The Morrison County Record Covering community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the Morrison County, Minnesota. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:11:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 School buildings’ repairs and improvements examined and imagined by resident steering committee Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:06:01 +0000 By Jim Wright, Correspondent

A crowd of people interested in Little Falls school repairs and improvements attended the second meeting Nov. 20. They combined their knowledge of the schools’ needs and their hopes for the future (near future that is) into seven groups, each focused on one of the five school buildings, two learning programs, or a proposed community center. This group put together a list of concerns and desires about the facilities for early childhood development (pre-schoolers) and continuing education (advanced learning). They are (from left): Colleen Walquist, Tammy Filippi, Stacy Gold, Laura Dunlap, Mark Dunlap, Aaron Sinclair, Christine Grams, Allison Hendrickson, Mark Gerbi and Greg Zylka and standing is Jolene Santema, a consultant from TSP Inc.

A crowd of people interested in Little Falls school repairs and improvements attended the second meeting Nov. 20. They combined their knowledge of the schools’ needs and their hopes for the future (near future that is) into seven groups, each focused on one of the five school buildings, two learning programs, or a proposed community center. This group put together a list of concerns and desires about the facilities for early childhood development (pre-schoolers) and continuing education (advanced learning). They are (from left): Colleen Walquist, Tammy Filippi, Stacy Gold, Laura Dunlap, Mark Dunlap, Aaron Sinclair, Christine Grams, Allison Hendrickson, Mark Gerbi and Greg Zylka and standing is Jolene Santema, a consultant from TSP Inc.

They came, they saw, they pondered. And there is a lot to think about and discuss — a long list of needs for the buildings in the Little Falls School District.

Overdue repairs, many causing safety concerns, security inadequacies, classroom overcrowding, inefficient classroom and activities spaces and improper class locations, were all cited by the members of the crowd at the school facilities meeting, Nov. 20, at the Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS).

About 50 of the 75 people at the meeting were informed during the inaugural meeting, Nov. 6, about the repairs needed for the school district’s five buildings, by Superintendent Steve Jones, supported by inspections done by architects and engineers from the consultant firm, TSP Inc., of Minneapolis, and the construction management firm, Contegrity Group Inc. (CGI), based in Little Falls.

A list of those concerns can be viewed by the public on the School District’s website, Most also were listed in the Nov. 8 edition of the Morrison County Record and can still be seen at www.mcre The public will be able to follow the progress of the school improvements process in both of those areas, as well as in the Record.

TSP and CGI were brought aboard by the Little Falls School Board to help determine what to do about the schools’ needs and what it would cost. Both companies have experience with school renovations and construction.

The large “Steering Committee” of school district residents is moving forward, trying to make sure all needed repairs and improvements are being included in the final tally.

“This meeting is about making sure no stone is left unturned,” TSP consultant Bert Haglund told the people who rallied at the meeting for the sake of “first the kids and second the schools.”

“It’s good to see everybody coming together to make these decisions instead of just a few people,” said recent LFCHS graduate, Neil Leisenheimer.

His mother, Nancy Leisenheimer, a school district employee, said, “I feel really good about the fact that we are in on making the priorities.” Leisenheimer still has three kids in the Little Falls school system.

More needs were brought to light in discussion groups during the informal meeting, with those attending forming groups of five to 15 people, each group focusing on one particular school building, as well as a new facility heralded as “a community center for all ages.” That center could provide values such as an indoor walking track and other healthy living aides, a large meeting and entertainment area, and additional space long overdue for athletics in Little Falls.

There is no room in the school district for the large events — school and public — that can attract considerable revenue into the school and city, as well as enrich the lives of area residents.

Pat McGuire joined the school improvement advocates, he said, “because I believe in having a healthy community.” He is a member of the Live Better, Live Longer organization in Little Falls that is actively promoting physical activity for all ages.

“Any community in Minnesota needs an indoor walking track,” he said, as one example of why he got involved with the school facilities committee although his kids have graduated. Many in the crowd no longer have kids in the Little Falls school system.

For the kids in the district’s schools now, more space is needed for many reasons, as reported by the superintendent’s office. Gymnasium space is just one of many concerns.

The present high school gym was built 42 years ago, when there were only 10 various athletic teams using the facility, and before Title IX legislation took effect requiring equal availability for girls. Now, there are more than 20 teams, boys’ and girls’, having to share the limited gym space.

Likewise, the middle school, built 54 years ago when there were eight teams, now has 20 teams. The district’s three elementary schools also have gym space shortages with classrooms and cafeterias spilling into some of the gyms. And all the gyms need repairs or renovations the reports attest.

It was emphasized it’s not all about more space for athletics, no matter how overdue those improvements are. It’s about that and much more for “first the kids and second the schools.”

So, what’s next?

“By the end of January,” Haglund said, “We need to have a proposal ready to go to the School Board.” There is a lot of what he called “heavy lifting” to be done before then.

The Steering Committee’s agenda includes:

•Monday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., review compilation of proposed improvements and conceptual budgets; review examples of tax impacts; discuss overall budget goal;

•Monday, Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m., review improvements and budgets in more detail; prioritize improvements to meet overall budget goal;

•Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, 6:30 p.m., review draft proposal of improvements and review and comment document; and

•Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, 6:30 p.m., finalize proposal for recommendation to school board.

The public is invited to attend all of the meetings will be in the large Commons area of the LFCHS.

