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Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Craigs Corner 3/29/04 - 4/04/04
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
There was no stopping Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville on Tuesday night as the Lady Gophers held off top-seeded Duke to win the Mideast Regional Title in the NCAA Women's basketball tournament, 82-75.

This team has captured the hearts of Minnesota basketball fans. They play an exciting brand of team basketball. Whalen makes them click, but they all fulfill their roles exceptionally well. They played with confidence and were very loose throughout the game against the Blue Devils. Even when Duke seemed to get the calls and caught the Lady Gophers at 59-59, they didn't miss a beat. What an entertaining team to watch! Look out UConn! This is the first time a Minnesota women's basketball team has reached the Final Four and they will make the Huskies work for a win in New Orleans.

Tennessee held off a stubborn Stanford team 62-60 to join LSU, UConn and the U of M in the Final Four field. The semifinals are Sunday and the championship game on Tuesday. If you haven't seen this team play, check them out on Sunday. If you have, I know you wouldn't miss it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The Major League Baseball season has started. It doesn't really seem like it, but the Yankees and Devil Rays opened the season overnight in Japan with Tampa Bay handing New York an 8-3 setback.

The two teams play again early Wednesday morning (4:00 a.m. Central) before heading back to the states for the rest of the season, which begins Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for the other teams.

The Twins open at home this season, taking on the Cleveland Indians at 7:10 p.m. Monday at the Metrodome. I always like it when Minnesota opens on the road, for purely selfish reasons. Since I have attended 18 of the last 23 home openers, I have kind of made it a tradition to be at their first home game of the season. The bad part about that tradition is this: When they play opening day at home, I miss out on watching several other opening day games on ESPN! Opening Day is like a holiday to me. I love sitting in front of ESPN and watching game after game, flipping channels between the Free Baseball Preview on DirecTV, and just losing myself in baseball games for a couple of days. When the Twins open their season with a home game, that cuts into my viewing time of other games. Travel to the game takes 3 hours out of my TV time, attending the game makes me a captive to that one game instead of being able to follow several, and then we have to travel 3 more hours to get home, eliminating any chance of watching West Coast openers. If they open on the road, I can catch all of the other openers and then see the Twins home opener the following week in person. It's just a lot better that way when you are a hopeless baseball fanatic like me. Okay, I'm done whining! I am just so excited that the season is here! Seven months of baseball lies ahead!

With all of this in mind, I had best get into my preparation for Fantasy Baseball! Our league holds its annual auction on Sunday and it is a challenge. Fantasy sports has become more popular than the real thing for a lot of people. They live and die with their fantasy team, not their real team. I know several people who don't give a rip about how the Twins do, just so their fantasy guys excell! Even at the expense of their favorite team!! One of the good things about fantasy sports is the fact that fans actually get to know some of the players from other teams and develop a keen interest in following how they are doing, which in turn, educates them on the other teams and players in the league, hopefully creating more interest in the sport. Fantasy sports also allow us to be in control of a roster of major league players, making lineups that we think will give us a chance to win against the other teams in our league. Of course, we openly chastise and criticize major league managers for their decisions to play or not play our guys, and to develop love-hate relationships for our players based on how they are performing at any given time. We have a great group of guys in our league and have been going at it for about twenty years now, so it's a lot of fun. I don't have a lot of fantasy dollars to spend, but I will order the pizza for our six-plus hours of fantasy auction excitement!
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Craigs Corner 3/22/04 - 3/28/04
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Kirby Carr and Mike Gaustad are enjoying baseball life in the MIAC. The two freshman members of the Bethel Royals baseball team have been in Fort Myers, Florida for the past week and their team is off to a tremendous start with ten wins in twelve games.

Carr is the starting centerfielder for the Royals and has been swinging the bat very well, as well as patrolling the outfield very efficiently. Gaustad has been alternating between DH and playing second base. He has also gotten off to a solid start at the plate and in the field. No current stats have been posted on the Bethel website, but I'm sure after the team returns home from Florida we'll see them updated. Through two games Carr was 3-for-6 with a double, a pair of RBI and a run scored, and Gaustad was 1-for-3 with a run scored. It should be fun to follow their progress this season.

