|Saturday, January 29, 2005|
|Hensch to Continue College Volleyball|
|Fergus Falls High School graduate Tanya Hensch is wrapping up a tremendous two years of volleyball at NDSCS in Wahpeton and has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Mary in Bismarck to continue her volleyball career.|
Hensch was selected as the Most Valuable Player in the Mon-Dak Conference. She is a two-time All-Region 13 selection and a two-time Mon-Dak All Conference player. She has been named NJCAA Division II player of the week, while leading the Wildcats in blocks and kills this year. Hensch will join former Wildcat Trudy Doll at Mary. The two were teammates during the 2003 volleyball season at NDSCS.
The Otter girls hockey team begins post season play on Tuesday, fresh off a 7-3 win over Benson/Morris Area and a very successful 12-9 season and number ten ranking in the Class A polls. Senior Alyssa Johnson, who became the first 100 point scorer in Otter hockey history with three points in Thursday's game, is planning to play hockey at UND after high school. Goalie Katie Kantrud is most likely going to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and college hockey in the MIAC is a likely option fo defenseman Sam Dowzak. Forward Lindsey Gaustad is also planning on attending UND, but will play softball. The Otter girls open the tournament by hosting Babbitt-Embarrass at seven o'clock Tuesday night at the Fairgrounds Ice Arena. If they win, they will host another home game on Friday, against either Silver Bay or Eveleth-Gilbert. The Otters received the number two seed in the South half of Section 3A. Hibbing/Chisholm is number one and gets a first round bye. Detroit Lakes will travel to Park Rapids for the other first round game on Tuesday night.
Section 3A boasts four of the top teams in the state of Minnesota in Class A hockey. The latest poll has Warroad, the number one seed in the North half of Section 3A, ranked first, Hibbing/Chisholm ranked second, the Otters tenth and Crookston, the number two seed in the North, rated eleventh. Whoever survives the Section playoffs will definitely be competitive in the Class A State Tournament and could very well be favored to win the state title. The teams, with the exception of Hibbing/Chisholm, are all members of the Greater Minnesota Girls Hockey Conference.
|Monday, January 24, 2005|
|Spartans versus Marauders - Round 1|
|It is a certainty that the Minnesota State Community and Technical College Spartans of Fergus Falls and the Minneapolis Marauders will square off at least twice this season. It is entirely possible that they could play 3 or 4 times. Round one is set for Wednesday night in Minneapolis.|
The Marauders lost their first two games of the season against the Des Moines Area Devils and at Hibbing. Since then, they have rattled off sixteen consecutive wins on the way to a number three ranking in NJCAA Division III Mens' Basketball. The Marauders are also the top ranked team in the state.
The Spartans bring a 12-4 record into the game, along with a number seven ranking in the nation. The Spartans are ranked second in the MCCC state rankings.
Minneapolis and Fergus Falls currently hold the top two spots in the Southern Division.
Minneapolis boasts one of the premier guards in the Region and a legitimate All-American prospect in Paris Kyles. Kyles is averaging 16.1 points per game, 4.4 assists per game and 3 steals per contest.
Floyd Daniels and Eric Ables aren't afraid to cast up the three-pointers. Daniels has hit 20-of-57 treys for 35.1% and Ables is 35-for-101 (34.7%). Jesse Olberding (62.1%) and Scott Guggenberger (56.8%) are both very accurate shooters for Minneapolis, and Ryan Meissner has hit 81.8% of his free throw attempts and is averaging 4.5 assists per game.
The Marauders are averaging 78.5 points per game, second only to the Spartans 78.7, and Minneapolis is the best defensive team in the state, giving up only 60.9 points per game to their opponents. The Spartans are a distant second in the South at 70.4 points per game.
The story of the season for the Spartans has been injuries. Point guard Joe Merritt has played only eight games and post player Olufemi Solaja has missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain. Merritt was averaging 3.3 assists and Solaja was good for a double-double nearly every time out, averaging a division leading 10.1 rebounds per game and 12 points per game. He also was shooting 60.3% from the field.
