SPORTS FEEVER – January 30, 2020

Next week the playoffs start with Girls Hockey taking center stage.  We are one week away from the craziness for five or six weeks.

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It has been a pretty rough week. They say bad things come in three’s and that has been the case the past week.  Kobe Bryant and Chris Doleman died and Leo Blavin informed us he will be leaving us to head to the big city.  Leo will be moving to Chicago after the state boys basketball tournament.

We have been very fortunate to have Leo work for us over the past three years and I couldn’t have asked for a better employee.  He did anything asked of him and did it well.  I have never had more compliments about an employee than I have received about Leo.  He is prepared for every game (which is noticeable in his broadcast), he is an excellent play-by-play announcer, he is intelligent and extremely hard-working.  We knew Leo wasn’t going to be with us forever, but it still makes it hard to see him go.  With Leo giving us a two-month notice, it tells you what kind of person he is.  He knew that it would take some time to find somebody and didn’t want to leave us scrambling to find somebody so he gave us a two-month notice so he can help train in the new person.
Leo said he has enjoyed his time with KROX and I will have him to a little something before he leaves.  I know we will miss Leo a couple of months from now, but I am excited for him and his future and can’t wait to see what he is doing 10 years down the road.

The one thing I will miss the most about Leo, besides his outstanding work-ethic and great play-by-play, is his love of his sports, especially his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines.  He is a super-fan and I love his passion for his school and sports teams.  It is pretty close to my passion and love for Pirate sports.

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The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter and the seven others on the helicopter reminds us of one thing, enjoy life while you can.  You never know when the ride is over so make the best of it and don’t worry about meaningless things.  Enjoy life while you can!

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This week is “Thank A Coach/Advisor Week.”

With the support of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota State High School League, the Minnesota Interscholastic Activities Administrators Association and the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association are launching a campaign of gratitude to thank statewide coaches and advisors for their service in extra-curricular activities.

“Thank A Coach/Advisor Week” will take place from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2. The campaign is designed to promote, recognize and support the thousands of coaches and advisors across Minnesota that are making an integral, positive and lifelong impact on youth in the classroom and athletic settings.

“We are extremely proud of the time, energy and service to others in which our coaches and advisors put forth for the students of Minnesota,” said Rochester Century Activities Director Mark Kuisle. “Our high schools offer comprehensive, educationally-based activities programs which highlight their talents on the performance surface. We could not offer the incredible scope of programs without their outstanding service and the support of each local school community.”

Please join us in recognizing these individuals for their hard work with public address announcements, school board recognitions, and ceremonies in your schools.

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The Section 8A Girls Hockey Tournament will start on Thursday, February 6 with Crookston hosting Detroit Lakes.  The seeding meeting will be held on Monday, February 3 and it really doesn’t need to be held.  It should be pretty easy and will be done over email.  The seeding will go like this –
1. Warroad
2. East Grand Forks
3. Thief River Falls
4. Crookston
5. Detroit Lakes.

Tournament Schedule –

Quarter-final – Thursday, February 6 at 7:00 PM
#5 Detroit Lakes at #4 Crookston

Semi-finals – Saturday, February 8 at TRF
#1 Warroad vs Crookston/DL winner at 4:00 p.m.
#2 EGF vs #3 TRF at 6:15 p.m.

Championship – Thursday, February 13 at TRF
7:00 p.m. –

The official team roster can have 20 players, 2 student managers, and 3 coaches.
Admission: Students $5.00, Adults $7.00

Teams will NOT receive complimentary programs (parents if you want a program for a keepsake, you will have to buy them). Programs will be sold to the general public for $2.00 Officials: Officials for all games will be hired by the Tournament Coordinator and assigned to sites at the seeding meeting.
Goal Judges: Home Sites are to hire goal judges for quarterfinals.
The Northwest Officials Association will assign certified Officials for the Semi-final and Final.
Sportsmanship: Teams and fans are expected to display good sportsmanship at all times. Inappropriate cheers or yells are not acceptable. Noisemakers of any kind are not allowed. Good sportsmanship means treating your opponent with respect.

