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Thursday, June 29, 2000
Local Soccer Teams Shine at Star of the North Games
The Fergus Falls Cylcones had great success at the Star of the North games in Blaine last weekend. The girls U-16 team and the boys U-15 team both won gold medals. Both teams were dominant defensively. The girls posted four straight shutouts and the boys allowed only one goal in their four games, outscoring their opponents 21-1. The girls scored 8 of their 13 goals in a win over Bemidji, won two games 2-0 and one 1-0. The U-12 boys earned the bronze medal, losing 3-1 in their opening game but coming back strong with three straight wins including a 3-2 win over Alexandria in the third place, bronze medal game.

There's no doubt that the Fergus Falls girls soccer teams can play great defense and the goalkeeping has been outstanding over the past few years. There is also no question that they need to score more goals than they have over that time. Indications seem to be that they are on the verge of developing some more offensive punch. Karoline Brause and Laura Page each scored 3 goals in 4 games for the U-16 team and seven different players contributed goals in the tourney. Both are good signs. You want a number of people to be able to score goals for your team but you also need one or two 'big guns', a couple of players who have a 'nose for the net'. I believe in any sport you need to develop a strong defense first and then start working more aggressively on the offensive part of the game. The plan is taking shape for the girls soccer team. The high school team has made good progress under Shelly Kangas and there appears to be some offensive help available for the upcoming season.

The high school boys soccer team, qualifying for their first state tournament last season, will certainly benefit from a number of the players coming up through the ranks from the U-15 and U-12 teams. The success of the boys teams throughout the past several years has been fun to follow. They have really done a great job building the program from the lower level on up. It takes time but the rewards are many. You see evidence of a succesful sports program by the number of kids playing the sport and the sport of soccer has grown consistently in Fergus Falls. The volunteer coaches over that time are to be applauded for their efforts. Only with their dedication and involvement would the program be where it's at today. Hopefully those individuals can sit back and watch with pride at what their commitment has helped bring about. Just drive by the Cleveland School some evening and you'll be amazed at the number of kids playing the game of soccer!

Tim Erickson caught one pass for 15 yards in the Outstate all-stars 28-21 victory over the Metro all-stars at Macalester College last weekend. Erickson caught the pass on a 1st down play running a down-and-out pattern. The catch came on one of the Outstate's scoring drives. Tim also played on the punt return team but didn't get an opportunity to field a punt. Tim had a great experience, "It started out slow but as we got to know everybody it was really fun. It was kind of hard to say good-bye. We had a good week of practice and worked out about for or five hours a day. The food was great." Erickson will be redshirted at NDSU as a freshman this fall.

His high school and NDSU teammate, Justin Arneson, participated in the Lions Baseball Classic, playing three games in two days. Another of their high school teammates, Ben Brimhall, was also on the North all-star team. Arneson went 1-for-4, scored twice, drove in a run and walked twice in the three games. Brimhall was 1-for-4 with a triple, two runs batted in and three runs scored. He also walked twice. Arneson played centerfield and rightfield during the tournament. Brimhall played second base, shortstop and third base. The team won two of three games, beating the Metro West all-stars 9-4 and the South all-stars 13-12. They scored eleven runs in their final three at bats to overcome a ten run deficit against the South. Their only loss was a 7-2 defeat at the hands of the Metro East all-stars.

Nik Pickett and Jon Matteson are busy preparing for play in a soccer all-star event in Hawaii in July. Be watching our 'Special' for a story on their involvement in that event from Mary Dolan.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, June 22, 2000
Great Opportunities
Many athletes from around the area are getting great opportunities to participate with great athletes from all around the state in many different sports.

Justin Arneson and Ben Brimhall, two of the best high school baseball players Fergus Falls has to offer, are a part of the 26th annual Lions All Star Baseball Tournament for graduating seniors. Both are members of the North All-Stars and will play three games Friday and Saturday at the Chaska Municipal Stadium. The Lions Clubs of Minnesota and the Minnesota Baseball Association co-sponsor this event. There are four all-star teams from around the state, a team representing the North, one from the South and two from the Metro (East and West). Coach Phil Link nominated his players for the team. Several Fergus Falls players have participated in this event through the years. I'm sure they will represent our area well.

