SPORTS FEEVER – March 7, 2019

We are less than two weeks to the NCAA March Madness Final Four Selection show and a few days later the tournament will start.  I love this time of year, with the State Boys Hockey tournament is going, state girls basketball is next weekend and section boys basketball tournament play kicks off with the first round games Thursday night.  It is a great time of year.
If you look outside, you might have a hard time believing the next piece of information I will pass along –
The FIRST day of practice for Minnesota High School League Spring sports are below –
March 11 – Softball and Track and Field
March 18 – Boys and Girls Golf, and Baseball
March 25 – Boys Tennis
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I have received a lot of thank you’s, compliments, and even an offer to receive the key to an area school for what I wrote about the Region 6 committee in my last column.  The thing that surprised me was the amount of Region 6 schools that chimed in with the same frustrations as the schools up north.   I am not going to talk much more on the committee, but something needs to be done.  All of the 20-plus emails, text messages, phone calls and in-person conversations I have had with coaches, officials, activities directors, and administrators have been surprising and eye-opening.  Lack of communication was the theme in EVERY conversation.  The good news…it is an easy fix.  Let’s hope that happens and coaches and A.D.’s are involved in upcoming postseason decisions.
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The preliminary Minnesota State High School League school enrollment numbers have been released for schools to look over and see where they will be, as far as the classification for their respective sports next year.  Some interesting items I was able to uncover (remember everything is preliminary and unofficial until late March).
Volleyball –
Crookston will be in Class A next year.  They have an enrollment of 247 and Class A is 250 students and below.
Bagley and Barnesville can also be in Class A volleyball.
Football –
Fertile-Beltrami can drop to Nine-man if they choose.  It sounds like Fertile-Beltrami is already planning on it.
I am not sure how the coop formula works, but I am thinking Red Lake County has to be close to being able to drop to nine-man too.
If Mahnomen wouldn’t have joined Waubun, they could have been 9 man next year.
Those are a few items of interest I have come up with.  I will do some more digging in the next week and see if I can figure out more.
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The Crookston Pirate Girls Basketball team has made an impressive run to the Section 8AA Girls Basketball championship game on Friday.  The #5 seed in the north subsection knocked off #4 in the north DGF, they beat #1 in the south Park Rapids and they beat #2 in the north East Grand Forks and will take on the #1 in the north and overall Roseau in the Section 8AA championship on Friday night.
It has been fun to see the Crookston community excited about something for the first time in a while.  Athletics can do something for a town nothing else can.  They can bring excitement, pride, and cheer when a team makes a run.  There is something special about watching kids grow up in the town and becoming Pirates (or Green Wave or whatever your school nickname is) and making a deep run in the playoffs.  After the games you see young fans taking pictures with the players.  You see the student-athletes getting hugs and congratulations from community members…. it is what high school athletics is all about.
The best thing in my eyes is the big crowds.  If you have a chance to cheer on your team, make sure you go to the game.  If you can’t make it, the radio stations in the area (TRF, Ada, Fosston, Mahnomen, Roseau, Warroad, etc all do a great job of covering everything we can and I am biased, but think the best radio play-by-play announcers and radio coverage in the state is right here in NW Minnesota!
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AREA SECTION GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS
SECTION 8AA –
The Section 8AA Championship will have Crookston (18-10) vs four-time defending section champion Roseau (27-2).  The two teams met once during the regular season and Roseau won 84-78 in OT.  Emma Borowicz didn’t play very much, only a couple of minutes so that is something Crookston has going for them and after that loss, Crookston seemed to pick up their play and have been playing with more confidence every game.  There is no doubt Crookston is playing their best basketball of the year and will need to play one of their best games of the year to beat Roseau.  The Roseau Rams have Kacie and Katie Borowicz and there isn’t a better guard duo in Minnesota in Class AA. They are fun to watch if they aren’t playing against the team you are rooting for.  They are ultimate competitors and the one thing this Roseau team knows how to do is WIN and win big games.  Roseau has more than the Borowicz’s and Julia Braaten and Hannah Mooney had a nice game in the semi-finals too.  Roseau only goes one or two deep, but Crookston only goes about three deep so that is a wash.
I am going to go with Crookston to win the game.  But, there is one huge IF.  IF Crookston tries to run-and-gun with Roseau it could be a tough night.  If Crookston is able to slow Roseau down, Crookston will win.   It should be a great game and a great crowd.
SECTION 8A –
The Section 8A championship is a rematch from last year with the two #1 seeds – Stephen-Argyle (27-1) vs Red Lake (20-7) at Ralph Englestad Arena in Thief River Falls on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Stephen-Argyle won the only meeting between the two teams during the regular season with a 50-42 victory on December 14.
