SPORTS FEEVER – September 2, 2021

This column will be a little light this week because the weekend was a weekend!

Last week I told you that my wife and I were going to Phoenix to move our oldest son, Blake, into college at Grand Canyon University.  We moved him in, but the process was one we will never forget.  Even though it was a trip that seemed to be unlucky, we were lucky that there are a lot of people that are genuinely great/caring/decent/God following people out there still!

Blake and his buddy, Zach Brown, were going to drive down to Phoenix so he would have a car there and could bring most of his belongings.  They took off Friday morning and got to North Platte, Nebraska when they were turning into a gas station to fill up with gas.  As Blake was pulling across traffic, he didn’t see a car coming and his front end was hit by another car.  First of all, everybody was fine, except for the car.  His front bumper was knocked off, and some other damage to the car including the battery, alignment, ball joints, and a lot of other stuff “under the hood”.  He was able to find a place that would work on his car.  Blakes car was towed to a place that could work on the car Saturday morning.  They worked on it a bit to make it “driveable” so they took off on Saturday towards Phoenix.  They got to Denver and everything was going well until they got to Monument, Colorado, and Blake heard something that didn’t sound right.  They pulled over and looked at the tires and the sound was the metal in the tires hitting the pavement.  Needless to say, the people in Nebraska didn’t realign Blake’s car because they said “it was good.”  So Blake and Zach quickly looked up a place to bring the car to get fixed, or at least looked at.

Blake and Zach found a place that was open on Saturday afternoon called Big O Tires in Monument, Colorado (about 20 to 25 miles north of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  They brought the car into Big O Tires and the crew there looked at the car and said you aren’t going any further until you get this fixed.  They said they wouldn’t be able to get to it until Monday morning because it was going to need some extensive repairs.  The ball joints were bent, the alignment was off, the tires needed to be replaced and that is just what they could see right away.  So, one of the guys at Big O Tires offered to bring Blake and Zach to Colorado Springs to a hotel while I tried to figure out what to do.  They stayed in a hotel because Budget rental car company at the airport in Colorado Springs wouldn’t rent a car to Blake.  He didn’t have a credit card with his name on it, even if I reserved it with my credit card (on Priceline) and it was already paid for.  So I called the guy and I am sure you know how that conversation went.  I will spare you the details, but you can imagine how pleasant I was and the phone call ended with me saying “so you are going to leave these two kids stranded in Colorado Springs because he doesn’t have a credit card with his name on it (he had my wifes)? And some other things were said to the guy.”  So there weren’t any more flights that day to Phoenix so they had to stay overnight.

Once again we got lucky because there were $38 one-way flights from Colorado Springs to Phoenix, but it wasn’t until 9:00 p.m. Sunday night.  They used Uber to get a car to bring them back to Monument to get some suitcases then back to the car so they could get some things out of the car to bring to Phoenix.  The Uber waited and brought them back to the Hampton Inn and Suites in Colorado Springs (I-25 South) and the hotel let them stay at the hotel until they needed to go to the airport.  So the boys relaxed and swam in the pool until it was time to leave.  The second time people went above and beyond for the boys.

My wife and I had flown into Phoenix Sunday afternoon like we had planned for a while.

The boys got on a plane and arrived in Phoenix around 10:30 on Sunday night.  When my wife and I saw Blake and Zach it was like one of the biggest weights were lifted off our chest.  It was about 36 hours of hell for my wife and I and even worse for the boys.  But, we had them in Phoenix and most importantly they were safe and sound.  They were hungry as they didn’t eat much on their trip, so we brought them to an In and Out Burger and they ate and we went to our hotel and went to bed.  I woke up early Monday morning and flew to Colorado Springs, again for $38.  I brought two EMPTY suitcases and rented a car to get to Monument to get everything else I could out of the car.  I filled the two suitcases and had to leave a TV and Blake’s golf clubs behind.  I flew back to Phoenix and got back at 6:30 p.m. and unpacked the suitcases and we ran to Best Buy to get a new laptop for Blake because the one he had wasn’t working (he traded computers with Macy before leaving) and we went to get some other dorm living essentials before going back to the dorm.  We finished putting everything together, setting up his laptop, and getting his room “ready” and left after midnight.   We got and gave huge hugs before we left and flew home Tuesday morning.

