|Monday, March 26, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 3/26/01 - 4/01/01|
|Wednesday, March 28th, 2001|
Fergus Falls High School's girls golf team has a good man heading up the program. John Tufte has been hired as the replacement for Denny Hanson, who retired last year.
Tufte has been teaching High School English in Fergus Falls since 1996 and just finished his first year as Boys "B" Squad Basketball Coach. He spent 4 years as an assistant boys basketball coach.
Tufte graduated from East Grand Forks High School in 1990 and graduated from Concordia College with a Bachelors Degree. In 200 he graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
All of that sounds impressive, but the best qualities Mr. Tufte brings to the program, as he does to his classroom everyday, is a gift to relate to young people in a way that makes him approachable and respected. He loves the game of golf and swears he has shook the shanks he suffered through part of last summer.
John is currently the Vice President of the Otter Coaches Association. He and his wife Tammy have one child.
Dollars for Scholars will benefit on Thursday night, March 29th when the Fergus Falls Faculty faces the FFHS Intramural All-Stars in a basketball game. The event, sponsored by the Fergus Falls Education Association, has become a very popular way to raise funds. This is the third annual game. The cost is four dollars for adults and two dollars for students. Halftime entertainment will be provided by Just for Kix Dancers, faculty cheerleaders, FFHS cheerleaders and more! This game will be a lot of fun, so enjoy yourself, support the teams and help out a worthy cause, Dollars for Scholars.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2001
Underwood senior Jerry Aakre won the Class A Triple-A Award for excellence in academics, athletics and the arts. The award was presented during the championship game of the Class A boys basketball tournament on Saturday afternoon at the Excel Energy Center. Jerry was the Section 5A boys representative and was chosen out of eight finalists from around the state.
Can you believe it? It's already the end of March. March Madness will end in less than a week. It has been a very busy month with all the state, regional and national tournament events.
Covering the area teams has been a very uplifting experience. The accomplishments they have achieved in their specific sports has been thrilling to follow. Tremendous individual and team efforts have led to a memorable winter sports season.
Now, the spring sports teams are already at it. Track and Field teams are competing at indoor meets and the other sports teams are going through early season, indoor training. Let's hope for a quick melt and weather conditions that will allow practices and events to take place as scheduled.
The Lady Spartans from FFCC will be heading out to Glendive, Montana for a tournament this Friday and Saturday. Coach Lloyd Danzeissen's squad hasn't had a lot of time to prepare but game situations are good anytime you can get them. Top pitcher Jessica Draper has experienced some soreness in her early throwing, but that's normal. She was tough as a freshman last year and will be even better this year.
The Fergus Falls 5th grade girls basketball team won the West Central Tournament over the weekend. The girls were 4-0 in pool play defeating Hancock, West Central-South, Alexandria and Morris by a combined scored of 70-16. They shutout one team and the most points they gave up in a game was 7. In the championship, they played West Central-North and defeated them 20-12.
Team members were Kylie Boe, Sarah Erickson, Becca Rengel, Erin Morstad, Hannah Draxten, Tiffany Werre, Susan Wellendorf, Jana Thole and Amanda Lewis. Coaches were Ken Boe and Lori Draxten.
In prior tournaments, the girls have taken 2nd at Lisbon, ND, 2nd at Fergus Falls and 4th at Detroit Lakes. Upcoming tournaments are at Perham, Minnesota State-Moorhead and the Pacesetter at Staples.
Shawn Linder, a 1997 graduate of Battle Lake High School and an NSIC All Conference honorable mention selection in the 2000 season, is a senior pitcher for the University of Minnesota-Crookston baseball team. The Golden Eagles play in NCAA Division II.
|Monday, March 19, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 3/19/01 - 3/25/01|
|Thursday, March 22nd, 2001|
The deadline to signup for the Hall of Fame bus trip for the inductions of Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield is rapidly approaching. Here's the info.
