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 baseball team is a program that has knocked on the door of getting to a state tournament many times over the past decade. This season, with a new-look Section 8-3A field, the Cardinals are looking to get over the hump while making sure they take nothing for granted.
The spring training schedule is on the backstretch, which means optimism reigns for every team in baseball. For the first time in a long time, that optimism feels justified for the Minnesota Twins. This is a team with some very intriguing parts. Many talented young prospects are finally here after years of hearing about them coming through the system.
The Parkers Prairie baseball team is looking to stay healthy and compete in the Park Region Conference after going 8-12 overall and 3-9 in league play a season ago. The Panthers lost Mitch Thoennes, Kyle Schlosser, Grant Yohnke and Logan Nibbe from that group, but return six letter winners hoping to lead the way this season. Five of those are juniors in Devin Glebe (OF), Levi Arnold (IF/OF), Harry Samuelson (IF/OF), Hunter McDaniel (IF) and Andrew Johnson (IF). Sophomore Matt Ferley (IF) is also back as a returning letter winner.
Alexandria's Brayden Amundson hoped a strong junior season in baseball might get him an opportunity to play the sport at the next level. After hitting almost .340 last spring, Amundson said he heard from a couple schools. He went north for a workout at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where both parties decided it would be a good fit for him to continue his academic and baseball career.
Curt Soine was front and center with his work as this year's Carver of the Year at the Rudy Zwieg Decoy and Sporting Collectible Show in Alexandria on Saturday. The Granite Falls artist admires the work of the carvers who have earned that distinction before him from the local Mid-State Chapter of the Minnesota Darkhouse and Angling Association. Now it was his turn to take the top booth.
Alexandria native Brady Swedberg knew he wanted to be involved in teaching the game of golf when he moved back to the area in the spring of 2013, but opportunities have to present themselves. Swedberg played professionally in tournaments on the Dakotas, Gateway and Pepsi Tours after graduating from Jefferson High School in 2002. An elbow injury slowed down his own playing career before a position opened up at the Scott Dirck Golf Academy and Geneva Golf Club last spring.
The Minnewaska boys track and field team has most of its athletes back from the 2015 season after losing just two letter winners to graduation in Thorin Erickson and Jacob LaFave. A total of 16 letter winners return with Greg Helander (sprints), Marcelo Arredondo (pole vault), Tony Hill (throws), Garret Bartels (middle distance) and Ryan Majerus (distance) being the seniors among that group. Hampus Pehrson (sprints), Cyril Bovy (distance) and Howard McNeal (sprints) also join them as some senior newcomers for the Lakers.
Kohler, Wrobel named coaches of the year The Alexandria girls basketball team's run to the section championship game earned a couple of honors for their coaches along the way. Wendy Kohler was named the Section 8-3A Coach of the Year, while her assistant, Julie Wrobel, was named the section's assistant coach of the year. Adapted bowling fundraiser The Alexandria adapted bowling team is hosting its annual fundraiser by bagging groceries at Elden's Fresh Foods in Alexandria on March 25 from 12:30-5:30 p.m.
Lake Carlos State Park is offering a two-day rod building workshop for those interested in constructing their own open-water fishing rod. The workshop is Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, with Friday's portion not mandatory. Participants will have the chance to learn about "thread art" and do either diamonds or chevrons on their own rod during the Friday portion of the workshop that will take place from 6-10 p.m. Saturday's rod-building workshop starts at 8 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m.
The Alexandria Blizzard had its season come to an end on Sunday night after losing a fourth straight playoff series to Granite City. The Blizzard rallied from a 3-0 deficit...