Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota
A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.
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Veteran high school gymnastics coach Dave Tews said Jamestown was a tad less than inspiring while warming up for Friday's West Region meet in Minot. But that's also when the judges are busy sharpening their pencils. The Blue Jays pulled it all together when it mattered, capturing second place behind three-time defending state champion Dickinson. The Jays vaulted and tumbled their way to a team score of 139.925, while Dickinson won its 20th WDA meet with a top mark of 147.300.
Jamestown High School boys hockey coach Matt Stockert came close to having to empty out his wallet on Friday, Feb. 15, in Minot. Early in an energized loser-out contest of the West Region tournament, the veteran coach committed to a rather risky wager involving senior Brady Sortland, sophomore Braden Gahner and freshman Michael Mahoney. The Blue Jays were already staked to a 2-0 lead after 3 minutes against Bottineau-Rugby at Maysa Arena, having watched freshman defenseman Braxton Jorissen bang home the first varsity goal of his career.
University of Jamestown head men's basketball coach Danny Neville never lost faith on Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Orange City, Iowa. Northwestern College whittled a 26-point, first-half deficit down to just 87-83 with less than 3 minutes to play in the Jimmies' final road game of the 2018-19 season. But five straight points from senior Jon Purintun and a 3-pointer knocked home by junior Isaiah Dobson followed, putting the kibosh to any threat of an upset.
University of Jamestown's streak of seven consecutive appearances at the NAIA Division II women's basketball national tournament formally came to an end Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Orange City Iowa. Second-ranked Northwestern defeated Jamestown 88-58, eliminating the Jimmies from Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament contention. In its first season in the GPAC, Jamestown will finish outside the top eight teams advancing to the conference tournament with one game to play.
There's no surprises at the top of the latest Class A basketball media rankings released Wednesday, Feb. 13. Jamestown High School (18-0) ran its streak on top of the boys poll to a fifth consecutive week, receiving all 17 first-place votes. The Blue Jays locked up sole possession of the West Region regular season championship with Tuesday's 84-55 victory at Bismarck Legacy. Jamestown has three games remaining to the regular season, beginning at Williston on Friday.
Jamestown High School sophomore Meghan Ford has been selected 2018-19 Gatorade North Dakota Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. Ford was presented with the award during a pep rally held at the high school on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The award, which recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character, qualifies Ford as a finalist for the national Gatorade award in the sport of girls cross country, which will be announced in February.
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion junior guard Ellie Holen stepped out of big sister Anna Holen's shadow this winter on the basketball court. One season removed from Anna receiving the North Dakota Miss Basketball Award, Ellie has helped lead the Loboes back to the Region 3 tournament. Holen scored 14 points and recorded three steals Monday, Feb. 11, at the Jamestown Civic Center, as L-L-M put No. 8 Carrington on a bad night offensively.
The look Jaida Seyer made on Monday, Feb. 11, at the Jamestown Civic Center was priceless. The junior forward for Oakes had just dropped in a 3-pointer from right of the circle facing Midkota in region-qualifying action of the District 5 girls basketball tournament. Shots from that distance don't normally fall for Seyer—as evidenced by her look of utter shock—and the Tornadoes defeated the Mustangs 61-30. Oakes will face Linton-HMB next Monday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Region 3 tournament back at the civic center.
Thompson (16-1) received all 18 first-place votes and remains on top of the latest Class B boys basketball media rankings released Monday, Feb. 11. New Rockford-Sheyenne (14-2) is up one spot, from ninth to eighth, this week. LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (14-3) is receiving votes. Kidder County (20-0) leads the Class B girls media poll for a second consecutive week. The Wolves garnered 12 of 17 first-place votes, with Langdon (4) and Grafton (1) collecting the remaining five.
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion's Kaylynn Siedschlag is the type of basketball player who stays in her lane. She won't be located under the bucket posting up opponents, nor will she be found out running the Loboes' offense from the top of the circle. L-L-M coach Mitch Carlson calls on Siedschlag to shoot the 3-ball, and at that the 5-foot-9 junior is pretty darn good.