SPORTS FEEVER – February 18, 2021

Welcome to the Sports Feever column.  We hopefully have gotten through the cold snap and tournaments are right around the corner.  Crazy how fast the past month has gone!

Hopefully, everybody is staying healthy and COVID-free!  Knock on wood, but there have been very few postponements and cancelations.  A lot less in high school than there were in the NSIC where they tested three days a week!  Enjoy this weeks column and stay healthy!

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We have a new number one ranked team in Class A Boys Basketball and it just happens to be the Mahnomen-Waubun Thunderbirds!  They were ranked #4 before they beat #1 Nevis on Tuesday night.  Coach John Clarke has the boys playing a high-flying brand of basketball and they have tremendous athletes.  And most teams in Section 8A are glad they are in Section 6!

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The Crookston School District is looking to have a coop with Fertile-Beltrami in boys hockey, and it should be coming up at the school board meeting either this month or March.  There are several youth hockey players in the Crookston system from Fertile, and both schools are in favor of the coop, and it will give other kids who don’t want to wrestle or play basketball in Fertile-Beltrami a chance to play hockey.  It is a win-win for both schools as Crookston continues to have low numbers in most of their sports, and adding a few more in hockey would help with better numbers.

Also, Sacred Heart has approached Crookston about a possible hockey co-op too.  I talked with Sacred Heart Activities Director Blake Karas and told him to contact Superintendent Jeremy Olson and Activities Director Greg Garmen, and he did.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that the day Crookston had to cancel a boys hockey game due to low numbers, there was a meeting with Superintendent Olson, A.D. Greg Garmen and Boys Hockey coach Josh Hardy about adding Sacred Heart as well.
Karas told me that they have about a handful of kids that play hockey, and when they get up to the high school level, they have to transfer schools to play hockey.  So, they want to get the coop in place because it will allow them to keep the students and possibly attract more students who want to play high school hockey. Again, it could be a win-win for both programs.

I am not sure of specifics or any, but I am guessing there will be something in the co-op agreement that states that no kids who live in Crookston and open enroll at Fertile-Beltrami or Sacred Heart can play hockey.  I don’t know if you can do that, but it will likely be put in if it is possible.

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The East Grand Forks Green Wave Boys basketball team might have lost on Tuesday, but they ended up winning the day and helped out a stranger.  A note (below) was sent from a person in Bagley

— — — has released some information on the QRF and one question they answered was if playing fewer games hurt teams.  IT DOES NOT!  The information is below.

If I schedule/play fewer games than another team, that hurts my QRF ranking, correct?

  • This is false.  Going with the student test analogy again….if one student in your class takes 20 tests and another student takes 25, does either one have an advantage in getting a better grade?  The answer is – it depends on how they do on the tests, not how many tests they take.  We have the minimum in place so teams are playing a similar number of games, not so they play the same number of games.  As stated earlier the QRF is an AVERAGE, not a CUMULATIVE so there is not a disadvantage to playing fewer games than another team.

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The latest QRF rankings from –

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton has a sizable lead at the top of the sub-section and it looks like Warroad and Thief River Falls will be fighting for the second seed.  The rank and records are below –
1. DGF 5-2
2. Warroad 8-2
3. TRF 5-3
4. EGF 5-5
5. Hawley 3-6
6. Bagley 3-7
7. Park Rapids 2-6
8. Roseau 3-6
9. Crookston 1-9

Fergus Falls has a slight lead over Perham and Breckenridge.  It will be an interesting battle for the top seed over the next couple of weeks.  The battle for the five seed will also be interesting with Pelican Rapids, Frazee, and Wadena-Deer Creek fighting for that spot.
The rank and records are below –
1. Fergus Falls 6-4
2. Perham 8-2
3. Breckenridge 6-3
4. Barnesville 5-3
5. Pelican Rapids 5-4
6. Frazee 5-5
7. Wadena-Deer Creek 5-4
8. Staples-Motley 2-9
9. Menahga 1-5

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I honestly think this could be one of the most wide-open years we have seen in Section 8A Boys basketball.  You could have any of about seven or eight teams win the section tournament this year.
In the west, Fertile-Beltrami only has one loss, a 12 point loss to #1 ranked Mahnomen-Waubun in the first game of the year.  They have some big games with Stephen-Argyle and Win-E-Mac left this season and could likely have only one loss going into the playoffs.  BGMR is up there as well, but Stephen-Argyle passed them (in my eyes) with a big win on Tuesday night.  The rankings and records are below –
1. Fertile-Beltrami 9-1
2. BGMR 7-2
3. Stephen-Argyle 7-1
4. Northern Freeze 6-3
5. Red Lake County 6-3
6. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 4-5
7. Ada-Borup 4-5
8. Sacred Heart 3-5
9. Kittson County Central 1-9
10. Climax-Fisher 0-11

