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Danecdotes: 2017 a success for Tigers, Patriots

xReid Pierzinski competes in the 110 hurdles at the state meet Saturday, June 10. Dan Determan/Echo Journal 1 / 6
The Tigers celebrate their victory over the Pirates on Friday, Oct. 27, to move on in the postseason. Ashley Smith / Echo Journal Correspondent 2 / 6
Pine River-Backus' Brady Raph chips onto the green at Deacon's Lodge Wednesday, May 17. Dan Determan/Echo Journal 3 / 6
4 / 6
Patriot fullback Calvin Maske rushes the field after the Patriots' 56-22 victory over Perham in the section championship in Fargo Thursday, Nov. 2. Dan Determan / Echo Journal 5 / 6
PR-B's Nick Ackerman struck out 10 Cass Lake-Bena batters and walked just one in seven innings of work Tuesday, April 25. Dan Determan/Echo Journal 6 / 6

Another year is in the books, and with it comes my annual year in review of area sports.

In my end-of-2016 story one year ago, I discussed at length the success the area teams had - with three different state tournament appearances - but this past year just may have been more successful for Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus, although the number of team state appearances was three once again.

This job has sent me to dozens of sporting events this year. I traveled across the state, had post-game discussions with several coaches and athletes, and took thousands of photos. Every step of the way, it has been a lot of fun.

In the span of three weeks this November, I got to travel nearly 550 miles to cover our area teams, with state tournament appearances for the Tiger volleyball team and the Patriot football team rounding out the season.

Now we enter 2018 and, personally, I am full of hope for both the Patriots and the Tigers in the new year. Several teams - particularly the Patriot track teams and the Tiger volleyball team, but really most area teams - should have plenty of skilled, experienced athletes poised to succeed in the coming year.

I'm not only hopeful for these teams, but I can't wait to see what they are going to do.

So here's to an exciting 2017 and hopefully eventful 2018.

January

The Patriot girls basketball team won its first three games of the new year, improving to 10-1.

The Lightning girls hockey team's eight-game win streak came to an end in a 5-1 loss to Moose Lake. Prior to that loss, the lightning had won 13 of their previous 14 games. They would go one to win their final five regular season games.

The Northern Lakes boys hockey team topped 5-3 to extend a 16-game winning streak.

February

The Road Crew wrestling team swept the Fergus Falls Quadrangular, topping the home team as well as Sauk Centre/Melrose and Roseau. Addisuone Harrington, Cody France, Justin Neumann and John Urseth all went undefeated at the meet.

In the annual Pequot Lakes vs. Pine River-Backus game, the Patriot boys basketball team topped their opponents 81-46. Gage Westlund led the Patriots with 24 points, while Torry Hirschey had 16 for the Tigers.

Pequot Lakes' Alex Stone saved her best state performance for last, finishing eighth at the state alpine ski meet in Biwabik. Stone finished 10th as a junior and 13th as a sophomore.

The Lightning girls fell to Alexandra 11-1 in the Section 6-1A semifinals. The team finished with an overall record of 20-7 - the best in program history.

The Road Crew's season came to an end in a loss to Detroit Lakes in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals.

The Tiger girls finished the regular season on an eight-game winning streak.

In the Patriot girls' penultimate regular season against Hinckley-Finlayson, then-sophomore Olivia Lane reached two milestones. She scored her 1,000th career point en route to setting a new school record for points in a game with 44.

March

The Patriot girls suffered a postseason upset, falling to Crosby-Ironton 72-68 in the section quarterfinals.

The Tiger girls saw their season come to an end in a 58-43 loss to Menahga in the section semifinals.

Three Pequot Lakes Revolution dancers - Taylor Mudgett, Cally Traxler and Kyan Kitzman - were selected to represent the team as members of the All-State Dance Team.

The Tiger boys finished the season with a 75-73 loss to McGregor in the subsection quarterfinals.

The Patriot boys fell to Esko 61-43 in the section quarterfinals.

Pequot Lakes junior Hannah Dahlberg earned an all-state honorable mention after finishing 6th on the uneven bars at the section meet with a score of 9.275.

Pine River-Backus graduate Jeremy Digiovanni, serving as head coach of Elk River girls basketball team, coached the Elks to a perfect 32-0 season and state title with a 64-60 win over Hopkins.

April

After more than 30 years serving as Patriot coaches, Jon and Kate Dale retired from all coaching duties, effective at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

For the first time in more than a decade, the PR-B Tigers fielded a girls golf team, featuring seven athletes.

Pequot Lakes grad and South Dakota State University junior Vanessa Lane set a school record in the heptathlon with a total score of 5,020 at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California.

The Tiger softball team stifled the Cass Lake-Bena Panthers in a 22-0 blowout.

Patriot assistant football coach Bill Magnuson was awarded the Don Swanson Award for his work as a member of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association.

Patriot track athlete Reid Pierzinski qualified for four events at the Hamline University Elite Meet, winning the 110 hurdles and taking second in the triple jump.

Patriot softball coach Bret Sergent recorded his 300th win in a 7-4 victory over Verndale.

May

Tiger boys golf coach Steve Heslop was inducted into the MInnesota Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The Patriot softball team topped the Tigers 3-1 thanks in part to a no-hitter by pitcher Morgan Eckes.

The Patriot boys golf team finished first at the Mid-Minn Conference meet with a team score of 424. PR-B finished third at the event.

