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Monday, January 28, 2002
Craigs Corner 1/28/02 - 2/03/02
Friday, February 1st, 2002

Three-time Minnesota High School state champion, Jacob Volkmann from Otter Tail Central, continues to impress with the nation's best collegiate wrestling team.

The former Bulldog is currently ranked fifth in the nation at 174 pounds. Last year he was an All-American after placing fourth in the nation at 174 pounds.

The Gophers won the national wrestling championship and had 10 All-Americans on their squad.

On Friday night, the Gophers will face Iowa at Target Center. According to OTC head coach Kevin Anderson, this match may set the all-time attendance record for a dual meet between two teams in the history of collegiate wrestling.

It's exciting to see a wrestler from our area competing at such a high level and earning national recognition for his accomplishments.


Wednesday, January 30th, 2002

Wayne Horgen's Otter girls hockey team received the number five seed in the Section 3A playoffs. That means no home game, but they do get a first round bye.

The Otters fall in behind top-seeded Hibbing, number two Warroad, third-seeded Detroit Lakes and number four Park Rapids. Those first five teams are seeded directly into the quarterfinals of the Section tournament and will play their first postseason games on Friday, February 8th. The Otters will travel to Park Rapids for a seven p.m. game that night. Park Rapids is a team they beat 3-0 this past week.

The outcome of the first round games on Tuesday will determine the rest of the quarterfinal pairings. On Tuesday, Wadena-Deer Creek (9) plays at Roseau (8) with the winner facing Hibbing on Friday; International Falls (7) hosts East Grand Forks (10) with the winner meeting Warroad; Greenway (11) plays at Thief River Falls (6) for the right to move on and play at Detroit Lakes.

The semifinals are set for Monday, February 11th at Bemidji State University. If the Otters beat Park Rapids they will play the five o'clock game that day.

Fergus Falls native and long time girls gymastics coach, Charlie Fleck, is having a great time with his first year program in Perham. His team is comprised of one ninth-grader, one eighth-grader and the rest of the roster is made up of seventh-graders. They are having an incredible year and the former Fargo South Bruins mentor has the makings of a high school gymnastics dynasty at Perham. Check out our in depth story by clicking on the headline above.

Monday, January 28th, 2002

Marshall Faulk is amazing. What a workhorse. He made the difference for the St. Louis Rams in their tough NFC Championship win over Philadelphia. The two games were what you would hope they would be.

St. Louis was an 11 or 12 point favorite but the Eagles pushed them to the wire. Donovan McNabb has sure come a long way as a quarterback in the NFL, and the Eagles did a fine job covering the Rams receivers. Kurt Warner was definitely not at 100%, but St. Louis made no secret about the fact that they were going to run Faulk and then run him some more. They turned the game around by dominating time of possession in the third quarter.

New England's win in Pittsburgh was also impressive. Tom Brady went out with an injury and the man he deposed as quarterback, Drew Bledsoe came on and led the Pats to victory. That New England defense has been getting better and better, and it was obvious that Jerome Bettis was hurting which is too bad for the Steelers. Kordell Stewart just isn't a big game QB in my opinion. He missed a lot of targets throughout the game.

I'm sure St. Louis will be about 10 point favorites in Super Bowl XXXVI, but don't sell the Patriots short. Some teams are teams of destiny and I'm not too certain the Pats aren't in that category. The big question is this: Who's your starting quarterback?

Gustavus-Adolphus defeated St. Mary's on Saturday, 59-31, to go to 16-2 on the season and remain atop the MIAC with St. Thomas. Gustavus is currently ranked 7th in the nation in Division III Men's Basketball. Former Otter David Newell, starting at the post position, is averaging 9 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game. Newell is leading the MIAC in free throw percentage and is in the top 8 in the league in overall shooting percentage. Gustavus leads the league in scoring margin, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounding margin and assists per game. Gustavus plays St. Johns on Monday and St. Thomas at home on Wednesday in two key league matchups.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, January 21, 2002
Craigs Corner 01/21/02-01/27/02
Friday, January 25th, 2002

The Annual Elks sponsored Hoop Shoot will take place on Saturday. Fergus Falls Elks Lodge #1093 invites all area kids, ages 8 through 13 to participate.

Registration begins at one o'clock Saturday afternoon at the Fergus Falls High School Gymnasium. Trophies will be awarded to first and second place finishers in each age group. The winner of each age division qualifies to advance to Wadena on Saturday, February 9th to compete at the District level.

