|Monday, November 29, 2004|
|Several young men from our area have had some pretty big thrills at the Metrodome in the past couple of weeks. Obviously, the Ottertail Central and Hillcrest football teams have been active on the turf, but a couple of young men have also been involved in exciting happenings at the Dome.|
Nine-year old Jordan Hein, a fourth-grader at Heart of the Lakes Elementary School in Perham, competed in the Punt, Pass and Kick competition prior to the Vikings game on Sunday, November 21. Jordan took first place in the 8 and 9 year old division at the local Jaycees sponsored competition on September 1, was also first at the Sectional tournament in Brainerd and advanced to the Metrodome by virtue of placing in the top five in his age group out of 20 sections in a five state area which includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Eastern Montana.
Hein was also first among the five at the Minnesota Vikings Team Championship and is awaiting word as to whether or not his total distance qualifies among the top four in the country. If it does, he will participate in the National Competition at an AFC Playoff game this season. Jordan competed in sectionals last year but just missed getting to the Dome. His older brother, Jesse, was a sectional contestant when he was nine years old, but a bicycle accident prevented him from competing.
The other excitement occurred this past Sunday, November 28, when Ottertail Central quarterback/defensive back Kyle Belmont was among the thirty high school football players recognized by the Minnesota Vikings as members of their all-state football team. Belmont received his award at half time of the Vikings game against Jacksonville.
By the way, OTC's involvement in the football playoffs has affected some winter sports activities. The Underwood versus Henning basketball game has been rescheduled for January 7. It was originally set for Tuesday, November 30. The wrestling match between OTC and Fergus Falls has been moved from November 30 to December 14. Two Battle Lake boys basketball games have had to be rescheduled. The November 30 game with New York Mills will be played at a later date and the December 6 game against Brandon-Evansville has been moved to January 15. Problems that the winter sports coaches don't mind dealing with after the great fall the Bulldogs enjoyed on the gridiron. Winning is contagious and a successful fall usually leads to a successful winter season.
G.J. Schmid's Pelican Rapids girls cross country team has done it again. The team was named the Academic State Champions in Class A for the second consecutive year. The team had four members who are number one in class rank and another who was ranked third. Members of the team are Angie Magnusson, Kate Westby, Sally Perrin, Steph Sorensen, Ashley Sumpter, Kristin Westby, Chelsea Bjerke and Haley Hoyer. Way to go girls!
|Tuesday, November 23, 2004|
|What a Shame|
|What a shame. The scenes from Friday night's NBA game between Detroit and Indiana will be forever etched in the minds of everyone who has seen the video over and over and over again. Enough already. |
Ron Artest crossed the line. Big time. Nothing good is going to come from going into the crowd. A 'fan' (?) threw a cup of beer at Artest as he was laying on a table along the sideline after committing a hard foul against Ben Wallace of the Pistons. Artest was struck by the beverage and went berserk. Instead of getting security to handle the problem in the stands, he decided to create an enormous problem by taking matters into his own hands. Never mind the fact that he wasn't sure who the culprit was. Witnesses say Artest knocked down a fan and as he was pushing him and attempting to strike him was asking if he had thrown the cup. Well, since he was holding a cup in his hands, probably not. What ensued was bedlam. The NBA, its players and some of its fans, have gotten out of control. It was also despicable to see fans shower Artest and the Pacers with beverages, food, anything they could throw, as they left the court.
Hats off to David Stern, the NBA commissioner, on handing out stiff penalties. He had to do what he did. His league is in big trouble and he knows it. If that incident doesn't negatively affect attendance at NBA games I will be shocked. What parents want to take their children into an environment like that? Did you see the young boy being comforted by his mom? Crying at what he was seeing.
Why do professional sports league not do a better job of controlling and limiting beer sales? That's one way to prevent fans from becoming unruly. It's ridiculous. I have been to countless professional sporting events and have been surrounded on more occasions than I care to remember by people who as the game went on had enormous amounts of beer. I don't know where they put it all. In nearly every case, these fans become loud and obnoxious and use language and behavior not suited for family viewing. Teams and leagues need to control this situation better than they do.