Another former Otter, Troy Wasiloski, who we wrote about last week, was named the NCC Player of the Week for his outstanding play the week of March 15 through 21. Wasiloski, a sophomore, hit .520 (13/25) in six Florida games where UND posted a perfect 6-0 mark. Wasiloski chalked up two doubles, a triple and three homeruns while scoring six runs and knocking in 16.

The Fighting Sioux are 12-5 this season and Wasiloski is hitting .453 with eight doubles, one triple and six homers. He has driven home 31 runs and scored 18 times in 17 games. His slugging percentage is an impressive .891 and his on-base percentage is .493. Troy has 57 total bases on 29 hits in 64 at bats.

Brandon Goltz is scheduled to pitch today against SDSU in Brookings, South Dakota, as the NDSU Bison open NCC play this weekend. In four appearances, including one start, Goltz has an ERA of 10.80 and a 1-1 record. He has struck out four batters and walked four in six-and-two-thirds innings on the mound.

Jarrod Asmus, a former Spartan and a senior at NDSU, is also slated to pitch today in that double header against SDSU. Asmus is 1-3 in four starts with an 8.87 ERA. Asmus is a Morris High School graduate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Fergus Falls senior Mitch Leifert of the Fergus Falls boys basketball team is one of forty Minnesota players to be selected to one of four All-Star teams that will play a series of games in early April in St. Cloud and St. Paul.

A committee of coaches from around the state nominate players and make the final selections from among the nominations. Leifert's team will play on Friday, April 2 in St. Cloud and will play on Saturday, April 3 in St. Paul.

Other members of his team include Pat O'Bryant, Blaine; John Vaudreuil, Bloomington Jefferson; Matt Cadwell, Cretin-Derham Hall; Joe Mews, Faribault; Mitch Henke, Hopkins; Truc Ho, Mankato-Loyola; Jesse Becker, Osseo; Andrew Boldt, Stillwater; Eric Coleman, Tartan. Coaches are Mark Keiffer and Dan Eickhoff of Rochester Mayo.



Monday, March 22, 2004
Junior Will Sutor became an All-American in three different events at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in St. Louis, Missouri over the weekend. The Fergus Falls High School graduate is swimming at Gustavus-Adolphus, and enjoying great success.

Sutor was a member of the fifth place 200 freestyle relay team, the fifth place 400 freestyle relay team and the eighth place 400 medley relay team. Swimmers who finish in the top eight in their events at the national meet earn All-American status.

Will also competed as a member of the tenth place 200 medley relay team and the 14th place 800 freestyle relay team. He took eleventh place in the 100 butterfly, scoring some points for the Gusties in an individual event. Gustavus-Adolphus finished higher, ninth, than they have ever finished in this meet. They also scored a school high 119.5 points.

There is a lot of excitement building for Wednesday's Class AAA State Tournament quarterfinal game featuring the Fergus Falls Otters! The Otters, winners of 13 straight games, carrying a 22-3 record and a number two state ranking, will battle Red Wing at four o'clock Wednesday afternoon at Williams Arena. Red Wing is making their sixth straight state tournament appearance.

Tickets for the game will be available between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. Monay and Tuesday in the Fergus Falls High School entrance. The cost will be ten dollars for adults and seven dollars for students. Fans may also sign up for a spectator coach bus at a cost of twenty dollars. The bus will load at 11:30 Wednesday morning and depart at noon from the high school parking lot.

JK Sports has printed several shirts commemorating the Section 8AAA championship for the Otters. They have short sleeved and long sleeved t-shirts, crew neck and hooded sweat shirts available at their store and at the school. The profits from any item bought at JK Sports will be donated back to the boys basketball program at FFHS.

