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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Former Otters in the Sports News
Several former Otters are in the sports news this week.  First off, Hannah Draxten, who had her college basketball career at Iowa cut short by injury is one of 58 Hawkeyes named to the Winter Academic All-Big Ten team.
 
Seven members of the Iowa women's basektball team have received the honor which goes to student-athletes who are letter winners and in at least their second academic year at the institution.  They must also carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.  Draxten spent the season with the team as a student assistant coach.
 
Former Otters Darin Stanislawski and Spencer Kidder have recently signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at Mayville State University next year.  Both are currently playing for Jarrod Asmus at M State in Fergus Falls.  They will be joined by current teammate Alex Brockpahler from Sebeka at Mayville next fall.  Three of their former Spartan teammates are playing for Mayville this year, including catcher Sam Thielen from Wheaton, and pitchers Victory Sokolofsky and Scott Petry, both from Moorhead.  Sokolofsky has compiled a 3-1 record and an ERA of 1.75 in 20 innings this spring.  Mayville is 15-8 to start the year.  Head Coach Scott Berry is in his 30th season and has had outstanding success winning 21 DAC championships and 18 DAC tournament championships.  He has led his team to the NAIA National playoffs 21 times.  Berry was recently awarded the Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Items of Interest
March Madness is quite consuming with all of the tournament action at the high school and college levels.  Sometimes other items of interest get pushed to the back burner.  I'll try to bring some of them to the forefront in this column.
 
First of all, congratulations to Chuck Ross, Head Coach of the Underwood football team.  Coach Ross has been named as an assistant coach for the North All-Stars at the 39th Annual Minnesota High School All-Star Football game on Saturday, June 30 at 1:00pm.  Jeff Schlieff of Spring Lake Park will serve as the Head Coach.  Other coaches for the North All-Stars will be Matt Walter (Annandale), Dan Essler (New London-Spicer), Troy Hendricks (Bemidji), Jeff Moritko (Totino-Grace) and Deryl Ramey (Brainerd).  The North and South All-Star rosters will be announced in late March.  The All-Star training camp will be held for the first time at St. John's University in Collegeville from Sunday, June 24 to Saturday, June 30.  The Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game was first played in 1945 and has been an annual event since 1974.  The  game was played in a North versus South format from 1945 through 1979, a Metro versus Outstand format from 1980 to 2010 and back to a North versus South format in 2011.  Through the years, 3,800 players and 400 coaches have participated in this game.  A total of 73 players from the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game have gone on to play or coach in the National Football League.  For more information you can visit http://www.allstarfootball.org.
 
The Underwood 14 and under volleyball team won the Minnesota Sports Federation state championship in St. Cloud on Saturday.  Participants were Grace Noyes, Olivia Kollar, Taylor Leitch, Hanna Moe, Sara Thieschafer, Maddi Hoekstra, Brianna Harthun and Jacey Ross.  The team was coached by Margo Shebeck.
 
Augustana's Derek Hansen is the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Week and was also selected as Central Region Player of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.  Hansen, a junior from Fergus Falls, batted .500 (6-12) and drove in seven runs last week, helping the Vikings to three wins.  The junior hit one double, two triples and a home run and had a 1.167 slugging percentage.  He also stole a base.  Hansen's best performance came against the University of Sioux Falls last Wednesday when he went 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBI.  It's the first weekly conference award for a member of the Vikings this season and the third such honor for Hansen during his career.  He was named Player of the Week on April 19, 2011, and Pitcher of the Week on May 2, 2011.  Derek was also named the Region Player of the Week by the NCBWA on May 5, 2011.
 
Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 baseball tryouts will be held on Sunday, April 1 at 1:00pm at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park in Fergus Falls.  If weather doesn't cooperate, tryouts will be held indoors at the Kennedy Secondary School.  All players born on or after January 1, 1993 are welcome to tryout.  Post 30 has won the District 9 title for three straight years and they will be participating in the Gopher Classic and also in a tournament in Alexandria during the 2012 season.  Both events will feature some of the best teams in the state.  If you have any questions feel free to contact Head Coach Nick Lewis at [email protected].
 
