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Sunday, February 27, 2000
Tournament Time Has Arrived
The weather has almost convinced us it's spring, but the calendar tells us differently. It's tournament time and there is an unwritten law of nature that states: Spring cannot officially be ushered in until the tournaments are over. You can bet there will be at least one major snowstorm left in this mild winter. Around boys state basketball tournament time is always a good bet. Snowstorm or not, the games will go on and we will be the lucky ones. There's nothing quite like high school tournament action.

Several student-athletes from around our area have already qualified for state tournament action. The Fergus Falls boys swimming team was well represented at the section meet and will have five individuals competing in six different events at next week's state tournament. Will Sutor and Kyle Busack will both be involved in four events, including two relays. Nate Pendergrass is in on individual event and joins Sutor, Busack and Joe Dillard in the two relay events. Dan Bigwood also has qualified for state.

Wrestlers going include Kurt Rosendahl, Mitch Gabrielson and Jake Carr of the Fergus Falls Otters. All three were second place finishers at the Section 8AAA wrestling meet on Saturday. Pelican Rapids wreslters Jake Anderson and Ben Dillon qualified out of Section 8A and Barnesville is sending Cole Longtin as a champion and Travis Desing as a runner-up.

The Fergus Falls boys hockey team tries to earn a fourth straight state tournament appearance when they play Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday night in Alexandria for the Section 4A title.

The girls basketball section playoffs begin this week and the boys begin playoff action next week. In girls play, West Central Area, Pelican Rapids and Perham are seeded 1-2-3 in the South Sub-Section of 8AA. Rothsay is seeded second, behind the Hawley Nuggets, in Section 6A (West Half) and the Northwest Sub-Section of 5A was seeded like this: 1st-Brandon-Evansville, 2nd-Ashby, 3rd-Battle Lake, 4th-Hillcrest and 5th-Underwood. Fergus Falls was granted the number 4 seed in Section 8AAA.

The Lady Spartans will host the Region 13 Playoffs this coming Friday and Saturday at FFCC. They just took fifth place in the state tournament at Anoka-Ramsey on Sunday. The team that knocked them into the consolation round of the tourney, Rochester, will be their semifinal opponent at 8:00 p.m. Friday. The other game that night, at six o'clock, has South Division champion, Anoka-Ramsey facing Wisconsin champion, Mid-State Tech. The third place game is Saturday at noon and the championship game will be played at 2.

Ann Williams was voted Coach of the Year by the state coaches. Ann truly deserves this award. She has molded a solid team this season, utilizing all ten of her players in a very effective manner. All ten have started games, and nine of the 10 are averaging between 17 and 24 minutes of playing time per game. Their balance and depth has carried them to a 19-8 record and a Northern Division title that has earned them the right to host the Region Tournament.

The Spartan men dropped two straight at the MCCC Men's State Tournament at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato this past weekend. Vermilion eliminated them with a 90-84 decision on Saturday in the consolation semifinals. Minneapolis, the team that beat FFCC in Friday's quarterfinal round, won the state title. They beat Rochester 83-71 on Sunday afternoon. Anoka-Ramsey took third with a 98-63 shellacking of Minnesota West and Vermilion won the consolation honors, 102-82 over Central Lakes. The tournament MVP honors went to freshman guard James Scheeler of Minneapolis. Jared Swanson of FFCC made the All-Tournament team and was also voted to the All-State and All-Region 13 teams. Jeremy Voeller also made the All-State squad. Tom Duvall of Anoka-Ramsey was voted as the Men's Coach of the Year.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, February 23, 2000
Olson Makes the Varsity
Former Fergus Falls High School and American Legion baseball star Aaron Olson has made the varsity as a freshman at Mankato State University. The Mavericks will play their first game this Saturday in Missouri. Baseball season at MSU is year-round. Since Aaron got back to school on January 12th, following the Christmas break, the Mavs have been practicing hard for the season. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they practice at 6:30 a.m. and again after a hard day of school at 3:00 p.m. The afternoon practices average about three hours. Aaron says, "It is very intense and very tiring." The hitters have been facing the pitchers in the indoor batting cages in the field house. Aaron reports that "you can't even see the ball, but it help you see it much better when you move outdoors." Olson isn't sure how much playing time he'll see, but with his bat, you can bet Dean Boyer will give him is cuts. We'll keep you posted on Aaron's progress.

