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
Joel Youngberg wasn't sure what to expect in his first year as head girls basketball coach of the Little Falls Flyers. He wasn't expecting the consistency and leadership of Sophia Sowada. Although he knew she was a returning starter with strong stats from last year, what he's received from the senior post has been much more.
MINNEAPOLIS—It won't be the first time Ben Herold has been on television. The Pierz Pioneers senior will be featured at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday on CNN's HLN (headline news channel) for being selected as a Positive Athlete nominee, an organization created by Super Bowl XL MVP and former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward. Herold visited Ward Thursday in Minneapolis to be interviewed by CNN Sports. He said the experience was informal, but memorable.
MINNEAPOLIS—All eyes will be on the quarterback play when Super Bowl LII kicks off 5:30 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. While most will be entrenched in watching five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and backup-turned-starter Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles and even Philly starter-turned-injured bystander Carson Wentz, one man in the stands will keep an eye on the men in front of the QB.
Things don't look promising for the Central Lakes Conference. That's because the Fergus Falls Otters have a pair of eighth-graders who look like varsity veterans. Guard Ellie Colbeck did Tuesday at Brainerd High School as she scored 12 of her team-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Otters to a 72-61 victory over the Brainerd Warriors. Colbeck teamed with backcourt mate Katelyn Strand to score 28 second-half points and turn a two-point halftime lead into the final score.
It was time for a new trend. The Brainerd Warriors opened their season with a 68-60 victory over Sauk Rapids Dec. 1 and jumped out to a 5-1 start. Since then Brainerd suffered through an eight-game losing streak. That ended Friday as Chris Karels scored 28 points and the Warriors exploded from 3-point late to down the Sauk Rapids Storm 73-70 in overtime in front of a blue-clad fan base.
Evan Storbakken had a quiet conversation in his mind Thursday. For the entire 5.5-kilometer course set up at the Northland Arboretum for the Central Lakes Conference Championships, Storbakken kept repeating one thing in his head. "It's always hard leading with wave starts because you never know how the guys are skiing behind you," the Brainerd junior said. "I just kept telling myself, 'I can't let them catch me. I can't let them catch me.'"
Nick Ackerman leads the Pine River-Backus Tigers in most statistical categories, but it's his leadership qualities that are the most important. That's what Tigers head boys basketball coach John Riewer believes. "The best things I see in Nick are his work ethic and his leadership," Riewer said. "He's vocal and has grown up in that regard and he leads by example. He leads our team in almost every category. Pretty much Nick leads us in all categories.
Hailea Books had to redefine herself as a basketball player. The senior guard for the Pillager Huskies spent the last few years in a support role for 1,000-point scorer Gabby Martin. With Martin and four other players graduated, Books needed to become a scorer.
Good programs develop all-around athletes and the Brainerd Warriors had that on display Tuesday. Upon hearing distance standout Connor Lund would be out for the remainder of the season with an injury, Warriors head coach John Zemke looked at his lineup and made changes. He didn't have to look far as senior Gunnar Niemeyer stood at the ready. Niemeyer is no stranger to distance swimming as he advanced to the Class 2A state 500-yard freestyle race last season. On Tuesday he showed he still had what it took with wins in the 200 and 500 frees to help Brainerd defeat the Willmar Cardinals 101-73 at the Brainerd High School pool.
Brainerd Warriors head boys basketball coach Scott Stanfield is a retired police officer, and with one comment may have summarized the feelings of many high school coaches across the state. "I go from being a cop to this, and it's one stressful job to another and it's time for a break," Stanfield said. "Coaching was worse. Coaching has been way worse. "If you win, it doesn't matter. If you lose, it doesn't matter. If their kid doesn't get enough playing time—look out."