Stephen-Argyle has one of the best athletes in NW Minnesota and the state with Abigail McGlynn.  The UND volleyball signee has been the leader all season long, but they have had some great performances from Savanah Riopelle, Abbey Johnson, Riley Mooney and others.  They are scrappy, athletic and play some pretty good defense.  Red Lake’s Angel McClain is tough to stop and they like to run and gun.  If Red Lake can come out and hit some shots early they might have a chance.
Last year Stephen-Argyle beat Red Lake in the championship game 56-49.
I am picking Stephen-Argyle to win the game in a close one.
SECTION 6A –
Shocker!!!!   Ada-Borup (25-2) is in the championship game again in Section 6A and will take on Parkers Prairie (24-2) at Concordia College in Moorhead at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night.  The teams met on February 9 at Concordia and Ada-Borup/West won 54-49.
I don’t know much about Parkers Prairie other than one of my favorite UMC Golden Eagle point guards, Mikayla Noga, played for her dad (John) at Parkers Prairie before she came to UMC. I know Parkers Prairie only has two seniors and that is bad news for Section 6A.
You have two good coaches and two very good teams.  This one will come down to the end of the game and I have learned to never bet against the Cougars and Coach Smart, so I pick Ada-Borup/West to win the game.
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The Section 8AA Girls Basketball semi-finals were moved to Crookston and there were huge crowds.  The move to UMC was a no-brainer for the Region 6 committee and the three north teams were excited to play closer to home and so were the fans.  The two semi-final crowds with Crookston, EGF and Roseau looked bigger than all four quarterfinal games combined at Concordia.
Some things I noticed in the quarterfinals-
1. Park Rapids only had two students in their student body.  TWO!!  I felt sorry for the Panther players with the lack of community and school support.
2. Perham had about 20 students and not many more adults.  I am guessing they are saving their money for the boys tournament run.
3. The North teams had the best crowds overall
4. Crookston brought their pep band.  I don’t know why schools don’t bring their pep bands to tournament games?  It helps the crowd and it adds to the atmosphere.
Things I noticed in the semi-finals –
1. East Grand Forks, Crookston and Roseau showed up with huge crowds.  It was fantastic.
2. Roseau and Crookston were the only teams that had radio station coverage at the game.  We had 2,116 people listening to the two games online, the KROX app and Alexa!
3. The East Grand Forks pep band is REALLY good!
4. UMC does a great job of hosting tournament games.
5. It was nice to see UMC Chancellor Mary Holz-Claus and Vice Chancellor John Hoffman taking in the Crookston game.
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The Crookston Wrestling team wrapped up a successful season with Lukas Meier and Zach Brown competing at the state tournament last weekend.  Brown finished fourth place at state and Lukas Meier didn’t place, but he wrapped up an outstanding career at a place most kids don’t get a chance to experience….at the state tournament.
The team had a great year, led by Brown and Meier, and had 1 12-5 dual record with a 10 dual winning streak.  Crookston beat Fosston-Bagley in the first round and lost to Frazee in the semi-finals.
Crookston will lose three seniors –
Lukas Meier at 152 pounds, Damian Hodgson at 182 pounds, Blake Fee at 220 pounds and Damian Narvaez (wrestled in a couple of varsity matches this year.)
What can you say about Lukas Meier. He was a great team leader on the mat and in the practice room.  He worked harder than everybody else and his teammates followed his example.  He wraps up the year with a 21-8 record and a great high school wrestling career with 107 wins and 55 losses.  He is also a very smart kid and gets it done in the classroom.
Damian Hodgson is another great leader and wraps up a fantastic career.  He went 28-15 this year and was 97 and 97 in his career.  He outworked most of his opponents and would wear them down as the match went along.
Blake Fee came out for wrestling this year and went 10-20 on the year and is pretty proud of the fact that he lost to the state champ and state runner up at 220 pounds with both of them from Section 8.
Damian Narvaez was 0-2 this year and 5-25 in his career.
The bad news is the Pirates will say goodbye to the seniors, but the good news is they have A LOT of very talented wrestlers coming back.
Ethan Bowman (8th grader) was a stud at 106 pounds all season long and started a lot of matches with a win.
Carter Coauette (7th grader) wrestled at 106 or 113 pounds throughout the year and will have to battle Bowman or Zach Brown for a spot next year.
Zach Brown (Sophomore) wrestled at 113, 120 and 126 pounds all year and it will be interesting to see if he can stay at 113 pounds again next year as a junior.  No matter where he wrestles, he will be ranked in state.
Nolan Dans (Sophomore) is coming back and wrestled 120 and 126 throughout the year. He should have a good year next year.
Braxton Volker (8th grade) wrestled at 120 to 138 in most matches and he could be a good one for the Pirates.
Andrew MacGregor (Sophomore) wrestled in the middle of the line-up in several varsity matches and he will be looking to be in the varsity line up more next year and will be solid.
Cameron Weiland (Sophomore) just missed going to state with a third-place finish at sections and was tough at 132 pounds most of the year.
