SPORTS FEEVER – May 21, 2020

I will start off the Sports Feever column this week with a message to the Crookston High School senior class of 2020.

Crookston Graduating class of 2020,
Congratulations on your graduation from high school and welcome to being an alumnus like yours truly!  While we don’t know if you will have a “normal” ceremony, don’t let it get you down.  To be honest, they are pretty darn boring and you wouldn’t have remembered most of what happened anyway.  Don’t feel like you are missing out on something special if you don’t have a “normal” ceremony because, honestly, you really aren’t.  You will still get your diploma one way or the other.

By parents pressuring the Crookston School District to push back their ceremony, it has cost you what could have been a great and memorable experience.  Imagine telling your kids about your graduation ceremony in your car with the rest of your classmates honking their horns at the end and going on a parade with people surrounding you and wishing you well, like many other area school districts are doing.  I guarantee you would remember that ceremony a helluva lot more than a boring, stuffy ceremony in the gym or arena!  You sure aren’t going to talk about walking across the stage and getting handed your diploma by a school board member!  That hasn’t popped up once in any conversation I have had in 25 years!
Not having a normal graduation ceremony won’t even be on the top 20 to 30 of the worst things that happen to you in your life.  Some of you have lost grandmas and grandpas or even worse, parents.  I have lost two very close friends to car accidents.  I have lost all my grandparents, one before I was born.  I would trade missing my senior year of basketball, graduation, prom, senior skip day, and all the other things that really doesn’t matter in life to have one, or all of them back.

Remember to make the best out of every situation and your life will be more enjoyable. Life can be tough at times, but the lessons you learned from being an athlete, volunteering as a Leo Club member, being in band/orchestra/choir/drama/speech/etc. will make you a stronger and better person.

While your career hasn’t ended the way you thought….when you are older nobody will be able to beat your story on how you ended your high school career!  Congratulations to all the seniors, especially the student-athletes.  It has been fun watching you compete in all your endeavors and you will be missed at Crookston High School.  Good luck in college, work, or whatever the next step of your life brings and remember……Make the best out of every bad situation.  It will make you happier, and more successful.

Congratulations and Good Luck!  And remember……the best part of graduating is the grad reception parties and that diploma!!

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Mark Miller of Wisconsin Sports net ( came out with a Best Boys Basketball players in Oshkosh High School history and University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagle Men’s Basketball coach Dan Weisse made the list.  Oshkosh, Wisconsin has had a population from 55,000 to currently around 70,000 people, so the list is a tough one to break.

The First Team All-Time Oshkosh team –
Tyrese Haliburton (6’5 2018 grad) from Oshkosh North (Currently at Iowa State and projected to be an NBA draft pick)
Frank Seckar (6’1 1992 grad) Oshkosh North (played at Vanderbilt)
Todd Meier (6’8 1983 grad) Oshkosh Lourdes (played at Indiana and won a National Championship in 1987)
Tim Jarmusz (6’6 2007 grad) Oshkosh West (played at Wisconsin)
Andy Polka (6’6 2006 grad) Oshkosh West (played at Loyola University in Chicago)

Second Team All-Time Oshkosh team
Roger Beck (6’3 1963 grad) Oshkosh High
Peter Wade (6’7 1993 grad) Oshkosh North (Played at UW-Green Bay)
Mark Ziebell (6’5 1986 grad) Oshkosh North (Played at UW-Oshkosh)
Adrian Tigert (6’7 2001 grad) Oshkosh West (Played at UW-Milwaukee)
Dan Weisse (5’11 1999 grad) Oshkosh West (Played at UW-Milwaukee)

Miller had this to say about Dan –
A two-time Player of the Year in the Fox Valley Association, Weisse ran the point-guard duties for the late Steve Randall at Oshkosh West for four seasons. He helped Oshkosh West to back-to-back FVA titles in 1998 and 1999 and to the WIAA Division 1 sectional finals in 1999. As a senior, Weisse averaged 16.2 points, 7.6 assists and 3.2 steals while shooting 54 percent from the field as Oshkosh West went 22-2. In a sectional final played before 6,000 fans at Kolf Sports Center on the UW-Oshkosh campus, Weisse scored 20 points in a 62-61 loss to Manitowoc Lincoln. Weisse went on to play four seasons at UW-Milwaukee, two for Bo Ryan and two for Bruce Pearl. The son of former Oshkosh Lourdes star and Oshkosh West coach Greg Weisse, Dan Weisse now is the men’s basketball coach at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Crookston.

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Speaking of Dan Weisse, I called him Tuesday to congratulate him on the honor and we got talking about a lot of things and The Last Dance documentary came up (big surprise with two big basketball guys) and Dan shared the story below about the time he played against Michael Jordan

It was the summer of 2002 and I was about to be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). I was playing for Bruce Pearl, but it was his assistant Tony Jones that knew a guy that had asked him if any players at UWM would be interested in working at Michael Jordan’s camp at Elmhurst College (a suburb of Chicago). I jumped at the chance with another one of my teammates. To work the camp you received $200, got to take a group picture with MJ and the camp counselors, got a camp shirt, and got one item autographed by Michael Jordan as payment. If I recall it was a four-day camp. Most all the workers at the camp were college basketball players and at the end of each day Michael Jordan, who was coming out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards, wanted to get a workout in and play 5 on 5 against and with the workers. It was an amazing perk. At the time he had just severely injured his ribs and we were told no body shots to him,  and if he is going up to not go underneath him or do anything crazy, which is pretty standard stuff all things considered. He was playing with us to stay or get back into shape.