STUDENT CONDUCT 1. Students without shirts or students wearing shirts that are vulgar, obscene or demeaning will be removed from the tournament venue. 2. UNDER NO CONDITION should ANY member of your school’s student body go on to the playing surface. The Principal and Faculty Representative are responsible to see that this does not occur. 3. Hand-held signs, which do not obstruct the view of others, will be permitted provided they are in good taste. Signs not in good taste will be removed. 4. Artificial noisemakers are not allowed. 5. Laser lights are not allowed.
SPORTSMANSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES COACHES 1. Accept decisions by the officials 2. Avoid un-sportsmanship like gestures or language 3. Coach your players—not the spectators
PLAYERS 1. Show respect for opponents 2. Avoid un-sportsmanship like gestures or language 3. Respect the decisions by the officials 4. Play the game—be good sports
SPECTATORS 1. Avoid the use of artificial noisemakers 2. Respect property 3. Stay off the playing area at all times 4. Respect the judgment of the coaches and game officials 5. Let the players’ play, the coaches’ coach, and the officials’ officiate 6. Remember to be a positive role model

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UMC Golden Eagle Men’s basketball player, Harrison Cleary, could become the all-time leading scorer in the Northern Sun Conference in Men’s basketball this weekend.  Harrison is currently second with 1,904 points, which is 29 points behind St. Cloud State’s Gage Davis (graduated last year).
Harrison has averaged 23.8 points per game in 80 conference games.  He will likely break the record Friday and is pretty much guaranteed this weekend.

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Congratulations to Hawley Nugget Girls Basketball coach Bill Gottenborg on his 600th career victory last week.  There isn’t a coach in northwest Minnesota that does more scouting, more prep for each team they play.  His teams are always fundamentally sound and they play the game the right way.

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The Moorhead High School will be the site of this year’s Heart O’ Lakes Girls basketball extravaganza.  There will be eight games played on Saturday, February 1 and there are some pretty good match-ups.  The highlights of the day, in my eyes, are the last two games.  Crookston vs Pelican Rapids and Hawley vs Moorhead.
The first team will be the visiting team and wear their white uniform and the second team listed will be the home and wear their dark uniform.
         Visitors                                   Home
9:30   EGF                             VS.  Breckenridge
11:00 Park Christian              VS.  Barnesville
12:30 Mahnomen/Waubun      VS.  DGF
2:00   Wadena D-C                 VS.  LPA
3:30   Henning                       VS.  Frazee
5:00   Staples-Motley              VS.  Perham
6:30   Crookston                     VS.  Pelican Rapids
8:00   Hawley                         VS.  Moorhead
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High school sports fans from all over will be flocking to East Grand Forks on Saturday, February 15.
The #5 ranked East Grand Forks Boy’s Hockey has rescheduled their game with St. Cloud Cathedral (#1 in the state right now in Class A) on February 15 at 3:15 PM at Civic Center.
The East Grand Forks Boy’s basketball team has scheduled Minneapolis North (Ranked #4 in Class AA) on Saturday, February 15 at 6:00 PM at East Grand Forks High School.
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McHale Korf of Pelican Rapids scored his 1,000th point of his career in a game against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton this week.
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Congratulations to the following Section 8A One Act Play schools for advancing to the Section contest next Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Crookston H.S.  The Section contest starts at 10:00 a,m.  Two schools from each Sub-Section are advancing.

Sub-Section – 29   –   Contest was held at Win-E-Mac
1st   –   Bagley H.S.   –   “Badger”
2nd   –   Blackduck H.S.   –   “Ledge”

Sub-Section – 30   –   Contest was held at Ada-Borup
1st   –   Crookston H.S.   –   “The Remarkable Susan”
2nd   –   Ada-Borup H.S.   –   “Paul’s Case”

Sub-Section – 31   –   Contest was held at Sacred Heart
1st – Sacred Heart – “How to Overthrow your Student Government (7 easy Steps)”
2nd – Stephen-Argyle – “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe; The Telltale Heart; The Bells; The Raven”

Sub-Section – 32   –   Contest was held at Lake of the Woods H.S. (Baudette)
1st – Roseau H.S.   –   “Cheaters”
2nd – Lake of the Woods H.S.  –   “To Burn A Witch”

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The University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagle Softball team was picked to finish 15th in the Northern Sun Conference preseason coaches poll last week.

Minnesota Crookston enters their second year under Head Coach Travis Owen in 2020.  At the plate, senior infielder Mika Rodriguez, the team’s NSIC Player to Watch, returns after hitting .269 with 33 runs scored, 10 doubles, and a team-leading nine home runs. Minnesota Crookston also returns senior Malia Pula, who hit .287 last season with 23 runs scored, 10 doubles, four home runs and 27 RBIs.

