Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.
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For the last six years, the Pelican Rapids Vikings have been playing in the Section 8-2A championship five times. Of those five shots for the right to play in the Class 2A state playoffs, this year was the least expected group to punch that elusive ticket. But like Pelican Rapids head coach Dave Haugen stated, "In sports, nothing has to make sense." And the 2010 Vikings proved that adage exactly correct.
Even though the Detroit Lakes girls' hockey team suffered through a 6-20-1 record during the 2009-10 season, dividends from last year might be paying off for 2010-11. The vast majority of the team is back, after losing two seniors off of last year's young squad. Even though the Lakers are still quite youthful, they will be bringing in plenty of seasoning. "Basically, the whole team is back and it was a team which put up some solid points last year," said DL head coachå Dan Maloney.
Mahnomen senior running back Alex LaVoy knows all about the Indian football team's strong tradition, which includes a bevy of state playoff berths and six state championships. LaVoy has heard about it plenty from family members who were a part of that winning tradition in Mahnomen and now, the state's fourth-leading rusher can be a part of it.
After suffering an 0-2 start, the Detroit Lakes football team did the best thing it could do in those circumstances -- win the next seven games in a row. The two losses the Lakers were hit with were on the different end of the spectrum, the first being a 23-21 loss to Shanley on the game's last play, while the second being a 49-7 throttling in Bismarck, N.D. "I was actually pleased with how we played against a quality team like Shanley in that first game," said DL head coach Flint Motschenbacher.
There was some work to be done for the Detroit Lakes girls' soccer team, as they entered the 2010 season with a host of holes to fill after a large graduating class of 2009. But those holes were filled as the season progressed and what was once thought of as a potential rebuilding process, turned into a contending team. The Lakers finished with a 7-8-3 record, but played all the way to the Section 8-1A championship game, before falling to East Grand Forks.
It's always hard to start from square one after a historic season, but that's what the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team was looking at after losing the bulk of their scoring and defense from a year ago. The proverbial "big shoes to fill" adage was used more than once, but after an 8-9-1 record, the season wasn't a rebuilding process, at all. "Yes, we had to start from the ground up to start the season, but we didn't suffer through a season where we had to bottom out," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner.
The Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving team had eight Mid-State All-Conference honorees after finishing third overall in the meet Friday in Park Rapids. The Lakers were very top-heavy in finishes, winning eight of 12 events, but couldn't garner enough points in the latter places to place ahead of Park Rapids and Perham. "We had a few near misses and a lot of personal-best times, but we just got caught up in the depth (issue)," said DL head coach Carol McCarthy.
The effort was strong and the work ethic more than satisfactory, but the Detroit Lakes girls' cross country team finished a little behind of where Laker head coach Jon Freeman thought they could have ended up. The Lakers finished 11th out of 15 teams with 276 points in the Section 8-2A meet Friday in Fergus Falls, while having one runner finish in the top 26. "There's no doubt the kids worked hard and their effort was strong, but at this time of year, they need to be running their best times," Freeman said.
You can't beat improvement. Heading into the tough Section 8-2A cross country meet, the Detroit Lakes boys' squad were looked upon as the No. 7 seed, but after the race, the Lakers bumped up one spot and finished sixth as a team with 190 points. "I was very happy with the team finish," said DL head coach Bill Kvebak. "I thought it was a strong finish.
The Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving program has grown into a consistent contender since the 2006 season, and there has been one -- or actually four constant factors since that impact of a year. The names of Libby Larson, Melissa Paakh, Andi Weiss and Ashtin Spies have been tied to the Laker girls' swimming and diving team for six years now -- and it's no coincidence the DL program has grown up along with them. "They have been the heart and soul of this team for the last six years," said DL head coach Carol McCarthy, who is in her seventh season in that capacity.