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Monday, December 30, 2002
Craigs Corner 12/30/02 - 01/05/03
Friday, January 3rd, 2003
A change in game time for Saturday's Fergus Falls boys home hockey game with Roseau. The B game is now scheduled to begin at 3:00 o'clock with the varsity face-off set for 5:00 p.m. Both games will be at the Fairgrounds Ice Arena in Fergus Falls.

Please pass the word around so people are aware of the change. The original times were one o'clock and three o'clock.

Fergus Falls senior boys basketball player Cory Wasiloski, who was ineligible for the first four games of the season, is now out indefinitely with mono. The Otters are off to a great start at 5-1, but Wasiloski would make them even better, providing some quality depth at the post. Hopefully Cory can recover quickly and start to make an impact on the court.

The Fergus Falls Elks Lodge #1093 Hoop Shoot Contest is Saturday with a one o'clock registration at the Fergus Falls Senior High School gymnasium. The Hoop Shoot is for boys and girls ages 8 through 13. Trophies will be awarded for first and second place winners in each age group. The winner of each division will advance to Wadena on Saturday, January 25th to compete at the District level. First place winners at the district level will advance to the State Hoope Shoot contest to be held at Hutchinson on Saturday, February 15th.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003
2002 is history. That's almost impossible for me to believe. My Dad always told me that the older you get the faster time goes. I guess he was right!!

As I look back on the just completed year in sports, the Minnesota Twins race for the American League pennant is certainly one of the top headlines! I am such a Twins fan, how couldn't it be at the top of my list! Under a first year coach, with a small payroll, and playing a style of ball I love, the Twins beat the awesome A's and challenged for the AL Pennant. But, there was not doubt, this was the Angels year. Since the Twins didn't win, I'm glad the Angels did. I am also excited about the prospects for 2002 at the Metrodome! The Twins have kept this team together and it will certainly be an exciting year. There is no question in my mind that they are far and away the best team in the AL Central. I can't wait for spring training to begin.

As I look back at the local accomplishments over the past calendar year, here are some that just jump out at me:

The Fergus Falls Community College baseball team won the second state title in FFCC baseball history. Coach Kent Bothwell's team went 29-12 and beat Itasca 7-1 in the state championship game.

The Otter baseball team won the Section 8AAA title and took sixth in the state. Pelican Rapids won the Section 8AA title and qualified for their first ever state baseball tournament.

The Fergus Falls boys hockey team won their sixth straight Section 4A title, and took fourth in the state.

The West Central Area girls tennis team set a record for most wins in a season, going 21-5, won their first sub-section championship and had their best section finish ever, taking second place and advancing to the state Class A meet.

Perham's boys cross country team placed fourth in the State Class A meet.

The Otter Tail Central football team was 12-1 and lost in the Class 2A semifinals to Kingsland. The Bulldogs had 23 seniors who had a 34-4 record over their 3 varsity season.

West Central Area was 9-1 in football, losing only to OTC.

Perham won their 15th straight Heart O' Lakes Conference volleyball title.

Underwood went to state in volleyball, finishing with a record of 30-3-1 with two of the losses coming at the Class A state tournament.

Individually:

Justin Arneson signs with the Minnesota Twins after a very impressive tryout camp and has a great first year with the Twins Rookie League team in Fort Myers.

Pete Campion is drafted in the seventh round by the NFL's Carolina Panthers. After being waived due to an injury, he hooked on with the St. Louis Rams practice squad. After being released by the Rams, Campion signed with the Green Bay Packers practice squads but was let go on December 23rd.

Kasey Maier, Megan Shuck and Megan Clark all qualified for the State Class A girls tennis tournment from West Central Area High School. Kim Lindblom of Fergus Falls was a state Class AA singles participant. The Fergus Falls boys tennis doubles team of Matt Johnson and Josh Mohagen also made it to state.

In track and field, Jennifer Hensel of Frazee won the Class A girls pole vault championship. Perham's Jake Januszewski was second in the 3200 meter run and Gabriele Anderson of the Yellowjacket girls finished 3rd in the 1600 meter run. She also took eighth in the girls Class A state cross country race. Other state track participants were Carrie Koplin of West Central Area in the shot put and discus, Emily Winans of Fergus Falls, who set a new school record in the 1600 meter run, Karla Solum, Catherine Moe and James Carr of Agassiz Valley, Nick Ellenson of OTC and Mike Neels and J.J. Kratzke of Perham. The OTC 200 meter relay team of Jen Glesne, Amber Peasley, Briana Lindberg and Katy Ellenson was 7th at the state meet and the Perham 4 x 100 relay team of Nicole Maasjo, Maggy Hayden, Ali Dewar and Kelcie Priebe set a new school record time.