After 27 years as head coach of the Moorhead Blues, Bucky Burgau is stepping down. Burgau has a tremendous passion for the game of baseball and has really done a lot for the Moorhead American Legion team through those 27 years. Burgau is also the head coach of the Concordia baseball team, a job he'll hang to, for now. He will also do some work with the Redhawks this summer. Burgau is a true baseball man. You'll also see him reffing some basketball around the area.

1997 FFHS graduate and 1999 FFCC graduate, Andrew Swedberg, has signed a letter of intent to attend Bemidji State University next year and play football for the Beavers. Swedberg, a defensive back, was enrolled at St. Cloud State University this year and was going to play football, but coaching changes before the season started made for some changes in that plan. Andrew will have two years of eligibility left and Jeff Tesch has done a nice job bringing that program to new heights. Bemidji State finished second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this past season. Former Spartan player and coach Aaron Rassett is one of the coaches on the BSU staff. Andrew will major in Comper Information Systems.

Battle Lake High School graduate Ginny Sawyer, is playing about 12 to 15 minutes a game for the St. Benedict's women's basketball team. She's backing up a senior point guard and will certainly see increased playing time as a sophomore. St. Benedict will host Concordia in the opening round of the MIAC playoffs. They finished the regular season wtiha record of 18-3 in the conference. Her high school coach, Mike McCarney, saw her play at Concordia a few weeks ago and says she's enjoying it and looking forward to playing softball this spring.

Bob Bjorklund's Bethel Royals have qualified for the MIAC Playoffs. That's the good news. The bad news is they have to play St. Thomas in the opening round. St. Thomas is 17-3 in cnference play. Bethel just had a nine game winning streak ended by St. Mary's in an overtime game. They will have to play their best game of the season Thursday night to stay alive.

Mark Johnson, former Fergus Falls radio personality, is the Dean of Students at the Association of Free Lutheran Churches Bible School in the Twin Cities. He is also coaching the women's basketball team at AFLBS. The team is a bit thin on experience and probably won't challenge for any titles, but Mark told me they're working hard and having fun. The team nickname is the 'Conquerors'.

It's time to start thinking about youth soccer. Traveling team sign up will take place Monday, February 28th, at the Ottertail Power Community Rooms in Fergus Falls. The information portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 and will be followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 and then the sign up.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, February 20, 2000
A Week for 1000 Point Scorers
This was quite a week for area basketball players. It started with Debbie Slack scoring her 1000th career point for the Brandon-Evansville Chargers on Thursday night against Battle Lake. Slack is a 5-10 post player for Dick Simpson's defending Class A girls champs and can dominate a game inside with her athleticism. Plus, coach Simpson says she is one of the most coachable kids around. Would she look good in Spartan Blue and Gold? Yes.

On Friday night, Chad Davison of the West Central Area Knights joined the ranks of 1000 point scorers when he accomplished the feat at Fergus Falls Community College in his teams one point win over the Comets. West Central Area is playing some great basketball and Davison is one reason why. He recently went through a four game stretch with double-doubles (double digit points and rebounds in the same game), and is one of the key players on Kraig Hunter's 15-3 team. The Knights have won ten in a row. Look for Davison to play some NCC football. He was also a main cog for Mike Frisch's state runner-up football team.

The same night Davison was joining the club, Tony Birmingham of the Moorhead Spuds scored his 1000th against the Otters at the Fergus Falls High School gymnasium. Birmingham's feat went unnoticed as coach Chuck Gulsvig didn't wish to stop the clock for the awarding of the game ball. He did keep the ball though and gave it to Birmingham after the game, which the Spuds lost in overtime 80-75.