Blake, as you would expect, was a little down and out after the trip and is nervous being so far from home and the trip didn’t help.  But we have talked to him the last two days and he is settling in and is getting more comfortable in a campus that has over 9,000 people on campus (more than the City of Crookston).

The moral of the story is don’t let your kid drive to college without a credit card in his name.  In all seriousness, I have always tried to not sweat the small stuff and things you can’t control.  Both boys were fantastic athletes and the things they learned from sports and especially being wrestlers, they were able to handle everything that was thrown at them like solid young men.  I was proud of the boys and how they handled everything, even if Blake said he wanted to go home with us when we first saw him.  It was an understandable reaction.

We will see how the first semester goes and hopefully he settles in.  But, having an outdoor pool right outside the door of your dorm room could make me feel much better about a new school, city, etc.

So hopefully the first week of school or the trip to college goes smoother for you than it did for Blake and Zach.

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Is bad as that story was, I can’t think of anything worse than this next story.

Head Red Lake Falls Volleyball coach, Nicole (Philion) Gullingsrud, and her husband Mike Gullingsrud (great official of many high school and college games) are not only good at what they do, but they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Well their world was rocked recently with news of their eight-year-old son, Alex, having a bone tumor.  I will be honest, I am tearing up a bit just typing this.

I didn’t get Nicole’s permission to share this, because I don’t want to bother her.  But below is her Facebook post from Wednesday.

Hey everyone! I want to give you a little update!

We have been trying our best to update everyone as much as we can….

We have some news that has totally changed our world right now! I am sharing and asking for many many prayers!

Alex (our 8-year-old) had an X-ray a week ago Monday because he has been having some hip pain throughout the last two months. Tuesday we got the call with results from the X-ray. We were told that we needed to go to Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo to get MRIs, meet with an Orthopedic Surgeon, then meet with Pediatric Oncologist.

Alex did an awesome job during the 2 hour MRI on Friday.

We found out….
Alex has a bone tumor (4” long by 3” and 3”) on/in his pelvic bone. They need to find out what it is to determine the exact treatment.
We left Sunday afternoon to travel to Rochester, Mayo for ??? days. He will have had a Biopsy, a full body PET Scan, a CT Scan, and Bone Marrow Testing. There will also be an Echocardiogram and other tests as well. They will put in a Port.
Then, Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, possibly followed by surgery, and then more Chemotherapy. After that, possibly Radiation at Mayo.

Please say a prayer for Alex!

I am absolutely terrified! It is unbelievable how drastically our lives have changed in the past 8 days! My children are my world! I am so scared! Please PRAY for Alex! (He is middle front wearing Tom & Jerry – see picture below)
Please understand that I may not respond to every one! Our days are spent all day at the hospital and we are trying to keep up with everything here along with at home.

We are so touched by the amazing support from everyone and know how blessed we truly are to have such amazing family and friends supporting us at this time! Thank you so much!!!
We love you all!

Please keep the Gullingsrud’s in your prayers!!!!  Alex’s grandpa is Steve Philion and his uncle is former broadcaster Kurt Philion along with many other familiar family members.  Keep them all in your prayers, especially Alex!

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I was going to do the area Section Football coaches polls, but there were too many schools that don’t have the head coaches emails listed on the website.  The new Minnesota State High School League website has been a huge pain in the butt and they released it WAY before it was even ready.  So next year I am hoping to have the football section coaches polls back and better than ever.  Plus after last year, it might have been tough to know exactly what to expect from each team.

One thing I will do is give you my predictions for the area sections (because I am good at giving my opinion;)

Section 8AA –
It is a broken record.  Barnesville is the team to beat and everybody else is hoping for second or third seed so they don’t have to play Barnesville until the section championship because losing on turf and getting medals and a runner-up trophy is better than losing in the freezing cold in Barnesville and having nothing to show for it.

