|Wednesday, October 27, 2004|
|Samuelson Makes Verbal Commitment|
|Underwood High School senior Ashley Samuelson has verbally committed to attend Colorado State University and play Division I Women's Basketball.|
The standout athlete made the decision after making a visit to the school earlier this fall. The letter signing dates are November 10 through 17. I'm sure Ashley will be glad to have the decision behind her as she enters post season volleyball competition and the high school girls basketball season. She in definitely one of the exceptional high school athletes in the state and will be an asset to the Colorado State program.
Former Fergus Falls diver Kristina Kessel is diving this year for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The Lady Spartans will participate in the MCCC State Volleyball Tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Northland Community College in Thief River Falls. They will be in a pool with RIverland, Central Lakes and Itasca. Rochester, Rainy River, Ridgewater and Northland are in the other pool. The Spartans will be hosting the NJCAA Region XIII Volleyball Tournament November 5 and 6 at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.
MSCTC takes an 8-0 conference record and a 24-5 overall record into the post season. MSCTC has the top two leaders in attacks in the latest conference statistics as Kerri Holtz (.289 kill percentage) and Kelli Baumgartner (.256 kill percentage) are at the top of the list. Baumgartner's kill per game average of 2.45 is second in the state and Tammy Kuechle is fifth in that categor with a 2.04 average. Baumgartner is third in the state in digs per game (3.03) and Angie Nies is fifth with three per game. Sophomore Laura Herbranson is fourth in serving aces per game and Holtz is sixth, while setter Nell Amundson is fourth with 5.32 assists per game.
The Red Sox have completed the most unlikely comeback in Major League Baseball history by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. The Red Sox were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the ALCS when they started their incredible comeback story, winning the final four games of that series and then extending their post season winning streak to eight games with the sweep of the Cards. The 'Curse of the Bambino' is over and Red Sox Nation is celebrating.
|Monday, October 25, 2004|
|Walvatne & Bezek Wrap up College Golf Seasons|
|The Fall College golf season has ended and a couple of former Fergus Falls golfers have wrapped up their competition until spring.|
The U of M Crookston Men's Golf team finished third of five teams at the NSIC Men's Golf Championship and were only one stroke behind second place Bemidji State. Former Hillcrest Lutheran Academy golfer Lance Walvatne, a sophomore for the Golden Eagles, was named to the NSIC All-Conference Men's Golf Team.
Walvatne placed seventh at the NSIC Men's Golf Championship at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker, on October 8-9. Walvatne shot rounds of 79 and 76 for a total of 155.
Former Fergus Falls Otter Brooke Bezek is a member of the Buena Vista University women's golf team which fell shy of defending its Iowa Conference championship earlier in October. The Beavers placed third after the 72-hole tournament, 40 strokes behind conference champion Wartburg.
Buena Vista shot by far its highest round of the tournament on Saturday at Ellis Park Golf Course in Cedar Rapids, site of the final 36 holes of the tournament. The Beavers shot a 345 to give them a three-day total of 1330. A day earlier the team had played the course in 326 strokes.
Wartburg won the team competition with a score of 1290 and a fourth round total of 337. Simpson placed second with 1320 total shots over the four-round tournament. The Storm, which started the day just two strokes ahead of Buena Vista, recorded a round of 1320.
Bezek tied for 23rd with a stroke total of 356. 315 was the winning individual total.
Bezek's best rounds in competition this fall were an 84 at the Loras Invitational and an 86 at the Luther College Invite where she tied for 22nd place.
Bezek competed at the Class AA Minnesota State Girls Golf Tournament last spring.
|Sunday, October 24, 2004|
|Cobbers Still Unbeaten|
|The Concordia football team is still unbeaten after their 34-23 win over Bethel on Saturday in Moorhead. I know a lot of people from the Fergus Falls area were at that game since it featured many former Otters and Comets on the two teams' rosters.|
Fergus Falls graduate Kirby Carr had a big day for the Royals making eight solo and fifteen total tackles from his linebacker spot.
