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 7 months
Noah Ross hit the basketball court running. After a successful cross country season that saw the Wadena-Deer Creek senior win the Park Region Conference title, Ross transferred his stamina to the court as he outlasted the Staples-Motley Cardinals to score 36 points and lead the Wolverines to an 85-80 victory Dec. 8 "I think it gave us a ton of confidence," W-DC coach Kevin Tumberg said. "In that game, in particular, we were down eight with about four minutes left. We called a timeout and we were all in. All the guys were adamant that we could come back and we could score with these guys. I think Noah shouldered a lot that. I think he had five of our eight points during the comeback and then Noah had the big 3-point shot that put us up by one with about 20 seconds left.
It was a surprise even to them. Claire Wolhowe drained 34 points in a 64-52 Mid-State Conference loss to the Crosby-Ironton Rangers Dec. 5. The surprise came at the end. "It was after the game, my dad said 'Oh, you got 34 points, you got your 1,000th point,'" Claire Wolhowe said. "He wasn't expecting it either so it was kind of funny how it happened.
Good news first—the Brainerd Warriors can score. Bad news—they won't be home again until next year. Thursday was the Warriors' first and only home game before the new year and they didn't disappoint as they defeated the Fergus Falls Otters 94-57. Ten different Warriors found the scoring column led by Chris Karels' 24 points and Joey Sauer's 22. Brainerd shot 59 percent from the field, including 16-for-31 from 3-point.
There is no substitute for experience. Ask first-year head coach Tessa Poorker, who front-loaded her roster to give her team, and moreso herself, confidence with each passing performance. The formula resulted in a season-opening 135.725-126.4 victory over Alexandria Thursday at Brainerd High School.
There's a hope around the Brainerd Warriors that preseason rankings actually mean something. While they know it's wishful thinking, it does give the boys and girls squads early confidence as both are among the top teams in Section 8. According to the Website Skiinyski.com both Brainerd teams are on the "cusp" of cracking the state's top 10 list. However, for the boys, only Brainerd, St. Cloud Cathedral and Little Falls are Section 8 teams mentioned.
There's a good chance the Brainerd Warriors may never trail in a regular-season dual this year. Not with one of the top 200-yard medley relays returning intact. The very first event will highlight the foursome of Preston Owen, Michael Bylander, Gunnar Niemeyer and Griffin Blegen. Last season, the relay won the Section 8-2A title and finished 14th at state with a 1:38.76.
Wrestling fans will not want to show up late to a Brainerd Warriors match this season. As has been the trend for Brainerd the last couple of seasons, the Warriors are stacked with talent at the lighter weight classes. The heavier things get, however, the fewer bodies Brainerd has to choose from.
State or bust. The Brainerd lakes area was blessed with four state-qualifying teams, including Class 3A state champion Pierz. That level of success created a crowded Brainerd Dispatch All-Area roster, which was highlighted by eight Brainerd players and five each from Pierz and Pequot Lakes. Verndale and Section 6-2A runner-up Pillager filled out this year's squad with three players apiece. Players for the all-area team are nominated by their coaches and then selected by the Dispatch football committee. All-Area Team
Lexi Roby wasn't tired following Thursday's game. She had every right to be. As did the rest of the Brainerd Warriors, who forced the Monticello Magic into 21 turnovers, which were transformed into 21 points. Those extra points helped Brainerd notch a 68-43 non-conference victory at Brainerd High School.
There's a different attitude storming through the Brainerd Warriors locker room. It's a mentality that worked in the past for the Warriors, and head coach Scott Stanfield is excited. "This team just gets along really well together," Stanfield said. "They share the ball sometimes too much. We don't have a bad kid in this bunch. They are all energy givers flying around.