Lance Koplin of Ashby and Katie Stearns of Frazee were among the twenty-five juniors honored as 2004 ExCEL Award Winners between the Girls Class A and Class AA championship games on Saturday at Target Center. This program, sponsored by the MSHSL, is a unique recognition program designed exclusivelly for Minnesota High School juniors who are active in athletic and fine arts activities; who demonstrate leadership qualities; and who are model citizens in their community. Recipients are chosen through a multi-level process that involves League member schools and an independent panel of judges from schools throughout the state. Nominees must be a junior in high school, must be making satisfactory progress toward graduation requirements, must participate in a League-sponsored fine arts or athletics program and must be involved in a leadership position in a community organization, school or church. Congratulations to Lance and Katie for receiving this honor.

Kelsey Aakre, a senior member of the Barnesville girls basketball team, was the Region 6A girls finalist for the 2004 AAA Award and Cody Baxter of Hawley was the boys finalist. In 8AA, Adam Nelson of Fergus Falls High School and Maari Hanson of Little Falls were the finalists. The Academics, Arts & Athletics Awards is a recognition program sponsored by the MSHSL and its member schools, the Institute for Athletic Medicine and Minneapolis Sports Medicine Center.

Area officials who worked a state tournament game this year included Jack Appel, Browns Valley; Darwin Bachmann, Frazee; Terry Eiter, Detroit Lakes; John Klinnert, Underwood; Bill Mills, Glenwood; and Terri Strom, Brandon.

Underwood players Ashley Samuelson and Liz Glesne were named to the All-Tournament team. The team included four members of the champion Wabasso Rabbits, Katie Schumacher, Jessica VanLoy, Ashley Prokosch and Andrea Fennern. Rounding out the squad were Katie Ohm of Elgin-Millville; Katie Balzejak of Granada-Huntley-East Chain; Kylee Smith of Cromwell; and Ashley Langen of Kittson Central.

Samuelson, Langen, Blazejak and Ohm were also voted to the All-State team in Class A. Wabasso's Neil Dolan and Dave Foster of Cromwell, shared the Coach of the Year award.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Craigs Corner 3/15/03 - 3/21/03
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Okay, here we go!! State Tournament's are underway ... the Boys state tournament field will be filled in by Saturday ... the NCAA Tourney is going ... MARCH MADNESS IS HERE!

I'm looking forward to covering Underwood and Barnesville at the Class A State Tournament. Hopefully they both win their first round games Thursday afternoon at Williams Arena and play three games!!

First trip ever for the Rockets who have, arguably, one of the best players in their class and in the state, Ashley Samuelson. They also have a player who compliments her so well in Liz Glesne. Chuck Ross has several other girls on this team who fill their roles so well, and as he mentioned in an interview earlier this week, the girls have been stepping up their play at tournament time and providing even more than their average contributions. That's what it takes to become a champion!!

Barnesville is back at state for the first time since 1993. They are a strong team, featuring 1,000 point scorer Kim Lewis, who is headed for Northern State in Aberdeen to play some college ball. Freshman Erica Nord has had a tremendous year after moving to the point guard spot, replacing Cinnamon Kava, who moved to Texas over the summer. First year head coach Trevor Schneeberger has had great success with this team and having former head coach Karen Solum alongside him on the bench I'm sure has been extremely helpful! Good luck to the Lady Trojans and the Lady Rockets!! I'm hoping for an Underwood versus Barnesville final on Saturday at Target Center!

Barnesville, of course, is a member of the tough Heart O' Lakes Conference, which was won by the Hawley Nuggets with a perfect 18-0 conference record. Hawley won the Section 8AA crown and opened state tournament play against Rochester Lourdes on Wednesday night, beating the defending champion Eagles 29-27. Sophomore Kaitlynn Gottenborg hit a shot from the right side of the lane as time expired to lift the Nuggets to victory. She scored 12 points and Katie Walden, a junior, finished with 11 points. Bill Gottenborg's team is going to be hard to beat and with this win they have served notice to the tournament field that they are the favorites! Rochester Lourdes was making their third consecutive and 15th overall state tournament appearance, having won seven titles. The Nuggets are in their fourth straight tournament, but their first in 2A, after being moved up from Class A. It is their fifteenth overall appearance. They were the Class A runners-up a year ago and are looking for their first state championship.

