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Cards ready to welcome back alumni

File photo | Echo Press Karly Betterman (left) goes in for a layup over the outstretched arm of Fergus Falls’ Brianna Rasmusson on January 18, 2013. Both girls are back as seniors, helping to lead their teams to top-five rankings. (File photo/Echo Press)

Alexandria’s Wendy Kohler has been on the sidelines at Jefferson High School as the coach of the Cardinal girls’ basketball team for 29 seasons. That means asking her to name a couple of her favorite memories from that time turns into a longer list than just one or two games. “All of the thousands of practices on the floor,” she said. “All of the athletes’ blood, sweat and tears – amazing. All of the girls and every team; those are the best memories of all.” Kohler hopes all of the women who have been through the Alexandria program will be back when the team honors alumni before the championship game of the Cardinals holiday tournament on December 28. It’s an opportunity for the program to recognize the athletes responsible for a lot of wins on the JHS hardwood. “As we merge into AAHS, I felt it was imperative that we celebrate the legacy of all of the athletes that have represented our community and school,” Kohler said. “At the time, they don’t realize the legacy they build and leave for the future Cardinals to strive to continue their high standard of excellence in the classroom, on the court and as citizens.” All alumni of the program are welcome and will be asked to sign in prior to the championship game on Saturday, which is scheduled to tip at 6:30 p.m. They will then be announced by their graduation year before the game. A reception will follow after the game and a final shoot-around for the alumni and their families. Commemorative T-shirts will also be sold with the slogan “I’m from the old school.” Those who attend the tournament will also have a chance to see another really good Alexandria team. The Cardinals were ranked third in the latest Class AAA polls that came out on December 11. They jumped out to a 2-0 start with easy wins over Detroit Lakes and Little Falls. This year’s group is part of a long list of good teams that have called JHS home. A win over perennial power Bloomington Jefferson in the early 1990s, a triple-overtime win against St. Cloud Tech in 1997 and matchups with Little Falls when both programs were ranked top two in the state are just a few of the highlights during the program’s tenure at JHS. Alexandria hopes to make a few more of those memories with this team before the excitement of moving into a brand new facility in the fall of 2014. “I will miss this court,” Kohler said. “Our whole staff will miss it. I know where certain people sit for games over the years like my mom and dad, the Leslies, Eltons and many more that have always supported us…but change is good, and we are looking forward to the beautiful new facility that our community is giving us. What a gift to the future Cards and all students of District 206.”

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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