|Monday, April 30, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 04/30/01 - 05/06/01|
|Friday, May 4th, 2001|
The Spartan baseball team can clinch the Northern Division title with one win in their doubleheader at Ely on Saturday against Vermilion Community College.
That scenario was setup by a doubleheader sweep today by FFCC against Mesabi Community College in Virginia. The Spartans won 9-2 and 14-0 running their winning streak to twelve consecutive games and improving their overall record to 16-1. FFCC will participate in the Region XIII Tournament at Willmar Friday, May 11th through Sunday, May 13th.
Steve Bradsteen's hard-luck Ottertail Central baseball team lost their fourth straight game today, falling to Bertha-Hewitt 5-4. They have lost those four games by a total of five runs. In each game, OTC lost a lead late in the game.
Thirteen boys and girls track and field teams competed at the Hank Emmel Track Invitational in Pelican Rapids on Thursday. Outstanding athlete Rachel Longfors of the Vikings established a new meet record in the Discus with a throw of 140 feet. Two other meet records were tied. Perham's Gabriel Anderson tied the record in the 800 meter run (2:23.25) and two Agassiz Valley pole vaulters, Karla Solum and Kelly Anderson went 9'6" to tie the meet record in that event.
Anderson was named the top distance runner in the meet and Longfors was the top field performer. Alicia Mindermann of D-G-F was voted the top sprinter/top hurdler in the meet.
The boys top distance runner was Adam Asfeld of Wadena-Deer Creek. Top sprinter/hurdler was Ben Aakre of Hawley-Ulen-Hitterdal and the top field event performer was Brady Baxter, also of Hawley-Ulen-Hitterdal.
Thursday, May 3rd, 2001
Family and friends of Roman Gail, hundreds of them, gathered on Thursday afternoon at Augustana Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, to pay their respects.
Roman left us too early in life, just 68 years old. He was a man who was full of life ... and who loved to relate to people. He loved to tell stories ... and he had a million of 'em! Some of them were shared during his funeral service by friends Roland Harlow, Daryl Mathew and John Klinnert. His son, Bryan Gail, spoke for the family and acknowledged their appreciation for so many friends attending the service. When I heard that Roman had passed away on Saturday, I knew there would be a huge turnout for the funeral. He was very well known and extremely well liked. Always fun to talk to, and never at a loss for sharing his opinion! His grandson, Ben Shaw shared a moving rendition of Bread's hit song, Everything I Own, a tribute to a man who obviously had a tremendous impact on this young man. It had to be difficult for Ben, and he did a wonderful job.
The thing I'll remember most about Roman Gail, was the joy he received from doing a job that most of us wouldn't do for all the tea in China, as an old saying goes, refereeing and umpiring. He loved it ... every minute of it. After Roman hung up the whistle, I believe it was 1993, I saw him at many sporting events. Every conversation I had with him turned to how much he missed reffing, and how many great memories he had through the years, and how he only wished he had started earlier and could still be doing it. Well, he did come back and do more reffing and umpiring, even working a couple of American Legion District Tournament games last year. Ask coaches around the region about Roman and they'll tell you that he was one of the best officials they ever had work a game. He was that way because he brought a great, positive attitude to the game he was involved in. He loved to visit with the kids, keep it light and clean, and just enjoy the thrill of competition and the challenge of doing a difficult job the right way.
His biggest thrills? Working the 1975 Minnesota Boy's State Basketball Championship between Little Falls and Chisholm. He also officiated the first Minnesota Girl's State Basketball Tournament in 1976 and owns the distinction of having called the first technical foul in that tourney. He also worked state football and baseball playoffs. One of his most treasured possessions was a letter, which he framed, from Janet Karvonen, New York Mills standout basketball player, complimenting him on the way he officiates games. To Roman, the game has always been for the kids, and he too, was always for the kids. Thanks Roman. We're going to miss you.
Monday, April 30th, 2001
A couple of aces were recorded at area golf courses over the weekend. Perham Lakeside Country Club and Pebble Lake Golf Course each had their first holes-in-one of the season.
