SPORTS FEEVER – March 11, 2021

Welcome to the Sports Feever column as March Madness is underway with the team wrestling tournaments underway.  Basketball and hockey will start next week!  Good luck to everybody and enjoy the ride.

It’s hard to believe we are a year removed from the cancelation of the girls state basketball championship games and the boys basketball state tournament.

I flew down to the Twin Cities Wednesday morning for a Minnesota State Broadcasters meeting and then went for another meeting at the Minnesota State High School World Headquarters in the afternoon for a meeting with Minnesota State High School League Executive Director Erich Martens.  I was there representing all the radio and TV stations in Minnesota as the Board Chair of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association (MBA).  I was also joined by the MBA Executive Director Wendy Paulson, and Tim Hyde (MBA Director of Member Services). It was a great meeting and we thank the MSHSL for everything they have done throughout the pandemic to make sure the kids get to play, even while being handcuffed by the state guidelines.  And of course we thank them for allowing us to cover our hometown and area teams at state.

After the meetings, I flew back home and made it back in time for supper.  If you ever want to fly to the cities quick at a pretty affordable price, check out Denver Air.  The flight was awesome, no waiting, and you can get to the cities four hours quicker, saving eight hours in one day!  Glen Rich at Denver Air and his crew do a great job!

— — —

The Minnesota State High School League came out with the spring sports guidance and recommendations this week.   The sports-specific information is listed below –

BOYS AND GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
Start date: Monday, March 29
First competition date: Thursday, April 8
Last date to complete sections: Saturday, June 12
Season end date: June 19
Total weeks including postseason: 13
Maximum number of regular season contests: 14
No limit on contests per week
Maximum of 5 schools at any event
5 schools – Maximum 50 student-athletes and coaches total per team
4 or less schools – Maximum 62 student-athletes and coaches total per team
Maximum number of Teams at an event – 5
Teams Defined – GV / GJV / BV / BJV (single gender, single level) OR a combination of any above Teams that when combined do not exceed a total of 62 athletes and coaches
Individual Events: Maximum of 4 competitors, per team, in individual events
Relays when 4 teams or less: Maximum of 2 relays per team, per relay
Relays when 5 teams: Maximum of 1 relay per team, per relay

Not permitted: Tournaments, time trials, interscholastic scrimmages

— — —

BASEBALL
Start date: Monday, March 29
First competition date: Thursday, April 8
Last date of regular season competition: Friday, May 28
First date of post-season contests: Saturday, May 29
Season end date: June 19
Total weeks including postseason: 12
Maximum number of regular season contests: 20
Contests per week as per bylaw and policy.
Maximum of 4 teams per level per event.
Not permitted: Tournaments, interscholastic scrimmages, jamborees

Recommended:
Double headers (same opponent) allowed and recommended. Scheduling on non-school
days preferred.
Opponents: Conference, Section, Regional or local teams as defined by the school.
Avoid contests scheduled on back-to-back days.

— — —

SOFTBALL
Start Date: Monday, March 29
First Competition Date: Thursday, April 8
Last Day of Regular Season Competition: Saturday, May 29
Postseason Begins: Monday, May 31
Season End Date: Saturday, June 19
Total Weeks Including Postseason: 12
Maximum number of regular season contests: 20
Contests per week as per bylaw and policy.
Maximum of 4 teams per level per event.
Not permitted: Tournaments, interscholastic scrimmages, jamborees

Recommended:
Double headers (same opponent) allowed and recommended. Scheduling on nonschool days preferred.
Opponents: Conference, Section, Regional or local teams as defined by the school.
Avoid contests scheduled on back-to-back days.

— — —

BOYS TENNIS
Start date: Monday, March 29, 2021
First competition date: Thursday, April 1
First date of post-season contests: Monday, May 24
Last date of regular season Saturday, May 22
First date of post-season contest: Monday, May 24
Season end date: Saturday, June 12
Total weeks including postseason: 11
Maximum number of regular season contests: 16
Contests per week as per bylaw and policy.
Total number of contests per players is 28
A Dual = 1
A Tri = 2 (if player plays both)
A Quad = 3 (if player plays all three)

Not permitted:
Tournaments, interscholastic scrimmages, jamborees

Recommended:
Opponents: Conference, Section, Regional or local teams as defined by the school.
Avoid contests scheduled on back-to-back days

— — —

BOYS AND GIRLS GOLF
Start date: Monday, March 29
First competition date: Thursday, April 8
Last date of sections: Tuesday, June 8
Season end date: Wednesday, June 16
Total weeks including postseason: 12 weeks
Maximum number of regular season contests: 16
Contests per week as per bylaw and policy.
Number of teams per contest determined by facility.
Not permitted: Tournaments, interscholastic scrimmages, jamborees

Recommended:
Opponents: Conference, Section, Regional or local teams as defined by the school.
Avoid contests scheduled on back-to-back days.

