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 Minnewaska girls track and field program has a team with 22 returning letter winners that head coach Jennifer Johnsrud believes can compete well in both the conference and subsection fields this spring.
The West Central Area girls basketball team put together a 9-3 record in the Pheasant Conference this winter season and had two players named to the all-conference roster that was announced recently. Senior forward Brianna Kreft and junior forward Ella Van Kempen earned that honor as they helped the Knights to an overall record of 19-8.
Alexandria's Justin Balcome will play in one more high school basketball event before looking ahead to his college playing days at Northern State University in Aberdeen. Balcome was recently named to the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Series. The series if for 40 of the state's top seniors who will play against each other on April 6 at Halenbeck Hall at St. Cloud State University and April 7 at Leonard Center at Macalester College in St. Paul.
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.
The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team had a perfect 12-0 record in the Little Eight Conference this season, so it comes as no surprise that the Panthers had the most players named to the All-LEC team recently. Senior guards Megan Dreger and Megan Benzinger were named to that list, while junior guard Veronica Schwartz and freshman forward Faith Alberts joined them. Longtime head coach John Noga also added to his accoldates by being named the LEC Coach of the Year.
West Central Area is coming off winning seasons in football, wrestling and basketball, and the Knights would like to see that continue into this spring baseball season. West Central Area was 9-11 last year but returns almost everybody from that group. Caden Fernholz is the lone letter winner lost from 2017. He was a fixture for this team and will have to be replaced, but there are 12 returning letter winners through the senior and junior classes who will lead the way.
The Parkers Prairie boys basketball team had four players named All-Little Eight Conference when the team was announced recently. Senior guards Ryan Blake, Matt Ferley and Austin Koep join junior forward Travis Yohnke on the all-conference team for the Panthers. Their first-year head coach, Mike Felt, was also named the LEC Coach of the Year after guiding Parkers Prairie to a 23-3 overall record and an LEC title with an 11-1 record.
Alexandria native Logan Doyle will play for an NCAA Division II men’s basketball championship on Saturday afternoon. Doyle and his Northern State University (Aberdeen, SD) teammates will take on Ferris State out of Big Rapids, MI at 2 p.m. today in a game that is televised on CBS. One of these programs will take home their first national championship with a win.
The Minnewaska boys basketball team ran into another tall task in its second game at the Class AA state tournament on Thursday night. The Lakers were looking to bounce back from an 80-41 loss to third-seeded Caledonia in the opener, but Breckenridge (26-6) had other plans. The Cowboys shot their way into the consolation championship game against Esko (27-5) with a 72-42 win over Minnewaska.
The Minnewaska boys basketball team had to play one of its better games of the season to knock off fourth-ranked Caledonia in the Class AA state quarterfinals on Wednesday night.