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 Viking Speedway had a beautiful couple days of weather for its season-ending Fall Classic this past Friday and Saturday and drivers came out in full force to take advantage of that. Ryan Schmitz, speedway president on the nine-member board of directors, said 171 cars came out for the main shows on Friday and Saturday. "That was great," Schmitz said. "What we were shooting for was to get cars there, and we were very happy with the turnout. Not only the number of cars, but any time you have three, four national champions racing there, it's pretty good."
This is a look at how some area athletes are doing at their respective colleges or in their athletic careers. Similar pieces will run periodically through the fall, winter and spring seasons. Email email@example.com with any more detailed information on the athletes listed or the names of other athletes who are playing college sports that you would like to see included in future publications. • Alexandria's Megan and Bethany Hasz had breakout freshman seasons in the Big Ten for the University of Minnesota cross country team, and they haven't slowed down as sophomores.
It took just one week to get an idea of how explosive the passing game for the Alexandria football team could be again this season. The Cardinals beat now 5-1 Andover 34-28 in the opener on Sept. 1 and threw for 438 yards in the process. Senior Cody Faber, the program's new career leader in pass receptions after his four catches against Bemidji last Friday, torched the Huskies for 204 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches that night. Senior Thomas Anderson added six catches, a score and 102 yards.
The Alexandria football team has a lot to play for over the final two weeks of the regular season, and it starts with a contest at Sauk Rapids-Rice tonight. The Storm are 3-3 this season and coming off a 34-6 loss to St. Cloud Tech (4-2) last week. It's been years since Alexandria and Sauk Rapids-Rice have met on the field.
VOLLEYBALL Alexandria at Brainerd, 7 p.m. Osakis at Upsala, 7:15 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. Hillcrest, 7:15 p.m. Ashby vs. Underwood, 7:15 p.m. WCA vs. Hancock, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Melrose Area, 7:15 p.m. BOYS SOCCER
Osakis’ Tia Dykema is a freshman, but she’s a freshman with some big match experience already on the tennis courts. Dykema made the state singles tournament as an eighth grader in 2016. That was fun for her, but she wanted to get back to Minneapolis with her teammates this season. On Wednesday, she helped make that happen as Osakis won the Section 6A championship with a 4-3 win over three-time defending champion Minnewaska.
The Alexandria Blizzard is set to host its home opener this Saturday night at the Runestone Community Center with the local NA3HL team coming off a couple of road losses last weekend. The Blizzard (2-4) fell 3-1 at Breezy Point on Saturday after dropping a 5-2 game at New Ulm on Friday. The Steel is Alexandria's opponent for the 7:10 p.m. drop of the puck at the RCC on Saturday.
Osakis senior Lauren Savageau paced the Osakis cross country teams at the Royalton Invitational on Tuesday as she took home first place by more than a minute. It was the first win in her career in a varsity 5K meet. Savageau crossed the finish line in 21:01 to lead the Silverstreaks to a second-place team finish. Carissa Andres of Pierz was second individually in 22:04 as she led her team to the first-place finish in the team standings.
Turkey hunting is often thought of as a spring sport, but the fall season is underway. Eight-year-old Jackson Engelbrecht of Alexandria took full advantage of that. Jackson was hunting with his dad, Ryan Engelbrecht, on the season's opening morning on Sept. 30. It was Jackson's first time turkey hunting, and he made it count, bagging a Tom on the land they were hunting southeast of Alexandria.
Jennie Lake in western Douglas County has been a designated waterfowl refuge for many years. After a brief lapse this fall season, the lake is now back under that refuge status, meaning no hunting on the shallow 316-acre basin. "We have to go through a process every three years to keep that a refuge status," Jason Strege of the DNR said. "A little bit of paperwork was overlooked, so it wasn't legally a refuge so we couldn't enforce it. We had to go through that process with the landowners again."