SPORTS FEEVER – June 18, 2020

Welcome to another Sports Feever column.  High school athletes and coaches have started their summer workouts as of Monday, June 15 and it seems like a lot of student-athletes are taking advantage of the workouts.

Major League Baseball looks to be a step closer to starting a season in mid-July so that is a positive.  We will see what happens.

Enjoy this week’s column and if you have any interesting information let me know!

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When PJ Fleck said he wanted to change the culture around the University of Minnesota Football program he wasn’t lying.  Not only has he developed the Gophers into one of the top programs in the nation, has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, but now they are one of the top academic teams in the nation!!

The Gopher Football team had a record-shattering semester in the classroom with 97 guys getting a 3.0 GPA or higher and the team GPA was 3.56 in the spring semester!  That is a pretty impressive number for a college football team even if a portion of the semester was online.

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Minnesotan’s taken in the draft –
Trent Palmer of Anoka is selected with the 77th overall pick in the third round by the Toronto Blue Jays.  Palmer is a pitcher at Jacksonville University.

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Don Mattingly hit six grand slams in his career. They were all in 1987.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s golf team announced the addition of Tiffany Kozojed (Hillsboro, N.D./Hillsboro H.S.) to their 2020-21 signing class. Kozojed is the fifth signee for the Golden Eagle women’s golf program. She joins Ciera Kotaska (Thief River Falls, Minn./Thief River Falls Lincoln H.S.), Lachlan Larson (Pequot Lakes, Minn./Pequot Lakes H.S.), Ellen Solem (Maple Grove, Minn./Osseo Senior H.S.), and Abby Stender (Madison, Minn./Iowa Lakes Community College), as signees for the Golden Eagles.

Tiffany Kozojed (Hillsboro, N.D./Hillsboro H.S.)
Kozojed qualified for the North Dakota State Tournament in 2018 and 2019. She tied for 23rd place in the state tournament in 2019. In 2018, Kozojed finished 31st in the state tournament. She shot an 88 in the first round of the Class B State Tournament. Kozojed earned a fifth-place finish in 2019 at the Region 2 individual qualifier in Carrington. She placed ninth at the 2018 region qualifier. Kozojed is a two-time recipient of the Coaches Award. She was a three-sport athlete in high school, competing in golf, basketball, and cross country. Kozojed earned the Scholar-Athlete Award all four years at Hillsboro H.S.
Kozojed was born April 6, 2002. She plans to major in horticulture at Minnesota Crookston. She is the daughter of Paul and Melissa Kozojed. Her brother Austin Kozojed played golf at Lake Region State College.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s soccer program announced the addition of the University of Illinois Springfield transfer Alyssa Pavlacic (D, 5-9, St. Charles, Mo./University of Illinois Springfield).
Pavlacic played one season at NCAA Division II University of Illinois-Springfield. She appeared in seven games with two shots during her freshman season for the Prairie Stars. Pavlacic helped Illinois-Springfield to an 8-10 mark. She was an All-State Second Team pick for St. Charles West H.S. in 2018. She was a three-time All-Conference selection, including First Team All-Conference accolades as a junior and season. Pavlacic earned All-District and All-Region honors. In addition, she was a Missouri Athletic Club all-star player. Pavlacic helped her team win four district championships. She recorded 10 goals and 17 assists in her career. Pavlacic competed for the Saint Louis Scott Gallagher club soccer team. She also lettered in cross country and swimming. Pavlacic was a two-year captain for St. Charles West H.S.
She is the daughter of Cecilia and David Pavlacic. Her father David Pavlacic competed in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary in speed skating. She was a member of the UIS Dean’s List and earned a 4.0 GPA as a freshman. Pavlacic also speaks French.

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Northland Community & Technical College Softball has signed eight players to National Junior College Athletic Association Letters of Intent for the 2020-2021 Season.

Players that have signed include Olivia Bulger, IF from Red Lake Falls, MN; Bella Haas C/utility from Grand Forks, ND and played for Sacred Heart High School in East Grand Forks, MN; Maire Rosales IF from East Grand Forks, MN and played for Red River High School in Grand Forks, ND; Brittany Lefebvre IF from Waubun MN; Grace Minten, C/utility  from Perham, MN; Hailee Harris P/utility from Hailey, ID; Justine Pratcshler C/utility, from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada went to Grant Park High School and played for the Manitoba Angels; Shaylee Davis, IF/P from Richmond, UT.

“I could not be happier for these ladies.”, said Head Softball Coach Paul Peterson.  “All of these players were impacted by the COVID-19 virus and did not get to play their final high school season.  They all love the game and are ready to get on field.  This upcoming season will be unique bringing in an all-freshman team.”

The Pioneers were able to play six games on their spring trip to Florida but none of the players had to waste a year of eligibility.  The sophomores had the chance to come back but they were all done with their degrees.  Kalee Wall, P/IF from Seymour, IN, and Sade Westbrook, OF/C from Oveido, FL,  signed a letters of intent at William Woods University in Missouri and will be playing for them next season.

