|Monday, August 26, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 8/26/02 - 9/01/02|
|Saturday, August 31st, 2002|
BASEBALL LIVES! I was more than a bit nervous about the immediate future of our National Pastime, but I couldn't believe that the players and owners would be so stupid as to take a chance a killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
I am as big a baseball fan as there is, but I too have become very disappointed in the way the current group of owners and players continue to treat our game. Make no mistake about it ... it is our game. The fans are the reason that Major League Baseball and any professional sport exists. We pay the salaries and make both groups of individuals wealthy beyond belief. Yet, we don't seem to have much of a say in matters of the operation of the game. There needs to be a representative of the fans, who, regardless of team loyalties, has the best interests of the game at heart, filling the role of commissioner. Baseball is bigger than the billionaires and millionaires who are walking awfully close to the edge of the cliff and nearly fell off it this time around. I seriously believe that baseball, as we know it at the professional level, would have ceased to exist had the players walked out. The game would have eventually settled disputes between the two sides, but the damage would have been severe. A total restructuring of the game, complete with many contractions, not just two, would have taken place. It's probably inevitable that some sort of major re-shaping of the way the sport is run will take place in our lifetime. I just hope the players and owners make any changes necessary in the business end of this grand game while continuing to play the games. They are adding to the rich history of the game every day, and the history of the game deserves better than constant bickering over financial issues that the average fan can't even fathom. Baseball risks alienating its solid, hard core fan base if they have another work stoppage at any point in the future. Fans have many more options out there for their entertainment dollars, and baseball already is losing the younger generations of fans to other sports. Football and basketball are taking over in popularity and baseball needs drastically to improve its image and its fan base in the coming years. A strike or walk out wouldn't do either of those things and thanfully, both sides new it and made the smart choice, the right choice, to let the games continue. No matter how the slice the pie, there's enough to go around and there should be enought incentive to continue building their wealth, that the issues before them can be decided in a manner that benefits everyone involved. Don't try to get to the end by a means that will destroy the very way you hope to reach your destination. Because, if you don't take into consideration the best interests of the fans and the future of the game, there will be no fans or no future for Major League Baseball. Hopefully, by averting the strike, both sides have made a statement that they realize how important it is to preserve what they have, which is more than anyone could possibly have foreseen in the early days and even fairly recent days of the existence of this sport.
Sorry, got to rambling there. Now, it's back to cheering for your favorite team! GO TWINS!! We are now entering September and the magic number is approaching single digits for my favorite team!!
Monday, August 26th, 2002
Former Fergus Falls High School placekicker Luke Draxten has decided to leave NDSU and will register for classes at Fergus Falls Community College on Tuesday. Coach Lloyd Danzeisen says Draxten will suit up for the Spartans on Saturday against Mesabi.
The sophomore was red shirted as a freshman and appeared to have the inside track as the top kicker for the Bison this season. Freshman Cory Vartanian from Racine, Wisconsin impressed the NDSU coaches enough that Bob Babich decided to give him the number one kicker spot. After being encouraged to remain with the program by Babich, Draxten decided to leave the team and was granted a release from his letter of intent, allowing him to play at another school now and in the future.
Danzeisen is excited to have Draxten as a part of his football team. "The addition of Luke to our team puts a lot of pressure on opposing team's defenses and gives us other options offensively," said Danzeisen. "This will help us tremendously."
|Tuesday, August 20, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 8/19/02 - 8/25/02|
|Friday, August 23rd, 2002|
Fall seasons continue to start with regular season games and scrimmages on tap this weekend. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy will once again host a six-team football scrimmage on Saturday morning.
The Comets will host Ulen-Hitterdal, Ashby, Chokio-Alberta-Herman-Norcross, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley and Wheaton starting at ten o'clock Saturday morning. All are Pheasant Conference teams with the exception of Ulen-Hitterdal.
Underwood goes to the Verndale scrimmage, Ottertail Central is at the Wadena scrimmage and Fergus Falls will particpate in the Sauk Centre scrimmage.
The defending MCCC state football champion Spartans of FFCC open their season against the Itasca Vikings at eight o'clock tonight in Duluth. The game is one of five to be played at UMD in the next two days as a part of the MCCC Kickoff Classic. The Spartans have quarterback Ben Brimhall back after an injury sidelined him for all of last season. Two seasons ago, Brimhall led the state in nearly every quarterback stat.
The Lady Spartans will be at home Saturday as they have their 11th annual Spartan Volleyball Invitational. The action begins at 9:15 a.m. with pool play and continues throughout the day. Sophomore captain Erica Pederson is recovering from a foot infection but will be ready to play.