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Colder than the south pole? Thu, 27 Nov 2014 02:49:08 +0000 UK runner braves a world of bad weather for charity

By Gabby LandsverkStaff Writer

Last week, a world travel stopped in Little Falls on his way to finish the last leg of a journey through deserts, jungles, mountains and the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Kevin Carr, from the U.K. isn’t just travelling around the world; he’s doing it entirely on foot, carrying his own supplies, at a average pace of 30 miles (more than a full marathon) per day.

The stop marked 485 days and about 14,000 miles of Carr’s world tour, with over 4,000 miles left to go.

If he succeeds, Carr will be the first person to complete an 18,000 mile world run without the aid of support vehicles to carry his supplies.


In addition, Carr hopes to complete his run in just 621 days, a full day faster than the current world record of 622 days.

Carr’s goal, aside from breaking world records, is to raise awareness and donations for the Red Cross and Sane, a mental health charity based in the U.K.

Carr chose the organizations because they assist people experiencing mental or physical crisis who are too overwhelmed to help themselves

Carr himself said he has fought against depression since he was a teenager, and is running to demonstrate that the affliction isn’t a sign of weakness.

“An ill mind is not a weak mind. That’s what I want to prove,” Carr said.

Running across entire continents isn’t easy, Carr said, and he’s definitely feeling the strain after over a year on the road. His attitude, however, remains positive.

“No one’s making me do it. It’s what I want to do, so there’s no point being negative about it,” Carr said.

Carr was initially hesitant about attempting a world run, but not because of the distance: he said he doesn’t like running on roads.

“If you’re going to go for a walk, you go somewhere beautiful, not down the highway,” Carr said.

In spite of this, Carr said, he’s experienced some truly beautiful, unique moments on his journey, such as seeing the Northern Lights in far-north Sweden and witnessing a lunar eclipse in the middle of 700 miles of Australian desert.

There have been some less pleasant moments as well, which Carr said he can appreciate now that they’re over.

“I was chased by a bear in Canada. I could have done without that. (But) it’s good stuff to boast about in the pub afterwards,” Carr said. He also spent several weeks in India fighting off packs of feral dogs.

Other challenges are less glamorous. Over the course of the run, Carr has faced dramatic extremes of temperatures, of which Minnesota’s unseasonably cold weather has been especially unpleasant.

Since Carr is running alone, his only option for rest is to camp. Often, however, individuals or businesses, like the Little Falls Super 8 Motel, have taken him in. Carr’s progress is projected live online via satellite and a GPS watch he wears, and his location is updated every few minutes. Carr said some fans have used this to meet him in his travels, sometimes to bring him a hot pie or a cup of hot chocolate.

In cities, however, nearby people become more of a hindrance than a help, Carr said.

“The running really isn’t the worst part,” Carr said. Instead, it’s finding a safe and legal place to rest on his travels.

People passing on the street assume he’s homeless, and treat him accordingly.

“You have to be quite thick skinned,” Carr said.

Finding a place to sleep can be difficult, since most places regard sleeping in public spaces as trespassing or vagrancy.

“I don’t know where I’m going to be each day. That’s not a normal concern for most people,” Carr said.

Carr said when this is all over, he can’t wait to stay in one place for a few days. When he isn’t trekking across the globe, Carr is a personal trainer in his hometown of

Follow Kevin Carr’s journey live.

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Huskers state champs Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:07:36 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

A second overtime pass from guard to quarterback helped seal a 20-18 Class AA Prep Bowl victory for the Holdingford Huskers Friday, Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.
Huskers senior Nathan Brinker, who played offensive guard until the section semifinals, tossed the pass to his quarterback and fellow senior Austin Gerads.
“It was something that coach threw in, and I never thought we would run it, but it was definitely a right call,” Brinker said.

(113014sportmessmangerads)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Holdingford senior Matt Messman hoists the Huskers’ Class AA Prep Bowl Champion trophy as fellow senior Austin Gerads celebrates, Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.

(113014sportmessmangerads) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Holdingford senior Matt Messman hoists the Huskers’ Class AA Prep Bowl Champion trophy as fellow senior Austin Gerads celebrates, Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Brinker rolled right, where the play was designed to go, but quickly saw that nobody was open and turned around, which Gerads said he recognized.
“I saw Brinker come left, and just tried to get open, he (Brinker) got me the ball, and I caught it,” Gerads said. “It wasn’t called for me, and Brinker is just a playmaker, he can do whatever we ask of him.”
The Huskers’ Matt Messman, also a senior, ran in the two-point conversion to put Holdingford up 20-12.
After a quick BOLD touchdown, senior Trevor Brown and sophomore Nolan Prokott forced a fumble on the conversion attempt to clinch the game.
The game was not all that exciting for most of it though.
“It was a defensive struggle all game, and we knew it was going to be like that,” said Holdingford head coach Luke Mitchell. “They shut down Caledonia, they shut down Hawley, so we knew we were facing a tough defense today.”
Neither team was able to find the scoreboard, until the BOLD Warriors did with 3:04 left to take a 6-0 lead.

(113014sportmessman)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Holdingford senior Matt Messman (No. 24) breaks tackles by Warrior defenders Nick Kubesh (No. 33) and Austin Tersteeg, Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.