Criminal charges will probably and should probably be brought against the players involved and the fans involved. There is no excuse for that type of behavior. None. The NBA and other pro sports leagues need to get a grip on their players and the fans need to know that just because they paid for a ticket they aren't allowed to do anything they want to do. They still need to behave in a civilized manner. As a fan, you have the right to cheer for your team. You can even boo occasionally. You don't have the right to throw things at people, fans or players. There is a thing called sportsmanship and it is sadly missing at all levels of athletics.
I witnessed this first hand at the Class A girls state volleyball tournament a couple of weeks ago. While waiting for the Underwood game to begin I was sitting in front of a student cheering section for one of the 3A schools competing in the game on the court. A group of ten or twelve students were totally out of line in the way they were conducting themselves. They weren't cheering for their team, they were belittling the playerse on the opposing team constantly. Using sexual innuendo, personal attacks, name calling, insults, it was unbelievable. I have never heard anything like it in my 30-plus years of covering state events. After reporting it to the MSHSL officials, the school Activities Director was called over to the area to supervise the crowd for the rest of the contest. As soon as she wandered away, the kids were at it again. What is going on? What happened to respect for others? What happened to the Golden Rule? If those things are considered old fashioned or out of date, then we have deep problems. If kids see events unfold like they did in Detroit the other night, those problems will only get worse.
|Saturday, November 13, 2004|
|Carr's Drive Bethel Win|
|Fergus Falls High School graduates Kirby Carr and Brandon Carr were the driving force behind Bethel's 28-17 MIAC win over Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday. Between them they had four interceptions and 14 tackles as the Royals ended their season with a 6-4 overall record, 5-3 in the MIAC.|
Brandon, a freshman, was making his first varsity start in the defensive secondary. He made the most of the opportunity with three interceptions, two of them stopping Gustavus drives at the 12 and 22 yard lines. He returned the three picks a total of 50 yards and also recorded a sack among his six tackles. Brandon also returned two kick-offs for 69 yards, one of them a 58 yard return.
Kirby, a sophomore, made eight tackles on the day and scored the first touchdown when he picked off a pass at the Bethel 15 yard line and raced 85 yards for the score.
Another former Otter, freshman Jared Bangs, made a special teams tackle on a kick-off return for the Royals.
Former Hillcrest Comet and MSCTC Spartan receiver Luke Hansen caught one pass for 14 yards in the season finale for Bethel.
Another former Hillcrest and MSCTC football player, Sam Townsend, a sophomore at Northwestern College in Roseville, has been named to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference first defensive team. Townsend has recorded 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his first year as a member of the Eagles. He was named Northern Division Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the University of Minnesota, Morris on October 16th.
Amanda Jensen, a Hillcrest alum, was a UMAC first team all-conference selection in Women's Soccer. Jensen, a sophomore midfielder is an all-conference honoree for the second consecutive season. She received second-team NAIA all-Regional honors in 2003 and could do even better this year. Jensen is touted as arguably the best midfielder in the UMAC.
Here's an update on former Fergus Falls High School boys soccer players:
At Concordia, junior goalkeeper Nic Pickett has been named to the MIAC all-conference team. Nik played in 17 games and compiled a save percentage of .701. Matt Klein, a freshman forward, scored 3 goals and notched 2 assists for the Cobbers.
Freshman Jack Underwood played a ton of minutes on the Gustavus-Adolphus JV soccer team, whose varsity club won the MIAC title.
Junior Cory Jacklitch played in 14 games for UW-Superior scoring ten goals this fall and leading the team in scoring.
Senior Matt Haws played in 17 games for St. John's scoring 5 goals and notching 3 assists.
Thanks to Otter head coach Scott Bjerke for the updates.
The Concordia football team won their tenth straight game, the first time since 1969 they have won ten straight to start a season, when they beat Menlo College of California 30-0 in the Fargodome on Saturday afternoon. Menlo College hadn't been shutout in 52 straight games. It was the Cobbers second shutout of the season. Punter Luke Draxten had five punts for 170 yards, a 34-yard per kick average, and nailed three inside the 20 yard line. His longest punt of the day was for 46 yards. Running back Travis Christensen from Battle Lake ran the ball nine times for 58 yards and caught one pass. Andrew Passanante from Hawley joined his coach, Terry Horan as the only two receivers in Cobber history to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. The Cobbers learn who they play in the first round of the playoffs when the selection process is completed on Sunday.
|Tuesday, November 9, 2004|
|Comets Get Good News on the Injury Front|
|Hillcrest Lutheran Academy head football coach Richard Risbrudt shared good news concerning injuries to Hillcrest players. Both Treston Wold and Spencer Endrud have been given the green light to play in the 9-Man State quarterfinal game against AlBrook on Friday at 5:00 p.m.|
"They both went to the Sports Clinic in Fargo yesterday and got specific information on how they should handle their injuries, but as of right now, it sounds like they both will dress and play," Risbrudt said.