Fergus Falls fans were treated to some great basketball on Friday and Saturday nights. The Otter fans saw an intense battle with the Spuds on Friday night and a tremendous game against Alexandria on Saturday night. Fergus Falls controlled the tempo of Saturday's game and did a nice job taking some tendencies away from the Cardinals. Gary Schuler puts together an outstanding scouting report and his team was extremely prepared to face the Cardinals. They hit 6 of their first 7 shots and scored 20 points in the first four minutes. Those back-to-back wins put the Otters in consideration for a number one or two seed in the Section playoffs, depending on what happens in their final three games, with the game at Little Falls on the 29th being the key game.

Otter fan Dean Nielsen sends along some interesting facts. Minneapolis Patrick Henry suffered their first loss of the season on Friday when they were beaten by Oak Hill Academy of Louisville, Kentucky 88-67 in Louisville. Oak Hill Academy was the number one ranked prep school in the country according to USA Today.

West Central Area had a dominant fourth quarter performance on Saturday afternoon at Concordia as they beat Pelican Rapids 57-34 in girls basketball. The Knights used their excellent pressure defense all over the court and held Tina Kunkel to just 3 points. The loss snapped the Vikings 10 game winning streak.

At the Section 8A wrestling tournament, Frazee, of course, dominated the event with 277 points, well ahead of the rest of the field and had seven individual champs. Pelican Rapids senior Jake Anderson won the title at 119 pounds when he decisioned Garth Peterson of Fertile-Beltrami 9-2 in the finals.

Mark down March 3rd and 4th to attend the region 13 ladies basketball tournament at FFCC. The Lady Spartans won their game against Central Lakes on Thursday night, 60-50 and earned the right to host the Region Playoffs as Northern Division champs. The Southern Division Champs, Anoka-Ramsey, the Wisconsin champions (unknown at this time), and the highest finishing team at next weekend's state tournament (other than either division winner) will make up the tournament field. The last time the Lady Spartans hosted post season games was 1985 when they won the state title and lost a region playoff game to UND-Lake Region, then coached by current UND coach, Gene Roebuck. Congratulations to Ann Williams and her ladies on their 11-1 division record and their division.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, February 16, 2000
Lots of Milestones
Several area wrestlers have reached milestones in recent weeks, including the Rosendahl boys at Fergus Falls. Kurt Rosendahl, the senior, reached the 100 win mark for his career when he won at a triangular in Bemidji last Saturday. His sophomore brother, Bruce Rosendahl, picked up his 75th (and 76th) victories at the same event. Kurt became the first Otter wrestler to reach 100 victories in the school's history. Jake Carr, a senior at Hillcrest, wrestling for the Otters, won his 100th career match last year, but not all of them came at Fergus Falls High School, as Jake wrestled in Perham prior to becoming an Otter. He is currently at 122 wins.

Pelican Rapids has two seniors at over 120 wins in their careers. Jake Anderson and Jon Warmbold are both certain to earn more than 125 victories by the time their seasons end. Anderson has 124 and Warmbold 122 heading into section competition. West Central Area wrestler Billy Morgan is also well over 100 career wins and adding to that total.

Otter Tail Central senior Ben Anderson also won his 100 career match earlier this season and Cole Longtin of the Barnesville Trojans earned his 75th career victory. It will be fun to watch these wrestlers and many others from around our area as they compete for state tournament spots.

The Fergus Falls girls hockey team set a new record for team victories as they finished with 16. They ended the season with a 16-7 record and an appearance in the Section 8 semifinals. Coach Wayne Horgen, who has coached at practically every level possible in the sport of hockey, called the just completed season "as enjoyable a season I've had as a head coach." Horgen coached the Otter boys hockey team for six years in the 70's, leading them to a Section 8 runner-up position in the '77-'78 season when they lost to the Roseau Rams of Neal Broten, Aaron Broten, Butsy Erickson and Brian Vatnsdal.

Several teams will be seeding for tournaments this week. Wrestling, girls basketball and boys hockey will all have their sections seeded by Saturday and first round matchups will be know. For wrestlers, the section team tournaments are this weekend with the individual portion of the tournaments next weekend. Girls basketball teams open the playoffs on February 29th and the high school hockey playoffs get underway on February 22nd.

