SPORTS FEEVER – July 30, 2020

Welcome to the Sports Feever column for July 30, 2020.  Where do we start this week.  Many more cancelations have happened, many more will come.
My 100 percent uneducated prediction for the fall –
College sports will only happen for the Power 5 conference teams, if they happen.  The Power 5 conferences get big time money from TV deals.   If there are no crowds allowed, or even limited crowds, teams like NDSU and UND will have a tough time paying for their programs.  Again, it is just my uneducated opinion and I change my prediction of college sports every day (I go back and forth).
High School sports – If they happen this fall, it won’t be the same.  We could see shortened seasons, possibly no state tournaments (which kids won’t care about because they just want to play), and who knows.

Governor Tim Walz is scheduled to announce what schools can do on Thursday.  If he says the state has to do distance learning, there will be NO high school sports in the fall.
If Governor Walz leaves it up to the districts or hi-bred route, you will see schools have sports, but every school in the state likely won’t have sports.

We will know more when the Minnesota State High School League meets on Tuesday, August 4.  We will have a lot of coverage of the announcement on KROX, so stay tuned!

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The Crookston 18U baseball (Crookston Legion team) team played Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton earlier this week.  Crookston didn’t take book, but Coach Mitch Bakken gave us a recap of the game below –

We played alright. Batted everyone, everyone played in random positions. That’s all I know. I don’t’ do a book, everyone hits. Good times! I was told Jacob Hesby went 3-3. He was great behind the dish. Backs everything up and had great at-bats. That kid works extremely hard.  Pitching was a little rusty but that’s to be expected. Plate approaches were much better than I thought. DGF was a 16U team so they were young but played really well. The defense was OK for the limited stuff we have done. Overall I was impressed and it was a lot of fun.

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Crookston High School graduate, Caden Osborn signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at the University of Minnesota Morris at his graduation reception at the Crookston Downtown Square on Sunday afternoon.

Osborn will join former teammate Nick Garmen, who currently plays basketball and tennis at Morris.  Osborn and Garmen are the last two Pirate Boys Basketball 1,000 point scorers.

Osborn scored his 1,000th point late in his senior season.  He was named to the Northwest Boys Basketball Conference all-conference team his junior and senior seasons and was named the Todd Eisert Most Dedicated player.

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With the health and safety of its member institutions’ communities, the importance of successful institutional campus reopening and the overall well-being of its student-athletes as its top priorities, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Board of Directors unanimously supported a delay to the start of NSIC fall athletic competition.
The University of Minnesota Crookston is a member of the NSIC.

For the sports of football and men’s & women’s cross country, the first permissible practice will be Wednesday, September 2 with the first date of competition scheduled for Saturday, September 26. For volleyball and soccer, the first permissible practice will be Tuesday, September 8 with the first date of competition scheduled for Friday, October 2.

Volleyball will play a 15 match conference only schedule (every team will play each other once) with the first match on Friday, October 2.
UMC Volleyball’s schedule is below –

October –
2 – host Winona State
3 – host Upper Iowa
9 – at Mankato
10 – at Concordia St. Paul
16 – host MSU-Moorhead
17 – host Northern State
23 – at Minot State
24 – at Mary
29 – host Bemidji State
31 – at St. Cloud State

6 – host Augustana
7 – host Wayne State
13 – at Southwest Minnesota State
14 – at Sioux Falls
17 – host Duluth

NSIC Tourney – November 21-22

Soccer will play an 11 match conference only schedule with the first match on Friday, October 2. 

UMC Soccer’s schedule is below –

October  –
2 – at Wayne State
4 – at Augustana
9 – host St. Cloud State
11 – host Duluth
16 – at Winona State
18 – at Upper Iowa
23 – host Southwest Minnesota State
25 – host Sioux Falls
30 – host Minot State

1 – at Mary
6 – at Bemidji State

NSIC Tourney – November 13 and 15

Updated schedules for football, volleyball, and soccer can be found at:

The health and safety of student-athletes, athletics personnel, and greater campus communities in the NSIC is paramount. Given the information from the medical and scientific community, and the number of uncertainties and limitations involving local and state regulations, it has become evident that a delay to the original start dates can provide the membership the opportunity to be prepared for all student-athletes to return to campus and work through all of the requirements for socialization.  Making this decision now permits campuses to focus solely on reopening safely for their broader campus communities. The challenge of preparing for a fall sports season amidst the present uncertainties should not affect overall institutional reopening plans nor the health and safety of the wider campus community.

