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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Pequot built a 30-21 halftime edge thanks to an 11-3 run to close out the opening half. Schommer scored nine of those points in that span with Tyler Manley, who finished with 10, added two free throws.
Jim Ernster is just going to be a fan. The head coach of the Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors girls hockey team tendered his resignation Monday despite the pleas of Brainerd Activities Director Charlie Campbell to remain on the bench. "My summers, I spend as a fishing guide and the demands of being on the ice June and July, plus the demands of fishing June and July they just collide all too often and something had to give," Ernster said. "For me, it was a tough decision, but this makes more sense."
Brainerd's 200-yard freestyle relay went faster, just not fast enough. The foursome of Tristan Dawson, Andy Dillon, Griffin Blegen and Connor Lund swam .20 seconds faster than its prelim time and finished with a 15th-place 1:28.76 Saturday, March 2 in the Class 2A State Swimming Finals at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Each swimmer swam a faster split, helping cut the time, however, Blaine shaved off more than a second from its prelim time to leapfrog over Brainerd and place 11th. That pushed Brainerd one position back into 15th place from its prelim position.
It just seems like the name Grillo and Minnesota hockey—or even hockey, in general—go hand-in-hand. The Grillos have called the Brainerd lakes area home for many years, but I wondered, what makes Minnesota "The State of Hockey?" Who better to ask than Dean Grillo. The 46-year-old husband to Carrie, and father to Piper, has spent his entire life submerged in the sport. He and his wife are owners of Minnesota Hockey Camps and he is a partner in O2K Worldwide Management, which manages professional hockey careers.
Craig Orlando wrestled seven times in three days. All seven ended with a slap of the mat as the Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie Raiders junior pinned every single opponent to defend his 285-pound Class 1A state title Saturday, March 2, in the Class 1A State Individual Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. "I didn't think I was going to get seven pins," Orlando said. "I just wanted to go out there and wrestle, I guess."
Gabe Nagel is the only 160-pound wrestler in the state to finish the season unbeaten. The Little Falls sophomore concluded the year 46-0 after posting a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Wyatt Lidberg of St. Michael-Albertville in the championship semifinals in the Class 3A State Individual Championships Saturday, March 2, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Nagel then captured his first state title when Woodbury's Brock Rinehart was disqualified for an unintentional, illegal move in the championship match.
Spencer Schaefer couldn't answer what it would take, but his coach is eager to see it. The 6-foot-4 forward for the Pillager Huskies basketball team is known to put a few dunks down in practice, but he hasn't done one in a game. And he's not sure if and when he will do it. "I've never done it in a game, but in practice, my teammates always get excited," Schaefer said. "I've wanted to in the game, but I just haven't. I would rather take it safe and get the layup."
One game, you might find Kennedy Gravelle playing in the paint. More than likely she'll be outside dropping 3-pointers or penetrating to the basket. Her role is rarely the same from one game to the next and being a 6-foot, athletic guard helps with her many responsibilities. The Wadena-Deer Creek girls basketball team used Gravelle's versatility to its full advantage this season.
The goal was to get all four Brainerd Warriors into Saturday's swimming final and that's what happened. Brainerd's 200-yard freestyle relay of Tristan Dawson, Andy Dillon, Griffin Blegen and Connor Lund bettered its Section 8-2A winning time to place 14th in the Class 2A State swimming prelims Friday, March 1, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Warriors swam a 1:29.98 at St. Cloud Tech last week to advance to state and then swam a 1:28.96 to advance to the consolation finals Saturday.
Owen Bjerga and Craig Orlando both entered the Class 1A State Individual Tournament Friday, March 1, with one loss. They both left the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with that same number. Bjerga, a junior for the Staples-Motley Cardinals, collected a 10-3 victory over Wyatt Simon in his opening-round match and then sent Ayden Friese of Quad County to the wrestlebacks, or consolation bracket, with a 6-1 decision in the quarterfinals of the 160-pound bracket.