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How they’re doing now

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 spring, fall and winter seasons. 

Email 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.

• Jefferson High School graduate and 2013 Resorters Tournament champion Casey Vangsness continues to pile up impressive scores during his senior season at St. John’s University in Collegeville.

Vangsness was named Co-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) golfer of the week on April 29, along with his SJU teammate Tommy Koehler of Eden Prairie. Vangsness tied for second in a dual win over St. Cloud State on April 24 after shooting a 72.

He came back two days later and shot a four-under 68 to earn medalist honors in an 18-team field at the SJU Spring Invite. He carded six birdies in that round to separate himself from the field.

Vangsness leads the Johnnies with a 74.9 stroke average this season. That includes six top-10 finishes, including five in the top five, through nine events and 19 rounds.

• Alexandria’s Maggie Leland captured her second individual Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) title and helped Augustana College to its fifth straight league championship this past Sunday afternoon.

The Vikings finished 33 shots in front of second-place finisher Concordia-St. Paul through the 72-hole championship. Leland was a big part of that after shooting rounds of 81, 77, 77, 87 to win the individual NSIC championship for the second time after accomplishing that same feat as a sophomore during the 2011-12 season. She was the runner-up her freshman and juniors seasons.

Her current teammate and Glenwood native Allie Ostrander also wrapped up her third straight top-five finish at the conference championships. Ostrander placed third overall with rounds of 79, 83, 82 and 81.

• Osakis’ Lauren Silbernick was named the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) softball pitcher of the week for her performances with the University of Northwestern (St. Paul) last week.

Silbernick went 3-0 during that span with a 0.44 ERA through 16 innings pitched. She held opponents to a .161 batting average and allowed just one earned run.

Silbernick is in her freshman season with the Eagles. She is first on the team in innings pitched (98.2), wins (9-9), complete games (7), strikeouts (22) and second in ERA (5.75) out of Northwestern’s three pitchers of record. Silbernick was 13-4 with a 2.47 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings pitched during her senior year with the Osakis softball team in 2013.

• Alexandria natives Mallory Stier and Andrew Werk had solid performances at the Al Cassell Relays as members of the Minnesota State University-Moorhead track and field team on April 26 in Valley City, North Dakota.

Stier, a senior for the Dragons, won two throwing events at the meet. She won the shot put with a toss of 41-6.5 and the hammer throw with a distance of 158-8.

Werk also won the shot put on the men’s side with a throw of 47-11.75. Werk is a sophomore for the Dragons this season.

• Alexandria’s Beau Backhaus got a win on the mound with the Des Moines Area Community College baseball team last week with five solid innings in a 22-2 win over the Graceland University junior varsity team on April 23.

Backhaus, a 2013 JHS graduate, scattered eight hits and one walk, while striking out seven in the game.

His former Cardinals teammate and current DMACC teammate, Ben Allen, also continues to swing a hot bat. Allen is third on the team in hitting with a .351 average to go along with 15 RBIs, 15 runs and an on-base percentage of .493 through 23 games played.

• Alexandria’s Shawn Krueger continues to help out the Concordia College baseball team in Moorhead on the mound with a 5-2 record.

That’s the most wins of any pitcher on the Cobbers’ staff. Krueger has a 4.78 ERA in eight starts with 20 strikeouts and 24 walks in 43 1/3 innings.

Krueger took a loss in his last outing against Saint Mary’s on April 26. He allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Fellow Alexandria native, Jordan Domine, went 2-for-3 that game with an RBI to up his batting average to .295 on the season.

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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