Luke Draxten has been very effective as the Cobbers punter and he averaged 34.4 yards per punt on his seven punts Saturday.
Battle Lake high school graduate Travis Christenson scored a touchdown on a five yard run for Concordia.
With the high school football and volleyball playoffs starting this week you can stay on top of the local teams by checking out www.mwspn.com . There's a link to the site at the top of each page of www.craigolsonsports.com . Section brackets are updated as games are played, so check it out.
Here is a preview of what's coming up in the football playoffs on Tuesday. In Section 3 of 9-Man, Ashby is seeded second and will host Lincoln HI/Lake Benton and Brandon/Evansville is seeded fifth and will play at Lakeview. Wheaton is the number seed and will play a home game against C-G-B. Number 3 Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross will host Hancock.
Underwood got the number four seed in Section 4 of 9-Man and will play at Holy Trinity on Tuesday night. Top-seeded Verndale hosts Eagle Valley and number two Bertha-Hewitt is home to Laporte.
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy is seeded first in Section 6 of 9-Man and will entertain Norman County West. Second seeded Ulen-Hitterdal is playing at home against Win-E-Mac.
The Ottertail Central Bulldogs are seeded second in Section 6A and will host Sebeka on Tuesday night. Top-seeded Browerville is home to Pillager, fifth seeded New York Mills goes to Nevis and number three Parkers Prairie is home to Menahga.
The Agassiz Valley Thunder, seeded eighth in 8A, will play at top-seeded Clearbrook-Gonvick.
West Central Area got number one in 6AA and will play a home game in Barrett against Renville County West while second seeded Benson entertains Breckenridge.
In 8AAA Pelican Rapids travels to Warroad as the number five seeded taking on number four and Perham is at home as the third seed, taking on Pequot Lakes.
For the sixth-seeded Fergus Falls Otters, they are at Alexandria ini 8AAAA play. Number five Detroit Lakes travels to Thief River Falls to face the fourth-seeded Prowlers. Number one Sartell hosts Sauk Rapids-Rice and number two Rocori is home to Little Falls.
High school members of the Fergus Falls Skating Club will now be eligible to letter through the Fergus Falls High School. The extra curricular activities committee recently approved figure skating as a varsity lettering activity. Skaters will need to participate in 150 hours of practice and performances. The hours will include practice time, figure skating competitions, US Figure Skating test sessions, exhibitions and ice show performances. They will also need to obtain certain levels under the FF skating club guidelines. Qualifying studetns must be in grades 9-12 at FFHS and be a member in "good standing" with the Fergus Falls Skating Club.
|Friday, October 22, 2004|
|Hensch is an MVP, Cobbers vs. Bethel|
|NDSCS Volleyball player Tanya Hensch, a 2003 Fergus Falls High School graduate has been named the MVP of the Mon-Dak Conference. |
Hensch, a 5’10” sophomore Middle Hitter led the Lady Wildcats with 290 kills, 134 blocks and a .271 hitting percentage. Her teammate Alain Adams, a 5’8” sophomore Out Side Hitter from Halstad, joins Hensch as an All-Conference team member.
The Concordia versus Bethel football game on Saturday afternoon in Moorhead will certainly have a Fergus Falls flavor to it. Bethel has three former Otters, Kirby Carr, Brandon Carr and Jared Bangs on the roster, along with former Hillcrest Comets Steve Moline and Luke Hansen. Concordia has four former Otters including punter Luke Draxten, a senior, sophomores Scott Masten and Mitch Gabrielson and freshman Shane Garrahan on their roster.
The Cobbers also have former Ottertail Central Bulldogs Travis Christenson, who starts in the backfield, Dave Moll and Aaron Boyum on the squad, along with former Underwood standout Ben Aakre. Senior offensive lineman Wade Thompson of Pelican Rapids is another area player on the Cobbers.
Concordia is 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the MIAC after their thrilling 21-20 win over St. John's at Collegeville last Saturday. Draxten had two punts that died at the 3 and 1 yard lines in that contest. Christenson ran for 66 yards on 15 carries and caught a pass for 22 yards. Aakre and Moll were each in on two tackles in the game.