Both players had initially been told they would be sidelined for 3 to 4 weeks. Wold had a “bubble pad” made. This device goes underneath his shoulder pads, so he can play.
Peter Krog sprained his thumb a couple of games ago and said it hurt bad in the 1st half of the Ulen game on Friday. The second half he said it was fine and it appears to have been healed, so he will also be available.
The starting time of the Hillcrest playoff game has been moved up to five o'clock on Friday from the previously scheduled time of seven p.m.
Bethel College freshman Brandon Carr from Fergus Falls, has been named the MIAC special teams player of the week. Brandon recorded 3 tackles on special teams, had an interception while in on defense, and caught a 50-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt attempt in the third quarter to give Bethel the lead over Augsburg 14-10. This was the turning point of the game as Bethel then scored the next 10 points to win 24-10.
Former Hillcrest and MSCTC receiver Luke Hansen caught a 36 yard pass in the Royals win and former Otter Kirby Carr caught one for 30 yards. Both Carr's had five tackles in the game, each recording four solo tackles and assisting on a fifth.
Concordia College senior wide receiver Andrew Passanante from Hawley, caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in Concordia's 50-7 win over St. Olaf on Saturday. His 30.8 yards per catch average was the highest of the season for Passanante and it was the fourth highest yards per catch average in school history. It was his fifth game of the season with more than 100 receiving yards and third multiple touchdown game. His first touchdown covered 40 yards, and he had to out jump and then outwrestle the St. Olaf defensive back for the ball. His second TD of the game went for 80 yards. It is the longest play of the season for the Cobbers and fourth longest play from scrimmage in school history.
Another Cobber senior, running back Travis Christensen from Battle Lake, ran for 44 yards on 9 carries and scored on a 9-yard touchdown run.
Isaac Flenner and Zach Vertin from Breckenridge are senior members of the St. John's football team. Flenner, a tight end, has caught 29 passes for 271 yards. Vertin has completed 3-of-12 passes for 8 yards in minimal playing time. Former Ashby standout Nate Novak is a freshman for the Johnnie's.
Liz Glesne, the former Underwood Rocket standout, just completed her freshman season of volleyball at Bethel College, leading the Royals in kills with 363, 3.36 per game. Glesne is also going to play basketball this winter. In fact, the Lady Royals will be in California for a tournament over Thanksgiving. JoLynn Thielke, a sophomore guard from Hancock, is also a member of the Royals Women's Basketball squad.
Jen Glesne, another Underwood grad, just wrapped up her junior year with the Carthage College Women's Volleyball team. Carthage is located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jen saw limited playing time, appearing in 9 matches. She is a double major in business administration and marketing and has made the College dean's list four straight semesters.
|Sunday, November 7, 2004|
|Post Season Success Continues|
|Several area teams have continued their post season success and attained state tournament berths, or in the case of the Lady Spartans volleyball team, a national tournament berth.|
MSCTC defeated Rochester in five games on Saturday to win the Region 13A title and qualify for a return trip to the NJCAA Division III national tournament on Friday and Saturday in Rochester. Last year the Lady Spartans were national tournament runners-up. Sophomores Kelli Baumgartner, Laura Herbranson, Tammy Kuechle, Laura Geeslin and Nell Amundson were all a part of the 2003 team and wanted a return trip badly. Now they have their chance to chase a national title once again. Pool play begins on Friday morning at eleven and the championship match is slated for Saturday at four o'clock.
Baumgartner, Herbranson and freshman Kerri Holtz were all named to the all-tournament team over the weekend. Baumgartner was also named All MCCC first team. Holtz and Amundson made the second team.
Underwood is heading back to state in volleyball for a fourth straight season. This group of seniors has been a part of the state tournament every year of their high school careers and now Ashley Samuelson, Mary Hamann, Megan Ness and Sarah Stroschein are leading their team into this weekend's tournament as the tenth ranked team in the final Class A poll.
