|Monday, February 24, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 2/24/03 - 3/02/03|
|Saturday, March 1st, 2003|
Second day of the MCCC State Men's basketball tournament. A few tidbits that I've picked up on down here. First of all, let me thank the hosts at Minneapolis Community College for allowing me to use their internet access to update this column and other stories. I really appreciate the way they treat people!!
Mike Johnson and Art Westphal are both retiring after this season. Johnson is the long time head coach at Ridgewater Community College in Willmar, and Westphal has been in his position at Mankato-Bethany for many years. Both are quality people, who run extremely competitive and respected programs. They have given a lot to young men coming through their school over the years and have been very involved in the operation of the MCCC Coaches Association. Their fellow coaches gifted them with tickets to a Twins game this summer and it turns out that the Twins also asked if they would throw out the honorary first pitch that night. Since both have also been baseball coaches at their schools, and are big baseball fans, that was a nice gesture on the coaches part and on the part of the Twins.
Madison Area Tech has claimed the Wisconsin state championship, upsetting Mid-State Technical College of Wisconsin Rapids. FFCC will face Minneapolis Community College at six o'clock Friday night, March 7th, in the first game of the Region XIII tournament. The second game will feature Madison Area Tech against either Ridgewater or Rochester, whoever finishes highest in the MCCC State Tournament on Sunday. It could be that the third place game on Sunday would have much more importance than the championship game. That will be the case if FFCC and Minneapolis win their semifinal games tonight.
Jay Pivec's Marauders have won three consecutive state titles. Worthington did that the first three years of the tournament, and Normandale won the next five. Since then, no other team had won back-to-back titles until Minneapolis.
Spartan players, Aaron Austin and Nick Hansen were selected All-Conference, and Matt Hoie joined them on the All-Northern Division team. There are fifteen players chosen for both the North and South All-Divison teams, and the top fifteen from those two teams makeup the All-Conference squad.
Thursday, February 27th, 2003
Winter sports playoffs are just hitting their stride, but the first spring sports parents meetings for students in grades 9 through 12 only, are coming up next week.
The Fergus Falls High School will hold their boys and girls track and field meeting on Monday, March 3rd at 6:00 p.m. in the Senior High Band room. The softball parents meeting is set for Monday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Senior High Choir room.
Remember, when you attend a playoff game, season passes will not be honored. There will be a fee to attend any section games.
There will be some very interesting battles in the section playoffs this year. There are several sections where there is not a clear cut favorite. That will make for some very interesting playoff action, especially the semifinal and championship rounds.
Teams I think are peaking right now? Look out for the Pelican Rapids girls and boys, and the Battle Lake boys. 5A girls will be extremely interesting. Parkers Prairie, Battle Lake, Underwood, Kimball and Hancock are all legitimate contenders for the Section title. Upset minded? I wouldn't want to play either Barnesville team right now. They are both capable of pulling the upset. Plus, the West Central Area girls will be a tough team to play. Anytime you have to try to slow down a player like Megan Ronhovde, you could be in trouble. Big questions? Can Gary Schuler's Otter boys put together a solid run to challenge the likes of Rocori, Sauk Rapids-Rice and Alexandria? Can Hillcrest make a strong tournament showing with their revamped squad? Are Brad Strand's Pelican Rapids boys able to turn it on like they did earlier this season? If so, get out of their way!! Tourney Time ... Ya gotta love it, right!!!??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?
Wednesday, February 26th, 2003
Seven straight Section 4A titles for the Otter boys hockey team. Congratulations to the Otters and first year head coach, Tim Bergland.
The Otters have a record that is under .500, but they have helped themselves become a better team by playing a strong regular season schedule. Two of their losses have been to Thief River Falls and Warroad, both 5-2. One of those two teams will play the Otters in the opening round of the State Class A playoffs, Wednesday, March 5th at 12:00 noon. Their section title game will be decided on Thursday night at Warroad.