Hunter Knutson (8th grade) wrestled at 138 pounds most of the year and will be solid in the middle of the lineup.
Cade Coauette (Sophomore) wrestled around 138 and 145 most of the year and improved a lot as the season went along and after a tough year off the mat for the kid, he has handled things better than most ever could and he is one that you can see maturing and having a good year next year.
Ethan Boll (8th grade) isn’t your average eighth grader.  He is a stud and most wrestlers wouldn’t be able to compete at 160 or 170 as a youngster, but he did.  He will be a good one for the Pirates for many years to come.
Cade DeLeon (Freshman) came out for wrestling this year and wrestled in the 170 to 182 for most of the year and he competed in every match and it will be fun to see his improvement next year.
Other Pirates that will look to crack the lineup next year –
Spencer Ness, Evin Trudeau, Hunter Kresl and Regina Distefano.
The Pirates will have to find some bigger guys to fill 182, 195, 220 and heavyweight.  If they can find somebody to fill all four of the upper weights, I could see them having a great season.  The Pirate wrestlers will need to work hard in the off-season by hitting the weight room.  The offseason is the time to go to camps and learn techniques and time to lift weights to become stronger, more explosive, and faster.  The more Pirates in the weight room during the offseason the more success we will see.  The Pirates will also have to find some “big” guys to fill the upper weights and if they find some kids that can fill out the lineup things could get interesting next year.  Did I mention the kids should hit the weights?  And do some acceleration workout too!
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It is time to look back at the Crookston Pirate Boys Hockey season.  Crookston didn’t have the finish they had hoped for, but they were playing their best hockey of the season in the second half and ended with an 8-16-1 record.
The Pirates lose a very good group of 11 seniors with Logan Wardner, Mason LaPlante, Eric Delorme, Jake Anderson, Brock Heppner, Trey Christopherson, Sam Overgaard, Killian Kuchan, Jack Ricord, Keaton Goering, and Tanner Janorschke.  The Pirates will graduate 11 of the 27 players on the Varsity and Junior Varsity roster.
They lose almost half of their goals (38 of 80 goals) and 64 of their 106 assists for a total of 102 of their 186 points.  Losing Eric Delorme and Brock Heppner will leave a big hole in the lineup (72 total points – 32 of the 80 goals scored this year).
They lose solid defenseman in Logan Wardner and Sam Overgaard and they will be tough to replace and losing Jack Ricord will hurt too.  Jack was part of the reason why the Pirates were picking up more wins in the second half of the season and he won the job in the last month.  Jack was 6-10-1 on the year.
The good news for the Pirates, they will have Noah Dragseth coming back in net, they have the third, fourth and fifth leading scorers coming back with Ben Andringa (15 goals and 11 assists), Joey Doda (12 goals and 6 assists), and Jack Doda (6 goals and 10 assists) all coming back.  Quinn Westlake (5 goals and 5 assists) is the seventh leading scorer coming back, but that is the only four players coming back with more than two goals.
A problem the Pirates will have next year is depth with the loss of 11 of the 27 players and only having one Bantam team that played a B schedule will pose depth problems next year and it will also take a while for some of the Bantam players to get used to playing at a level that Section 8A requires.  You could see a very similar start to the season that we saw this year with a slow start and strong finish.
The next year or two will be challenging for the Pirate Boys Hockey program, but the future is bright with the Squirt A team winning the district tournament and there are some good numbers coming up too.
Another area of concern is the big three continue to dominate every level of youth hockey.  Either Warroad or East Grand Forks won the Pee Wee A and Bantam A region tournament and Thief River Falls is also going to state.
So how do the Pirates get better?  It is the same for every sport.  They need to hit the weights.  They need to get bigger, faster and stronger and also work on the basic fundamentals.  A lot of parents think their kids need to play fall and spring hockey.  You can get better without playing year round.  Some great things the kids can do is power skating/acceleration, things as easy as watching college and pro games and listen to the announcers (especially the color commentators) and become a student of the game and lift weights.
Did I say the kids should be lifting weights??? The more Pirate athletes that are working out in the offseason, getting bigger, faster and strong helps not only hockey but football, soccer, baseball, tennis, track, and all the sports.
East Grand Forks and Warroad will likely be the top teams again next year with Thief River Falls in the mix.  Crookston and Detroit Lakes will have some stiff competition for the fourth and fifth seed next year.  Kittson County Central and Red Lake Falls will look to make the next step and could have a shot at the fourth and fifth seeds.  Lake of the Woods will also be in the mix too.  It will be an interesting year next year in Section 8A Boys Hockey.
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The University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagle Men’s Basketball team provided excitement to the campus this weekend in a way nothing else can.  Because of athletics (namely basketball), the UMC campus was beaming with pride (something that doesn’t happen very often) and support.  UMC received more publicity from playing a game on Sunday in the NSIC quarterfinals than they have paid for the past two years combined.  That is what athletics can do for a school…Right or wrong.