The Fergus Falls boys basketball team will try for their thirteenth straight win when they play Willmar at St. Cloud State at six o'clock tonight. 21-3. WOW! What a great year for the Otters. One of the best in the history of the school. Coach Gary Schuler is to be commended for the way he has guided this team through their share of adversities this season. There is no doubt that this team has gotten better with each game. They have played some incredible basketball over the past two months and are on the verge of their first state tournament appearance since 1990. Coach Schuler is as dedicated as any coach, in any sport, in any school, anywhere, when it comes to sacrificing his personal time and energy to make sure his team is equipped with the knowledge they need to go to battle against any opponent. His thorough scouting reports, gathered by long trips and many hours in gymnasiums around the region, have helped prepare his team for each of their opponents. Obviously, he has done well, along with his assistant coaches, in putting together a game plan against each of those teams ... and his team has done well in executing those game plans! Look out Willmar!

This is the 20th anniversary of the 1984 state tournament season. I was visiting with a member of the Class of '84, Chris Wasberg about the roster for that team. Here's what he came up with and I think it's very accurate. If you know of anyone we missed, please e-mail me!! Len Kretchman, Tim Swenson, Tab Meyer, Brian Roers, Todd Johnson, Jon Thunselle, Todd Fjestad, Eric Linder, Kevin Kjellerup, Doug Weatherly, Steve Thom, Keith Pearson, Scott Grohn, Fred Schultz, Mark Fjestad. This was from memory, not checking any printed info from that year, so if there are omissions or inclusions that shouldn't be there, sorry! I sure remember it clearly, though. Keith Pearson at the point dribbling toward the right side of the floor as the clock ticked down from 15 seconds, following a time out, passing to Tim Swenson, who hit the baseline jumper as time ran out to beat St. Cloud Tech! How sweet it was!! That win put the Otters back in the state tournament for the first time since 1957 and started a run of three state appearances (1986, 1990) in seven years. Of course, Keith is now the varsity assistant. He was a sophomore on that team and holds the distinction of playing in both the '84 and '86 state tournaments. He played games at Williams Arena, the St. Paul Civic Center and the Metrodome!

Monday, March 15, 2004
Basketball fans have tournament fever all around our area and the remedy will be available Thursday when the Girls State Tournament's and final rounds of the Boys Section Tournament's arrive.

You can sense the excitement in the air. In speaking with Underwood Athletic Director Margo Shebeck and head girls basketball coach Chuck Ross, you know the whole community has been energized by the first ever state tournament appearance for the Rockets.

First year head coach Trevor Schneeberger at Barnesville says it is an "unbelievable feeling" to see his team earn the Section 6A title and qualify for the Class A State Tournament.

Coach Gary Schuler says his team is ready for the challenge facing them on Thursday night in St. Cloud when they do battle with Willmar for the Section 8AAA championship.

This is what you hope for and dare to dream of when you first lace up the sneakers in November. Now, the culmination of four months of practice, regular season games, sub-section and section contests, results in a state tournament appearance. Now, anything can happen.

Here are the specifics for ticket sales and bus transportation to tournament games this week.

Underwood: Tickets for the 1:00 p.m. game Thursday at Williams Arena against Meadow Creek Christian will be available through 9:00 a.m. Wednesday in the high school front office. Adult tickets are ten dollars and student tickets are seven dollars. Fans may also sign up for a fan bus until noon on Wednesday. No information was available as to the cost.

Barnesville: Tickets for the 3:00 p.m. game Thursday at Williams Arena against Wabasso will be available through Wednesday at a cost of ten dollars for adults and seven dollars for students. Gym Rat t-shirts and Section Championship shirts are also available at the main high school office. No bus information has been provided at this time.