SECTION 8A BOYS BASKETBALL – East sub-section – 
The east is more of the same this year with Cass Lake-Bena, Win-E-Mac, and Red Lake as the top three once again.  The rankings and records are below –
1. Cass Lake-Bena 9-2
2. Win-E-Mac 9-2
3. Red Lake 6-3
4. Blackduck 5-4
5. Fosston 4-5
6. Goodridge-Grygla 5-7
7. Clearbrook-Gonvick 3-6
8. Northome/Kelliher 5-6
9. Lake of the Woods 0-8

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The Crookston Pirates are off to a good start and lead the north by a decent margin and they will have big games with Perham and Hawley coming up in the next couple of weeks.  If they win both, they would likely be the top seed in the north.  Hawley looks like they will be the second seed, unless Crookston stumbles and Hawley keeps winning.  There is nobody close after Crookston and Hawley.  The third seed, Park Rapids, has almost half the QRF points as Hawley.  The ranking and records are below –
1. Crookston 8-2
2. Hawley 7-3
3. Park Rapids 3-6
4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 2-6
5. Thief River Falls 2-6
6. East Grand Forks 3-7
7. Roseau 1-8
8. Warroad 2-8
9. Bagley 0-10

Fergus Falls will be the top seed and Pelican Rapids pretty much has the second seed wrapped up.  The third seed will be an interesting race with Perham, Breckenridge, and Menahga fighting for that spot.  Barnesville could also make a run at the third seed.  That will be the race to watch. The rankings and records are below –
1. Fergus Falls 6-3
2. Pelican Rapids 8-1
3. Perham 6-3
4. Breckenridge 6-3
5. Menahga 7-1
6. Barnesville 5-3
7. Staples-Motley 3-7
8. Frazee 2-7
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 4-7

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Stephen-Argyle looks like they will be the top seed in a loaded west subsection.  Fertile-Beltrami, BGMR, and Red Lakes Falls round out the top four and all four have a good chance of making a run in March.  And the race for the second seed will be interesting to watch the rest of the season.  The rankings and records are below –
1. Stephen-Argyle 8-1
2. Fertile-Beltrami 7-2
3. BGMR 7-3
4. Red Lake Falls 8-3
5. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 6-3
6. Kittson County Central 4-5
7. Northern Freeze 2-6
8. Red Lake County Central 2-7
9. Sacred Heart 2-8
10. Climax-Fisher 2-7

The east has Fosston leading by a large margin and they are close to locking up the top seed with a few more wins.  The second seed looks to be a toss-up yet.  Cass Lake-Bena, Goodridge/Grygla, and Red Lake are all close and Clearbrook-Gonvick isn’t far behind.  The rankings and records are below –
1. Fosston 10-0
2. Cass Lake-Bena 52.9
3. Goodridge-Grygla 6-3
4. Red Lake 6-2
5. Clearbrook-Gonvick 4-3
6. Kelliher/Northome 3-5
7. Lake of the Woods 1-4
8. Win-E-Mac 2-8
9. Blackduck 2-6

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You could call this a down year for Section 8A boys hockey with teams struggling to pick up wins, but we know it will be East Grand Forks, Warroad, Thief River Falls, and somebody else in the semi-finals.  Or will this year be different?  We will find out, but Red Lake Falls seems to have a sizable lead for the third seed so stay tuned.  There is a lot of big games left on the schedule and the QRF doesn’t matter because the hockey coaches still have enough guts, or are crazy enough to do a coaches vote!  The rankings and records are below –
1. East Grand Forks 5-5
2. Warroad 5-2-2
3. Red Lake Falls 7-3
4. Kittson Central 5-2-1
5. Detroit Lakes 5-5
6. Thief River Falls 4-5-1
7. Park Rapids 4-5
8. Bagley Fosston 4-6
9. Crookston 1-5
10. Lake of the Woods 0-6

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We all know Warroad will be the top seed and they will be hosting the Section 8A championship.  The only way that doesn’t happen is if they have a COVID shutdown, but I am guessing COVID doesn’t dare enter Warroad as we approach hockey playoffs!
The battle for the third seed is interesting.  Crookston is 1-1-1 against EGF.  Crookston beat Detroit Lakes while EGF lost to Detroit Lakes and the two teams don’t play again.  Crookston will play Detroit Lakes again and a win for Detroit Lakes could easily have them at the 3 seed, or at least a great argument for it!  That will be a playoff like game on March 8. The QRF rankings and record are below –
1. Warroad 8-1
2. TRF 5-3
3. Detroit Lakes (QRF is 24.8) 4-5
4. Crookston 4-6-1 and EGF 3-6-1

