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Monday, September 25, 2000
Craigs Corner 9/25/00-10/01/00
Friday, September 29, 2000
Former Fergus Falls swimmer Lou Trajano is now coaching the girls swimming team at the Breck School in the Twin Cities Area. His team will be one of the five teams in the Otter Invitational on Saturday.
Trajano and his brothers, Dan and Cesar, were Otter swimmers in the 80's. Coach Tom Uvaas thinks that the meet will be a competitive one with Simley perhaps being tabbed as the pre-meet favorites. Warroad, is the Section 8A north sub-section favorite and Morris will bring a respectable team into the Middle School Pool on Saturday. The diving competition begins at 11:00 a.m. and the swimming finals get underway at 1:00 p.m. The swimming parents always have a great concession stand set up, including homemade bars! We used to cover the girls and boys invitationals on Lake Region Community TV and always had a great time doing it. We used to get good feedback on that coverage. It's a fun event, so get there if you can.
Coach Gary Schuler has issued a reminder to us about the Otter coupon books which are on sale for about another week. If you haven't been contacted by a student selling these books, contact coach Schuler at 998-0544, extension 2579. The cost is $15.00 per book. These are great books and many businesses are represented with good coupons. The money raised goes to help fund the Fergus Falls Quarterback Club and boys and girls basketball programs.
Wednesday, September 27, 2000
The annual John Hermes Invitational begins at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon at DeLagoon Park. Terry Harrington has a way of getting perfect or near perfect weather for this event every year.
It's quite a spectacle. Several high school cross country teams gathered on a beautiful fall day in their variety of uniform colors. DeLagoon Park affords the spectators a great vantage point to watch much of the race. From the top of the big hill you can see much of the course. Look for Josh Cossette and Jenny Reff to challenge for individual championships. The number of teams competing may be down a bit because of other meets being scheduled on the same day, but the teams that do participate will put on a great event. Get out there if you can. There are five different races including JV and junior high as well as varsity.
Start Friday night off right by enjoying Brad Russell's Award Winning Sandpiper Restaurant chili at the Fergus Falls Quarterback Club Chili Feed prior to the homecoming football game. The feed will be held in the Middle School parking lot adjacent to the tennis courts and begins at 5:00 p.m. This is a popular fundraiser!

Monday, September 25, 2000
Here it is, Homecoming week in Fergus Falls. The Otters play Friday night against Detroit Lakes at seven o'clock and the Spartans play Saturday afternoon at 2:30 against Hibbing. In addition to the football games there are many other activities...and other sporting events. So often we focus on the big football game and tend to put the other sports in the background during homecoming week, but it is after all homecoming for them, too. This week, the Fergus Falls High School volleyball team is home on Tuesday (vs. DL) and Thursday (vs. DGF), the John Hermes Cross Country Invitational is Thursday at 4:30 at DeLagoon Park, the girls soccer team hosts St. Cloud Cathedral on Tuesday and East Grand Forks on Thursday, the boys soccer team is home to St. Cloud Apollo at noon on Saturday and the Otter girls swimming team has their invitational on Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m. The only team that doesn't have a home event scheduled is the varsity tennis team. They are on the road Tuesday in Barrett and Thursday in New York Mills. The 'B' team does have a tournament on Saturday at Athletic and Broadway tennis courts, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The Lady Spartans will host two division opponents this weekend with Rainy River in town on Friday for a 6:30 match and Hibbing here on Saturday at noon. Coronations, special themes for each day at school, dances, the parade and all of the athletic events will make for a packed week of activity in Fergus Falls. Don't miss the once a year chance to see the FFHS Marching Band's halftime performance on Friday night! This will be a week full of fun events for students at both the high school and the community college, along with adults and families who attend them. Enjoy Homecoming 2000!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, September 18, 2000
Craigs Corner 9/18/00-9/24/00
Thursday, September 21, 2000
Former Underwood High School and Fergus Falls Community College student-athlete Breck Johnsen is down under right now, working at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. In a recent e-mail she referred to her job as "very easy and very boring." Breck sits in a small room all day long and hands out pre-sorted ticket packages to people who have earned on incentive programs from Kodak.
Breck is working with some interesting people, including a girl from Australia and another from Austria who is an exchange student in Australia this year. She says getting to know them has made everything "a little more interesting."
It's not all work though! Breck has attended the opening ceremonies, the mens gymnastics finals and some of the swimming competition. "The swimming was awesome! I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but it was really great!! The USA won two gold medals when I was there and the crowd was great as well." She'll be attending some of the track and field events, including the finals of the mens shot put.
Breck is staying at the Westin in Sydney. "The location is great and it is a beautiful hotel. Right outside of the hotel is one of the 'live' spots. There are always people out at night watching and cheering for the events. It makes for some great atmosphere."
What a great experience for Breck! Thanks for sharing some of the highlights of your trip to the Olympics.


