Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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Two programs separated by less than 20 miles played for a little bit of school history on Friday night in the Section 6A title game. A win for Henning at the University of Minnesota-Morris would mean just the third trip to state for the Hornets and the first since 1966. The Panthers? They had never won a section championship. Through 32 minutes on Friday night, it looked like Parkers Prairie was going to get the monkey off its back before Henning stormed back to win a 60-58 game.
There was a stretch earlier this decade when the Fergus Falls girls basketball team owned the Section 8AAA field. The Otters had made four state tournaments coming into Thursday’s battle with Alexandria, and three of those came in consecutive years of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Two out of those three years, Alexandria fell victim to Fergus Falls in the section title game.
Players rushed from the classroom to the ice at the brand-new sports complex at the NorthStar Christian Academy in Alexandria where they went through puck-handling drills with skills director Gary Steffes late Tuesday morning.
Travis Saurer has been here, there and pretty much everywhere to race in his 20 years on the track, and he's about to get rewarded with quite a milestone. Saurer is only nine wins away from capturing the 500th feature win of his standout career behind the wheel. That's after winning two more during Saturday night's Viking Speedway races in Alexandria. "It's crazy," Saurer said. "When I started, every week I'd just pray for one feature. Here I am looking for 500. It's almost like a dream, really."
Despite not yet having a team assembled, NorthStar Christian Academy in Alexandria has been accepted into the inaugural season of the North American Hockey League’s Prep League. In February, NorthStar received news that it was awarded an affiliate agreement through Minnesota Hockey, the governing body of youth and amateur hockey in the state.
The final buzzer had just sounded on the Class A state championship game on Saturday afternoon, and Alexandria players dropped to their knees as Orono celebrated its first-ever title with a 2-1 victory.
Alexandria’s Jack Westlund won’t forget this last week anytime soon. It was his game-winner in the Section 6A championship that sent the Cardinals to the state tournament with a double-overtime win against fourth-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral. During Wednesday’s state quarterfinals, the junior forward was at it again. This time it was a second-period goal from Westlund that propelled the Cardinals into the Class A semifinals on Friday after Alexandria beat Thief River Falls 1-0 at the Xcel Energy Center.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. —- Jim Dresch was ice fishing with his good friend, Roger Van Surksum, a couple years ago when Van Surksum latched into a nice crappie. He worked the fish up to the hole before his chair went flying. Crappies are known for their paper-thin mouths, and this one did not quite make it out of the hole. Van Surksum, 70, shot to his knees in an attempt to grab it in the water before it could get away. No luck. "I looked at Roger and said, 'That one sounded like it hurt,' " Dresch said.
Wendy Kohler coached the Alexandria girls basketball team in the season opener against Big Lake like she coaches every game - with plenty of emotion. She shouted direction to her players. Dropped to her knee to dissect the situation as plays unfolded and let our her patented whistle a few times that gets all her girls’ attention. Rarely is there a moment to sit as she works the sidelines.
A hole-in-one is supposed to be celebrated on the tee box as a player watches the flight of the ball before it falls into the cup. That's not how things played out for Forada's Steve "Beaver" Hlinsky. Not at all.