Section 8A –
Whaaaaat?  Mahnomen-Waubun is the favorite once again.  I know…..I know… You didn’t see that coming.  But they are for the 55th straight season or something like that.  John Clark Jr. and the crew know how to coach and they have great hard-nosed players.  The team depth isn’t what it used to be, even with the coop and they might be a little closer to the pack again this year.  Others in the mix?  Polk County West and Red Lake County are always tough and they play each other on Thursday (today) and that will be a great game.  Bagley is a new addition to the section and it sounds like Fosston is going to try to play a varsity schedule after all.

Section 8 9-MAN –
Win-E-Mac and Stephen-Argyle are the two top teams in my eyes (mark September 24 down as the two teams will play in Erskine.  Both teams have lost some tremendous talent to graduation so it will be interesting to see how they reload.  Goodridge-Grygla and Warren-Alvarado-Oslo will also be tough.  It will be a fun section tourney in October!

Section 6 9-MAN –
I am going with Fertile-Beltrami as the favorite in the section.  Right there with the Falcons are Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdahl and Nevis.  It will be a good competitive section with Clearbrook-Gonvick too.

Section 8AAA –
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Perham will likely be the top two teams.  Pequot Lakes is out of the section which is good news for the rest of the teams, and Roseau is in after being down in AA for two years.

The area Section football master schedules are available.  We have links to the sections below –






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If you are going to be at the State Fair on Saturday, you could see the unveiling of the Wild Winter Classic jersey unveiling!

The Minnesota Wild will unveil its 2022 NHL Winter Classic Jersey on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Minnesota State Fair. The unveiling will take place at the Wild booth located in the North End area of the Fairgrounds on the southeast corner of Underwood Street and Murphy Avenue.

WHAT: Minnesota Wild 2022 NHL Winter Classic Jersey Unveiling
WHEN: Saturday, September 4 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Minnesota Wild State Fair Booth located at the southeast corner of Underwood Street and Murphy Avenue
WHO: Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon

The Minnesota Wild will host the St. Louis Blues in the 2022 NHL Winter Classic on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, outdoors at Target Field in Minneapolis. Ticket information for the 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be released at a future date. For more information about the game, to receive alerts when ticket information becomes available and to enter for a chance to win tickets to the 2022 NHL Winter Classic, please visit

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The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the addition of Dalton Parks and Clarke Peterson as assistant baseball coaches. Parks and Peterson are both alumni of the university, helping Coach Steve Gust establish a strong culture of success for Golden Eagle baseball, including four NSIC Tournament appearances in the last seven seasons.

Parks returns to UMC after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at NCAA Division II school University of West Alabama in Livingston, Alabama. He will serve as the hitting/outfield coach for the Golden Eagles. Parks oversaw outfielders, assisted hitters, on and off-campus recruiting, practice planning, fieldwork, and other duties as assigned at West Alabama. Parks helped the Tigers to a combined 22-32 record in two seasons. In 2021, West Alabama hit .277 as a team with 195 runs, 53 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, and 166 RBIs. They posted a .369 on-base percentage and a .751 OPS. The Tigers walked 137 times and had a .382 slugging percentage.

Prior to West Alabama, Parks was an assistant coach at Clarendon College, a Division I junior college in Texas. During his time, he worked with hitters and also helped with practice planning, and recruiting. For the 2019 season, Clarendon hit .321, with a .426 on-base percentage, a .534 slugging percentage, and 47 home runs.

In addition, Parks served as the head coach of the Muhlenberg County Stallions, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Ohio Valley League. In addition, he worked as an assistant coach for the Derby Twins of the Sunflower Collegiate League during the 2019 summer season.

Parks’ first job out of high school was as the assistant coach for Hunter H.S. in West Valley City, Utah. His responsibilities included running practice, setting the line-up, coaching third base, working infield and outfield, and field maintenance.

Parks played for the Golden Eagles during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, helping Coach Gust instill a strong culture in the program. Parks was a part of the first UMN Crookston baseball team to make the NSIC Tournament since 2001. He was an NSIC All-Academic Team recipient. Parks appeared in 33 games and started 14 as a senior as the Golden Eagles won 25 games during his senior year. As a junior, Parks started 49 of 50 games UMN Crookston played.

