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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Weather Forces Holiday Tournament Adjustments
Area holiday tournaments have been forced to make some schedule adjustments due to the winter storm that has gripped the area since just after midnight Tuesday.
 
The Fergus Falls Boys Holiday Hockey Classic varsity contest between Fergus Falls and West Fargo will be played as scheduled at seven o'clock tonight.  The JV game between the two teams has been canceled.
 
The Fourth Annual American Federal Bank Holiday Classic Girls Basketball Tournament will feature the JV Championship game between Lakeville South and Faribault at 4:15 p.m., the varsity third place game between Braham and Faribault at 6:00 p.m. and the varsith championship contest between Lakeville South and Fergus Falls at eight o'clock.
 
The Moorhead Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament canceled the junior varsity side of the tournament, however, the varsity games scheduled for tonight will be played.  Fergus Falls and D-G-F will matchup in the third place game at 5:30 p.m. and the Spuds will host Pelican Rapids in the championship game at 7:15 p.m. at the Moorhead High School.
 
The Pelican Rapids Girls Basketball Tournament has been postponed until tomorrow.  The Wednesday schedule will find Hillcrest playing Waubun at 11:00 a.m., Norman County East facing Underwood at 12:45 p.m., Pelican Rapids taking on Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley at 2:15 p.m. and Battle Lake meeting Perham at 3:45 p.m.
 
The regular season boys basketball game between Battle Lake and West Central Area has been postponed to Friday, January 2nd in Battle Lake.  The B game is set for six o'clock with the varsity action to follow.
 
The Brainerd Boys Swimming and Diving Invitational has been canceled with no makeup date announced.
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, December 26, 2008
FF Teams to Participate in Holiday Tournaments
Fergus Falls teams are going to be very active during the week between Christmas and the New Year as they will be hosting a pair of tournaments and traveling to three others.
 
The Otter girls basketball team will be hosting the Fourth Annual American Federal Bank Holiday Tournament on Monday and Tuesday.  The tournament begins with JV games at 12:30 and 2:15 p.m.  The Fergus Falls JV and Fergus Falls B teams will both be in action, one playing Lakeville South's JV squad at 12:30 and the other facing the Faribault JV at 2:15.  Varsity action will take place at 6:00 p.m. with Lakeville South taking on Braham, followed by Fergus Falls against Faribault.  The third place game for JV teams will be at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon with the championship game scheduled for 4:15 p.m.  The third place varsity game is slated to start at six o'clock, followed by the championship game at 8:00 p.m.
 
In addition, halftime entertainment will include the Jamestown Starz Gymnastics Team during halftime of the first varsity game on Monday night, the Fergus Falls Fury Dance Team performing during the second game on Monday night, a 3-point shooting contest sponsored by American Federal Bank during halftime of the third place game on Tuesday night, and the Alexandria Aces Ball Performance Team during halftime of the championship game.
 
Here's a preview of the four varsity teams:
Lakeville South Cougars - The Cougars play in the tough Lake Conference.  They are coached by first year head coach Lynn Dalhead who comes to the program from Apple Valley.  The Cougars are the tallest team in the tournament with six girls 6' 0" or above.
 
Braham Bombers - After several years of the Braham boys making headlines, it is now time for the girls to take the stage.  The Bombers are ranked number five in the latest Girls state poll for Class 2A.  They are the defending Great River Conference champs.  The Bombers are coached by Jennifer Christofferson.
 
Faribault Falcons - The Falcons come to town with the youngest roster of the four teams, having only three seniors.  The Falcons hope to kick start their season with a successful holiday tournament.  They are coached by Brian Cherwinka.  FFHS alum Dean Reiter is also on the coaching staff.
 
Fergus Falls Otters - The Otters enter the tournament with a 4-1 record.  They are coached by rookie head coach Josh Mohagen.  Josh helped lead the Otter boys to the state tournament as a captain of the 2004 team.  Fergus Falls is led by a core of eight seniors who hope to duplicate the success of last years team which included their first trip to the State Tournament.
 
