SPORTS FEEVER – August 8, 2019

The first day of practice for Minnesota High School league teams will start on Monday, August 12.  The first competition will be girls tennis when many teams play on Friday, August, 16.  It is hard to believe summer is done and it is that time of year.  I have asked the Crookston Pirate and UMC fall sports coaches for their first-week schedule and have listed them below.

We are looking forward to another exciting year of high school and college sports.  Enjoy the column and remember if you ever have anything worth sharing on the column, send it to me at

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Four new members of the 2019 Crookston High School Hall of Fame Class and two members of the “Legends Hall of Fame” were announced today.  The Class will be Inducted Saturday, August 17 at 3:00 PM during Ox Cart Days.

Jenny Bruun was a graduate of the High School as well as a three-sport letter winner in tennis, basketball, and golf where she was the State Champion in 1996.  She played golf at the University of Minnesota and was Golf Coach at Memphis for a number of years.

Belinda Fjeld spent her entire career teaching Music in the Crookston Schools.  She was very active in the Pirate Fine Arts Boosters and the Disney trips for the Crookston Music Department.

Dave Kuehn was a long-time teacher, coach and athletic director in the Crookston Schools.  As the Athletic Director, he founded the Crookston High School Hall of Fame.  He is currently the Superintendent at Underwood.

Mike Geffre is one of the most successful coaches in the State of Minnesota.  He has coached over sixty seasons of tennis, winning twenty-two Section Championships as well as three Individual State Champions.

The two new members of the “Crookston High School Legends Hall of Fame” are Jim Brolsma and Herschel “Pepper” Lysaker.

Jim Brolsma was a graduate of 1964.  He was a Letter winner eleven times, five in hockey, four in baseball and three in football.  He was the “Willis Eide Memorial Award” winner after his Senior year.

“Pepper” Lysaker was a three-sport letter winner at Crookston Central High School, lettering in football, basketball, and track.  He graduated in 1957.  He coached for many years at Mesabi Range College, winning four state titles.

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The Crookston Pirate Fall sports teams will officially start the season on Monday.  I have asked all the coaches for their first-week schedule and the coaches that responded are below –

Pirate Girls Tennis – Coach Cody Brekken
August 12 – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at CHS Tennis Courts
August 13 – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
August 14 – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
August 15 – 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
August 16 – at Park Rapids tournament

Pirate Volleyball– (Team calendars and handbooks are available in the office)
Coach Ashley Stopa
Varsity, J.V. and C squad – August 12-16th 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 11-1 at CHS
8th grade Coach Katie Englestad – August 12-15th from 6-8am at the Crookston Sports Center (due to the installation of the epoxy in the halls at Highland)
7th grade Coach Brandi Nesseth – August 12-14th from 9:00-10:40 a.m. at CHS, August 15th 10:15-11:30 at the Crookston Pool

Crookston Pirate Boys Soccer – Coach Lon Boike
August 12 – 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
August 13 – 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
August 14 – 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
August 15 – 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
August 16 – 7:30 to 10:00 a.m.
August 17 – TBD

Girls Swimming – Coach Marley Melbye
August 12 – First day of practice – Dryland 6-7:00 a.m. – Pool practice 4:15 to 6:00 p.m.
August 13 – Dryland 6-7:00 a.m. – Pool practice 4:15 to 6:00 p.m.
August 14 – Dryland 6-7:00 a.m. – Pool practice 4:15 to 6:00 p.m.
August 15 – Riverside Hills 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. – Pool practice 4:15 to 6:00 p.m.
August 16 – Pool 6:00 to 7:00 a.m.
First meet is August 26 at Detroit Lakes (2:00 p.m.)

Crookston Pirate Girls Soccer – Coach Sarah Reese
August 12 – 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
August 13 – 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at Castle Park and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
August 14 – 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. (Goalkeeper practice 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.)
August 15 – 6:30 to 7:30 Villa Hills and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
August 16 – 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. (ball) and goalkeeper practice from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m.)

