My favorite sports images of 2010

I don’t shoot sports as much as I did when I worked in the newspaper world and that is probably the thing I miss the most. I’m a huge fan of sports at all levels. No offense to The Situation, but it’s the best reality entertainment on the planet hands down. Most of the sports I shoot nowadays are freelance assignments for local publications, tournaments and dual meets of my hometown wrestling team whose blog I run here, soccer matches for the college team that my fiance coaches and random matches on days when I simply have an itch to get out and shoot.

This year I covered three spectacular state tournaments:  MN State Boys Basketball, Wisconsin State Wrestling and Minnesota State Boys Hockey.  I went to Omaha for the NCAA wrestling championship and followed my hometown wrestling team around as they had one of the best seasons in program history and saw one wrestler finish 50-0 with a state championship.  So this is my 2010.  I’ve dug up a few links to my favorite sports-related blog posts of the year…

And now for some of my favorite pictures of 2010 with some commentary on a few of the images…

Milwaukee Custer's Davion Willis went into his state finals match against Wisconsin Rapids' Devon Peterson as a heavy underdog, but that didn't stop Peterson from pulling out one of the biggest upsets of the state tournament. Peterson entered the tournament as the top-ranked wrestler at 171 pounds in the state and a national champion in Greco-Roman, Freestyle and Folkstyle wrestling. I just love the expression of accomplishment here in Willis' face.

Again, great expressions from this kid. Definitely one of the more memorable matches in state finals history.

The Target Center in St. Paul has beautiful light while the WIAA state wrestling finals is just filled with awesome moments waiting to be photographed.

I like the light in this photo. The way Miller Park is constructed creates some interesting play between the players and the light during afternoon games.

I put this image in with my favorites because it was a little like the calm before the storm and because it's a little different than your typical wrestling photo. About a minute after adjusting his contact, Hudson's Kyle Crain headlocked his opponent and wrapped up his first state championship. The win was all-the-more remarkable considering he had broken his leg earlier in the season and made it back in time for the postseason.

Hudson's Kyle Crain moments after pinning his opponent in the finals...

Niko Bogojevich (left) and Brad Dolezal (right) are happy to win state championships. Niko was a special wrestler. Hailing from Superior, he was an oddity in a land dominated by ice and hockey. For a wrestling fan in this land, he was something to watch. I particularly like the Dolezal image on the right because of the bursting veins, the bloody nose and the cotton stuffed in it and the incredible outburst of emotion after he won his match.

The Brewers didn't live up to their expectations this year as injuries and bad luck and a lack of depth in the starting pitching led to many of the team's problems. I think this image of manager Ken Macha sums up the Brewers season pretty well.

I was asked to cover the start of Grandma's Marathon this year for the Duluth News Tribune. After a minute of watching people come by and not seeing anything particularly interesting, I decided to see what it would look like if I slowed the shutter down and tried to blur the runners. The mash of color and feet frozen on the pavement made this my favorite image from Grandma's Marathon.

Grand Rapids almost played the part of David in the David vs. Goliath story as they pushed nationally-ranked St. Paul Johnson into the final seconds, but in the end they came up just short. I think the hopes and dreams of the Grand Rapids faithful can be illustrated by Stacy Perreault (center) as the final seconds ticked away in the championship game.

Nice expression from the middle of a match.

Hockey is king in northern Minnesota and the place all young hockey players want to play at when they get older is the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul--home to the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota state hockey tournament. Here, Hermantown players are welcomed onto the ice before their game against Mahtomedi in the state semifinals.

Sparta's Jordan Stanek celebrates his pin over a Tomah wrestler in the dual that would decide the 2009-10 MVC wrestling championship. Tomah had won six straight championships and Sparta had been runner-up three times during that streak. The expression on Stanek's face coupled by the emotionless faces of the Tomah students foreshadowed what was to come for Sparta as they ended Tomah's dominance of the MVC. It didn't hurt either that Tomah is Sparta's top rival.