The Minnesota Community College Conference State Tournaments are February 25, 26 and 27 with the men playing at Mankato-Bethany and the ladies at Anoka-Ramsey. Pairings will be finalized by Saturday.
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, February 13, 2000
Spring Training Camps are Opening
Pitchers and catchers have started to report to training camps. The Cubs got started today and everyone else will get rolling between now and next Sunday with the Twins the last team to get underway. Their pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on the 20th and the rest of the squad on the 25th, the latest date of any team. The Cubs are starting so early because they start the season on March 29th in Toyko against the Mets. Exhibition games begin on the 2nd of March.

Well, it's a done deal! Ken Griffey Junior has gotten his wish to play for the Cincinnati Reds. His father enjoyed some great seasons and was a part of some great teams in Cincinnati in the '70's. Griffey Senior is a coach for the Reds. The contract was minimal when you compare it to some other deals. Eight years, 114 million dollars. I was expecting more, but when you eliminate all teams but one, it's a little more difficult to get a lot of money. Look for A-Rod to get a whopper of a contract after the 2000 season because I think he'll have a list of five or six teams that he'll consider. That will certainly drive the price up. Speaking of free agency, the Twins need to make sure they don't lose Brad Radke after the season. His agent has said that once camp starts the negotiations end for the season. If that happens, I think he's gone. If the Twins are going to keep Radke they need to work something out before next Sunday. If not, then even the most loyal Twins fans will have to question what management is trying to do. If Pohlad is not willing to spend some mone to build a team around pitchers like Radke and Milton, who I believe can win in the big leagues, then find a buyer! Carl probably should have sold after the '91 season because since that time the commitment to put a winner on the field hasn't been there.

Dave Lehrke's Hillcrest girls basketball team pulled off a great upset on Saturday, beating Ashby 44-43. Terry Miller has a salty club and the Comets took advantage of their home court and played a solid game. The loss sure hurts the Arrows chances at an outright Little 8 title or a share of the crown. Brandon/Evansville is now one game up in the loss column and the Chargers haven't lost since before Christmas.

The West Central Area girls team finally lost a game, falling to Pequot Lakes on Saturday afternoon, ending their 11 game winning streak. This coming Saturday the Knights play the Pelican Rapids Vikinigs at Concordia College in Moorhead. The game begins at 2:45 p.m. and it could very well be a preview of the Section championship game.

Speaking of big games this week, how about the Otter boys basketball team hosting Moorhead and Alexandria on back-to-back nights? Does it get any better than that? Moorhead on Friday and Alexandria on Saturday. Both games should be very competitive. The Otters had a strange game with Staples-Motley, playing great basketball in the first half as they took a 41-28 lead and then disappearing in the second half as Jeff Brever took over the game for the Cardinals. Lynn Peterson has another state contender! The Otters need to put together a solid run here at the end of the regular season. Their section tournament will be a tough one.

The Spartan Men were hurt badly on Saturday when Jared Swanson got the technical foul, also his fifth personal, with 10:52 remaining. Central Lakes overcame a 20 point deficit to beat the Spartans on their home floor. It was an ugly way for Jared to end his two-year career in his final home game at FFCC. Apparently he was assessed the technical for telling the referee who T'd him up that his partner "wasn't doing a very good job". I think Coach Retzlaff, Coach Russell and almost everyone else in attendance at the game would have agreed with Jared. I certainly don't think that statement warrants a technical. Those of you who know me or who have listened to my broadcasts through the years know that I don't believe in bashing refs. They have a difficult job and you can't convince me that 98% of them don't take any personal agendas onto the court. I know some of that exists, even though it shouldn't. Most of the guys reffing today have the best interests of the kids and the game at heart and really don't want to decide the game with a call. Sometimes, it happens. A lot of them show some good restraint in dealing with coaches, players and fans. Some coaches have gotten ridiculous in how they constantly ride the officials, even before they make a call they deem as a bad one. The other thing that is hard to believe is how players, coaches and fans react to every call. Doesn't anyone admit to commiting a foul anymore? We used to call our own fouls in pick-up games. Do they still do that? If so, are any ever called? It seems like people are way to quick to blame the officials whenever something goes wrong for them. How about crediting the other team with a good effort or a good performance? Sportsmanship should carry over to everyone involved in a sporting contest, including coaches, fans and refs.