Andy Parochka is one of the top three-point shooters in the division, hitting 39.8% from behind the arc and having made 43-of-108, both division highs. Parochka leads the Spartans with 15.3 points per game and has hit 47-of-55 free throws (85.5%). Freshman Andy Stark is 22-of-57 from 3-point range for 38.6%. Colin Driscoll, seeing increased playing time at the point with Merritt hurt, is averaging 4.3 assists per game and filling in quite well.
These two teams are scheduled to play again on the final date of the regular season, Saturday, February 19, at MSCTC. It is possible they will meet again in the State Tournament and in Region XIII play. The Spartans won 2-of-3 meetings between the two teams last year, including a 70-66 win in a playoff game to determine the automatic Region 13 qualifier from the South Division. That game was made necessary when the two teams shared the regular season championship after handing each other their only losses in division play.
Jay Pivec has a reputation for fielding teams with outstanding basketball talent and this year is no different. It's always a challenge to go into Minneapolis and compete with the Marauders, and perhapsmore so than any other team through the years, the Spartans have been able to present the Marauders with their stiffest competition. Lace 'em up!! This should be fun!!
|Friday, January 21, 2005|
|The Twins are Coming|
|Yes, it's that time of year again. The Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan stops in Fergus Falls on Tuesday, January 25. The Twins will be here from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a press conference and program. Get your tickets at Lakes Radio for $5.00 per person, $7.00 on Tuesday. All proceeds will go to the Anna Nelson Memorial Scholarship Fund.|
A press conference will be held by Lakes Radio at 11:00 a.m. and will be broadcast on Groovy 1020, KJJK AM, the home of the Twins in the Lakes Area.
Twins players Michael Cuddyer, Matthew LeCroy and J.D. Durbin will be joined by former Twins player and current third base coach Al Newman, former Twins pitcher and current TV broadcaster Bert Blyleven and future Twin and Fergus Falls native Justin Arneson. Twins mascot T.C. will also be here.
Fans will be served a meal of brats and hot dogs and all the trimmings at the Bigwood Event Center. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. Tickets will be available at the door for $7.00 per person.
The Twins Winter Caravan stop is being sponsored by Lakes Radio, the Bigwood Event Center, Nelson Dodge-GMC and Nelson Ford, Z-103 Bar & Grill, Sara Lee, Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Barrel O' Fun Snack Foods Company.
Be sure to check out part one of an article I'm writing for This Week's Shopping News (The Midweek) this week. It chronicles the experiences of Fergus Falls High School and Fergus Falls Community College graduate Clay Moser as he coaches a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. Part two will appear next week, complete with pictures and journal entries from Moser. Think you'll find it interesting.
It's official! Minnesota Boxing announced the fights at The RiverCentre in St. Paul, on February 18. Zach Walters will be one of the two featured fights which will be televised on Fox Sports North. For more information check out www.minnesotaboxing.com and/or www.sharkypromotions.com.
Zach just arrived back from training camp in Florida on Tuesday night. He has had a very busy 2 months since his first trip to Florida and sounded happy to be heading home to Duluth.
|Monday, January 17, 2005|
|Thoughts on an NFL Playoff Weekend and other Items|
|Alpine Skiing, Elementary Wrestling, the NFL playoffs and the futility of being a Minnesota Vikings fan. Some of the items addressed here this time around.|
The Fergus Falls Alpine Skiing team will make its home debut Monday, January 17 by hosting a race beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Andes Tower Hills near Alexandria.
Coach Jon Buettner heard from the Brainerd coach that they were going to bringing about fifty racers to the event so what looked like it was going to be a very small meet has now become a pretty good sized one with possible some of the best racers in Section 7 competing. The Minnesota State High School League gave its blessing to the Otters to begin racing after the high school added the program as a privately supported sport. Spectators are encouraged and there is no charge for anyone that would like to come and watch at the bottom of the hill.
Anyone wishing more information on the team can contact Buettner, the Racing Director at Andes, by calling 1-877-542-6337 or 1-87-SKI-ANDES.