State golf participants from the area included Taylor Cavanagh, an eighth-grader from Perham who won the Section 6A medalist honors, runner-up Lance Walvatne of Perham, Justin Speer of Battle Lake, Ashley Wilson and Erica Holsen of West Central Area and Lindsey Nettestad of Pelican Rapids.

Swimmers at state for Fergus Falls were Kyle Busack who took 4th in the 100 back, making all-state and was 13th in the 100 butterfly, Nate Pendergrass who took 11th in the 100 backstroke and 13th in the 50 freestyle, Stacy Busack, an all-state performer in the 100 freestyle where she set a new school record time and in the 50 freestyle and Joanna Keller, who took 7th in the 500 freestyle.

In wrestling, Adam Bertram of WCA recorded his 150th win during the season. Fergus Falls wrestler Mitch Gabrielson went to state as did Phillip Beaumia of West Central Area and two Perham wrestlers, Dan Flatau and J.J. Kratzke. Fergus Falls senior Bruce Rosendahl left the program holding three career records, most pins, most wins and most takedowns.

Fergus Falls boys hockey player Ryan Miller, became the all-time scoring leader for Fergus Falls boys hockey. He finished his career with 85 goals, 92 assists and 177 points.

Brad Bergstrom resigned as hockey coach to take an administrative position with the Austin School District.

Jess Holicky became the leading scorer in Fergus Falls girls basketball history and was one of several players to reach 1,000 career points during the season. Others included Megan Ronhovde of West Central Area, Tori Ehlert of Battle Lake, Karla Solum of Barnesville, Tyson Trosvik of Rothsay, Nick Hansen of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Rob Plath of Barnesville.

Megan Ronhovde signed to play basketball with Division I Iowa State.

Wynn Roberts, an eighth-grader at Battle Lake, participated in the State Nordic Ski Championships and was chosen by the Olympic Development Program to participate in the Junior World Cup.

Perham gymnasts Betsy Mann, Eve Dewar, Ashley Brasel and Kourtney Johnson all competed at State. Three of them are 7th graders!

For the second straight year an Aakre from Underwood was the recipient of the Class A Boys Triple-A award. Ben Aakre followed in his brother Jerry Aakre's footsteps.

Fergus Falls football player Kirby Carr was named the Player of the Year by the Fargo Forum.

These are just some of the memorable accomplishments of 2002. More to come in 2003! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 30th, 2002
The NFL playoff schedule is set. There doesn't seem to be a clear cut favorite in either conference this year. I will, however, make my picks! This is one tough year to predict the NFL.

In the AFC, I believe the championship game will be between the top two seeds, who both have byes this weekend. Oakland and Tennessee seem to be the best teams in the conference. I will go with the Raiders to beat the Titans in a tough battle for the AFC championship.

In the NFC, I think Tampa Bay will win the title. Beating the Bucs on their home field is nearly impossible. Had Green Bay gained home field advantage by beating the Jets on Sunday, I would have had to go with the Packers, but if the Pack has to play in Tampa, forget it.

Speaking of the Packers ... FFHS and NDSU graduate Pete Campion has been released from their practice squad for the second time. He was "terminated from the practice squad" on December 23rd.

Campion, 6-4 and 307 pounds, had been signed to the Packers' practice squad for the first time Nov. 27, after being waived from the St. Louis Rams' practice squad Nov. 1. Released Dec. 2, he had been re-signed to the Packers' practice squad Dec. 17. A three-year starter at North Dakota State, he originally had been a seventh round selection of Carolina in this year's draft and later was waived (Aug. 13) after reaching an injury settlement. He subsequently was added to the Rams' active roster Oct. 16.

Fergus Falls High School graduate Mark Tommerdahl has moved from Alabama to Texas A & M. Tommerdahl, the tight ends/special teams coach for the Crimson Tide under head coach Dennis Franchione, made the move when Franchione accepted the Aggies head coaching position. Tommerdahl and six other Alabama assistants went with Coach Franchione. Assistant coaching duties have not yet been disclosed.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Craigs Corner 12/23/02 - 12/29/02
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 24th, 2002
First of all ... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Please reflect on the True Meaning of this Christmas Season. The birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

It is this time of the year that really makes us so thankful for friends and family and the time we can spend with them. I hope you have been able to renew valued relationships and to take inventory of the countless blessings you have in your life because of the people who are a part of your life.

Enjoy a Blessed Christmas. Thank you so much for visiting my website. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the continued support of advertisers, coaches, AD's and of course each one of you who visit on a regular basis. I am in my fourth year of providing area high school athletic coverage and it has truly been a blessing!