— — —

SECTION 8A WRESTLING
The Section 8A wrestling semi-finals are being held tonight (Thursday) in what should be two outstanding matches.
#1 Frazee will host #4Crookston
#2 United North Central will host #3 Badger/Greenbush-Middle River

Frazee beat Crookston 42-33 a week ago.   It will be an interesting match.  Crookston has used a bit of a different line-up and how they fill the 160 and 170 spots could be key.  Some of the matches I think will be big ones will be at 120, 126, 132, and 138 pounds.  The other big matches are at 160 and how the Pirates fill the lineup so they don’t give up a free six points like they did the first time they met.  And of course, the Pirates will have to win all the matches they did the first time too.

United North Central beat BGMR 43-30 in the first meeting back on January 30.  I am thinking UNC will come out on top, but it could possibly come down to the heavyweight match.

— — —

SECTION 8A INDIVIDUAL WRESTLING TOURNAMENT INFO
Tuesday, March 16 at Crookston High School Gymnasium

Teams: BGMR, Crookston, Fertile-Beltrami, Fosston-Bagley, Frazee, Mahnomen-Waubun, RLCC, Park Rapids, UNC
Seed meeting: Monday night March 15 at 7:00 pm via zoom.

Schedule:
12:30 Set up
2:00 pm Teams arrive ( please do not arrive any earlier)
2:30 pm Weigh-ins/skin checks ( please ensure all the little things are taken care of such as fingernails and so on to expedite the process)
3:30 pm Doors open for FANS, no sooner as we have students in the building.

3:55 pm National Anthem
4:00 pm 1st round
Quarterfinals, wrestlebacks, semis

Wrestlers will have the entire east side bleachers.
Fans will have the west side bleachers.

Stream: KROX radio will live stream the entire day. Go to their website at KROXAM.com

Medical staff: Paul Reese
Cheerleaders: Not allowed this year

Seating in gym: The wrestlers will have the entire east side bleachers. Fans will have the entire west side of the bleachers. I will try to section them off by school. Please let your people know as we need to keep fans and athletes separate.
Concessions: Will not be available.
Official team Personnel: The MSHSL has set the following: 3 coaches and qualifying participants only.
Tickets: Due to space limitations each qualifying wrestler will be allowed two tickets.
Admission: $7 tickets will be pre-sold at each school and a list of your fans sent to me.
Officials: Corey Herlickson, Gabe Mooney Paul Beech

— — —

The Section 8A and 8AA basketball seeding has become a little more clear in some cases and cloudier in others. The QRF tie-breaker guidelines have been released –

Tiebreaker Margin will be 10%, not 7% (same as the fall)
Minimum # of games needed for valid QRF dropped to 60% of Max
For all winter sports, this means 11 games needed, not 13
Conference Tiebreaker will only be used if the Conference was able to play “like schedule”
For Conferences that adjusted (i.e. only counting 1 game per conference opponent and everyone was able to get that game played) Conference tiebreaker will be used
If every team in the Conference did not play a similar schedule to all the other teams in the Conference, this tiebreaker will be ignored.


SECTION 8AA BOYS BASKETBALL

In the north, DGF has the top spot right now, but Warroad is within the tie-breaker and the two teams aren’t in the same conference. So I think it comes down to section record and Warroad would get the tie-breaker. The third seed is still interesting and wide open. Thief River Falls has the head-to-head tie-breaker with Hawley. TRF doesn’t want Park Rapids to move ahead of Hawley because Park Rapids won the head-to-head meeting with TRF. Third seed will come down to tie-breakers. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh seed will all come down tie-breakers too. Park Rapids, Bagley, and East Grand Forks are all withing 2.5 points. Park Rapids didn’t play either team, and Bagley beat East Grand Forks, so I am thinking EGF will be the seventh seed. Roseau is the eighth and Crookston the ninth.
In the south, it looks like the seeding is set for the top four teams. The rest are still up in the air.

