Both the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams finished in second place at the Concordia Invite last Friday night. There were more than 1,000 entries in the meet and the second place finish by both teams is a pretty impressive start to the season.
Rosey Erickson was great for the Cardinals with three individual first-place finishes and a first-place finish as a part of the 4×400 relay. On the boys’ side, Travis Kloehn led the way, coming in first in the long jump and the pole vault.
Here is a list of Cardinal athletes on the girls’ side that set personal best marks but did not finish in the top eight at the meet – Gloria Head, 55m dash; Shannon Thoennes, 55m dash; Riza Tantay, 55m dash; Laura Strand, 55m dash; Stacey Tigges, shot put.
The Cardinals have not had the opportunity to practice on the track so far this spring, but instead have been practicing in the Jefferson parking lot. The snow that is falling on Alexandria today will not help matters. The Cardinals will have to hope it does not affect them this weekend when they travel to St. Cloud to take part in the CLC Indoor Championships, starting at 1 p.m.
Ellsworth’s Cody Schilling is the new Minnesota State scoring leader after his 23-point performance yesterday in the Panthers’ 59-41 win over Granada-Huntley-East Chain in the 1A quarterfinals of the state tournament.
For those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to see this kid play, take the opportunity to do it today and tomorrow. His numbers are incredible. It takes a very special player to set a career scoring record in the state, while also holding the career assist record. That’s what makes him so amazing. As of yesterday, he had 3,367 points, 1,423 assists and is also No. 1 all-time among boys in free throws made, No. 2 in free-throws attempted and No. 2 in baskets made. How great of a player do you have to be to hold the state scoring record and the state assist record? I don’t care if he plays in 1A, that’s just amazing.
Schilling should be the state’s Mr. Basketball award winner. He probably won’t be because of the fact that he plays in class 1A and not many people knew about him across the state until this year. He deserves it, though.
Cody is the second in line in what has been an amazing basketball family in the Schillings. I played against his brother in the Camden Conference my senior year in high school, and he was all anyone talked about in the small towns all over Southwestern Minnesota. Cody has a younger brother that I believe is in eighth grade this year. During the tournament last season, a lot of people that I talked to said that he could be the most talented of the three. I have a hard time believing that he will match Cody’s numbers, but it’s still pretty amazing that that’s even questioned.
Osakis’ Leif Nomeland, who dominated the Prairie Conference all season, will get a chance to see how he matches up against the other top seniors in the state of Minnesota next week when he plays in the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Series.
The tournament features 40 of the best seniors in the state, including four-star recruit Jared Berggren of Princeton and a number of other Division I signees. Berggren was the most sought after recruit in the state this past season before he signed a letter of intent to play at Wisconsin under Bo Ryan. He was rated the 11th best center in the country by Rivals.com for the 2008 class.
Going against players like this should be a great test for Nomeland. He has signed a letter of intent to play for Augustana College next season, and will be going against some great players out of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference for the next four years. He saw consistent double and triple teams all season and still scored more than 20 points and grabbed over 15 rebounds almost every game. He has a chance to be really good at Augustana. If he can consistently knock down the mid-range jump shot, he will be very effective.
Another player who could be joining Nomeland at Augustana next year is Cody Schilling from Ellsworth. Schilling will also be playing in the all-star series and is one of the best scorers in the state. He had more than 2,500 points before his senior season even started. I have read on some Division II blog sites that both Augustana or Northwestern in Iowa are the schools most likely to land him. I believe Winona State is also in the running. His brother plays at Northwestern and was a star himself at Ellsworth.
Local fans won’t have to travel far to see some of the best players in the state go at it, either. The games kickoff on April 4 in St. Cloud at Halenbeck Hall at St. Cloud State University. Nomeland’s Blue team gets the action started with a 7 p.m. game against Iowa-bound Anthony Tucker and his Gold team. The games continue on Saturday at Concordia-St. Paul University at 2:15 and 4 p.m.
