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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Alexandria's McKenzie Duwenhoegger couldn't imagine being in a position to compete at the Big Ten level in shot put and discus only a couple years ago. Yet, here she was as a senior in high school being courted by two programs in the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Duwenhoegger's final two college choices came down to the University of Minnesota and Duke out of Durham, N.C. In the end, the Gophers won out as she signed her national letter of intent to join their track and field program on Tuesday morning.
Monday night’s tilt between two teams ranked in the top 10 of the Class A girls hockey polls had the makings of being a back-and-forth battle. Instead, Alexandria ran away with things over the final two periods. The fifth-ranked Cardinals trailed 1-0 at the first intermission, but broke out with three goals in the second. That was the beginning of the end for the seventh-ranked Prowlers as Alexandria erupted for a 5-1 win to even its record at 2-2 on the season.
Alexandria's John Holsten was in uncharted territory last winter. Every year since 1973, Holsten had manned the sidelines as a basketball coach, including head coaching jobs in Glenwood, Alexandria and Brandon-Evansville. After Holsten resigned from the Brandon-Evansville boys job in the spring of 2017, he took a year off. It was quite a contrast watching games from the bleachers instead of the sidelines.
GIRLS HOCKEY Alexandria vs. Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.
The Alexandria Blizzard is still trying to find its first win of November after falling 3-1 to division foe New Ulm on Saturday night. The two teams played nearly even in shots (New Ulm 30, Alexandria 27), but the Steel broke a scoreless tie with a three-goal third period. Hunter Johnson scored at 11:08 to give New Ulm a 1-0 lead, but Dylan Giorgio had an answer. He got a goal off assists from Brett Meister and Carter Rieland a minute and a half later to even things up.
Alexandria's 4x400-freestyle relay team wrapped up its season at the Class A state meet on Friday afternoon at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The Cardinals punched their ticket to the finals by placing 15th during Thursday's prelims. McKenna Horan, Jadeya Peterson, Hattie Galloway and Ashtyn Molesworth finished the prelims in a time of 3:42.61 after coming in with a seed time of 3:42.51. Then during Friday's finals, they swam a time of 3:44.74 to finish 16th overall.
BOYS HOCKEY NorthStar Christian Academy vs. Sioux Falls U18 AAA, 12 p.m.
BOYS HOCKEY NorthStar Christian Academy vs. Sioux Falls U18 AAA, 1 p.m. Alexandria Blizzard vs. New Ulm, 7:10 p.m.
Alexandria's Noah Boraas had a few schools that he focused in on for continuing his academic and golf career at the next level. Mankato State and the University of Sioux Falls both offered him a good opportunity at programs that he liked, but South Dakota State University was a chance to play at the Division I level. That wasn't the deciding factor for him, but it didn't hurt, either. "I tried not to let it impact the decision I made, but it's hard not to think about it," Boraas said. "An opportunity like that is hard to pass up."
Alexandria's John Vogeler had visions of playing quarterback at the Division II level in college football coming off a successful career for the Cardinals. That was the plan going into his freshman year in 2014. Things don't always go to plan, though, and in Vogeler's case, that turned out just fine.