First year head coach Eric Van Sickle of the Otter girls soccer team saw his team shutout Moorhead 2-0 in pouring rain yesterday. A good start to the season for the Otters, who made their first ever state soccer tournament appearance last year under Shelly Kangas. Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay Gaustad stopped all nine shots she faced and picked up where Joanna Erlandson left off! One of the strengths for the Otters will be their strong defensive play in front of the net from their defenders and their keeper.
The Otter boys won big with Josh Whipple (3 goals) and Jake Haws (2 goals) each contributing their first varsity goals in the 7-0 win at Crookston. They outshot the Pirates 22-6 and look to have some impressive firepower again.
Monday, August 19th, 2002
Registration for Fergus Falls Middle School soccer takes place at the Cleveland School warming house on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $60.00 per player. Girls and boys in 7th and 8th grade are eligible.
There are close to 90 kids playing varsity soccer (boys and girls) this fall at Fergus Falls High School. With the recent success of both teams, the numbers at the lower levels of soccer have continued to grow. A solid elementary base, organized by the Fergus Falls Youth Soccer Association, and a strong traveling program, featuring dedicated volunteer coaches and referees, has really helped the program expand. The Middle School programs is another area where the numbers have been increasing. The teams are hoping to schedule around ten games this fall. Dave Spidahl will be coaching the boys team and Tom Johnson will handle the girls team. Both are experienced coaches.
Ryan Hendrickson has decided to attend FFCC and play football and baseball for the Spartans instead of going to Valley City State University. He is one of seven Fergus Falls High School graduates who will play for the defending MCCC State Champs. The Spartans will use him as a wide receiver. Ben Brimhall returns at quarterback after missing last year with an injury. Brimhall was the top quarterback in the state as a freshman two years ago. He applied to the NJCAA for a redshirt year due to his injury last year and they approved it. Brandon Goltz and Chad Campion are also sophomore members of the team from FFHS. Incoming freshman who are former Otters include Mick Hanan, Cannon Kilde, Justin Colby.
Wide receiver Eric Severs from Underwood, offensive lineman Nathan Thalmann and linebacker Andrew Martinson from Ottertail Central, Perham's Justin Richter, Jesse Beaumia of Ashby High School and Chris Shea of Brandon-Evansville are other area athletes attending FFCC and playing football.
The Spartans open their season on Friday against Itasca at the U of M, Duluth. They play at eight o'clock Friday night. There is no radio coverage of the game.
Ann Williams had one of those problems you don't mind having. A record 20 girls turned out for volleyball this fall at FFCC. Ann could only keep 15. That meant cutting some players which no coach enjoys. Ann talked to team members and told them where they stood. Following the individual meetings, five players decided to leave the team, meaning that Ann was saved from having to make some tough decisions. She is (and should be) excited about her roster. Be watching for a Lady Spartans preview in the next few days. They will host the 11th Annual FFCC Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Minnesota West, Mesabi Range, Minnesota West, Northland, Rainy River and Itasca will be involved in the day long event.
|Monday, August 12, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 8/12/02 - 8/18/02|
|Friday, August 16th, 2002|
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! That's one of the great things about having your own website ... you can do things like wish your mom happy birthday! We celebrated at one of her favorite places, Ruby Tuesday's ... and also enjoyed a Twins game and the PGA Championship!
Remind me to ask my accountants, Smith & Evenson, if I can write all this off since I'm writing about my experiences at the game and the golf tournament.
Unfortunately, the Twins lost the game we saw against Baltimore on Thursday night, 3-1. No bats. Kyle Lohse pitched well, but we couldn't get to Jason Johnson, Willis Roberts and Julio Lugo. The Orioles have some good young pitchers. Thankfully, the Twins bounced back with an extremely impressive performance against Pedro Martinez as Joe Mays pitched a complete game two-hit shutout and the Twins won 5-0. The bad news in baseball, the players set August 30th as their strike date. What happened to the optimism of earlier this week?
On to golf. Friday was my first day at Hazeltine National Golf Club. It was fun, while it lasted. Thunderstorms caused suspension of play around 6:30 p.m. and it was quite a rush to get to the shuttle buses that transported the fans to the tournament from Canterbury Park! They have an impressive transportation plan in place and things really are working well in that regard. I don't know how many buses are being used (I heard 130), but they really move a lot of people in a short period of time. They were really put to the test though with the suspension of play on Friday. When the horn sounded, 40,000 people headed to the shuttle buses! Traffic was incredibly backed up and a normal 45-minute drive turned into a two-hour roadtrip in heavy rain and lightning. Not Fun! Experiencing a pro golf tournament was quite interesting. My son Ben and his friend Chris have been to three different days and they seem to have it down pretty good. They followed Tiger (who else?) on Friday and saw all of his shots on the back nine until play was halted. I watched several groups hit tee shots on ten and then spent the rest of the time in the bleachers by the 18th green. It was fun to watch the different groups of players finish up their rounds. Some impressive approach shots and great putts on 18. My dad will take the two boys to Saturday's round and I'll go back on Sunday. I still think Tiger will find a way to win.