Returners to the team include Jaymee Tuttle IF, from Eltopia WA; Mackenzie Moore OF/P from Willow, AK; Abbie Johanneck OF, from Red Lake Falls, MN; Isis Johnson IF/OF, from Dadeville, AL; Frankie Smith 2B/SS, from , St. Ignatius, MT; Desiree Lawrence C/P/IF, from Champaign, IL, Lexi Mitchell, C/OF from Grand Forks, ND, and Lexi Kiesow from Goodridge, MN.

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The Minnesota State High School League has been receiving a lot of questions from Activities Directors the past several weeks.  We have some of the questions and answers below –

Q. With your experience & expertise: if 2020 fall activities are canceled in Minnesota while other surrounding states like Iowa or Wisconsin are open, do you see a large group of student-athletes moving to the states for the fall?
Q. If this does or does not happen, do you think there would be a waiver for eligibility available if these student-athletes would move back to their school in Minnesota? I ask, because if they would move to a surrounding state to participate in a fall activity without physically moving their address, they would be considered ineligible upon their return to Minnesota.
A. There remains so much uncertainty around return to sport participation that it is not possible to forecast if we are going to have a fall season.
Please know that League staff are planning daily for participation to begin on time on August 17.
If we do not have fall sports, the MSHSL Board of Directors will discuss situations like the one you present below and have a plan ready for our member schools.

Q. How does the SummeDoes that apply to a team of our school kids that may be practicing here and going to ND to play games? And does it also apply to an individual that may just go to ND to hook up with a team there?
A:I can’t tell you if the Board will create transfer eligibility exceptions/exemptions. However, I do know that they will make decisions that look after the best interests of our students and member schools.

Q. How does the Summer Coaching Waiver Period apply to a team of our school kids that may be practicing here and going to ND to play games? And does it also apply to an individual that may just go to ND to hook up with a team there?
Q. Does this also apply to 7-11th graders that have played one of our sports here and signed the eligibility papers for playing that sport here correct?
A. The MSHSL rules, policies and bylaws—including the recent action of the Board of Directors to start the Summer Coaching Waiver period on June 15—are always applicable in Minnesota and also in other states and provinces.
The MSHSL rules, policies and bylaws do not prevent a Minnesota High School student from practicing or training outside of Minnesota. However, the Minnesota Governor, MDH, CDC etc. guidelines do identify what is allowable or restricted for Minnesota residents.
So, the simple questions, can students who attend a MSHSL member school, train in Minnesota and participate in contests in other state like North Dakota, Iowa or Wisconsin? The answer is the MSHSL rules, policies or bylaws do not place restrictions on where a student can train or compete. Right now, the Governor’s guidelines indicate training with restrictions and accommodations but no competition. My thought is simply this: The Governor’s declaration and the information from other state organizations should be followed by all Minnesota residents.
The MSHSL rules, policies and bylaws do place restrictions on what MSHSL coaches can or cannot do. Basically, no coaching until June 15.

Q. What is the status of the 2020-2021 MSHSL Eligibility documents.
A. 2020-2021 MSHSL Eligibility Documents are now on the MSHSL Website. 2020-2021 MSHSL Eligibility Brochure 2020-2021 Sports Qualifying Physical Exam

Q. With the restrictions of number of athletes working with football coaches can the number of days (11) be lifted for this summer?
A. At this time the MSHSL Board of Directors has not increased the number of contact days for football.

Q. Since the start date is later, June 15, can we extend the Summer Coaching Waiver period from August 7 to August 14?
A. To date, the MSHSL Board of Directors has decided not to extend the summer waiver period beyond August 7th. The current Summer Coaching Waiver Period for this summer is only 3 days less that the Summer Coaching Waiver period of past years.

Q. What happens if my coach decided to coach before the June 15 start of the Summer Coaching Waiver Period?
A. A coach who intentionally violates a MSHSL rule, policy or bylaw would be subject to penalties or suspensions from the MSHSL Board of Directors Eligibility Committee.

Q. Can the MSHSL please send out a template letter, which we as member schools can all use as they same letter, with specific school and student information for those students who have pending violations which still need to be served?
A. No. There is not a change in the serving of penalties or suspensions for violations of MSHSL bylaw 205—Chemical Eligibility. Because there are no changes, your simple message to students and parent is as follows—you must serve your penalty or suspension.

Q. Can summer weight room be available June 15 if we obey MDH guidelines for youth sports and do proper cleaning?
A. Yes, weight rooms can be used. Please ensure you are following all individual and general hygiene and disinfection and sanitization protocols as established in your school Return to Sport Participation.

Q. Clarification for Town Team ball can coaches and players play together, or does that need to wait until June 15?
A. No. Coaches cannot play until June 15 if members of the high school team are also on the Town Team.

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Former Gopher Men’s Hockey Coach Don Lucia has been named the CCHA Men’s Hockey conference commissioner.

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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