The bus will leave Fergus Falls around 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 2nd. We'll head to Boston to catch the Red Sox and Rangers on Friday night at Fenway Park. After spending the night in Boston it's on to the Big Apple for a late afternoon Yankees-Angels game at The House that Ruth Built.
Following that game, we'll drive through the night to Cooperstown for Induction Day, spend Sunday night in that area with Monday being a free day in Cooperstown.
A late afternoon/early evening departure for Chicago, driving through the night and checking into a Chicago hotel upon arrival. Then, the Rockies and Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. We leave for Fergus Falls late Wednesday morning, arriving around ten p.m. on the 8th of August.
The cost of the above trip will be $625 per person (quadruple occupancy), $700 per person (triple occupancy), $750 per person (double occupancy), $1100 per person (single occupancy). This covers the cost of the bus, 3 nights in hotels and game tickets. A 50% down payment is required by March 31st, 2001. If we have 35 people signed up by that date the trip will be a go and the deposit becomes non-refundable. If we don't have 35 people, the trip is off and you will receive your uncashed check back.
To signup, send your check to www.craigolsonsports.com, 606 North Woodland Drive, Fergus Falls, MN 56537. If you have any questions, e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll respond as soon as possible. Pass the word to baseball fans you know and live a baseball dream trip this summer!
Tuesday, March 20th, 2001
Former Ottertail Central wrestler Jacob Volkmann played a key role in the Minnesota Gophers NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championship this past week in Iowa.
Volkmann, seeded tenth in the tournament at 174 pounds won five of his seven matches to take fourth place and earn All-American honors. All ten of the Gopher wrestlers were All-American's as they finished in the top eight in their weight brackets. Each bracket featured 32 wrestlers.
Volkmann scored 13.5 points for the Gophers, who beat Iowa by 13 points for first place, ending the Hawkeyes six year reign as National Champs. Jacob was competing as a freshman after being red-shirted last season.
Former Fergus Falls High School baseball players Dan Harris and Aaron Olson spent some time in the warm country playing ball this past week.
Dan was in Texas with the Valley City baseball team. He played six of their eight games, missing two after being hit in the elbow while batting. Harris started in left field for Valley City and went 7 for 20 at the plate for a .350 average, drove in nine runs, scored six and hit 3 homers including two against Texas Tech.
One of Dan's teammates is Eric Anderson who is from the Perham/Dent area and played for FFCC the past couple of years. Anderson had a good trip, too, going 11 for 26, a .423 average.
The team finished with a 1-7 record, but they are very young, especially the pitchers. They are supposed to play NDSU on Saturday at Newman Outdoor Field but that one is in jeopardy of being cancelled.
Aaron was in San Antonio with Minnesota State, Mankato. Their first game of their road trip they matched up with the number five team in the nation, St. Mary's of San Antonio and lost a 3-2 eleven inning contest. Aaron homered in a double header against Incarnate Word University, also of San Antonio, but the Mavericks lost both games 9-1 and 9-2. They played them again in a double header a couple of days later and won both games.
From there they traveled to Austin, Texas and played St. Edwards, winning both games of a double header. Olson played in five of the seven games on the trip, starting four of them as the DH. "I usually started against left handed pitchers," stated the right handed slugger. "I hit the ball hard, but a lot of times it was right at the fielder."
Minnesota State, Mankato is scheduled to play four games this weekend in Kansas City, Missouri. The weather sounds agreeable for that series.
Monday, March 19th, 2001
What a turnout for the welcome home celebration at FFCC!! The Lady Spartans were stunned by the number of fans who chose to show their support by packing the FFCC gym to congratulate them on their NJCAA Division III National Championship.
A police escort led the team from the 210 East exit through town to the college around eight o'clock on Sunday night. Once there, Oats LeGrand, Hal Leland, Carrie Brimhall, Dave Retzlaff and others addressed the Spartan faithful.