Bethel is off to a tough start with a 3-3 overall record and a 2-2 MIAC record. Kirby Carr is a starting outside linebacker, while Brandon Carr is seeing action in the defensive secondary and returning some kicks. Bangs has seen limited action in the backfield. I know a lot of Fergus Falls people are heading over to Moorhead for the game on Saturday afternoon.
The seventh-seeded Buffalo Bison boys soccer team advanced to the Class AA state boys soccer tournament after beating Moorhead on Tuesday 3-0 and then Elk River 2-1 on Thursday night in the Section 8AA championship match. This is the first time a number seven seed has done what they have done. The Bison started their improbable run with a 4-3 overtime shootout win in Fergus Falls in the section quarterfinals.
"It gives us one more thing to feel good about regarding our season," said Fergus Falls head coach Scott Bjerke. "We played them tougher than anyone else and we were that close to winning against them. For how young and inexperienced we were we take that as a compliment to our program."
|Monday, October 18, 2004|
|Jungle Boy Tastes International Success|
|Zach "Jungle Boy" Walters made his international boxing debut in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Saturday and it was very successful.|
Jason "The Saint" St. Louis of Red Deer, Alberta, a former mixed martial arts champion with various titles in Muay-Thai kick boxing, was hoping to seek a title in professional boxing. Walters stopped that dream.
Only a minute into the first round, Zach had begun to land significant body shots and started an aggressive attack to the head of the home town Canadian. Then Walters dropped 'The
Saint' to one knee with a flurry of punches, but the referee ruled it a slip. St. Louis was unable to defend himself against another Jungle Boy onslaught and went down again this
time complaining about his wrist. Supposedly he had fallen on it and thought it was broken. After 'The Saint' convinced the referee he was unable to continue, Walters was awarded a TKO victory!! Following bout at the post fight physicals, the ring doctor couldn't find anything wrong with the wrist of St. Louis.
Zach's trainer, Sharky Horton, felt that St. Louis found a way to save face in eyes of his local followers which was smart considering that Walters was gaining momentum and could have seriously injured St. Louis had he not ended the fight himself.
Jungle Boy wanted to thank everyone back in the US saying, "It was a real pleasure being able to represent my country in Canada. This fight was a big step for me in my boxing career since it was my first international fight and I was fighting a local favorite. I want to say thanks to everyone back home for their support."
Walters has a fight scheduled on Friday night, October 29 in Rochester, Minnesota.
Carlos Beltran has been 'Bonds-like' in the post season. The Houston outfielder has hit eight home runs, tying bonds for the most roundtrippers hit in a single post season. The amazing thing about this accomplishment is the fact that Beltram has done it in nine games. Bonds set the record in 18 games. The Astros are currently tied with the Cardinals 2-2 in the NLCS, meaning there will be at least two more games for Beltran to set a new mark and possible as many as ten more playoff games if his team beats St. Louis and plays seven games in the World Series. He has also set a post season record by homering in five consecutive games. The Astros really need a win tonight in game five as the series will head back to St. Louis for game six and if necessary, game seven. At home, Houston has won 21 of their last 22 games. Incredible stuff.
David Ortiz was the hero on Sunday night. A twelfth inning two-run homer lifted the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the Yankees after a five-hour, two-minute ballgame and forced a fifth game in the ALCS at Fenway Park. Pedro Martinez against Mike Mussina, both on full rest. That's good because neither bullpen is in very good shape after the last two games. Can the Red Sox come all the way back and win this series? No. They just delayed the inevitable. This series will still be won by the Yankees although they may need to go back to New York to get it done. Pedro is a free agent and is tough in elimination games. Look for him to hold the Yankees down and for the Red Sox bats to provide some pop.