(113014sportmessman) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Holdingford senior Matt Messman (No. 24) breaks tackles by Warrior defenders Nick Kubesh (No. 33) and Austin Tersteeg, Nov. 21 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Gerads admitted it was a bit frustrating, but knew that Holdingford was always in it.
“We’ve played in games like that, we played good defense,” Gerads said. “You just need a little patience, and take advantage of our opportunities and we did that in the end.”
The Huskers then went on a long drive to try and tie the game at six.
On fourth down, Gerads went back to pass, but ended by rushing in a overtime-forcing score.
“I saw open field to the left, and I just took off, and (Taylor) Nitz had a great block on that corner, and I did whatever it took to get in there,” Gerads said about the run.
The extra point was blocked, and overtime was forced.
The Huskers won the toss, and chose to go second.
BOLD scored to open up the overtime, but its extra point attempt hit the right upright.
That’s when Brinker took over, as he scored on a sweep on the first Huskers play.
“He’s big, he’s fast, he’s physical and he’s just everything you want in a football player,” Mitchell said about Brinker.
Messman was ruled down inches short of ending the game in the first overtime on the two-point conversion run.

(113014sportsProkott)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Holdingford sophomore Nolan Prokott sacks BOLD quarterback Lane Stadther in the second half of the Prep Bowl, Nov. 21.

(113014sportsProkott) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Holdingford sophomore Nolan Prokott sacks BOLD quarterback Lane Stadther in the second half of the Prep Bowl, Nov. 21.

Then the second overtime fiasco happened, and the Huskers became state champs.
Entering the overtimes, Brinker said the Huskers were ready for the challenge.
“We’re never scared, we accept the challenge, and we love it,” Brinker said. “We knew we just had to play our hearts out, and that was that.”
Brinker finished with 73 yards on 15 carries, while Messman had 51 yards on 17 carries.
Brown snagged a pair of receptions for 46 yards to lead the receiving corps.
The stout Husker defense was led by Brown, who had eight tackles, including one for a loss.
Prokott had a big sack in the second half, while Brinker played solid all afternoon, finishing with seven tackles and two forced fumbles.
The defense was a big reason the Huskers remained in the game. Holdingford turned the ball over on two picks in the third quarter, but held BOLD both times.
The Huskers (11-3) won the title for the first time since in 1981, which coincidentally was the last year that Prep Bowl was played outside before this season.
“I’m just so happy for our kids, they deserve this,” Mitchell said. “They played so hard at then end of this year, and just really responded to everything we did with changes, and played their tails off today.”
The Huskers won the title, despite losing two of their first three games this season, and getting beat badly to AA rival Maple Lake in the regular season finale.
“It’s definitely a Cinderella season, we turned ourselves around and I’m still floating on air,” Brinker said after the win.
Mitchell, who led the Huskers to three straight state appearances in his first three seasons, was speechless about how it all went down.
“The words can’t describe it right now, at some point it will sink in, but I’m just elated for the kids and our community,” Mitchell said. “Our school backs us up so well, and  has proven that a little town in Central Minnesota can do some great things.”

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Aces handed ‘Steel’y sweep Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:03:52 +0000 A week after a sweep of rival Alexandria, the Minnesota Flying Aces were dealt a little of their own medicine as the Twin Cities Steel swept the Flying Aces in White Bear Lake.
The Steel won 6-3 in the Nov. 21 opener.
The Flying Aces actually held a lead early on when Colton Jones and Bradee Thompson each had goals early in the first period.
However, the Steel tied the game before the quarter ended, and then opened up a 5-2 lead with three unanswered goals.
The Flying Aces would score once more on an AJ Gullickson marker in the third period. Isak Larson collected his second helper of the day on the play.
Kevin O’Shea stopped 37-of-43 shots in net for the Flying Aces in the loss.
Minnesota dropped another Nov. 22 to the Steel 4-1, to complete the sweep.
The Flying Aces also got out to an early lead on the Steel as Matt Olson found the back of the net at 2:38 of the first period.
Kenneth Miller and Blake Neumann assisted on the play.
The Steel took over from there, scoring four unanswered goals to complete the sweep.
Jon Plaszcz scored twice for the Steel, including an empty-netter in the final frame.
O’Shea was bombarded with 59 shots on the day, and fared pretty well by stopping 57 of them (the final Steel tally was also an empty-netter).
The Flying Aces dropped to 3-16-1 on the season and 2-6 in November.

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Klosowski takes over Upsala girls basketball Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:03:03 +0000 Cardinals to lean on seven seniors

This season will be Mindy Klosowski’s first as the Upsala girls basketball coach, and she has some big plans.
“I plan to bring a new energy to our team, and to build from the foundations set from the past years,” Klosowski said.
She will have to build on 16-12 record a year ago, and a sub-section semifinal loss.
“My girls have high expectations for this season, and are willing to work hard to accomplish them,” Klosowski said.
Several girls return with experience from last year including seniors Danica Cheney, Brooke Westrich, Mariah Prokott, Jessie Evoniuk, Kristin Wuebkers and junior Kiley Smieja among others.
“I am looking forward to expanding on the experience of my seniors,” Klosowski said. “I feel that is one of the strengths of this year’s team.”
Upsala opens the season at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday as it hosts Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.

