Monday, May 14th is the annual Senior Awards and District 544 Hall of Fame Induction banquet at the Bigwood Events Center. This is a very special evening to celebrate the senior class and a bit of the history of District 544. This year, Chuck Weiss will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame and Don Stueve will be honored in the Distinguished Service category.
Weiss was described as the "brawn and gusts" of athletics at Fergus Falls High School in the 1950's, particularly during his senior year of 1956-57. As a senior running back, he led the football team to an undefeated season. He was Most Valuable Player in basketball in 1957, when the Otters were third in the state tournament. The combined record of the football and basketball teams that year was an incredible 35 wins and 1 loss. Weiss played football at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where a 1960 game day program described him as "the best fullback in the Big Eight." As a senior, he was Colorado's leading rushing. Following college, he was drafted by Denver, but an injury ended his chances for a pro career. Weiss was self-employed for many hears in material handling equipment.
For more than three decades, Don Stueve's name was synonymous with Fergus Falls High School football. Stueve was head Otter football coach and a teacher in the district for 31 years. He was also an assistant coach for baseball and track. He taught both elementary and secondary physical education, as well as American and world history and health, and he coordinated a student work experience program. Stueve was a football coach for a total of 38 years, coaching and teaching in Breckenridge, Pelican Rapids and Montevideo before coming to Fergus Falls. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota and his master's degree at North Dakota State University. Stueve is a member of the Fergus Falls Sports Hall of Fame and the UND Sports Hall of Fame, and he is a past president of Minnesota's Football Coaches Association.
Other inductees include Mike Heikes, a Distinguished Alumni, Judith Miller Ranheim as an inductee into the Arts Hall of Fame, and Lance Johnson, also a Distinguished Alumni.
The first two dates on the Fergus Falls Hurricanes Amateur Baseball schedule were rained out. The Saturday game against the Moorhead Brewers will not be rescheduled, and the Sunday game with Bluffton will be made up on Wednesday, June 27th at 7:30 p.m. in New York Mills.
Coach Dave Johnson has another talented team in 2007. Last year the 'Canes were 24-7 overall and 13-3 in the Countryside League as they finished as regular season and playoff champs. They were Region 16C runners-up to Wolf Lake and lost in the first round of the Class C State Tournament to eventual state champion Blue Earth by a score of 7-6. This year the 'Canes will be looking for their twelvth state tournament appearance in nineteen years.
Returning from last year are second baseman Aaron Olson (.443, 9 2B, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 27 R), center fielder Tim Erickson (.439, 5 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 21 R), shortstop Ben Brimhall (.348, 4 2B, 24 RBI, 35 R), infielder-outfielders Jarrod Asmus (.323, 6 2B, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 21 R) and Mike Gaustad (.415, 4 2B, 15 RBI, 8 R), pitcher-infielder Casey Kowalski (.352, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 6-3 pitching record, 2.75 ERA, 80 K) and Tyler Gagner (5-1, 41 K, 1.34 ERA), and pitchers Casey Bovkoon (6-0, 40 K, 3.57 ERA) and Eric Anderson (1-1, 1.50 ERA, 28 K, 3 S).
Brandon Carr will not be with the Hurricanes this summer and he will be missed. Brandon hit .439 with six doubles, 14 steals, 20 runs scored and 8 RBI last season.
Justin Arneson, recently released from the Minnesota Twins organization, will be back with the Hurricanes unless he hooks on with another organization. Arneson provides some great versatility for Johnson as he can play anywhere.
The Hurricanes will be working alongside the Fergus Falls Jaycees on Saturday, May 12th as they host a free Pitch, Hit and Run competition for area youth at American Legion Field at DeLagoon Park in Fergus Falls. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the competition to follow at ten o'clock.
Pitch, Hit and Run is the Official Skills Competition of Major League Baseball. This grassroots program is designed to provide youngsters with an opportunity to compete, free of charge, in a competition that recognizes individual excellence in core baseball skills.
Competitors are divided into four age divisions, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 13/14. The individual Pitching, Hitting and Running Champions, along with the All-Around Champion in each age group at the local competition will be awarded and advance to the Sectional Level of competition.
For questions concerning the competition, please contact Paul Lundeen at (218) 736-5433.
Youth baseball players in Fergus Falls and the surrounding area should mark down May 19th and 20th for the Lakes Area Baseball Camp. Former Fergus Falls Otters and current Bethel Royals baseball players Mike Gaustad, Kirby Carr, Brandon Carr and Jared Bangs, will be conducting the camp along with some of their teammates and coaches.
The camp will be for ages 10 to 18 and will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. This will be an instructional and developmental camp with nine different skills stations being presented. An opportunity to get live game action will be given on Sunday. The cost is $100.00 per person and pre-registration is requested. You can do so at the Parks and Recreation Office on South Peck Street in Fergus Falls or by calling (218) 736-4089 or (218) 205-7407. Information sheets were sent home with students and are available at the Parks and Recreation Office and at 20/20 Optical in the Fergus Falls Medical Group.