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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Last year's Men's Division champion Nick Heinen of Edmond Oklahoma isn't showing any signs of rust. In fact, he turned in a shining performance during Tuesday's qualifying — a medalist round of 65, four strokes better than last year's best qualifying round of 69. Like he's done in the past, he leaned on his game off the tee box to get him going.
Buffalo's Dave Carothers just missed winning an Executive Division title in 2014, falling to Jeff Johnson of Chaska in a 2-1 match in the championship. Now Carothers has set himself up to try to make another run at his first championship. Carothers earned the second seed to defending champion Daryl Schomer of St. Cloud on Monday by shooting a 71 in qualifying. Carothers birdied Nos. 1, 12 and 14 and bogeyed Nos. 2 and 10 to come in at one-under par. He'll take on Scott Goodmanson of Buffalo in the first round of match play on Wednesday.
Glenwood's Brianna Janu is the returning women's champion and entrenched as the top seed in this year's field, but she'll have plenty of quality competition to go through if she's going to repeat. A lot of familiar faces are back in the championship flight that gets going today at 1:48 p.m. from the first tee box, while newcomers made an impressive showing during Monday's qualifying round too.
The Alexandria VFW 16s were charging in the fifth inning of the District 5 championship at Knute Nelson Ballpark on Monday night. The 16s had whittled a 7-0 deficit down...
The Alexandria 15s VFW baseball team saw its season come to an end this past weekend after going 2-2 in the district tournament in Alexandria. The 15s opened up the playoffs with a 16-7 win over Willmar II on July 26, which set them up against their counterparts from Alexandria in the 16s last Friday night. The 16s won that game 14-4. That dropped the 15s to the loser's bracket, where they stayed alive with a win over Ortonville before falling to Starbuck on Sunday in an elimination game.
Minnesota deer hunters who were hoping to have more opportunity in the whitetail woods this fall will get that chance around Alexandria after the 2016 hunting and trapping regulations came out last week. The regulations, which announce the deer hunting permit areas each season, saw a change from last season with area 213 around Alexandria and north toward Parkers Prairie being changed from a hunter's choice zone to a management zone. That means a hunter can now take up to two deer with the purchase of a bonus permit in addition to their regular deer license.
The Resorters Golf Tournament brings in talented players from across the country each summer that give fans a chance to watch some of the best golf that will be played in the area all year. The week-long match-play event starts July 31 with the annual Pro-Am and wraps up on Aug. 6 where seven champions will be crowned. Many of the 2015 champs return this summer, including Oklahoma State golfer Nick Heinen in the men's division.
Six-year-old Jack Lawrence from Glenview, Illinois was fishing in eight feet of water on Lake Cowdry on the Fourth of July when he put on a show for others on the lake by battling a 4.7 pound smallmouth bass. "Jack's bobber went under exactly when the Fourth of July lake boat parade was passing by," Jack's father, Marc Lawrence, said. "He fought the fish for over five minutes before he landed his first smallmouth bass. He received a round of applause from the passing boats."
Reid Herd and Cody Rieland used to get dropped off at the lakes around Alexandria by their parents so they could fish together before they could even drive themselves to the water. Herd says they've fished tournaments together since they were 15 years old, so they've developed a pretty good cohesion in the boat over the years.
Alexandria's Cameron Hochsprung's first Grandma's Marathon experience came before he was ever even born. His mother, Susan Anderson, had decided she was going to run the marathon in 2002. Then she and her husband, Tim Hochsprung, got pregnant with their first child. Susan ultimately decided against running her first marathon that year, but she and Tim made the trip to Duluth anyway.