Fourteen year old Treston Wold of Fergus Falls recorded the hole-in-one at Pebble Lake Golf Course, using a seven-iron on the Par 3, 142 yard second hole.
Don Evenson fired the ace at Perham Lakeside Country Club, using a nine-iron on the Par 3, 154 yard 20th hole (#2 on the new nine).
Former Spartan pitcher Darin Gronwold is having a good spring for NDSU. Gronwold is 2-1 so far this season, suffering a tough 4-1 loss to Augustana over the weekend. He allowed just three hits in the contest and 2 Bison errors led to a 4-run third inning for Augustana.
Jake Sternhagen, who starred for West Central Area High School in their prep bowl appearance two years ago, had a good day at the MSU-Moorhead annual spring football game. Sternhagen carried the ball five times for fifty yards and scored on a 35-yard run. The varsity beat the Alumni 54-29.
The Twins continue to impress. Brad Radke is the first Twins starter to begin a season 5-0, after beating the Yanks 2-1 on Monday night. The team's 18 April wins are five more than they have ever had in the month of April and they are 11-2 at home. Attendance is over a quarter of a million fans at the dome already. On Monday they had their sixth crowd over 20,000 so far this season. It took them until July 16th to have than many 20,000 plus crowds a year ago. If you're a Twins fan and would like to go to Wrigley Field to see them play the Cubs June 15-17, e-mail me at [email protected] and let me know you're interested. If there's enough interest we'll get a bus together. Probably in the range of $250 to $350 per person.
|Monday, April 23, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 4/23/01 - 4/29/01|
|April 25th, 2001|
The snowfall earlier this week prevented the Fergus Falls Youth Soccer Association from kicking off their spring season on Monday. Instead they'll begin on Monday, April 30th.
As a result of the one week postponement, a planned fundraiser didn't get the publicity and exposure it would have had the kids been able to take home and distribute a flyer that was to have been handed out at the first practices. The fundraiser is in cooperation with Domino's Pizza of Fergus Falls. On Thursday, April 26th, when you call Domino's and order the Fergus Falls Youth Soccer Association Special, Domino's will donate two dollars to the Association. Help them out and enjoy a good pizza for a great cause!
Three members of the Fergus Falls Tae Kwon Do club have qualifed for the National Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. Michelle Burris will compete in the Female Red Belt Division, Rod Kittelson in the Adult Male Black Belt Division and Alyssa Marlenee will be competing in the Adult Female Black Belt Division. Marlenne is also going to participate with Team USA in the Good Will Games. The Good Will Games take place in Japan during the month of July.
April 23rd, 2001
This is a great story from Mary Dolan concerning a young girl from our area and a very special birthday.
What can you get for a girl that's about to celebrate her ninth birthday? How about tickets to the Women's World Hockey Tournament? That was the plan for Cristina Masten. Cristina, a hockey fanatic from Fergus Falls, celebrated her birthday on April 6th, with plans to attend the Semi-Finals in Women's World hockey action on April 7th...featuring team USA.
On April 6th, Cristina's special day tourned sour. With an eventual trip to the Dr., it was confirmed she had strep throat. As they left the Dr.'s office, it began to rain, and Cristina lamented, "This is my worst birthday, ever!" As they called the friend that was supposed to accompany them, they found she, too was ill, and the day grew worse.
Since Sunday brought sunshine and a newly turned 9 year old that was feeling much better, Cristina's Dad, Mark, said let's drive to Mariucci and see the finals, which, still featured Team USA. So they did. As they entered the arena, they paused for mini donuts. As they waited for their order, a VISA card representative approached them and asked Cristina to take part in a contest on the ice during the first intermission. Her birthday weekend began to look brighter!
She was one of two children selected. Both children had the choice of shooting a puck in the goal crease or in oneo f the two face off circles on the opposite end of the rink. Each was given three tries with an adult size stick.
