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.
Through 26 years of coaching, Central Lakes College Raiders head coach Jane Peterson has committed herself to being a student of the game. Each off-season, she picks up new knowledge that she can pass on to her players. This year it is about the skills of the game and it has resulted in Peterson handling practices differently than in the past. "I have learned more about the skills of the game and a lot more about motor learning," Peterson said. "That would involve fewer drills and more playing of the game and it is more than just throwing the ball out and letting them play. You still teach but in a realistic environment so there is less of a breaking down of skills than I did before, and more playing."
BARROWS—Dean Blanchard Jr. and Jerry Esler dueled each other in the Mod 4 feature race Saturday night at North Central Speedway, and they will duel for a point's championship next Saturday night. Blanchard Jr. and Esler both started from row three and quickly got out front running with Gerry Nohner in a fight for the top spot. With Blanchard Jr. running out front in the top spot, Esler was able to get by Nohner but Blanchard Jr. held off Esler to get the win.
Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett and Funny Car driver Alexis Dejoria made history Sunday at Brainerd International Race in the finals of the Lucas Oil Nationals, becoming the first pair of women to stand on the winners podium together as champions. Pritchett defeated Antron Brown in the Top Fuel final elimination and Dejoria won her finals showdown with Tommy Johnson Jr. It capped off a fantastic weekend with national records being broken along with history being made.
Top Fuel A little over a year after making her debut in the Papa John's Top Fuel dragster, Leah Pritchett made a record-breaking run to end the first day qualifying with a bang at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Running in the second round of qualifying, Pritchett set the national record with an elapsed time of 3.640 seconds running at 331.53 mph.
BARROWS — Seth Kramer built up a cushion on his lead over Jake Goetze in the Super Stock Class Saturday and two races tightened after a full night of features at North Central Speedway. Kramer held an eight-point lead over Goetze entering the feature event. Goetze was not part of the racing field Saturday and Kramer took full advantage of that with a win in the feature. The win pushed Kramer's lead to 24 points. That leaves the Mod 4 and Northern Sport Modified classes as the two remaining contested battles.
BARROWS—Feature races played a major part in the overall points standings Saturday night at North Central Speedway with just three weeks remaining in the season, with battles in three of the six classes. The biggest move came in the Super Stock class. Jake Goetze was a fourth-place finisher in 2016 and he would have finished higher if not for car issues that came about late in races he was leading.