In the circle, the Golden Eagles are led by senior Paige Pitlick, who went 6-21 with a 4.70 ERA in 132.2 innings pitched. Pitlick had 100 strikeouts to just 50 walks on the year, and was selected as the program’s NSIC Pitcher to Watch for the 2020 slate. Minnesota Crookston will also rely on newcomers Alina Avalos and Kamryn Frisk in the circle. Minnesota Crookston opens up the season Feb. 8 with a dome game in Minot, N.D., against Bemidji State. The Golden Eagles commence NSIC play March 24 with a doubleheader in Bemidji.

Augustana University, the defending NCAA Division II National Champions, were picked first in the NSIC Preseason Softball Coaches’ Poll with 223 points and 13 first-place votes. They edged out Winona State University, who had 213 points and three first-place votes.
Winona State University’s Ali Nowak was selected as the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year, while Augustana’s Ashley Mickschl was selected as the NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Coaches Poll – team (first-place votes) points
1. Augustana (13) 223
2. Winona State (3) 213
3. Minnesota State 186
4. Minnesota Duluth 180
St. Cloud State 180
6. Concordia-St. Paul 152
7. Minot State 129
8. Sioux Falls 126
9. Northern State 105
10. Southwest Minnesota State 99
11. Upper Iowa 86
12. University of Mary 85
13. Bemidji State 51
14. MSU Moorhead 41
15. Minnesota Crookston 36
16. Wayne State 28

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Each year Minnesota Hockey offers scholarship awards to hockey players in Minnesota who will be graduating high school. These scholarships can be used at any post high school institution and will be a one-time award that will not need to be repaid.  In 2020, Minnesota Hockey will offer scholarships for registered members, high school hockey participants and a scholarship for disabled hockey participants.

For information on Minnesota Hockey’s Disabled Scholarship, which can also be used for personal growth and development, click here.

To be eligible for a Minnesota Hockey scholarship, the applicant must be a resident of Minnesota, a senior student-athlete and be properly registered with an affiliate association of Minnesota Hockey.
To be eligible for one of the high school scholarships, a player must be participating on an active Minnesota State High School League roster.  There will be one boys scholarship and one girls scholarship awarded for high school players.
To be eligible for the Wes Barrette Scholarship, a player must be participating on an active Junior Gold roster.

Application forms are available below. Please complete and send to Executive Director, Minnesota Hockey Scholarship Committee, 317 Washington Street, St. Paul, MN 55102. Or call 651-602-5727 for more information.  Along with the completed application, you must submit the following information (incomplete applications will not be considered):

  1. Completed application form;
    2. Application letter stating why you are applying for the scholarship, what your academic goals are and the significance of hockey in your personal development;
    3. Certified high school transcript showing current grade point average and class rank, if possible. The transcript must include an SAT or ACT test score, if available; and
    4. Two letters of recommendation: One from your current youth hockey coach and one from a teacher, school counselor or community leader. Recommendation letters should be sent directly to the scholarship committee at the address noted above.

Scholarship applicants must meet the following academic criteria to be considered for a scholarship award.
1. Minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 grading system;
2. Applicant must be considered a student in good standing (not on probation or suspension) at the school they attend; and
3. Scholarship awards cannot be deferred.

Method of Payment
The $1,500 scholarship award will be sent directly to the awardees post high school institution’s financial aid office. The award must be applied toward school expenses. Payment will only be made upon completion of the following:

  1. Letter from the student indicating date of enrollment and request for payment;
    2. A copy of the acceptance letter from the institution that the awardee has chosen to attend.

The application must be completed and returned to the scholarship committee no later than March 16, 2020. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program is hosting camps on Feb. 9 at the Minnesota Crookston Sports Center. The Golden Eagles will hold a hitting and defensive camp for grades 7-12 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. The cost for the individual camp is $75. Minnesota Crookston will also hold a pitching and catching camp for grades 7-12 from 1-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 9. The cost is also $75 for the individual camp. If someone wants to attend both camps they get a discounted price of $125.

The objective of the hitting and defensive camp is to cover all aspects of becoming a fundamentally sound offensive player. The campers will do drills that current Minnesota Crookston players use to develop better movement patterns and train a more consistent and successful swing path. Through the use of Rapsodo, each player will get measured in their exit velocity, launch angle, and distance each ball is hit.

The pitching and catching camp will include instruction from Head Coach Steve Gust and assistant coach Alec DeMaria, a former Division II pitcher at the University of Mary. Through the use of weighted balls and Rapsodo technology, this camp will place an emphasis on lower-half development, as well as arm speed to safely and effectively generate pitching velocity. Both the pitching and catching segments of the camp will be centered on the fundamentals of each position.

