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Fergus Falls Connection Takes National Spotlight in Women's Hockey

By Craig Olson, 03/17/24, 11:15PM CDT


Two Fergus Falls High School graduates are in the national spotlight in NCAA Division III Women's Hockey.

On Thursday, 1983 Fergus Falls High School graduate Joe Cranston, in his 25th season as the head women’s hockey coach at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, was named the NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year.  On Sunday afternoon, Cranston’s Falcons defeated Elmira College 4-1 at Hunt Arena in River Falls to win the 2024 NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey National Championship.  The national title is the first in UWRF’s history during its 25th anniversary season, finishing with a  31-0 overall record, the most single season wins in NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey history and the fourth ever undefeated season.


Sophie Rausch, finishing her senior season of women’s hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was named to the 2023-24 CCM/American Hockey Coaches Association Women’s Division III All-America team for the third time.  Rausch helped the Blugolds to a 21-7 season and a second place finish in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament.  She led UW-Eau Claire in points (50), goals (29) and assists (21), and ranked second in the WIAC in goals, points, shots, and power play goals.  Rausch was also this year’s WIAC Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete and was named a finalist for the AHCA’s Laura Hurd Award, given to the top Division III women’s ice hockey player.