Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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Twelve Pequot Lakes Patriot athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday, April 11, to take part in college athletics beginning in the fall. Those 12 make up the largest group of senior committees in school history. Sisters Kristin and Karli Skog will both be competing at the next level. Karli has committed to play basketball for Jamestown College in Jamestown, N.D. Coaches already sent her workout programs to help her better prepare for the increased competition.
Last year around this time, I wrote an editorial claiming that spring is an overrated season, and I stand by that sentiment. Sure, the snow melts and the temperatures rise, but we have to deal with mud, weather peaks and valleys, allergies and taxes. Absolutely none of that is particularly enjoyable.
The Pequot Lakes Patriots boys basketball team hosted its year-end banquet on Tuesday, April 3, where senior forward Zach Sjoblad was named team MVP. Sjoblad finished with 397 points (16.5 points per game), 156 rebounds (6.5), 60 assists (2.5) and 48 steals (2.0). He shot 63.7 percent (156-253) from the field and 68 percent (84-124) from the line for a Patriots team that finished 17-11 overall, ending with a defeat at the hands of Barnum in the Section 7-2A quarterfinals.
In any sporting event, officials are often at the crux of the proceedings. Their knowledge, insight and keen eye are needed to ensure games are played safely, respectfully and in accordance with the rules. However, though new referees are entering the fold at a regular rate, veteran officials are becoming becoming harder to retain, with some blaming outspoken fans and parents tarnishing the experience.
In their monthly work session, Pequot Lakes School Board members had company for preliminary discussion to add recreational space in the city for school use. The board met with Jon Lubke, Jenkins mayor and Pequot Lakes Economic Development Committee member; Randy Loukota, Pequot Lakes City Council member; Nancy Malecha, Pequot Lakes city administrator; and two representatives from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm to discuss the best uses for an 85-acre plot of city-owned land on the south end of town between State Highway 371 and Patriot Avenue.
The Pequot Lakes Patriot track and field teams were able to avoid the elements by competing indoors at the Lion's Invitational at Bemidji State University on Tuesday, March 27, as the girls' team finished third out of 17 teams and the boys finished fourth.
Calvin Wallin has taught firearm safety in Pequot Lakes since Lyndon B. Johnson was president. He has taught nearly 2,000 students, including his children and grandchildren. Now they can celebrate with him as he conducts his 50th year as an instructor. "We have had a lot of good students," Wallin said. "It is great to see these young people taking part and becoming safe hunters. That's an important part of this whole program."
Tucker Sheley, assistant coach of the Pine River-Backus girls basketball team, was recently voted Section 5 Assistant Coach of the Year. The award is voted on by the coaches of the 21 teams within the section, the majority of whom decided Sheley - who is in his fourth year as a PR-B coach - was worthy of the prize. However, Sheley gives credit to his fellow coaches and his athletes for his recognition.
Junior forward Olivia Lane was named the team's most valuable player at a year-end banquet for the Pequot Lakes Patriot girls basketball team on Thursday, March 22. Lane finished with 640 points (22.1 per game average), 386 rebounds (13.4), 48 assists (1.7), 69 steals (2.4), 29 blocks (1.0). She shot 50.5 percent (263-521) from the field, 63.1 percent (101-160) from the foul line, 28.9 percent (13-45) from 3-point range.
The Pequot Lakes School Board voted unanimously to enter a Minnesota GreenCorps host site agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the 2018-19 school year. The agreement would see the school district host an AmeriCorps member from the Minnesota GreenCorps for a school year, and that member will work with the district to use more environmentally conscious practices.