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Monday, December 31, 2001
Craigs Corner 12/31/01 - 01/06/02
January 5, 2002
What a show! Tanya Crevier was back in Fergus Falls after a ten year break (too long in my opinion!), and she delighted hundreds of basketball fans at Friday's Otter boys basketball game.

Tanya is a world reknowned basketball handler and motivational speaker who is well known in our area. She appeared for several consecutive years at the Spartan Buddy Program at FFCC and has been performing all around the world for over 20 years.

On Friday, prior to her halftime appearance, Tanya put on shows at the Underwood High School and the Fergus Falls Middle School. She also squeezed in an interview on Talkin' Sports (thanks Tanya!), on AM 1250-KBRF Radio.

Tanya makes no bones about the reason she has maintained a high energy level and enthusiasm for what she does. "It's the work of the Lord," she says. "He gives me the energy." Tanya's work, is also a ministry. Her faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of her life and her commitment to Him is exemplified in her character. "Choose to have a Christian attitude. Don't let anything be done through selfish ambition or conceit. Keep God first, others second, and self last. This is the best character builder I have found," says Crevier.

Tanya has shared her message and her amazing ballhandling abilities with crowds of all ages the world over. She has performed at halftime of NBA games, major college games, international competitions and countless high school and small college games. She also has taken her show inside prison walls with a Prison Fellowship Ministry and has performed an many Fellowship of Christian Athletes events through the years.

She has a unique ability to involve the audience in her shows and she feeds off their energy and enthusiasm. This trip she also had her niece, Bridgette (sp?)Nelson with her. Bridgette rode a unicycle, spinning a basketball at the same time. Amazing. Ask anyone who was in attendance at one of her shows on Friday and they'll probably just shake their head and say "She was unbelievable". It was great to have her back in our area and I hope it won't be another ten years before Tanya Crevier comes back.

I attended a funeral this morning. Richard Odegard passed away earlier this week and his service was held today at the Underwood High School gymnasium. It was full. Richard was a good man. One of those guys you just love to talk to. Easy going, patient, kind. I never heard him say a bad word about anybody. I always enjoyed visiting with him about sports. He knew his athletes and teams very well, and he supported them in the good and bad times. Last year he took the job of FFCC Spartan Booster President. He loved watching the Spartans! He was a good man for that position as he was always trying to contribute to the betterment of the program anyway! Why not do it by holding office? I'll always remember him as a dedicated man. Talking with people who knew him throughout his lifetime, much longer than I did, I know he was dedicated to family, friends, schools and community as well as sports teams. Richard has battled health issues in recent years and was overwhelmed by the show of love and support at a benefit dinner this past fall at VFW Post 612 in Fergus Falls. It was great to see so many people turn out to support him.

Another funeral was held today in Detroit Lakes. David Grinaker, a 1973 Moorhead High School graduate and outstanding athlete at MHS and Concordia College, died of a massive heart attack on New Year's Day, following a workout. This was a real shock. I had just talked with David last week at the FFCC Spartan Girls Holiday Basketball Tournament. His daughter plays for the Lakers and he was of course in attendance at the tournament games, watching her play. David was a great athlete and in fact, still is the record holder of a couple of track events at Moorhead High School. He had stayed in great shape throughout his lifetime and did a lot of reffing through the years. I always saw him at the State Track and Field Meet where he worked as a meet official. He loved being around kids participating in athletic events. My prayers are with his family at this time of sudden loss. David will be missed greatly.

January 3, 2002
I received the Twins pre-season schedule today! The first game is scheduled for February 27th with all players due to report on February 17th. The Twins Winter Caravan schedule was also announced and they'll be in Fergus Falls on January 14th.

While it's always great to have the Twins Winter Caravan make a stop in our area, it's disappointing this year in that it's a very brief afternoon stop (1-2 hours) as opposed to what has become an annual evening banquet with attendance of over 300 people every year.

This year's group of current and past players who will be appearing in Fergus Falls include Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett and current Twins Jacque Jones, Jack Cressend and Kyle Lohse. TV broadcaster Dick Bremer will accompany the players.