The Otter boys basketball team will be participating in the Moorhead Holiday Tournament.  They will open play against the number two ranked team in Class 2A, unbeaten Pelican Rapids at six o'clock Monday night at the Moorhead High School gymnasium.  The Spuds will entertain D-G-F in the second game at 7:45 p.m.  The third place game is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, with the championship game scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.  The Otter JV team will face Pelican Rapids at 2:30 p.m. on Monday and will play in either the third place game (1:45 p.m.) or the championship game (3:30 p.m.) on Tuesday.
 
The Otter boys hockey team is hosting their Annual Holiday Classic Tournament at the Fairgrounds Ice Arena.  This is a varsity and junior varsity tournament with the JV game starting the action each night for the Otters.  On Monday, they will face Mankato West at 5:00 p.m., with the varsity game to follow between those two teams at 7:00 p.m.  On Tuesday, it's West Fargo at the same times, and on Wednesday, New Year's Eve Day, the games will be played earlier.  The JV teams will square off at 2:00 p.m. and the varisty teams at 4:00 p.m.  Wednesday's opponent for the Otters will be Detroit Lakes.
 
The Fergus Falls girls hockey team heads to the Red Wing Tournament for a second consecutive year.  They will play at 7:00 p.m. Monday against the St. Croix Valley Fusion at the Prairie Island Arena.  The Fusion is a cooperative girls' hockey team made up of players from River Falls, Baldwin-Woodville, St. Croix Central and Spring Valley high schools.  They are coached by former Otter, Matt Cranston, and currently lead the Big Rivers Conference with a record of 3-0-0 and have an overall mark of 9-0-1.  The Otters will be skating without standout captain Erika Magnusson who is involved in a final tryout for the 18U team that will represent the USA in an International Tournament in Germany in January.  The third place game in this tournament will be played at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, with the championship game slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. 
 
The Otter boys swimming and diving team is going to be a part of the Brainerd Invitational which begins at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  They will also travel to the University of Minnesota on Saturday, January 3rd, to participate in the Marron and Gold Invite.
 
There are two home events scheduled for Saturday, January 3rd.  The Otter wrestlers will be hosting Willmar in an afternoon match at the Middle School.  The JV will start at 2:00 p.m. with the varsity to follow at approximately 3:15 p.m.  It is also Alumni Day for the Otters.  The second home event that day is the Fergus Falls boys basketball team entertaing Sauk Rapids Rice.  The JV contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the varsity game set for a 2:45 p.m. start.
 
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 22, 2008
Johnsrud Recognized, Bulldogs Perfect Season
Jordan Johnsrud, a 6' 7" post for MSCTC-Fergus Falls, has been named the MCAC Southern Division Player of the Week.
 
Johnsrud averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, and 2 assists per game for the Spartans.  He also added 3 steals while shooting 61% from the field.
 
On the season, Johnsrud is averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals per game while shooting 56% from the field.  The Spartans are 12-3 on the season.
 
"It is certainly a well-deserved honor as Jordan continues to improve with every game," said head coach Jason Retzlaff. "His skill and athleticism are rare traits for someone with his height.  We look for him to have a great second half of the year."
 
The Bulldogs of the University of Minnesota-Duluth won the NCAA Division II Football Championship on December 13 in Florence, Alabama, completing a perfect 15-0 season with a 21-14 win over Northwest Missouri State.
 
Fergus Falls high school graduate Luke Schalekamp, a senior at UMD, recovered an onside kick late in the game and hauled in a pair of passes for 15 yards.  He caught sixteen passes for 149 yards and one touchdown on the season.
 
Pelican Rapids high school graduate Dan Beck, a 6' 5" - 285 pound junior offensive lineman, was also a member of the national championship team.
 