Four Pequot Lakes athletes - Quinn Kratochvil, Corina Ruud, Cody Huss and Gage Westlund - signed letters of intent to play at the collegiate level.

Chris Ganley was named head coach of the Patriots volleyball team, and Katrina Moody was named head coach of the Patriots girls basketball team.

The Tiger baseball team dominated Red Lake in a 35-3 victory.

Patriot golfer Alex Stone earned the individual conference title, shooting a 75 at the conference meet.

The Patriot girls track team finished first at the MidState Conference meet, while the boys finished 1.3 points behind Detroit Lakes to take second.

With the PR-B softball team's 6-1 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, head coach John Riewer recorded his 300th career victory.

The Patriot trap shooting team claimed the Class 5A Conference 2 championship.

Both the Patriot baseball and softball team were eliminated in the subsection playoffs.

The PR-B softball fell to Braham 11-4 in the fourth round of the postseason.

June

In the best finish in program history, both the Patriot girls and boys track team finished second at the State Class A meet. Pierzinski finished first in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, fourth in the triple jump and joined Ben Nelson, Robbie Hendrickson and Cody Huss to take first in the 4x200 relay. The girls 4x200 team (Mirjana Ganley, Kristin Skog, Grace McGuire and Chloe Bermel) and 4x400 relay team (Skog, McGuire, Bermel and Olivia Lane) each finished first as well. Bermel finished third in the 400-meter dash, Addie Hubbard took fifth in the triple jump and seventh in the 300 hurdles (setting a new school record with a time of 47.83) and Britt Kratochvil finished seventh in the high jump. Additionally, Addisuone Harrington finished 12th in the pole vault.

PR-B golfers Brady Raph and Nate Brasel finished 16th and 34th, respectively, at the state golf tournament. Raph shot a two-day score of 165 and Brasel shot 170.

In her final high school meet, Patriot golfer Alex Stone shot a 77 on the first day of the state tournament and a 74 on the second day to finish third in the state. Stone now plays golf at Augustana College.

With two years of high school basketball left to play, Patriot forward Olivia Lane verbally committed to play college basketball for the University of North Dakota.

July

Pequot Lakes alum and former Patriot golfer Savannah Stone was named the new head coach of the Patriot golf team.

Breanna Sheley was hired as the Northern Lakes Lightning girls hockey team's head coach. Sheley served as an assistant coach the previous season.

August

Phillip Ingvalson of Pequot Lakes finished in first place in his division at the Chicago Summer Open International Brazilian Jiujitsu Federation Championship.

The Patriot volleyball team kicked off its 2017 season with a 3-1 victory over the Brainerd Warriors. Britt Kratochvil and Clare Ganley each had 10 kills in the match.

The Tiger volleyball team swept the Pillager Huskies in the season opener.

The Patriot football opened its season with a 52-0 drubbing of the Staples-Motley Cardinals. Nathan Traut had three touchdowns in the game.

September

The two area volleyball teams faced each other twice in the same week, with the Patriots taking the first game 3-2 and the Tigers winning a best-of-three tournament game 2-0.

The Patriot tennis team claim the Mid-State crown, with three singles athletes and two doubles team finishing first.

Undermanned and plagued with injuries, the 0-2 PR-B football team was forced to forfeit its third game of the season. Numbers improved shortly thereafter, and the Tigers won two games on the season.

In her second tournament as a college athlete, Alex Stone earned her first medalist honor at the Concordia-St. Paul Golf Invitational.

The fourth quarter of the Patriot football team's game with Perham was delayed three days due to lightning. Though Pequot led at the time of the delay, the Yellowjackets rallied on Monday to win 32-19.

The Patriot tennis team topped Crosby-Ironton to win their 12th consecutive match.

The Tiger volleyball beat Clearbrook-Gonvick for the team's eighth straight victory.

October

Tiger volleyball earned three sweeps in one week, beating Northome-Kelliher, Blackduck and Hill City by a score of 3-0.

The Tiger football team earned a 31-16 victory over Cass Lake-Bena on Homecoming Night.

After four years as girls head coach, Jana Lueck resigned from the Pequot Lakes track team. Assistant coach Jamie Wagner was promoted to girls head coach.

The Patriot football ended its regular season with a 27-0 victory over East Grand Forks. It was the team's fifth consecutive win.

November

Reid Pierzinski finished his senior cross country season by finishing 76th at the State Class A meet with a time of 17:24.6.

PR-B volleyball topped Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the section finals to advance to the first state tournament in team history.

The Pequot Lakes football team ended a four-year streak of losing at the Fargodome, beating Perham 56-22 to claim the Section 8-3A title and qualify for the team's second state tournament appearance.

At the state volleyball tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, the Tigers fell to Bethlehem Academy 3-1 and New Life Academy 3-1. The team finished the season with a record of 24-8 after beginning the year 3-5.

At the state quarterfinals in Alexandria, the Patriots topped Mora 34-0 to advance to the state semifinals for the first time in team history. Traut record 240 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the game.

In the state football semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Patriots fell to the St. Croix Lutheran Academy Crusaders 45-7.

December

The Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus girls basketball teams opened the season by facing each other, with the Patriots claiming a 68-47 victory.

After a delayed start to the beginning of the season due to the lengthy football season, the Patriot boys basketball team started off by topping Proctor 54-43.

PR-B junior guard Bailey Wynn recorded her 1,000th career point in a 89-22 victory over Northland. Wynn scored 32 points in the game.

Dan Determan
Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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