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.
Mike Snow counted the hours. He watched the tally rise as he sat stuck. Two hours a day wasted. Ten hours a week gone forever. Around 500 hours a year spent sitting in a car driving to and from a factory job that left him unfulfilled. Snow had enough. “I was very surprised,” said Greg Snow, Mike’s younger brother and current PGA head professional at Olivia Golf Club. “He had a very good job in the Cities. He made really good money. It was just a matter of him not liking going to work. It was a shocker.”
Only three players return from the Brainerd Warriors’ Section 8-2A qualifying team. Add another uncooperative spring weather-wise and head coach Bruce Thompson still isn’t sure what he has for a lineup. One area Thompson isn’t worried about is his singles lineup with DJ Kraemer returning to the No. 1 spot followed by eighth-grader Tanner Lundberg, who will move up to No. 2 singles after playing No. 3 last season. Senior captain Troy Bialka also returns and will be a key player in the Warriors’ doubles lineup that will likely be a work in progress during the season.
While an assistant PGA professional in the Brainerd lakes, Tim Johnson created a reputation as a bit of a ladies man. Now entering his second season at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Johnson is hoping his reputation will kick-start the new Golf Fore Gals Night. Every Thursday night starting May 1, GVL will host a nine-hole golf event just for women. This social golf will use The Pines and The Preserve along with Grand View’s social nine the Garden Course.
One of the most popular Brainerd lakes area golf fundraisers is getting a makeover. The former ACS Pink Ribbon Classic is being renamed the Pink Links For Cancer. This year’s event will be June 17 at Grand View Lodge’s Pines and Garden courses. The all-women’s scramble, which began in 2003, was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will raise funds for the St. Joseph’s Foundation — Brainerd Lakes Pay it Forward Cancer Fund and the Angel Foundation of Minneapolis as its 2014 charities.
Two days after competing in one of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the nation, Hayden Zillmer was back at it. The North Dakota State University wrestler advanced to his first NCAA Championships at 174 pounds. It was a goal achieved, but it also created more reasons for Zillmer to continue his unparalleled work ethic. Zillmer, a Crosby-Ironton High School graduate, lost to Mike Dessino of Bloomsburg in an 8-6 sudden victory and fell to No. 11-ranked Bryce Hammond of California State University-Bakersfield at the national tournament March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.
Much has been said about Vanessa Lane during her Pequot Lakes High School athletic career. State track and field champion. Powerful sprinter. Career 1,000-point scorer in basketball. Cross country runner. Volleyball player. What hasn’t been said until now is 2014 Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Lane is the fifth Patriot to win the award and probably the most unlikely.
Pequot Lakes’ run to the Class 2A state tournament helped the Patriots land three players on this year’s Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Team. Players for the all-area team are nominated by their coaches and selected by the Dispatch sports department. ■ All-area team Bailey Nordean, Aitkin Senior, guard
MINNEAPOLIS — Carlie Wagner showcased on Wednesday what she will hopefully do next year as a University of Minnesota Gopher. The 5-foot-11 senior guard broke her own state tournament record as she scored 53 points to lead the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (NRHEG) Panthers to a 100-68 victory over the Pequot Lakes Patriots in the Class 2A state quarterfinals at Mariucci Arena.
One hundred fifty seven. The countdown to breaking that Minnesota State High School League girls basketball record begins 2 p.m. Wednesday at Mariucci Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. That’s when the top-ranked, top-seeded, defending state champion and unbeaten New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (NRHEG) Panthers take their 28-0 record against the unranked, unseeded Pequot Lakes Patriots in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
Nathan Ehnstrom surprised himself this season. And for good reason. The Aitkin Gobblers’ senior became the school’s all-time leading scorer as he finished his four-year varsity career with 1,619 points. He set the school record for most points in a single game with 43. The 5-foot-10 guard landed seventh on the school’s all-time rebounding list with 490. He finished second all time in assists with 290 and second all time in career steals with 191.
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