Cristina's first shot fell short of the goal crease by about ten feet or so. Her second shot, fell well short of the goal as the crowd gave a huge "ahhh!" Her final shot, she chose to go for the face off circle. As soon as she took her shot, the crowd sensed this was going to be close and began to cheer. As the puck hit the circlt the crowd went wild! Each child was awarded an autographed hockey stick of the USA women's hockey team and a USA cap.
As Cristina and her Dad worked their way back to their seats, the fans cheered her on, and she turned to her Dad and said, "This is the best birthday I've ever had!"
|Thursday, April 19, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 04/16 - 04/22|
|Friday, April 20th, 2001|
Ashley Samuelson, a sensational eighth-grade basketball player for the Underwood Rockets, has been selected to play on the Minnesota Select varsity girls basketball team.
Ashley tried out for the team in the cities in March and was notified on Wednesday that she had been chosen to play on the team.
She will play in the Twin Cities June 16th and 17th (we'll try to get info on location and starting times), in a tournament at Notre Dame July sixth through the eighth, at the Great Lakes Shootout in Menominee, Wisconsin July 11th-15th and at the BCI National Tourney in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 27th-29th.
What an opportunity and what a thrill for her! She's a fun player to watch and already possesses a high level of basketball skills. It's exciting to think how good she could become with some hard work and experience against top level competition. Congratulations Ashley!
The Central Minnesota Americans Triple A hockey team is playing in a tournament this weekend in the Twin Cities. The annual "Meltdown Tournament" is being played at the Bloomington Ice Gardens today through Sunday. Next week the team travels to Sarnia, Ontario for the Bluewater Sharks Tournament.
The team, coached by Dave Boitz of Alexandria, and assisted by Steve Nestor of Glenwood/Fergus Falls, played in the 2001 Can/Am Challenge Cup Tournament in Montreal, Quebec earlier this month and won the championship. They swept the four game round robin portion of the tournament and beat the Calgary, Alberta Royals in the title game 7-1. They allowed only 4 goals in the five games they played.
Fergus Falls players on the team include Jake Axell, Jack Underwood, Trevor Brennan, Clay Nestor and Chris Orcutt. The Americans are comprised of 15-16 year old players from Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Wadena, Luverne, Glenwood and East Grand Forks. The team is sponsored by KMGK-FM "Magic 107" of Glenwood and received additional support from Area VFW's, American Business Forms of Glenwood and the Minnesota Wild.
Thursday, April 19th, 2001
If you get a chance be sure to take in part of the Wild Oats Open Track and Field Meet on Thursday afternoon. It starts at 4:15 p.m. at the Fergus Falls track, which circles the football field.
It's one of only two home meets for the Otter track and field teams, the other one being the Otter Invitational which comes up on May 15th.
The Wild Oats is named after Oats LeGrand, broadcasting legend and a former coach and teacher in District 544. For many years Oats was on the microphone doing the announcing of the results, but he hasn't done it for a couple of years. Perhaps he'll be back for this years event.
This is a good opportunity for some of the smaller area schools to compete at an early outdoor event. Ottertail Central, Ashby/Brandon-Evansville, Breckenridge and West Central Area are all scheduled to be here and Perham was originally scheduled to participate but when the meet was postponed on Tuesday that caused some problems for the Yellowjackets and they won't be here. They have a huge 17 team Invitational of their own on Friday and back to back meets isn't a good idea.
Don't expect any records at this point of the season, but it's a good meet for coaches to see what type of talent they have and how far they have progressed to this point. With the cold, wet spring, the progress is most likely behind the normal.
Tickets are now available at the Fergus Falls Stop-N-Go stores for the RedHawks exhibition game at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park on Sunday, May 20th at 4:05 p.m. The game will be against the Lincoln Saltdogs of Lincoln, Nebraska. Tickets are priced at 4:50 per person with children under age 3 being admitted free. All seats are general admission.
The RedHawks are returning to Fergus Falls after hosting the Winnipeg Goldeyes in an exhibition game last year. The success of that game prompted the RedHawks to return in 2001.
The Fergus Falls boys golf team was supposed to host their Otter Invite today, but the course isn't even open yet. The meet has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 26th. The driving range opened yesterday and the hope is that the course will open on Saturday.
