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How they’re doing now: Bowden makes an instant impact at USD

Alexandria’s Ben Allen reaches for a ground ball during a game against Willmar on April 30, 2013. Allen is now a freshman at Des Moines Area Community College. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)1 / 2
Osakis’ Doug Zimmel smiles back at the crowd from third base during a game against Hancock on May 6, 2013. Zimmel is now a freshman playing baseball at the University of Minnesota-Morris. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)2 / 2

This is a look at how some area athletes are doing at their respective colleges or in their athletic careers. Similar pieces will run periodically through the fall, winter and spring seasons.

E-mail with any more detailed information on the athletes listed or the names of other athletes who are playing college sports that you would like to see included in future publications.

• Former Alexandria track and field and gymnastics standout Briquelle Bowden is now a freshman at the University of South Dakota where she is competing in the pentathlon.

The pentathlon consists of an athlete competing in five track and field events during a meet. Bowden was seventh in the women’s pentathlon at the Summit League Indoor Championships that ran from February 28 through March 1 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She finished with 3,057 total points after competing in the shot put, long jump, high jump, 60-meter hurdles and the 800-meter run.

Bowden graduated from Alexandria last spring after being a two-time state participant in track and field and a gymnastics state champion on the beam and the all-around runner-up in 2013.

Alexandria’s Zac Bartolomeo is also a freshman at USD this season. Bartolomeo was named the most valuable distance runner for the Cardinals last spring and qualified for the state meet in the 800-meter run.

He will focus on those distance races as a member of the USD track team.

• Alexandria’s Maggie Leland is wrapping up a great career at Augustana College in Sioux Falls as she enters her final semester as a senior for the Vikings girls’ golf team.

Leland shot a 158 with rounds of 81 and 77 during the first two days of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Tournament on October 3 and 4 from this past fall. That puts her in first place among individuals as the NSIC teams prepare to play the final two rounds of the conference championship on April 25 and 26.

Leland’s teammate, Allie Ostrander of Glenwood, is also a senior for the Vikings this season. Ostrander is tied for fourth in the NSIC championship after the first two rounds. She shot a 162 with rounds of 79 and 83 last fall.

• Alexandria’s Gabby Koel is a freshman on the Hamline University track and field team in St. Paul this year.

Koel is taking on the heptathlon after having a standout career in soccer and track and field before graduating from Alexandria in 2013.

• Alexandria’s Claire and Becca Illies are both members of the Concordia College women’s track and field team in Moorhead.

The sisters were both multiple-sport athletes for the Cardinals. Claire is a junior on the Cobbers roster, while Becca is a freshman.

Becca just took sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.74 seconds at the Concordia March Madness meet on March 29. She also added a second-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at that meet with a time of 16.77.

• Alexandria’s Ben Allen helped the Des Moines Area Community College baseball team to a 12-1 win in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Kirkwood Community College on March 29.

Allen, had three hits in that game and has helped the Bears get off to a 15-9 start overall and a 6-2 mark in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference. Allen, a freshman, has started five games during that span and was hitting .313 with four runs scored and four RBIs with an on-base percentage of .450.

His former Cardinals teammate, Beau Backhaus, is also playing for DMACC this season. The former Alexandria ace has pitched in one game for the Bears through their first 24 contests, allowing one run on three hits over two innings. He struck out one and walked none.

• Former Jefferson High School track and field and basketball standout Jolynn Warnes is listed as a junior hurdler and jumper this season for the University of Jamestown track and field team in North Dakota.

• Alexandria’s Dalton Leuschke and AJ Anderson are both on the University of North Dakota baseball roster this spring.

Leuschke worked his way to UND after two years at Des Moines Area Community College. The former Alexandria shortstop is listed as an infielder and outfielder and has started seven games for the Sioux. Leuschke is fourth on the team in batting with a .263 average after the team’s first 18 games. He has a double and four runs scored.

Anderson is a redshirt freshman pitcher for UND who has made three appearances so far this season. The hard-throwing righthander recorded three outs during that span and worked his way around four walks without giving up a run after collecting a strikeout and allowing no hits.

• Osakis baseball standout Doug Zimmel has started all 11 games in his freshman season for the University of Minnesota-Morris baseball team this season.

Zimmel was an all-state catcher during the Silverstreaks’ run to the Class A state championship game last season. He hit .581 with an incredible .683 on-base percentage in 62 at-bats last spring. He also led the team in RBIs with 39 and in walks with 18.

Zimmel has gotten off to a slow start in his first 11 games at the college level. He’s hitting .125 in his first 32 at-bats with a double and three RBIs.

• Zimmel’s former Osakis teammate, Ky Zimmel, and Alexandria’s Gideon Burnham are both on the baseball roster at Ridgewater College.

Burnham is in his second season as an outfielder and third baseman with the program. Zimmel is a freshman pitcher and outfielder for Rochester after posting a 1.29 ERA in 38 innings pitched for the Silverstreaks last spring.

• The Fergus Falls Community and Technical College baseball team has three area athletes on the roster in Brandon’s Billie Juul, Glenwood’s Tyler Nielson and Parkers Prairie’s Hunter Arnold.

Eric Morken

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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