Okay, off my soapbox! I'd like to thank all of you who have sent e-mail through the past several months with comments about the website. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input. Keep it up! I also would like to encourage you to visit our advertisers. Just click on their logos and visit their websites. If you can, drop them an e-mail and thank them for participating on www.craigolsonsports.com This would be a great help to me! I have great sponsors and the numbers of visitors to the site is very good! Thanks for your support!
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, February 10, 2000
Welde Leading By Example
Recently, Niki Welde was named head girls track coach at Fergus Falls High School, succeeding Tom Linder who retired last June. Niki is a former state participant as an Otter and was very competitive at FFCC when their track and cross country programs were going. She has worked with Terry Harrington in cross country and with coach Linder in girls track for several years and will be a tremendous head coach. Not only does she know her stuff, and have a good relationship with the kids, she also still competes ... and there's nothing like leading by example! Niki was out in Las Vegas over the weekend running the Vegas Marathon on Sunday. She covered the 26.2 mile course in three hours, forty-eight minutes and was 29th in her age group and 1181st overall. Thousands of runners from all over the world competed in the race. Way to go Niki and thanks to Doug Becker from the Fergus Falls Fitness Center for passing along the information.

Former Otter David Newell, a freshman at Gustavus Adolphus College, is averaging just over 13 minutes a game, playing mostly at the post position. He's averaging 4 points per game and is leading the team with a shooting percentage of 57%, 7th in the MIAC. He had 9 points in the Gusties win over Carleton in their last game, hitting four of six field goal attempts. David is also third on the team in blocks with 7. Gustavus is in a dead heat with Bethel in a battle for the final MIAC playoff spot, a half game ahead of St. Mary's and a full game up on Macalester. In a 79-70 loss to Bob Bjorklund's (his former high school coach) team, Bethel, David had 4 points on 2 of 4 shooting, grabbed a pair of rebounds, and blocked a shot in nine minutes of playing time. David's brother, Mark Newell, played on the Gustavus team the last four years, going to 4 consecutive NCAA tournaments, finishing in the top 8 the last two years. Gustavus is 11-9 (9-7 in the MIAC).

Junior guard Shelli Estrem of West Central Area will miss the rest of the season after tearing her Medial Collateral Ligament in a game against Fergus Falls last week. Estrem was averaging 9 points per game for the Knights and was a key ball handler for Harold Nelson and an aggressive player in their pressure defense. "Shelli tells me what we need to change on the court. She comes from a different perspective, having been in the heat of battle, and I appreciate her input," said coach Nelson. Nelson's team is 15-2 and is on an 11 game winning streak heading into their makeup game with Pequot Lakes on Saturday afternoon at Barrett. Nelson has reached the .500 mark for his career as a head coach at 73-73. With the Knights his record is 59-28.

Otter boys basketball coach Gary Schuler, watched Staples-Motley play Little Falls last Saturday night. Schuler was impressed with the intensity he saw from both teams and challenged his team to turn up their level of intensity for the rest of the season. They responded with an impressive effort against Detroit Lakes on Tuesday night that led to a 92-79 win. Schuler calls Nate Miller, a junior guard for Little Falls, "probably the best player in Section 8AAA. He had 28 against Staples-Motley and scored 32 against Alexandria earlier this season. Schuler also said that Justin Arneson has been nominated for the All-Star bsketball team which will play two games the first weekend of April in St. Cloud and Hopkins. Two of the nominees will be in Fergus Falls in the next week, Dustin Hjelmeland of Staples-Motley and Tony Birmingham with the Moorhead Spuds. Both players have indicated that they will attend Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota next year. Rocori point guard Mason Thelen is out with a broken foot.. Coach Schuler does a nice job with his insert of basketball notes in each game program.