The Fergus Falls U-17 boys indoor soccer team brought home a sportsmanship award from the National Tournament in Philadelphia. The local team lost their three games but had a tremendous experience both on the field and off. Four of the players were actually approached by college coaches who showed some interest in following their progress.

Underwood sophomore post player Liz Glesne will most likely have surgery in February on her right knee. Glesne was injured last week against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, tearing both her ACL and MCL. The injury has sidelined her for the rest of the basketball season and her goal is to be ready to play in the Rockets first volleyball game next fall against Fergus Falls. Liz is going to need plenty of support from her teammates and Underwood fans, as this is an injury that will require a long, committed rehab process. I think she has the desire and love for athletics to make it happen! This is the same injury that former Underwood star athlete, Jenny Gronner, suffered during her first year at NDSU. Gronner made a total recovery and contributed greatly to the Lady Bison this past fall.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002

Justin Arneson is back in Fergus Falls and he will be in a Spartan basketball uniform for the rest of the season.

Arneson enrolled at FFCC after withdrawing from Toledo following a week of attending classes. The NJCAA office cleared him to join the Spartan basketball team and he is ready to contribute.

Arne had received a full-ride football scholarship to Division I Toledo last month and had spent a week going to school there. That week was enough to show him that he didn't want to be there, football or no football. He had his reasons for leaving and Toledo's loss is FFCC's gain. Arne will fill a void for the Spartan basketball team. His quickness and "instant offense" have proven to be irreplaceable. He'll make an immediate impact. He'll also be playing baseball this spring for Kent Bothwell's team. His range in centerfield and his offensive numbers will be among the best in the Region. He was an all-region player last year as a freshman.

Receiving a Division I football scholarship is a great honor. Some will say that Justin didn't give it a fair shot ... that a week isn't long enough to make a decision of that magnitude ... only he can be the judge of that. He's the one who lost something in making the decision and it's one that he is comfortable with. The question now becomes, what will Arne decide to do after he has exhausted his community college eligibility? Many people have said through the years that baseball is his best future option. Will he explore that option with more intensity around this area (NDSU, UND, ST. Cloud State, Mankato State, U of M?) or will he continue to consider some regional Division II football scholarship offers? Again, that's a question for Arne to answer. For right now, just enjoy watching him play ball in Spartan Blue and Gold.

Monday, January 21st, 2002

Former Otter girls basketball coach Denny Hanson is still going strong in Fountain Hills, Arizona! On Saturday night, Denny coached in his 500th game as a varsity girls basketball coach.

Since retiring from teaching and coaching in Fergus Falls, Denny and his wife, Gail have lived in Arizona. It didn't take long for Coach Hanson to investigate coaching opportunities in the area and he volunteered as a varsity assistant in Fountain Hills. Well, this year, he was hired as the head coach, and he is having the time of his life. Some people are just born to teach and/or coach. Denny is one of those people. He has had a tremendous impact on a lot of high school students throughout the years, as a coach, a teacher and a counselor. I e-mailed Coach Hanson and asked him if he would share some thoughts about reaching this milestone.

"In Fergus I coached 450 games. And you know as I think back on it, I would do it all over again. Having the wonderful relationships with the players, fellow coaches, the media, and the fans of Fergus Falls, made the entire 21 years as a head coach one of the greatest times of my life. What is so meaningful is when I receive messages from former players. They all had a profound impact on me as a person and because of that I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have coached them. Now I have been given the chance to do it again. It is like a dream come true. Regardless of where one finds himself, the players respond to the same thing. Treat them with respect and show them you care about them as people and they will try to climb mountains for you. We don't always make it to the top but it is the trying that counts. I will always keep trying."

I'm thrilled to see him still involved in coaching!! Congratulations Coach Hanson!!!

Current Otter boys coach, Gary Schuler, is one win away from his 500th career coaching victory. That milestone could be reached as early as Tuesday night when Minnewaska Area comes to town. The Lakers are 9-3 this year and beat the Otters a year ago 48-40. Last year it was a senior, Alan Hoeper, who singlehandedly beat the Otters, scoring all 17 of their first half points and finishing with 23 for the night. This year, the Lakers have five seniors in the starting lineup and have a much more balanced attack. The Otters have been playing some good basketball of late, having put together three straight wins. I know the members of this team are excited to be a part of the team that will hand Coach Schuler his 500th win, and I know they would love to do it at home. Hope to see you there!!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, January 14, 2002
Craigs Corner 1/14/02-1/20/02
Friday, January 18th, 2002
There was a great turnout at FFCC last night for the Hillcrest boys basketball game against Park Christian. The young Falcons gave the Comets a battle but the top-ranked team in Minnesota Class A basketball met the challenge in convincing fashion.