Tim Erickson, heading for NDSU on a football scholarship, is playing in Minnesota's 26th High School All-Star Football Classic on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Macalester College. Erickson was nominated by Coach Link. Erickson will be a wide receiver for the Out-State All-Stars as they battle the Metro All-Stars. The players reported last Sunday morning and have been practicing every day since their arrival. A banquet will be held for all of the athletes on Friday night at seven p.m. and the week culminates with the game. The series is tied at 10 games apiece. Two MVP's will be chosen from each team and will receive placques. Joining Erickson on the team is West Central Area center Dallas Koplin. Koplin had a great fall with the West Central Area Knights, who played in the Prep Bowl and finished as runners-up in Class 2A with a 13-1 record. Detroit Lakes defensive back, Ryan Manke is also on the team as is Crookston tight end Chris Coauette and Hawley defensive back Andrew Passanante.

Two Fergus Falls hockey players are currently involved in Select team play. Ryan Miller was one of the 20 players selected to fill a roster spot on the Minnkota District Select 16 team that will compete in the USA Junior Olympic Hockey Festival in St. Cloud in July. Ryan was chosen after a comprehensive tryout camp. Trevor Brennan was chosen for the 2000 Select 15 Summer Festival from District 15. Trevor is among a group of players participating in a Minnesota District 15 camp in St. Cloud. The top 20 players in this camp will be selected to play in the National Tournament. Moorhead forward Nick Deutz, forwards Troy Traut and Dusty Clarquist from Alexandris, Wadena forward Tyler Neu and Long Prairie /Grey Eagle defenseman Dan Hillman are all a part of this group of players attending the tryout.

My dad and I have a sports photography business and we have been running around the area taking pictures of youth baseball and softball teams during the month of June. This has been the most frustrating summer with all the rain! What I want to share with you is this ... it is so exciting to see the number of young people involved in coaching kids. Young adults who are giving something back to a program they came up through and benefitted from in their youth. In most cases these young coaches are very organized and committed to their programs and are very good with their kids. If you have a boy or girl playing in an organized recreational baseball or softball league this summer, take a moment to thank their coaches for investing time in the kids. It's a great summer job for them!

Thanks for reading the column and visiting the site. Be watching for the addition of Amateur baseball results and stories beginning next week. John W. Dermody, Diamond Dust Network, will be providing us with information on a weekly basis. He is Mr. Amateur Baseball in this area. His knowledge of the past and present teams and players is outstanding. He loves the game, and does a great job covering it.

Please drop me an e-mail with some story suggestions! Also, please tell some of your friends and family members about the site. Tell them to log on to www.craigolsonsports.com.
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
A Great Event
I spent last Friday and Saturday at the National Sports Center in Blaine where the State A and AA Track and Field Meet was being held. This is a truly great event. Some tremendous athletes competing in a modern facility that is perfect for the competitors and the fans. Fergus Falls boys coach Terry Harrington has been officiating at the meet for over twenty years and his assistants Fuzz Noren and Paul Zosel have also been officials for the past several years.

As usual, there were some outstanding accomplishments. Jenny Reff, as you have read about elsewhere on this website, tops the list. The 9th grader won the 800 meter run with a personal best time of 2:15.55. It rekindled memories of an 8th grader who provided some unforseen thrills for Fergus Falls sports fans in the late 80's. Michelle Danielson came out of nowhere to win the 800 and shock everyone at the state meet. Local attorney Bruce Gerhardson (then a television cameraman and producer for Lake Region Community Television), and I were covering the event and Bruce had the camera rolling and in perfect location to capture that historical moment in Fergus Falls sports history. The reaction by Michelle, her coach, Joyce Monk, and others at the finish line is etched in my mind. It is a thrill to see kids excel in any event they participate in, and even a bigger thrill to see an unexpected accomplishment like the one Michelle turned in over ten years ago and like the one turned in by Jenny on Saturday.

Another Fergus Falls freshman, Irene Thomas, was fourth in the 100 meter dash. That's an extraordinary feat for a freshman. Double-A competition in this race is tough, very tough. It's over in under thirteen seconds and there is no room for error. You need to be out of the blocks fast and you need to be moving fast right now! Irene was fourth in the Class A 100 meter dash as a seventh grader, running for Pelican Rapids. She qualified last year in AA, but didn't make it to the championship finals, failing to advance out of the preliminary round. Both of these 9th graders have the right mental approach to this sport and didn't let the magnitude of the state tournament atmosphere affect them. It will be fun to watch them perform in the next three years.

The Frazee Hornets, a senior dominated team, had a great meet placing fourth with 37 points in the team event. They were just one point behind third-place Delano and seven behind second-place Roseau. Holdingford won the Class A girls state title with 50 points. Senior Erica Mois was involved in four events, taking second in the long jump, third in the triple jump, fifth in the 200 meter dash and third in the 4 x 200 meter relay.