Fergus Falls will be the top seed in the south. They beat Perham in their only meeting so they have the tie-breaker. Perham will be the second seed. It looks like Breckenridge will be the third seed and Barnesville will be fourth.
The fifth seed is still up in the air with Pelican Rapids, Frazee, and Wadena-Deer Creek. Menahga is the eighth seed and Staples-Motley will be the ninth seed.

 

SECTION 8AA GIRLS BASKETBALL
Crookston is the top seed and has had it locked up since last Tuesday. Hawley has had the second seed locked up for the same period of time. The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seed is still up in the air. Park Rapids is currently in the third spot and has the head-to-head tie-breaker over the fourth seed Roseau. It looks like East Grand Forks might have the tie-breaker over Roseau for the fourth seed. They split during the regular season, they will have the same conference record. So if it goes down to section record, EGF would have the advantage. It looks like DGF will be the sixth seed, Thief River Falls the seventh seed, and The battle for the eighth seed and a home play-in game will be on Friday when Warroad plays Bagley.

In the south, Fergus Falls is the top seed by almost 50 QRF points. Pelican Rapids will be the second seed with only one loss. Perham looks to have the third seed right now. Barnesville, Menahga, and Breckenridge are all fighting for the four seed. Menahga looks to be the fourth seed with a better winning percentage. I am thinking Breckenridge might be the fifth seed, and Barnesville could be the sixth seed. But it can all change in the next couple of days because it is that close.
It looks like Staples-Motley is going to be the seventh seed, Frazee will be the eighth seed, and Wadena-Deer Creek the ninth seed.

 

SECTION 8A GIRLS BASKETBALL
In the west, Stephen-Argyle looks like they will be the top seed. They beat BGMR in their only meeting earlier this year. BGMR will be the second seed as they beat Red Lake Falls earlier this year. Red Lake Falls and Fertile-Beltrami will be fighting for the third seed. Kittson County Central and Warren-Alvarado-Oslo are still fighting for the fifth seed and it looks like it will come down to the end. Northern Freeze, Red Lake County Central and Climax-Fisher are fighting for the seventh seed and Sacred Heart will likely be the bottom seed.

In the East, Fosston has their seed in their own hands. If they win their final two games against Fertile-Beltrami and Stephen-Argyle, they will be the top seed no matter what. If they split, they will likely be the top seed. If they lose both, they still have a shot at the top seed, but Cass Lake-Bena might have a chance to leapfrog them.
Goodridge/Grygla, Clearbrook-Gonvick, and Red Lake are still fighting for the third seed. Then it looks like it will be Kelliher/Northome, Lake of the Woods at six and seven seeds. Blackduck and Win-E-Mac will round out the final seeds.

 

SECTION 8A BOYS BASKETBALL
In the west, Fertile-Beltrami will bt the top seed if they win out. BGMR looks like they will be the second seed and Stephen-Argyle will be the third seed if they win out. Northern Freeze and Red Lake County will battle for the fourth seed. It looks like Ada-Borup will be the sixth seed with Warren-A-O at seven. Sacred Heart will be eight, and Kittson County Central looks like they might be able to get the ninth seed and Climax-Fisher will be the 10th seed.

In the east, Cass Lake-Bena will be the top seed as they beat Win-E-Mac in their only meeting this year. It looks like Red Lake might be the third seed. They split with Blackduck, but have a better record so they might get the tie-breaker there. Fosston, Goodridge-Grygla, Clearbrook-Gonvick, and Northome/Kelliher are a toss-up for the fifth through the eighth seed. Lake of the Woods will be the ninth seed.

SECTION 8A BOYS HOCKEY
The top two teams, Warroad and East Grand Forks split during the regular season. Warroad won the last meeting 4-2 and I am thinking they will be the top seed. East Grand Forks is the second and if it is anybody besides those two in the championship, it would be a surprise (kind of like almost EVERY year!). I am going to go with Thief River Falls as the third seed as long as they beat Red Lake Falls on Thursday.
Things get interesting the rest of the way.
KCC, Red Lake Falls, and Detroit Lakes are all fighting for the fourth seed and the coaches are going to have a tough pick.
It looks like Crookston will be the seventh seed, I am thinking Lake of the Woods in the eighth spot, Park Rapids in the ninth, and Bagley-Fosston in the 10th spot. But, Park Rapids plays LOW and Bagley-Fosston in the final two games, so that will help with the seeding.
It is a coaches vote, so it is hard to predict and this year is probably the toughest to figure out.

