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Monday, June 28, 2004
Craigs Corner 06/28/04 - 07/04/04
Monday, June 28, 2004
Two Ashby baseball players have been named to the Class A All-State team. Seniors Devin Reger and Kyle Rylander are two of eighteen players selected to the squad from around the state.

Rylander was also named to the Class A All-State All-Academic baseball team. It is his second such honor this school year as he was also named to the 9-Man football All-State All-Academic team in the fall.

Warren Nelson, Mr. Baseball in Ashby, had a good season with his team and a lot of young players earned some valuable varsity playing time that will help the Arrows in the next few years. There's no doubt these young kids are learning a lot from Nelson and his assistants, Dwight Walvatne and Brenda Johnson. Dwight is an extremely knowledgable baseball man and Brenda is in a rare position as a female member of a high school baseball coaching staff. She knows her stuff and is great with the kids. They form a very effective trio and should have a good run with these guys.

Former Otter and Spartan Justin Arneson has really picked things up offensively. His average is now sitting at .244 in 42 games. He is 33-for-135 with six doubles, one triple and one homer. He has 11 runs batted in and has scored sixteen times. He is also 7-for-10 in stolen base attempts. Arne has cut down on his strikeouts too. He went from fanning in one out of three at bats to close to one out of four. The Swing of the Quad Cities is now 35-33 this year.

The Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League have a few area players on their roster including NJCAA Division III second team All-American, Nate Meissner of Brandon-Evansville. The Spartan shortstop has played 17 games and is struggling with a .114 batting average. He has a pair of doubles but has struck out 11 times in 44 at bats. Pitcher Tim Beasley of Glenwood, a member of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team, is 2-2 with a 9.18 earned run average. Pitcher Mike Hoelscher of Alexandria is 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA. Frank Viola III, the son of former Twin and Cy Young Award Winner Frank Viola, has made six appearances for the Beetles, has an 0-3 record and a 6.00 ERA.

Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, June 21, 2004
Craigs Corner 06/21/04 - 06/27/04
Monday, June 21, 2004
It seems very strange to visit Pebble Lake Golf Course and not run into Fred Evenson. Fred died suddenly in early January and is missed by his golfing buddies, clients and fellow business men. He will be remembered by all when the Fred Evenson Memorial Golf Tournament is held on Friday, July 23.

All proceeds from the event will go towards Lakeland Hospice and two $500.00 golf scholarships will be given to a Fergus Falls graduating senior who is a member of the high school golf team.

Minnesota Motors will sponsor a hole-in-one contest, there will be prizes for the longest putt, the longest drive, closest to the pin and other categories.

The tournament will be 18 holes of scramble golf for 4 or 5 person teams. No handicap is required. The cost is $300.0 per team with corporate hole sponsorships available for $100.00. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, June 30.

The tournament will begin with registration at noon on the 23rd, a Friday, and a shotgun start is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The social hour and awards will be held at 5:00 p.m. with dinner served at six o'clock.

For more information contact Rod Votava at Community First Bank. You can call Rod at 218-739-0222 or e-mail him at [email protected]

I really miss visiting with Fred and talking about sports, especially Otter sports and golf. He was passionate about both and not afraid to share his opinions on either! I thought about him many times while watching parts of the U.S. Open over the weekend. He was also a frequent visitor and e-mailer to www.craigolsonsports.com and I always enjoyed hearing from him. He left us much too soon and I hope you will have an opportunity to be among those to remember Fred by your participation in this worthwhile event.

Congratulations to Troy Wasiloski. Troy was among six UND baseball players honored by the North Central Conference for their outstanding accomplishments this spring. The sophomore third baseman from Fergus Falls was named to the All-NCC First Team. Troy hit .364 with 11 home runs, 19 doubles and 50 runs batted in. He finished second in the conference in RBI and third in hits and doubles. He was joined on the first team by teammate J.J. Scheving who was 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA, seven complete games, three shutouts and 100 strikeouts. The senior hurler had the second best ERA in the nation and set UND single-season records in wins, complete games, innings pitched, shutouts and strikeouts. He was named the conference MVP. This marked the first time since 1998 that UND placed more than one player on the all-conference first team.