Another area girls team, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, did very well. The Bears Amy Nelson was first in the 100 meter hurdles, second in the 300 meter hurdles and was a member of the second place 4 x 100 relay team.

Don Seipkes is going to miss senior Tyler Severson next year. Tyler ran both hurdle events at state, taking a fifth place medal in the 300 intermediates and just missing a medal, taking seventh in the 110 meter highs. Rachel Longfors of Pelican Rapids took third in the discus and Jody Emery was seventh in the triple jump. Also, junior Sheena Berg of Agassiz Valley was sixth in the 300 meter girls hurdles. Morris distance runner Brett Edlund won both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs and Breckenridge boasted a champion in the discus as Isaac Flenner threw it 159' 6".

If you've never been to the state track and field meet, I would highly recommend it. Mark down the second weekend in June next year. You'll see some tremendous athletes in action at a great event.
Posted By Craig Olson
Thursday, June 8, 2000
What a Week!
This has been quite a sports week in our region and our state, and it isn't over yet. The week started with a number of area golfers heading to their respective state tournaments. Class A at St. Cloud Country Club and Class AA at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. The Otter tennis team made their second state tournament appearance and several track and field athletes from our area are in the Twin Cities for the State meet at the National Sports Center in Blaine. I love seeing the number of local kids getting this opportunity to compete, but I also wonder about the watering down of some sports and the post season. Thankfully, the spring season has been pretty much left alone as far as increasing teams and individuals chances at state competition. The exceptions are baseball and softball where there are now three classes.

Two area baseball teams played for Section Championships on Thursday. For one of them, the Perham Yellowjackets, there was elation following their title game. For the other, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, frustration. Hans Hanson's Perham boys have had a tremendous season and will take a 22-2 record into the state tournament. Perham will play St. Michael-Albertville in the Class A quarterfinals at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Carl Selvig's Hillcrest team had a tremendous run at a state tournament berth but lost by one run to an excellent Bertha-Hewitt Bears team, 5-4. The Comets finished the year 12-7. They really put up a valiant effort after losing Bill Nelson to an injury. Nelson won't be able to play summer ball as he recovers from a dislocated elbow. Apparently John Kilde will not be playing summer baseball. Instead, he's going to begin working intently on his strength training program as he readies himself to play football and FFCC this fall. Kilde, Nelson and Dusty Christenson all played for the Ashby/Underwood American Legion team last season. Dusty is going to join Fergus Falls American Legion Post 30 for the summer. He didn't play in the season opener on Wednesday (a 12-11 ten-inning loss) because his high school team was still playing.

Summer baseball began this week, too. Plus, all the community recreation programs got going. We have some great community programs. Fergus Falls has 759 kids enrolled in baseball and softball. Underwood, Ashby and Barnesville all are reporting near record numbers as well. It's great to see kids playing ball!

Way to go Titus! 33-2! UNBELIEVABLE! You are awesome. Titus Christianson won an individual match and also was part of the team that won their opening round competition at the AA State Tennis Meet. You can't realistically expect an outstate team to challenge these metro teams for a state team title. These kids in the metro area specialize in tennis ... YEAR ROUND. They have the indoor facilities that allow them to work on their game twelve months of the year. While Titus is playing football and basketball, Edina and Wayzata tennis players are working on their backhands and serves. The fourth place team finish in the best ever at FFHS.

Former Otter, Spartan and Mayville State pitcher Brad Anderson was signed to a Northern League contract by the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at the start of the season and he made his debut in Winnipeg on Wednesday night. Anderson came in with the RedHawks trailing 8-3 in the sixth inning. All Brad did was pitch four scoreless innings and benefited from some explosive offensive ingredients as Fargo-Moorhead won the game making Anderson a winner in his first appearance. RedHawks pitching coach Jeff Bittiger likes what he sees in Anderson, "I'm working with him on his curve ball and he's really done well picking things up." Anderson was warming up during the exhibition game between those two teams in Fergus Falls, but he never got into the game. Good luck Brad, and nice start!

