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Richard Spiczka has been hired as Pequot Lakes Community Education director, and will also serve as the Pequot Lakes Patriots high school varsity boys basketball coach. Spiczka has been the varsity boys basketball coach for the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm and also that district's middle school activities director. "I love the idea of being able to work both in community ed and continue to coach," Spiczka said Tuesday, May 17. "They are both great passions of mine. The ability to do both (jobs) in one place was very appealing."
Fishing and family have always been connected for Marv and Judy Koep. Marv grew up around fishing since his dad was a bait salesman in Urbank. And Judy also had an interest in the sport of fishing. "We would go fishing on some of our dates," Judy said. "How many people would do that?" So it wasn't much of a surprise when the couple purchased Link's Bait Shop in Nisswa in 1961, shortly after their wedding. In years to come the Koeps, along with their three children, worked long hours, including nights and weekends, promoting the fishing industry.
Janet Haeg remembers back more than a dozen years ago when her son, Joe, was an 85-pound fourth-grader playing football for Nisswa Elementary School in the Brainerd Youth Athletic Association program. "Joe was tackled and landed on the football," recalled the Lake Shore mom. "I think it knocked the wind out of him because he was trying to catch his breath. And then to make things worse the referee tripped over him. Joe sat out, and didn't want to go back (to football). We talked with him, and by Tuesday he was at the next practice." That turned out to be a good decision.
A common sports analogy is that teammates are often like family because of the strong relationship that's built with a vision of reaching similar goals. But three members of the Nisswa Lightning baseball team are actually family. Paul Jenkins and his sons, Aaron and Brett, have been part of the amateur team since its began in Nisswa in 2007. The Jenkins family was in uniform as the Lightning kicked off their 10th Victory League season with a 12-2 win on Sunday, May 1, at St. Mathias.
The Pequot Lakes/Pine River Backus Road Crew wrestling team's season ended with a 33-31 quarterfinal loss to Sauk Centre/Melrose Mainstreeters in the Section 8AA tournament on Saturday, Feb. 13, in Thief River Falls. Top-seeded Perham topped No. 2 Bemidji 34-25 to capture the section title and earn its ticket to the Class AA state meet.
One of the favorite parts of my newspaper career has been writing stories, taking photos and doing page design - especially with a focus on Pequot Lakes Patriots and Pine River-Backus Tigers sports teams in 25 of the past 32 years. But I will be passing on those duties starting Jan. 1, with my promotion to publisher of the Brainerd Dispatch. I will also continue to serve as publisher of the Echo Journal, but I won't be doing sports coverage. Instead, our staff writer Dan Determan will take over as coordinator of the Echo Journal sports coverage.
The Little Falls Flyers scored five times in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and defeat the Northern Lakes Lightning 7-1 in non-conference boys' hockey action on Thursday, Dec. 10. "After we tied it up, we relaxed and just watched," said Northern Lakes coach Craig Larson. "We didn't stay engaged and didn't finish and a couple scoring chances on the power play.
There's not a lot in common between the communities of Pequot Lakes and Bozeman, Montana. But there is a hockey connection between the two towns that are located 900 miles apart as Pequot Lakes graduates Kegan Couture and Dalton Rickard are skating with the Bozeman Icedogs of the Frontier Division of North American Tier III Junior hockey. "This is my third year playing for Bozeman, and it's Dalton's second year," Couture explained. "I talked him into trying out with our team last year.
Beau Howard is taking advantage of his opportunities to play basketball. The 2013 Pine River-Backus graduate played the past two seasons at Hibbing Community College, including leading the Cardinal in scoring with a 15.4 average in 27 games last season. "It was an adjustment, but it gave me a chance to improve," Howard said of his community college experience. "It's a different speed going from high school to college basketball." This winter, Howard has moved up to the Division III level as a member of the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.
Wyatt Kokesh had two goals and one assist and Josh Maucieri added three assists to help the Northern Lakes boys' hockey team grab an early 3-0 lead on way to a 4-1 victory over the Kittson Central Bearcats in non-conference action on Saturday, Dec. 5, in Hallock. The Lightning, 1-1 in the Mid-State Conference and 3-1 overall, are scheduled to host Little Falls in a non-conference game on Thursday, Dec. 10. Nick Reed tallied to give Northern Lakes the lead at 9:42 of the first period. Kokesh then tallied just eight seconds later to make it 2-0.