Daunte Culpepper has put up some tremendous numbers this season and Viking fans are still highly critical of his ability to win. 425 yards passing and five TD's yesterday against New Orleans. The third time this season he has thrown for five scores, something that has never been done in the history of the NFL by any quarterback. Not Johnny Unitas, not Fran Tarkenton, not Joe Montana, not John Elway, nobody. Daunte is in a class by himself and his career completion percentage of around 64% is among the best ever. Yes, he makes some poor decisions and has the ability to make mistakes that have a tendency to keep the opponent in the game, but I think the vast majority of teams in the league would trade their starting quarterback straight up for Daunte, no questions asked. Come to think of it, who would you trade him for? Peyton Manning would be about the only one I would consider, but Daunte's running ability and athleticism would make it very tough to pull the trigger. Manning does have the winner mentality and the confidence level of a hall of famer. Daunte may get there too, but stop the little victory roll dance. His current corps of receivers doesn't hurt, but with all the injury and eligibility problems in the backfield, even with teams gearing up to stop the pass, Culpepper is succeeding at a never before seen rate. Give the guy a break.
|Monday, October 11, 2004|
|Two Home Soccer Games for Comets|
|The High School Soccer Playoffs begin this week and the Hillcrest / Pelican Rapids Co-op teams will host games on Thursday and Saturday. The Fergus Falls boys play at home Saturday and the Otter girls travel to play DL on Thursday.|
Rod Jensen's Comet boys earned the number one seed in Section 8A and will play the winner of the Detroit Lakes versus Crookston game in the quarterfinals on Saturday at one o'clock on the Hillcrest field. As the top seed the Comets would have home field advantage through the Section championship game if they continued to win. Section semifinals are on Tuesday, October 19 with the championship set for Thursday, October 21.
For Rod Spidahl's Hillcrest / Pelican Rapids girls, the number eight seed has landed them a first round playoff game against Minnewaska Area on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. A win would put them up against top-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral in the Section 8A quarterfinals on Saturday at two o'clock in St. Cloud.
The Fergus Falls girls were seeded twelfth and will play at Detroit Lakes on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The Lakers were seeded fifth in Section 8A and will host the Otters on their field located behind the Minnesota State Community and Technical College campus in Detroit Lakes.
Since the Fergus Falls girls have a playoff game on Thursday, their regularly scheduled game with Moorhead has been canceled.
The Otter boys gained the number two seed in 8AA and will entertain Buffalo at the Middle School Field on Saturday at one p.m. A quarterfinal victory would give the Otters another home game on Tuesday, October 19 against the winner of the game between third seeded Moorhead and number nine, St. Cloud Apollo.
St. Cloud Tech received the top seed in Section 8AA boys soccer and Elk River is the number four seed. Bemidji, Apollo, Buffalo and Brainerd are seeded five through eight.
The Otter boys will travel to play Bemidji on Tuesday to close out the regular season. The game will have no bearing on the playoffs so the Otters will plan to play some starters who are nursing injuries sparingly, as well as sitting out goalie Joe Johnson as a pre-cautionary measure. Junior Justin
Dathe will play is his first ever varsity game in his place.
On Saturday, October 2 in Hinckley, Zach Walters won a second round TKO over Marris Virgil of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is now ranked 134 worldwide. His next match is October 15 in Calgary, Alberta. It's a long ways from home, so if anybody out there knows somebody in Calgary, ask them to go and cheer for Jungle Boy! His next Minnesota fight is Friday, October 29 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Check out the national coverage Fergus Falls received in the Water Skier Magazine after hosting the Water Skiers with Disabilities Tournament in August. You can see the article at...
Last week's Little Eight Player of the Week comes from a Volleyball powerhouse, the Underwood Rockets, and holds a new position to high school volleyball, that of the libero position. Megan Ness of the Rockets is a three year varsity starter who converted from a middle hitter to this very important position. Megan has led the Underwood Rocket's
defense this year from that position, as evidenced by her 38-38 serve receive last week with a 2.32 passing proficiency. She receives about 50% of the serves to her team and is praised by her Coach, Diane Ross, for her great focus and intensity in that back row. She came up with 24 digs against Battle Lake last week and followed that with 18 against
Megan is the daughter of Bruce and Brenda Ness and is a
senior at Underwood High School.