There will be a public appearance at Fergus Music in downtown Fergus Falls from 12:30 to 1:30 and a private visit to Mill Street Residence from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Lakes Radio and Charter Communications are hosting the Twins stop. NO AUTOGRAPHS WILL BE GIVEN AT THIS STOP. The group will be continuing on to Fargo for an evening banquet.

I guess it's unrealistic for me to think that we would get a banquet every year, but with the track record of Fergus Falls fan participation, I think the Twins should make it an every year occurrence. But, I'm being greedy. Other communities should also have that opportunity. It's just a shame that all the school age fans will miss out on this year's event.

December 31, 2001
Every time we end a year and begin a new one, the tendency is to reflect on what the just completed year has held for us and to look forward to what the new year may possibly hold. Okay, we can do that!

With the help of several of you, the decision was made concerning the top local sports stories and sports personalities of 2001. It was interesting to see the results of our polling.

The Lady Spartans NJCAA Division III National Championship Season was the choice for Local Sports Story of the Year. I won't disagree with that!! To watch that story unfold was truly one of the great stories of this year or any year!!

By the way, Jessica Draper, the MVP of the National Tournament, was recognized as an NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American! Here GPA was 3.86 and she is the only 3-sport student-athlete to receive this high award. She maintained that extraordinary grade point average while competing in volleyball, basketball and softball. She was also voted the Outstanding Female Student-Athlete at FFCC and made the All-Region XIII team in softball.

The second-rated story was the Hillcrest Football Team's 9-Man State Championship season. Another extraordinary sports story and an excellent study in personal and team perseverance. The emergence of Jake Carr as a key member of Richard Risbrudt's coaching staff and the comeback of Nick Hansen as a player at tournament time were stories within the story of the Comets "To God be the Glory" season. One of the best high school stories I've ever been privileged to cover.

Third was the twin accomplishment in Underwood this fall with the Rockets football and volleyball teams both advancing to their state tournaments. It doesn't happen often where two teams from the same small high school participate in state tournament play in the same year. Some great victories along the way for both teams and as always, strong community and fan support. New facilities didn't hurt I'm sure!

The Spartan football team's first ever state title and Bowl Game appearance finished fourth in the balloting. Another amazing story. Write them off after an 0-3 start and they go on to have the greatest year in the history of FFCC football. Talk about a gut-check. What this team did was nothinig short of incredible!!

As far as individual accomplishments, the overwhelming majority of the voters saw Justin Arneson's year as the best by an individual. Player of the Year in the MCCC in football, Outstanding Male Student-Athlete at FFCC, headed to Division I Toledo on a full-ride football scholarship. Arne was also named All-Region XIII in baseball. Draper (see above credentials) was second in the voting.

Third place went to Otter boys basketball coach Gary Schuler, who was inducted into the Minnesota State Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Schuler is not only one of the great high school coaches in Minnesota basketball history, but he is also one of the great teachers and people to work in public education. Schuler is closing in on his 500th career coaching victory, a tremendous achievement, but the impact he has on kids, in a one-on-one situation dwarfs the magnitude of his basketball accomplishments. Simply put, He Cares.

I could go on and on and on and on, but I won't. If you have some other stories or individuals that you'd like me to write about, send me some information! I'll be happy to give credit where credit is due. To each of you who click on my website daily, thank you so much! The response has been overwhelming and I hope you continue to visit us daily in 2002. Also, tell someone who loves sports about the site!! And, please visit my sponsors! Just click on the advertising banners occasionally and pay them a visit on the web. Drop them an e-mail or mention in person when you see one of them, that you appreciate the fact that they include www.craigolsonsports.com in their advertising budget. Without them, I wouldn't be able to continue to do this. Let them know you appreciate them! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, December 25, 2001
Craigs Corner 12/24/01 - 12/30/01
Friday, December 27th, 2001
Move Over girls, here comes Jess! Fergus Falls High School girls basketball player Jess Holicky has joined an elite club. Thursday she became the fifth player in Otter girls basketball history to score 1,000 points and she's gunning for number one.