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CMC rivals banking on experience Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:02:26 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

Both the Pierz and Holdingford wrestling teams are hoping the several experienced wrestlers will help them to successful campaigns this winter.
For the Pioneers, they come off a state consolation championship, having lost only to state champion Chatfield.
They also had a 20 dual winning streak, and won the section title.
Pierz lost six seniors from a year ago, but returns several grapplers with state experience, including captains Cole Brausen, Kolton Eischens, Ted Dehler and Brett Kapsner.
Other state returners include: Brandon Ortman, Andrew Tomala, Matt Kummet and Austin Gall.
Returning letterwinners are Teague Eischens, Lane Girtz, Jalen Janson, Luke Girtz, Reese Kapsner and Travis Kasper.
The competition will be at its best as well this season.
“Our conference and section always have some outstanding individuals along with some very good teams,” said Pierz head coach Mark Jensen. “I am cautiously optimistic about our prospects for the season.
“Hopefully, with a lot of work, commitment and desire we will be there at the end,” Jensen added.
The Pioneers open the season Thursday in Mora.

Huskers hope returners leads to good season
A 16-10 finish and a third place finish in the Central Minnesota Conference coupled with the majority of the team returning has the Holdingford wrestling team optimistic.
“We hope the experience that we gained last year will help us improve both those results,” said head coach Logan Oellien.
Holdingford lost just one senior from a season ago.
“Having a young team and only one senior was a weakness last year, but this year it should be a strength,” Oellien said.
He also said that a lack of depth and numbers will be a weakness the Huskers will have to fight all year.
“We need more kids in the room to push each other to secure varsity spots,” Oellien said.
The Huskers have big goals too, including a conference championship and a shot at the section.
“We have a lot of work to do to get to that level, but it is not an unrealistic goal,” Oellien said.
The Huskers recently won the state football championship, and Oellien hopes that helps those who are also wrestlers.
“I hope our kids can ride the confidence and success they have had in football and bring that into the wrestling season,” Oellien said.
The Huskers open the season against rival Upsala-Royalton, Thursday in Upsala.

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Little Falls Nordic ski teams hope to contend for section titles Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:01:14 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

For the first time in his career as Little Falls Nordic ski team coach, Terry Wasland sent his kids out on skiable snow on the first day of practice.
The team has great numbers again this season, between 75 and 80, something that helped them challenge for a section title.
“We have a history of stepping up to the challenge, and I believe we have the type of student athletes on this year’s squad that will respond likewise,” Wasland said. “Our depth is definitely an asset, and will make for some great competition within our squad each and every day in practice.”
The Little Falls girls advanced to state, and the boys were a point short a year ago.
“We graduated some very talented skiers last year and they will be hard to replace, but we have great depth and the potential is there,” Wasland said.
On the boys’ side, freshman Hunter Zupko returns from a state appearance a year ago. Others competing for varsity spots are seniors Ethan Crocker, Hunter Kleinschmidt, Michael Carll, juniors Gunnar Kleinschmidt, Christian Ganz, Brady Waldoch, Jacob Massman, sophomore Seth Crocker and eighth grader Drew Peterson.
The girls will rely on state returners Elizabeth Becker, Claire Gammon-Deering, Amelia Kresha, Hannah Veillette, Kendal Hendrickson, Alice Foote and Catherine Zack. Others challenging for varsity spots include Makayla Klever, Nika Gammon-Deering, Christy Masog, Savanna Slettom, Jillian Cox, Lydia Lange, Anna McNamara and several eighth graders.
Wasland expects a strong battle between the Flyers and Mora for the Granite Ridge title for the boys.
On the girls side, Cathedral/Sartell, Mora and Little Falls will be battling for conference supremacy according to Wasland.
St. Cloud Tech will be a favorite in both sections.
St. Cloud Tech is where the Flyers will kick off their season, Thursday.

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Bulldogs to rely on seniors Hanson and Koetter Thu, 27 Nov 2014 01:00:08 +0000 Season to kick off Monday in Menagha

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

As was the case this fall in volleyball, seniors Danica Hanson and Stephanie Koetter will be relied upon by Swanville on the basketball court as well.
The Bulldogs girls basketball team kicks off their season Monday in Menagha, and it’s the two seniors head coach Aaron Gapinski looks to for leadership.
“They have both played a lot of minutes for us the last couple years,” Gapinski said. “Those two will need to step up this year.”
Gapinski notes that the Bulldogs will fight depth issues this season.
“We will need to be in better shape and have some of the younger girls step into more expanded roles,” Gapinski said.
Along with the seniors, juniors Haileigh Sales and Ellie Koetter will be looked to for minutes. Others in the mix include sophomores Kiley Loven, Sophie Larson and Madison Beseman, as well as freshmen Crystal Kaun and Brooklyn Thieschafer.
Gapinski really likes the attitude of the group of girls, who look to improve on a 4-22 record a year ago.
“One thing about these girls is that they are always upbeat and always trying to do their best,” Gapinski said. “I hope they continue to improve each day as we go though the season.”
Gapinski expects the conference and section to have several contenders and be very tough once again this season.

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Little Falls wins opener Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:58:40 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

The Little Falls boys basketball team opened its season Tuesday with a 57-52 win in Sartell.
The Flyers opened up the lead early, and led 29-24 at halftime.
Sartell-St. Stephen put up a fight, but the Flyers eventually won out.
John Lukasavitz led Little Falls with 16 points.
Senior Thomas Bell had nine points and five assists, while Riley Loukinen, Kyle Kabanuk, Bryce Zawatzke and TJ Kornbaum each had seven points a piece.
Nick Hayes led the Sabres with 13 points in the loss.
The Flyers (1-0) play next on Friday in Mora to open the Granite Ridge Conference season.

