Cimburek: My Top Photos Of 2016

I know it’s a couple weeks early to post a year-end thing, but I wanted to post this while I had time.

As you probably know, I take a lot of photos, both personally and in my position with the Press & Dakotan. I post many of them on my Instagram account, probably more than I should.

Running Out Of Her Shoes
Maddie Lavin losing her shoe in the 2016 state track meet was third on my list of most-liked photos.

Here are the top 10 (11, with ties) photos from 2016, in terms of likes: 1. Homecoming Royalty. 2. Balloons Release Pregame. 3. Maddie Lavin Loses Her Shoe. 4. Chloe Cornemann Holds Summit League Trophy. 5. MMC Softball Raises Money For Fernandez. 6. Yankton Girls Finish 3rd At State XC. 7. Mors Congratulated. Tie 8. Bucks Starting Lineups – Soccer Semifinals. Tie 8. Logan Wagner Celebrates 1,000th Point. Tie 10. Savannah Woods Gets Hug After Winning 3200. Tie 10. Chloe Cornemann & Gabby Boever After Summit League Title.

My most popular photos of the year were not technically sports photos. SDSU’s Chloe Cornemann made the list twice, in 4th and 10th. Also, the first photo of Chloe on the list made my list of personal favorites, as did the shot of Maddie Lavin losing her shoe.

Here are my other personal favorites:

Holding my niece Emma for the first time. (She just turned 1, and she’s not too keen on being held by someone other than mommy and daddy, so there won’t be too many of these any time soon.) Speaking of photos I don’t get too many of, here is one of my wife and I at a Twins game. (She doesn’t like her picture taken.)

Sports will always be the source of celebrations. Here are a few: Mike King, Cedar girls, MMC Bench, Irene-Wakonda, WNIT – USD & Amy Williams, Menno Mad FrogsMatt Dewald and dugout dance party.

Of course, the emotions sports generate are not always joyous: Trey Krier, Irene-Wakonda and Raquel Sutera. This one has both joy and sadness.

 

These photos have plenty of emotion as well: Google Search, Albert Fernandez, Survivors Lap and Eye Black.

Some are on the list just because: Birds, Meridian Bridge and Sunset.

I even had a couple action shots in there: Slide At Home, Devin Millen, Lost Helmet and Splashdown.

 

I hope you enjoyed looking at these as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

 

What A Way To Go

As a Laker fan, Kobe Bryant was never my favorite player.

I grew up in the 1980s watching “Showtime.” As an inside player, I gravitated toward Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy, though I loved how Magic Johnson could play guard in a power forward body.

After those players retired I suffered through the mid 90s. Then they traded Vlade Divac to Charlotte for some kid that went into the draft straight out of high school.

His name: Kobe Bryant. Little did I know he would restore the Lakers to their 80s glory.

He won five titles in his 20 seasons in L.A., and was a contender in all but the last few years. Like most athletes who played that hard for that long, his body began to betray him. That said, no other NBA guard had played 20 seasons before Bryant.

The mantel of the “face of the league” has long been handed to Steph Curry. With 402 3s, many from far beyond most players’ “desperation in a game of horse” range, he has thrilled fans all season long as his team set the NBA standard with 73 victories.

But for one night, with playoff hopes for this season a long distance memory, Bryant channeled his prime time “Black Mamba” personna one last time. Yes, he put up 50 shots, but he scored 15 points in the Lakers’ 17-2 run to the his final game with a victory.

I watched Bryant’s postgame presser, and watched him smoothly and fluently answer questions in multiple languages. His time in Europe as his father played professionally there are part of the reason, but there are a lot of players who can’t fluently answer questions in the one language they know.

I know Bryant is as hated by as many as he is loved, if not more. But one cannot help but respect what he did on a basketball court.

MMC’s Incredible Run Continues

MMC’s Incredible Run Continues

Nine days ago, Jeremy Hoeck and I looked at the upcoming schedule for the Mount Marty women and had just one thought: This could be a long two and a half weeks.

Then they beat Morningside, the top-ranked team in NAIA Division II at the time. (Lancers had lost to them 68-58 on Nov. 18)

Then they beat Concordia, tied for fifth in last week’s poll. (MMC lost to them 77-59 on Dec. 12)

Wednesday night, 15th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan fell to the Lancers. (MMC lost to them 72-47 on Nov. 24, the Lancers’ worst setback of the season.) That put the Lancers at 15-8 overall, 9-6 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

And, if you want to go back a little further, the Lancers beat then No. 3 Hastings on Dec. 19.

If you ask the Lancer players, they credit both confidence and defense for helping the team make its current run (9 wins in 12 games, 4 over nationally-ranked opponents) possible. The defense can definitely be credited in the last two games, where teams that scored 72 and 77 points on MMC the first time around scored 60 and 52 points in round two. Even against Morningside, which scored 77 points on MMC, was held six points under their season average.

When looking at the stats, it is easy to look at the play of Alex Kneeland as being a factor. The senior from Summit is averaging 21.4 points per game – second in the GPAC and fourth in the nation in that category – by using laser-like precision from outside (.421).

But Kneeland’s numbers only tell part of the story.

Senior Raquel Sutera has been a double-double machine (8), averaging 11.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per season. Kellie Winckler (5.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has had a couple of late as well. Logan Wagner, who is averaging 9 ppg, has found her stroke of late, including a career-high 26 points in the Morningside win.

Even some of the Lancers “role players” have had big games: Mikayla Prouty (4.3 ppg) with 23 points in the victory against McPherson (Kan.), Sam Blake (3.4 ppg) with 10 points on 5-5 shooting against Concordia, Sammy Kasowski (2.6 ppg) with 11 points against Northwestern, etc.

The run by MMC has the Lancers now in a tie for fifth with DWU and a game behind second-place Briar Cliff and Hastings. The final two games of their run of five straight games against nationally-ranked opponents ends with those two teams on the road, at No. 13 Hastings on Saturday and at No. 12 Briar Cliff on Feb. 3.

But even if the Lancers came come through those two games unscathed, things don’t get any easier. Doane, which beat Concordia by 36 on Wednesday night, comes to Laddie E. Cimpl on Feb. 6. Northwestern, which MMC replaced as the sixth GPAC team getting votes in the NAIA poll, hosts the Lancers on Feb. 10.

Needless to say, it could be an exciting February – and maybe March – for the Lancer women.