The Otters will compete at the Perham Invitational on Saturday and will participate in a scrimmage at Perham Lakeside today.
Some are courses (including Perham) are already open. Birchwood in Pelican Rapids, Maple Hills and River Hills in Detroit Lakes and the Ironman in DL are open for golfers. Others opening today include Blueberry Pines in Menahga, Wildflower at Fair Hills Resort, The Meadows in Moorhead and Village Green in Moorhead.
The Twins completed their homestand 8-1 and are off to the best start in the history of the team, 11-3! I am pleased to announce that McDonald's of Fergus Falls will be sponsoring Talkin' Baseball with John Gordon on AM 1250 KBRF every Wednesday morning at 7:20 beginning next week, the 23rd. Gordo will join us from Boston that day where the Twins will be playing the Red Sox in a series at Fenway Park. Tune it in! John gives us the lowdown on the ballclub and an insiders perspective on what's happening. When he was here with the Twins Winter Caravan he told me that he's never had so many people say they listen to him on the radio! It's good info and he's a great guy!
|Monday, April 9, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 04/09/01 - 04/15/01|
|Sunday, April 15th, 2001|
Dan Harris has become the first player in Valley City State University men's basketball history to earn NAIA All-American Scholar Athlete honors for the second straight year.
Athletes recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for this honor must be a junior or senior academically with a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and must make significant contributions to their team on the court. Harris has a 3.65 GPA and is an Elementary Education major with a coaching minor.
Dan has been the Vikings starting point guard the last two years and served as a co-captain his senior season. He was voted Co-MVP by his teammates and led his team in minutes played this past season. He also averaged 10.1 points per game and 3.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Harris was the team leader in assists the past two years and finished with 215 career assists. He also wound up with 615 career points and 234 rebounds. Dan is the son of Jon and Luann Harris of Fergus Falls.
Saturday, April 14th, 2001
It's Easter weekend and mid-April. The Masters and the opening day of the Major League baseball season are both behind us. We are about a month away from spring playoffs, and many teams have not even competed yet!
It's enough to make you frustrated! Especially if you're the players and coaches. I feel for the seniors, who have experienced a delay in their final seasons because of circumstances beyond anybody's control. The weather can present a lot of problems in the spring sports season, but this one is among the worst in recent memory. Several teams have not even played a game yet. Others have only one or two events under their belts. The downside to all of this is that the majority of the events will not be made up. It's just too late in the season to come up with enough dates to play them all.
The Otter boys golf invitational was scheduled to be held at Pebble Lake Golf Course on Thursday, April 19th, but the course isn't slated to open until Saturday, April 21st. The makeup date for the Otter Invite will be Thursday, April 26th. Hopefully all the teams in the field will be able to attend on that day. Ben Jurgens team has been out gathering contributions for team golf bags and rain gear for the varsity squad. Several individuals and businesses have come through with some donations, via subscriptions to Golf Digest Magazine or some of the multi-course punch cards that are available around the state. With increasing budget reductions, all school sports teams will be affected and will need to come up with more creative fund raising ideas to supply team members with uniforms and equipment.
Some of the sports with small numbers of participants have used these methods for many years, but you can expect the majority of the teams to be involved in projects like this in the future.
Can you believe Tiger Woods?!?! The guy is incredible. Six majors at the age of 25, including two Masters, and four consecutive Major championships. To me that's a Grand Slam. Anyone who can be the defending champ in all four (U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship and the Masters) has completed a Grand Slam in my book. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Tiger silence any critics by winning the next three Majors to make it four in the same year, too. Suffice it to say that no other golfer in the history of the PGA tour has held all four major titles at the same time ... until now.
Wednesday, April 11th, 2001
Derek Jensen, a 1999 Underwood High School graduate, is hoping for an opportunity to run the football this fall for St. Cloud State University.
Derek, who transferred fron NDSU to SCSU after a redshirt freshman season, had to sit out last season to fulfill transfer requirements.