For more information on the camps, visit or contact Coach Steve Gust at or Assistant Coach Max Casper at

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Bruce and Jenny are only 15 years old,  but they know they are in love.
One day they decide that they want to get married, so Bruce goes to Jenny’s father to ask him for her hand.
Bruce bravely walks up to him and says,  “Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage.”
Thinking that this was just the cutest thing,  Mr. Smith replies, “Well Bruce, you are only 15. Where will you two live?”
Without even taking a moment to think about it,  Bruce replies, “In Jenny’s room. It’s bigger than mine and we can both fit there nicely.”
Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, “Okay, then how will you live? You’re not old enough to get a job. You’ll need to support Jenny.”
Again, Bruce instantly replies, “Our allowance,  Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week.
That’s about 60 bucks a month, so that should do us just fine.”
Mr. Smith is impressed Bruce has put so much thought into this.
“Well Bruce, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?”
Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and says,  “Well, we’ve been lucky so far.”

Mr. Smith no longer thinks the kid is adorable.

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A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.
As he sits, the waitress comes over and asks for their orders.
The man says, “I’ll have a hamburger, fries and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”
“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $6.40 please,” and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “I’ll have a hamburger, fries and a coke,” and the ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”
Once again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
This becomes a routine until late one evening, the two enter again.
“The usual?” asks the waitress. “No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad,” says the man, “same for me,” says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress comes with the order and says, “That will be $12.62.”Once again the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer.
“Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”
“Well,” says the man, “several years ago I was cleaning the attic and I found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”
“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”
“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the man.
The waitress asks, “One other thing, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”
The man sighs, pauses, and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

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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.  Paul scored a goal and had two shots on goal in a 5-2 victory over Toronto on Friday.  He had an assist and one shot on goal in a 5-4 overtime victory over Toronto on Saturday.  Cleveland hosts Utica on Friday and Saturday, and Rochester on Wednesday.

Thea Oman, a freshman, is swimming at St. Ben’s.  St. Ben’s beat St. Olaf in a dual 135-106.
Thea was on the first-place 400-yard medley relay team with a time of 4:13.25.  She also finished first place in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 23.27, winning the race by almost two seconds.  Thea was on the second place 400 Freestyle relay team with a time of 3:46.37.
St. Ben’s lost to Gustavus in a dual 181-104 on Saturday.  Thea was on the first place 200 Freestyle relay team with a time of 1:44.02, winning the race by over five seconds.  She was on the third-place 200-yard medley relay team with a time of 1:54.92.  She also finished third place in the 100 Freestyle with a time of 57.36.
St. Ben’s will travel to the University of Minnesota Minnesota challenge on Friday and Saturday.

Brady Heppner, is a Senior, playing hockey at St. Johns University in Collegeville. Brady scored a goal and added three assists and had a plus-three rating while being tagged with one penalty in a 5-2 victory at Augsburg.  Brady didn’t score and had a minus-three rating in a 5-0 loss to Augsburg on Saturday.  St. John’s will host St. Olaf on Thursday and travel to St. Olaf on Saturday.

Nick Garmen, is a freshman playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.  Nick didn’t play in a 91-77 loss to Bethany Lutheran on Saturday.  Nick played three minutes and made one of two three-point shots for three points in a 94-76 victory over Trinity Bible college on Tuesday.  Morris will host UW-Superior on Saturday and Northwestern on Wednesday.

Aleece Durbin, is a Sophomore on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.  Aleece finished 13th place in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.53. She finished 21st in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.46 at the South Dakota State invitational.  UND will host the UND open on Friday and Saturday at the UND Athletics High Performance Center.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Junior on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.  Brita finished 11th place in the weight throw with a throw of 39’10.75 at the Cobber Open in Moorhead on Saturday.  The Jimmies will travel to the DWU Open and UND Open on Saturday.

Ben Trostad is a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota Crookston golf team.  The Golden Eagles will be off until the spring.

Isaac Westlake, is a Senior on the Winona State Warrior Men’s Golf team.  Winona State will be off until the spring.

Elise Tangquist, is a Junior golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.  Northwestern will be off until the spring.

Mason LaPlante, a freshman, is playing soccer at the University of Jamestown.

Rachel Hefta, a freshman, is playing volleyball at Hastings College in Nebraska.

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

Crookston School District Coaches –
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 Head Pirate Girls and 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
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 a youth wrestling Coach
Blake Fee is an assistant wrestling coach
Colton Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach

Non-Crookston High School coaching –

Cody Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach at Proctor/Hermantown

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