Tuesday, September 19, 2000
Spartan receiver Justin Arneson was named the Southern Division Offensive player of the week this past week. Duh. 9 catches, 166 yards and 4 touchdowns. need more?
Through four weeks Arneson (who has played just 3 games) has caught 31 passes for 530 yards (17.1 yards per catch) for 8 touchdowns. All numbers lead the MCCC receivers. His yardage total places him 6th in the state in total offense, not bad for a receiver! Teammate Ben Brimhall leads the state in passing yardage (714) TD's (10) and is second in completion percentage (52.9%). His total offense figure of 831 yards is 167 yards above every one else. These former Otters are lightin' it up!
The Ashby girls volleyball team is 5-1 and is ranked number 7 in the state in Class A girls volleyball. The Little 8 is well represented in the state poll this week with Brandon-Evansville at number 9 and Battle Lake mentioned in the poll although not in the top 10. Ashby coach Brenda Johnson has a group of athletes who really perform well as a team. Their victories have truly been 'team efforts'. They face a real test with Hillcrest coming in to their gym tonight. The Comets also play well together and have the pieces to challenge for the Little 8 crown. This should be quite a conference race!

Monday, September 18, 2000
Ouch that hurts! Ben Brimhall broke his nose on Saturday. The injury occurred on a roughing the passer penalty against the 'overly aggressive' Vermilion defensive unit. The pass rusher had no intention of letting up once Ben threw the football. It was uncalled for and should have resulted in an ejection from the game in addition to the fifteen yard personal foul penalty. There are way to many injuries in athletics that occur during the course of play, and we don't need injuries like Ben's in addition to those. The lineman could have stopped his rush or let up on the contact rather than ramming his hand into Ben's helmet and pushing it into his face. That's not football, that's a cheap shot. Injuries that happen in the normal flow of the game are acceptable. Injuries like this one are not. Unfortunately, there are some coaches out there who tolerate behavior like that and in fact, some encourage it. The intimidation factor. Show no mercy. How about, play by the rules. Good Sportsmanship. Players, coaches, fans, all appreciate a good, hard, clean hit. They should not appreciate, or condone a late hit that is designed to "send a message", or is the result of frustration from events that have transpired in the game. Be thankful that it was 'only' a broken nose, and not a broken neck. Ben will have a decision to make: have surgery and miss the rest of the season, or, wear a brace and play with it. Knowing Ben he'll choose the latter.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, September 11, 2000
Craigs Corner 9/11/00 - 9/17/00
Thursday, September 14, 2000
25 Years ago today my wife, Sue, and I spent the first day of our honeymoon at a Twins game! I don't remember too much about the game, other than the fact that the Twins were playing the Oakland A's and some rather large fan kept yelling at Reggie Jackson, calling him a 'Big Tuna'. I din't get it then and I don't get it now. Reggie finally turned around, when he was waiting in the on deck area, in his fourth at bat of the day and was shaking his head, laughing at this guy. I'm pretty sure the Twins won the game. I do know this, I was young and in love, at the ballpark with my bride (close to heaven), it was a beautiful fall day, and after the game we were embarking on a major honeymoon trip, driving to Yellowstone and on to Colorado. My wife is not a big sports fan. She has never been one to get real involved in following local teams, unless our boys were playing. This weekend, she's going with me to Cloquet and Ely where the Otters and Spartans play. It's a little shorter trip than we took 25 years ago, and it's a working trip, but we'll find some time, which is extremely hard to find these days, to catch up and just be with each other. Forgive me if the website slips a little bit over the next few days. I will make an attempt to update some of the games from the Range, but no guarantees. This is a break we both need! Life goes by too quickly. Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Jenny Viksnes of Fergus Falls has accepted the Head Girls Gymnastics Coaching Position at FFHS. She takes over for Kathleen Rittenour who resigned in May. Mrs. Viksness is a 2000 graduate of Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education with dual certification in Elementary Education. Jenny has been Coaching gymnastics part-time for the past 7 years. Her experience includes coaching from preschool through competitive USAG teams. Her husband, Roger, will be teaching and attending the Seminary at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.

Adam Jacobs, a 2000 FFHS graduate, is on the cross country team at NDSCS in Wahpeton. Jacobs recently placed 44th in the Wildcate Open Cross Country Meet with a time of 32.42. His time was the third best time turned in by a member of the Wildcats. Two former Otter football players are on the Wildcats. Caleb Rudnick is being red-shirted this fall and Chad Campion is on the active roster.


