so many pictures and learn new techniques from the other photographers,” said Kohnen

Rebecca also has plans in mind for her journey with photography after high school.

“This summer I am doing an online photography program through the New York Institute of Photography and I am working on getting a studio,” explained Kohnen.

Kohnen’s journey with photography shows that when you find something you’re passionate about, go for it. It doesn’t always come easy though. Often times people spend the majority of their lives looking for that specific thing they enjoy more than anything else. But if you set your mind to it, the thing you’re passionate about can become the thing you do everyday.

Passion Series: Jake Kluver

Excellence and perfection is something that most people look to achieve at one point or another in their lives. Jake Kluver discovered his passion for long distance running and has looked to achieve excellence in his running career. His quest for success began as an eighth grader.

“I had been told by some of the coaches in eighth grade that I should try track. Before, I had always done soccer and lacrosse until I went out for track and I was really good. I always came in first place for the mile and I remember how good of a feeling that was and I realized ‘hey, I can do this’ so I continued with track and joined cross country in the fall,” explained Kluver.

As Jake felt began to experience success as a runner, he realized that he wanted to continue and that he wanted to be successful. This feeling encouraged him to put in hours upon hours a week to reach his goal.

“I like the feeling of success when I win a race… runner’s high… There’s nothing else like it. It is hard to explain, you feel like you can do anything even when you’re really tired. Especially after a race, if you go out and run a PR [personal record], you feel like you can do anything,” explained Kluver. “I have a goal to get a scholarship and run in college, that is my long-term goal, plus I just love to run. That is why I do it.”

In order to reach his in-season goals and his goal to become a collegiate athlete, he planned and continues to put continual effort and hours into the sport.

“You have to put in a lot of work in the off season, that is what really makes your season successful [track or cross country]. You have to stay focused on your goal during the season even if things aren’t going right,” said Kluver. “Last year I ran 385 [miles during the summer] and this year I plan to run over 400 for sure.”