Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Echo Press in Alexandria. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Alexandria area sports updates and jokes he thinks are funny.
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The Alexandria girls tennis team kicked off its season in Bemidji on Wednesday with a triangular split against Bemidji and Thief River Falls. The Cardinals opened the year with a tight 4-3 win over the Lumberjacks, while the encore saw the Prowlers take a 5-2 decision over AAHS.
The Parkers Prairie football team has high hopes for this season. “Expectations are high with experience and size returning in the offensive and defensive line,” head coach John Sieling said. “Players worked hard over the summer to gain speed and strength.”
The Brandon-Evansville football program has taken a step forward in each of the past three seasons. The goal isn’t changing this year. “Every year we’ve gone, we want to take another step better,” head coach Tim Pattrin said. “That’s worked for us the last three, four years to get better and better. It’s getting to be some pretty lofty goals for these guys. The expectation is that we get to where we were last year and take that next step.”
The West Central Area-Ashby football team doesn’t envision the transition to a new head coach slowing them down. “I don’t feel it’s a ton different from what we’ve been doing,” said Nate Wood, who’s in his fourth season with the program but his first as head coach. “We’ve been a staff here together since I’ve been here these four years. We’re a team. We work together and everyone has a role. This is just a little different role for me.”
The Cardinals feel good heading into camp with a new leader at the helm. Mary Byrne is taking the reins of the Alexandria volleyball program this year, and it hasn’t taken long for her players to buy in to what she’s building.
Perhaps the only thing more active than the scoreboard during a slow-pitch softball game are the antics that run rampant throughout it. Between a dog fetching home run balls, quips on both sides and beer to go around -- with a softball game mixed in, too -- the Nelson Softball League had it all during a men’s league championship on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Nelson Softball Fields.
The Minnewaska football team is hoping to see continued growth under third-year head coach Jeremy Christensen. But they'll have to battle some inexperience to do it. "We took a big step forward last season from 2016, when we finished 2-7," said Christensen. "The second year in the program was a major help for a lot of the kids last year. All three phases of the game saw drastic improvements in 2017."
Alexandria was the place to be for bowlers last weekend. On Aug. 10-12, the Midwest converged on Garden Center Lanes for the third annual Midwest Youth Tournament, where more than $36,000 in scholarship money was awarded.
Both West Central Area cross country teams will have their cores back this season. "We will return the nucleus of both the girls and the boys team," WCA head coach John Van Kempen said, "and (we) look forward to getting in some early-season meets to see where we are at in terms of conditioning and number of bodies that can compete at a varsity level." After a 2017 campaign that ended with a state appearance, the Knights return their top-four racers for both the boys and girls teams.
Alexandria YMCA members didn't waste any time to voice their opinion: They're in favor of consolidation. In a membership meeting on Thursday, Aug. 9, members voted unanimously in favor of a proposed consolidation with the Fergus Falls YMCA by a 25-0 vote. "(The meeting) was really quite celebratory," said Fergus Falls and interim Alexandria CEO Dennis Lipp. "The Alexandria membership has voted to move ahead with consolidation. ... That now gives us our marching orders for continuing the process."