With a 3-point field goal late in the third quarter of Thursday's win over Ulen-Hitterdal, Holicky joined Linda Knutson, Carleen Rose, Kim Hanson and Cara Paulius in the 1,000 point club. Knutson is the all-time leading scorer with 1,187 points, a mark that will almost certainly fall, if Holicky remains healthy. One of the keys to any sort of longevity record is of course, the health of the player, and with the exception of some periodic knee problems, Jess has remained healthy thorughout her varsity career, which is in its fifth year.

She is currently averaging around 18 points a game with 15 regular season and at least one playoff game remaining in her career. If she averaged around twelve points a game the rest of the way, she would beat the record. It looks like a lock.

Jess brings a lot to the floor. Her 3-point shooting ability, her ability to score off penetration (or get to the line by drawing the foul off penetration), and her defensive skills lead to the occasional breakaway layup opportunity. She is also effective pulling up with a short range jumper off penetration. She's a coaches nightmare to try to defend.

Her next target is Paulius, who is fourth on the list, withi 1,063 points. Then Hanson at 1,091 and Rose at 1,095. She should pass the three of them rather quickly, leaving the majority of the schedule to pursue Knutson and the record. Knutson, a 1986 graduate, played both ends of the floor very effectively, being named the Defensive Player of the Year four straight times. Also, the top five scorers in the history of the Otters are also the top five leaders in career assists. They all had the knack for making the people around them better ballplayers and all showed unselfish play in distributing the ball. Jess is in good company!

Wednesday, December 26th, 2001
Holiday Tournament Galore!! Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Boys Hockey, Girls Hockey!! The next three days are full of winter sports competition at area arenas and gymnasiums!

The Fergus Falls boys hockey team will host their annual Holiday Classic Thursday through Saturday. This is a 'B' team and Varsity tournament. The schedule begins at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday with 'B' team action between Benson/Morris and Detroit Lakes. At 1:00 p.m., West Fargo and Fergus Falls will square off. The varsity portion of the tournament begins at 4:30 p.m. with Sauk Centre facing Detroit Lakes. The Fergus Falls varsity team will battle West Fargo at 7:30 p.m. Between the two varsity games the Fastest Skater Competition will be held. Fergus Falls plays varsity games at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Sauk Centre and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Detroit Lakes. All games will be at the Fairgrounds Ice Arena.

The Otter girls hockey team is at the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis Tournament. They will play the host Lakers at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Litchfield and Thief River Falls will face each other at five p.m. Thursday. Losers play for third place Friday at 2:00 p.m. and winners play for the championship Friday at 4:00 p.m.

FFCC is the site of the Spartan Girls Basketball Holiday Tourney. Hawley tangles with Rothsay at 3:00 p.m. in the opening game on Thursday, followed at 4:30 p.m. by Clinton-Graceville against Detroit Lakes. The 6:00 p.m. game matches Fergus Falls with Ulen-Hitterdal and the 7:45 contest features Pelican Rapids and Wheaton. The tournament continues through Saturday with the title game set for 4:00 p.m.

The Otter boys play in a four team tournament in Moorhead on Friday and Saturday. Fergus Falls meets Buffalo in the opener at 5:30 and the 7:00 p.m. game is between Moorhead and Little Falls. The losers play for third place at 6:00 p.m. and the title game is set between the two winners at 7:45 Saturday night. This tournament is also a 'B' team event. The Fergus Falls 'B' team will play at 2:00 p.m. on Friday against Buffalo's 'B' team.

Both Battle Lake basketball teams play at the New York Mills Tournament Thursday and Friday. The Perham boys are involved in the Minnewaska Area Tournament at Glenwood on the same two days.

Underwood and Rothsay boys basketball teams play at NDSCS in Wahpeton Thursday through Saturday with a number of North Dakota teams involved.

Two other teams from our coverage area, Pelican Rapids and Barnesville, are playing at the Cobber Classic Thursday through Saturday at Concordia College in Moorhead. Neither of these tournaments is a true tournament, but a tournament which has all of the matchups pre-determined.

For all the results, log on to www.craigolsonsports.com over the next several days. We'll have scores, highlights and stories on all of the area teams. Hope you can also get out and watch some of these teams in person!!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2001
Christmas Day has arrived. Sure came fast didn't it? It will pass just as quickly and we'll all prepare to face a brand new year, 2002. Wow! Not only did we survive the coming of the New Millenium but here we are two years later, still plugging away!

