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 2017 Winter Spectacular snowmobile races at the Viking Speedway are set for this Friday and Saturday with racing beginning at 11 a.m. both days. The two days of competition, put together by a local group called 10GDP, features racing that runs the gamut of vintage sleds to today's fastest snowmobiles available. The event is once again a part of the TLR Cup, a championship ice oval racing tour that brings professional drivers to Alexandria as they compete for a points championship by season's end.
When Pat Walrath got a call from his buddy Matt Wilkie asking if he wanted to be a part of a venture to get kids and veterans out ice fishing this winter, Walrath didn't hesitate with an answer. "I've wanted to try to throw something like this together, so when I got a call from Matt it was a good match," the St. Paul native said. "We are kind of five, six weeks into doing what we've been doing. Our first day on Lake Calhoun it was freezing cold and we had 50 people show up. It was awesome."
Gov. Mark Dayton released a budget proposal last week that had plenty of increases in spending and licence fees meant to help boost the environment and outdoor recreation in Minnesota. The plan includes higher fees for fishing, hunting and boating licenses, among others, in an effort to keep services and operations at the current level, Minnesota DNR officials said last Wednesday.
The Alexandria archery team got its season going this past Saturday as the team went to Melrose High School for its first competition and dominated the top-10 standings. Nine of the top 10 spots in the girls high school division went to Alexandria athletes. Paige Rardin led the way with a score of 281 out of a possible 300. Rardin hit 14 bullseyes.
BOYS BASKETBALL Osakis at Staples-Motley, 7:15 p.m. Ashby vs. Brandon-Evansville, 7:15 p.m. Parkers Prairie at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Fergus Falls, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at Royalton, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Melrose, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. WCA, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS HOCKEY
People interested in deer will have a chance to discuss goals and values that could define Minnesota's first-ever deer management plan at a public engagement meeting hosted by the DNR in Alexandria on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Broadway Ballroom, 115 30th Ave. E.
GIRLS BASKETBALL WCA vs. Ashby, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie at Hancock, 7:30 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL B-E at CGB, 7:30 p.m.
The Alexandria boys swimming and diving team finished eighth at the Class A state true team meet in Minneapolis this past Saturday. The Cardinals finished with 1,247.5 points in the 12-team field. St. Thomas Academy won the meet with 2,255 points, while Breck-Blake was second at 2,031.5. Alexandria's top finish came from junior Nic Chromey as he won the 100 breaststroke. He was the only swimmer to come in under a minute as Chromey finished in 59.61 seconds.
The Battle Lake boys basketball team closed its rematch with Brandon-Evansville on a 28-11 run to win 65-53 last Friday night in Little Eight Conference play. The Chargers (7-7) were leading 42-37 before that run, but the Battlers (12-3) grabbed control and senior Eric VanErp knocked down his free throws to put away the game down the stretch. Battle Lake lost to Brandon-Evansville 45-33 on Dec. 13 but has now won 10 of 11 games since that game. "They've improved, absolutely," B-E head coach John Holsten said. "We missed some shots and had a few turnovers."
The Alexandria dance team will head into the section meet on Feb. 4 after winning both the kick and jazz competitions at its four-team home meet last Friday. Just three teams competed in the varsity division as the Cardinals beat out Minnewaska and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in both performances.