We're back at it quickly! Holiday Tournament action is in abundance on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. Lots of action and we'll be presenting you with results and coverage all three days.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Craigs Corner 12/16/02 - 12/22/02
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18th, 2002
What a great defensive effort by Karoline Brause on Tuesday night. She consistently denied the ball to D-I recruit Megan Ronhovde and when Ronhovde did get the ball, the smothering Otter defense made sure she didn't have many options to take it to the hole.

Dave Rund's defensive game play was executed flawlessly. The Knights were pressured into 17 first half turnovers and 27 for the game. Very uncharacteristic numbers for the Lady Knights. Credit goes to the intense, nearly possessed defensive mentality the Otters brought to the West Central Area gym on Tuesday night. This was a truly superb performance against a quality team.

WCA was 5-1 going into the game and will be a team to be reckoned with come tournament time. Underclassmen Tracy Johnson and Stacy Schmidt combined for 16 points off the bench and appear to be ready to become key contributors to Harold Nelson's offensive scheme. The Lady Knights need some of the players around Ronhovde to become legitimate offensive threats. When that happens, it will free up Ronhovde from all of the special defensive looks she is facing. The most dangerous thing about a player like Ronhovde is how she can use her teammates to hurt the opponent. Her passing skills are very good and her court sense and basketball knowledge are extremely valuable assets. As the young, inexperienced players become more comfortable at the varsity level, the Knights will be one tough team to contend with.

As for Fergus Falls, if they play defense like they did in Barrett, and stay aggressive going to the basket inside, they will be a difficult matchup for many teams in the Section 8AAA. They have shot the ball well so far this year. That has to do with making good shot selections and looking for your shots. The Otters don't seem to be timid in running their offense. They have several different people who can step up and get double figures in a game. Tanya Hensch had a double-double on Tuesday with 14 points and 11 rebounds. She has a knack for being around the ball and will get her share of high percentage shots on offensive rebounds. She will be a tough matchup for any post player. Coach Rund has many players, ten seniors on the roster, and he has managed to get a lot of playing time for a lot of kids so far. Finding the most productive combinations against nightly opponents will be a challenge, but with his options, a challenge that the Otters will most likely be able to meet on most occasions. This should be a fun year for the Otters.

Likewise for the Otter boys. What a defensive effort against a D-G-F team that had been scoring around 70 points a game. Fergus Falls held them to 41 in a 46-41 Otter win in Glyndon. Point guard Luke Schalekamp, fresh off an ankle injury that kept him out of the first two games, led the team with 13 points. He will really solidify the ball handling on this team and is one of those players capable of jump starting a team in a hurry. The Otter boys will have some excellent depth and nobody ... check that ... NOBODY ... will out hustle or out work Gary Schuler's team. Alexandria is in Fergus Falls Friday night. Any question where you should be?

Tina Toso started practicing on Tuesday night for the Pelican Rapids girls basketball team. Toso has been out for about a month with an injury and Coach Doug Bruggeman is hoping to have her available in January. His Vikings are 6-0. They go to Barrett on Thursday to face the Lady Knights. Should be fun!

One of the top players in this part of the state, and in the entire state for that matter, Courtney Brewer of the Hancock Owls, is expected back in the lineup next week. Brewer suffered a torn PCL and has missed the last five games. The injury was originally feared to be a torn ACL, but an MRI revealed the PCL injury, making for a speedy return to the lineup instead of an early end to her season. Brewer is on target to become the all time leading scorer for Hancock girls basketball. She entered this season with 1730 points, just 172 behind all time leader, Gwen Greiner.

Otter basketball assistant coach Keith Pearson, a 1986 FFHS graduate, informs us that the 25th Annual Alumni Games will be held at the Fergus Falls Senior High Gym beginning at ten o'clock Monday morning, December 23rd. All FFHS grads are welcome. The people who spend the day at this event always have a good time.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16th, 2002
David Ortiz was released by the Twins today. Ortiz was coming off his best offensive season, 20 HR's, 75 RBI, .272 batting average, but he missed nearly 40 games and over 125 games the last two seasons because of injury.

Ortiz was eligible for arbitration and the Twins thought he would be much too expensive to fit in their salary scheme for the 2002 season. Ortiz made $900,000 last year and his value to the team is limited to that of an offensive threat. He is a liability in the field and doesn't run well, not to mention the fact that he has yet to be healthy for a full season. He had some offensive pop and was one of the few Twins hitters that was a homerun threat everytime he stepped to the plate, but when you consider everything, he was probably as expendable as anyone when you are trying to make budget sense. The Twins had to release a player to make room for Class A shortstop Jose Morban, who was signed as a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Texas Rangers roster.