Fergus Falls: Only reserved seating tickets are being pre-sold at the High School Activities office. The price is eight dollars per ticket. Sign-up for a fan bus is also being taken in the office. General admission tickets will be available to fans at the game on Thursday night at six o'clock at St. Cloud State University.

The Underwood girls enter the tournament as the eighth ranked team in the final Associated Press Class A poll.

The Fergus Falls boys were ranked second in the Class AAA final poll.

I haven't received any information from Florida on the Spartan baseball team, other than the fact that they split their first two games. No game info or scores have been reported at this time. Coach Kent Bothwell said he would get us some info but it may not happen until they return from the Port Charlotte tournament. We dropped Tyler Knott at Midway Airport in Chicago on the way back from the NJCAA Division III National Men's Basketball Tournament. Tyler is a pitcher for the Spartans and was flying down to join his spring teammates.

Former Otter Troy Wasiloski is swinging some hot lumber for the University of North Dakota baseball team. The Fighting Sioux split four games with Washburn this past weekend in Topeka, kansas. They dropped a pair of Sunday (7-11, 5-6) before winning two on Monday (17-9, 17-4). Wasiloski, a sophomore third baseman, led UND with a .600 batting average (9-for-15), scored eight runs, had eight runs batted in and delivered five extra base hits. Through the first eight games of the season Wasiloski is leading the team with a .429 batting average and a .484 on-base percentage. He has also had four multi-hit games.

Former Otter basketball player Matt Draxten has decided to leave Crookston and discontinue playing college basketball. Draxten will most likely enroll in a college in the Fargo-Moorhead area next year.

Former Ottertail Central wrestler Jacob Volkmann was the co-winner as top wrestler at the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament last week in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers settled for second place in the tournament, behind the Iowa Hawkeyes. Volkmann won his first Big Ten title at 165 pounds, with a 15-2 major decision against top-seeded Johnny Clark of Ohio State. The third seed in the tournament, Volkmann defeated second-seeded Pat Owen of Michigan in the semifinals on Saturday night. Volkmann is a Henning High School graduate. Volkmann was also named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week the last week of February.

The St. Lawrence Saints hockey team saw their season come to an end over the weekend as their outstanding post season run was halted by Colgate. After beating Yale in a pair of 4-3 overtime wins last weekend to advance to the ECAC quarterfinals, St. Lawrence started their best-of-three series with Colgate by winning a tightly contested 2-1 game. Former Fergus Falls Otter Josh Anderson, captain of the Saints, scored the game winning goal, his first goal since the first game of the season. The Saints then lost the next two games 2-1 and 1-0 to end their season with a final record of 14-21-6. Anderson scored two goals and had five assists in 34 games. Goalie Kevin Ackley, another former Otter, started 18 games in net and had a Goals Against Average of 3.22 and a Save Percentage of .889. Both players just completed their junior seasons.

The Bemidji State University hockey season ended on Saturday night when they played in the longest game in College Hockey America Tournament history. Niagara pulled out a 4-3 victory and a CHA Tournament championship when they scored 13:27 into overtime. BSU ends up with a 20-13-2 overall record. It is BSUís first 20-win season as a Division I program. The Otterse all-time leading scorer, Ryan Miller, ended his freshman year with 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 total points.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Craigs Corner 3/08/04 - 3/14/04
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Three teams from our area will continue their seasons at the High School Girls State Basketball Tournament next week at Williams Arena and the Target Center. Underwood, from the Little 8 Conference, and Barnesville and Hawley from the Heart O' Lakes Conference, will all compete in the tourney.

This state tournament continues a tremendous run for the Underwood girls. They won the Section 6A girls volleyball tournament title and participated in the state Class A tournament this past fall, claiming fourth place. Several of the girls on that team are also members of the Section 5A girls basketball championship team and are making another state tournament appearance. Chuck and Diane Ross must feel like they have an adopted family as they have spent a lot of time with these girls throughout the past few years. Diane is the head girls volleyball coach and Chuck is the head girls basketball coach.