Registration for the Fergus Falls Flyers Summer Swim Team will be held March 26 and 27 from 4 to 6pm each day in the Otter Room at the Kennedy Secondary School.  For more information you can go to http://fergusfallsswimming.org/.
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Final Game, Welcome Home, Super Sunday, Fore!
As I write this column on Saturday morning I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to watch the Fergus Falls girls basketball team one final time in the 2011-2012 season.  They play Hutchinson at two o'clock this afternoon at Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia College in St. Paul.  They play for third place in Class AAA with an opportunity to be one of two teams in their class to end the season with a win, an opportunity to record their 30th win of the season, and one more opportunity to play together as a team. 
 
This Otter girls basketball team has been such a joy to watch.  They play together so well and are such well rounded individuals.  They get along well on and off the court and have tremendous senior leadership with Mariah Monke, Carly Ouren, Sydney Schultz and Haylie Zenner.  Their underclassmen who share varsity minutes with the four seniors, Anna Monke, Brianna Rasmusson and Hanna Swenson, play with the composure and experience of seniors and will provide a great nucleus for a run at a return trip to state next year and the following year as Monke and Rasmusson are both sophomores.  Members of the JV and 9th grade teams also enjoyed tremendous seasons and provided the varsity players with a challenge day in and day out at practice, which is vitally important to a team's preparation.  The coaches, starting with Head Coach Josh Mohagen and continuing with Renae Rasmusson, Norm Newell, Jim Salentine and Matt Lemke, have done an unbelievable job of teaching these girls about the game of basketball and equipping them with life skills at the same time.  It has been a great ride and I've enjoyed being a small part of it!  In my business a trip to state to cover your team is as good as it gets, so thanks Otters!  You are a team that has set a new standard for the girls basketball program, having won a state tournament game for the first time in school history and with the opportunity to bring back a third place trophy.  The support of the best pep band in the state, directed by Scott Kummrow and Denise Wiese after the retirement of Jim Iverson at the end of January, has been phenomenal.  They are an incredibly talented group and create an atmosphere that can't be beat with the energy and enthusiasm.  It just isn't the same when the band isn't at the game.  Just ask the players!  Activities Director Gary Schuler and his assistant Sue Thorsen deserve so much credit and thanks for the way the coordinate everything.  The countless hours they spend planning, organizing and attending all of the events, sports, music, fine arts, everything, are appreciated greatly by all of the coaches and their programs, the media and the fans.  They are a great team!  Finally, the fans!  You have been incredible in your consistent attendance and support of Otter athletics this school year.  I go to many games all over the section and in different parts of the state and there is very little comparison to the Otter crowds at any event.  Otter fans are loyal, vocal, knowledgeable and enthusiastic!  What a thrill for the kids to play in front of a supportive group of fans every night.  Wow, this got pretty long, but it has been an amazing winter season, which brings me to my next thought ....
 
Try, if at all possible, to get to the Kennedy Secondary School Gold Gymnasium at one o'clock Sunday for the State Welcome Home event that the Activities Office puts together at the end of each season.  The Fergus Falls boys swimming and diving team, Abbot Aho of the Otter wrestling team, and the Otter girls basketball team will all be honored at the gathering on Sunday.  The Otter swimmers and divers took fifth place in the state, which was another remarkable accomplishment by Coach Tom Uvaas, his assistants Brad Childs and Mike Hartwell, and their kids.  Aho followed up his third place finish as a sophomore a year ago with a sixth place this year.  The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
 
I will miss the Welcome Home event due the fact that Super Sunday is happening at the Community Arena beginning at noon on Sunday.  Seven championship games from the Termite level on up through the Squirt level will take place between noon and about seven o'clock Sunday night.  I have the privilege of covering the games, along with videographer Jim Francis from PEG Access.  They will be played on local cable over the next few weeks on channel 8.  This is always a fun way to bring the youth hockey season to a close.  If you have a few minutes, maybe after you attend the Welcome Home, stop by and watch some of this young guys and gals in action.  Future Otters!
 
