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
- 5 years 2 weeks
The last time Brad Strand coached a team to a perfect regular-season record he helped it to a state title. That was in 2009 when he coached the Pelican Rapids boys team. Four years later, Strand will try to do it again as head coach of the Fergus Falls Otters girls team. Strand and the Otters finished a perfect regular season Thursday with a 78-42 victory over the Brainerd Warriors. Class 3A’s top-ranked Otters head into the Section 8-3A tournament 25-0.
EJ Ziegler is branching out. At 6-foot-4, the Pillager Huskies senior is one of the taller Class 1A players in the area. Because of that, he’s owned the paint against opposing teams. But the post player is broadening his attack of the basket. He’s added a 15-foot jump shot to his arsenal. He’s also helping get his teammates involved. The result is a 12-7 record for Pillager.
Few would call a major knee injury a blessing in disguise. But the Pine River-Backus Tigers basketball team made the most of Tatum Sheley’s bad situation. Sheley, a five-year varsity starter, tore her ACL during a July AAU basketball tournament. PR-B head coach Randy Schwegel recalled hearing the news. “I got a text from them down in the Cities where they were playing the AAU tournament that Tatum hurt her knee,” said Schwegel. “I got on the phone right away and called them and it was one of two times I heard Tatum cry. The other time was the first day of practice.
Twelve area skiers with a combined 25 years of state meet experience will compete for all-state accolades Thursday (Feb. 14). Highlighting the skiing caravan is Brainerd’s Zean Baker. The senior will ski in his fourth state meet. Little Falls junior Maria Hauer will ski in her fifth state meet and leads a Flyers girls team into its eighth-straight state meet appearance. This will be the third state trip for Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud and Sarah Fairbanks and the second for Noah Baker and Gerrit Garberich. Little Falls’ Matt Massmann will enjoy his first state meet.
D uring school Connor Bowman learns how to heat things up in the kitchen from his favorite teacher Heidi Anderson. Monday night, Anderson learned how Bowman and the Brainerd Warriors heat things up on the basketball court as they deep fried the Sauk Rapids Storm 75-34.
He needed five and scored 10. Those 10 points helped Nathan Ehnstrom become the fourth Aitkin Gobblers boy to reach 1,000 career points. Ehnstrom’s milestone came in Aitkin’s 61-48 victory over Hinckley-Finlayson Feb. 4. The four-year varsity player and three-year starter joined Nick Sundholm (1,292), John Tibbetts (1,048) and Mike Hillman (1,047) on Aitkin’s 1,000 point list. Ehnstrom’s 999th and 1,000th points came on free throws.
Mattia Hendrickson despises losing. The Little Falls Flyers senior set a goal to advance to the Class 2A state cross country meet last fall. When that failed to happen, she set her sights on her next sport — Nordic skiing.
Bonus points were difficult to pin down for the Brainerd Warriors Tuesday. During the first of two duals at Brainerd High School, the Warriors suffered a 42-25 Central Lakes Conference defeat to the Sartell Sabres. A victory would have given the Warriors a share of the conference title. The loss handed Sartell (7-0) the title outright as the Sabres have just one CLC meet remaining. A forfeit at 220 pounds and Brainerd’s inability to collect bonus points in its wins hindered its chances.
Chemistry, continuity and health. Those are the three keys to Mitchell Swanson’s high-scoring season. The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines left wing is the fourth leading scorer in the state. He is on a line with fellow seniors Christian Berg and Bridger Pettit, who have combined to score 69.3 percent of W-DC’s goals. All three rose through the hockey ranks together, but didn’t play on the same line until recently.
Rachelle LeBlanc doesn’t care about winning now. She admits winning is good for her confidence, but the Little Falls Flyers junior gymnast said winning isn’t what she’s worried about. At least not yet. Still the varsity veteran has won her fair share of events. She captured first place in the all-around in duals against Alexandria, Maple Lake and Brainerd recently posting season best scores in the process. Those scores drive LeBlanc.