The spring football practice season is underway for the Huskies and Jensen has been impressive so far. He's hoping to play himself into the mix in the backfield. The St. Cloud Times did a nice story on Jensen in their most recent issue. You can take a look at it online at sctimes.com
Jason Retzlaff, 1996 FFHS graduate, 1998 FFCC graduate and 2000 NDSU graduate, will be serving as a graduate assistant under Tim Miles at NDSU for the next two years. Miles was just named as the new head coach for the Bison, after spending time as the head man at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota and prior to that, Mayville State University in Mayville, North Dakota. Retzlaff will be pursuing his Masters Degree in Physical Education and Athletic Administration while assisting Miles with the Bison Men's basketball program. Jason did his student teaching in Underwood, where he worked with the Rockets boys basketball program under Derrick Nelson, and is currently doing some substitute teaching in Fergus Falls and around the area. He also assisted his father, Dave Retzlaff, during the past Community College season.
More postponements on the spring schedule. The Spartan baseball team was postponed at Central Lakes and will make the games up on Monday in Brainerd.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2001
I attended my sixteenth opening day Twins game in the last 20 years last night and saw the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 11-5 behind ace Brad Radke, some timely hitting and some impressive defensive play.
It's always a special feeling on opening night (or day) at the ballpark (even at the Dome). On this night, 46,101 fans were in attendance, the largest opening day crowd since 1993. They went home happy and I'm sure, optimistic.
First off, the pregame show included a special tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Herb Carneal and the beginning of the Countdown to Cooperstown for Kirby Puckett (now 117 days till induction day, August 5th).
Secondly, Radke was effective for the second straight outing, lasting into the seventh inning before yielding to Bob Wells. Radke didn't walk a batter and allowed three runs (one an inherited baserunner who scored when Wells gave up a homer).
Thirdly, the Twins hit the ball! Homers by Doug Mientkewicz and Cristian Guzman and timely hitting including two-out RBI hits by Guzman, Denny Hocking, David Ortiz and Corey Koskie.
Finally, stellar defense. Hocking taking away a homerun on the first pitch of the game, Jacque Jones throwing out a runner at the plate, Koskie making a diving backhand stab of a liner and solid play up the middle by Guzman and Luis Rivas.
This team reminds me of the mid-80's Twins. Certainly not as much power potential, but a good bunch of athletes who play the game the way Tom Kelly likes it to be played. This is a team that Twins fans will support. I like what's happening with this organization! Plus, right now they are 4-2 and a game up on Detroit and Cleveland in the AL Central. They also have a great schedule to start the season (with the exception of six against the Yankees).
I really believe this team can challenge the Indians and White Sox in the division. With Radke and Eric Milton at the front of the rotation there's no reason for a prolonged losing skid. Mark my words, the 2001 season will be remembered as a year where the Twins regained respectability and became a serious contender once again.
|Monday, April 2, 2001|
|Craigs Corner 04/02/01 - 04/08/01|
|Saturday, April 7th, 2001|
The Twins are off to a hot start, winning their first three games of the season, all on the road! Brad Radke and Joe Mays had great starts and there has even been a little power on display.
David Ortiz, Denny Hocking, Cory Koskie, Jacque Jones and Christian Guzman are all off to good starts at the plate.
They've won some different types of games,too. Holding off a late Tigers rally to take the opener 3-2, scoring a 9th inning run to force extra innings in game two, and then coming up with a five run tenth to win it 9-5, and then jumping out early against the Royals on Friday on the way to an impressive 6-2 win. Mark Redman has his first start today at Kansas City. Radke is going to pitch the home opener Monday against Detroit.
Remember you can find the Twins on Oldies 1020, KJJK AM. 1:05 p.m. today and tomorrow and 7:05 p.m. Monday.
www.craigolsonsports.com is under water! We woke up to six inches of water in our basement (where my office is located), and are in the process of trying to dry things out (including my computer!). Thanks to Integrity Computer Systems (our Athlete of the Week Sponsor), I was able to update this column and clean up some schedule items that have been affected by the rain. Hopefully we'll be back to normal soon.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2001
Good News on the Twins front. Lakes Radio has a one year contract to be on the Minnesota Twins Network and will carry the 2001 season games on Oldies 1020, KJJK AM.