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There is a good battle for the top seed with BGMR and United North Central.  UNC beat BGMR 43-30 in their only meeting this year, so the tie-breaker goes in their favor.  I’m not sure if it will be a coach’s vote or QRF, but I am guessing coach’s vote.   Crookston will need a win over Fraze in their dual towards the end of the year to lock up the third seed, but there are a lot of big duals left for both teams.  But don’t be surprised if the seeds are the same at tourney time as they are now.  The QRF rankings and records are below –
1. BGMR 15-3
2. UNC 11-5
3. Crookston 14-6
4. Frazee 4-7
5. Fosston-Bagley 8-8
6. Mahnomen-Waubun 7-8
7. Park Rapids 4-10
8. Fertile-Beltrami 2-10
9. Red Lake County Central 1-13

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Crookston Wrestler Cameron Weiland won his 75th match by pin last week.

Red Lake County’s Isaiah Olson scored the 1,000th point of his career on Tuesday.

Hawley Girls Basketball assistant coach Ben Lofgren won the 400th game of his coaching career.  Ben has been an assistant coach for over 25 years at Hawley.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the addition of three signees to their 2021 signing class.

The Golden Eagles have added Connor Bushbaum (OF, 5-11 170, Saginaw, Minn./South Ridge H.S.), Camdin Miller (IF, 6-2 205, Williston, N.D./Williston State College), and Sawyer Satrom (RHP/3B, Portland, N.D./May-Port CG H.S.) to their signing class. “There is no question about it, we signed three fantastic athletes,” said Head Coach Steve Gust. “When and how they develop is still left to be seen, but each of them have high ceilings. We are ecstatic to be able to sign all three. Not only are they good players, they are also committed to the classroom. They will be outstanding ambassadors for our program. We feel fortunate to sign these three and our early signees. It is shaping up to be an elite class.”

Connor Bushbaum (OF, 5-11 170, Saginaw, Minn./South Ridge H.S.)
Bushbaum was a great all-around athlete at South Ridge H.S. As a football player, he was named All-Area Player of the Year after rushing for more than 1,500 yards as a senior in 2020. He had a break-out season in 2019 by rushing for more than 1,100 yards to help lead the Panthers to the Nine-Man state tournament. Bushbaum was named the District MVP for football. He is an All-District, All-Conference, and All-Area selection. He has played outfield for the South Ridge H.S. team. He helped his high school squad to a 15-5 record in 2019. Bushbaum was born February 13, 2003.  “Plain and simple, Connor is an outstanding athlete,” Gust said. “He is a great football player and an exceptional talent on the baseball diamond. We feel good that he will develop into an elite player for us.”

Camdin Miller (IF, 6-2 205, Williston, N.D./Williston State College)
Miller is currently on the baseball team at Williston State College. He was a WDA All-Conference selection at Williston H.S. Miller was a WDA All-Academic pick. He also played football at Williston H.S. He played running back and linebacker on the gridiron. He is the son of Donnie and Jenny Miller. Miller plans to major in agricultural systems management. He was born on March 22, 2002. His oldest brother played baseball at Highland Community College.  “Camdin has a great desire to take his game to the next level,” Gust said. “He has a passion for the game and is excited to be a part of our program. It will be fun to see how he progresses in our system.”

Sawyer Satrom (RHP/3B, 6-2 185, Portland, N.D./May-Port CG H.S.)
Satrom is a two-time All-Region pick for baseball. As a football player, he was named the Region Senior-Athlete of the Year. He is a two-time First Team All-State selection for football, and a two-time All-Region pick on the gridiron. He was named the Outstanding Athlete of the Year. He is also a MPCG Distinguished Student. Satrom has also competed in hockey.  Satrom was born Feb. 20, 2003. He plans to major in agricultural business. Satrom is the son of Don and Kari Satrom. His sister played with Crookston H.S. on the girl’s hockey team in 2019-20.  “Sawyer is everything we are looking for in a student-athlete,” Gust said. “He is a good student, an established ballplayer in the area, and is an exceptional all-around athlete. With maturation and development, we feel he can develop into a top-notch player.”

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The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team was picked to finish ninth in the NSIC Men’s Golf Preseason Coaches’ Poll announced by the conference office.

Winona State University was picked as the favorite with five first-place votes and 70 overall points. Concordia University-St. Paul was picked second with one first-place vote and 62 points.

The Golden Eagles also bring back the majority of their roster from last year including Keegan Poppenberg, Dillon Sannes, Ben Trostad, Matt Moroz, Brian Bekkala, and Spencer Harvey. The team will welcome newcomers, Cade Pederson, Boede Guza, and Spencer Dahlquist.
The Golden Eagles will open the season March 22-23 at the Washburn University Invite in Topeka, Kansas.  The season will wrap up with the NSIC Championships April 16-18 in Kansas City, Missouri.