Check out a couple of the fall sports previews from West Central Area High School that are now up on the website. As I get preview information from all the teams and schools in my coverage area, I'll pass that information along to you! I'm looking forward to the fall sports season and the start of the NFL Prediction Contest, too!!! Vikes won 24-21 over Buffalo. Sounds like the offense did well again and the defense had some good moments too! Enjoy your weekend!
Monday, August 12th, 2002
Fergus Falls hockey coach Brad Bergstrom has accepted a position in Austin, Minnesota. Bergstrom will be the new Assistant Principal at Austin High School and will be the Director of the Alternative School in Austin. He will also have the option to coach High School hockey for the Packers.
Bergstrom, who led the Otters to six consecutive Section 4A titles and Class A state tournament appearances, isn't sure if he'll coach this year. "I really don't know right now," said Bergstrom. "Things have happened so fast my head is kind of spinning. I'll just have to wait and see about the coaching situation."
Bergstrom interviewed for the job on Friday and accepted their offer on Saturday. Board members asked him to start his job on Monday and he reported to work in Austin this morning. His family will join him once their house in Fergus Falls is sold.
"There were two things that really made the decision for me," commented Bergstrom. "One was the chance to work in the Alternative School program. I worked with Alternative School students last year and really enjoyed it. Second, was the opportunity to continue coaching a varsity hockey team. I don't know if I'll choose to do that, but I do have an opportunity to continue."
Bergstrom has served as a classroom teacher for five of his six years in Fergus Falls and was one of two Deans of Students, along with Mark Kelly, during the 2000 school year.
"As you might imagine I've run the whole gamut of emotions," said Bergstrom. "I'm excited about the new position, but then I start thinking about all the people my family and I have met through the past six years. Our years in Fergus Falls have been outstanding. I have so many memories of all the kids that were a part of our hockey program ... memories I'll take with me forever. I'd really like to thank the community for their support. I gained a lot as a person in Fergus Falls."
As a person in the media, I really appreciated the way Brad consistently responded to questions and was so readily available for interviews. He really believes in promoting his kids and his program. He puts his heart and soul into coaching and had a great run at Fergus Falls High School.
Congratulations Brad and we wish you and Lisa and your children much happiness and success in your new community of Austin.
|Monday, August 5, 2002|
|Craigs Corner 8/05/02 - 8/11/02|
|Thursday, August 8th, 2002|
Pete Campion has been placed on the waived/injured list by the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. The former NDSU and Fergus Falls High School offensive lineman underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery and currently on a rehab program.
I spoke with Pete tonight and he said it would probably be six weeks before he was back in playing shape, but that he is working hard on his rehabilitation program. After one week of training camp, a cyst had formed in Campion's shoulder and his play was really hampered by the worsening injury. "I was having a good first week but the shoulder was really bothering me," said Campion. "It got to a point where it was bone-on-bone and then the cyst developed and it wasn't going to get any better without surgery."
The Panthers are responsible to help get Campion back to health and are overseeing the rehab program on a daily basis. Once his shoulder is back to normal, Campion could be re-signed by the Panthers or could possibly hook on with another NFL team. At this point of the season when a player is injured, teams need to get someone else in camp to try to build their team depth. It becomes a numbers game, but that game continues throughout the season. I have no doubt that the way Pete applies himself and with his great work ethic he will wind up getting a spot on an NFL roster when he gets healthy. If he was good enough to be drafted in the 7th round, he'll be good enough to get a serious look from some teams in six weeks.
Justin Arneson continues his successful Gulf Coast League season, hitting .351 with 27 hits including four doubles, two triples and one homer. He has knocked in 12 runs and scored 23 and has swiped six bases.
The annual Lake Lida Junior Golf Club Junior Tournament is scheduled for this Sunday, August 11th. All junior golfers through age 17 are invited to participate. The $15.00 registration fee includes lunch at the course. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. with tournament play getting underway at 9:00 a.m. with a 2-person scramble for ages 12 and under. At 11:00 a.m., ages 13 through 17 will compete in a 2-person best ball tournament. Qualifiers from the older group will compete in the Championship Flight at 1:00 p.m.. For more information or to pre-register call Lida Greens Pro Shop at (218)863-1531. Handicaps will not be used in scoring. All play is medal play.