The UMC Men’s Basketball team didn’t have the regular season they were hoping for because they were terrible on the road (not winning a regular season conference game on the road this year), but they had a chance to right a wrong by winning at Augustana in the sewer gas filled arena.  Even though the smell was sickening after a sewage pipe broke in the arena, UMC shot lights out and beat the young Augustana team to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in the NSIC era.  The men righted the wrong and salvaged the season.  It looked like they were going to add a feather in their cap in the quarterfinals, but Winona State ended the game on a 16-2 run to win the game.  That is okay.  The boys played well and took another step and the program is going in the right direction.
It was a historic season (in the NSIC Division II era) with the most wins (17 – yes it is a time to celebrate, but also makes me depressed that is the record), most home wins and Harrison Cleary (Jr. Oak Creek Wisconsin) passed 2,000 points in his career and has solidified himself as the best scorer in UMC Men’s Basketball history with a year to go.  He will also become the NSIC all-time leading scorer barring some crazy happening.
The Men are losing Josh Collins (Minneapolis), Chase Knickerbocker (Annandale), Gable Smith (Lodi, Wis) Darin Viken (Fosston), Aaron Hollcraft (Crookston), and Nate Lorenz (Breckenridge).
Collins was a transfer from UND and might have never found his offensive rhythm, he was outstanding on the defensive end and was versatile.
Knickerbocker was a shooter and when he was on, he was tough.
Gable Smith was a shot-blocker.  His defense, like most shot blockers, was suspect at times trying to go for the block instead of defending, but he seemed to come up with the big defensive play when they needed one.  He was injured halfway through the season and you could tell the back was bothering him in the second half of the season.
Nate Lorenz suffered a concussion and it seemed he could never get back on track, which was too bad because he was a big strong player that could score.
Aaron Hollcraft and Darin Viken didn’t play as much as they would have hoped, but when they came in they offered instant energy.
The six seniors will leave a hole in the lineup, but the good news they have a very good group coming back and some pretty good players coming in.  They only lose 28 points per game and return 49.3 points per game!
The one thing about the Golden Eagle I realized they need to find or add is some toughness.  The UMC players are all great kids and that is great.  But, they have to find some kids that are still good kids, but they are a little rough around the edges, a kid that will be physically tough and mentally tough.  That is the one thing that was missing from this year’s team is that toughness, a guy that the other teams won’t want to mess with.  Every team has a player or two that you would consider tough and UMC will need to find one or two to compliment the outstanding cast they have coming back. (They might have some coming in, I haven’t seen any of the recruits play.)
The great news –
Harrison Cleary is coming back next year.  What more do I have to say….it has all been said.  He is a stud.  He can score and this year he stepped up his game with assists, steals and he played some defense.
Malcolm Cohen finished the year playing some of his best basketball of the year.
Ben Juhl will be looked at to be a huge factor next year after a solid season this year.
Brian Sitzmann had a typical year for a newcomer.  He had some great games and had some other games that he didn’t play as well.  He averaged 7 points per game and that is pretty solid.  I am looking for big things from him next year.
Javier Nicolau played in 31 of the 33 games and had a strong second half of the season.  I am looking for him to have a great season next year, especially if he hits the weights hard in the offseason.
Chase Johnson played in all 33 games and didn’t have the offensive year I was thinking he would, but injuries had something to do with that.  He will need to have a good year next year.
Coach Dan Weisse took over a struggling program (understatement of the day) when he came in and it takes four to five years to build the team from the bottom up and change the culture.  Dan has done that with good kids that get good grades (the team has over a 3.0 GPA!!!) and gives back to the community.  When Dan came in I liked what I saw and heard and was hoping he could pull it off.  I think with a return trip to the Pentagon next year I will say he has nailed it!!!  With the team they are expecting to have next year, I hope they beef up the non-conference schedule and drop Oak Hills Bible College and Northwestern in St. Paul and pick up some challenging road games to get them ready for the NSIC.  They don’t have to make too many changes, just a few to push this group of veterans and hopefully a D-1 game too (which the coaches are always trying to get in exhibition play for recruiting purposes).  If anybody should be playing on a D-1 court, it is Harrison Cleary.
I fully expect UMC to be able to be in the regional rankings next year, but the other NSIC men’s teams were young so we will see.
Congrats to the UMC Men’s basketball program and hopefully the excitement will continue into next winter!
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The Section 8AA Boys Basketball tournament will start on Thursday at the high seeds.
The seeds went like this –