Crookston Pirate Football – Coach Scott Butt
August 12 – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
August 13 – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
August 14 – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
August 15 – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
August 16 – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

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UMC Football – Coach Mark Dufner
Official report date is August 9.
Administrative meetings/paperwork August 10 and 11.
Practice #1 will be on August 12.

The UMC Football practice schedule for August 12-24 (weather permitting)
6:30 am           Wake up
7:00 am           Breakfast
7:45 am           Unit Meetings-Install
8:30 am           ST Meetings-Install
9:30 am           Walk Thru-ST/Unit
10:30 am         Walk Thru Concludes
11:00 am         Lunch
1:30 pm           Period #1
3:30 pm           Practice Concludes
3:30 pm           Weight Room
4:30 pm           Weight Room Concludes
5:00 pm           Dinner
7:00 pm           Team Meeting
7:15 pm           Special Teams Meeting
7:30 pm           Unit Meeting
8:30 pm           Snack
10:30 pm         Lights Out

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UMC Volleyball – Coach Sarah Rauen
The Golden Eagles had two team practices with the returners Monday and Tuesday and then going to Costa Rica August 7-14.  The team will play three exhibition games, do community service and see the sights.

The full preseason will start on August 19:
8/19: Practice 8-10:30 a.m, practice 1:30-4:00 p.m., team meeting 7-8:00 p.m.
8/20: practice 8-10:30 a.m., practice 1:30-4:00 p.m., team activity in the evening
8/21: team meetings in the morning, Scrimmage vs Mayville 5:30 p.m. (open to the public!)
8/22: Practice 8-10:30 a.m., practice 1:30-4:00 p.m., team meeting 7-8:00 p.m.
8/23: Practice 9:00 to Noon, meetings in the afternoon

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United North Central Football will be playing a nine-man schedule this year, but will play in the Section 8AA tournament.  Menahga and Sebeka will split after this year for reasons that haven’t been discussed publicly.  I asked Luke Roberts (UNC football head coach) and he said, “Tentatively, the plan is after this season Sebeka will be on its own and playing a 9-man schedule. I do not know if there is a chance for the 2 schools to stay together after this season. I really don’t want to say much about it because I don’t know the answers myself. I can’t speak for what Menahga will be doing because I don’t know what their options are.”

I emailed the Menahga Activities Director, Don Donarski to ask him what Menahga is looking at doing next year and have not heard back from him.

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Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Conference Center, Deerwood

Action Items

  • 9A: A Resolution In Appreciation and Recognition for Service and Dedication to the MSHSL Board of Directors for Bill Adams, Kris Amundson, Craig Anderson, Eric Christenson, and Brian Hegseth was approved.
  • 9B: The 2019-20 Committee Assignments for the Board of Directors were approved.
  • 9C: Student Eligibility Requests. Motions were approved to send two eligibility requests to the Eligibility Committee for further review.
  • 9D: The 2019-20 Budget. The proposed 2019-20 budget was approved.
  • 9E:  The contract for Carl Lipke, the League’s Music Consultant, was approved for 2019-2021.
  • 9F:  The contract for legal services to Kelly & Lemmons was approved for 2019-2021.
  • 9G: The contract for lobbyist and special projects was approved for 2019-2021.
  • 9H: The publications of the Official Handbook, Board Policy Manual and Guidelines, Region Secretaries Manual, and Officials Policy Manual were approved.

