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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BLIZZARD HOCKEY Alexandria vs. Rochester, 7:10 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville at Henning, 7:30 p.m. WCA vs. Wheaton, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska at Morris, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. Ashby vs. Rothsay, 7:15 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team split two matches at the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Tri on Thursday night as the Knights dropped their second match of the last three contests. Both of those losses came against top-10 teams in the state. The Knights (15-3) are ranked fifth themselves in the Jan. 26 Class A Guillotine polls. Frazee is second and beat WCA-A-B-E on Jan. 30. Two days later, eighth-ranked BBE won a close 36-31 final after the Knights rolled over Royalton-Upsala 46-20.
Perhaps the best way to understand the kind of impression Hancock's Noah Kannegiesser has made among small-school programs in west-central Minnesota is to ask coaches who have to game-plan to stop him. Monday night, that task fell into the lap of West Central Area's Kraig Hunter. On Jan. 4, the Knights held Kannegiesser to 28 points in a 65-52 win for the Owls. That's a good night's work defensively against arguably the state's best scorer this winter. At the time, it was 15 points below Kannegiesser's season average.
The Viking Speedway at the Douglas County Fairgrounds is ready to welcome in fans and some of the fastest ice-oval snowmobile racers around this weekend. The return of the Alexandria Winter Spectacular is in its fifth year now as the local group of organizers known as 10 GDP will host more than 35 race classes over the course of two days. Racing starts at noon Friday with heat races, with Saturday's finals beginning at 10 a.m.
The Alexandria wrestling team was fresh off a successful weekend where the Cardinals swept a tri and took second in the Big Ole Tournament, but Alexandria ran into two powers on Tuesday. The Cardinals hosted Class AAA's fifth-ranked Willmar and a 14-win Little Falls program. Willmar dominated in a 70-6 final over Alexandria, while Little Falls beat the Cardinals 47-29.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced it will cut back on the number of fingerling walleye it stocks statewide as it maintains its commitment to stocking young fry. It is a move that will end stocking for now in three area lakes and lower the amount of fingerlings going into eight others in the Glenwood Area DNR's work range.
Christmas is usually a memorable day for any 7-year-old, and Alexandria's Dillon Larson capped his Christmas off this past year by catching his first walleye. The Larsons had opened presents and decided to spend their evening in the ice house on a local lake. Dillon was using a perch-colored Rapala Slab Rap in 21 feet of water when he latched into a 22-inch walleye at a little before 5 p.m. that day.
The Alexandria Nordic ski teams used the final regular-season meet as a tuneup on Tuesday night in an event that was meant to provide a fun atmosphere before things get much more serious for programs at sections next week.
BOYS BASKETBALL WCA vs. Henning, 7:30 p.m. Ashby at Hillcrest Lutheran, 7:15 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Rocori, 7:15 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Osakis, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Henning, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Benson, 7:15 p.m.
There are games throughout every coach’s career where the best option during the post-game speech to their kids is to simply credit the opposition. Kraig Hunter found himself in that position on Monday. The West Central Area boys basketball coach watched as his guys shot 52 percent (32-52). The Knights knocked down nine threes.