Senior Travis Koehn and juniors Blair Mileski and Brent Sukut were also honored with all-conference second team selections.

The NCC bestowed head coach Kevin Ziegler of the Sioux with its Coach of the Year award. Ziegler led UND to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years. His team matched the program record with 37 wins, while it set a new UND high with 21 wins in conference play. Ziegler is the school's winningest coach with a 263-179-2 record in his career.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Craigs Corner 06/14/04 - 06/20/04
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
MSCTC has hired Jason Retzlaff to fill a part time position which will include Assistant Men's Basketball Coach, Head Golf Coach, Athletic Director for golf and some teaching which will likely include beginning golf, college success skills and possible other classes.

Jason was the point guard on the undefeated 1998 Spartan Basketball team, leading them to a National Championship. He was also a member of the NDSU Bison Men's basketball team for two years, serving as a graduate assistant following his playing career. He has spent time subbing in and around Fergus Falls and was on staff at Fergus Falls High School this past school year before his position fell subject to budget cuts.

"Jason assisted in our program a couple of years ago as well as working with last years 25-8 team," said Spartan head coach Dave Retzlaff. "While a volunteer then, he will now be on staff. Rick Odden and Aaron Grove will continue as volunteer assistants. Together our goal is to again have our team better prepared next year than any team we face."

I've known Jason since he was a gym rat at FFCC in the 80's and have watched him grow into an extremely nice young man as well as an outstanding basketball player, teacher and coach. I have no doubt that he will be a positive addition to the Spartan program and a positive influence on the lives of the young people he coaches. Jason has already accomplished a minor miracle by getting his dad to use e-mail to stay in touch with a number of his former players by issuing a weekly Spartan update. Anyone who can do that has success in his future! You know the old saying it's hard to teach old dogs, new tricks. Well, when it's an old dinosaur you're teaching the learning curve is even harder!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
It was quite a spring for the Perham track and field teams and some of the members of the team are about to experience some of the stiffest competition they've ever seen.

Cross Country coach and assistant track and field coach Jeff Morris is taking a contingent of track and field athletes to North Carolina for some National competition.

The Class A 4x800 meter relay championship team of Todd Schmidt, Joe Werner, Jordan Menze and David Krueger will be competing against top competition from around the country. If not for a fall in the exchange lane the Yellowjackets would have set a new state record in the event.

Morris will have Philip Nelson join Menze, Werner and Schmidt in a Distance Medley Relay, put together specifically for the national meet.

Krueger will run in the boys 800 meter run and Class A state champion Gabriele Anderson will run in the girls 800 meter event. Brittany Gigstead will be competing in the Freshman mile.

The website, http://adidasoutdoor.nationalscholastic.org/, describes the event in the following manner:
Now 14 years old, the adidas Outdoor Championships has become the nation's most important post-season high school event. The meet has established itself as a celebration of high school track and field in the purest sense. This year will again see the inclusion of age group (bantam, midget and youth) individual events in an effort to provide opportunities for those young athletes. The meet will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19.

The New York Mills Boys Tennis Team has been crowned the Section 8A Academic Champion and the State Class A Academic Champion for 2004! Congratulations to coach Gary Bach and his team.

At the Minnesota State Class A Boys Individual Tennis Tournament, Neil Kohler of New York Mills lost a first round match to Max Busch of Duluth Marshall, 6-1, 6-1.

"Almost every game went to deuce in this match, making it much closer than the score indicates," reported coach Bach. "Neil didn't serve as consistently as usual but played very hard on every point. In the end Busch gained the edge in most of those close games and won match. In the next round he defeated Shane Ecklund of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-Swanville 6-0, 6-0 to make it into the semi-finals. That would have been an excellent match up for Neil if he would have won the first one. He is 4-0 against Shane over the past two years.