Discussion Items

  • 10A: MSHSL Strategic Directions — The board has identified four areas of major focus:
    • Defining clearly the concept of education-based activities and athletics and the values that are critical to our member schools.
    • Developing a sustainable financial model to provide stability for the League.
    • Creating a robust and effective technological presence and infrastructure
    • Implementing effective policy and board governance practices
  • 10B: Tennis Postseason Lineup Process— Approved a universal postseason team tennis lineup submission and approval process. This was moved to an Action Item and approved, effective with the 2019-20 school year.
  • 10C: Baseball Proposal— The proposal is seeking up to three additional games that could be played on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays.
  • 10D: Wrestling Scrimmage Policy— The approved Board Policy requires additional clarity and definitions to prepare for implementation in 2019-2020 Wrestling season. It will be an Action Item at the October board meeting.
  • 10E: Alignment of Competitive Section Placement and District Football Processes— This proposal is seeking feedback on the aligning of creating districts and regular seasons in conjunction with the competitive section placement process. It will be an Action Item at the October board meeting.
  • 10F: Music Rules and Policies— League staff presented a working draft of updated rules, policies and guidelines. Adoption of the updated rules, policies and guidelines will be an Action Item at the October board meeting.
  • 10G: Spring Activity Advisory Proposals – Discussion

Baseball — Extend the number of pitches allowed per pitcher, at each required days of rest cutoff, by 10 pitches.
Speech — Addition of a 14th category, Program Oral Interpretation (POI)
Speech — Addition of a six-participant semifinal, reduce number of finalists from eight to six.
Track and Field — Addition of a third classification.

Audit and Finance Committee

  • The Board approved the May financial statement.
  • The Board approved the May and June 2019 financial statements.
  • The Board approved a motion to accept the State Auditor’s Engagement Letter.
  • The Board approved a motion to accept the insurance premiums for the 2019-20 school year.
  • The Board approved an updated 457(b) Plan.The next Board of Directors meeting is Thursday, Oct. 3 at the League Office in Brooklyn Center.

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Congratulations to the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton American Legion Post 397 Baseball team on their State Championship last weekend in Ely.
DGF beat Ely in the first round. In the semifinals, DGF beat Caledonia 4-3 in 10 innings before beating Plato 2-1 to win the championship. DGF advances to the Midwest Regional in Wisconsin this weekend.

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We heard that Christian Erickson has been named the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Pony Boys Basketball Coach.  The former Pony is taking over for his old head Coach, Todd Mortimer, who has moved to the Activities Director job.

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According to Follow the Rock – There are a few area boys basketball coaches that could reach their 600th career win this winter.  A list of the top active boys basketball coaches are below –
Ken Novak (Hopkins) – 871 wins
Dave Galovich (Crosby-Ironton) – 728
Jeffrey Wall (Anoka) – 589
John Oxton (Lakeville North) – 588
Dave Cresap (Perham) 583
Steve Philion (Red Lake County) – 583
Mark Klingsporn (Tartan) – 583

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The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the addition of Max Casper as an assistant coach. Casper comes to the Golden Eagles after spending the 2019 season as a volunteer assistant coach at NCAA Division I affiliate North Dakota State University. Casper was previously a graduate assistant in the NSIC at Augustana University for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, where he was a part of the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship won by the Vikings.

“We are excited to have Max join our staff,” said Head Coach Steve Gust. “He has the experience and intangibles we are looking for in a coach. Max has been around some good programs and worked with some great players and coaches. He has the experience to really take our program to the next level, especially with our hitters, infield defense and base running. He has paid his dues both as a player and a coach, and we are excited to see him excel as a coach at Minnesota Crookston.”

Prior to arriving at Augustana, Casper spent two years at North Dakota State as a volunteer assistant in 2015 and 2016. The 2016 Bison squad won 29 games on the season and finished the year with 64 stolen bases. In 2015, NDSU put up 20 wins and tallied 36 stolen bases on the campaign.

As a player, Casper competed for North Dakota State, where he became NDSU’s all-time leader in sacrifice hits (33) and defensive assists (623) and is tied with former Bison standout outfielder Tim Colwell for most career starts (208). He made 169 straight starts in his three-plus years as part of the infield for the Bison, compiling a .292 career batting average with 205 hits, 16 doubles, five triples, 81 RBI and 33 walks.