Look for some success from some of the area kids at the state track and field meet. Jessica Longfors from Pelican Rapids has the best discus throw of the year in class A and could bring home the gold medal. The Vikings, Agassiz Valley, Ottertail Central, Fergus Falls, Hillcrest, Perham and Frazee all have athletes competing. Chad Davison from West Central Area qualified in the high jump as Section 6A champ but will not be competing. He's on a trip to Costa Rica that has been planned for many months and will forego his opportunity to participate in the state track and field meet in his senior season. Late Saturday night we'll have results posted on this website.
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, June 2, 2000
Is it Still Basketball and Hockey Season?
The calendar has turned to June, and the NBA playoffs still are in the Conference Finals. The NHL playoffs have reached the Stanley Cup Final, but we still are guaranteed nearly another week of hockey. Sometimes it seems like the 'winter' sports season lasts all year long. In fact, when the NBA and NHL playoffs end, basketball and hockey will still be going on. Camps begin in June and there are many, many camps to choose from all around the country and several in our area.

Brian Vatnsdal and Larry Goos offer hockey camps through VG Hockey Skills. They have two different sessions in Fergus Falls with the first one beginning June 5th and going through June 17th. Prices range from $50 for the Mites and Termites to $265 for the Bantam Challenge. They're also offering European Tryouts at their camps in Fergus Falls and Colorado Springs. The team they select will have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and Italy for some international competition. The second session in Fergus Falls will be held August 21st through the 25th and ranges in price from $55 to $120 with all age groups welcome for the session. If you'd like more information you can check out their website at www.vghockey.com or call (218) 739-9488. People who have sent their kids to these camps have a lot of positive things to say about the instruction they receive. Their coaching staff is made up of former and current Minnesota high school and college coaches.

Some local schools offer good basketball camps. Fergus Falls has their Otter basketball camps starting on June 5th and running for one week for 2nd and 3rd graders and starting on June 12th for a week for 4th and 5th graders. Sixth through ninth graders participate in a two week camp beginning June 5th. The camps are for boys and girls and instruction is provided by the high school coaching staff at FFHS. Gary Schuler, boys head coach and Dave Rund, girls head coach are the camp coordinators.

Battle Lake High School hosts the Central Lakes basketball camp July 24th through the 27th, conducted by former Battler Jeff Trumbauer, currently an assistant coach at Moorhead State University. Boys and girls grades three through eight will attend morning sessions with ninth through twelfth graders attending the afternoon sessions. If you wish to register for this camp you can call the Battle Lake school at (218) 864-5217 or (218) 495-3513.

Battle Lake athletic director Mike McCarney reports that several 2000 graduates will be continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level. Ben Anderson and Micah Tysver will be members of the Moorhead State Dragons football team and Anderson will also wrestle. Dragon coaches will consider Anderson as an outside linebacker and a blocking back and will take a look at Tysver as a fullback. Shanna Hensch will be playing volleyball for MSU and has an opportunity this summer to play in an all-star basketball tournament in Hawaii. Brenna Rollie of Rothsay participated in that tournament last summer. Marshall Koep is going to attend FFCC and may play football and baseball for the Spartans.

Former three-sport standout Ginny Sawyer was the starting centerfielder for St. Benedicts for the majority of the season. John Klinnert, who coached Ginny in summer softball over the past several years, said she nailed down the starting position with an outstanding over the shoulder (Willie Mays like) catch of a ball after being inserted in a game early in the season as a sub. She can cover a lot of ground in the outfield and is a feisty player, someone who can inspire a team. Ginny was one of only two freshman to make the varsity squad.

Former Agassiz Valley track and field star Molly Peppel has completed her first collegiate season at NDSU. Molly threw the discus, the hammer and the shot put for the Lady Bison. She took first in the discus at the Beaver Open during the indoor season and in the NDSU Quad during the outdoor season. Molly holds the Agassiz Valley school record and the Section 6A record in the discus with a 140' 4" throw.

The third annual Jaycee's Summerfest softball tournament is slated for Saturday, June 10th at DeLagoon Park in Fergus Falls. The entry fee is $100.00 per team for this 16 team double elimination men's tournament. For more information you can contact Travis at (218) 731-5639.

What a tremendous season this has been for Otter tennis and Titus Christianson. The Otters continued a perfect season with a win over Willmar in the Section 8AA championship match. For just the second time in team history the Otters are competing in a state tournament. They were there in 1994 and the older brothers of current Otters were part of that team including Trevor Christianson and Trevor Marohl. Fergus Falls open state tournament play against Edina on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. They have an opporunity for an hour workout on Monday afternoon from four to five at the 98th Street Racquet Club in Bloomington where the tournament will be held. Titus won the individual singles title in Section 8AA and has a perfect 30-0 record. Incredibly, he has not lost more than 3 games in any set he has played this season. Titus had to play his teammate Travis Marohl in the semifinals and beat him 6-3, 6-1. Good Luck at state Otters!
Posted By Craig Olson
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