Looking at the bigger picture: We are very proud of Neil for making it to the State Tournament these past two seasons. Very few players can look back at their high school tennis experience and say that. I know Neil's best tennis is in his future as he moves on to play for the St. John's Johnnies. It has been a pleasure to have such an exceptional player and fine young man on our team. He will be missed."


Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Craigs Corner 06/07/04-06/13/04
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Justin Arneson hit his first homer of the season earlier this week as the Swing of Quad Cities posted a 3-2 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Saturday night. Arne also had a great defensive night. For more go to this website http://www.swingbaseball.com/?entry=840

Justin is still struggling at the plate, hitting just .187 with 17 hits in 91 at bats. Four of his hits are doubles. He has stolen six bases in seven attempts, has scored nine runs and driven in eight. Arne has played in 30 if the 53 games, after recovering from a leg injury earlier this season. A bus load of Fergus Falls are baseball fans are heading down to Iowa this weekend to see Justin in action.

The Class A boys and girls golf meets get underway on Wednesday at Izaty's Yacht and Golf Club. Battle Lake's Justin Speer tees off at 10:35 a.m., Perham's Lee Cavanagh has an 11:15 a.m. tee time and Cody Baxter of Hawley/Ulen-Hitterdal goes off at 10:55 a.m. Pelican Rapids girls Lindsey Nettestad and Karissa Evenson tee off at 11:40 a.m. and 10:10 a.m., respectively. Maviann Schuler of Breckenridge has an 11:10 a.m. tee time and Kaari Espeland of Henning will be on the tee at 10:30 a.m.

District 544 Superintendent Mark Bezek will be holding an open forum at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 14 in the Fergus Falls High School lunch room. The forum will be for input concerning the filling of the position of head boys hockey coach. The position become available when Tim Bergland announced his resignation after accepting a job in his hometown of Thief River Falls. The public is welcome to attend the forum. A similar event was held concerning the position of head boys basketball coach last month. Keith Pearson has been named the head boys basketball coach, pending final approval of the school board at their June 14 meeting.

Hillcrest boys basketball coach Gregg Preston is taking a year off from coaching. No replacement has been named for the 2004-2005 school year. A committee is searching for candidates and a new head coach will hopefully be in place by late June or early July.
The Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup with a dramatic overtime win in Game 6 in Calgary and an impressive Game 7 win at home. A Florida based team beats a team based in Canada to claim the NHL title.

The Pistons totally blew a six point lead with thirty-five seconds to play. Should have been up two games to none, sweeping the Lakers in L.A. Now, they are in overtime and the Lakers are controlling the game. Looks like 1-1 heading to the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan for games three through five. I am surprised that the Pistons have played the Lakers so tough and that they won a game in Los Angeles, however, in my opinion they have NO chance at winning this series. The sleeping giant has been awakened.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, June 3, 2004
Craigs Corner 05/31/04 - 06/06/04
Thursday, June 3, 2004
Pending final approval of the Fergus Falls school board at their June 14 meeting, Keith Pearson, 1986 Fergus Falls High School graduate and varsity assistant to boys basketball coach Gary Schuler, will take over the head basketball coaching position at Fergus Falls High School for the 2004-2005 season.

Schuler told www.craigolsonsports.com that after an interview process by the selection committee, Pearson was offered the job and accepted it. The final step is to get formal approval from the board.

The position came open when Schuler announced his retirement from coaching following the 2003-2004 season which saw the Otters qualify for the Class AAA state tournament.

Pearson played for two state tournament teams at FFHS, in 1984 and 1986. He played collegiately at Concordia College in Moorhead and has been a teacher in the Fergus Falls school system and an assistant coach in the boys basketball program since the early 90's.