After his collegiate career, Casper went on to play professional baseball for parts of seven seasons. Casper has competed for the Sioux Falls Pheasants (now Canaries) and Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association, the Lake Erie Crushers and Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League, and the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American Association (Can-Am). Casper played as recently as 2019 in one game for the Redhawks. He played 434 overall games of professional baseball with 158 runs scored and 120 RBIs.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in sport and recreation leadership with a minor in public relations and advertising from North Dakota State. In addition, he obtained his master’s degree in sport administration and leadership from Augustana in 2018. He is originally from Mendota Heights.

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Former University of Minnesota Crookston baseball player Matt Dallas has signed to play for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian American Association, known as the Can-Am League. The organization is a professional, independent baseball league with teams in the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada.
Dallas has spent most of the last two seasons with the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers of the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), a professional baseball league that helps develops players to go on to either Major League Baseball (MLB) or other professional leagues. During his time in the USPBL, Dallas was a two-time All-Star. He posted a 3.66 ERA in 15 appearances during the 2019 season. Dallas improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio immensely with 31 strikeouts to just 11 walks this season. In 2018, Dallas was 2-4 with a 3.59 ERA with 46 strikeouts to 37 walks.
Dallas had previously spent time in 2017 with the River City Rascals of the Frontier League.
He competed for Minnesota Crookston during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, helping the Golden Eagles to back-to-back appearances in the NSIC Tournament. Dallas posted a 1-1 mark with a 3.60 ERA in 10.0 innings pitched as a senior with 12 strikeouts to 14 walks. As a junior, he appeared in 6.2 innings with four strikeouts.

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The Villa St. Vincent/The SUMMIT’s Foundation will hold their annual GLOW GOLF TOURNAMENT at Minakwa Golf Course on September 7.  Registration at 3:30 and shotgun start at 4:00.

The first 9 holes will be played in the daylight; the last 9 holes begin at sunset and played into the night. There will be drawings for raffle prizes. Awards will be handed out for the best decorated “GLOW” golf cart and best dressed “GLOW” golfer. All proceeds will be applied to the purchase of a new, up to date call light system for the Villa and SUMMIT.
To register a team, sponsorship, or for more information, contact Cindy Hulst, Foundation Development Director at 218-281-9713 or email:

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The Crookston Blue Line Club will hold the 15th Annual Golf Scramble on Friday, August 16 at Minakwa Golf Course in Crookston.
The scramble is five-person teams with lunch, prizes, and a t-shirt.
To register yourself or a team, contact Kristy Swanson at 218-470-0423 or email
Team sponsorship is $350 and Individual entry is $70.  All the proceeds go to Crookston youth hockey.

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A couple was shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve. The mall was packed with shoppers.
Walking through the mall the surprised wife suddenly noticed her husband was nowhere around. Very upset because they had a lot of shopping left to do, she used her cell phone to call her husband to ask him where he was.
The husband picked up and in a calm voice said, “Honey do you remember the jewelry store we went into 5 years ago where you fell in love with a diamond necklace? I told you then we couldn’t afford it, but one day I was going to buy you that necklace.”
With a pounding heart, the wife started to cry. “Yes, yes, sweetheart, I remember exactly where that jewelry store is located.”
The husband said, “Well I’m in the bar right next to it.”

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How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?

Paul Bittner, is playing for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Bluejacket.

Aaron Hollcraft, is a Senior playing baseball for the UMC Golden Eagles.

Aleece Durbin, is a freshman on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Sophomore on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.

Isaac Westlake, a Junior playing golf for the Winona State Warriors.

Ben Trostad, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Ethan Magsam, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Elise Tangquist, is a Sophomore golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.

Brady Heppner, is a Junior, playing hockey at St. Johns University in Collegeville.

Bailey Folkers, is a freshman on the University of Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team.

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

Kate MacGregor, a Freshman swimming at Minnesota State Moorhead.

Ally Tiedemann, a Freshman playing tennis at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Ben Trostad, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Ethan Magsam, a Freshman playing golf at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

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
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.
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 coaching –

Kaylee Desrosier is a softball coach for Fargo Davies Middle School.

Justin Johnson is an assistant softball coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

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.

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

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.

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 High School.  He is an Army recruiter in Rochester.

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 or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and