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Flying Warriors play three games in five days Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:54:28 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

The Brainerd-Little Falls (BLF) girls hockey team played three games in recent days, losing twice in close contests, and winning another close game.
It began with a 4-3 overtime loss to Princeton-Big Lake-Becker (PBLB) Nov. 21 in Princeton.
Neither team scored in the opening frame, but the scoring picked up in the second period.
PBLB took a 2-1 lead after the second period.
The second-period goal for BLF was scored by Ally Smith, unassisted.
PBLB went up two goals, as it struck first in the third.
Brooke Watland notched an unassisted marker to draw BLF within one.
Mara Roberts tied the game later in the third to force overtime. Brooke Mimmack and Little Falls freshman Sydney Berg assisted on the play.
In overtime, PBLB earned the win with an Erica Schramel goal.
Olivia King stopped 33-of-37 PBLB shots for BLF.
Nov. 22, the Flying Warriors won 2-1 over Crookston in a non-conference match up in Brainerd.
BLF opened the scoring with a Maddie Ellingson goal.
Megan Tschida and Mimmack assisted.
Shortly after that, Watland put in her second goal in as many days to put the Flying Warriors up 2-0.
Smith and Mariah Lennander earned helpers on the goal.
Crookston scored once in the second, but King shut them down after that.
King finished with 24 saves in her second win of the year.
BLF finished its busy week Tuesday, Nov. 25 with a 3-1 loss to the River Lakes (RL) All Stars.
RL scored three second-period goals to open up the lead.
Tschida added the lone Flying Warriors goal in the final frame with 52 seconds left. Kennedy Rusk had the assist.
King finished with 27 saves in 30 opportunities.
The Flying Warriors (2-2) will test themselves Dec. 2 as they host Sartell.

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Flyers hockey shut out twice to open season Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:53:42 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

The Little Falls Hockey team began its season with a pair of shutout losses to strong teams.
The Flyers were shutout 9-0 by Hibbing-Chisholm Nov. 21 to open the season.
Hibbing-Chisholm scored five second-period goals in route to the beating.
Ezra Spandl had 12 saves in a 18 tries in 39 minutes of play for the Flyers.
Gunner Boser stepped in and stopped 7-of-10 shots in 11:47.
Little Falls came home to open the season at the Exchange Arena, Nov. 25 against Alexandria.
Alexandria skated away with a 4-0 win thanks to a three-goal opening period.
Spandl played well in net for the Flyers in the loss, stopping 31-of-35 shots.
However, Little Falls was out shot 35-11.
Special teams were big, as the Flyers allowed three power play goals, and went 0-for-3 themselves.
Little Falls also played over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Flyers played International Falls, Nov. 28 and Virginia-Mt. Iron-Buhl, Nov. 29.
Next for the Flyers is a date with Morris-Benson Area, Tuesday, Dec. 2.

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Pierz opens with third place finish Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:52:54 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

The Pierz Pizzazz high kick team opened its season in Maple Grove, Nov. 21.
The Pizzazz took third place in the single A competition with its routine danced to a mix of songs, called “Dance Mix.”
“I feel very proud of our team and I think this competition gave us a chance to see what we can improve on, and what worked really well,” said first-year head coach Molly Becker.
Becker was especially impressed with her team’s ability to be friendly, and yet handle adversity as well.
“The girls have such great sportsmanship,” Becker said. “All day I heard them telling other teams or dancers good luck or good job.
“When the schedule got mixed up between the announcer and the person at the door that lets the teams in, a competing team got to go first, but the girls stayed focused and wished that team good luck,” Becker continued.
Up next for Pierz will be a competition in Rogers Saturday, Dec. 6.

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Record All-Area Football Team Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:50:35 +0000 Our selection process

Coaches from all five area football teams (Little Falls, Pierz, Royalton, Upsala-Swanville Area and Holdingford) were asked to nominate players from their team that they believed deserved to be named to the 11-player all-area team (one quarterback, two running backs, one fullback, one wide receiver, one tight end and five linemen), including their accomplishments from during the season. Coaches were also asked to list players they believed deserved to be considered for honorable mention recognition.
Criteria used to select the best possible candidates for the 11-member 2013 Record All-Area football team were: postseason and regular season performance, strength of competition, strength of team played on, consistency, contributions toward team success, coaches’ input and position played. Linemen were selected primarily through coaches’ recommendations and postseason awards.
Players that were considered but not named to the 11-player team were given honorable mention distinction.

Tyler Evans, senior, Upsala-Swanville Area
As a senior, Evans led the Patriots to a state quarterfinal appearance. He was All-Conference MVP, and was All-Conference and All-Section in his junior and senior seasons. He went 100-for-158 for 1617 yards, 22 touchdowns and had 82 carries for 400 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Running Back/Linebacker
Robbie Skiba, senior, Pierz
Dominant for much of the season, Skiba set school records for yards in a season (2,175) and in a game (325). He added 25 touchdowns to a 181.25 yards per game average. Had a team-best 110 tackles at linebacker as well. Was relied on in playoffs, and had a stretch of five games where he ran for 1,214 yards and 12 touchdowns, two of which were playoff games.

