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 oak trees that had long since dropped their leaves were covered in ice and snow. It was Nov. 19, and the first blizzard of the season had hit much of Minnesota the day before. I drove through near whiteout conditions to be in the deer stand the following morning. A trip that normally takes two hours took four, but the snow was going to stop and the winds would die down with frigid temperatures remaining through the weekend. That sounded like a recipe to get deer on their feet.
The Alexandria girls basketball team set its schedule this past spring thinking that its 2016 holiday tournament would feature the same field of Buffalo, Hutchinson, Robbinsdale Armstrong and the Cardinals that it did in 2015. Instead, two teams pulled out and a Class A program in Minnesota Transitions Charter out of Minneapolis joined to fill out the four teams of Alexandria, Watertown-Mayer and Buffalo.
The Alexandria boys hockey team looked to be finding some of the early-season magic that led to a fast start after a bit of a lull through mid-December. The Cardinals seemed down and out against a previously one-loss Greenway-Nash-Kee (8-2) team before storming back to win 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday.
BOYS BASKETBALL WCA VS. Underwood at Pelican Rapids Tournament, 2:30 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Watertown-Mayer at AAHS Holiday Tourney, 6:30 p.m. WCA vs Pelican Rapids at Pelican Rapids Tournament, 6 p.m. Minnewaska at Minneota (at SMSU), 2 p.m. BOYS HOCKEY Alexandria at Virginia, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS HOCKEY
BOYS HOCKEY Alexandria at Greenway-Nash-Kee in Coleraine, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS HOCKEY Alexandria vs. St. Paul United at Warroad Tournament, 5 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Minnesota Transitions Charter at AAHS Tournament, 7:30 p.m. Watertown-Mayer vs. Buffalo at AAHS Tournament, 6 p.m.
A stretch of temperatures well below freezing helped anglers get onto the ice in mid-December. Now a warmer stretch that has followed seems to have triggered the bite that many are looking for on area lakes. "It does seem like it's gotten better with this warmer weather in the last couple days," Shane Gesell of Christopherson Bait in Alexandria said on Dec. 22. "We had that really cold stretch that seemed to shut the fish down for a couple days. Now with the nicer weather, it has picked up again."
Jaran Roste grew up in Alexandria watching the University of Minnesota football team play on Saturdays, hoping he might one day get a chance to play for his home-state team. Many kids don't get the opportunity to live out that dream by the time high school comes around. Roste kept progressing and grew into one of the most sought-after quarterback recruits in the 2017 class for the state of Minnesota. On Dec. 22, he decided to end a near two-year recruiting process by accepting a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Gophers.
The Alexandria boys basketball team didn’t start or end the game like the Cardinals wanted to, but in between they were dominant. That was enough to get a 56-45 win in their home opener against Brainerd.
The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team is 6-0 after a 50-25 win over Rothsay in the Little Eight Conference on Tuesday night. The Panthers got 13 points apiece from Kathryn Burquest and Faith Alberts to lead the way. Lexie Lankow led the Tigers (1-5) with seven points. PARKERS PRAIRIE 26 24 - 50 ROTHSAY 14 11 - 25
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team continues to pile up wins as the Knights beat Border West 52-21 on Tuesday night. Kaleb Getz got a pin in 56 seconds at 120 pounds, and Drake Swanson added another in 2:38 at 126 pounds. That was after two forfeit wins from Jordan Lohse and Kade Olson as the Knights took a commanding lead right off the bat. Jake Nohre (dec. 8-2), Tyler Onstad (Inj), Alex Butcher (dec. 3-2), John Barber (MD, 13-2), Levi Larkin (fall, 1:00) and Zach Mattson (forfeit) all added wins for the Knights to help them run away with the win.