BARROWS — The 2012 season ended abruptly for Dave Read as he suffered a back injury after an accident in his Street Stock car at North Central Speedway (NCS) last August. He was able to get back in the car for late-season races along with the Wissota 100 to close out the season. Saturday night, May 25, was his first race back at NCS as the season finally got under way with the first night of the WWE hosted by Brandl Motors. Winning drivers received belts and the racing was scheduled to continue with all classes competing again Sunday, May 26.
A national champion and a rookie are just two of the drivers defending 2012 titles as North Central Speedway gets ready to kick off the 2013 dirt track racing season. Originally scheduled to start April 27, the season opener was pushed back to May 11 due to a snowy, cold spring. Veteran driver Tim Johnson won the points championship in the Modified and Super Stock classes in 2012, and was also the Wissota national champion in his Super Stock car.
For the first time since 2008-09, the Central Lakes College Raiders are in postseason play and how far they go will depend largely on the play of freshman Lindsay Monson. The forward from Pierz finished the regular season with a 33-point performance in a home loss to Northland Feb. 25. She finished the Northern Division season as the leading scorer with an average of 16.7 points per game, and her field goal percentage of .542 also led the division.
The Central Lakes College Raiders are the hottest team in the Northern Division, riding a 10-game winning streak entering this weekend’s Minnesota College Athletic Conference/Region 13 tournament at Anoka-Ramsey. However, they are relishing the role of underdog as they are the No. 2 seed in the division behind No. 1 Vermilion. The Raiders also face the prospect of going up against the Southern Division’s No. 1-seeded Rochester in the semifinal round.
The ups and downs of Jalynn Lamb’s sophomore season mirror those of the Central Lakes College Raiders. Lamb struggled to find her shot on a consistent basis in the early part of the season while the Raiders struggled offensively as a team. In the second half of the season, Lamb’s shot has started to fall on a regular basis, and the Raiders have won 12 of their last 14 games. They stayed red-hot on Saturday with an 81-67 victory over Hibbing, raising the Raiders’ division record to 8-2, keeping them in a second -place tie with Rainy River.
Bryan Gichaba and the Central Lakes College Raiders proved that hard work pays off with an 81-67 win over Hibbing on Saturday. The Raiders pushed the tempo against a Cardinals team that likes to slow down the game, and gained revenge for a 54-53 loss to the Cardinals in January. It was CLC’s seventh straight Northern Division win and moved the Raiders to 8-2, good for second place behind Vermilion.
Confidence is a great thing and the Central Lakes Raiders women’s basketball team is building more of it with each game. The Raiders blew open a close game in the second half, and rolled past the Itasca Vikings 81-54 in a Northern Division contest Saturday. It was the fifth win in a row for CLC. With the win, the Raiders raised their record to 5-1 in division play, 6-11 overall. On a day when Lindsay Monson and Jalynn Lamb found themselves in serious foul trouble, the Raiders’ guards stepped up with a solid shooting game to give the team a huge offensive boost.
Central Lakes College men’s head coach Jim Russell was honored Wednesday night for his 300th win on Dec. 14. His players gave him another reason to celebrate with a 70-48 win over Fond Du Lac in the divisional home opener for the Raiders. Despite shooting just 33 percent in the first half, and 2-11 from behind the arc, CLC shot 44 percent in the second half to pull away from the Thunder.
Six weeks ago, head coach Jim Russell and the Central Lakes Raiders were in a strange place with an 0-3 record to start season. A year ago, Kevin Kuefler was on the bench with a torn anterior cruciate ligament cheering on his teammates. Kuefler and the Raiders are in a much different place now. Kuefler’s 21 points led CLC to an 86-78 win over St. Cloud Technical College Saturday in the Winter Classic. The Raiders now have a 7-5 record and are looking to the Northern Division opener Friday against Rainy River.
The scoreboard at the end of the Brainerd Holiday Tournament displayed a sixth-place finish for the Warriors, but is was a successful day for the program and head coach Dave Maras. Maras was honored for 45 years of leading the Brainerd gymnastics programs. That includes starting the girls program 42 years ago, and being the head coach since 1982. On the mat, Rachel Hoffman had two 13th-place finishes. She recorded an 8.75 on the vault, and a 8.70 on the beam. Rebekah Hoffman posted Brainerd’s highest finish with a seventh-place 8.80 on bars.