Registration for Fall Recreation Soccer, sponsored by the Fergus Falls Youth Soccer Association, is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Middle School Commons in Fergus Falls. The league is open to kids from kindergarten through sixth grade. The cost is $45.00 for both the fall and spring seasons. The fall season will start on August 26th. If you have any questions you can contact Tom Johnson at 736-7019.
Co-Ed softball registration is on now at the Fergus Falls Park and Recreation Department. The deadline is August 16th. The league will play on Wednesday nights at DeLagoon Park, beginning August 28th. For more information contact the Park and Recreation Department at 739-3205.
Wednesday, August 7th, 2002
Several area softball teams get the opportunity to compete in District and State tournaments in early August. We don't always hear how the locals do in their playoff action but when we do, we like to share the info with our readers!
The Fergus Falls Church of the Nazarene softball team had a good showing in the ASA Church Class B Softball Tournament, which took place last weekend in Mankato. They wound up in second place in the tournament.
After a first-round bye, they beat teams from Mankato, St. Cloud #2, Moorhead and St. Cloud #1. The four wins put them into the championship round where they waited for their opponent to come through the losers bracket. St. Cloud #1 was the survivor there and they were able to beat the Fergus Falls team twice, 15-12 and 9-7. Word has it that the older, or should be say ... more experienced team, may have been a bit tired and they just plain went flat in the championship games.
Solid defense was their trademark throughout the tournament. This Nazarene team has some good glove men! The infield, consisting of Chad Raitz, Mike Evavold, Tim Jensen, Dan Malmsrom, Chris Wasberg and pitcher Mike Schultz, turned eight double plays, while the outfield of Eric Berger, Eric Stratton and Dallas Rostad covered a lot of ground, making catches, cutting-off balls in the gaps and making strong throws back into the infield. Steve Hoffman was the catcher for the Fergus Falls team which had only ten players for the tournament. Congratulations on a great season and a good showing at state. If any other softball teams from around the area have results from district or state tournament play, please e-mail us and let us know how you did!
Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
Day one of the Pine to Palm went to the wind! Scores were higher than normal for the first day of qualifying because of the cool, windy weather conditions at the Detroit Country Club.
Exceptions were the three rounds in the 60's. Josh Persons of Fargo had the lowest score with an excellent six-under par 65. Mike Berg shot a 67 and Aaron Anderson had a 69. Ben Greve and Jason Rudquist each came in with 70's.
John Hagge had the best score among the Fergus Falls golfers with a 73 and Dustin Harris came in with a 74. Ben Olson shot a 78, Matt Spies an 80 and John Ouren an 81. All survived the first day cut, which was 81, and will play a second round of qualifying on Wednesday.
Perham golfers were led by Mike Cavanagh with a 74. Bob Cavanagh shot a 78, Lee Cavanagh had an 80 and Andy Schornack an 86.
Dan Elton of Pelican Rapids finished with a 73 and Ryan Elton had a 75. Paul Christianson had a 79.
Former Fergus Falls golfers Tim Iversen, now of Grand Forks, and Craig Palmer, now of Fargo, both made the cut with rounds of 74 and 77, respectively.
After Wednesday, the low 63 scores will join last year's winner, Andy Doeden in the first round of match play on Thursday.
Monday, August 5th, 2002
The Pine to Palm golf tournament is underway at the Detroit Country Club in Detroit Lakes. The first day of qualifying in the flights and senior division was today and the first day of championship flight qualifying is on Tuesday.
This is a tremendous amateur golf tournament and it is in its 70th year. It draws over 500 entrants each year. The championship flight competition features two 18-hole qualifying rounds with the low 63 scores joining the defending champion in match play on Thursday. Andy Doeden of Fargo is the current champion. David Schultz of Fargo and Ryan Paulson of the U of M are two of the many Division I golfers competing in the tournament.
Several area players will be involved, including Ben Olson, Matt Spies, Dustin Harris and John Hagge from Fergus Falls. Mike Cavanagh, Bob Cavanagh, Lee Cavanagh and Andy Schornack of Perham are also entered. Pelican Rapids is represented by Paul Christianson, Ryan Elton and Dan Elton. Former Fergus Falls golfers Craig Palmer and Tim Iversen are also in the field.
I'll try to keep you posted on the daily results in this space on my website. This will be a very competitive event. Last year 16 players played off for the final six spots in the championship flight. It wouldn't surprise me if something like that happened again. I'm guessing that golfers will need to shoot a two day total of 147 or 148 to survive the final cut, that's five or six over par for the two rounds. Hope you golf fans get a chance to watch some of the competition! I know I'm excited about it.