The conference will continue to monitor the landscape and conditions surrounding the pandemic, locally, regionally, and nationally, and make any decisions or announcements at a later date, as necessary.

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The MIAC Presidents’ Council has decided to postpone the fall seasons for football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross-country and volleyball to the spring.  The MIAC expects men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis to play in some form in the fall.

The MIAC includes Concordia College in Moorhead.

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St. Thomas Men’s Hockey will join Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan in the new CCHA Men’s Hockey conference.  It seems to be a perfect fit for the Tommies.  Things have really worked out well for St. Thomas in their jump from Division III to Division I athletics.

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The Birchmont match-play golf tournament is being held this week at the Bemidji Town and Country Club course.  Some area participant results are below –

Cody Cook of Hawley won his first round in the Championship round and advanced to the second round.
Nate Deziel of East Grand Forks lost his first round match and is the consolation bracket.

Will Czeh of Roseau won his first round match and takes on Brandon Nelson of Bemidji in the quarterfinals.

Matt Hiller (Crookston H.S. grad) and currently from Portland, Oregon won his first-round match 1-up and will play Maxwell Karnik of Fargo in the quarterfinals.
James Foss of Roseau lost his first-round match and will play in the consolation round.

Brady Heppner will play Jonathan Slupe of Colorado.

Brock Heppner will play Matt Fox of Sanborn.

Rylin Petry of Fertil won his first round match and will play Markus Nelson of Roseau in the semi-finals.

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For the first time since 1945, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference will not have a football season in 2020.

The eight-team WIAC on Monday canceled football for the 2020-21 academic year, as well as four other falls sports: women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country.

The decisions come amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two other fall sports — women’s tennis and women’s golf — will be moved to the spring.

WIAC schools have won 118 NCAA Division III team championships, and Wisconsin-Whitewater is a perennial power in football.

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The Milaca Mega Meet Cross Country meet this fall has been canceled.  The Mega Meet is one of the biggest high school cross country meets in the state.

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The NFHS is tracking the status of high school sports as fall seasons approach. Because of the pandemic, several states have delayed the start of the fall sports season or altered the sports calendar.

As of July 23, the following state associations have delayed the start of the Fall season.
Arizona (Golf – Aug. 24; Badminton – Aug. 31; All other fall sports – week of Sept. 7)
California (December 2020 or January 2021)
District of Columbia (January 4)
Florida (August 24)
Georgia — The Georgia High School Association postponed the start of football season until September 4.
Hawaii (August 19)
(August 3; The golf season schedule is unchanged.)
Maine (September 8)
Massachusetts (September 14)
Mississippi (August 10; Football starts August 17)
Nevada (Winter sports January 2; Fall sports February 20; Spring sports April 3)
New Jersey (September 14)
New Mexico  (The NMAA, through Governor recommendations, canceled contact sports competition for the fall. As a result, the 2020 football and soccer seasons have been switched to the spring semester.)
New York (Not before September 21)
North Carolina (September 1)
Oregon (August 17; Football prohibited until further notice)
South Carolina (August 17)
Tennessee – TBD
Texas (August 3 for conferences 1A-4A football and volleyball; conferences 5A-6A start September 7)
Virginia (December 14)
Washington (September 7)
West Virginia (August 17)
Wisconsin (Girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and diving, and boys and girls cross country August 17; Football, boys soccer, boys and girls volleyball September 7)

The following states will not play football this fall.
District of Columbia
New Mexico

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Hawley Nugget girls basketball players and soon to be juniors, Kaylie and Kylie Crabtree have announced they will be play basketball and go to school at Montana State University-Billings in three years.  MSUB is a Division 1 school and plays in the GNAC.

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The 2020-2021 hockey season will be the first year with new starting dates for Minnesota Hockey’s age classifications. The modification, which adjusts the starting date of each age classification from July 1 to June 1, was approved by the Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors at its Summer Meeting in 2019 and officially goes into effect this season.

The change is designed to provide players born in June with the ability to play with their classmates.

Since the modification was announced last fall, a number of questions have been raised about how it would impact players and associations. Below are a few of the most common questions and explanations.

Who is this classification change supposed to help?

Previously, players born in June, who started kindergarten at age 6, were forced to play in an age classification one year above their grade level and were forced to move up to high school as ninth graders, ahead of their classmates. The modification will align June birthdays with July and August birthdays, ensuring more players have a positive youth hockey experience and providing a smoother transition to high school hockey.

How will this impact players the rest of the players born in June?