Senior sharpshooter Shana Wigdahl of the Rothsay Tigers is tied with former Tiger Anita (Follingstad) Heier, for most career 3-point field goals. Wigdahl nailed three of them on Tuesday night in Rothsay's playoff victory over Henning. She needs just one against Parkers Prairie on Thursday night to set the record. Anita's sister, Angela (Follingstad) Haarstad, is Shana's coach.
Megan Ronhovde pulled down 15 rebounds against Barnesville the other night, putting over 1,000 in her career. That is an amazing accomplishment for a high school player. She has recorded over 1,600 career points and over 1,000 career boards. Congratulations Megan. To be a top rebounder, cosistently, takes hard work. Megan knows hard work. She is an amazing athlete.
Finally, it's over. The grueling eight-game, one-month, road trip for the Fergus Falls High School boys basketball team! Welcome home, boys! Friday night, the Otters get to host Bemidji in a 7:30 game at FFHS. It will be their first home game since January 25th when they beat Little Falls. I know you've missed them, so let's see a tremendous crowd for their final regular season game.
The Otter band boosters are hosing one of their fund raising barbecue feeds that night. Serving will take place from five to seven p.m. in the senior high cafeteria. Barbecue's, hot dogs, chips, pop, milk, coffee and home made bars are on the menu!!! How can you go wrong???
Monday, February 24th, 2003
I'm sorry to start the week out nagging, but this Minnesota Community College Conference state tournament format has me so frustrated!!
There have been some tremendous state tournament games throughout the years. The 1988 Spartan team went in with a record of 11-13 one year and won it. They were playing great ball at the right time of the year. The 1998 Spartan team went in undefeated with a big target on their back and survived a grueling three days, including an impressive win over the host Minneapolis Marauders. Intense games, exciting games, meaningful games. The prize for winning the state tournament was a Region XIII playoff game. Only the state champion had the right to compete for a National Tournament berth. Now, all that has changed.
The coaches, for whatever reasons, changed the state format beginning with the 2001 tournament. That year, the following structure was put in place. The Region XIII Tournament was expanded to a four-team, two-day event. The field would be made up of the regular season champions in both the North and South Divisions of the MCCC, the Wisconsin state champion and the highest finishing team at the Minnesota state tournament other than the regular season division champions. WHAT?
This means, there is little, if any, motivation for the division champions to win at state. Oh sure, everyone who plays the game wants to win when they step on the court, but, the motivation to win for teams not having clinched regular season division titles is so much higher than the motivation for the division winners. There is no comparison to what winning means for those teams. A loss for a regular season division winner at state means only that they can make up for it at the Region Tournament the next week. A loss by any other team in the tournament means an end to their hopes of advancing to Regions and possibly Nationals.
The first year this format was in place, the Lady Spartans won the regular season Northern Division title. They went to state as the number one seed out of the North and played poorly. In any previous year, a performance like the one they had at state would have eliminated them from advancing. Not in 2001, though. The Lady Spartans knew all along that no matter what happened to them in Brainerd, they were scheduled to host the Region XIII Tournament the following weekend. That was the tournament from which the National Tournament team would be advancing. If you talk to any of the players from that team, who went on to win the Region title and the NJCAA Division III National title, they will tell you that the motivation and tournament atmosphere just wasn't the same at state. As hard as they tried to tell themselves it was important to win, it just wasn't.
For FFCC and Minneapolis Community College, it's a formality. They are both advancing to the Region XIII tournament. For the teams they will be matched up against, it's do or die! If they lose, it's over. Unless of course, they lose to FFCC or Minneapolis in the championship game, because then they will go as the highest finishing team other than those two division winners. It will be a true test of the makeup of the two teams who have it made. How will they respond on the court to teams who are battling to keep their seasons from ending?
Three things will help them. One, Pride. Two, wanting to remain consistent and keep positive things happening. Three, competitive nature. Wanting to win no matter what is at stake, even when it's nothing.