Finally, golf courses are opening all over the state of Minnesota.  March openings, especially the middle of March, are rare but golfers aren't complaining!  Balmoral opened for the season on Friday and Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls opened their range on Friday and will be open for play on Sunday.  Break out the clubs!  Hopefully, Spring has arrived and Old Man Winter won't interrupt it!  Well, I'm heading to Concordia College for that final girls basketball game.  It has been such a fun winter season and when it ends it's great to know the baseball season is right around the corner.  20 days till the Twins regular season opener!
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, March 16, 2012
Fan Bus Headed to St. Paul Saturday to Cheer on Otters
Fergus Falls basketball fans will have one more opportunity to show their support for the Otter girls basketball team as they try to finish a very memorable season with a victory over the Hutchinson Tigers in the Class AAA third place game.  The game will take place at two o'clock Saturday afternoon at the Gangelhoff Center at Concordia College in St. Paul.  Fans can signup today in the activities office at Kennedy Secondary School for a fan bus which will leave at 9:15am and return by 7:00pm.  The cost is $20.00.  Admission to the game is ten dollars for adults and seven dollars for students.  With a win the Otters would finish 30-2 on the season.  The game is also being broadcast live on AM 1250, KBRF and over the internet at www.lakesradio.net.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Former Otter Swimmers Compete in College Conference Meets
Fergus Falls High School Otter Swimming Alumni recently competed in their respective College Conference meets. College Seniors Nathan Jobe and Joel Money were members of the 2008 MN State Class A 2nd Place Team while college Freshmen Mike Hurley and Erik Money were members of the 2011 MN State Class A Championship Team. Also competing with their colleges teams were: Junior Kara Fisher, Sophomore Kelsey Appert, and Freshmen Heidi Busack and Susie Kitzman. Not competing at a conference meet but swimming with Concordia College was Freshman Greta Nycklemoe.
 
Division III - MIAC Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center:
Joel Money was All Conference for St. Olaf in the first place 200 Medley Relay (24.53PR backstroke split). He also scored for the Oles as a member of the 4th place 200 Freestyle Relay (21.61 split PR): 100 Butterfly (prelims 53.51, finals 53.20PR – 9th place); 100 Backstroke (prelims 53.10, finals 52.67 PR – 4th place) and the 200 Backstroke (prelims 1:54.13PR, finals 1:54.32 – 5th place). In addition, Joel was one of the senior captains for the Oles and was awarded the Men’s All MIAC Sportsmanship Team Award from St. Olaf.
 
Erik Money scored for St. Olaf Oles in the 4th place 200 Freestyle Relay (22.14 split PR) with his brother Joel and in all three of his individual events: 50 freestyle (prelims 21.91 PR, finals 22.30 – 15th place); 100 Breaststroke (prelims 1:00.26, finals 59.49 – 9th place) and the 200 Breastroke (prelims 2:11.84, finals 2:11.63 PR – 8th place).
 
Kelsey Appert swam lifetime personal best times (PR’s) as a Concordia Cobber in all three of her events: 500 Freestyle (5:52.18), 100 Backstroke (1:05.31) and 100 Freestyle (59.76).
 
Division I - Big Ten Championships at University of Iowa Aquatic Center:
Heidi Busack also swam PR’s as a member of the Unv MN Gopher Women’s Team in three individual events: 50 Freestyle (23.26), 100 Breaststroke (prelims 1:02.95, finals 1:02.59 Div I ‘B’ Cut – 15th place) and 100 Freestyle (50.60).
 
Nathan Jobe, one of the senior captains with the Unv MN Gopher Men’s Team, swam the 50 Freestyle (prelims 20.29 Div I ‘B’ Cut, finals 20.65 – 24th place), 200 Freestyle (1:42.38), and 100 Freestyle (44.71).
 
Mike Hurley, a member of the IU Hoosiers Men’s Team, swam PR’s in the 200 Individual Medley (prelims 1:48.42 , finals 1:48.65 Div I ‘B’ Cut– 17th place); 100 Breastroke (prelims 55.07, finals 54.91 Div I ‘B’ Cut– 14th place) and in the 100 Freestyle (45.16 ). He is currently training for Olympic trial cut times in 3 events at the Long Course Indianapolis Grand Prix Meet later this month.
 
Division I - Western Athletic Conference Championships at San Antonio:
Kara Fisher swam in three relays and three individual events for the UND Fighting Sioux Women’s Team: 800 Freestyle Relay (1:52.43 split – 6th place); 50 Freestyle (prelims 24.08, finals 24.18 – 23rd place); 200 Freestyle Relay (23.36 split – 3rd place); 100 Breastroke (1:06.32); 100 Freestyle (prelims 52.38, finals 52.88 – 23rd place) and 400 Freestyle Relay (51.89 split – 6th place).
 