You can find the particulars on last nights game elsewhere within this site, but I want to touch on a couple of things, not necessarily to do with what happened in the game.

First of all, the crowd!! It was huge!! It was fantastic!! They were into the game!! That had to be a great crowd to play in front of for players on both teams! Playing their home games at FFCC over the last few years was a great move for Hillcrest. Think of the number of fans at last nights game (800?) and then think of the number of fans that would have missed out if it had been played at Hillcrest!

The two teams gathering at center court for a pregame prayer was a great moment. A hush fell over the large crowd as players and coaches came together in common faith as they prepared to compete in a game they love to play, with skills gifted to them by their Creator.

The first half was fun! The young, possibly intimidated Falcons, fell behind 8-0, but rallied to take a 19-16 lead after one. They trailed by just two at the break with 9th grader Grant Gunhus and 5'4" 8th grader sharpshooter Billy Hall leading the way. In the second half, Hillcrest's strength, depth and athleticsm took its toll on Park Christian. The Comets just keep coming at you with player after player after player off the bench, and they were all making contributions last night.

I wonder how the Rogness family enjoyed the night? First, Donavan coached the Hillcrest 'C' squad ... and lost, then Darren coached the Park Christian 'B' squad ... and lost, and both took their spots on the varsity benches as assistant coaches during the varsity contest. Darren is Randy Schauer's right hand man at Park Christian, and Donnie is the raw, green, "this is killing me to not be playing," first year coach at Hillcrest.

Former Fergus Falls High School coach, Bob Bjorklund was at the game last night. Bob is currently coaching the Bethel Royals in the M-I-A-C and he's spending some time watching potential recruits. I know that Nick and Luke Hansen are considering Bethel, Northwestern and FFCC as strong possibilities. Donavan isn't playing this year, but I've heard that he is possibly thinking of transferring to Bethel (his mom's alma mater - I found out last night), and perhaps playing some basketball (he could probably play some football too)! There are several other athletes at Hillcrest who are being courted for one sport or the other by the schools I have mentioned already, and others.

It was good to see Bob, who by the way, will be a Grandpa this summer. Daughter Alisa and her husband, Dave, are expecting. Bob and Carol's son Tyson, is now a senior for 9th ranked Mounds View high school. He's a starting guard and deadly three-point shooter. Hard to believe he's already a senior. Time flies!!

Well, it was a great night at FFCC! If you were there, you know what I'm talking about!! If you weren't ... sorry you missed it!!! Get to a game soon, okay?!?!?

Monday, January 14th, 2002
There's always a lot of optimism after a Twins Winter Caravan stop! Twins fans who listened to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and the three Twins players who accompanied him to Fergus Falls Monday, came away fired up for the 2002 season.

The overwhelming feeling among those I talked to, which included men, women, boys and girls in attendance at Fergus Music or Mill Street Residence, where the Twins visited during their brief stop, all agree on one thing ... let's just play ball! I got the impression that the fans were sick of hearing about the stadium issue, sick of hearing about the ownership issue, sick of the commissioner, and just ready to cheer their team on in the new season. Even the players, when asked if they thought it was important to get a new stadium, responded that they just thought it was important that they got a chance to play ball. Of course, owners, management and baseball in general, look more at their needs over the long haul, while players are, as you might expect, more concerned about the short term. Most players only stay in the majors for a few years and with the same team for a shorter period of time than that. Just pull out a Twins roster from five years ago and see how many players are still with them.

There's no question the fans will warm to Ron Gardenhire. It didn't take long for that to happen on Monday. He is personable, congenial, funny, and doesn't look at the media as an enemy. He will be a good promoter of the Twins and the game of baseball. This should be a very beneficial Twins Caravan Tour. Spring training begins on February 17th when pitchers and catchers report. Let's Play Ball!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, January 7, 2002
Craigs Corner 01/07/02 - 01/13/02
Sunday, January 13th, 2002
Stop the presses! Kirby Puckett will not be in Fergus Falls on Monday. Considering the news of recent days, it's no surprise. Instead, we'll see the new manager of the Twins, Ron Gardenhire.