According to the Twins website, Terry Ryan has started to negotiate a long term contract with outfielder Torii Hunter's agent. Ryan said that he would be the only player the Twins would be looking to sign to a long term deal at this time.

Gustavus-Adolphus sophomore swimmer Will Sutor, who we talked about last week in this column concerning his record setting performance at the University of Nebraska-Omaha Invitational, has been honored for his accomplishments by being named the MIAC Men's Swimmer of the Week. Will had three first-place finishes and one second-place finish against strong NCAA Division II competition, setting school records in the 100 butterfly (51.09) and the 200 IM (1:56.79). Other first-place finishes came in the 50 free (21.49) and the 100 free (46.94).
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 9, 2002
Craigs Corner 12/09/02 - 12/15/02
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002
Former Otter David Newell continues to shine at Gustavus-Adolphus as his team is off to a great start. The Gusties are 5-0 and are off now until a holiday tournament in Santa Barbara, California.

Newell had 16 points and 5 rebounds on Monday night as Gustavus beat St. Olaf 67-53. He is averaging 15.5 points and a team high 5.8 rebounds per game. David is shooting 61% from the floor and 83% from the foul line to lead the team in those categories.

Former Barnesville boys basketball player Rob Plath is transferring to Northland Community College in Thief River Falls. He will be a student coach after Christmas when the new semester starts. He is considering playing both football and basketball for the Pioneers next year. Plath was a walk-on at NDSCS in Wahpeton.

Kevin Ackley has been rewarded for his outstanding 48-save performance in the St. Lawrence Saints 4-2 win over 2nd ranked New Hampshire on Saturday night (see Monday's colunmn). Ackley was named the winner of the ECAC Goalie of the Week award. Kevin has a 3.15 GPA in eight games for St. Lawrence and is their top goaltender.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2002
The Green Bay Packers have signed guard-tackle Pete Campion to the practice squad as a free agent. Campion, the former Fergus Falls Otter and NDSU Bison standout, was added to the roster on November 27th. Here is the offical press release from Packers.com, the official website of the Green Bay Packers.

The 6-4, 307-pound Campion, a three-year starter at right tackle for North Dakota State, was a seventh-round selection of the Carolina Panthers in the 2002 NFL draft, the 213th player chosen. Placed on injured reserve August 8, he was waived August 13 following an injury settlement.

Signed to the St. Louis Rams' 53-man active roster October 16, he was inactive for the Rams' October 20 game against Seattle. Waived October 21, he was signed to the Rams' practice squad October 23 and waived November 1. He had been out of football since.

The only lineman selected in the draft by Carolina, Campion was a Little All-America selection and All-North Central Conference choice as a senior. He also was named the outstanding offensive lineman in the Cactus Bowl, a college all-star game that features players from Division II and III as well, as the top NAIA performers.

Earlier, Campion was a four-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines at Ferguson Falls, Minn., High School, where he was elected team captain and named the team's most valuable player as a senior. He also lettered in wrestling, a sport in which he was an All-America selection and the 1998 Minnesota state heavyweight champion.

The newcomer has been assigned jersey number 64.

Monday, December 9th, 2002
Former Otter hockey players Kevin Ackley and Josh Anderson played key roles in St. Lawrence's upset of the number two ranked team in the country, New Hampshire on Saturday night.

St. Lawrence won the game 4-2 with Ackley making 48 saves in the game. He stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period, stopped 18 of 20 shots in the second period and stonewalled New Hampshire with 19 saves in the final period of play. The Saints only managed 19 shots on goal in the entire game.

Josh Anderson assisted on the first goal of the game for St. Lawrence early in the third period and scored an empty net goal with four seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Ackley has a save percentage of .906, recording a 3.15 Goals Against Average and putting up a record of 3-5-0 in eight games in goal.

Anderson has scored five goals, including two on the power play, and has three assists, giving him a total of eight points in the 14 games he has played. He is the second leading scorer on the team.

St. Lawrence is on the bottom of the ECAC Conference standings and has a record of 3-11-1 (1-4-0 in ECAC).

Another former Otter, Ryan Miller, has scored eight goals, including a pair of power play tallies, and has five assists, giving him a total of 13 points in 21 games for the Topeka Scarecrows of the USHL. Miller has a plus-minus rating of +7, the second best rating on the team.

The first of several Fergus Falls band booster barbecues will be held on Tuesday night at the Otter boys home basketball opener against Sauk Centre. The band boosters will serve barbecue's, hot dogs, potato chips, pop, milk, coffee and homemade bars. Serving time is from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Senior High Cafeteria.
Posted By Craig Olson
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