Jessica Draper won the tournament's MVP award, scoring 44 points and grabbing 23 rebounds over the three games of the tourney. Jeana Schaefer scored 31 points on 12 of 21 shooting from the field and 7-12 from the line, had 9 assists and 7 steals and was named to the All-Tournament team along with Heidi Malone who scored 35 points, including 14 in the title game, hitting 4 three-pointers in the second half.
Ridgewater's Jodene Negen scored 54 points and grabbed 34 rebounds to be named All-Tournament. The Lady Warriors, who won the MCCC State title, finished with third place in the nation. They beat Northern Essex of Massachussets, 71-43 in the 3rd place game.
FFCC is now the only Minnesota school to claim a Men's NJCAA Division III title (29-0 in 1998) and a Women's crown. Like Draper for the ladies this year, Spartan player Jim Schlieman was named the tournament's MVP.
It was good to see many former Spartans in attendance at the welcome home including, Chris Heier, Jared Swanson, Jason Retzlaff, Aaron Grove, Anita Follingstad (who was in New York), Renae Levang and I'm sure others I didn't see in the crowd. They share in this excitement and I know are extremely happy for Coach Williams.
All year long the Lady Spartans have shot free throws well, hitting 71% for the season heading into this tournament. Their practice emphasis on free throw shooting really paid off when Julie ('ICE') Hemker made four straight in game winning conditions on Saturday night. Overall they were 56 out of 89 over their three national tournament games, only 63%, but Julie hit 'em when they needed 'em.
The softball, track & field and golf seasons quietly started last Monday. Today, the baseball season officially opens. Spring has arrived, at least on the sports calendars ... now let's get rid of this snow!
|Monday, March 12, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 3/12/01 - 3/18/01|
|Saturday, March 17th, 2001|
Do we dare even think about a National Title for the Lady Spartans? Go ahead and dare to dream, because it just may become a reality tonight.
The Lady Spartans are one win away from claiming the NJCAA Division III National title. A victory over Manhattan Community College tonight in Corning, New York is all they need to become champions. This will be a tall order, however, as Manhattan has three players over six-feet tall. Only one of them, 6'2" Antoinette Daniels is a starter. They come off the bench with 6'3" Zereena Stephens and 6'4" Fatima Wane. Daniels is definitely the most athletic of the three but Stephens and Wane can be quite imposing figures underneath the basket.
I like the Spartans chances tonight. I believe they will be able to beat this team. Their defensive quickness and their mobility in the post will both work in their favor, plus, I believe they'll be able to wear this team out by the end of the second half. Conditioning is always a key over a three day tourney and the Lady Spartans will have the edge here. This team is also playing the most intense, focused ball of the season. They are ready to accept the challenge and claim a title! Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. on KJ Country - 96.5 FM for all the play-by-play.
There will be a welcome home celebration for the Lady Spartans on Sunday night. They should be arriving around seven p.m. It shouldn't be too much earlier than that and not too much later than that, providing we have good traveling conditions. It would be great if we could see a tremendous turnout of fan support for the team, win or lose in tonight's game! Show your support for this excellent team and their coach, Ann Williams by being a part of that welcome home celebration. GO SPARTANS!!!!
Thursday, March 15th, 2001
It's been a great day for Minnesota Community College basketball teams in New York! Both FFCC and Ridgewater Community College earned first round wins at the NJCAA Division III National Tournament.
The Lady Spartans took advantage of week post defense by Montgomery College of Takomah Park, Maryland, as Jessica Draper, Amy Schoeck and Alayna Follingstad combined for 49 points on 19 of 30 shooting and pulled down a total of 27 rebounds between them. FFCC shot 54.7% and held the highest scoring team in the tournament to 34.8% from the floor and 66 points.
Weak post defense must be common out here because Ridgewater did the same thing with their two main post players each scoring 19 points and combining for 26 boards. It didn't take coaches Ann Williams and Carrie Ogdahl long to recognize the mismatch that existed inside and both teams milked it for all they could. After watching the first round games, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see an all-Minnesota final on Saturday night.