UMD became the third NCAA Division II school to record a 15-0 mark.  The Bulldogs made quite a turn around after finishing the 2007 season with a record of four wins and six losses.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 22, 2008
Hall of Fame Bios
Visitors to www.craigolsonsports.com will now be able to read biographies of members of the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame.  Bio's for all 66 members of the HOF are being added to a new section of the website and will all be in place by January 1, 2009.
 
Ottertail Power Company is sponsoring this addition to the website, which is now in its tenth year.  We are excited to be able to present access to these biographies and encourage individuals with any additional information on the inductees to e-mail us at [email protected] so we can update them.  Pictures are welcome!  We hope you will enjoy reading these original biographies from the Hall of Fame booklets, researched and written by local sports historian and journalist Tom Hintgen.  Since there is no permanent physical location for the Hall of Fame information, I am very excited to be able to provide access through www.craigolsonsports.com
 
Here's a college basketball update.  Former Underwood Rocket Ashley Samuelson, a junior for the NDSU Women's basketball team, is averaging 24 minutes of playing time per game, scoring 5.1 points per game and grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game.  She also has 6 assists and 11 steals in the nine games she has played.  She is struggling with her shooting though, hitting just 32.1% (17/53) of her field goals attempts and 27% (6/22) of her 3's.  NDSU is 4-5 on the season.
 
Hannah Draxten, a 2008 Fergus Falls High School graduate is a freshman at the University of Iowa.  The Hawkeyes are 7-4 in their non-conference games and open Big Ten play this week.  Draxten is averaging 2.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while playing twelve minutes per game on the average.  She is shooting just 36% (9/25) from the field, but is hitting 41.2% (7/17) of her 3-point shots.
 
Former Spartan Dustin Monsebroten, a junior at the University of North Dakota, is getting about eight minutes of playing time per game for the Fighting Sioux.  Monsebroten has hit 6-of-12 field goals, 1-of-3 from behind the arc, and has connected on 5-of-8 free throws.  He also has ten rebounds, four assists and nine steals.  UND is off to a 6-3 start.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Another Honor for Campion
Senior lineman Josh Campion has another honor to add to his growing stack of awards.  The Fergus Falls offensive and defensive tackle has been selected to be on the seventh annual Minnesota Vikings All-State Football Team.
 
Campion is invited to a special on-field recognition ceremony during halftime of the upcoming Vikings versus Atlanta Falcons game on Sunday, December 21st (3:15 p.m. kickoff).  He is one of only 30 players selected throughout Minnesota by a committee of sportswriters, broadcasters, Vikings staff and Minnesota high school football coaches.
 
Campion will don his high school jersey for the ceremony and will be a part of a team photograph with the other 29 members of the team.
 
Additional tickets to the game are available to community members who want to show their support by attending the ceremony.  The Vikings are offering a special $30 per ticket price on the purchase of upper level tickets to the game.  These tickets, normally $60, are located in the upper level end zone of the Metrodome.  A limited number of lower level seats are available for $86 each.  Quantities are very limited and the offer is valid while supplies last and does not apply to previously purchased tickets.  If you would like an order form for these special ticket prices, please e-mail me at [email protected] and I will forward the form to you by return e-mail.
 
Josh received a letter from Vikings head coach Brad Childress notifying him of his selection.  Campion will attend the University of Minnesota next year.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 8, 2008
Hansel Honored by FF Swimmers
Brian Hansel received a plaque recognizing his contributions to the sport of Swimming and Diving at the Fergus Falls girls banquet Sunday night.
 
"It was an honor and a surprise," said Hansel. "This award came from a group that I have always felt a rapport with because I was once a high school swimmer."
 
Hansel, who started a new position as staff writer for the Wadena Pioneer-Journal in October, covering sports and the school beat, had two separate stints with the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.  He started as an intern in 1975 and worked there until 1992.  His second go around came was from 1998 through 2008. 
 