North subsection-
1. Hawley
2. East Grand Forks
3. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton
4. Roseau
5. Thief River Falls
6. Warroad
7. Crookston
8. Bagley

South subsection-
1. Perham
2. Osakis
3. Barnesville
4. Breckenridge
5. Park Rapids
6. Long Prairie-Grey Eagle
7. Wadena-Deer Creek
8. Staples-Motley

MY PREDICTIONS ARE BELOW –
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 7 at high seeds
#1 Perham cruises past #8Staples-Motley
#4 Roseau edges #5Thief River Falls
#2 EGF gets past #7Crookston (I just can’t pick my Pirates after they gave up 100 both times they lost to EGF)
#3 Barnesville over #6 LPGE
#1 Hawley over #8 Bagley
#4 Breckenridge cruises past #5 Park Rapids
#2 Osakis over #7 Wadena-Deer Creek
#3 DGF over #6 Warroad

Quarterfinals – Saturday, March 9 at Concordia – 3 of the four should be great games
#1 Perham cruises past Roseau
In an interesting matchup – EGF and Barnesville will be a good one, but I am going with EGF
A great matchup with Hawley and Breckenridge – I am going with Hawley in this one
Osakis and DGF, another interesting matchup.  I am going with Osakis for the victory in a close one

Semi-finals – Monday, March 11 at Concordia (no need to move the location for the boys)
Perham vs EGF – I am going with Perham in this one, expect a great game
Hawley vs Osakis – I am going with Coach Stoa and the Nuggets.  Hawley’s schedule will pay dividends in this game

I will give my championship picks next week.  Best of luck to all teams!

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The Section 8A Girls Hockey all-section teams and coaches awards were announced this week.  The awards are listed below –

Section 8A 1st Team
Warroad – Hannah Corneliusen, Genevieve Hendrickson, Kaitlyn Kotlowski, Quinn Kuntz
East Grand Forks –  Madison McDonald
Thief River Falls – Khloe Lund

Section 8A 2nd Team
Warroad – McKenzie Oelkers, Karlie Meeker
Thief River Falls – Shelby Breiland, Faith Porter
East Grand Forks – Kendra Emery, CJ Mack

All Section 8A Honorable Mention
Crookston – Grace Koshney, Nora Peterson, Catherine Tiedemann, Rylee Solheim.

Head Coach of the Year – David (Izzy) Marvin of Warroad
Assistant Coach of the Year – Bruce Raboin of Detroit Lakes

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Jenna Pahlen, a Junior from Red Lake County Central, reached 1000 points vs Goodridge-Grygla on Friday, February 15 with 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 55-40 win.

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The Section 8A Girls Basketball coaches honored the following as coach and assistant coach of the year.

Section 8 A GBB Coach of the Year:  Dan Lindgren (Stephen-Argyle)
Section 8 A GBB Assistant Coach of the Year:  Shane Kilen (BGMR)
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The Section 8AA Girls Basketball coach of the year is TJ Super of the Perham Yellowjackets.
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Dave Peterson has compiled and released the Pine To Prairie Boys and Girls Basketball stats.  He was kind enough to give them to us and you can see them at the links below
PTP BOYS STATS                     PTP GIRLS STATS
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The 75th Minnesota State High School League Boys Hockey State Tournament is scheduled for March 6-9 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul with the consolation rounds being played at 3M Arena at Mariucci on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Here is a look at the tournament:

The schedule:

Class A

Wednesday, March 6
At Xcel Energy Center
North Branch (19-7-2) vs. No. 2 St. Cloud Cathedral (24-4-0), 11 a.m.
Minnesota River (20-4-0) vs. No. 3 East Grand Forks (21-7-0), 1 p.m.
New Ulm (17-8-1) vs. No. 1 Mahtomedi (21-6-1), 6 p.m.
No. 5 Delano (17-9-2) vs. 4 Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (15-13-0), 8 p.m.

Thursday, March 7
At 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation semifinals, 10 a.m., noon

Friday, March 8
At Xcel Energy Center
Championship semifinals, 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 9
At 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation final, 9 a.m.

At Xcel Energy Center
Third place, 9 a.m.
Championship, Noon

Class AA

Thursday, March 7
At Xcel Energy Center
White Bear Lake Area (21-4-1) vs. No. 2 Blaine (22-2-2), 11 a.m.
Lakeville South (14-12-1) vs. No. 3 Eden Prairie (17-9-2), 1 p.m.
Moorhead (21-6-1) vs. No. 1 Edina (24-2-1), 6 p.m.
No. 5 Duluth East (18-6-2) vs. No. 4 St. Thomas Academy (24-3-1), 8 p.m.