Andy Kolle of the Fergus Falls Boxing Club, won his first two bouts at the USA National Boxing Championships and is fighting in the quarterfinals today. The tournament is being held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Girls 15 and under hockey team is competing in their state tournament this weekend in South St. Paul. They play the host team at eight o'clock on Friday night in the opening round of the tournament. We'll keep you posted on their progress as we receive information.
I'm doing my updating from Corning Community College in New York, thanks to Woody Knowles in the athletic department. They've really done a great job in running the tourney and we appreciate his help. Stacy Johnson in in her fifth year of coordinating this event and she's got it down pat! A great banquet on Wednesday night, too. Blew the pre-tournament banquets for the Men's tournaments away! More later. Go Spartans!
Monday, March 12th, 2001
This is my final piece of work before boarding the bus and heading to Corning, New York with the Lady Spartans for the NJCAA Division III National Tournament. Just a few notes for you.
Great Tournament for Ryan Miller of the Otter hockey team! All-Tournament team selection ... duh ... 7 goals, 2 assists. Way to go Ryan! Congratulations Otters on a good showing in St. Paul.
Watch Eden Valley-Watkins in the Girls Class A State Basketball Tournament. This is a great basketball team. The U of M is interested in their point guard, Mandy Pearson. If you see them play, you'll know why! Look for them to match up with Fosston for the title.
Pelican Rapids gets to open the state tournament in familiar surrounding, Concordia College in Moorhead. Home court advantage against St. Michael-Albertville. The Vikings will get it done with their defense and depth. Good luck to Doug Bruggeman's crew.
For the first time ever, the Section 8AA girls basketball coaches have selected an all-section team. Megan Ronhovde from West Central Area, Kerby Johnson of Wadena-Deer Creek, Frances Rise of Perham, Rachel Longfors from Pelican Rapids and three Breckenridge girls, Steph Mayclin, Natalie Vagts and Justine Richels made the team.
The Redhawks will be playing another exhibition game in Fergus Falls this spring. May 20th at 4:05 p.m. at Legion Field at DeLagoon Park. There was a great crowd for last year's game and I'm sure this year won't be any different.
Track and Softball practices started today at area high schools!! Don't worry about the new fallen snow, it's spring season!
I'll try to keep things as up to date as possible from New York! Good Luck Lady Spartans! You can catch the games on Oldies 1020 KJJK AM. The first game is Thursday at two p.m. central time.
|Tuesday, March 6, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 3/05/01 - 3/11/01|
|Friday, March 9th, 2001|
West Central Area athletes are in the sports news this week, the Spartan baseball team is heading west and the Lady Spartans are heading east, and the Otter hockey team will be honored on Sunday at FFHS.
Adam Koplin, a senior at West Central Area High School, has been selected to play in the Minnesota High School All-Star Football game on June 30th at Macalester College in St. Paul. Koplin, a 6'3", 230 pound defensive lineman will play for the Outstate squad. He is the second Knight ever chosen to play in the game. His older brother, Dallas Koplin played on the Outstate team last summer.
Adam is also one of three Knights to decide on their post high school educations. He and quarterback David Drexler recently accepted scholarships to play football at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, while teammate Josh Leegaard signed a tender to play for the University of Minnesota-Moorhead. All three were two-year starters for coach Mike Frisch. Koplin as an offensive/defensive lineman, Drexler as a quarterback/safety and Leegaard as a receiver/cornerback. The three helped the Knights to a 20-4 record the past two seasons, including a state runner-up finish in 1999.
Kent Bothwell, coach of the Fergus Falls Community College baseball team, has his team set to go on a west coast trip that will see them fly into Los Angeles International Airport on Monday and spend a week practicing and playing baseball games against various California opponents.
The Spartans will practice at Garden Grove Community College on Monday, play at Antelope Valley College on Tuesday, have an exhibition against a semi-pro team, the Long Beach Breakers on Thursday and battle Golden West Community College on Friday.
The trip will also feature some classroom type discussions and lectures from well known baseball coaches in the area, dealing with topics which include mental preparation and focus on the baseball field.