Still, the bottom line is, no matter what the outcome of the games, FFCC and Minneapolis will live to fight another day. That's a statement the other teams can't make.
I understand the coaches thinking on this, to a point. They wanted to put more weight on the regular season and assure that the best teams over the test of a 14 or 12 game division schedule will have the opportunity to advance to the next level of competition. To take the upset of a top team at state out of the formula of deciding a Regional champion and National Tournament team. I understand it, but I don't like the way it cheapens a tremendous event like the state tournament.
I will say this, if the Spartans and Marauders make it to the state championship game, they will play a very competitive game. The bragging rights will be enough with those two teams, plus, they will probably match up the following week in the Region tournament. That matchup or a championship matchup of two teams other than FFCC and Minneapolis will make for an exciting title game.
Okay, I've vented. That's my opinion. Send me an e-mail if you want to share yours! All of that having been said, I'm looking forward to covering the tournament this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Minneapolis Community College. Jay Pivec, Ron Gates and their staff do a tremendous job hosting this event. It is an excellent site for the tournament. They always have things running so smoothly and are very hospitable as hosts. I look forward to it every year! Here's the way the pairings look for Thursday:
1:00 p.m. - FFCC vs Central Lakes
3:00 p.m. - Rochester vs Northland
6:00 p.m. - Mesabi Range vs Ridgewater
8:00 p.m. - Rainy River vs Minneapolis
A win for the Spartans on Friday would put them in the six o'clock game on Saturday. A loss would land them in the one o'clock game on Saturday. Consolation, third place and championship times on Sunday are 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. All games involving FFCC will be broadcast live on Oldies 1020 - KJJK AM. I'll have more on the tournament later this week in this space.
|Wednesday, February 19, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 2/17/03 - 2/23/03|
|Friday, February 21st, 2003|
Awhile back we told you about two boys from Fergus Falls who had qualified for the Elks Hoop Shoot State Competition. Well, the competition was held on Saturday, February 15th, in Hutchinson.
Jonny Walvatne, competing in the 13-15 year old boys division, made 19 of 25 free throws, taking third place. The winner made 23 of 25. Jonny is the son of Doug and Val Walvatne.
Taylor Shuck placed fourth in the 10-11 year old boys division, making 14 of 25 free throws. The first place finisher made 18 of 25. Taylor is the son of Brian and Lisa Shuck.
The winners advance to Iowa City, Iowa to compete in the National Regionals. Congratulations to Jonny and Taylor for their great showing, and thanks to Mike Shol, who does a great job organizing the event locally.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2003
Grandpa? That's a title I have thought about at times, but one I am now experiencing. Grandma Sue and I have become first time grandparents as Alexander Jacob Olson was born on Monday, February 17th.
Alex, as I will probably call him, weighed in at eight pounds, eight ounces and is 21-inches long. I'm sure he will be faced with many challenges in life and I hope that somehow we can be of help to him. He has already made an impact on me! What a miracle new life is.
I apologize for being lax in my column this week, but obviously other things have been on my mind!! Now, back to work.
Hats off to Charlie Fleck and the Perham girls gymnastics team on their Section 8A title on Saturday. They were dominant! They will now compete at the state meet at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, adjacent to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The team competition is from 11am to 2pm Friday, with individual competition on Saturday from 11am to 2pm. The Welcome Home for the gymnasts is planned for Sunday at four o'clock at the Perham High School commons.
Megan Ronhovde is one of five Minnesota nominees for the McDonalds All-American team. What an honor for the West Central Area senior. Megan's career is winding down. Just one more regular season contest and then into the playoffs. What a great career she has had. We wish her well at Iowa State. There is no question in my mind that she will be a very good Division I player. She will represent the Heart O' Lakes Conference very well.
|Monday, February 10, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 2/10/03 - 2/16/03|
|Saturday, February 15th, 2003|
Pete Campion has hooked on with another NFL team, his fourth. The former Otter and NDSU offensive lineman, was signed in January, by the Seattle Seahawks.