Titus Brue qualified as an alternate for the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament to be held in New York June 7-11, 2005. Brue, a Hillcrest Lutheran Academy graduate, golfing for the Spartans at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, was third in a playoff to determine the alternates and finished four shots out of a national tournament berth. His two day total of 164 was twenty behind the medalist, Kyle Peterson of Central Lakes Community College in Brainerd. Peterson won the top honor by six strokes of Ryan Nedlend of Madison Area Tech from Madison, Wisconsin. Central Lakes golfer Theo Frentzos qualified third with a 154 and John Bailey of Madison Area Tech was fourth with a 155.
Central Lakes won the MCCC State and Region XIII team title with a score of 611. Madison Area Tech was second with a 615 and Bismarck State took third with a 631.
|Wednesday, October 6, 2004|
|How about that defense!! Torii Hunter showed once again why he has won three consecutive Gold Gloves. A perfect throw to the plate to nail Jorge Posada and a great catch at the wall on a ball hit by Alex Rodriguez helped the Twins preserve a shutout and a 2-0 win over the Yankees in the opening game of the ALDS on Tuesday night.|
Jacque Jones, dealing with the death of his father, hit an opposite field homer and Shannon Stewart knocked in the other run. Two runs was all Johan (Cy) Santana needed, although he was in more trouble than we are used to seeing him in. The Twins pulled off a Division Series tying five DP's in the game. Joe Nathan took care of business in the ninth and the Twins are assured of at least a split of their two game series in New York.
Remember, last year they won the first game of the series and then went flat and lost three in a row. I don't think that will happen this year. Brad Radke has been throwing well of late and the Yankees just don't have the pitchers they have had. Radke will pitch game two against John Lieber and Carlos Silva is set up to throw game three on Friday night.
The big question that Ron Gardenhire will probably have to address is this: What about game four? If there is a game four in the series do you come back with Santana or do you use Terry Mulholland or Kyle Lohse and save Santana for a possible fifth game? My thoughts would be that if the Twins are up 2-1 going into game four, you save him for game five. That way, if you happen to sneak a win and take the series in four games, you have Santana ready to go for game one of the ALCS. If you lose game four in that scenario, you have Johan at Yankee Stadium for game five.
By the way, if anybody is interested, I pick Minnesota and Boston in the AL with the Twins to win the pennant, and St. Louis to battle Houston in the NL with the Cards to advance. Minnesota versus St. Louis (rematch of '87), with the Twins having home field advantage.
Heart O' Lakes Conference football statistics are out and West Central Area's Brady Schneeberger leads the conference with 710 yards rushing and is tied with Nick Torkildson of Pelican Rapids with 54 points scored. Mike Herrick of Breckenridge is the leading passer, having completed 53.2% of his attempts. He has thrown for a conference high 647 yards and seven TD's. He has also been picked off seven times. The Cowboys leading receiver, Tony Bogenreif is the leader with 477 yards on 26 catches and a whopping six TD's.
On defense, Ryan Kempf of Agassiz Valley leads the conference with 41 tackles, followed by Shawn Penke of West Central Area with 37.5 tackles and Herrick with 36.
Nathan Shulstad of Pelican Rapids has five sacks and Penke has four. Eric Januszewski of Pelican Rapids is the leader in interceptions with 5.
Perham has allowed the least amount of points with 17 and Frazee has allowed the most with 165. The team that has scored the most is Pelican Rapids with 122, followed closely by D-G-F with 115 points. D-G-F leads in total offense by ten yards over WCA 1283-1273. The Perham Yellowjackets are the stingiest defensive team, allowing only 17 points on the season.
Conference standings show West Central Area at 4-0 (5-0 overall), D-G-F is 4-0 (4-1), Perham and Pelican Rapids are both 4-1.
|Monday, October 4, 2004|
|Santana & Radke Need to Carry Twins|
|I am going to try my best to keep this positive. I am an extremely frustrated Twins fan right now. The way Ron Gardenhire managed this team over the last ten games has driven me nuts. |
I believe his decisions have cost the Twins home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs and has set the team up for a possible early exit from the American League playoffs. If the Twins are to do anything in the post season Johan Santana and Brad Radke are going to have to carry them. It's as simple as that.
