Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.
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With the new year comes my annual Minnesota pro sports round up. Every year I have written this piece, I have either been overly optimistic for the local teams or overly pessimistic, but this year, for all of the "big four" teams, I can't help but be somewhere in the middle. I would argue that is a worse feeling. All four of them have disappointed me as a fan in the past 12 months, but leave the door cracked the door open just enough for me to think "maybe 2019 is the year." Without further ado, here's my take on those four teams. Vikings
New Pequot Lakes School Board members Dena Moody and Tracy Wallin - along with re-elected member Derrek Johnson - gave their oaths of office in the board's first meeting of 2019. As part of the board's annual reorganizational meeting Monday, Jan. 7, Kim Bolz-Andolshek was elected board chair. She replaces Mike Erholtz, who has served as chair for the past four years. Curt Johnson and Susan Mathison-Young were elected to remain vice chair and clerk//treasurer, respectively. The three officers were the sole nominees in each category.
Hayden Boelter slammed in the winning goal in overtime as the Northern Lakes Lightning defeated the Detroit Lakes Lakers 6-5 Thursday, Jan. 3. The Lightning went into the third period with a comfortable 5-2 lead, but surrendered a trio of goals in roughly five minutes to send the game into overtime.
It is not overly common for educators outside of life sciences to discuss issues like conservation and survival in the wilderness, but courses taught in the Rocky Mountains over the summer months provides teachers to do just that. The courses are taught courtesy of the Safari Club International Foundation, of which Breezy Point's Todd Roggenkamp is assistant director of education.
The Patriot boys basketball team capitalized on second-half turnovers in a 61-54 Mid-State Conference victory over Crosby-Ironton on Tuesday, Dec. 18. "In the first half, we weren't rebounding too well, but we got that going in the second," Patriot guard Sean Ryan said. "We just moved the ball around more in the second half, and I think that's what helped us out." Down 28-27 after halftime, the Patriots rattled off an 11-0 to take a lead they would not give up, although the Rangers kept it close for much of the game.
The Pequot Lakes School District has a levy in place for the coming year. The school board voted in its Monday, Dec. 17, meeting to approve its final levy for $5,994,768 - a 5.64 percent increase over the previous year's levy - and the local option revenue remaining at $424 per pupil and a board-approved $300 per pupil subsidized by the state.
Alyssa Semmler recorded six points and 15 rebounds for the Pine River-Backus Tigers as they beat the Pequot Lakes Patriots 46-39 in non-conference play on Thursday, Dec. 13. "We haven't beaten them in a long, long time," PR-B coach Randy Schwegel said. "It is not going to make our season or anything, but it's another win, and we haven't done it in a long time so it's nice for the kids." Both Gabby Rainwater and Rylie Hirschey added 12 points for the Tigers in the non-conference game. Olivia Lane was the top scorer for the Patriots with 21 points.
She has four years of varsity experience, nearly 1,800 career points and a Division-I roster spot waiting for her. In the meantime, Olivia Lane hopes to embrace the role of her team's go-to scorer and rebounder and help the Patriot girls basketball team achieve the highest possible level of success. To do that, she knows she will have to lead the team in more ways than on the stat sheet.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers boys' basketball team, which opened the season against Menahga on Dec. 4, hopes to utilize experience as the 2018-19 season begins. Last season, the No. 6-seeded Tigers lost to No. 3 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 50-34 in the Subsection 5A quarterfinals. PR-B finished 15-13 overall and 7-7 in the Northwoods Conference. With four returning starters - Torry Hirschey, Brady Raph, Nathan Wosmek and Louis Bueckers - the Tigers hope to improve on that performance.
The Northern Lakes girls hockey team has opened this season by winning three of its first four games - falling to Willmar 3-2 on Tuesday, Nov. 13, toppling Park Rapids 13-0 on Thursday, Nov. 15, edging Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper 2-1 on Friday, Nov. 16, and tipping Detroit Lakes 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday, Nov. 20. It's an admirable start to the season for the Lightning under the direction of second-year head coach Breanna Sheley. Last year, Northern Lakes finished 9-16 overall, but exceeded expectations in conference play. Sheley called the season one her athletes can grow from.