Campion, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers, injured, waived, signed by St. Louis, waived, picked up by Green Bay and released, signed with the Seahawks on January 10th. He was subsequently drafted by Franfurt in the fifth round of the NFL Europe draft and will join that team for the upcoming season, in April.
Former Underwood student-athlete, Jerry Aakre, finished sixth in the triple jump at Saturday's NDSU Track open. Jerry is attending school at UM-Duluth.
Former Perham distance runner, Jake Januszewski, a freshman at NDSU, placed fourth in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 9:04.09. The winning time of 8:59.05. Januszewski was ninth in the mile run last weekend at the Bison Open, with a time of 4:32.42.
The NDSU baseball roster has former Perham pitcher, Shane Hendrickson, now a sophomore, A.J. Bunkowske, a junior catcher from Vergas, and former Spartan and Morris Area standout, Jarrod Asmus, listed as team members. Coach Mitch McLeod could insert either Hendrickson or Asmus into the starting rotation, or could use them in relief. Asmus is coming back after an injury that prevented him from playing last season. Bunkowske sat out last season after transferring from Concordia College to NDSU.
Wednesday, February 12th, 2003
For the second consecutive year, defenseman Alyssa Johnson of the Fergus Falls girls hockey team, has been named to the Greater Minnesota Conference all-conference team.
Johnson is the only Fergus Falls skater to be honored in this manner.
Here are the rest of the team members: Forwards: Amy Bruggeman, Moorhead; Megan EidenSchink, Detroit Lakes; Sara Halseth, Moorhead; Tara Hiscock, Bemidji; Steph Hoard, Thief River Falls; Kristen Juven, Moorhead; Gigi Marvin, Warroad; Martie Selvog, Warroad; Mollie Sulivan, Bemidji.
Defense: Wendy Bergh, Roseau; Rachael Graves; Sam Hilde, Moorhead; Gretchen Norby, Detroit Lakes; Maggie Souba, Moorhead; Amy Zyllo, Bemidji.
Goalies: Sarah McDonald, East Grand Forks; Kara Meyer, Detroit Lakes.
Monday, February 10th, 2003
The 10th annual "Shada" 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament will be held early this year because of floor replacement in the Pelican Rapids High School Gymnasium. Thiw year's tournament will be held on June 6, 7 & 8.
Elementary Divisions will be played on Friday, June 6th, with Junior High to Adult men and women divisions to be played on Saturday, June 7th and Sunday, June 8th. There are divisions from 3rd and 4th grade all the way to 35-plus.
Registration deadline will be May 16th, with an early bird discount for registration forms mailed on or before April 30th. For more information or to receive a registration form, please contact Doug Bruggeman in one of the following ways:
Phone: (218) 863-4388
Mail: PO Box 274, Pelican Rapids, MN 56572
The "Shada" is one of the largest and longest running 3 on 3 tournaments in the upper part of Minnesota. On average, over 150 teams and over 600 players compete each year. The organizers have received numerous compliments on how well the tournament is run and on the quality of the games. Some outstanding players participate in this annual event. It's a great weekend for basketball fans to act as spectators, too!
The Minnesota Timberwolves mascot, "Crunch", will be performing and entertaining the crowd in Perham on Monday, February 17th. The Yellowjacket boys basketball team will be hosting the Frazee Hornets in a Heart O' Lakes contest that evening at the Prairie Wind Middle School. Youngsters can interact with "Crunch" and get autographs prior to the 6:00 p.m. B game, from 4:30 to 5:45 in the commons area. "Crunch" will perform at halftime of the varsity game.
Golden Gloves boxinig returns to the Wadena Armory on Saturday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m. 12 bouts are scheduled with boxers from Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Willmar, St. Cloud and Wadena participating.
|Monday, February 3, 2003|
|Craigs Corner 02/03/03 - 02/09/03|
|Thursday, February 6th, 2003|
Yesterday was signing day for football recruits and a few players from around the area have made college decisions.