The first time playing against him the campers had the option to watch and so most of them did. I was never on MJ’s team. There must have been about 20 camp counselors that had to wait their turn to play. If you won, you stayed, if you lost, you had to wait your turn to get back on the court. One thing that I’ll never forget is that during the first game we played against him there was a situation that happened and so it happened I had the ball and Jordan was switched onto me! I was a pretty strong player back in the day…and never ever got intimidated…but I had also never played against or had Micahel Jordan guarding me. And now I have the ball and am staring right at him. I cannot explain what went through my head but to sum up it was something like Oh Crap!  It must have only been a second or two but I went to pass the ball to my teammate on the wing only…I threw the ball about 10 feet wide of my teammate. I got my nerves rattled a bit. Jogging back on defense after that I felt a pat on my butt and Michael said to me something to the effect of, “don’t let me get in your head and just play your game.” This is something he did not have to do, he had been trash-talking, half-joking, half not, most of the games. But that moment and that quick one on one moment I’ll never forget.

The last night of camp Jordan played against us in front of all the campers, and their family and friends The whole gym was packed. We played up to seven points and every shot made was worth one point. I ended up making two three-point shots and had the game-tying shot to make it 6-6. However, Jordan made the game-winner and the entire place went crazy.

One final detail of working at that camp. Though MJ was not at the camp the entire time, he had his daily workout regiment he did during the day, business to attend to, and some golf to play I’m sure. But he did do a Q & A session for the camp, gave a lecture, showed the camp some drills, and signed autographs and took pictures with all the campers. Also, camp would be going along as normal and then you felt a buzz through the air, and a different feel, a buzz, and sure enough, MJ would enter the facility with his entourage and it was almost as if the camp stopped. It certainly had an aura or a presence about him.  It was something else. A great experience.

The group picture of Dan (second row – second from the right) with Michael Jordan.

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The NCAA Division II Presidents Council announced they will be cutting the amount of maximum and minimum games Division II teams can play in the fall sports season.

The maximum number of football games is 10, down from 11. The minimum number is seven, down from eight. A football team can choose to play five games, but wouldn’t be eligible for NCAA postseason play.

The maximum for volleyball is 20, down from 26. With a minimum of 10, down from 15.
The women’s soccer maximum is 14, down from 18. With a minimum of seven, down from 10.

The minimums and maximums don’t include potential conference or NCAA postseason play in each sport.

With that said, UMC Volleyball will play at least six fewer matches and UMC Women’s Soccer will play at least four fewer matches.  That will save the UMC Athletic Department some money and talking to some coaches and I have read the NSIC is saying conference play is the number one priority.  So the teams will be cutting non-conference games/matches for sure.

One worst-case scenario for the NSIC is they play the fall sports in the spring!  Could you imagine football in the spring??  That would be wild.  Everything is fluid, but we know if there is a fall sports season, it will include fewer games.  And in my opinion, fewer games is better for everybody, including high school!

In other NCAA news –
The NCAA Division I Council voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, Mens basketball and Women’s basketball to start June 1st and go through June 30th. There had been a moratorium on that through May 31st. Other sports will be acted on at a later date

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Crookston High School graduate and current University of North Dakota Fighting Hawk Women’s trackster Aleece Durbin was named the Female Indoor Track team’s Most Improved athlete.
Durbin just wrapped up her sophomore year where she ran the hurdles, sprints and has competed in the triple jump for UND.
Aleece had an outstanding high school track career and finished 5th in the 100 meter hurdles and 7th in the triple jump at the Minnesota State High School League State Class A Track Meet her senior year.

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We received the following Crookston Pirate Softball senior information as we continue to highlight the spring sport seniors-

Maddie Salentine
What sports/activities were you in? I managed hockey this year and played in past years
Where are you going to school next year? UND. No set plan yet, just going for business right now and seeing where that takes me.
What was the highlight of your high school career? Being a captain these last couple of years with Jasmin and Sophia
Can you sum up the last seven weeks? Not what I expected
Anything you want to add? Don’t take anything for granted
Parents – Ron and Paula Salentine

Jasmin Hanson
What sports/activities were you in? Volleyball, basketball, softball, band, and Leo club
Where are you going to school next year? Attending the University of Minnesota, Crookston for Wildlife Management
What was the highlight of your high school career? Hitting home runs and celebrating with my team
Can you sum up the last seven weeks? It’s been overwhelming and a learning process
Anything you want to add or pass along? You can achieve any goal you set your mind to.
Parents – Josh and Lacia Hanson

Allie Love
What sports/activities were you in? Volleyball, softball, trapshooting, and wrestling manager
Where are you going to school next year? Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks to major in Radiology
What was the highlight of your high school career? I would have to say every day, every year was the highlight of my high school career
Can you sum up the last seven weeks? It was very tough and unexpected
Is there anything you would like to add? Don’t take the time you have now for granted because you never know when it can be taken away from you. Live life to the fullest!
Parents – Larry and Julie Love

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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.

Brady Heppner, is playing hockey for the Roanoke Raildogs in the SPHL.

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

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

Ben Trostad is a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota Crookston golf team.

Isaac Westlake, is a Senior on the Winona State Warrior Men’s Golf team.

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

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

Nick Garmen, is a freshman playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.

Thea Oman, a freshman, is swimming at St. Ben’s.

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