Over 300 elementary wrestlers from area schools participated in the annual Fergus Falls Wrestling Booster Tournament on Saturday at the High School. Six teams participated in a team tournament following the individual finals. New London-Spicer won the team tournament over St. Michael/Albertville by two points. Fergus Falls placed fifth. Approximately 1,000 matches were wrestled at the tournament.
We've been informed of the passing of 92 year old Marv Kester of Underwood over the weekend. Marv was a big sports fan in the Underwood community as he attended as many events as he could up until his health started to fail him this past year. Marv was the recipient of the first letter handed out at Underwood High School and one of the highlights for him came when he saw the Underwood Girls Basketball team become the first team in school history to play in a state championship game last year.
How impressive were New England and Atlanta this weekend in the NFL playoffs. The Patriots defense is outstanding and their offense certainly did their part, dominating time of possession. I don't know that anyone can derail the Patriots as they head to another Super Bowl championship. Playing in Pittsburgh on Sunday won't be easy, in fact it was the Steelers who ended the Patriots 21 game winning streak earlier this season. I wasn't too impressed with the Steelers offense on Saturday, but defensively they will give New England some problems. Tom Brady is quite an engineer for that New England offense and the addition of Corey Dillon in the backfield makes them a better than average offensive unit. Defensively, they certainly know how to shut down Peyton Manning and the Colts offense. That's 7 wins in a row against the Colts. Holding that high powered offense to 3 points is nothing short of remarkable. The Patriots have my vote for Super Bowl winners.
As for the Falcons, they have so many weapons on offense, led by their QB, Michael Vick. Warrick Dunn has turned into quite a running back and Algie Crumpler is as good as any tight end in the game as a receiver. Plus, the Falcons special teams are impressive. Game breakers! Their punt returns against St. Louis were incredible. Now, the Rams don't exactly have the highest special teams ranking in the NFL, but what Atlanta did was amazing. They will give the Eagles all they want on Sunday. Philadelphia's defense will be hard on Vick and the Falcons, but Atlanta can play on that side of the ball, too and I don't think Donovan McNabb and company will have an easy time out there. I like the Falcons to prevent the Eagles from appearing in the Super Bowl once again, if Vick remains healthy during the week and during the game.
The Vikings ended the season with a whimper. After finally putting together four solid quarters and looking like a team last week in Green Bay, the Vikings fell back into their funk on Sunday and proved that any hope we gained from their performance last week was a false hope. This is a sad football team and I use the word team loosely. I just don't think they are a very cohesive group of players. They certainly don't seem to play with a lot of intensity and heart. They did last week against Green Bay, but more times than not this season, they lacked that fire that you see in other successful teams. I certainly don't know what the answer is to turn them around, but their record since Daunte Culpepper became the starting quarterback is 36-38. Not too impressive is it? Culpepper had a great statistical year and is definitely one of the top five quarterbacks in the game in my opinion. But, to have a QB with his ability and to not even be .500 under his direction? I believe that Daunte can lead this team to post season success eventually, but the Vikings definitely need to rebuild their team. They have improved somewhat on the defensive side of the football but still have a long ways to go. When I am critical of Daunte, people say "Where would the Vikings be without him?" Good question. He definitely keeps them in many games and is the primary reason they have a chance to win at all on any given Sunday, but they barely got into the playoffs this year after missing the last two years and being embarrassed in the playoffs the year before that. My question back to those fans is this ... "Where are we with him?" Not in the role of Super Bowl contender! I don't want to get rid of Culpepper. He is the cornerstone of the franchise, but here is what the Vikings need to do. I have said it since he came in the league and I will say it again, the Vikings need to trade Randy Moss, yes, one of the greatest receivers of all time, and get some players that will help stabilize their defense and turn them into a winning football team. They have not been a winning football team or legitimate Super Bowl contender since 1999-2000. Moss is probably one of only four or five players in the NFL that you could trade that would allow you to make a tremendous impact in several areas with the players and draft picks you could acquire in the deal. As long as this is Randy's team, it will be a losing team. He detracts from the team element, which is so vital in professional football. I would much rather see a workhorse running back on the roster. Someone you can give the ball to 25 to 30 times a game. Look at the great teams. 90% of them have a back like that. Trade Moss. That's just my opinion. What's yours?
|Thursday, January 13, 2005|
|Area Kids Active|
|Winners of the Elks Lodge #1093 Hoop Shoot competition have been announced. The event was held at the Fergus Falls Senior High School gymnasium on Saturday, January 8. Winners of each age division advance to Wadena on Saturday, January 22 to compete at the District level.|
Here are the winners by age division.