Last week, Kirby Carr of the Otters decided to attend Bethel College in Arden Hills. Yesterday, two of his FFHS teammates, decided on Bemidji. Linebacker Brandon Deckert and lineman Zach Stafford. Ryan Jensen of Underwood will join his older brother, Derek, at St. Cloud State University. Jensen was debating between SCSU and Bemidji State, but decided on the Huskies, where he will be a wide receiver, after a redshirt season next year. Jake Turgeon, a tight end and defensive end at Perham, has signed with UND, where he will be used as a tight end and a long snapper. I'm sure there will be more players announcing college intentions from around our area in the days and weeks to come.
Another area football player, Ben Brimhall, who went to Delaware State in January on a football scholarship, has left the school. It turns out that they did not have his engineering major available afterall, and Ben didn't want to spend two years in school, not being able to pursue his major. As talented a quarterback as he is, I hope an area school will contact him. He had been in touch with several schools, but now, many have offered all of their scholarships and with yesterday's signings, most have their recruits in place. However, when you can play the game like Ben can, someone will find room for you.
Wednesday, February 5th, 2003
Less than 150 tickets remain for the big wrestling match in Perham on Saturday night. The top-ranked teams in Class 3A and Class 1A Minnesota High School wrestling are getting ready to square off at the Prairie Wind Middle School.
The Frazee Hornets, number one in 1A will host the top team in 3A, Apple Valley, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at the Frazee High School office. Close to 2,000 fans are expected to jam into the gymnasium to witness this dual. If you are hoping to be one of them, get your ticket today.
After more than five years of discussion, the National Federation of High School Volleyball Rules Committee has approved the rally scoring format for high school volleyball. The decision was made at a recent committee meeting in Indianapolis. Indivdiual state associations have to decide when to implement the rally scoring system. States can elect to use rally scoring in 2003-2004, but must make the change no later than the 2004-2005 school year. Matches will be best-of-5 games, but each game will be played to 25 points, using rally scoring, which awards a point on every serve, not just when the serving team wins the volley.
Wynn Roberts, a ninth-grader from Battle Lake, has qualified for the State Nordic Ski Meet on February 14th at Giants Ridge near Biwabik. Wynn has been invited to compete in the US National Biathlon Championship in Lake Placid, New York late in February. If he qualifies for the US Youth team at these trials, he will be eligible to compete at the International Youth Championships in March, in Tana, Norway. The cost of the trip to New York is close to $700, with a price tag of $1,500 for the Norway trip, should Wynn qualify. If any individuals or organizations would like to contribute to Wynn's expense fund, e-mail him at email@example.com or call him at (218)864-8134.
Monday, February 3rd, 2003
The Fergus Falls girls gymnastics team will debut their new spring board floor during their final home meet of the season against Alexandria on Tuesday night.
The floor, a standard floor exercise floor, is 42 x 42 feet and was built entirely by Fergus Falls Gymnastics booster club members. Two layers of plywood, 56 sheets for each layer, was used in the construction of the floor. Each 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood has 36 springs attached to it.
The reason for the new floor is to allow the Fergus Falls gymnastics facilities to stay up to date with other schools and clubs. This will present them with the ability to continue to host meets at their home site and perhaps mean a return of the Fergus Falls Invitational. Some teams had refused to compete at Fergus Falls because of a lack of up-to-date facilities for the competition.
Thanks to the donated time to construct the floor, the booster club was able to save a lot of money on the cost.
Parents and booster club members I have talked to, along with some of the kids who are competing, say that Sarah Brockberg is doing a wonderful job as head coach and hope that she will stick around. That might not be easy for her to do. Sarah needs a full time teaching job and the prospects for that happening in District 544 are uncertain at this time. There's no question she is very dedicated and has the high energy level that is necessary in a demanding coaching position like the one she is occupying. With no paid assistant coach on staff, she has been relying on parent and community volunteers. She knows the sport, she seems to be a hit with the kids, and the team has made great improvement throughout the season.