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Column: A year of championships

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The Perham and New York Mills sports programs have provided plenty of interesting, entertaining and believe me, time consuming achievements in 2010.

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It's quite rare to cover school districts where every sports season a team or individual competes at the state championship level.

Last spring, I was in southern Minnesota watching Kaylan Huber, Dan Cavanagh and Holly Karkela compete at the state golf tournament.

Also in the Twin Cities, the track teams were at state where Maddie McClellan and Elisa Moenkedick came back to Perham with titles, while the girls team finished with a top 10 finish and the boys ranked in the top 15.

Over the summer, the New York Mills and Perham Babe Ruth baseball teams made deep runs at the state championship in Fergus Falls and here in Perham.

Then, in late July, just when things should be slowing down for the start of the fall season, the Pirates and Millers bounced around the surrounding area in the men's amateur playoffs.

In the middle of this imaginary sports lull, the Shockers stun Pirates story, published Aug. 5, was the sports highlight of my year.

Multiple brawls, a full moon, a 7-6 nail biter filled with outraged fans, even more incised players on both teams and insulted umpires. The story produced my favorite quote of the year, "You're the worst umpire ever!" Evan Meece, Pirates manager said to umpire Tom Tamlin.

This area is rife with baseball. Even the senior leagues get into it with the Silver Pirates making a run at the state tournament.

As fall nipped into the air, I knew this was not the season I would be getting a break come post-season time.

Cross-country was destined for state, both the boys and girls, and while the girls did not have the finish they hoped for, what would have been a rebuilding year for most teams was an impressive 12th place finish. The boys, well, anyone who watched their undefeated run through the regular season just had a feeling this was their year and they did not disappoint.

So, here I am in the middle of winter and I already know I will be going back to state at the end of this season.

With two undefeated basketball teams in Perham, and multiple wrestling studs in both Perham and New York Mills, that alone has cleared my weekend schedule for the end of the season.

Last but certainly not least, the eight-time defending state champion gymnasts are cruising right along like they have for so long now. I do not want to be the guy who has to write about the ninth straight championship not happening for Coach Fleck and those talented girls.

So, good luck winter athletes. Let's see how many tournaments you can make me attend this season.

Might as well, because I see no reason why I won't be back at state come spring and we will have come full circle.

Congratulations and it really is great to be covering so many winning teams. Kudos to all of you players, coaches and supporting family members and fans.

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Robert Williams
Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
(218) 346-5900 x223
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