The Rockets will play Meadow Creek Christian at one o'clock Thursday afternoon at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, in the State Class A quarterfinals. If they win, they will play again on Friday at 3:00 p.m. at Target Center, and would be assured of a game on Saturday. A loss on Thursday will end their season. Congratulations and Good Luck Rockets!

What an amazing first year for Trevor Schneeberger and his Lady Trojans in Barnesville. They are 24-5 and added a Section 6A title to their sub-section title with a win over Cass Lake-Bena on Friday night at Concordia College in Moorhead. The Trojan girls will go up against Wabasso at 3:00 p.m. Thursday at Williams Arena in a State Class A quarterfinal contest. Congratulations Lady Trojans and best of luck at the state tournament. I would love to see an Underwood versus Barnesville championship game on Saturday at noon at Target Center!

The third team from our area that is headed to state is the Hawley Nuggets, who won Section 8AA with a victory on Friday night. Bill Gottenborg's girls are so fundamentally sound and always well prepared for their opponents. They will face Rochester Lourdes at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena in the Class AA quarterfinals. Go Nuggets!

We're a little over an hour away from the fourth place game in the NJCAA Division III National Men's basketball tournament in Delhi, New York. The Spartans will face the second-ranked Gloucester Roadrunners in the battle for fourth place. "We've had great competition in this tournament and the toughness and fortitude that our team showed in the Region 13 Tournament has carried over to Delhi," said Spartan head coach Dave Retzlaff. "We have some people that may have tired legs after the first two days and could be a factor in today's ballgame. You still have to go with the big dogs!"

Following the game, we'll be boarding the bus for home and should be arriving between six and seven p.m. Sunday at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls. I'm sure there will be a welcome home of some sort, but we haven't been told the details at this time. Be listening to Lakes Radio, AM 1250 - KBRF and Groovy 1020 - KJJK AM for more information on the welcome home.

Thursday, March 11, 2004
After a couple of practices at Delhi College, the Spartan Men's basketball team will open play in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament today at 5:00 p.m. central time. There are five previous National champions in the eight-team field, including the Spartans (1998) and their first round opponent, Eastfield Texas (1997).

The first game of the tournament will feature the hottest team around, top-ranked, defending champion, Suffolk County of Selden, New York. They are 31-0 and have won their last 49 games dating back to last year. Their opponent, Gloucester, New Jersey, is a perennial qualifier and won the title in 1994, beating the Spartans by one point in the quarterfinals. Gloucester is 29-1 coming into the tournament.

Game two will feature Joliet, Illinois (30-2) against Caldwell, North Carolina (26-4).

The Spartans (24-6) and Eastfield (23-10) play the third game of the opening round. Eastfield features Division I recruit Jazz Henderson, a 6-2 wing, who is headed to Long Beach State. Henderson averages 20.5 points per game and is the leading scorer for the Harvesters. Addae Houston, their 5'8" point guard is "the heart and soul of their team" according to one opposing coach. He's very good at penetrating and dishing and does a good job creating his own shots. 6'6" post player David Hilliard won the conference MVP award and averages 14 points and 6 rebounds per game. "He will be a tough defensive matchup," said coach Dave Retzlaff. Eastfield's ten losses may be a bit deceiving as they schedule several Division I community college teams from their area, giving them a highly competitive non-conference schedule.

The final game of the first round will see Roxbury, Massachusetts (14-11), the 2000 champion, facing tournament newcomer Cayuga, New York (24-8). If the Spartans win their game they will face the winner of this game at seven o'clock Friday night. A loss would put them up against the loser of this game at 2:00 p.m. Friday.

Former Spartan Chris Castner still holds a couple of national tournament records. He owns the single game rebounding record of 21, set in 1994 and also has the tournament record for highest rebounding average with over 15 per game. In '98, Jim Schlieman won the Tournament MVP Award. Last year, Aaron Austin, now at UND, was named to the All Tournament team.