It is slow going right now in the local sports world because we’re in between seasons. For sports fans in general, though, it is one of the best times of the year.
This weekends NCAA Tournament games lived up to the hype with a ton of great games. It seems like every first round game that features a mid major team has a player on their team that makes people say "how is he not at a major university?" That is what I found myself saying over and over again watching Stephen Curry of Davidson this past weekend. What he did in the second half against Georgetown was just amazing.
The end of March also means the Twins are right around the corner. So many people are pessimistic about this team but they have a ton of young talent. Carlos Gomez has the ability to make people forget all about the loss of Santana, and Delmon Young is a star in the making. It should be another fun summer watching these players come into their own on the field. The pitching staff will probably take its lumps, but they are filled with talent on the starting staff. All they need is a legitimate ace. That is where you just hope Liriano can regain his old form.
This afternoon I will be heading over to Osakis to work on a story about the Osakis archery team that is in only its second season. The Silverstreaks have almost 40 students participating in the National Archery in the Schools program this season and the instant success they have seen is pretty amazing.
In their first season last year, Osakis finished third at the Minnesota state tournament and went on to nationals where they finished eighth. The team is coached by Shad Schmidt and Chris Hunter. The archers will be participating in the state tournament again this year on March 29th in Becker.
"We are looking to improve on our third place finish from last season and should be a serious contender for the state title," Schmidt said.
Turns out Osakis is one of many schools that are taking part in this program throughout the state. Minnesota has the second most schools participating in the country. The state with the most participants – Kentucky, which is where NASP originated.
I will be writing a story on the team through the week. It should be ready to go for one of the papers next week.
So I guess I was wrong in my earlier post when I said that Parkers Prairie should have been the higher seed than Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. After barely escaping their opening game against Hancock, the Comets have dominated their way to the Section 6A finals with a 32-point win over Brandon-Evansville and then a 15-point win over the No. 1 seed in their subsection, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.
It will be two No. 2 seeds playing for the Section 6A title on Tuesday night for a chance to advance to the state tournament. Norman County East beat the No. 1 seed in the North Subsection, Park Christian, in overtime to advance to the championship game.
Norman County East comes into the game with a 23-5 record on the season, while the Comets sit at 21-6.
Parkers Prairie and Brandon-Evansville played one of the better high school basketball games I have seen in a long time last night in Parkers Prairie. Tom Sullivan hit a three with around five seconds remaining in the game to tie it up, and that completed what was a seven-point comeback in the final three minutes of the game for Brandon-Evansville.
The Chargers looked like they might run away with it after Trent Hintermeister hit three threes in the first half. The Panthers weathered a little storm to start the game, though, and got back into the game behind a great game by Kellen Noga, who scored 25 points for the Parkers Prairie.
Hintermeister cooled off in the second half, but Kyle Bruns made up for that and more, scoring in a variety of ways, including a jump shot from just past the free-throw line that started the comeback late in the game. He ended the night with 27 points and 14 rebounds, but really dominated when the Chargers needed him to.
The great thing about this game was that it never felt like the Panthers handed the game to Brandon-Evansville down the stretch. The Chargers made some incredible shots, including a huge shot by Travis Lund on the right baseline that cut the lead to three. That seemed to be the turning point in the game because all of a sudden the Chargers were right back in the game after Lund stole the inbounds pass and drained the shot.
The momentum in overtime swung the Chargers way when Thomas Alton fouled out of the game with about 4:30 remaining. The Panthers really didn’t have an answer for Bruns after that and he was able to score a couple of big buckets and answer what was really a great performance by Noga in the extra frame.
If the Chargers can find a second scorer after Bruns, they are a pretty good team. The problem is that they don’t always find that second scorer. They will need another good game out of guys like Sullivan or Hintermeister if they are going to beat Hillcrest on Thursday. They have already done it once this season, though, so I would not be surprised if it happened again.
