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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Robert Bosma had six students at practice on Monday in his first time leading a new cross country program at Brandon-Evansville. That's a starting point. The new head coach hopes it's just the beginning of a team that will continue to grow in both the short and the long term.
The Alexandria football team didn't have helmets or pads on for their second day of practice on Tuesday afternoon, and that made it easier to notice a difference. There are a lot of new faces on this team. Alexandria graduated 21 seniors from last year. Those who follow this program know how talented that group was, leading the Cardinals to a 9-2 record and their first state tournament appearance in 14 years.
The Parkers Prairie girls tennis team went 9-11 last season and has nine returning letter winners back to help the Panthers try to improve on that. Head coach Will Grieger's expectations for this group are that his players challenge each other to get better all season so they can compete with every team they play. He sees a team with a strong work ethic and girls who like competing with each other. "We are blessed by positive attitudes and girls that have fun together at practice and games," Grieger said.
EAGLES HORSESHOE LEAGUE STANDINGS AFTER WEEK 12 (Total score) Jim Syverson/Judy Carlson - 81 Jeff Thompson/Dick Baumann - 68 Rick Maxwell/Kia Larson - 68 Byrne Rising/Gary Kirckof - 68 Dan Larson/Gary Stotesbery - 64 Jerry Nelson/Darren Barten - 54 Randy Mayer/Ryan Seibel - 45 Dillon Maxwell/Jim Rushford - 43 Shane Johnson/Justin Dummer - 38 Mary Botten/Jolene Olson - 35 Kristy Brackett/Justin Schroeder - 31 Brian Larson/Brad Mattocks - 29 Mike Thompson/Jeannie Thompson - 25
Anyone who spends hours in a deer stand has likely heard the chorus of coyote calls rolling across the landscape at last light. I've heard it in Minnesota more so in recent years. North Dakota, though. That's where I was blown away by how many coyotes were sharing the shelterbelts with me when I bow hunted in the north central part of the state.
Peggy Radford of St. Paul carded a hole-in-one while golfing at the Nordic Trails Golf Course in Alexandria on Aug. 5. Radford was golfing with Matt Radford, Jeff Kramer and Annie Kramer when she aced the par-three sixth hole. She used an eight iron from 90 yards.
Alexandria's Justin Balcome walked onto the court in the Joseph H. Barnett Center on the Northern State University campus recently and knew right away where he wanted to spend his college basketball career. Balcome, a 6-foot, 10-inch, 210-pound forward, had a few other scholarship offers on the table. He had visited many of the other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schools, but none of them left the impression that Northern State did in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Golfers start trickling onto the driving range at the Alexandria Golf Club about the time the sun comes up most mornings during the Resorters Golf Tournament that took place last week. Bernie Gahlon doesn't beat them there, but he's only about an hour behind. "First thing, I clean up the range," he said from the garage just east of the driving range on Aug. 3. "Pick the pails up and make sure the garbage is picked up out there so everything looks good. The golfers are out here at about 6. I come at about 7. That's a long enough day."
Dave Thoennes of Alexandria and Dave Zimmerman of Elizabeth have both been around race tracks for decades. Thoennes, 64, spent most of those years under the hood. Zimmerman, 55, has been behind the wheel. Both don't mind being behind the scenes, but at least for one night, the two were front and center as they were honored at the Viking Speedway as the 2017 inductees into the local oval's Hall of Fame this past Saturday night. "It's always a big accomplishment when you can get something like that," Thoennes said. "It means a lot to me and my family."
The Alexandria Black Sox are a win away from a goal they set out to accomplish four years ago when the program joined the Resorters Baseball League. The Black Sox will play for a spot at the state tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Ashby when they take on the winner of Long Prairie and Pelican Rapids. That game is set for Friday night. Alexandria has already beaten Pelican Rapids in the Region 16C Tournament and split with Long Prairie during the regular season.