Kirby was to have been with the Twins Winter Caravan stop in Fergus Falls on Monday and then in Fargo for an evening banquet, but he won't be making the trip. The Twins don't want to expose him to the media and they don't want what is supposed to be a positive, rah-rah type of a rally for Twins baseball to be dominated by questions to Kirby about his failing marriage and claims of his alleged marital infidelity and spousal abuse.

So, another one of our sports hero's allegedly fails to uphold a commitment. Unfortunately, these things don't surprise us anymore. In fact, I think our society expects these things to happen to people like the Puck, and Michael Jordan, and those are just two who were revealed this past week alone, as having spouses filing for divorce. I could get real preachy here, but this probably isn't the place for that. Suffice it to say that, it's unfortunate that people in the limelight or not in the limelight, fail to uphold a commitment as sacred as the marriage commitment. People break their promises to their spouses daily, seemingly without thought of long range implications, which include destruction of the family unit. Of course, the children suffer the most. It breaks my heart everytime I hear of a marriage ending like that, celebrities included. This will be an extremely painful time for all parties involved in both of the aforementioned situations.

Let's talk about Gardenhire. I haven't really addressed his hiring in too much detail since he was selected as the new manager of the Twins. I think he'll do a fine job replacing Tom Kelly. He seems to be popular with the players and has a much better rapor with the media. He also seems to be a pretty straight forward type of a guy, who will let you know what he's thinking and why. He knows the personnel on the team, since he's been on Kelly's coaching staff since 1991. He managed for three years in their minor league system prior to joining the big league club. As a player, Gardenhire played 285 major league games, all for the New York Mets, batting .232 in his career as a middle infielder.

He becomes the 12th manager in Twins history and replaces the man with the longest tenure of any Twins manager. Kelly managed fifteen full seasons and part of 1986 when he took over for Ray Miller. Kelly managed over 2,200 regular season games, winning 1,055. None of the other managers come close to those numbers. Sam Mele managed the second highest total of Twins games, 953, recording the second highest win total, 522 between 1961-1967.

How many of the managers do you remember? Here they are, in the order of their appearance on the Twins bench, with the years they served in the capacity of manager listed in parentheses. Cookie Lavagetto (1961), Mele (1961-1967), Cal Ermer (1967-1968), Billy Martin (1969), Bill Rigney (1970-1972), Frank Quilici (1972-1975), Gene Mauch (1976-1980), Johnny Goryl (1980-1981), Billy Gardner (1981-1985), Miller (1985-1986) and Kelly (1986-2001).

I look forward to meeting Gardenhire on Monday at Fergus Music, and you can meet him too. The Twins Caravan stop will be from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., however, there will be no opportunity for autographs at this stop. That's another column.


Monday, January 7th, 2002
The Spartan Men's basketball team will enter division play this weekend minus one of their top players. Freshman guard Juron Mallett is academically ineligible and his loss will leave a hole in the Spartans lineup.

Mallett, a 6'2" guard from Detroit, Michigan, is an exciting, creative offensive player and provides some spark when he's on the floor. His loss, along with that of sophomore Justin Arneson, who departs this week for the University of Toledo on a Division I football scholarship, will really have an affect on the Spartans team speed and depth at the guard position.

Former Otter guard Travis Marohl will help shore up that guard spot, though. Marohl joined the team after the holiday break and played a few minutes on Sunday against UND-Lake Region. Marohl hit a pair of three's (his specialty), and will be a welcome addition to the team. His older brother Trevor was also a Spartan.

Former Otter Janna Davis, a sophomore at NDSU, had a breakout weekend for the Bison as she scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help her team to a 79-75 win over second-ranked UND. Davis hit 6 of 12 field goal attempts and 4 of 6 foul shots. The 6'3" post player, who has started all 13 games this season, is averaging 9.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. She is the team's leading rebounder and is their third best shooter with a percentage of .494. She is also hitting over 77% of her free throw opportunities. Janna is showing now ill effects from her off season shoulder surgery.

NDSU is 3-2 in the NCC and is in a 3-way tie for second place with UND and SDSU. Minnesota State-Mankato is the conference leader at 3-1. The Bison are 10-3 overall and have now won five straight games. NDSU will play at Morningside on Friday night and at the University of South Dakota on Saturday night.
Posted By Craig Olson
Lake Region Healthcare
Cline Jensen P.A.
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