I have harped about the emphasis on pitch count for years now. It seems that no matter what the circumstances in a particular game, the only thing that matters is how many pitches the starter has thrown. Forget the fact that he may be cruising through a lineup with ease and that the matchups ahead are favorable for the starting pitcher. It doesn't matter because he has thrown nearly 100 pitches!!! Oh, NO!!! If we don't get him out of there his arm is going to fall off or he will lose his effectiveness in his next start FIVE DAYS FROM NOW. This type of philosophy has never made sense to me and the way Gardenhire has used his pitching the last ten games makes absolutely no sense to me. I know the arguments, but I don't think they are very good ones.
I am particularly upset with the way he handled Santana and Radke's starts in New York last week. Here are the Twins battling for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs and also facing a potential playoff opponent, so what does Gardy do? He restricts his two best pitchers to five innings, no mattter what. The Twins needed to win a game or two at least in New York and they could have done it if not for this restriction. Both pitchers left with leads. Santana had a 3-1 advantage and Radke was ahead 3-2. Both were pitching well against a formidable lineup and both should have continued to pitch through at least seven innings, possibly eight. Instead, Gardenhire turns the ball over to a bullpen that has become increasingly ineffective (which is scary heading into the playoffs) and they proceed to lose the lead and eventually both games. As a result, the Yankees sweep the Twins. Tell me how restricting the innings helps Santana and Radke prepare for playoff starts? The Twins are going to need seven or eight innings out of both of them this week in New York. Doesn't it make sense to treat their last start before the post season just like a playoff start? I sure think so.
The cost could be high. Instead of opening the playoffs at home against the cursed Boston Red Sox, the Twins need to go to the home of the 26-time champion New York Yankees. Great. The Yankees have only beaten the Twins 20 of the last 23 times they have played them, and the first game starter, Mike Mussina has always dominated the Twins. Think back to 1987 and 1991. The Twins had a definite home field advantage at the Metrodome. Teams don't like to play there and I believe the Twins would have made quick work of the Red Sox even with Schilling and Martinez on the mound against Santana and Radke. I am not nearly as confident with the New York matchup. Don't get me wrong, the Twins can win this series, however, I firmly believe it's going to have to be behind some outstanding pitching performances by Santana and Radke. They need to pitch seven or eight innings, get to Rincon or Romero and then Nathan in the ninth. That's the formula that will give them an opportunity to win a short series with the Yanks. Since I can't go against them, Twins in five (I hope).
The rest of the playoffs? I really like the Angels right now. They are playing some outstanding baseball and they get the home field advantage in their series with the Red Sox. Anaheim in four games.
National League, St. Louis hosts Los Angeles. Cardinals are too much for the Dodgers. St. Louis in four games. The other series will be a dandy. WIld card qualifier Houston, winner of their last 18 home games, against the perennial World Series contender, the Atlanta Braves. I like Houston in five games. The Rocket will win game one in Atlanta but I think it will come down to splits at home for both teams and a decisive fifth game back in Atlanta with Clemens trying to wrap it up, which he will.
Stacy Busack has become the all time scoring leader in Fergus Falls girls swimming history. She passed Kayley Uvaas earlier this year and currently has 1,867 points. Busack, if she remains healthy, will become the first 2,000 point scorer in school history. Uvaas is second with 1,693.25 points. Susie Ouren is third with 1,370.25, followed by Jackie Sutor with 1,314 points and Kjersti Nelson is fifth with 1,311.25 points.
The standings in the Section 8 AAAA football race look like this. Sartell has 47 points, Rocori 46, Alexandria 32, Detroit Lakes 31, Fergus Falls 30, Little Falls 22, Thief River Falls 19 and Sauk Rapids-Rice 6. Teams are awarded ten points for a win over a 5A team, nine points for a win over a 4A team, eight points for a win over a 3A team, seven points for a win over a 2A team, one point if they lose to a 4A team and 2 points if they lose to a 5A team.