Being a sports fan, I always seem to be a candidate for some sports related gifts (which I don't mind at all)! A couple I've received this year are books. I love to read!! Never have enough time to read as many books as I'd like to read, but I'll fit these books in over the next couple of months. This is actually a good time for me to get into a book or two. In January and February I have a lot of games to broadcast on the radio, but when I travel with the Spartan basketball teams, there is bus time, hotel time, down time and I get a lot of chapters covered on those trips to Ely and points beyond (are there any points beyond Ely?).

The first book, I received from my Secret Santa (Charlie Kampa), at Lakes Radio. John Feinstein, author of "A Season on the Brink", a story covering a season of Indiana Hoosier basketball, and "A Good Walk Spoiled", a great golf book, has now written "The Majors", a look at professional golf's four major tournaments. He covers the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship tournaments of 1998. I've alreay breezed through the section on the Masters and am now starting the section dealing with the U.S. Open. This is a good read. I highly recommend it to any golfers or golf fans. Thanks Charlie.

The second book, "Take Me Out to the Ballpark" is an illustrated tour of baseball parks, past and present. It features every major league park, stadiums from the past and famous minor and Negro League parks. It's been compiled by Josh Leventhal, who I don't know anything about, except he has a passion, as do I, for baseball. It's obvious by the way this book turned out. It's Great! Some tremendous pictures, facts and figures, insights, stories and full of useful information! A must for any baseball fan. This came from my favorite (and only) brother, Jim. Jim and his family live in Virginia, and we don't get to see them too often. They were here for a few days in August and it's always a highlight of our year when we can spend time with them. We sure do miss them at Christmas, though! Thanks Jim and Susan! I'll think of you everytime I pick up this book!

I am so thankful for this time of the year. With the hectic hustle and bustle of our daily lives, and the way families have become so stretched out across the country and even around the globe, Christmas still brings us back together, at least for a few days or hours. Back to what we cherish most in life. Family, friends, familiar faces and familiar places. How good it is to celebrate with those we love! To put aside all of life's "pressing" matters, and concentrate instead on giving, sharing and renewing our most valued relationships.

This Christmas season is one of mixed emotions. It is an extremely sad time for those who have lost loved ones or been touched in some other way by the terrorist attacks on our country. Yet, Christmas is always a season of hope. It is that way because of the birth of Jesus Christ. To believers, that hope presents comfort in any type of circumstances, even circumstances people find themselves in today. I think, more than ever, we need to focus on the Christ child and what his birth, life, death, resurrection and eternal life mean to each one of us. It is my sincere prayer this Christmas season that He will be real to you and that each of you may find true peace that only can be found in Him. Merry Christmas everyone!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 17, 2001
Craigs Corner 12/17/01 - 12/23/01
Saturday, December 22nd, 2001
The flu bug and worst, hitting some of the area athletic teams. West Central Area is among the most affected teams.

West Central Area's Megan Ronhovde, listed by Minnesota Basketball News as one of the top players in the state, is out with mononucleosis. Her teammate, Vanessa Denardo is also out with mono. The Lady Knights have lost both games they have missed.

The Knights boys basketball team may have lost transfer student Dusty Radke for the season. Radke, hurt his knee in Friday's game against Pelican Rapids and will have an MRI this week to determine the extent of the injury.

Hillcrest guard Luke Hansen is still trying to recover from a separated shoulder, suffered during the football season. Hansen had the shoulder pop out four times in the Comets win over Brandon-Evansville. Coach Gregg Preston is hoping an extended rest will help. The Comets are going to Florida on a basketball missions trip between Christmas and New Year's.

Fergus Falls guards Nate Klein and Josh Cossette have both been battling illnesses. Klein seems to be back near full strength and Cossette has made some progress, too.

The Pelican Rapids girls have had several players miss game time due to the flu, but everyone seems to be healthy now. Brenda Aas and Brandie Lass were among the players missing some action.

Fergus Falls wrestler Bruce Rosendahl has suffered with a viral infection, too.