This past week saw two of the four reach milestones for their careers as Hamann passed the 2,000 set assist mark and Ness recorded her 1,000th dig.
Familiarity with the surroundings and previous state tournament experience will certainly be to the Rockets advantage. Their first round draw is a tough one, Fosston. The Greyhounds don't have Kelly Roysland anymore but they are still a top contender for a state title. The action begins at one o'clock Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center and you can follow the Rockets on the radio. Groovy 1020, KJJK AM will carry all of their tournament games.
Hillcrest continues to dominate opponents on the football field and will face Albrook on the Comets field Friday night. I still think Hillcrest will make it to the Prep Bowl, although it will certainly get more difficult with each week. I think they'll handle Albrook by three touchdowns but will have a battle in the semi's with whoever wins between Wheaton and Bertha-Hewitt. That should be a great high school football game.
Ottertail Central dismantled Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in the second week of the season and will probably be able to handle them again this week in Battle Lake. The Bulldogs are my pick to win the Class A state title. They are clicking on all cylinders as the old saying goes.
What a tremendous finish for Terry Harrington, Niki Welde and the Otter girls cross country team. Seventh in the state. Outstanding! A perfect way for Terry to go out as head cross country coach at Fergus Falls. Great finish for senior Emily Winans, too. She earned all-state honors with her 13th place finish. Sam VanWechel had a tremendous senior year, too and the two of them were key to the success of this team over the last two seasons. Great leaders. The fact that everyone else is an underclassman means that 2005 will be just as exciting and holds a lot of promise!! It will be fun to watch these girls compete in the track and field season this spring.
Our best to Tom Uvaas and the Otter girls swimming and diving team as they enter the Section 2A meet next weekend. The Otters have high hopes and several of them will move on to the state meet, including at least one and maybe two relay teams. This is an exceptional group of athletes and their expectations of themselves is high. Stacy Busack is their leader, but they have all challenged themselves consistently and met the challenges all year long. This will be a fun few weeks to follow their progress. Coach Uvaas will be with me on Talkin' Sports on AM 1250, KBRF, Thursday morning at 7:20 to preview the section meet. Tune us in!!!
Colts 48, Vikings 35. That's my pick for Monday night football. Neither team plays very good defense against good offensive football teams. Peyton Manning may even put up more points than that. The Vikes need Randy Moss in the lineup and they need Daunte Culpepper on his game. I just don't see Indy losing three in a row, especially since they are at home.
|Wednesday, November 3, 2004|
|Blizzard to Hit Fergus Falls Saturday|
|The Minnesota Blizzard will play the Bismarck Bobcats on Saturday night at seven o'clock at the Fairgrounds Ice Arena in Fergus Falls.|
The Blizzard will be teaming up with the Fergus Falls Youth Hockey Association and invite all hockey fans to enjoy a night of NAHL Junior 'A' Hockey. Bismarck was last season's Western Division Tourney Champ took second in the National Tournament.
All proceeds from concessions will belong to the Fergus Falls Hockey Association. Tickets are eight dollars and are available in advance at Lakes Radio or Minnesota Motors. Tickets will also be available at the door on Saturday night.
Fergus Falls will host the North sub-section 8AAA volleyball semifinal contest between Perham and Moorhead at seven o'clock Thursday night at the High School gymnasium. FFHS will also be the site of the Section 8AAA championship game on Saturday night at seven p.m. If you want to see some good tournament volleyball, take in that Perham versus Moorhead game.
First year head coach Hal Johnson of the Fergus Falls girls tennis team announced his award winners recently. Ashley Bremseth, who will return as a senior captain next year, received the award as Most Spirited team member, Anna Fournier, a senior, won the Most Improved Player award and Lexie Moon, a sophomore who rose from number three doubles last year to number two singles this year, was voted the Most Valuable Player on the team. Ashley Walvatne will join Bremseth as a co-captain.
The Otter girls had a combined GPA of 3.66 for the last quarter with ten girls achieving a 3.95 or higher GPA and three girls posting a 4.0. Seventeen girls were awarded varsity letters and twelve others received participation certificates.
Pelican Rapids and D-G-F wound up 6-1 in Heart O' Lakes Conference football with West Central Area third at 5-2. Pelican Rapids scored the most points in the conference, 199, while Perham allowed the fewest points, only 47.