Friday, March 8
At 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation semifinals, 10 a.m., noon

At Xcel Energy Center
Championship semifinals, 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 9
At 3M Arena at Mariucci
Consolation final, 11 a.m.

At Xcel Energy Center
Third place, 4 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.

Tickets: Championship session — $19 adults, $12 students; Consolation session — $14 adults, $9 students.

Official puck: Bauer

Gates open: The Xcel Energy Center and 3M Arena at Mariucci will open its gates to fans one hour prior to the first scheduled game of the day.

Class A Preview

North Branch (19-7-2) vs. No. 2 St. Cloud Cathedral (24-4-0) — North Branch is making its state tournament debut and is on a six-game winning streak. The Vikings are paced by sophomore forward Cody Croal, who has a team-best 25 goals and 23 assists. St. Cloud Cathedral is making its ninth state tournament appearance. During section play, the Crusaders outscored the opposition by a 21-to-1 margin. Junior forwards Blake Perbix and Jack Smith lead St. Cloud Cathedral in scoring with 67 and 62 points, respectively. Balanced scoring highlights their supporting cast.

Minnesota River (20-4-0) vs. No. 3 East Grand Forks (21-7-0) — Minnesota River is a co-op program between LeSeuer-Henderson, Belle Plaine, Cleveland, St. Peter, and Tri-City United, Montgomery. It is the debut trip for the Bulldogs. Minnesota River is on a four-game winning streak entering the tournament. East Grand Forks, the Class A champion in 2014, is making its 12th state tournament appearance. The Green Wave feature balanced scoring led by senior forward Tanner Mack’s 19 goals and 21 assists.

New Ulm (17-8-1) vs. No. 1 Mahtomedi (21-6-1) — New Ulm is a co-op that includes New Ulm Public, New Ulm Cathedral, Minnesota Valley Lutheran, Sleepy Eye and Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s.  The Eagles are making their fifth state tournament appearance riding a five-game winning streak. Junior Gavin Schlugel leads the Eagles with 27 goals and 22 assists. Mahtomedi returns for the third consecutive season and 11th time overall. In the 2018 event, the Zephyrs placed fourth.

No. 5 Delano (17-9-2) vs. 4 Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (15-13-0) — Delano, the Section 2A champion, is in the state tournament for the second time and first since 2017. Since its last loss, a 7-3 setback to defending Class A champion, Orono, on January 22, the Tigers are 9-0-1. Senior forward Hogan Williams paces a balanced Delano attack with 34 points. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin stopped Hermantown’s stranglehold on Section 7A supremacy with a 3-2 victory in double overtime in the section final. Hermantown had won the section crown the past nine years. The Raiders are led by senior forward Donte Larson, who has 27 goals and 24 assists.

Class AA Preview

White Bear Lake Area (21-4-1) vs. No. 2 Blaine (22-2-2) — White Bear Lake snapped a state tournament-appearance dry spell with a 3-2 victory over Hill-Murray in the Section 4AA final. This is the Bears’ first state tournament trip since 2011 and 19th overall. Senior center Blake Meister paces the Bears with 11 goals and 26 assists. Sophomore wing Lleyton Roed has 15 goals and 18 assists. Blaine, the Section 5AA champion, is in the state tournament for the first time since 2015 and 12th time overall. The Bengals haven’t lost since a 7-6 setback to Eden Prairie on Dec. 22, a string of 18 games. Senior forward Bryce Brodzinski, a University of Minnesota recruit, has 35 goals and 49 assists.

Lakeville South (14-12-1) vs. No. 3 Eden Prairie (17-9-2) — This is a rematch of a regular-season game that Eden Prairie won 7-4 on Jan. 31.  Lakeville South, the Section 1AA champion, is in the state tournament for the fourth time and first since 2017. Since a four-game losing streak in early February, the Cougars have reversed that and are on a four-game winning streak. Eden Prairie is another tournament regular, making its 11th trip and fifth in the past six seasons. Senior forward Jack Jensen is a Mr. Hockey Finalist. Assistant coach Paul Ranheim is a former Edina High School standout that played 15 years in the NHL.

Moorhead (21-6-1) vs. No. 1 Edina (24-2-1) — Moorhead returns for the 16th time and first since 2017. The Spuds are on a 13-0-1 run since losing to Wayzata on Jan. 5. Senior forward Kyler Kleven has 14 goals and 26 assists. Edina, arguably the gold standard in MSHSL hockey history, is in the state tournament for the 28th time. In the 2018 tournament, the Hornets won the third-place trophy. Senior forward Liam Malmquist has 23 goals and 29 assists, while senior forward Mason Nevers has 17 goals and 32 assists.