It goes with the territory. Teams will continue to deal with these situations throughout the season. You only hope it's not a season ending injury or a severe case of mono that affects your players and your team.


Thursday, December 20th, 2001
Perham wrestler J.J. Kratzke entered an elite club last week when he won his 100th career high school match against Lake Park-Audubon.

Kratzke became the 11th wrestler in school history to reach the 100-win milestone. If he stays healthy and continues his success on the mat, he should be able to move ahead of between four and six former Perham wrestlers on the list.

Adam Richter finished with 148 wins, the most in Perham wrestling history, and Justin Staebler has the second highest win total, 141. Both wrestlers are 1998 graduates and Staebler is still competing. He is the heavyweight at Wisconsin and placed fifth in the Big 10 Tournament last year as a sophomore. So far this year, Staebler is 2-1 in duals and took second place at the Michigan State University Open. Richter, wrestled for a short period of time at Concordia but is no longer active on the mats.

Another of their high school teammates, Ryan Krumweide, recorded 100 wins, and is a member of the NDSU wrestling team. The Bison have won three of the last four NCAA Division II Wrestling championships. Krumweide is listed at 149 pounds but is wrestling behind Lance Wurm, a junior from Maple Lake who is wrestling down a weight from his listed weight of 157.
Krumweide is 0-2 this season and 3-6 in his Bison career.

Another former area high school wrestler, Jacob Volkman from Otter Tail Central, is off to a great start in his sophomore season at the U of M. Volkman has won his first nine matches this season and is 45-15 in his career as a Gopher. Volkman and his National Championship teammates from a year ago, visited the White House earlier this month.

Keith Pearson is once again running the annual Otter Alumni Basketball Tournament. This year the event will be held on Saturday, December 22nd.

Registration begins at noon in the Fergus Falls High School Gym and the registration fee is five dollars. If you have any questions, get in touch with Coach Pearson at 739-5305.



Monday, December 17th, 2001
Justin Arneson visited Toledo over the weekend and has verbally committed to attend that NCAA Division I school on a football scholarship.

Toledo will be faxing him a letter of intent on Tuesday and Arne will probably sign it on Wednesday.

What a tremendous opportunity for the former Otter and Spartan standout receiver. Toledo is playing Cincinnati in the Motor City Bowl at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan on December 29th.

We'll have more on Arneson's decision later.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Craigs Corner 12/10/01-12/16/01
Friday, December 14th, 2001
Two former Otters are battling the Fighting Sioux this weekend in college hockey. Kevin Ackley and Josh Anderson are in the area sports spotlight.

Ackley and Anderson are in their first year as members of St. Lawrence University's hockey team and the Saints are hosting the Sioux tonight and tomorrow night. St. Lawrence is currently 3-10-0 and 1-4-0 in the ECAC.

Ackley has played seven games in goal for the Saints, compiling a goals against average of 3.28 and a save percentage of .906. His record is two wins and five losses. Anderson has played in twelve games as a forward and has scored two goals, one of them a power play goal, and picked up one assist for a total of three points.

Frances Rise, a 2001 graduate of Perham High School and a state competitor in golf for the Yellowjackets, is attending St. Cloud State University and is a member of the Ladies Golf team. Rise played in every varsity meet during the fall season, which is the season with the heaviest schedule of events, and will be playing in spring events as well for the Huskies. I saw her mother in Perham earlier this week and she said that Frances, a three sport standout in high school, really missed volleyball and is currently missing basketball! I'm glad to see her pursuing golf collegiately. She's played a lot of summer tournaments through the years and I'm sure she'll do very well.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2001
The Spartan football team held an awards banquet on Tuesday night, handing out several awards and looking back over a season which included the first ever State Title for FFCC in football.

Justin Arneson was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player and Todd Edwards earned the honor as Most Valuable Defensive Player.

Four Spartans were recipients of the Spartan Pride Award. Defensive Linemen Lonnie Marcyes, Joe Barfknecht and Ross Johnson are joined by center Steve Keaveny in receiving the awards.