Tim Bergland has resigned his position as Fergus Falls boys hockey coach. Bergland is moving back to his hometown of Thief River Falls. Tim has been the head coach for two seasons after serving as an assistant under former head coach Brad Bergstrom. Applications will be accepted for the head coaching position in the near future.

Hal Johnson, who has been an assistant to Derek Abrahams in the girls tennis program for several years, has accepted the job as head girls tennis coach at Fergus Falls High School. Abrahams announced his resignation from the position following the fall season. He continues to serve as the head coach in the boys varsity program.

The American Legion Post 30 baseball team will once again be under the guidance of former Otter and Post 30 standout Aaron Olson, who also played college baseball for Mankato State University. Olson has announced his first practice is set for Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park. The Post 30 team will play their first game in East Grand Forks on Monday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. and their first home games on Wednesday, June 9 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. against Detroit Lakes. Post 30 will host their annual tournament on June 25 and 26 with Alexandria, Jamestown, Sauk Rapids and West Fargo participating.

Monday, May 31, 2004
Bemidji High School girls basketball coach Tim Mayclin is coaching the Minnesota Gym Rats, a group of 14 and 15 year old girls, who are experiencing some great success in tournament action they are participating in.

"We have a very talented group of girls," says Mayclin. "They all love basketball and work very hard to get better. We practice on weekends all spring and play in tournaments that are generally held in the metro area."

Hannah Draxten, who is just completing eighth grade at the Fergus Falls Middle School and led the Otter girls basketball team this past winter, is one of the members of the team. She is joined by three Detroit Lakes girls, Corey Lof, Jordanne Even and Hallie Hoganson, Chelsea Lundgren of Crosby-Ironton, Kelly Landsverk and Carin Sundbom of Fosston, Janessa Wolff of Park Rapids and two Bemidji girls, Mattea Elhard and Brittany Mayclin, the coach's daughter.

"Hannah has brought an unquestioned love of the game to the team," stated Mayclin. "She is very dedicated and is the leading scorer on the team. She has gained a lot of confidence over the last year and has a super attitude. She blends in well with the other players and really plays well in our uptempo style."

The team started out well, winning the title at the Waconia Tournament, beating the number two and three rated teams in the state in the 15 year old Division I level, the top level in the state, and then beating the number one rated team in the 14 and under division in the championship. The second weekend found this 15 and under team playing at a 17 and under tournament in Grand Forks and winning all four games they played by at least 25 points. From there they went on to the regional tournament as the ninth seed. The Rats went 4-1 on the weekend with only seven players available and qualified for the state tournament.

"The best part about this team is that they hve been able to show the teams in the state and all the college coaches who have been watching the last three or four weekends that the 'Chicks from the Sticks', as they sometimes call themselves, can play some pretty good basketball," added Mayclin.

The team competed in the state tournament where they finished second. "Second is very good, but we had one goal last week and that was to win the state," continued Mayclin. "That doesn't mean that we are disappointed, but we did not feel we played to our usual level. We have a big tourney, the Nike nationals in Chicago in July that we are now trying to focus on. We'll compete in the Elite 15 and under division which draws the top teams from all over the country. Last year there were over 100 teams there and over 300 college coaches. This will be a great opportunity to compete against the best in the nation."

Mayclin started running the Gym Rats five years ago to help provide out state girls a chance to compete and better their chance to play college basketball. Since the club began they have won one state title, finished runner-up this year and also have a third place finish. They have attended two national tournament's placing seventh and thirteenth. The team has 13 wins and only 2 defeats so far this season.

"Playing against the best players in the state can only make you better," concluded Mayclin. "I believe it helps the kids as many are the best players on their teams and have to carry the load. In AAU, with the Gym Rats, they can be part of a team where they don't have to carry the load by themselves. We definitely play as a team and don't relay on any one player to carry us. Coaching a crew like this is a dream. It has been a wonderful experience."

Posted By Craig Olson
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