Wow! What a first year for Trevor Schneeberger as head coach of the Barnesville Lady Trojans! They are one step away from playing for a berth in the Class A State Tournament and a win over Ulen-Hitterdal at Concordia tonight would land them in the Section 6A championship game against north sub-section champions, Cass Lake-Bena at seven o'clock Friday night. Kim Lewis, who scored her 1,000th career point earlier this season, and Erica Nord, have been consistently leading them in scoring and rebounding, but Schneeberger has had contributions from throughout the lineup.

Another black eye for the NHL. Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi has been suspended for the rest of the season for breaking the neck of Colorado player Steve Moore in a game earlier this week. Bertuzzi said he had no intention of hurting Moore, but to view the replay, that's hard to believe. He may not have wished to injure him as severely as he did, but he definitely had harming him in mind. You don't strike someone in the face, knocking them to the ice, then jump on top of them and drive their face forcefully into the ice surface without having intent to cause injury. The NHL needs to wise up and get rid of the hooliganism that continues to exist. More stringent penalties, like those imposed at the Olympic or collegiate leve are definitely needed. Having suspension and fine policies in place for any fighting, they will clean up the sport and while they know that, they fail to put those policies in place. Why? I guess because they feel the fans won't come to the games if they don't have the possibility of seeing a fight?!?!? Come on. Those type of fans you don't need. I know a lot of hockey fans and in talking with them about this, they all say they wish the NHL would do something about the fighting issue. That they would be more likely to become bigger pro hockey fans without the acts of all the goons in the game. With a huge problem facing the league with the labor relations between players and management which threatens to stop play before next season, the NHL had better get their house in order before the death knell sounds on the future of professional hockey. It's already hurting and if they walk out on the fans they do have, it could be over, at least as we know it now. Got a comment, that's why Fan Feedback is in existence. Send me an e-mail at cosports@prtel.com and we'll post it in the Fan Feedback area. Send comments on anything! The NCAA Basketball tournament, spring training stuff, the Twins, the Vikings, the Wolves, the Wild, the Gophers, the Bison, the Sioux, local teams and players, anything!! I'd love to hear from you.
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, March 6, 2004
Craigs Corner 03/01/04 - 03/07/04
Saturday, March 6, 2004
The Spartan Men are headed to New York for a fifth time. That means that many Spartan fans will also be New York bound. If you are one of them, here is the information I have at this time.

Doug Hansen is coordinating the transportation and lodging. You can get a hold of Doug at 739-9564. He will be booking rooms along with reserving seats on the bus. The exact cost has yet to be determined but it will probably be somewhere in the area of $325. The fan bus will most likely be leaving on Wednesday morning.

The team itinerary includes a two p.m. departure on Monday, a late afternoon arrival in Oneonta on Tuesday, a trip to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Wednesday, the tournament banquet on Wednesday evening and a practice session that day. Their first game will be on Thursday at five o'clock Central time. The team will leave immediately following their game on Saturday and will arrive in Fergus Falls sometime Sunday night. Arrival time will depend on the time of their Saturday game.

The first Region XIII title was in 1984 when the Spartans hosted a National Play-in game against Sterling, Colorado and lost. That was before Community College basketball was divided into three divisions.

Their first trip to Delhi was with the 1994 championship team. A tough one-point first round loss to eventual champion, Gloucester Community College of Sewell, New Jersey, was the only blemish on their tournament record that year as they won their final two games and took fourth place. Post player Chris Castner still holds the single game tournament rebounding record with 21 and has the best tournament rebounding average of 15 rebounds per game. In 1996, the Spartans were 0-3 in the tournament and they turned that around in 1998, winning the NJCAA National title with a perfect 29-0 record which included a 3-0 tournament run and a thrilling 94-85 overtime win over Monroe College of New York in the title game. The Spartans overcame two 15-point deficits in the second half of that game. Last year, the Spartans were 1-2 in the tourney, claiming sixth in the nation.