I had the chance to visit with Justin Arneson on Tuesday night at the ice arena and got the latest update from him on the whole recruiting process. We told you last week that West Virginia had pulled their offer, deciding instead to give their final scholarships to defensive linemen. Well, the University of Northern Iowa asked Arne to visit and he did that last weekend. Of course, the Spartans played in the Pepsi-Cola Bowl at the Unidome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at the end of the season. That's where Northern Iowa plays their home games. They are a Division I-AA team and are definitely interested in Arne.

Justin is also going to visit Toledo, one of the top Division I football programs in the country. In fact, Toledo has been ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation in four of the last seven seasons. Earlier this year they were ranked 23rd in both the AP poll and the USA Today/ESPN poll. After beating 18th ranked Marshall 41-36 in the championship game of the Mid-American Conference, they have moved back into the AP's ranking at number 25 and are 26th in the USA Today/ESPN poll. They are 9-2 overall and will play Cincinnati in the Motor City Bowl at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan on December 29th. One of their nine wins came against the University of Minnesota, a convincing 38-7 thrashing the first week of the season.
Arne is supposed to visit Toledo this weekend and if they offer him an attractive scholarship, look for him to take it. They run a spread offense and like to throw the football. Toledo was the third rated passing team in their conference, throwing an average of 30 passes a game and amassing over 2500 passing yards in 11 games. They are looking for a receiver who can step in and play regularly next season and after viewing tape of Arneson and talking to coaches, he is high on their list. Stay tuned.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 3, 2001
Craigs Corner 12/03 - 12/09
Saturday, December 8th, 2001
Well, Friday's highly touted matchups were everything we thought they would be. Both number one's won, but not easily, and the Otter boys hockey team pulled off the upset!

Hillcrest hit nearly 82% (18 of 22) of their free throws in an overtime win over West Central Area.

Litchfield struggled with the Otters but was able to hold them off and pick up a five point win. Junior John Carlson is one solid player, and I mean solid. He sets a mean pick and he is very strong. You can sure tell he believes in the weight room. I thought the Otters played them tough all night long. This will be a fun season for Otter basketball fans.

Otter hockey fans have to be excited about the 2-1 win at East Grand Forks. Tyler Ness played extremely well and Brad Bergstrom liked what he saw from a number of his players. He said Chris Orcutt (who scored the game winner), Dustin Wynn and Darrin Lindblom impressed him with their play. That's a great win for this team.

Former Otter David Newell is a key part of the Gustavus-Adolphus basketball team which is ranked number six in the country in NCAA Division III. Gustavus beat Carleton 85-71 Wednesday night and has won 7 in a row. Newell, starting at a post position scored ten points. He's averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds per game. Their next game is at home Saturday against St. Mary's.


Thursday, December 6th, 2001
Talk about some tough matchups! The Friday athletic calendar for area teams is loaded with top-ranked teams. Two of them will square off in Elbow Lake.

The top-rated Class A boys basketball team in the state is Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. The Comets will play West Central Area, the third-ranked team in Class 2A, in Elbow Lake. There were conflicts at both FFCC, where the Comets now play their home games, and at the home of the Knights, West Central Area High School.

The Fergus Falls boys basketball team will open their season at home against the top-ranked Class 2A team in the state, the Litchfield Dragons. Junior John Carlson is one of the top players in the state and had 27 points in the Dragons 59-52 win over Redwood Valley on Tuesday night. In addition to Carlson's strong inside presence, the Dragons have four definite 3-point threats. It's a tremendous challenge for the Otters and fans will be in for a treat.

The Otter boys hockey team will face a team ranked fourth in Class A, the Greenwave of East Grand Forks. Following that game on Friday night, the Otters move over to the lavish new Englestad Arena for a matchup with the two-time defending North Dakota state champs, Grand Forks Red River.

Some other area teams that are ranked this week include the Barnesville boys, who beat Breckenridge 53-36 on Thursday night. They are currently ninth in Class A. In the girls polls, Battle Lake is once again third in Class A and West Central Area enters the 2A girls poll in the number nine spot.

Stay tuned! Some exciting action is ahead over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2001
Be sure to mark down this Friday night on your calendar. Spartan basketball fans will definitely want to be at FFCC to see the NJCAA Division III National Champs get their championship rings!

