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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Alexandria girls track and field coach Meghan Orgeman-Crumb was already named the coach of the year in Minnesota from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association this past summer. Now she'll be honored as the Class AA girls coach of the year by the Minnesota State Track and Field Coaches Association at their clinic in January. The latest award is voted on by her coaching colleagues in the MSTFCA.
The Alexandria boys basketball team stumbled in a Central Lakes Conference matchup against Sartell-St. Stephen at home on Thursday, falling 55-52. The Sabres are 5-8 and now 4-3 in the CLC after getting a three from Trent Meyer with four seconds left to secure the three-point win. Chris Belling led Sartell with 19 points, while Eric Markman had 14. "Collectively, we didn't play with enough discipline or sense of urgency with our offensive and defensive possessions," Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said.
The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team stayed perfect atop the Little Eight Conference on Thursday with a dominant win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. The Panthers (10-2) led 36-19 at the half and never looked back on a night they hit 13 threes and won 67-32. That led to four players in double figures as Megan Dreger led the way with 17. Megan Benzinger had 14, Kathryn Burquest 13 and Faith Alberts had 11 points and six blocks. Ruthanne Erickson was Hillcrest's only player in double figures with 13. PARKERS PRAIRIE 36 31 - 67
The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team ran into Battle Lake with the Battlers missing a couple players from their regular roster. Battle Lake dressed just seven players, and the Chargers hit 49 percent of their shots. That resulted in a wide margin of victory as B-E won 72-33 in Little Eight Conference play. "We got good shots," B-E head coach Dick Simpson said of his team. "I think they just kind of relaxed and played. We played pretty well, and I think we caught them on the right night."
The Minnewaska boys basketball team edged Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City on Thursday night in a 74-72 final. The Lakers shot 54 percent (28-51), including 11-of-22 from three. Jake Peters hit four of those triples on his way to a 21-point, eight-rebound, five-steals night. Jackson Johnsrud added 17 points and six steals, while Dennis VanDyke (14), Garrett Jensen (12) and Matt Gruber (10) all finished in double figures, as well. MINNEWASKA 35 39 - 74 ACGC 26 46 - 72
The Ashby boys basketball team ran into a now 7-2 Hancock team on Thursday night as the Owls built a 42-16 lead by the break on their way to the 69-39 win. "We struggled to get going on offense tonight and we just didn't really match up well with them," Ashby head coach Jeremy Knick said. "They played some very aggressive defense and we dug ourselves into a huge hole the first half and turnovers were a big part of that. We played hard, but our execution just wasn't there. We need to regroup quickly and be ready to play a Battle Lake team that is playing very well."
The Alexandria swimming and diving team bookended its meet with Sauk Rapids-Rice with relays wins as the Cardinals secured a 105-81 win on Thursday night. The 200-medley relay team of Brady Wolkow, Nic Chromey, Zack Serie and Patrick Chromey got things going with a win in 1:46.39. Jordon Baas, Nicolas Welle, Wolkow and P. Chromey then ended it with a 400 freestyle relay win in 3:35.67.
The Osakis boys basketball team continues pushing forward on a breakthrough season for the program. The Silverstreaks improved to 9-2 on Thursday night, easily ousting Swanville 70-42 by torching the nets at a 60 percent shooting clip (31-51). That guided them to a 44-20 lead by the break that they never looked back from. "We had another great night in our full court defense," Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. "We were able to turn steals into points, and we rushed them into shots and were able to rebound and get out in transition."
The Alexandria gymnastics team edged Fergus Falls in a Central Lakes Conference meet on Thursday in a 134.60-133.80 final. Eighth grader Rachel Boyden led the charge as she took second in the all around. Boyden's top finish came on the beam as she took first with 8.85 points. She added an 8.6 on the vault, a 7.60 on the bars and a third-place 8.7 on her floor routine.
BLIZZARD HOCKEY New Ulm at Alexandria, 7:10 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville vs. New York Mills, 7:30 p.m. WCA vs. WHN, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. Underwood, 7:15 Ashby vs. Battle Lake, 7:15 GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Rocori, 7:30 p.m. Osakis vs. Upsala, 7:30 p.m.