No. 5 Duluth East (18-6-2) vs. No. 4 St. Thomas Academy (24-3-1) — Duluth East, the Section 7AA champion, is making its 24th state tournament appearance. The Greyhounds were the big-school runner-up in 2018 to Minnetonka. This is Duluth East’s 65th consecutive winning season, a spree that began in 1953. Senior forward Ryder Donovan, a University of Wisconsin recruit, leads the Greyhounds with 15 goals and 27 assists. St. Thomas Academy is making its fourth appearance in the Class AA field since 2015. From 2006-2013, the Cadets won five Class A crowns. Senior forward Ryan O’Neill leads the Cadets with 19 goals and 30 assists. This is the final season of coaching for co-coaches and brothers, Tom and Greg Vannelli, who have led the Cadets to 11 state tournament appearances in the past 15 seasons.

— — —

JOKES 

Ole Fills In

A doctor in Duluth wanted to get off work and go hunting, so he approached his assistant.
‘Ole, I am goin’ huntin’ tomorrow and don’t want to close the clinic. I want you to take care of the clinic and take care of all my patients.’
‘Yes, sir!’ answers Ole.
The doctor goes hunting and returns the following day and asks: ‘So, Ole,
How was your day?’
Ole told him that he took care of three patients.
‘The first one had a headache so I gave him TYLENOL.’
‘Bravo, mate, and the second one?’
‘The second one had stomach burning and I gave him MAALOX, sir,’ says Ole.
‘Bravo, bravo! You’re good at this and what about the third one?’ asks the Doctor.
‘Sir, I was sitting here and suddenly the door opens and a woman enters.
Like a flame, she undresses, taking off everything including her panties and lies down on the table and shouts: HELP ME – I haven’t seen a man in over two years!!’  ‘Tunderin’ Lard Yeezus, Ole, What did you do?’ asks the doctor.

‘I put drops in her eyes!!

— — —

The mother of a 17-year-old girl was concerned that her daughter was having sex…
Worried the girl might become pregnant and adversely impact the family’s status, she consulted the family doctor.
The doctor told her that teenagers today were very willful and any attempt to stop the girl would probably result in rebellion. He then told her to arrange for her daughter to be put on birth control and until then, talk to her and give her a box of condoms.
Later that evening, as her daughter was preparing for a date, the mother told her about the situation and handed her a box of condoms.
The girl burst out laughing and reached over to hug her mother, saying,
‘Oh, Mom! You don’t have to worry about that! I’m dating Susan!’
— — —

How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?
****LET ME KNOW OF OTHERS TO ADD TO THE LIST email me at  chrisjfee@yahoo.com

I WILL UPDATE LATE THURSDAY MORNING!

Paul Bittner, is playing for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Bluejacket.   Paul had a goal and an assist and a plus-three in a 5-4 loss to the Laval Rockets on Thursday and he added an assist in a 4-1 win over Laval on Friday.  Paul didn’t score in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.  Cleveland will host the Belleville Senators on Thursday and Friday and Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Ryan Bittner, is a Senior playing hockey for the #1 ranked University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  The Pointers beat UW-Eau Claire in the WIAC Championship game by a 3-2 score.  Ryan didn’t score while having one shot on goal.  With the win the Pointers won the WIAC Conference tournament and will play the winner of St. Norbert and Augsburg on March 16 in the NCAA D-III Men’s Ice Hockey National Tournament.  The Pointers received a first-round bye.

Brady Heppner, is a Junior playing hockey at St. Johns University in Collegeville.  Brady didn’t score but had six shots on net in a 2-1 4OT loss to Augsburg in the MIAC Conference championship.  St. John’s season came to an end with the loss.

Aaron Hollcraft, is a Senior playing basketball and baseball for the UMC Golden Eagles.   Aaron didn’t play in a loss to Winona State in the NSIC Basketball quarterfinals and caught a plane to Florida to play baseball with the Golden Eagles this week.

Bailey Folkers, is a freshman on the University of Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team.  Bailey didn’t play in a 55-54 loss to Bethany Lutheran in the UMAC championship.

Aleece Durbin, is a freshman on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.  UND will compete San Antonio, Texas at the UIW Spring Break invite March 14-15.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Sophomore on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.   Brita didn’t compete at the NAIA Indoor Nationals February 28 – March 2.  The Jimmies are scheduled to start the outdoor season at Wayne State (Neb) March 22-23.

Ally Tiedemann, a Freshman playing tennis at the University of Minnesota Duluth.  Ally lost her third doubles match 6-1 in a 6-0 loss to Augustana.  Ally won her third doubles match 6-3 and lost her fifth singles match 6-2, 4-6, 0-2 in a 4-2 win over the University of Sioux Falls.  The Bulldogs will be off until they host St. Benedict on March 23.

Bobby Tiedemann, is a Junior on the St. Mary’s University Men’s Tennis team in Winona.  St. Mary’s is off until March 8 when they travel to White Bear Lake to play Macalester.