The Fergus Falls band boosters will have three more barbecue feeds in the next week, starting Saturday when the Otters host Staples-Motley. The feed is from 5 to 7 p.m. at the FFHS cafeteria. Again on Friday, February 18th when the Otters play Moorhead and Saturday, February 19th when Alexandria is here. All funds will go to the band boosters to fund band activities.

The annual FFCC chili feed is this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the college. The Spartan Boosters and Norwest Bank are co-sponsoring the event.

www.craigolsonsports.com would like to welcome two new sponsors, Fergus Falls Community College and The Medicine Shoppe. Check out the Medicine Shoppe's Sports Trivia Challenge! You could win $20.00!
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, February 5, 2000
Take The Challenge
I'm challenging all you sports gurus out there to take the challenge ... the Sports Trivia Challenge each week on www.craigolsonsports.com . Our first week's contest is over and three individuals had just two of the fifteen questions wrong. Our tiebreaker was the FFCC vs. Vermilion men's basketball score from Saturday. When the dust had settled, Ken Anderson was crowned the first ever winner of our challenge. Ken's score pick was 110-95 Vermilion, much closer than either of the two runners-up, Dean Nielsen and Craig Samuelson. Ken will receive a check for $20.00 for his victory! A new challenge is up right now with 15 brand new questions. Try your luck by clicking here. The answers to the first week are also listed on the site.

Just thought I might address a couple of things that might be helpful when you're cruising around the site. If you want to return to the home page, just click on the craigolsonsports.com logo at the top right of your screen. It is visible on every page and will take you back to where you started. When you click on one of our school/community pages, you go to the default or headline page. This gives you a synopsis of the top stories. To get more thorough details on the stories listed, click on any of the headlines and you will be taken to a stories page. Please take a few minutes when you're on the site to visit some of our sponsors. Without them I couldn't do this, so please do visit their sites. Just click on their logos and you'll be transported there. We have great sponsors!! I am also in the process of negotiating with some experts on how to make the site better, more interactive, etc., and would appreciate any input from you, the viewers! Thanks in advance. E-mail me at [email protected]

Chad Davison of the West Central Area Knights broke the team's single game scoring record with 37 points against Underwood on Friday. The old record was 33 points also at the Underwood gym two years ago by Trevor Schneeberger. The Knights won the game and improved to 12-3.

Justin Ohren of the Ashby Arrows had his career high with 36 points in his team's loss at Battle Lake on Friday night and Rothsay's Darren Opsahl had his career high 30 points in a win over Ulen-Hitterdal.

We have some outstanding wrestlers in the area, including senior Ben Anderson from Ottertail Central. Ben, wrestling at 189, is ranked number two in the state in 2A high school wrestling. He beat the number two wrestler in 1A, Jake Elgin, at the Park Region Conference Meet on Saturday. Ben is one of several wrestlers to earn their 100th win this season. Jake Anderson (no relation) of Pelican Rapids also accomplished that feat.

Adam Devorak finished third at the Silver Gloves National Tournament in Lenexa, Kansas this past weekend. Adam fought Cortez Rucker of Cleveland, Ohio. Rucker decisioned Devorak and went on to win the championship in the 125 pound weight class for 12 and 13 year olds. Adam won his opening bout by an RSCH. That used to be called a KO, but that term isn't used any more in fight circles. Coach Chuck Elliott does a super job with these kids and his dedication to the sport is a big one.

6-3 post player Janna Davis and point guard Jessica Holicky advanced to the semifinals in the Badminton Tourney at FFHS, but the team of Titus Christianson and Tim Erickson took the match and will now play in the championship match. I'll try to find out the results and keep you posted. I know ... it's hard to wait.