Tuesday, September 12, 2000
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced its 2000 Academic Top-25 Team Honor Roll recently and FFCC tied for third in the nation with a 3.280 GPA.
The Honor Roll recognizes the nation's highest NCAA Division I, II, III, Junior/Community College and NAIA team grade point averages for the 1999-2000 season, based upon nominations submitted by WBCA member coaches. Salt Lake Community College was tops in the nation with a 3.467 GPA and Colby Community College was second with a 3.343 GPA.

The Fergus Falls Quarterback Club is sponsoring a fan bus for Friday's game at Cloquet. The cost will be between $15 and $20 depending on how many fans sign up. The bus will leave at two o'clock Friday afternoon from the Levy Parking Lot. To sign up for a seat call Lanny Hendrickson at 998-2424 or Darla at 736-2896.

Monday, September 11, 2000
The Fergus Falls VFW Post 612 Men's Slowpitch Softball Team finished in third place at the State VFW Softball Tournament over the weekend. The seven team round-robin tournament is in its 31st year and was held at Ham Lake this year. The Rice Street VFW Post from St. Paul won the title for the seventh straight year. The Anderson-Nelson Post of St. Paul took second place followed by the Fergus Falls team. The VFW Post 612 guys went 4-2, including a 9-8 win over the champs when Dan Kunz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Kunz had quite a tourney, hitting .750 with 5 homers and 14 RBI, while Kurt Nygaard hit .522 with four homeruns and 23 runs batted in.
Rick Bugbee, a member of the VFW team for many years, is once again coordinating a Last Chance Softball Tournament, the 19th annual, this Saturday and Sunday at DeLagoon Park. The entry fee is $100 with teams guaranteed three games. To enter a team contact Rick at 736-7325.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, September 4, 2000
Craigs Corner 9/4/00-9-10/00
Saturday, September 10, 2000
The Fergus Falls girls swimming team has to make a major adjustment. They have lost one of their top swimmers. Erin Seeba, the 100 meter state breaststroke champion last year has moved to the East coast, leaving a void on the swim team. Coach Tom Uvaas, commenting on Lakes Radio's Super Sports Saturday stated, "We'll miss Erin in a number of ways, obviously her scoring, but she is such a hard worker, which has a tendency to rub off on the other kids. To be a champion you have to have a strong work ethic and Erin really does." What happens in a situation like this? A team can have a difficult time adjusting to the loss of a key player whether it's to injury or circumstances surrounding Seeba's departure. Uvaas though, is optimistic about how his girls will respond. "What I've communicated to the girls is this, that some people are going to have to step forward and take over Erin's spot. It's an opportunity for some of our other breaststrokers to move into a different role, and I hope we'll see that happen. Kristin Overland, one of our juniors is our number two person in the breaststroke and this is an opportunity for her. Erin's abscence also creates a couple of relay spots." Seeba, a sophomore, was named the Most Improved Swimmer on the Otters a year ago. In addition to her state title she also was a member of the All-State 200 Medley Relay team from Fergus Falls.

Friday, September 9, 2000
BREAKING NEWS BULLETIN
Local Coach Seen Getting Computer Instruction.
It has been said, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It has not, however, been said, "You can't teach an old coach new tricks." If anyone has ever pushed that last statement, it's Dave Retzlaff. The dinosaur (I mean) dean of coaches in our area (and many other areas). Retz is undisputably a tremendous coach. He knows his stuff, is an excellent teacher, a wonderful role model, handles his players admirably, is a good person and a truly good friend. But, frankly, Retz is slow to come out of the stone age when it comes to the new computer era. Now, he's not alone, but in his position, he needs to be aggressive in joining the new millenium, not fearful. The computer should be viewed as his friend, not an unknown invader to his office. It can be a very valuable tool for coaches. Think of the possibilities in recruiting alone. E-mail contacts, getting school information in recruits hands NOW, this minute! Sending updates on the season several times a year, with the push of a button instead of cutting articles out of newspapers and hand writing everything.
Plus, the benefits of keeping in touch with friends and family who are a distance away, is so much easier with e-mail. Not to mention, the research material available on the internet that will help him in his job. Think of the volumes of basketball related articles and helps that he will be able to find. The benefits to his fantasy football and baseball teams are scary to think about, because he does well now. With the internet, he'll be even more of a threat to his fellow fanatasy players. When I saw coach Retzlaff sitting under the tutelage of Dan Knutson on Friday morning in his office, I was speechless. This is the man who, when I asked him if I could show him my newly designed site on his computer, said, "I don't know my password." He couldn't even get into his e-mail (only 507 messages he found out today). I am proud of you Retz! Your colleagues will be very thankful that you have decided to move forward. Your family will now have to learn to share internet time with you. You can even write your very own column on www.craigolsonsports.com or even start your own website! Well, let's not go overboard. Welcome to the cyber world.