Marietta Geist, a Junior on the Carleton College Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams.  Marrietta didn’t compete in the MIAC Indoor Championships.  Carleton will be off until March 23 when they compete at St. Louis, Missouri.

Ben Trostad, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston.   UMC will start spring play at the Minot State invite in Las Vegas, Nevada March 8-9 and the Winona State Invite March 12-13 in Las Vegas.

Ethan Magsam, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston. UMC will start spring play at the Minot State invite in Las Vegas, Nevada March 8-9 and the Winona State Invite March 12-13 in Las Vegas.

Elise Tangquist, is a Sophomore golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul. Northwestern will start the spring portion of the schedule on April 28 at the UW-River Falls invite.

Isaac Westlake, a Junior playing golf for the Winona State Warriors.  Winona State will compete at the Minot State Invite in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 8-9 and they will host an invite in Las Vegas on March 12-13.

Cade Salentine, is a redshirt Freshman playing football at the University of North Dakota.

Kate MacGregor, a Freshman swimming at Minnesota State Moorhead.

Crookston School District Coaches –
Brody Davidson 
is an Assistant Pirate Football coach.
Tyler Brekken is a Pirate C team football coach and junior high Pirate Softball coach
Jeremy Lubinski
 is a Pirate 8th Grade Football coach.
Amy Boll 
is the head Pirate Girls Track head coach and assistant volleyball coach
Sarah Reese 
is the Pirate Head Girls Soccer coach
Shelly Erdmann
 is the Assistant Girls Soccer coach.
Cody Brekken
 is the Assistant Pirate Girls Tennis coach, Pirate Boys Tennis coach and Crookston Community Pool Supervisor
Marley Melbye is the Head Girls Swimming coach
Mitch Bakken is the head Pirate Baseball coach.
Justin Johnson is the Pirate Junior Varsity Baseball coach.
Brock Hanson
 is the Pirate Baseball volunteer assistant coach.
Jeff Perreault 
is the Pirate Girls Golf head coach
Wes Hanson is the Pirate Wrestling Head Coach and assistant boys golf coach
Wade Hanson
 is the 8th grade boys basketball coach
Travis Ross is the 7th grade boys basketball coach
Kevin Weber is a Pirate Boys Basketball volunteer assistant coach
Connor Morgan is the Pirate Boys Hockey assistant coach
Sam Melbye is the Pirate Boys J.V. Hockey coach
Chris Dufault is an Assistant Wrestling Coach
Nate Merten is an Assistant Wrestling Coach
Tori Demarais is the Pirate Girls Hockey assistant coach.

Non Crookston High School –

Josh Edlund,  is an assistant football coach and phy ed teacher at Flandreau, South Dakota.

Allison Lindsey Axness is Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach in Champlin Park

Jeff Olson is Head Wrestling coach and Head Baseball coach at Delano.

Jake Olson is an Assistant Football Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Delano.

Todd Kreibich, is the Coach and General Manager for the Minnesota Iron Rangers Junior Hockey team our of Hoyt Lakes.

Carmen (Kreibich) Johnson, is Head Volleyball coach at Little Falls High School.

Katy Westrom, is Head Girls Tennis Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Monticello High School.

Matt Harris, is a Director of Athletics at the British International School of Houston.

Marty Bratrud is the Superintendent and High School Principal at Westhope High School.

Gordie Haug is an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming

Mike Hastings is the Minnesota State Mankato Men’s head Hockey coach

Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Thief River Falls High School

Stephanie (Lindsay) Perreault works with the North Dakota State stats crew for Bison football and volleyball and basketball in the winter. Stephanie’s husband, Ryan, is the assistant director for the Bison media relations

Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College

Chris Myrold is a Tennis Pro on Nevis Island in the West Indies

Kyle Buchmeier
 is a Tennis Pro at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis

Erika Wheelhouse
 is serving in the Peace Corp in the Philippines.

Jarrett Butenhoff is serving our country with the U.S. Navy

Joshua Butenhoff is serving our country on a Submarine with the Pacific Fleet with the US Navy.

Alan Mart, 2009 Crookston High School graduate, is currently serving his country for the US Army as a Cavalry Scout in Afghanistan.

Peter Cournia is a 2002 Crookston High School Graduate and also a grad of West Point and is currently is serving in the U.S. Army.

Erik Ellingson is serving our country with the U.S. Air Force at Minot.

Philip Kujawa class of 2004 from Crookston Central is stationed at Hohnfels in Germany for the next 2 or 3 years.

Scott Riopelle is head of Crookston Parks and Recreation

Rob Sobolik is the General Manager of the Fargodome

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for the comments and if you have anything to add or share, please e-mail chrisjfee@yahoo.com or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and kroxam.com