The 2016-2017 season was a personally gratifying one for Central Lakes College Raiders men's head basketball coach Jim Russell. He earned his 400th career win in the opening round of the Region 13 tournament in a thrilling double-overtime win over St. Cloud Technical College. He also had the opportunity to coach his oldest son, Jacob, during a season in which CLC finished 11-3 in division play and 21-8 overall with a third-place finish in the state tournament.
In a game of ebbs and flows and high emotion, the West No. 2 seed Northland Pioneers denied East No. 1 seed Central Lakes College a chance to defend their state title with a 32-21 win in the Semifinals of the MCAC state tournament Saturday at the Findorff Athletic Complex in Brainerd. The Raiders' Nuke Crowell concluded his freshman season with two touchdowns and 154 yards rushing, but was taken from the field by ambulance after a crushing block on the game's final play.
Facing an inspired team and fighting back a week of sickness, the Central Lakes College Raiders pushed through their semifinal match against Itasca Friday and won in five sets to move on to the Region 13B championship at Central Lakes College. The Raiders, seeded No. 1, lost the first set against the No. 4-seeded Vikings 25-22 and lost the fourth set 26-24, despite a furious comeback. The Raiders then prevailed 15-8 in the fifth and deciding set.
Nuke Crowell scored two rushing touchdowns, and the No. 1 seeded Central Lakes College Raiders (9-1) played through cold and wet conditions to defeat the No. 4 seed Vermilion Ironmen 24-8 in the MCAC state quarterfinals Sunday at the Findorff Athletic Complex in Brainerd. Crowell rushed for 123 yards on 25 carries and his teammate Chidozie Mbah finished with 80 yards on 18 carries. The Raiders rushed for 189 yards on a day when ball control and field condition were key.
The Central Lakes College Raiders continued their run of Northern Division dominance Wednesday as they defeated Mesabi Range in three sets, and moved within one match of winning the division title and hosting the Region 13B tournament. Hannah Peltier knocked out eight kills, and Morgan Melby registered 13 set assists as CLC moved to 12-0 in division play. It was the final division home match for the Raiders, who are ranked fifth in the NJCAA Division III poll.
For the first time in more than six years, the visiting team was celebrating at Findorff Field in Brainerd as the Mesabi Norse defeated the Central Lakes College Raiders 14-7 Saturday. The match-up was between teams that were both undefeated in the MCAC Eastern Division.
There are times at the end of a game when a "W" is much better looking than the plays that led to it. That was the case for the Central Lakes College Raiders Saturday in a 10-8 victory over Vermilion in the opening Eastern Division matchup for both teams. After scoring 10 points in the second quarter, the Raiders were less than a minute away from shutting out the Ironmen before a long Vermilion touchdown pass made the last 30 seconds a little more tense than necessary.
Cassie Smieja knocked out 20 kills, scooped 12 digs and blocked eight shots in the Central Lakes College Raiders Northern Division match against the 10th-ranked Northland Pioneers on Wednesday. Her last block was her biggest as it came in the fifth set with the Raiders leading 9-4. The Pioneers Jessica Vedbraaten, a left-handed hitter with a devastating sweeping kill shot, was having success all night against the Raiders defense. But Smieja got her hands on Vedbraaten's kill attempt from the middle and knocked it back to give the Raiders a 10-4 lead.
BARROWS—Jerry Esler won a track championship and Dave Johnson, Mitchell Hribar, and Jake Goetze captured multiple Mighty Axe's at North Central Speedway Saturday and Sunday. Mitchell Hribar's list of wins this season grew by one Saturday in the Mod 4 class. Hribar ran in first place with a comfortable lead over Jerry Esler and Dean Blanchard Jr to collect the Axe. However, most of the focus was on Esler and Blanchard Jr. who were two points apart for a track championship.
Two dominant performances by Central Lakes College women's volleyball Wednesday moved their record to 5-1. They defeated Fond du Lac 3-0 in their first Northern Division matchup of the season, and capped off their day with a 3-0 sweep against Oak Hills Christian. CLC is currently ranked fourth in the preseason NJCAA Division III poll. Cassie Smieja led the offense in the first match against the Thunder with 10 kills. Paige Wallevand tipped 12 set assists and Kahlen Manthey collected seven digs as the Raiders won by scores of 25-7, 25-8 and 25-10.