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
- 8 years 1 month
It would have sent the jersey-clad, student section into pandemonium. But about the only thing that didn't work in the Brainerd Warriors' favor was an attempted alley-oop dunk between point guard Mason Malone and 6-foot-6 wing Owen Davis. It didn't matter as the Warriors rolled to an 81-44 Central Lakes Conference victory over the winless Rocori Spartans Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Brainerd High School.
Jeff Simondet was shocked to hear Scott Hoffmann was retiring. As Hoffmann's former assistant, Simondet figured Hoffmann would never retire and believes the man who devoted 44 years to the golf courses and grounds of Madden's Resort in East Gull Lake will have a hard time staying away. Still a small party is planned at Madden's Monday, Dec. 10, to celebrate Hoffmann's dedication. Simondet spent three years as an assistant superintendent at Madden's after doing both of his internships with Hoffmann. He's now the head superintendent at The Quarry at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Griffin Blegen wanted to start the season close to where he finished last year. The Brainerd Warrior sprinter was close, but even more impressive was the three seconds he shaved from his time from last year's meet against Bemidji. Blegen won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and helped the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay to victory as Brainerd swam past Bemidji 107-61 at Brainerd High School Thursday, Dec. 6.
It's craziness as usual for the Brainerd Warrior girls Nordic ski team. The hair-raising antics comes from trying to find a place to practice that has snow, but what's got co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan excited for the season to start is the detailed approach her girls are taking. Ryan said her skiers are so focused on fine-tuning small details that the lack of snow hasn't been an issue.
"It's a priority." That's how Brainerd Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson described Evan Storbakken's quest for an all-state finish at the state Nordic ski meet this season. As a sophomore, Storbakken finished 68th at state in 31:34.9. Last season, he registered a 52nd-place time of 31:59.6. All-state honors go to the top 25 individuals at the state meet. Storbakken starts his senior year with that in mind and yes, it's on his mind.
While he'll have to wait and see how his coaching philosophies mesh with his roster, one thing first-year head coach Charlie Schoeck can promise is his team will be worth the price of admission. Athleticism and versatility will be keys to the Brainerd Warriors season and with a top goal of having fun, fans should, too. "There's probably six guys on our team that can really play above the rim and finish with some exciting plays," Schoeck said. "That's going to be fun to watch."
A mixture of savvy veterans, eager rookies and state-experienced talent could have the Brainerd Warriors on the rise this season. Last year, Brainerd finished fourth in the Central Lakes Conference and sixth in the Section 8-2A meet. Second-year head coach Tessa Poorker learned a lot from her first varsity season and is excited about her roster this season.
Reese Kapsner did not return a fumble for a touchdown. He didn't even return a blocked field-goal attempt for a score. It's what he did do, however, that earned him the Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Player of the Year award as he helped the Pierz Pioneers to an 11-1 record and a trip to the Class 3A state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Kapsner also earned high praise from his coaches.
Three state tournament participants and another team that advanced to a section final highlight this year's Brainerd Dispatch All-Area Football Team. Brainerd, which advanced to the Section 8-5A final, landed nine players on this year's 24-player roster. Pierz, which advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals and finished the season 11-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the state all season, landed four players while Pillager and Verndale, both state qualifying teams, each had three selections.
A Joey Sauer 3-pointer tied the score at 58 with 3:59 left in the season opener for the Brainerd Warriors and St. Michael-Albertville Knights. It was all Knights after that as they used a 13-4 run to secure a 71-62 non-conference victory Thursday, Nov. 29, at Brainerd High School. Sauer's 3 was followed by a free throw from Knights' point guard Judson Chea, a Warrior turnover that resulted in a layup and a big 3-point shot from Jonah Breuer.