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The Pequot Lakes Patriots softball team will be counting on their returning letterwinners after graduating its entire infield, including the Patriots' starting pitcher and catcher, from a squad that finished as Class 2-A state runners-up last spring.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers softball team has 11 letterwinners from a squad that advanced to state for the first time in program history. The Tigers were Upper Mississippi Conference champions with a 9-1 record in South Division play, and finished 21-9 overall. PR-B, which finished 12-6 in the regular season, came through the loser's bracket of Section 5A to defeat Sebeka by scores of 11-9 and 8-7 in the championship game.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers varsity baseball team has a new head coach for the first time in 14 seasons as Michael Dinnel takes over for Steve Snavely. "This is a great group of kids with a good amount of experience," said Dinnel, who will be assisted by Ben Kinser. "Our attitude and effort will determine the amount of success we have this year. I would also like to thank Steve Snavely for his support during the last four years that we coached together."
The Pequot Lakes Patriots have a young baseball team that did gain some valuable playoff experience last spring. The Patriots, who finished 5-3 in the Mid-State Conference and 11-11 overall, return nine letterwinners. They include seniors Ethan Lehman, pitcher, Brady Jurek, infielder and Casey Welsh and Grant Maciej, outfielders; junior pitchers Zach Sjoblad, Luke Schmokel and Deven Psyck; and sophomore pitchers Tyler Manley and Marcus Klein.
The Pine River-Backus boys track and field team gained some new upper-class members while the Tiger girls have a competitive core of athletes back this season. "We're getting more kids out for track, and the boys should be competitive as some of the newcomers are upperclassmen that have shown promise," said PR-B coach Tom Demars. "The girls have a core of returning athletes who will be competitive, but the depth is lacking."
The seventh-seeded Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestling team lost to No. 2 Detroit Lakes 74-6 in the Section 8AA quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Thief River Falls. The Lakers eventually lost to top-seeded Perham 61-10 in the section championship match.
The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus wrestling team is hoping to benefit from the momentum of a five-match win streak heading into the Section 8AA team tournament on Saturday, Feb. 18, in Thief River Falls. "We have had a nice run at the end of the year," said Road Crew coach, whose squad is 14-10 overall after defeating the Aitkin Gobblers 39-30 on Thursday, Feb. 9. "The kids wrestled well against Aitkin. We knew they were going to build a lead in the lower weights, and we would make a move starting at 138. We got the match ups we were looking for and were able to take advantage."
A physical Lake of the Woods Bears boys' hockey team skated past Northern Lakes 6-1 to snap the Lightning's 16-game winning streak on Saturday, Feb. 4. "We ran into a team that played us more physical than most teams we play," said Northern Lakes coach Craig Larson. "It's an adjustment for us that we'll need to figure out. I'm sure we didn't play our best game either, Lake of the Woods had a good game plan and they stayed disciplined throughout while we just did some watching. We had some good shifts, but not enough in a row."
Sam Gutzman scored in overtime as the Northern Lakes girls' hockey team edged the Prairie Centre Blue Devils 4-3 on Friday, Feb. 3, to give the Lightning their first Mid-State Conference outright title in program history. It was also Northern Lakes' fifth straight win and 13th victory in the past 14 games to close out the regular season.
Addi Harrington, Cody France, Justin Neumann and John Urseth each won three matches to help the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew win three matches at the Fergus Falls Quadrangular on Friday, Feb. 3. The Road Crew defeated Roseau 66-24, Sauk Centre/Melrose 37-30 and Fergus Falls 60-24 to improve their overall record to 12-10.