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
- 6 years 4 weeks
CALLAWAY — Brainerd’s Noah Baker is headed back as is the Little Falls Flyers girls team, which repeated for the ninth straight time as Section 8 champions Tuesday at Maplelag Resort. Baker returns to the state Nordic Ski meet next week as he placed third individually Tuesday and led the Brainerd Warrior boys to third. The Little Falls boys just missed advancing to state as they finished second behind St. Cloud Tech. One point separated the two teams and only 10 points separated Brainerd from the title.
Scott Hoffmann’s winter hibernation was disturbed for one week. And he didn’t mind. The head golf course superintendent at Madden’s Resort in East Gull Lake assisted during the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open Jan. 23-26 at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. Hoffman didn’t hesitate to pick a week in southern California during Minnesota’s winter vortex with a heavy blanket of snow covering all of Madden’s property.
Isaiah Smith was feeling it during warmups. The St. Cloud Tech Tigers are feeling it now. Smith hit 6-for-6 from 3-point and finished with a game-high 26 points to lead the Brainerd Warriors to a 68-66 upset of Class 4A’s 10th-ranked team Monday at Brainerd High School. The Tigers entered the game 11-0 in the Central Lakes Conference. Now they are only one game ahead of the Warriors, who improved to 9-2 in the conference and 12-8 overall.
STAPLES — Cam Larson can bowl a strike. Larson, whose a member of the Brainerd Warriors bowling team, can also strike from 3-point range and did Friday night along with fellow Crosby-Ironton Rangers guard Will Goodwin. Those two hit eight 3-pointers and led C-I to a 67-51 Mid-State Conference win over the Staples-Motley Cardinals. Goodwin led all scorers with 18 points and Larson added 15. Larson, a shooting guard for the 14-3 Rangers, rattled off a 9-1 run of his own, helping C-I to a 32-16 lead in the first half.
Basketball is a family affair for Shannon Lundgren. Her two older sisters played for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers. Her middle sister, Chelsea, played four years for Northland College in Wisconsin. Lundgren’s father, Dale, is the assistant coach of C-I’s girls team and Lundgren herself started accumulating her hardwood knowledge as a team manager when she was in elementary school. All that has translated into a high basketball IQ which Lundgren displays for the 8-6 Rangers.
Nick Gravdahl had modest goals entering this season. The Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestler is adjusting those now. Gravdahl was seeded second for the Mid-State/Heart O’Lakes Conference championship Jan. 24-25 in Staples. The junior opened with a pin of Park Rapids’ Zach Nelson and scored a 12-5 decision over Frazee’s Nate Starry in the semifinals. In the championship match, Gravdahl faced top-seeded and Class 2A’s fourth-ranked 152-pounder Parker Jackson of Detroit Lakes.
Mike Schmidt made a woman cry. The Staples-Motley activities director spoke honestly and eloquently Thursday in front of 20 Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) board members at the Brooklyn Center office. Schmidt explained the erosion of enthusiasm for Friday night football in his community and others like it. “We travel too far and too wide,” said Schmidt. “Our Friday night lights are dimming in outstate Minnesota. Our football travel budget is bigger than basketball. We had a volleyball gate that was bigger than football.”
Nathan Ehnstrom has his sights set for the top. And the top is achievable for the Aitkin Gobblers’ senior. Ehnstrom became the school’s all-time leading boys basketball scorer during a 52-50 loss to Braham Jan. 13. The guard scored 19 points to surpass Nick Sundholm’s record of 1,292. After a few more games, Ehnstrom now stands at 1,370 career points and he’s got Emily Mehr’s school record of 1,564 in sight. But the varsity veteran isn’t losing sight of helping his team have one of its most successful seasons in years.
Vanessa Lane has speed like a sports car and an engine like a sports utility vehicle. Both attributes are on display on the basketball court, where the senior has helped the Pequot Lakes Patriots to a 10-5 season. In the process, she scored her 1,000th career point in a 79-24 Mid-State Conference blowout of Wadena-Deer Creek Jan. 14. She needed 24 points to reach the career milestone, but scored 31 to go with nine rebounds.
Consider DJ Kraemer a hired assassin. When the Brainerd Warriors need instant offense, enter the shooting guard like a hired gun from an old Clint Eastwood western. And the senior usually delivers. He did Thursday, entering a stagnant non-conference game against Pequot Lakes at Brainerd High School. Kraemer scored 14 points in the first half and led Brainerd to a 57-19 home victory. Kraemer hit four 3s and added another basket to score more points than Brainerd’s starting lineup. Granted, Brainerd held a 31-6 halftime lead so the starters didn’t play many minutes.