Division II - Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships at St. Antonio:
Susie Kitzman swam on two relays and three individual events for the MSUM Women Dragons: 200 Freestyle Relay (24.3 split, Div II ‘B’ Cut – 3rd place); 50 Freestyle (24.93 – 9th place); 100 Butterfly (59.73 – 4th place); 100 Freestyle (54.68 – 12th place); 400 Freestyle Relay (53.2 split, 3rd place).
Posted By Compiled by Sherri Money
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Bracket Challenge is Back!

The Bracket Challenge is back for another run, thanks to the sponsorship of Kevin Johanson, Certified Financial Planner with LPL Financial.  The College Basketball Challenge is open to anyone and you can access the contest at http://lplncaa.mayhem.cbssports.com/e.  When prompted, enter the password lpl and fill out your bracket!  One entry per person with a deadline of Thursday at Noon EDT.

 

Kevin will be providing cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 for the top three finishers in the challenge.  In addition, all entries with more points than our host will be thrown into a drawing for another $100 in cash!
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Otter Girls Receive Second Seed in AAA State Tournament

The Section 8AAA champion Fergus Falls girls basketball team has been seeded second in the State Class AAA Girls Basketball Tournament and will open play at two o’clock Wednesday afternoon against Chisago Lakes Area at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

 

The Otters (28-1) were ranked second in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll and Chisago Lakes (24-5) was ranked eighth.

 

There will be a State send off on Tuesday, March 13 in the Kennedy Parking lot (Lot #2) at 8:30am.

 

To ride a Fan Bus you must sign up in the Activities Office at Kennedy with Sue Thorsen (998-0544 ext:2619).  Cost of the Coach Bus ride will be $20.00 per person.  The bus will load at 9:15am from Kennedy School (you will need to park in the lower parking lot (Lot #3).

 

Admission Tickets for Wednesday's game are available at the Activity Office.  Tickets will go on sale at 8:00am Monday morning.  The cost will be $14.00 for adults and $9.00 for students.  You can also purchase your ticket at Williams Arena. 


Gym Rat Shirts will be on sale at Kennedy for $15.00.

 

Other first round games in the Class AAA State Tournament will feature Red Wing (19-10) against Richfield (25-4, #1 seed) at 10:00am, Hutchinson (25-3) against Hill-Murray (22-7, #4 seed) at 12:00pm and Monticello (17-12) against DeLaSalle (25-3, #3 seed) at 4:00pm.

 

 

Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, March 5, 2012
Masten Enjoying Successful Sophomore Season at Bethel

The Bethel Royals Women’s Hockey team had a season with some ups and downs but finished with the opportunity to play in the play-offs as the #5 seed and made an exciting run of it.  They beat #4 St. Olaf in overtime in the first round and then took #1 Gustavus to overtime in the semifinals, but the Royals lost that battle, 1-0.  Former Otter Cristina Masten was named All-Conference for the second straight year.  She was joined on the All-Conference team by her linemate, Biz Huss.  Freshman center Kalie Johnson was named to the All Rookie team.  Their two top D also received nice recognition.  Click on the link below for more information on the Royals season.

http://athletics.bethel.edu/news/2012/3/1/WHOCK_0301123801.aspx?path=whockey
http://www.uscho.com/stats/team/bethel/womens-hockey/2011-2012/#overallstats
  
In the midst of looking up her softball schedule, I learned something I didn't know. Back in November, she evidently was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar Athlete.

 

Masten will now join the softball team this week where she will continue as part of the two catcher rotation system Bethel uses.  Last year, she was the DH when she didn't catch but it’s not known at this time if she will be in that role or not this season. More information on the Bethel softball team can be found by clicking the link below.

http://athletics.bethel.edu/news/2011/11/22/SB_1122112243.aspx  

Cristina continues to do well in school, maintaining a high GPA, consistently making the Dean's list.  She is majoring in Biology and pursuing a minor in Chemistry.

Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, March 2, 2012
Two Lady Spartans Earn All-State and All-Division Honors
Two members of the M State Lady Spartans have been named to the All-State second team and the All-Southern Division second team.  They are sophomore co-captain Kendra Stokes and freshman Rhoda Christenson.
 
Christenson averages 15.5 points per game, second in the Southern Division.  Stokes is second in the division with 3 steals per game and fifth in the division with 8.6 rebounds per game.
 
The Lady Spartans will face Anoka-Ramsey in the Region XIII semifinals at six o'clock on Saturday night at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids.
Posted By Craig Olson
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