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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The annual University of Minnesota Gophers Road Trip Tour is making a stop in Alexandria, with the list of coaches scheduled to be there including men's basketball coach Richard Pitino, football coach P.J. Fleck and new men's hockey coach Bob Motzko.
BASEBALL Alexandria vs. Sartell, 5 p.m. PPD Brandon-Evansville vs. OTC, 4:30 p.m. WCA vs. Hancock, 4 p.m. PPD TO MAY 1 Minnewaska vs. Sauk Centre (Double header), 4 p.m. PPD Osakis vs. LPGE, 5 p.m. PPD SOFTBALL
Dave and Alice Anderson live just north of Alexandria down a narrow driveway that cuts through a forest filled with maple trees. Ten acres. Their own little sanctuary. In the fall, the leaves burst with bright yellows, oranges and reds before winter grabs hold and they drop to the forest floor. A couple months pass as the Andersons wait, knowing that the rebirth of the forest is not far away.
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling program has established itself as a recognizable name in the Class A field over the last handful of years, and the Knights honored their latest group of athletes who helped them get there on April 14. The program, from its 78 elementary wrestlers through its varsity, gathered for the annual season-ending awards banquet on Saturday with plenty to honor. On the varsity side, 17 athletes earned letters and five earned team-award honors.
The weather outside made it feel like the winter season should still be going on in the area, so boys and girls basketball players from the Pheasant and Little Eight Conferences decided to get together one last time this year. The two conferences played a boys and girls all-star game on April 8 at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy High School in Fergus Falls for senior athletes.
Brandon-Evansville became the first softball team to take the field this season, and it took finding a dome to do it. The Chargers went to St. John's University to play in the Skalicky Dome against Browerville in two five-inning games on Friday evening. Both teams pitched well, but Browerville came away with a sweep by scores of 2-1 in the nightcap after taking the opener 3-0.
Spring sports teams in Minnesota have reached the point where they are looking for any way to compete, and the Osakis, Minnewaska and Ashby-Brandon-Evansville track and field teams got that chance by going to an indoor meet at Bemidji State University on April 12. They were part of 32 programs who took advantage of this opportunity. That led to a long day with so many athletes taking part. The meet started at 11 a.m. and Osakis left at 6:45 p.m. with the 3,200-meter run and the 4x400-meter relay still to be ran.
The Osakis boys basketball team had plenty of accomplishments to honor at its season-ending awards banquet after making a run all the way to the section semifinals this year.
Alexandria native Blake Stockert has had to show some perseverance through his college baseball career at North Dakota State University. That's the natural path for many players making the jump to the Division I level. There's a period of getting comfortable. In Stockert's case, it meant proving to himself and his coaches that he can be a consistent pitcher deserving of a spot in the starting rotation. Now as a senior, Stockert has solidified himself atop that starting staff on his way to writing the final chapter of his college career.
The Alexandria girls hockey team had one of its best seasons in recent history with a 22-8 finish and a third-place trophy to take home from the state tournament. It was the first 20-win season for the program since 2008 as eight players finished in double digit points. Eighteen players had at least one point this season, and senior forward Kristin Trosvig led that balanced unit with 36 points. She was voted this team's offensive player of the year by her teammates. Trosvig finished her career in a Cardinals uniform among the top four all-time point leaders with 111 career points.