My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University.
My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
- Member for
- 7 years 3 months
Gabby Rainwater's goal this season was to improve at everything she's not good at. Seems like a tall order until you hear all the things the Pine River-Backus Tigers girls basketball player is good at. First off, she's a rebounding machine. Despite being just 5-foot-8, Rainwater was third in the area last year with 9.6 rebounds per game. The rarest part of that was she had more offensive rebounds—150—than defensive rebounds—120.
Griffin Webster walked right in and made himself at home. And no one on the Staples-Motley boys basketball wants him to leave. Most of all the younger players, whom Webster has already had an impact on. "It's very important to me to give back to the game that has given me so much," Webster said. "It's taught me a lot about my character and about myself and how to handle everyday situations not just with basketball. I like to give back because in Browerville we had a really strong program with the younger kids. I remember going there in third and fourth grade and going to the gym on Saturday mornings and there would be four or five varsity players that I looked up to because I saw them the night or week before at one of their games. That really meant a lot to me so I want to give that back to the kids and inspire the younger players like those guys did for me."
Evan Storbakken has a lofty goal and he hopes his two teammates are right behind him. The Brainerd Warriors' junior has all-state on the brain when he returns to Giants Ridge for the state Nordic ski meet Thursday, Feb. 15. An all-state finish means Storbakken has to finish in the top 25 and Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson believes it is within reach.
Jake Heikkenen scored most of the goals, but there were plenty to go around Monday at Riverside Elementary in Brainerd. The senior defenseman scored four goals, including two in the first period, to lift the Brainerd Warriors to a 10-5 North Conference victory over the Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka Robins. The victory, according to Warrior head coach Todd Person, should hand Brainerd the No. 1 seed for the North come state tournament time.
Whether it's assisting on the game-winning shot or making it, Josh Doss has been making all the right plays. It was a Doss assist to teammate Ty Swenson that lifted the Pillager Huskies to a 73-70 victory over New York Mills Feb. 1. That assist helped the senior point guard finish with 22 points, 10 assists, seven steals and seven rebounds. "We kind of started off slow and it was a big conference game," Doss said. "It's been a tight (Park Region) conference race so far so I just needed to step up and have a good game. We had a lot of other guys play well, too. Ty (Swanson) hit a great shot at the end, but it was just a lot of other guys doing a lot of different things to get me opportunities and putting me in position to get those stats. It was everybody working hard and I just happened to be the guy that night I guess."
It's no secret anymore—Shyanne Loiland is a rising star on the basketball court. This offseason the Crosby-Ironton junior caught the eye of many at the Adidas-sponsored "Created to be a Champion" Elite Camp in Minneapolis. In an article written for Northstar Girls Hoops following the camp it read, "Loiland won't be a well-kept secret for long. She has a beautiful shooting motion and tremendous range and is a terrific ball-handler. She used her quick feet, long stride and nice athleticism to blow past several defenders for relatively uncontested baskets."
Few teams attempt more 3-pointers than the Brainerd Warriors, but that was the case Friday. The Sartell Sabres overplayed Brainerd's perimeter players forcing the Warriors to hit on just 6 of 23 from beyond the arc. To combat that Brainerd attacked the rim by hitting cutters and passing into the post. The result was a 66-56 Central Lakes Conference victory at Brainerd High School. "They really locked on to our outside shooters, I thought," Warriors head coach Scott Stanfield said. "They chased Chris (Karels) a lot. They were running over picks and stopping his cutting action. They were glued to him and also Joey (Sauer) so it was hard to free those guys up on the perimeter, but I think we had a lot of nice interior passes and back cuts, especially later in the game, that kind of sealed it for us."
Someone tweeted last week that it's better to be in a cold place surrounded by warm hearts than in a warm place stuck with cold people. The state of Minnesota was certainly the former as the host state of Super Bowl 52. The only complaint overhead was the temperature and of course as a life-long Minnesotan I didn't think it was that cold.
ST. PAUL—Had the Super Bowl been decided by Saturday night's Taste of the NFL entrees, it would have been another nail-biter. Chef Jack McDavid of Jack's Firehouse in Philadelphia prepared a spicy bourbon-braised beef brisket with Pennsylvania wild mushroom stew. The booth next to him was headed by chef Steve DiFillippo of Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse in Boston. DiFillippo prepared a hand-rolled potato gnocchi bolognese as he represented the New England Patriots in the 27th annual event at RiverCentre in St. Paul.
Luke Pelarski is getting hot at the right time. The Aitkin Gobblers' junior wrestled nine matches in three days and dominated all nine. "He's getting more confidence and that's the biggest thing I see," said Aitkin head coach Larry Liljenquist. "It's building as he's becoming a better wrestler. He's a great leader off the mat so that helps teamwise. He does a great job with the team aspect of things, too. He's a well-rounded individual.