The first broadcast will take place on Friday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. (12:35 p.m. pregame show), when the Twins play the Royals in Kansas City. It will be the third game of the season for Minnesota. All three games in KC will start at the same time. The Twins home opener is Monday at 7:05 p.m. at the Metrodome against Detroit. The pregame show will begin at 6:35 that night.
I am extremely happy about this! As many of you know, I am a lifetime Twins fan and it just made me sick to not have them on Lakes Radio last summer. It marked the first time in forty years that area fans had to search for another station to listen to their favorite team. Now, I can say that my radio will be tuned to 1020 AM for the rest of the summer!! I am very happy for all Twins fans in our area, especially those loyal 250+ who attended the Twins Caravan in January. Now, if we can just find a sponsor for the John Gordon Show!
Gordo was amazed at how many people commented on our weekly five minute Monday morning show on AM 1250 KBRF. It's a fun show and John calls us live from wherever the Twins might be that particular day. It's great to have a program that gives such good insight to the team from a guy who covers them on a daily basis! Hopefully we'll find a sponsor for the show soon.
Otter baseball coach Phil Link was very excited about the experiences his team shared, on and off the field, on their trip to Chicago last weekend. Along with playing a couple of baseball games the players learned much about the cultural differences between rural Minnesota and the inner city of Chicago.
In response to a couple of calls regarding the funding of the trip, rest assured that no District 544 money was spent. Only private donations were used. Individuals, businesses and the Dugout Club raised the funds to send the Otters to Illinois. Thanks to their generosity this group of kids gained some valuable knowledge and it shows once again how athletics is an extension of the classroom. The only people who don't believe this are the ones who have never had any exposure to sports or other extra-curricular activities.
You can check the Fergus Falls stories for the scoop on the games.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2001
Many events on the area spring athletic calendars are being postponed daily, but on Tuesday in Brandon, the Chargers hosted Wadena-Deer Creek in a girls softball game.
Senior Julie Jesnowski was the winning pitcher, hurling four innings of 4 hit ball, striking out two and walking six. Junior Lauren Bah finished the game, going three innings, allowing 3 hits, recording two strikeouts and not walking a batter. Brandon-Evansville scored five first inning runs in their 11-4 win. Bah had two hits and scored three times, Marlena Shea had a pair of hits and knocked in two runs, and Kelsey Larson delivered a pair of hits, including a double.
The Fergus Falls Senior High track team, speech team and orchestra will be holding a benefit for William Aaron Smith. Aaron is a senior at FFHS who has participated in track, speech and orchestra during his high school years. He is also an Eagle Scout. The benefit will be at VFW Post 612 on Monday, April 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Chamber Orchestra will be playing during the meal.
Aaron was diagnosed in November with Cancer (osteosarcoma) in his spine. Everyone is welcome to attend this benefit and help Aaron and his family defray their medical expenses.
Monday, April 2nd, 2001
Last Thursday night Fergus Falls Activities Director Don Kostelecky received the State Class AA Athletic Director of the Year Award. On Tuesday, April 3rd you can honor Don with your presence at an open house from four to six p.m. at the Fergus Falls Senior High Media Center.
The event is being sponsored by the Fergus Falls Otter Coaches Association.
Don has been at FFHS since 1979, serving as Athletic Director and Community Education Director from 79-85, and as Athletic Director, Activities Director and Director of Co-Curricular Activities and Transportation Director for the Fergus Falls School District.
Show your appreciation for what Don has done in Fergus Falls by attending the open house on Tuesday. Congratulations Don!
Looks like the coaching duo of Scott Bjerke and Steve Bradsteen will be back for another American Legion baseball season. Bjerke, who resigned the head coaching position at the end of last season, had second thoughts and has decided he's not ready for a summer without baseball! Bjerke informed Post 30 that he will be back in the dugout and it sounds like Bradsteen will once again join him.