See you at a game!
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, February 3, 2000
Talkin Baseball
My earliest recollection of a Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan was 1969 when I saw Rod Carew during a Caravan stop in Brainerd. I shared that memory in an earlier column. The reason I bring it up now is the fact that the Twins 2000 caravan has come and gone. On Wednesday night at the Fergus Falls Middle School, Twins great Tony Oliva, current players Chad Allen and Joe Mays, and Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer were in town. Over 200 Twins fans of all ages jammed into the commons to see these major league ballplayers and talk some baseball. This concept has been around as long as the Twins have! When they moved to Minnesota in 1961 they put together traveling groups of players to promote the new team. It went over so well they just continued it every year. It's still going over well, and the addition of former Twins players to the tour a few years back has made it even more appealing for people my age and older who have strong ties to those early teams. It was very encouraging to see the fans get excited when talking Twins baseball. There is always reason for optimism in the spring. I really think the Twins pitching rotation will be a good one. Brad Radke becomes a free agent after this season, so he has a ton of incentive to have a career year. Eric Milton matured a lot last year and shows signs of blossoming into a very good major league hurler. I believe he's a better pitcher than Andy Pettite is and look at the deal Pettite just signed with the Yanks. Right now he's a bargain with the Twins. Mays showed that he can be effective in the big leagues as a starter, now he has to show it over a full season. Latroy Hawkins has the stuff to be succesful, now he has to learn how to use it consistently. The old "be a pitcher, not a thrower". There's so much more to pitching than just throwing the ball over the plate and trying to blow it by everyone. You can't get away with that in the majors. You have to think out there, and know the hitters, and the situations, along with your own limitations. With Radke and Milton as the one-two punch, I don't see any extended losing streaks for this team. Now, can we find some way to score some runs for these pitchers? Some observations from the caravan:

Everyone loves Tony Oliva! He really is a great guy and takes time to visit with people whenever possible. I've seen him in many different situations through the years and he is always going out of his way to accommodate fans.

Dick Bremer is a very good broadcaster, and he kept the show rollin' on Wednesday night, even with over 70 prizes to give away. His mother, who lives in Pelican Rapids, was able to be at the caravan stop. Dick was born in Dumont, that's over by Wheaton, just a half hour from Donnely (according to Kris Wilke).

Kris ushered the Twins around to their stops at the Pioneer Retirement Home and Falls Automotive. The residents at Pioneer always go all out when the Twins come. There are a lot of fans up there! Dodge is the major sponsor of the caravan, so the Twins always hit the local Dodge dealership.

Community Youth Partners will be the recipient of the proceeds from this years event. The Twins always encourage a fund raiser tied in with the caravan and I think it's great that a local organization can benefit. The cost is only $5.00 a person and everyone got to eat, so it's not unreasonable. Plus, the CYP folks were out in force to help serve everyone and get things ready. Kitty Rund coordinated them and she's always organized!

Lakes Radio and Bresnan Communications worked hand-in-hand to host the event and there are a lot of volunteers who really helped make it a success from those two businesses. Of course, the Twins can be heard on AM 1250 - KBRF and can be seen on MSC.

So many area businesses were also involved by donating some of the food items and prizes. Service Food Super Value, Metz Bakery, Barrel O' Fun, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, Burger King, the AmericInn and JK Sports.

www.craigolsonsports.com gave away a nice Twins jacket (which I got from JK). Dave Johnson (the crafty left-hander) won the jacket and had it autographed by Tony O'. It might be a little hot this summer to use it as a warm-up jacket, Dave.

Be sure to check out the Sports Trivia Challenge for a chance to win $20.00!]
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, February 1, 2000
Football Withdrawal
With the end of the Super Bowl, football fans all around the country are going through withdrawal. The last 26 weeks have been filled with excitement for NFL fans and now it's over. Well, almost. The Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu (does anyone even watch this game?). True football junkies can't wait till the NFL Draft April 15-16. The Vikings get the 25th overall pick. They NEED a good draft ... draft defense!

Some Super Sunday observations......

Having just a week off before the game helped the quality of the game. Will the NFL learn from this or will they return to their greedy ways and have a two week build-up resulting in a less competitive game on the field and an over-hyped commercial event?

I'm a believer! Kurt Warner is a bona fide NFL quarterback ... a championship quarterback with a fairy tale season. From Arena League to NFL backup, to NFL starter, to League MVP, to Super Bowl contender, to Super Bowl record holder, to Super Bowl Champion, to Super Bowl MVP. Nice ride! From all indications a nice guy, too.