Thursday, September 8, 2000
The 1st Annual Lee Franklin Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at Pebble Lake Golf Course this Saturday. It's a 4-man scramble featuring team prizes, hole prizes, door prizes and silent auction items. Lee was a great supporter of youth activities, particularly youth hockey, which he coached and was very active in at an administrative level for many years. Each year at the Otter hockey banquet a Lee Franklin Memorial Scholarship is presented. Current Otter hockey coach Brad Bergstrom has been the instrumental person in getting this tournament together.

When Fergus Falls and Moorhead play in high school football on Friday night, they will be playing at a brand new field, located near Moorhead High. The field was built in less than a year and marks the first time ever that Moorhead has had a true home field. In past years the Spuds have played at either Concordia or MSU.

The leading rusher in the MCCC Northern Divisions will be in town on Saturday as FFCC hosts Northland at 1:30. Sophomore Scott Olson ran for 176 yards and two TD's last week in his team's 15-0 win over Ridgewater.
It's the first home game of the season for the Spartans.

Wednesday, September 7, 2000
Friday night will be a special night for Perham football fans as members of the 1950 Yellowjackets football team will gather to remember their undefeated, unscored upon season of fifty years ago.
Players from that team will be honored with a halftime ceremony during the Perham-Park Rapids football game, and a postgame reception.

Just past the midway portion of the Thief River Falls Swimming Invitational, the power went out. The meet was called off at that time with the Prowlers in first place, Detroit Lakes second, Crookston third and Perham fourth. Andrea Andreen, Samantha Peloquin, Brittany Lowe and Mikailya Rutten combined to take a first in the 200 medley relay. Allison Lowe finished third in the 200 freestyle.

Can you believe the number of key major injuries already in the NFL? Olandis Gary of Denver, out for the year, Joey Galloway of Dallas, too. Troy Aikman suffered another concussion and will miss Sunday's game with Arizona. His backup, Randall Cunningham, may also be out with a thumb injury.

Daunte Culpepper. What a debut as an NFL starting quarterback. Three rushing touchdowns and playing with a lot of confidence. Some words of caution. One game does not make for a Hall-of-Fame career. Consistency is the key. The NFL is no picnic. Defenses will adjust. I happen to think that Daunte is the real deal. I second guessed Dennis Green all during the off-season on his decision to go with an unproven starting QB, but I think Denny knows exactly what he's got here. Give him credit. He took all the criticism and now he deserves the accolades. But remember, it wasn't too long ago that Pittsburgh Steelers fans and fantasy football owners all over the country were lauding Kordell Stewart as the most explosive quarterback in the game. Now, he's not even their starter. Temper that initial excitement a little bit and let's see what the rest of the season holds for Mr. Culpepper.

Sunday, September 4, 2000
Footballs were flying over the weekend as the fall sports season got underway at every level. I've said it before and I'm going to say it again ... this is my favorite time of the year! The fall sports are starting and the pennant races are heating up in major league baseball. We still have 16 weeks (plus playoffs) of the NFL season to look forward to, and the playoffs and World Series are yet to come in baseball. As a sports fan it doesn't get much better than this!

Craig's Corner is going to take on a new look beginning this week. It is my goal to write something everyday in this space. Some days it may be many items, other days only one. More like a notebook, than an actual column with one main subject. If you have any information that might be of interest to my viewers please e-mail it to me!

The Fergus Falls Boxing Club starts up again on Wednesday and Chuck Elliott who has single-handedly kept boxing alive in our area, needs coaching help. Plain and simple, he can't handle the number of kids he is working with. He needs one or two people to donate time on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. The workouts are held at the Middle School wrestling room on Mondays and Wednesdays and at New Beginnings on Thursdays. If Chuck doesn't get any coaching help this year, he will be faced with some tough decisions. Decisions he doesn't want to make, but will be forced to make. It is very possible that a number of the kids currently benefitting from this program would be the losers. He can't do it all, anymore. If it comes down to Chuck being the only coach, he will most likely take a handful of the top boxers, and train them, leaving several kids without a coach or trainer. If you have an interest in boxing and working with kids, call Chuck and volunteer to help with the coaching. 736-2584.
Posted By Craig Olson
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