Running Back/Linebacker
Matt Messman, senior, Holdingford
Messman completed a strong prep career by helping Holdingford earn the State AA title. He ran for 1847 yards and 20 touchdowns, and added 88 tackles, seven for a loss as a linebacker. He was a four-year starter and was All-Conference and All-Section in his sophomore through his senior seasons.

Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Kyle Kabanuk, senior, Little Falls
The two-time All-Conference wide receiver/cornerback played well on both sides of the ball for the Flyers, who won their first home playoff game in nearly 30 years. Kabanuk ended with 43 catches for 610 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense. He defended nine passes, and picked off a pair as well on defense. Was also Little Falls’ punter and kick and punt returner.

Wide Receiver/Defensive End
Jordan Sales, senior, Upsala-Swanville Area
Sales used his length and athleticism to wreak havoc on both sides of the ball for the Patriots as a senior. He finished with 43 catches fo 680 yards and 13 touchdowns, and was All-Conference and All-Section for the second straight year.

Offensive Lineman/Linebacker
Nate Brinker, senior, Holdingford
Never left the field as a senior. He was the Huskers’ lineman, kicker, punter and kick returner. Became a ball carrier in the playoffs. He was a three-time All-Conference and All-Section player. On defense he was the team-leader with 137 tackles, cinluding six sacks and eight tackles for a loss. He added 396 yards rushing on 31 carries, and had two kick returns for touchdowns.

Defensive Lineman/Tight End
Beau Winscher, senior, Pierz
According to his coach Winscher was the heart and soul of a Pierz club who fell one point short of the Prep Bowl. Winscher was a strong blocker at tight end, opening holes for a record-setting Pioneers rushing attack. He also was a leader on the defensive line where he had 50 tackles, a team-high six sacks and three fumble recoveries.

Offensive Lineman/Defensive End
Jake Wentland, senior, Royalton
Wentland was a fantastic two-way player for the Royals as both a junior and senior. Was all All-Conference as a senior. Moved to tackle from tight end as a senior, and helped the Royals rush for 2,939 yards. Defensively he had 29 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles.

Offensive Lineman/Defensive Lineman
Austin Gall, senior, Pierz
Opened big holes for one of the best rushing attacks in the state, and helped teammate Robbie Skiba break a pair of Pierz rushing records. Was named the CMC’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. Also played defensive line, where he was an anchor. He made the move to guard from tight end his senior season.

Linebacker/Tight End
Bryce Zawatzke, senior, Little Falls
The best linebacker that head coach Jay DeCann said he has ever coaches, Zawatzke concluded his prep career with a senior season to remember. Defensively he finished with 119 total tackles, two picks and a fumble recovery in 10 games. On offense he had 17 catches for 245 yards, one touchdown and a pair of two-point conversions. Finished with 301 career tackles and was a two-time All-Granite Ride player.

Linebacker/Running back
Kyle Billmeyer, senior, Royalton
Billmeyer was a force on the defensive side of the ball for a 9-2 Royalton team. He was a two-time All-Conference player, including the 2014 Priarie Conference South Defensive PLayer of the Year. He was also two-time All-Section. Finished with 66 total tackles, eight for a loss and an interception. He carried the ball for 870 yards and 19 touchdowns on offense.

Honorable mention

Brighton Goodrich, senior, Little Falls
Michael Trettel, senior, Little Falls
Nik Himley, senior, Little Falls
Jonny Kasper, junior, Pierz
Noah Boser, junior, Pierz
Michael Meyer, junior, Pierz
Brady Moulzolf, senior, Royalton
Austin Popp, senior, Royalton
Jordan Smieja, senior, Royalton
Austin Johnson, senior, USA
Kyle Lange, junior, USA
Carter Loven, junior, USA
Wyatt Johnson, junior, Holdingford
Jake Langner, senior, Holdingford
Blake Patrick, sophomore, Holdingford

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He smashes records Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:47:42 +0000 Morrison County Record’s Football Player of the Year: Pierz senior Robbie Skiba

By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

Robbie Skiba enjoys breaking records.
But do not worry, the dusty vinyl collection sitting in the basement is safe, Skiba’s record breaking comes on the football field.
The Pierz senior running back rewrote the Pioneers record books in his senior campaign this past fall.
In the process, Skiba led Pierz to within a point of advancing to the state semifinals in Class AAA, and an 11-1 record.
He broke the school’s season rushing record set by Craig Luberts, when he totaled 2,175 yards in 12 games, a more than 181.25 average, and scored 25 rushing touchdowns.
Skiba gives a lot of credit to his offensive line, and teammates in general.

