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.
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With an error on the opening play, the Section 8-4A semifinals didn't start well for the No. 2 seeded Brainerd Warriors Thursday, May 23. And it didn't get much better. The No. 3 seeded St. Michael-Albertville Knights belted four home runs, including a three-run shot, to knock the Warriors into the loser's bracket with a 10-0 victory at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
Gabe Smith has endured through almost two seasons of losses. That doesn't count the many defeats during the Brainerd Warriors boys lacrosse team's club program years. Smith, a senior, played two years on the club team before the Warriors' boys lacrosse team became an official Minnesota State High School League program. Smith then battled through a winless junior season. Things looked grim for his senior campaign as well. Fellow senior and captain Jayce Schroeder shipped out early for the military with the Warriors still in search of the program's first win.
EAST GULL LAKE—A round of 78 seemed like a good number so four of the six Brainerd Warriors went out and shot that Wednesday, May 22, during the Legacy Invite at Cragun's Legacy Courses. Danny Olson, Cody Evans, Erik Stoxen and Evan Quinn all fired 78s in different ways to give Brainerd a third-place 312. Alexandria won with a 304.
For the Brainerd girls sprint relays, the question is how low can they go? For Brainerd boys senior Brett Hague it's how far can he throw? Both proved Tuesday, May 21, they're good enough to be Central Lakes Conference Champions as the girls 4x100 and 4x200 relays finished first on their way to once again breaking the Warriors' school records and leading the Brainerd girls to second place at Adamson Field in Brainerd. Hague captured the shot put title even without throwing his personal best to lead the Warriors boys to third place.
EAST GULL LAKE—Henry Neva did it for his team. Brady Raph did it to right the ship. Neva and Raph each shot 1-over 73s for co-medalist honors Monday, May 20, in the Mid-Minn Conference finale at Cragun's Legacy Courses. Neva had no chance of making the all-conference team because he didn't have enough rounds played to qualify. That didn't deter the Pequot Lakes junior from dominating the back nine of the Dutch Legacy to lead the Patriots to Monday's team title as well as its third-straight conference championship.
John Woodrow has been the eyes, ears and voice for Aitkin High School sports fans for more than 40 years. The 69-year-old columnist, public address announcer, radio play-by-play voice and now author has lived the glory days of amateur baseball and witnessed the many great teams and athletes to come out of Aitkin. The husband of Barb of 44 years and father of Aaron, Woodrow talks about his most recent endeavor, his new book. For the complete interview visit ???
The Central Lakes Raiders rallied from a 4-0 deficit only to have a tag up trip them up in the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 13B tournament Thursday, May 16, in Brainerd. The 10th-ranked Dakota Jacks jumped out early and then again in the eighth inning to secure a 7-4 victory to send the ninth-ranked Raiders into the loser's bracket, where they'll face Northland noon, Friday, May 17. A Raider victory would force a rematch with Dakota, but CLC would have to win two over Dakota to advance to the national tournament.
Jenna Meyer isn't afraid to do the dirty work. She's used to it. The senior left fielder for the Brainerd Warriors softball team battled back from two torn anterior cruciate ligament injuries. In fact, she said they helped her become the hard-nosed athlete she is today. And the Warrior softball team is taking advantage of that with Meyer leading off the batting order. In Brainerd's first three games last week, the two-year varsity veteran went 9-of-12 with a home run, four singles, three doubles, one triple, eight runs scored, three RBIs and three stolen bases.
EAST GULL LAKE—It was looking like an average round for Katie Foley. Then she hit the back nine. The Brainerd Warrior freshmen carded a 1-over-par 37 Wednesday, May 15, on the back nine of The Classic at Madden's. That propelled her to a sixth-place 83 and led the Warriors to third place in the Brainerd Invite. "It was a little bit of a rough front nine, but the back nine came back and shot one over," Foley said. "I was hitting a lot of greens. My putts, I had a good birdie. I left a few short, but then I was able to make that second putt and keep that par going.
BREEZY POINT—For the first time in tournament history, the host hoisted the first-place medals. Led by Casey Finnerty's first place 1-over-par 73, the Crosby-Ironton Rangers captured the Arnold Palmer Invite Wednesday, May 15, with a team score of 323. It's C-I's first victory in the 20-year history of the event. The Rangers' score was a shot better than Armstrong and Brainerd, both of which shot 324. The tie-breaker went to Armstrong.