Bothwell played high school ball and also coached in the Southern California area.
The Spartans have five sophomores returning and a lot of newcomers on this year's roster.
While Bothwell has his baseball team on the west coast, Ann Williams and her Lady Spartans basketball team will heading east to particpate in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament in Corning, New York. The Lady Spartans will open play at two o'clock central time on Thursday, March 15th against Montgomery College of Takoma Park, Maryland. FFCC received the number four seed in the tournament. Their bus will leave Fergus Falls on Monday afternoon.
A fan bus for parents and boosters will be leaving Fergus Falls late Tuesday or early Wednesday, providing there is enough interest. It's looking good and you may still be able to get on the bus if you'd like. Give me a call at 1-500-730-4064 or e-mail me at [email protected] for more information.
Plan to attend the welcome home celebration for the Otter boys hockey team on Sunday afternoon at two o'clock at the Fergus Falls High School gym. All Otter fans are welcome!
After their impressive display on Wednesday night in the quarterfinals, I don't see any reason the Otters can't compete for the title. They'll need a solid effort today against a good Benilde-St. Margaret's team, but after watching most of the first round, I think the Otters can play with any of the teams in the Class A tourney. The great thing about winning in the opening round is the fact that you get to experience the entire tournament and lace up the skates three times at the Xcel Energy Center. Those teams that lost Wednesday and then lost again yesterday are already back home, or spectators. GO OTTERS!
The Otter basketball team ended the season on a frustrating note, losing by 20 points at home to the Alexandria Cardinals. Tip your hat to the Cards, though. They came into the Otters gym and took it right to 'em. An aggressive, physical game plan helped them establish a big lead early and they never trailed in the contest.
This is the first Otter team to finish under .500 since the 1982-83 team. By the way, the next year, the Otters qualifed for their first of three state tournament appearances under Bob Bjorklund.
This year's team played some excellent defensive basketball. They also beat some very good teams like Staples-Motley (in their house), Moorhead and Bemidji, and played some very good teams to close games on the road, ROCORI and Litchfield to name a couple.
When you lose over 98% of your scoring and rebounding from the previous year, that means you're working with inexperienced varsity players. I really think the Otters came a long way this season and will be very tough in the 2001-2002 season.
Look for Little Falls to win the Section 8AAA title.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2001
Ridgewater joins the Lady Spartans as NJCAA Division III National Tournament qualifiers from Region 13. The MCCC state champion Warriors won the Region 13A title in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday.
Carrie Ogdahl's team won the Southern Division Title in the MCCC and shared the MCCC coach of the year honors with Ann Williams. This is the first time that two Minnesota teams have competed in the same national tournament. Minnesota teams have had success in Corning, New York with Rainy River,Anoka-Ramsey and Central Lakes all winning national titles.
The parents of the Lady Spartans are attempting to arrange bus transportation to the National Tournament. Contact Ron Draper at 320-324-7321 or Mike Martin at 218-483-3555 for more information. If you wish, you can e-mail me at [email protected] or call 1-500-730-4064 and I'll be happy to forward information.
The Otter hockey team's 15 consecutive section tournament wins is the longest streak of any team in the state. Their first round game in the Class A state tournament begins at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday. Brad Bergstrom hasn't gone through a season as Otter hockey coach without qualifying for the state tournament.
The Fergus Falls boys basketball team will host Alexandria on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Section 8AAA quarterfinals. Should they win that game they would advance to the semifinals on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at St. Cloud Apollo. Their opponent would be either top-seeded Little Falls or number 8 Sauk Rapids. A Sauk Rapids victory is highly unlikely. Even though Little Falls lost to Willmar last week by fifteen points, don't look for them to be upset Thursday.
The Otters Nik Pickett will play on Thursday night, despite his broken nose. Pickett will also play without the protection of a face mask. Coach Gary Schuler said that if Nik gets hit again he'll probably be done, but the face mask is very awkward and it's difficult to play up to your normal ability when you're wearing it.