The Alexandria boys’ basketball team will have a tough game in the opening round of the Section 8AAAA tournament on Thursday. The Cardinals will take on a 19-5 Moorhead team that beat them by 27 points in the first game of the regular season this year.
The Cardinals come into the tournament as the seven seed and the Spuds are the two seed.
St. Cloud Tech comes in with only two losses on the season and are the favorites to advance to the state tournament out of the section. One of the two teams that beat them this season is in the section, though. Elk River upset the Tigers 81-76 on January 11 of this year. The Elks come into the section as the No. 4 seed. If both Tech and Elk River win their first-round games, these two teams will meet up in the second round.
Here’s a list of the full seedings and the opening round matchups.
No. 8 Bemidji @ No. 1 St. Cloud Tech No. 5 Maple Grove @ No. 4 Elk River No. 7 Alexandria @ No. 2 Moorhead No. 6 Brainerd @ No. 3 Buffalo
The section championship is set for Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. The location of the final is yet to be determined.
I got a chance to watch the Cardinal boys last night, and I was pretty impressed by the way they persevered against Sartell to pick up the win in overtime.
With about seven minutes remaining, Alex was down by eight points, but they never gave up and did a good job of bouncing back. By my count, I believe Charlie Warnes scored eight consecutive points for the Cardinals at one point down the stretch. He only had 12 points overall, but he made big buckets for his team when they needed them. It was only the seventh win of the season for Alex but this team plays hard and they have some talent to work with in the coming years. Warnes, Connor Illies and Steve Conley are juniors. Matt Peterson has a nice looking shot when he gets set, and Joe Hurlbut scored in double figures for the third straight game against Sartell last night. Both Peterson and Hurlbut are sophomores and should only get better with age.
On a different note, another Alexandria team was recognized for their academic achievements this week when the Cardinal wrestling team was named the Section 8AAA academic champions. They are another example of a team from Alexandria that has proven it is possible to be winners in both their respective sports and in the classroom. I haven’t been in Alexandria for very long, but this seems to be kind of the norm. The Alex programs should be really proud of that.
Despite beating Hillcrest Lutheran Academy last week for the Little Eight Conference championship, the Parkers Prairie boys’ basketball team will head into the Section 6A Tournament with a lower seeding. The Panthers enter the South subsection with a No. 3 seed, while the Comets go in with a two seed. Every year, it seems like there are questions raised about the seedings that go on in the section tournaments. It may not mean much in the end, but it just doesn’t seem right that the second place team in a conference is seeded higher than the team that won the conference.
With that said, the Panthers road to the South Sub-section championship seems pretty attainable with the way the section set up. Parkers Prairie will take on either Underwood or Brandon-Evansville in their first game next Tuesday. The Panthers are a combined 4-0 against them during the regular season. If they win that game, the likely matchup would put Hillcrest against them for a trip to the subsection championship on the line. These two teams split their two games during the regular season, with the Comets taking the first game and the Panthers taking the conference clincher last week.
Brandon-Evansville is the No. 6 seed in the subsection. On paper, it would seem like the Chargers should run away with their game against Underwood. They have the most dominant player in that game in Kyle Bruns, but the Chargers suffered probably their worst loss of the year a week ago to Underwood. They only managed 25 points in that game and lost to the 6-16 Rockets by 24 points. No doubt, Brandon-Evansville will remember that game this Saturday and will be looking to avenge it.
Ashby is the other local team in the Section 6A South subsection. They come in as the fifth seed and will face Chokio-Alberta on the road on Tuesday night. These two teams met earlier this season in a non-conference battle where the Spartans came away with a three-point win. Ashby is a team that could pull off an upset or two in this subsection because of the way Kurtis Mickelson can control a game down low. His size is unmatched in the area and when Theron Rein and Tyson Langlie can put up consistent 15 point games, this team is pretty good. Like WCA in Section 6AA, Ashby is a team that could cause the higher seeds some problems.