8 & 9 year old girls - Brooke Tinjum (Dalton)
10 & 11 year old girls - Hannah Swenson (Fergus Falls)
12 & 13 year old girls - Kelly Andreasen (Ashby)
8 & 9 year old boys - Eric Bjore (Battle Lake)
10 & 11 year old boys - Ben Graf (Fergus Falls)
12 & 13 year old boys - Eden Beck (Fergus Falls)
The Fergus Falls Golden Gloves Boxing Club has canceled their card scheduled for Saturday night January 15 and will instead have a night of featured fights on February, 26 at the Fergus Falls National Guard Armory.
On Tuesday, January 25, the F-M Acro Team II will be performing at halftime of the girls basketball game between Moorhead and Fergus Falls at the Fergus Falls High School gymnasium. If you haven't seen them, don't miss them. If you have seen them, you won't miss them!!
Area teams ranked in the AP polls include the following:
Class 1A Girls Hockey - Fergus Falls (10)
Class 1A Girls Basketball - Osakis (4), Underwood (5)
Class 2A Girls Basketball - D-G-F (8), Hawley (10)
Class 3A Girls Basketball - Detroit Lakes (3), Willmar (8)
Class 1A Boys Basketball - Park Christian (2), Battle Lake (5)
Class 2A Boys Basketball - Pelican Rapids (2), East Grand Forks (3), Crookston (4), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (5)
Class 3A Boys Basketball - Rocori (5), Willmar (6) Detroit Lakes (9)
The Master's Martial Arts Academy of Fergus Falls had
six students compete at the International Black Belt
Federation Invitational Taekwondo Tournament hosted by
Master Bruce Sodahl in Duluth on Saturday February
Mr. Taylor Gray took the first place trophy for Junior
Black Belt forms and sparring competition; Mr. Jim
Lehn took 3rd in sparring and 4th in forms in men's
adult blue belt division; Kathy Lehn took second in
sparring and forms in the ladies adult blue belt
division; Andrew Lehn, Jim and Kathy's son, placed 3rd
in sparring in the junior's yellow belt division;
Cameron Osmundson took 1st place in forms and 4th
place in sparring in the junior's yellow belt
division; and Quinten Gray took home the 1st place
trophy in the children's yellow belt division.
Upcoming International Black Belt Federation
tournaments include Bismarck on January 22nd and
Bemidji in February.
|Thursday, January 6, 2005|
|Reflecting on 2004, Part III|
|The Last couple of columns we have looked back on some of the top are high school teams of 2004. This week we want to highlight some of the outstanding individual achievements of the past year in local high school athletics. Iím not saying everything that was a highlight is included in this article, but several memorable individual accomplishments are included.|
There is little doubt that Stacy Busack of the Fergus Falls girls swimming team made a tremendous impact on her sport and her school. Busack repeated her performance of 2003 by winning two state championships. She won both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle to successfully defend her titles in both events. She was also a member of the 200 medley relay team and the 400 freestyle relay team which competed at state. Busack was named the 2003-2004 Minnesota Class A Female Athlete of the Year for Girls Swimming and Diving
Joining Stacy at state were Breanne Pendergrass in both relays and in two individual events, the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, Kara Fisher in the 100 backstroke and both relays, Karin Koenig in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 medley relay, Kelly Ross in the 100 breaststroke and Jennie Miller as a member of the 400 freestyle relay.
The Fergus Falls boys swimmers qualified their 200 medley relay team of Hannes Skillingstad, Luke Money, Andrew Kowalski and Mark Bigwood for the state meet. Money and Skillingstad also qualifed in the 100 butterfly and Bigwood in the 100 backstroke. The relay team placed 10th in the state and Bigwood wound up twelfth in the 100 backstroke.