— — —

SECTION 8A GIRLS HOCKEY
The Section 8A Girls Hockey seeds are pretty much decided.
Warroad is the top seed.  Thief River Falls is the second seed.  Crookston will be the third seed.  I am thinking East Grand Forks will be the fourth seed and Detroit Lakes will be the fifth seed.  EGF and DL split during the regular season, but the Green Wave won the final meeting 5-1 so I would give them the vote.  But, I’m not a coach so we will see what they decide.

— — —

MILESTONES/SIGNINGS

Crookston Wrestler Hunter Knutson (Soph) earned the 50th win of his career on Monday.

Win-E-Mac Boys Basketball’s Gavin Walker scored the 1,000th point of his career this week.

TRF’s Blake Biermaier has signed to play football at the University of Jamestown.

— — —

Minnesota High School Basketball has the National Player of the Year for the second straight year.  Last year it was Hopkins’ Paige Bueckers and this year it is Minnehaha Academy’s Chet Holmgren.

— — —

University of Minnesota Crookston baseball player Brock Reller (Jr., OF, Grand Forks, N.D.) was named the NSIC Player of the Week after an outstanding start to the 2021 season. Reller went 3-of-9 in two games with a .333 batting average. He belted three home runs with four runs scored, and seven RBIs. Reller posted a 1.333 slugging percentage with two walks and two intentional walks. He had a home run in a 23-6 victory over Bemidji State Saturday. Reller added two more home runs, with a three-run homer and a two-run blast in a 10-9, 11 inning win over St. Cloud State.

Reller added a fourth home run during Monday’s game against the Huskies. The Golden Eagles opened the 2021 season with a 2-0 mark for the first time since 2012. Reller earns the award almost a year-to-the-date of the last time he received the award. He received the accolade March 9, 2020 after going 11-of-19 with a .579 batting average in four games in Florida last season.

— — —

The UMC Men’s Basketball team will look a lot different next year after a disappointing year where pandemic recruiting didn’t go well.

Two players are looking to transfer by choice-
Chandler Reeck has decided to transfer to the University of Minnesota (Main campus in Minneapolis for school)
Jaylen James is looking to drop down to play D3 or NAIA.

The following players will not be coming back and have entered the transfer portal –
George Blaj-Voinescu (6’8 Soph)
Morgan Carter (6’7 Jr)
Rafael Carton (6’7 Fresh)
Georges Darwiche (6’1 Jr)
Quintin Winterfeldt (6’4 Soph)

While it was a disappointing season for Coach Dan Weisse and the Men’s Basketball program, the Golden Eagles have a very good nucleus coming back. If they can add the right guys around the nucleus they could be competitive again next year.
With that being said, Coach Weisse and his coaches have been hitting the IN-PERSON recruiting trail and will have some scholarship money to work with. I talked to Dan two weeks ago while he was at an undisclosed recruiting location as he is covering the country finding some good pieces to the puzzle. Dan admitted the covid recruiting didn’t work out for him and they had to change some things for next year. He is also excited about some of the kids he is recruiting. The problem and/or good thing this year is that high school and junior college seasons are going later so they can get to watch more players in games and practices. But, they will also drag out the recruiting process later this year.

What do the Golden Eagle Men have to add to the roster to be successful next year? Here is my thoughts – (All players need to be tough and hard-nosed players)
1. Big Man/Post player (Strong and athletic presence inside and UMC will probably have to “overpay” with scholarship money just to make sure they get one or two)
3. A true point guard (allow Josh Dilling to be a two-guard and do his thing)
4. Good shooters (any forwards/guards)
5. Tough defenders

It will be fun to see what the Coaches are able to bring into UMC next year. Stay tuned over the next several months as we should have some signing news.

— — —

Perham Girls Basketball’s Katie Johnson has verbally committed to play at Valley City State next year.

— — —

JOKES

Wife: “I am going out for two hours. Do you want anything?”
Husband: “No, that’s enough.”

— —

After being married for 25 years, a wife asked her husband to describe her.
He looked at her carefully, then said, ‘You are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K.’
‘What does that mean?’ she asked suspiciously.
He said, ‘Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Foxy, Gorgeous and Hot!’
She beamed at him happily and said: ‘Oh, that’s so lovely! But what about I, J and K?’
‘I’m Just Kidding!’

— —

How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?
****LET ME KNOW OF OTHERS TO ADD TO THE LIST email me at  chrisjfee@yahoo.com

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.

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

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

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 chrisjfee@yahoo.com or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and kroxam.com