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 Alexandria swimming and diving team fell to 0-2 on the young season after Sauk Rapids-Rice came away with a 109-77 win on Thursday night. The Cardinals' lone win actually came from two of their athletes in the same event. Freshman Anna Dokter and senior Abby Bartosiewski both touched the wall in 1:09.28 in the 100-yard backstroke.
FOOTBALL Alexandria vs. Andover, 7 p.m. Osakis @ Browerville-EV, 7 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Verndale, 7 p.m. Parkers Prairie @ Wadena-DC, 7 p.m. WCA-Ashby @ Breckenridge, 7 p.m. CROSS COUNTRY Alexandria @ Brainerd Invite, 10 a.m.
The Brandon-Evansville football team isn't waiting long to jump into the heart of its schedule. The Chargers know all about their opening night opponent Friday. They lost just three games last season, but two of those came to Verndale. The Pirates bookended B-E's season, beating the Chargers 34-20 in the opener and 24-14 in the playoffs. On Friday, Verndale will come to Brandon for a 7 p.m. kickoff in an important District 9-West (South) and Section 4 game.
Chain of Lakes DU banquet The annual Chain of Lakes Ducks Unlimited banquet is set for Sept. 8 at the Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria. Social hour and games start at 5 p.m. that Friday with a prime rib or walleye dinner to follow at about 7:30. An adult banquet dinner and membership ticket is $40. Spouse dinner tickets are $25 and plenty of other ticket packages are available. Contact Rick Thiery at (320) 808-1663 or Bill Januszewski at (218) 329-2373 for more information.
Trap shooting tournament for United Way The second annual trap shooting tournament to benefit United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties is set for Sept. 12 at the Alexandria Shooting Park. The cost is $300 per five-person team. Cost includes range fee, ammunition, clays and a meal. Space is limited and participants under the age of 16 are welcome but must be firearm certified. Register your team online at www.uwdp.org or by contacting Kris Chisholm at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (320) 834-7800.
The Osakis tennis team upped its record to 9-0 with another 7-0 win, this time against Montevideo on Thursday. The Silverstreaks had some close matches, but just one that went to three sets. Sophomore Camryn Hoffarth held off Susie Wamstad at second singles as she won 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Tia Dykema won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, while Alexa Lien did the same at fourth singles. Lauren Scherr added the fourth win in singles by dropping just two games at the third spot.
The Osakis volleyball team ran into another good team on Thursday in its home opener as a now 6-1 Paynesville program handed the Silverstreaks a 3-0 loss. The Bulldogs won 25-19 in the first set. They had to hold off Osakis in the second and third, winning 25-22 and 25-23 to put things away. "We made some big improvements from Tuesday with our blocking and making smart decisions on our hitting," Osakis head coach Kirsten Wessel said. "We just need to continue to make those improvements."
The Minnewaska football team won just two games last season, but these players and coaches believe this is a much different group this time around. In the season opener, they showed that. The Lakers stymied Maple Lake defensively for much of the game and held onto an early lead in a 23-6 victory for Minnewaska.
Alexandria natives Erik Esbjornsson and Luke Vestrum were key fixtures during some of the best years for Cardinals swimming and diving as the team won state titles in 1999 and 2000. Now at the age of 36, with families and work life keeping both busy, the two are still finding a way to compete at a high level in the pool.
Those who don’t follow the Andover football program might see their run to the state tournament a year ago as a bit of a head scratcher. The Huskies went 2-6 through the regular season. Then they won three straight to secure their spot in the Class AAAAA state tournament. How does that happen? Alexandria head coach Mike Empting says it’s a product of the kind of schedule they played in the regular season.