The Titans showed a lot of heart in their comeback attempt. To rally from 16-0 to tie the game against that Rams team was impressive enough, but to put on the drive they did in the last two minutes after surrendering the 73 yard go-ahead TD pass to Isaac Bruce from Warner, was thrilling. What an incredible finish to an incredible second half! Steve McNair showed a lot of class and really came of age on Sunday. He made some very good decisions, although he missed some targets. But, he's still a young QB in this league and man can he run!

The Tennessee defense prevented the Rams from taking control of the game in the first half by stopping them in the red zone on numerous occasions and forcing field goal attempts instead of TD's. They also shutdown Marshall Faulk, the runner-up in league MVP balloting, holding him to just 17 yards on 10 carries. Jeff Fisher's defense is tough.

Eddie George is certainly a premier back in the NFL. He's right there with Faulk, Edgerrin James, Fred Taylor and a healthy Robert Smith. I really like the way the Titans use their backs and tight ends in the passing game. They were very effective against a strong St. Louis defense, with the number of receivers they used. Their wideouts leave something to be desired and their best one, Yancy Thigpen, didn't even get to play because of injury.

The other thing I appreciated was a low number of showboating incidents from the players in this game. I don't know about you but I sure get sick of the hot-dogging that goes on on the field and the constant celebrating when a player does what he's supposed to do (such as, make a tackle, or pick up a first down). There weren't too many moments like that on Sunday.

Dick Vermeil. What a great story. The guy had quite a run with the Eagles, getting them to the Super Bowl back in 1981 (they lost to the Raiders 27-10), then retired for 14 years citing burnout. He comes back with a dismal two-year record in St. Louis and then, all of a sudden, his team is tearing up the league! At 63, he coaches a Super Bowl winner and now has retired, leaving the team to his offensive coordinator, Mike Martz. You watch, Vermeil will be back in the broadcast studio or booth next year, probably on FOX.

The commercials, usually a highlight of Super Bowl Coverage, left a lot to be desired. Most of the time I didn't even know what business was being advertised. I don't know that any of them were effective.

The Spartan Men's basketball team will face a big division weekend without Daron Anderson and with other question marks. Anderson was diagnosed with mono and will miss both weekend games against Mesabi on Friday night and Vermilion on Saturday afternoon. In addition to Anderson, Jarrod Asmus has a virus that has hit him hard. It was thought that he too may have mono, but tests show that he doesn't. Sophomore co-captain Jared Swanson is bothered by a sore right forearm, that was hurt in practice. His status is uncertain at this time. Mike Moenkedick has a sore toe, kind of a turf toe situation that gets worse the more he's on it. Not good for an athlete. With Anderson out, look for Cory Ohman to step into his starting spot and for Dereck McKatherine, Dustin Solarz and Jason Kral to get increased minutes at the guard spot.

The Lady Spartans, according to Coach Ann Williams, are playing their best ball right now. Having seen a number of their games, I agree! They have incredible balance on this team, and I think the improvement shown by Beth Gilyard, who is playing a guard spot after being a post her whole career, has been a key for this team. They have 10 solid players. Ann can start any number of combinations and get positive results. They are fresh at the end of games and that will be a huge factor when it gets to the three day state tournament. This weekend is a critical weekend for the ladies. They have just one division loss and control their own destiny as far as seeding goes. I would encourage you to get out to FFCC either Friday night (6:00 p.m.) or Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m.) and catch both the ladies and the mens games. You Spartan fans that come just for the mens games are missing some fun basketball and the competition this weekend (especially Saturday) will be good. Very good.

Traffic on our newest contest, Sports Trivia Challenge, is good! Twenty dollars a week is at stake, so visit the contest site and take a shot at it. New questions will appear each Sunday (late afternoon) with each contest ending at 1:00 p.m. each Saturday.

See you at a game this week!
Posted By Craig Olson
Lake Region Healthcare
Cline Jensen P.A.
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