Pelican Rapids was the top passing team in the conference with 1,001 yards and Perham ran for 1,685 yards to lead the HOL in rushing. Breckenridge had 2,403 total yards, ranking first. Defensively, Perham allowed only 753 yards. D-G-F was second, allowing 1,089 yards.
Mike Herrick of the Breckenridge Cowboys was the leading passer in the conference with a 51.3% completion percentage, and Tyler Scott threw for 1,001 yards and tossed fourteen touchdown passes, both conference highs.
Brady Schneeberger was the leading rusher in the HOL with 790 yards and 113 carries. He also scored 10 TD's. Andy Muller of Breckenridge was second with 647 yards on 93 carries, scoring 8 touchdowns.
Nick Torkildson scored five rushing touchdowns, six receiving touchdowns and two touchdowns on kick returns to lead the conference in scoring withs 78 points, eighteen ahead of Schneeberger.
Tony Bogenreif of the Cowboys caught 36 passes for 684 yards and eight TD's to top all receiver categories. Nathan Shulstad of Pelican Rapids had 24 catches for 376 yards and five TD's.
Defensive leaders were Ryan Kempk of Agassiz Valley with 72.5 total tackles, 47 of which were solo tackles, Shawn Penke of West Central Area with 59.5 total tackles and the Cowboys Herrick with 45 solo's and 53.5 total tackles.
Eric Januszewski of Pelican Rapids had five interceptions and Justin Brantner of D-G-F picked off four passes.
Brett Summerville of Breckenridge had a conference high 7 sacks and Matt Richter of Perham had 5.5.
|Monday, November 1, 2004|
|Quenette and Larson Inducted|
|Former Moorhead High School boys basketball coach Bill Quenette and former Fergus Falls and Underwood boys basketball coach Ron Larson were among the five individuals inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame over the weekend.|
Quenette was the head boys basketball coach at Moorhead from 1968-1982. Coach Quenette also served stints as a basketball, football, and baseball coach at Concordia College and Peninsula Jr. College. Coach Quenette's 1969 Moorhead squad won a Region 8 championship and moved on to earn a runner-up finish in the 1968 State Tournament. He also led the Spuds to a Section championship and State Tournament appearance in 1981. In addition to his head coaching accomplishments, Bill has played a key role in six Moorhead state tournament appearances as an assistant coach and was recognized by his coaching peers as the State AA Assistant Coach of the Year. He also earned Section Coach of the Year honors as a head coach. Coach "Q" coached high school basketball for over 40 years and compiled an overall record of 211-91 as a head coach. Bill is a lifetime member of the MSHCA and the MBCA. Following his retirement from teaching, Coach Quenette continued to serve in the role of #1 assistant coach for the highly respected and successful Moorhead program.
Larson has been a head basketball coach at Underwood, Braham, Fergus Falls, and St. Francis for 32 years, including the past 23 at St. Francis. Larson coached St. Francis to Section championships and state tournament berths in 1989-90, 1998-99, and 1999-2000. His Saints have also earned seven Section runner-up finishes and several North Suburban Conference crowns during his tenure. Coach Larson has been recognized by his peers as the Section Coach of the Year three times and Section Athletic Director of the year in 1999-2000. Ron served as an All Star game coach in 1990. Coach Larson had an overall record of 428-270 entering the 2003-04 season. In additon to his coaching prowess, Larson is a 30 year member of the MBCA serving as a section rep. prior to assuming the role of the MBCA Clinic Director eight years ago. Ron is also recognized for his contributions as a leader and participant on leadership teams, educational task forces, and a variety of committees at the local, regional, and state levels.
Barnesville setter Sasha Berg might have torn a few ligaments in her ankle when she was injured during the Underwood Tournament on OCtober 21. She missed the first two playoff games for the Lady Trojans and her ability to play in the Sub-Section Championship is uncertain at this time. According to her coach, Mark Quenette, she did try to warm-up with the team on Friday night but still couldn't put much weight on it. Quenette is also uncertain of the ability of Katie Hoffbeck to play next week. Hoffbeck was injured in the first playoff game on Thursday night. "Although these gals are sidelined, my sophomore setter Val Fankhanel and sophomore left hitter Jaynie Herbranson have been outstanding for me," said Quenette. "I don't think we have a weak link on our team. It's been sad to see that the seniors aren't playing but at the same time, this is a great experience for the young sophomore girls!"