Dave Retzlaff was named Region XIII Coach of the Year, his sixth such honor. Sophomore Nick Hansen won the Region XIII MVP trophy.

The tournament bracket has been announced with the number one and two ranked teams in the country squaring off in the opening game on Thursday as top-ranked Suffolk County of Selden, New York faces second-ranked Gloucester. Joliet, Illinois, ranked fourth in the nation, battle seventh ranked Caldwell of Hudson, North Carolina in the second game of the tournament. The Spartans tangle with Eastfield, Texas in the five o'clock game. Neither team is ranked in the final poll, although the Spartans were ranked ninth in the pre-season poll. The Spartans played Eastfield in the consolation championship game in 1994, winning that contest. The final game of the first day features Roxbury CC of Roxbury Crossing, Massachussets against Cayuga CC of Auburn, New York.

Delhi does a tremendous job hosting this event and has held it for several years. Former Men's baskeball coach and current Athletic Director, Gary Cole has put together a staff that has written the book on hosting a tournament of this magnitude. Each team has a host for the week, which is very helpful. The trip from the Holiday Inn in Oneonta, an excellent host facility, to the college in Delhi, takes about 40 minutes as you travel 'over the mountain'. This is the first time the Spartans have qualified for the tournament in consecutive years.

When my wife and I went to Cooperstown, New York for Rod Carew's induction in 1991, I never dreamed that I would make at least six more visits to the Baseball shrine, but that's exactly what I've done ... thanks to the Spartans. It's a highlight of the trip for me and I think for several of the players, too. Of course, the best part of the trip is watching the team compete with the best teams in the country at this level. It's a great three days of basketball!! GO SPARTANS!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2004
Charlie Fleck. Gymnastics Coach. Enough Said. His knowledge of the sport and ability to teach it is simply amazing. His Perham girls completed a tremendous season with a Class A team title over the weekend. It's the first ever team title in any sport for Perham High School. Congratulation to Coach Fleck and his team.

Betsy Mann, a sophomore, posted the team's highest score in any event with a 9.6 on the vault. It has been a very emotional season for Mann, who lost her mother to cancer in October. I didn't know Jackie Mann, but she was a driving force behind the Perham gymnastics program from day one and an inspiration to the entire team. They dedicated the season to her and achieved the ultimate success in high school athletics. What a great story.

Zach Walters has recorded another victory in the ring. Walters won by a TKO at 3:07 of the first round of his fight on February 28 in Tacoma, Washington against Josue Cielos.

The following article was filed by Sam DiTusa of www.fightnews.com who was at ringside for the bout.

Another good prospect to watch for is light heavyweight Zach Walters, from Duluth ,Minnesota. Walters improved to 5-0, (4 KOs) with an impressive KO of 3-4 Josue Cielos at 3:00 of round one. Cielos started fast using a nice jab, but he went to the well once too often and paid for it as Walters placed a counter left hook over the jab which dropped Cielos. Cielos rose to his feet and valiantly fought back, but Walters used his height advantage to keep Cielos on the outside and at the end of the round knocked Cielos down with another left hook as the bell sounded. Referee Paul Field had seen enough and didn't let the bout continue. After the fight Walters said, "I really love fighting in front of this crowd. They really get into the fights here." Walters has made a hit with both the
fans and promoter Brian Halquist in his two fights here.

The time of the Region 13 championship game at Central Lakes Community College on Saturday has been changed to 1:00 p.m. from the originally published time of 2:00 p.m. The two winners from Friday night's games will clash at that time for an NJCAA Division III Tournament berth in Delhi, New York. The Spartan Men of Minnesota Community and Technical College of Fergus Falls will play the six o'clock game on Friday night against Milwaukee Area Tech of Wisconsin. The 8:00 p.m. contest will feature Mesabi Range from Virginia, Minnesota, facing the host Central Lakes Raiders from Central Lakes Community College of Brainerd.
Posted By Craig Olson
Lake Region Healthcare
Svingen Law
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