Robbie Skiba

Robbie Skiba

“All the credit goes to them,” Skiba said. “I’d look pretty stupid if I was out there by myself, so thanks to them and I’m glad they gave me an opportunity.”
Skiba also set the school’s single-game rushing  mark, when he exploded for 325 yards and three scores in the Section 5AAA Championship against Cathedral. The game capped off a five-game run where Skiba ran for 1,214 yards. He never rushed for 100 yards in a game, his lowest total was 109 yards in the first game of the season. He scored a touchdown in all 12 of Pierz’ contests.
Did the senior expect that, coming off a junior season in which he missed several games due to a torn meniscus.
“Not at all,” Skiba said.“I wanted a full year in, and it kind of motivated me more to make it up this year.”
He did just that, and not only as a rusher, but on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“He carries the ball 25 times a game, like a beast, and then he has to turn around and play defense too,” said Pierz head coach Leo Pohlkamp.
Skiba finished with a team-best 110 tackles, and added three picks and a sack.
Pohlkamp said that depending on the opponent, the Pioneers could shift Skiba to safety or keep him at his natural position of linebacker.
As to whether he was more important on offense or defense, that’s a tough question.
“The bottom line is that he was equally impressive,” Pohlkamp said. “On defense you would be putting him on whatever needed to be shut down, and he was as important as they come on offense.”
Where did Skiba prefer to play?
“It’s a toss up,” Skiba said. “At the end of the year we broke our record for most scoreless quarters, so it was pretty cool to be on that side of the ball.”
“But on offense we scored 48, 49 points two games in a row, and it was pretty cool to be on that side of the ball,” Skiba added.
Skiba does not like to talk about himself for too long though, he’s quick to talk more about the team than about his accomplishments, which were also record-setting.
The Pioneers had a stretch where they did not let an opponent score for 15 straight quarters, also a school record.
Nine of those quarters were in playoff games.
As to whether Skiba thought he knew the team had a chance to be special, they really began to realize it early on in the year.
“At the beginning of the season we worked hard, got into shape and started winning some games,” Skiba said. “All of a sudden toward the end of the season we realized we could be there, why not us?”
As for the record-setting numbers for Skiba, the signs were there early according to Pohlkamp.
“You knew he was good,” Pohlkamp said. “In our scrimmages against Sartell and Albany, you could tell see he stood out, and he was explosive fast, but how can you project that.”
Perhaps the biggest reason Skiba deserved to be the Morrison County Record Football Player of the Year in Pohlkamp’s mind though­—making players around him better.
“He could elevate his game, and that elevates the rest of the team too,” Pohlkamp said. “That was one of the biggest things for us the season.”
Skiba, who earned a 29 on his ACT, and takes college classes already, has not decided on a college yet, but whatever school he does go to, the radio station may want to lock up its records, just in case Skiba decides to break those kind of records too.

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Again injuries to play major factor for Flyers Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:45:11 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

Last season the Little Falls girls basketball team lost junior Kendra Pohlman to a season-ending knee surgery.
She is back strong this season, but the Flyers will be without junior Melanie Dorn for the season with a torn ACL.

(113014sportspohlman)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Little Falls senior Kendra Pohlman plays defense during a Little Falls practice.

(113014sportspohlman) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Little Falls senior Kendra Pohlman plays defense during a Little Falls practice.

Dorn suffered the injury toward the end of the volleyball season.
“We hope that four or five girls step up to fill the void for her, because she was our point guard and one of our best shooters,” said Flyers head coach Trent Grams.
Grams hopes to improve on a 4-23 finish last season, and it started this summer, where 20 of the Flyers played in a summer league, and went to numerous tournaments.
“We had a good summer, and that’s where it all starts,” Grams said. “Our group of juniors and our two seniors have now played together for three years, so hopefully that is going to help.”
Players expected to make significant impacts are Jordan Schuett, Laura Fregin, Mikayla Burns, Sarah Gold, Kristen Stewart and Kendra Pohlman.
As for the Flyers’ competition, they will be as fierce as ever.
“The conference is very tough again, and Albany is probably the favorite to win the conference, they just reload every year,” Grams said. “Foley will be up there too, and the rest of it is up for grabs in my opinion.”
Grams expects Albany, Fergus Falls and Alexandria will be strong in the section.
The Flyers open the season on Friday, Dec. 5 at Granite Ridge foe Milaca.

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Prairie Conference boys basketball season underway Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:41:15 +0000 By Tyler Ohmann
Sports Editor

The Prairie Conference boys basketball season began last week, and all three area teams dropped games to kick it off.
First, Nov. 21, the Upsala Cardinals dropped their home and season opener to Sauk Centre 59-54.

(113014sportPopp)   Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann Royalton point guard Nick Popp delivers a no-look pass past Blake Zortman Nov. 25 against Isle.

(113014sportPopp) Staff photo by Tyler Ohmann
Royalton point guard Nick Popp delivers a no-look pass past Blake Zortman Nov. 25 against Isle.

Aidan Guthrie and Jeremy Halverson each scored 14 points to lead the Cardinals in the non-conference defeat.
The Mainstreeters were led by Matthew Moritz, who had 11 points.
Up next for Upsala (0-1) is a game at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Tuesday.

Swanville loses to Brandon-Evansville in close one
The Swanville Bulldogs opened their season Tuesday, with a rough 65-64 loss at Brandon-Evansville (BE).
Senior Tyler Evans led the Bulldogs with 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Jordan Sales, a fellow senior, added 14 points and six boards.
Other leaders for Swanville included Samuel Mettler, who had 11 points and six rebounds, and Carter Loven and Austin Johnson, who each had eight points.
BE’s Skyler Quinn had 27 points to lead all scorers.
Swanville (0-1) next hosts St. John’s Prep in its home opener, Tuesday.

Isle bests Royalton
in defensive battle
Royalton had its hands full Tuesday, in the home opener against Isle.
Trevor Oswald’s 19 points help pace the Isle Huskies, who topped the Royals 44-40 in a defensive struggle.
Both teams buckled down on defense in the second half, and the Royals were unable to overcome the deficit.
Shane Vannurden led the Royals with 14 points. Tyler Hellickson and Parker Brezinka each added seven points in the losing effort.
Royalton (0-1) will play at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday in Kimball.