He received his Bachelor of Science in sports and rec management from Crookston. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Physical Education from the University of West Alabama.

Peterson returns to Minnesota Crookston after one season as an assistant coach at Northland Community and Technical College. He will serve as the pitching and strength and conditioning coach for Minnesota Crookston. Northland hit .296 as a team during the 2021 season, with 105 runs scored, 27 doubles, 17 home runs, and 95 RBIs. On the mound, they had 110 strikeouts to 81 walks.

As a player, Peterson was a five-year player for the Golden Eagles competing as a catcher and a pitcher. He was a team leader during his time with the Golden Eagles. As a junior in 2019, Peterson appeared in seven games and started two. Peterson made one appearance on the mound in 2020, pitching one shutout inning, with one hit and a strikeout.

Peterson earned his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota Crookston in 2020.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team was picked to finish 10th in the NSIC Preseason Men’s Golf Coaches’ Poll.

Winona State University was picked to finish first with four first-place votes and 71 points, while Bemidji State University was selected second with two first-place votes and 64 points. Matthew Chandler of Winona State was named the NSIC Preseason Golfer of the Year.

The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s golf team is led by Connor Humble (Sr. Rosemount), a three-time Top 20 finisher at the NSIC Men’s Golf Championship. UMC also returns Ben Trostad (Sr., Crookston), Cade Pederson (So., West Fargo, N.D.), Keegan Poppenberg (Jr., Esko), Matt Moroz (Jr., Edmonton, Alberta), and Spencer Dahlquist (So., Maple Grove). The Golden Eagles welcome newcomers Layton Bartley (Fr., Fargo, N.D.), Devin Kucy (Fr., Camrose, Alberta), and Rory Wutzke (Fr., Camrose, Alberta).

1. Winona State (4)  71
2. Bemidji State (2)  64
3. Minnesota State (2) 62
4. Concordia-St. Paul (1)  60
5. Sioux Falls (1)  48
6. Upper Iowa  43
7. Augustana  40
8. Minot State  27
9. University of Mary  19
10. UMC  16

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The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s golf team was picked to finish 13th out of 13 teams in the NSIC Preseason Women’s Golf Coaches’ Poll.

Augustana University was picked to finish first with nine first-place votes and 139 points, while Minnesota State University was selected second with two first-place votes and 122 points. Mackayla Olsen was named the Preseason Golfer of the Year in the conference.

The UMC women’s golf program returns sophomore Ellen Solem, who averaged an 88.5 on the 2020-21 season. Abby Stender, Tiffany Kozojed, Lachlan Larson, and Ciera Kotaska also return for the Golden Eagles, while they add newcomers Denali Johnson and Clara Hanson.

The Golden Eagles open the season September 13-14 at the Tracy Lane Invitational in Bemidji.

1. Augustana (9)  139
2. Minnesota State (2)  122
3. Concordia-St. Paul (1) 106
T4. Sioux Falls (1)  102
T4. Upper Iowa  102
6. Southwest MN State  84
7. Wayne State  71
8. Winona State  66
9. Minot State  64
10. Bemidji State  52
11. Mary  45
12. Moorhead  34
13. UMC  27

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

Kaleb Thingelstad is a freshman playing golf at Kansas Wesleyan University.

Joslynn Leach is a freshman playing golf at Concordia College in Moorhead.

Paul Bittner is playing professional hockey in Sweden.  He will be returning to Sweden in the fall.

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

Ben Trostad is playing Club Hockey at UMC.

Ty Hamre is playing Club Hockey at UMC.

Brandon Boetcher is playing Club Hockey at UMC.

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

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

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

Crookston School District Coaches –
Emily Meyer is the Pirate head girls hockey coach and softball assistant coach.
Lacia Hanson is the Junior High softball 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
Brock Hanson
 is a Pirate Baseball volunteer assistant coach.
Ben Halos is a Pirate Baseball assistant coach.
Alex LaFrance 
is a 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 –

Trent Stahlecker is a School Security Specialist & he works for the Brevard Public Schools, Florida

Cody Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach at Proctor/Hermantown

Kaylee Desrosier is a softball coach for Fargo Davies Middle School.

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 an Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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.

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

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