There are four potential scenarios of how this classification change will impact players born in June. Please note that since Minnesota Hockey has two year age ranges players are only subject to these scenarios every other year.

Scenario 1: Player started kindergarten at age 6, and the player wants to “stay down” to skate with his/her classmates. This is the group the modification impacts most significantly as these players are now aligned with their classmates.

Scenario 2: Player started kindergarten at age 6, and the player wants to “move up”. Players in this situation would be subject to association move up policies.

Scenario 3: Player started kindergarten at age 5, and the player wants to “move up” to skate with his/her classmates. Minnesota Hockey rules require associations to make accommodations for players with June, July or August birth dates that start school on time and desire to play up so they can participate with their classmates.

Scenario 4: Player started kindergarten at age 5, and the player wants to “stay down”. With the new classification dates, players and parents now have this option.

For example, let’s examine June 2009 birthdays who are on the cusp of Squirt/10U or Peewee/12U hockey this year. Under the old rules, a significant portion of players with June birthdays would have been forced to play Peewee/12U despite being in 5th grade, and would have had no option to play with their classmates. Here are how the new rules will impact this group of players.

Scenario 1 (June 09’s):  Player is a 5th grader and is classified as a Squirt/10U, which would now put the player with his/her with classmates.

Scenario 2 (June 09’s): Player is a 5th grader and is classified as a Squirt/10U. Since the player is now at the same age group as his/her classmates, any request to move up would be subject to association policies.

Scenario 3 (June 09’s): Player is a 6th grader and is classified as a Squirt/10U. This player’s classmates have moved up to Peewee/12U so if the player chooses, he/she must be allowed to move up to Peewee/12U.

Scenario 4 (June 09’s): Player is a 6th grader and is classified as a Squirt/10U. This player can choose to stay at his/her classified age group even though his/her classmates are now at the Peewee/12U level.

Why doesn’t Minnesota Hockey use a January 1st cutoff like most other sports and other parts of the country?

Minnesota Hockey has historically aligned its age classifications with school age cutoffs, rather than the birth year age range (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) utilized in other parts of the country, with the purpose of allowing kids to play hockey with their friends from school. Placing an emphasis on fun, friendship and community from the moment kids touch the ice plays a key role in the success of Minnesota’s hockey culture and our community-based model.

If the goal is to mirror school ages, why not use September 1st as the date?

Originally, Minnesota Hockey’s classification cutoff date was September 1, which mirrored school age classifications.

When USA Hockey moved its classification dates to July 1 during the 1990’s, Minnesota Hockey adjusted to July 1 as well, with the purpose of aligning with the national classifications. USA Hockey later reverted to using birth years (Jan. 1) for age classifications, but Minnesota chose to stay with the July 1 cutoff as it accommodated players with birthdays in August and July who started kindergarten a year later.

What prompted this change and why implement it now?

Minnesota Hockey reviewed, discussed and researched this topic multiple times over the past decade. The two key components for implementing the change now was a combination of data showing the percentage of May through August birthdays that choose to start kindergarten at age five or six and increasing support for the change from association leadership across the state.

Surveys of current hockey players with summer birthdays have shown the more natural breaking point for a cutoff is June 1 as a significant percentage of June birthdays start kindergarten at age six, similar to August and July birthdays, while very few May birth dates start at age six.

What are the official age classifications for the 2020-2021 season?


Adult: Born May 31, 2001 or older
Junior Gold: June 1, 2001-May 31, 2005
Junior Gold 16: June 1, 2003 – May 31, 2005
Bantam: June 1, 2005 – May 31, 2007
Peewee: June 1, 2007 – May 31, 2009
Squirt: June 1, 2009 – May 31, 2011
Mite: Born June 1, 2011 or younger


Women: December 31, 2000 or older
19 & Under: January 1, 2001 – May 31, 2004
15 & Under: June 1, 2004 – May 31, 2007
12 & Under: June 1, 2007 – May 31, 2009
10 & Under: June 1, 2009 – May 31, 2011
8 & Under: June 1, 2011 or younger

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A man and his wife are dining at a table in a plush restaurant, and the husband keeps staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sits alone at a nearby table.
The wife asks, “Do you know her?”
“Yes,” sighs the husband, “she’s my ex-girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up seven years ago, and I hear she hasn’t been sober since.”
“My God!” says the wife. “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”

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I meet a lot of strippers, and they always say the same thing: I’m paying my way through medical school. Now, if that’s the truth, why is that you never meet a doctor that used to be a stripper? You’d think they’d be everywhere.

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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