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 9 months
The score was 44-13, but that was almost two months ago. The top-seeded Verndale Pirates blew out the No. 3-seeded Underwood Rockets in the second week of the season. Much has changed since the first meeting between the teams, who will square off 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Fargodome for the Section 4 championship. The Pirates cruised into the playoffs securing the No. 1 seed and then dismantled Bertha-Hewitt (41-14) and Isle (60-20) to set up Friday’s rematch.
The No. 4-seeded Pequot Lakes Patriots are coming off arguably their best half of football all season. Pequot overcame a 26-0 deficit to stun the top-seeded Park Rapids Panthers 34-26 in the Section 8-3A semifinals Saturday. Pequot scored all 34 of its points in the second half to advance to Thursday’s section championship game, where the Patriots will face No. 2-seeded Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at the Fargodome. Pequot spread out its numerous weapons to help in mounting its comeback. It’s an offensive philosophy that should work well inside the temperature-controlled dome.
Claire Browning spoiled a lot of senior seasons this year. The Aitkin Gobblers’ sophomore cruised through the North Subsection and Section 7-1A individual tennis tournaments to advance to her first Class 1A state singles tournament. Along the way she knocked off three seniors to reach her goal.
Dezmond Berndt played bigger than his stature. The Pillager Huskies senior isn’t the tallest player at 5-foot-5 nor the biggest (180 pounds) for the positions he played, but it would be hard to find someone who accomplished as much with what he had. Berndt was the starting linebacker and running back for the 5-4 Huskies. In eight games, Berndt rushed for 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns on 139 carries for a 7.1 yards-per-carry average. He also caught four passes for 45 yards in his first season as the featured back.
Minnesota West is the hottest team entering the Minnesota College Athletic Conference playoffs. That’s the opinion of Central Lakes College head coach Greg Medeck, whose No. 2-seeded Raiders will face the No. 3 Bluejays in the opening round 1 p.m. Saturday in Brainerd. The Bluejays handed Rochester its only loss of the regular season, 32-24, Oct. 19 and hammered Minnesota State 27-7 Oct. 12 to secure the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
PEQUOT LAKES — The snap, the hold and the kick. On a cold, muddy, snowy, slippery Tuesday night in Pequot Lakes, any of those three phases of an extra point could have gone wrong. Even before the snap of the game-winning kick, the No. 4-seeded Pequot Lakes Patriots were flagged with 12 men on the field, making the game-clinching boot even less of a lock.
Chris McCusker, I want to thank you. McCusker, with help from friends and family, enticed about 70 elementary-age boys and girls to run. Just run. It was part of the Crosby-Ironton youth cross country running series where on five beautiful Mondays this fall, area children could run against/with fellow classmates and friends. The event was well organized, but not over organized as many youth sports/activities have become.
Will Goodwin doesn’t win every race he runs. But the team he runs for does — almost. After opening the season Aug. 30 with a third-place finish at Brainerd’s Run for Your Melon meet, Goodwin and the Crosby-Ironton Rangers boys cross country team have won six straight meets, including the Mid-State Conference Oct. 10 and Tuesday’s Proctor Invite. In all but the Pierz Stampede Sept. 16, Goodwin has been the top Ranger.
Katie Yorek and her fellow seniors left their mark in the Little Falls history books. Yorek a senior midfielder for the Flyers’ girls soccer team, led Little Falls to its first Section 8-1A home game and first section victory this season. The Flyers finished the year a program-best 11-4-2. They beat St. Cloud Cathedral for the first time in the program’s 13-year history. Little Falls tallied 50 goals this year, which was 30 more than the previous high, and the majority went through Yorek’s foot.
AITKIN — The Aitkin Gobblers’ sideline was quiet and getting quieter. Then Jerod Novak created chaos and Nathan Ehnstrom turned that silenced sideline into a frenzy with a fumble recovery that helped seal the Gobblers’ 35-18 Great Polar Alliance win over the Crosby-Ironton Rangers Wednesday. The Rangers held all the momentum after clawing back to 21-18 in the third quarter. On third down and six of C-I’s second drive of the second half, Novak forced C-I quarterback Noah Gindorff to fumble and Ehnstrom landed on it at the Ranger 45.