Fergus Falls girls golfers Brooke Bezek and Chelsey Ouren both qualified for the State Class AA meet with Ouren placing 17th. Bezek and Ouren are the first two Fergus Falls girls golfers to qualify for the state meet since current University of Minnesota Womens Golf Coach Katie Weiss went in 1993.
Pelican Rapids junior Lindsey Nettestad fired an 81 to claim the Section 6A girls golf tournament medalist honors. Nettestads teammate, Karissa Evenson participated in a playoff involving three golfers for the final two state tournament spots and advanced along with Megan Sorenson of Wadena-Deer Creek. Breckenridge senior Maviann Schuler shot an 85 and Henning junior Kaari Espeland finished with an 89 to also qualify for the Class A state meet at Izatys Golf and Yacht Club.
Battle Lake golfer Justin Speer finished second in the Class A state boys golf meet, just one stroke behind the winner. Speer shot 81-69-150 over the two days with his 69 being the best individual round of the tournament. Perhamís Lee Cavanagh tied for ninth in the state.
Pelican Rapids senior Chris Baxter and freshman Kristin Westby both participated in the Class A state cross country individual meet. Emily Winans of the Otters made All State in cross country with her 13th place finish in the state AA meet and also placed ninth in the 3200 meter run at the state track and field meet. Two of her teammates, Heather Sjolie (high jump) and Anna VanWechel (800 meter run) also competed at state.
Abby Scheel of Hillcrest took fifth in the state in the Class A high jump and Pelican Rapids junior Melissa Seifert was eighth in the high jump. Gabe Anderson of Perham won the state title in the 800 meter run and led the Yellowjackets 4 x 800 meter relay team to a second place finish. Barnesville athletes Hailey Brenden (3200 meter run), Katie Flemming (100 meter hurdles), Maggie Goetz (shot put) and Jens Gylland (110 meter high hurdles) all competed at the state meet but did not place in their events. Jed Moore of Breckenridge/Campbell-Tintah placed ninth in the 100 meter dash and also competed in the 200 meter dash at the Class A state meet. Zach Bruns of Pelican Rapids also qualified for state but did not place. New York Mills sophomore Ted Rud had an outstanding state track and field meet. He won the triple jump, placed seventh in the long jump and finished ninth in the high jump.
Sophomore Wynn Roberts from Battle Lake earned his third straight trip to the state Nordic Ski Meet.
West Central Area senior Kristel Anderson qualified for the Class A Tennis tournament in the singles division.
Some area wrestlers did quite well last winter with Kirk Anderson of Barnesville winning the state title at 112 pounds and Brady Schneeberger of West Central Area placing second in the state at 119. Fergus Falls wrestler Drew Haataja wrestled for third place and took fourth at 160 pounds in AAA. Other state qualifiers were Mike Cox (215) of Barnesville, Kip Anderson (112) of Pelican Rapids, Jared Bangs (145) and Brandon Anderson (119) of Fergus Falls, and Matt Anderson (189) and Morgan Taylor (215) from West Central Area High School.
2004 was a tremendous year for Underwood senior Ashley Samuelson. She began the year by becoming the all time scoring leader for the Rockets in girls basketball in January and reached the elite 2,000 point mark on opening night in November at Henning. In addition, she hit 1,000 career kills in volleyball in November. She also made a commitment to attend Division I school, Colorado State University where she will play basketball. Samuelson also led the Rockets to a second place finish in Class A girls basketball and to a fourth straight state tournament appearance in volleyball.
Another Rocket, Liz Glesne, reached the 1,000 point mark in basketball, surpassing the milestone number during the state championship game against Wabasso.
Others from the area to reach 1,000 career points included Kim Lewis of Barnesville, Claire Honer of Perham, Tom Scheid of Hillcrest, Adam Johnson of West Central Area, Jason Speer of Battle Lake and Gillian Bjerke of Pelican Rapids. Bjerke has made a commitment to attend Iowa State University on a basketball scholarship, joining former West Central Area standout Megan Ronhovde at the Division I school.
These are just a few of the outstanding individual accomplishments by area student athletes. Congratulations to all of them. It will be exciting to see what will happen in 2005!