Robert is the Sports Editor of Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Williams worked prior in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14.
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The Perham basketball team will have their communal heads on a swivel watching for shots to the back as they drag around the target of defending state champions through a section they are not even favored to win. Arch rival Pelican Rapids, the only team to defeat last year's 31-1 ball club hold the #1 state ranking, while Perham sits right beneath at #2. The two clubs meet early in the season in Perham Friday, Dec. 16. The game coincides with the annual visit of Crunch, the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot in what should be an early must-see basketball game.
After a 2-4 start to last season, the New York Mills Eagles basketball team was on fire winning 16 of their final 19 games before running into the Ulen-Hitterdal Spartans and an early exit from Section 6A playoffs in the first round 59-56 in Ulen. The Spartans accounted for two of the Eagles' seven losses last season. They scored a 60-54 victory in NY Mills in early February. The Eagles will need to wait until the same week of February, on the ninth, to exact revenge. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa battled Norman County East for the section title last season.
The Yellowjacket girls bounced back after a blowout season opening loss at home to Staples-Motley, but fell four points short on the road in Pelican Rapids (1-1). The loss drops the Jackets to 0-2, with a big test coming up in their third game when they face undefeated Wadena-Deer Creek (3-0). "It was very encouraging to see the girls bounce back after a blowout loss at home Tuesday night to start the season," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
Both of head coach Sheri Ressler's girls and boys swimming teams have been young and have had seasons crescendo to success. "The boys team will be just like the girls--ready to pop," Ressler said. A young group of sophomores, many of who made a push for state meet entries last season are fully expected to make the next step and bring home state qualifiers come section meet time. Boys swimming is made up of only four sections, compared to eight for the girls, due to less numbers and teams.
The Perham wrestling team will have to find out about their team on the road, as they will be traveling until their home opener, next year, on January 7, when they host the Perham Invitational. Perham returns three state ranked wrestlers: Luke Sailer, ranked eighth at 126 pounds; Cody Nylander, second at 220 pounds and heavyweight Jesse Hein, third-ranked in Minnesota AA. All three made state meet appearances last season, along with Brandon Lueders. Sailer, Nylander and Hein are defending section champions at their designated weights.
The Perham gymnastics team made it two-for-two as the second of Perham's two defending state champion teams to open the season with a victory. Perham accrued 138.45 points to edge out Cambridge-Isanti by margin less than half a point, 138.10. "We want to remain humble and work with these kids," Head Coach Charlie Fleck said.
The #2 (2A) Perham Yellowjackets started this year's basketball play where they left off at the end of last season -- winning. Jordan Bruhn scored 23 points and Mark Schumacher yanked down 13 rebounds in a 54-32 victory. "We knew it was going to be a slow-down affair because they play a lot of presses and zones," Head Coach Dave Cresap said. "They want to control the tempo of the game. After we settled in, I thought we did a pretty good job.
Perham High School Athletic and Activities Director Fred Sailer recently addressed concerns on the length of some recent playoff road trips. The explanation was caused by what appeared to be some talk around the District as to why Perham High School would choose to play section football at Grand Forks instead of Fargo, or another neutral site, or at the higher seeded team.
The Staples-Motley girls basketball team got scoring from 11 players to open the season with a 70-41 victory over Perham at Prairie Wind Middle School Tuesday evening in girls basketball action. Jasmine Mcgillvray and KyAnn Nyhus led the way for the Cardinals (1-0) scoring 16 and 11 points respectively. The Cardinals pressured the action forcing a lot of loose balls and owned the boards getting position on the Yellowjackets (0-1) for the entirety of the contest. "I expected we'd rebound better than we did, but we didn't stay in front of people," Perham Head Coach John Gullingsrud said.
With the end of the girls swimming season, a close has come to the autumnal sporting season and did so in a rare occurrence, with no state champion. I mean that as a compliment. As winter sports begin practice, so do I, on the end of my second year covering Perham, New York Mills and the surrounding areas. Growing up near here and playing against Perham teams as a kid, I had an instinct, as to what kind of athletic area this was and I was thrown into it immediately. In the spring of 2010, Elisa Moenkedick and Maddie McClellan brought state track and field championships back to Perham in th