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Florida is a natural attraction for tourism during the winter months as millions of visitors annually enjoy warm weather conditions. The sand beaches are popular on each side of the state along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico while the center of Florida has many attractions like Disney World. But in recent decades a big draw has become exhibition baseball at more than a dozen communities around the sunshine state. Sarasota is a city on the west side of Florida that hosts the Baltimore Orioles spring training camp.
Vanessa Lane and Tyler Tappe, both 2014 Pequot Lakes High School graduates, recently completed their first step in the transition from high school to NCAA Division I college track and field. Lane participated in a variety of indoor track and field events as a freshman member of the South Dakota State University women's squad while Tappe was a pole vaulter during the recent indoor season for the University of Minnesota men's track team. Lane's indoor season highlight came in the indoor Summit League championship when she placed eighth in the pentathlon (five different track and field events)
Kylie Beltz, a 2011 Pequot Lakes graduate, moved into a first-place tie for all-time career scoring with 1,460 points for the Curry College (Massachusetts) women's basketball team last weekend. The senior guard reached that milestone with 19 points on Saturday, Feb. 28, in the third-seeded Colonels' 81-72 loss to top-seeded University of New England in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game in Maine.
Pequot Lakes graduate Abigail "Abby" Palmer credits a little extra work on the track and field team for helping her set a St. Catherine University indoor record for the triple jump. The Wildcats' sophomore enjoyed record-setting performance with a leap of 33 feet, 5.75 inches at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Winter Classic on Jan. 31, in River Falls, Wis. Palmer attributes her improved distance to an increased workload with the team. "I really didn't do anything different during the offseason," Palmer said of her track training.
Every so often there's a moment that sports fans will never forget. One of those occasions happened on Saturday, Feb.
The defending Section 6A champion Alexandria Cardinals, this year's top section seed, netted four goals in the second period to defeat the fourth-seeded Northern Lakes Lightning 5-2 in the section semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 10, in Alexandria. The Cardinals, ranked 11th in Class A, will return to the state tournament after skating past Detroit Lakes 3-1 in the section championship on Friday, Feb. 13. In the semifinals, Alexandria jumped to a 1-0 lead against the Lightning after the first period on Lauren Niska's goal.
Pequot Lakes' students Alex Stone and Grace McGuire celebrated winning the state alpine (downhill) skiing title with their Brainerd Warrior teammates on Wednesday, Feb.
Josh Maucieri and Kyle Sellner both scored two goals as the eighth-seeded Northern Lakes Lightning boys' hockey team blanked No. 9 Wadena-Deer Creek 5-0 in the opening round of the Section 6A tournament on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Breezy Point Arena. Mitch Stangel turned aside 24 shots for the Lightning in the shutout win. Losing netminder Toby Wood stopped 29 shots. Northern Lakes led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Sellner. "I wasn't real concerned.," Lightning coach Craig Larson said of the early close score. "I was surprised that we didn't have more goals.
Society often ranks the importance of winning as a priority for athletic teams. That goal often overshadows other factors like player development or the athletes simply having a fun experience. I received a reminder of how sports can be a fun experience for athletes last week while visiting with two exchange students who are juniors at Pequot Lakes High School. Gina Garai of Hungary and Kristyna "Kiki" Vorlova of the Czech Republic are playing basketball for the first time this winter as members of the Pequot Lakes' girls' C-team. "It's always a great experience for the exchange students,
Brainerd Warrior alpine skier Alex Stone just wanted two clean runs down the Afton Alps hill at the Section 5 meet on Thursday, Feb. 5. And the Pequot Lakes sophomore accomplished that goal by finishing fourth overall and also help the Brainerd girls' team finish first and advance to state for the first time since 2009. Last year, Stone missed advancing to state after falling on one of her section meet runs. "It was constantly on my mind, and I was nervous," said Stone, who had also fell in two of the last three meets going into sections.