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Christmas memories of years in Bolivia precious to Andrews family Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:23:06 +0000 By Jennie Zeitler, Correspondent

Joyce Andrews, who lives in Little Falls with her husband, Bob, remembers fondly the time they spent in Bolivia as missionaries in the 1960s and 1970s.

Joyce Andrews, who lives in Little Falls with her husband, Bob, remembers fondly the time they spent in Bolivia as missionaries in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Christmas season brings precious memories to mind for many – memories of past Christmases and the people, places and events that have been shared. For the family of Bob and Joyce Andrews, that includes the time they spent in Bolivia as missionaries in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bob and Joyce, who now live in Little Falls, arrived in Bolivia just as their first child was born and spent many of the next 15 years in different small towns. They lived in the town of Apolo for five and a half years. The whole town worked together to plan and participate in the annual Christmas program.

“Plays, pageants and programs were a big part of Christmas celebrations in all the evangelical Christian congregations in Bolivia,” said Joyce. “Even kids who never went to Sunday school asked to be in the program.”

Bob and Joyce wrote the children’s program, a pageant based on the Bible. Adults performed a Christmas play they had found in a book.

“All the little girls were told to bring sheets; they were angels. The little boys were shepherds,” she said.

Preparations included painting backdrops and sewing costumes. Bob’s mother, Alta, lived with the family for about a year and a half and she was part of the preparations too.

“Everyone in town was at the program; it was important to them,” Joyce said. “There was no electricity in Apolo so a generator was brought to the gym. People brought gas lanterns and their own chairs.”

One tradition followed in nearly every home was the setting up of a manger scene in the living room.

“Extra animals were added every year. They planted rice in sardine tins to be grass,” she said. “Everyone left their front doors open every day when they were ready for company.”

One Christmas season when things were especially busy, Bob and Joyce hadn’t even thought about Christmas at their own home yet.

“A young couple who were really shy asked us if we would come to their house for Christmas dinner,” Joyce said. “I breathed such a sigh of relief. It was just a delightful time. They served peanut soup and chicken.”

The Aymara people followed a Christmas tradition every year that included hosting every missionary family who was in their area for a holiday gathering.

“All the missionaries were invited. We ate pancakes served with hot sauce and boiled potatoes,” said Joyce.

From one town where the Andrews family lived, it was one hour by plane followed by four hours by car to get to the gathering. Those memories hold a special place.

“The people were so kind and helpful,” Joyce said.

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Al Schroeder Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:04:27 +0000 Al  Schroeder

Family and friends are invited to help celebrate Al Schroeders 90th birthday on Saturday, Dec. 6th, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Pink Diamond Lounge, 1434 Ann Lake Rd., Ogilvie MN. No gifts please.

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St. Gabriel’s employee dies in car accident Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:10:10 +0000 By Gabby LandsverkStaff Writer

Debra Noble

Debra Noble

Long Prairie resident Deb Noble, 61, was killed Nov. 21 in a head-on collision with another car on Highway 27 and Bison Road, near Swanville.

Noble had been employed for more than 25 years as the business manager at St Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls. The accident occurred around 5:30 a.m. According to the Minnesota State Patrol report, Noble was driving east on Hihghway 27 when a pickup heading in the opposite direction crossed the center line and struck her car. The report indicates road conditions were normal at the time of the accident.

Noble was on her way to work at the time of the collision, said Patrick Rioux, manager of communications at St. Gabriel’s Hospital.

“She was about as good of a person as you can possibly imagine,” Rioux said. “She was so dedicated to her work here.”

Noble’s supervisor, Chief Financial Officer Steve Smith, echoed Rioux’s remarks about her dedication and kindness.

“She was a very caring person and wanted to help others out any way she could, whether that was co-workers or patients,” Smith said.

The driver of the vehicle that collided with Noble’s was transported to St. Gabriel’s Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Noble’s funeral was held Tuesday, at the Williams-Dingmann Funeral Home in Long Prairie. She is survived by her husband, Russell, and her son, Mitchell.

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Kevin F. Waytashek Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:04:23 +0000 Kevin F.   Waytashek

Kevin F. Waytashek, 61-year-old resident of Hillman, passed away Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, at his home in Hillman.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1, at the Shelley-Virnig Funeral Chapel in Pierz. A visitation will be held from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Monday at the Shelley-Virnig Funeral Chapel in Pierz.
Kevin was born Sept. 29, 1953, to Betty (Tretter) and the late Vernon Waytashek in Little Falls. He grew up in Pierz, where he attended Pierz Healy High School. Kevin was an active farmer all his life and he was also a member of the Local 563 Laborers Union. He was united in marriage to Judy Noorda, March 29, 1985. Together they enjoyed their hobby farm and raising cattle and miniature horses. Kevin was an avid outdoorsman that loved hunting and fishing with family and friends.
Kevin is survived by wife Judy Waytashek of Hillman; mother, Betty Waytashek of Pierz; sisters, Linda (James) Schwanke of Eagle River, Ark., Sandy (Dennis) Krych of Pierz, Sharon (Warren) Case of Breezy Point, Cindy (Richard) Brumberg of Brainerd, Kathy (Mike) Jutz of Blaine and brothers, Brian (Janice) Waytashek of Lino Lakes; and Dale Waytashek of Little Falls.
He was preceded in death by his father, Vernon Waytashek.

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