"I guess what I have enjoyed the most about reporting sports has been tied to doing it on the local level where you write your own stories, take your own photos and do your own editing and planning.  I have been very fortunate to work with some great coaches, parents and athletes.  I have also had some great help."
 
In fact, the first coach featured by Hansel for the Daily Journal in 1975 was current Fergus Falls swimming coach Tom Uvaas. "Tom hasn't changed one bit," said Hansel. "He is a very positive person and extremelyl dedicated to his athletes.  Tom also sees the big picture ... that athletics is about producing winners in the game of life.  It has been a great privilege to know him for the last 33 years.  As for Joyce Monk, the first time I met her whe started talking to me without even asking my name and about a minute later we were old friends.  That has never changed.  What can you say about the Fergus Falls swim programs? They have always produced great competitors.  No Fergus Falls high school athletic program has been able to match their consistent success."
 
In receiving the award on Sunday Hansel shared a story of taking his girl friend (now his wife, Marilyn) with him to cover a swim meet in Morris.  They had been talking about marriage and she mentioned the fact that there was a nice jewelry store in Morris and maybe they should just take a look at engagement and wedding rings.  Well, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer (just kidding, Brian AND MARILYN), Brian agreed, thinking they would just be looking.  After spending some time in the jewelry store, they were engaged!!!  Forever tied to each other due to coverage of a swimming meet in Morris!!  That's about as romantic as it gets with guys who cover sports! 
 
Congratulations Brian! I've always enjoyed a good working relationship with Brian (and Marilyn, who is an account executive at Lakes Radio), and wish him well in Wadena.  Thanks to the swimming community for showing their appreciation for his efforts through the years with this special recognition.
 
Two Otters have been named Central Lakes Conference Performers of the Week.  Junior Cristina Masten scored four goals in two games for the Otter girls hockey team, and senior guard Grant Torgerson hit 5-of-6 3-point field goals and led the Fergus Falls boys basketball team with 24 points in their win over Little Falls.
 
Remember to watch Craig Olson Sports every Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. on PRTV Channel 1.  You need to be subscribed to digital television service through Park Region Telephone/Ottertail TelCom to receive the program  It's a half hour of local sports interviews with coaches and players, scoreboard information and video highlights.  The program covers teams in the service area including Fergus Falls, Hillcrest, Ashby and Underwood.  Call 998-2000 to find out more about subscription packages.  There are several programs on the channel, including a Chamber of Commerce show with Lisa Workman and another featuring Rebecca Peterson of A Center for the Arts.
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, December 1, 2008
Skate with Santa, Update on Hannah
The Fergus Falls Hockey Association would like to invite kids of all ages to the ice arena on Sunday, December 7 from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. to Skate with Santa.  Following Skate with Santa will be an evening of open public skating.
 
Holiday music will fill the air while Santa greets and skates with kids of all ages.  Admission for the event is free.
 
Fergus Falls Hockey Association is a member of USA Hockey.  USA Hockey, Inc., is the National Governing Body for the sport of hockey in the United States.  Its mission is to promote the growth of hockey in American and provide the best possible experience for all participants by encouraging, developing, advancing and administering the sport.  USA Hockey has a proud tradition of more than 60 years of tournaments, clinics, rules administration, safety and awareness programs.
 
Former Otter Hannah Draxten has appeared in all seven games this season for the Iowa Women's basketball team.  Hannah has averaged eleven minutes per game, scoring 2.4 points per game, grabbing 2.1 rebounds per game and 0.9 assists per game.  Draxten has hit 40% (6/15) of her field goal attempts and also 40% (4/10) of her 3-point shots.  She is 1-for-2 from the free throw line.  The Hawkeyes are off to a 4-3 start and just returned from the Carribean where they went 1-2 at the Paradise Jam Tournament, losing to third-ranked California 76-43, falling to South Florida 82-79 in overtime, and beating Texas Tech 56-48.  Their next game is Thursday at Duke and their next home game is Sunday at 1:05 p.m. against Iowa State. 
Posted By Craig Olson
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