Last years exciting title run by a special group of Lady Spartans will not soon be forgotten! Friday gives you a chance to re-acquaint yourself with those team members and honor them as they are recognized for their achievements. Receiving a ring commemorating this first-ever Ladies National Title is a great keepsake for the team members and coaches. A large team picture will also be unveiled and will be on display in the gym. The ceremony will be held between games at the college. FFCC will face Rochester starting with the Ladies game at six and the men will play at eight p.m.

I've already heard from a couple of the team members, Kelly Martin and Jessica Draper, and they are both very excited about the event. Jess said she had a dream that they all got to suit up and play one more time, but of course it was just a dream. Well, I certainly hope a lot of you Spartan fans will be in attendance on Friday night.

By the way, Kelly is playing at Valley City State University. She is starting for a team that is currently 3-5 and on a three-game winning streak. They played some nationally ranked teams early in the year but have started their conference season 2-0. Kelly says she earned her starting position with her defense. Those of you who watched her play for FFCC over the last two years won't have any trouble believing that! If you were coaching a team, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example of hard work on the defensive end of the court than Kelly Martin. Amy Schoeck, another member of last years championship team, started the season with Valley City State but has decided to not continue to play with the team. That means that Martin is the only player from last year (other than Naomi Moerke), who is still playing basketball.

Cody Norman, a senior at Mayville State University, is off to a great start. His team is 6-4 overall and 1-1 in the DAC-10. Cody has 72 rebounds in 10 games, placing him second in the conference in rebounding with 7.2 per game. He is also hitting 50.88% of his shots, putting him fifteenth in field goal percentage. He has hit 23 of 30 free throws (76.67%), 20th in the DAC-10.

Justin Arneson won't be making his scheduled visit to West Virginia. Apparently they've given out all of their scholarships and have told Arne not to come. As a result of the change, Arne is now practicing with the Spartan Mens basketball team and will probably be able to play extensively after the Christmas break. He's behind some in conditioning and learning the offense and defense, although last years experience won't hurt him in picking those things up. There's no question he will be a welcome addition to the team and will provide them with an element of quickness they don't have without him. He also can spark a team with "instant offense", a label he has worn well over the years. Arne still has some interested college football teams and will be making some visits, so the door is still open for him to make a switch, but until that time comes, he's a member of the FFCC basketball team.


Monday, December 3rd, 2001
Two senior swimmers, Kayla Uvaas and Jackie Sutor, took over the top two scoring spots on the all-time list of Fergus Falls girls swimmers. The former all-time leader, Kersti Nelson is now a Hall of Famer!

Kersti was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in November. Kersti graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1986 having scored 1311.25 career points, a total which has been approached through the years but not surpassed, until this season. Uvaas finished with 1693.25 points and Sutor with 1314.

Nelson was a four year All-American in 12 individual events and 11 relays. She was a member of four Blugold conference championship teams and two NAIA national championship teams in 1987 and 1988. The Blugolds were also second and third at nationals her other two seasons on the team in 1989 and 1990.

Kersti was on the national championship 800 freestyle relay team that set an NAIA record in 1987. She won nine individual conference titles inclduing four straight in the 1650 freestyle. She won the 400 individual medley twice and 200 IM, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle once each.

When she left Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she held the individual school records for the 200 freestyle (1:55.79); the 500 freestyle (5:05.32), the 1000 freestyle (10:33.40) and the 1650 freestyle (17:28.25). She was also a member of the school record-setting 400 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay and 800 freestyle relay teams.

Nelson was a team MVP in both 1989 and 1990, earned the Hardest Worker Award in 1989 and the Most Improved Award in 1987. She graduated in 1991.

Kersti is presently the physical education and adaptive physical education teacher at Rice Lake Elementary School in Maple Grove and serves as assistant swim coach at Maple Grove High School. She is the daughter of Harlan and Inga Nelson. Inga coached diving for several years in Fergus Falls.

Those are some pretty impressive credentials!! The Otters had some outstanding teams in those years. Kersti led the team in scoring in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1985. Her teammate Sarah Hefte, led the team in scoring in 1984 and tied Nelson for the lead in 1983. Hefte is eighth on the all-time scoring list.
Posted By Craig Olson
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