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The NCAA Division 1 Council has extended the recruiting dead period for all Division 1 sports through May 31.  So there will be no Division 1 college coaches at any sporting events until May.  Doesn’t affect many people, especially in northwest Minnesota, but some parents will claim it hurt their kid.

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As the Northern Sun Conference heads into the final weekend of the regular season we know several things.
UMC won’t make the playoffs in Men’s or Women’s Basketball.   We know several NSIC teams will likely make the NCAA Regional tournament.

Men – Augustana is ranked #1, Minnesota State Moorhead is second, Northern State (at 14-0) is fourth, Upper Iowa is sixth, and Wayne State is eighth.

Women – Augustana is ranked #1 in the region.  Concordia-St. Paul is ranked 3rd, Minnesota Duluth is ranked sixth, and Sioux Falls is ranked eighth.
UMD played in the much weaker north division and is 9-0 on the year, but their wins haven’t impressed the voters.

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In case you missed it last week, here are the tournament dates in March/April –

We have received the Section 8AA and 8A Boys and Girls Basketball tournament dates.  The dates are as of Wednesday, February 10.  With everything in the last year, we know things can change, but the plans as of today are below.  Remember the dates could possibly change and times are still to be determined (but plan on 7 p.m. as the universal start time for most games)

The SECTION 8AA BOYS BASKETBALL tournament will look like this in 2021.
Play-in games – Monday, March 15 ( #8 hosts #9 in both sub-sections)
First-round – Thursday, March 18 (at high seeds)
Quarterfinals – Saturday, March 20 (at high seeds)
Semi-finals – Wednesday, March 24 (at high seeds)
Championship – Friday, March 26 (location TBD)

Click here to view the 8AA Boys Basketball bracket –

The SECTION 8AA GIRLS BASKETBALL tournament dates are as follows –
Play-in games – Monday, March 15 ( #8 hosts #9 in both sub-sections)
First-round – Wednesday, March 17 (at high seeds)
Quarterfinals – Friday, March 19 (at high seeds)
Semi-finals – Tuesday, March 23 (at high seeds)
Championship – Thursday, March 25 (location TBD)

Click here to view the 8AA Girls Basketball bracket –

The SECTION 8A BOYS BASKETBALL tournament dates are as follows –
Pigtail   –   Monday, March 15  (at high seeds)
Play-in   –   Thursday, March 18 (at high seeds)
QF         –   Saturday, March 20 (at high seeds)
SF         –    Tuesday, March 23 (at high seeds)
Championship   –   Thursday, March 25 (Ralph Englestad Arena)

The SECTION 8A GIRLS BASKETBALL tournament dates are as follows –
Pigtail   –   Tuesday, March 16 (at high seeds)
Play-in   –   Friday, March 19 (at high seeds)
QF        –    Saturday, March 20 (at high seeds)
SF         –   Tuesday, March 23 (at high seeds)
Championship   –   Friday, March 26 (Ralph Englestad Arena)

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We have also received the Section 8A Boys and Girls Hockey tournament schedule –

The SECTION 8A GIRLS HOCKEY tournament schedule –
Quarter-Final – Saturday, March 13 at High Seed
Semi-Final – Tuesday, March 16 at High Seed
Championship – Thursday, March 18 at High Seed

The SECTION 8A BOYS HOCKEY tournament schedule
Play-In – Thursday, March 18 at High Seed
Quarter-Final, Saturday, March 20 at High Seed
Semi-Final -Tuesday, March 23 at High Seed
Championship – Thursday, March 25 at High Seed

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We have received the Section 8A and 8AA Wrestling tournament schedules –

The SECTION 8A WRESTLING tournament schedule

Quarter-Finals – Monday, March 8 at High Seed (#9 vs #8 at #1 site)
Semi-finals – Thursday, March 11 at High Seed
March 13 – Section 8 and Section 7 –  State prelim/super-regional at a location to be determined

Tuesday, March 16 at  Crookston High School
Saturday, March 20 – Section 8 and Section 7 – State prelim/super-regional at a location to be determined

We will have the specifics of the state prelim/super-regional wrestling tournaments next week after Region 8A Secretary Jim Weinzierl is able to inform schools and coaches of the latest that came out Wednesday afternoon.
We will have what section they are paired with for the prelims/super-regional and how the tournament will work in next week’s column.

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

Paul Bittner is playing professional hockey in Sweden for Vasby IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan league.

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

Ben Trostad is playing Club Hockey and Men’s Golf at UMC.

Ty Hamre is playing Club Hockey at UMC.

Brandon Boetcher is playing Club Hockey at UMC.

Brady Butt is a freshman playing football at the University of Jamestown.

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

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

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

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

Nick Garmen is a sophomore, playing tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris.

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

Crookston School District Coaches –
Emily Meyer is a girls hockey and softball assistant coach.
Carrie Clauson 
is a Junior High girls tennis 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 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
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