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.
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PERHAM -- Becky Stoll got Perham off to a hot start serving to a 7-1 advantage in game two after Perham dropped a close first game to Hawley but the Nuggets took games three and four defeating Perham 3-1 (25-23, 11-25, 25-20, 27-25) in Heart O' Lakes volleyball action Thursday night. "Hawley was a scrappy team defensively that didn't allow many balls to touch the floor in games three and four," Head Coach Dan Christenson said.
The Perham Yellowjackets look to even their record at Park Rapids against a team that has lost 15 straight games, including two to Perham: last year's 12-6 Perham overtime victory at Meinhover Field and Perham ended Park Rapids' season in the first round of the 2009-10 playoffs with a 36-22 victory in Perham. In week one, Hawley's defense forced four turnovers and scored a touchdown as the Nuggets made their Heart O'Lakes Conference football debut with a 41-7 win over Park Rapids in Hawley. "I don't think Hawley is any better than us," said Park Rapids Head Coach Aaron Morris.
For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Pelican Rapids Vikings found a way to put a notch in the Perham loss column, this time needing all 48 minutes to hang on for a 21-20 victory. The Vikings looked to have the game in hand up 21-6 after quarterback Devin Schell scored the third Pelican Rapids touchdown with 6:03 remaining. "I'm proud of the way our kids played, especially in the fourth quarter," Perham Head Coach Mike Jordahl said. Jordahl implored his team to not pay attention to the scoreboard and finish the game playing hard.
Brock Cichon lined up to boot a 32-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer only to watch it clang off the middle of the crossbar sending the game to the break tied at zero. With 20 seconds remaining in the game, Cichon again lined up for a field goal -- this time from 27 yards -- and his attempt was good ending a defensive battle of turnovers. His kick was the only score in a 3-0 victory for the Upsala/Swanville Area Patriots (USA) over New York Mills. "It was a tough hard fought game," NY Mills Head Coach Matt Radniecki said.
The Perham girls cross-country varsity was up first at the Shocky Strand Invitation to open the running season, but were competing without a few key varsity runners due to 4-H competition at the State Fair in the cities. The girls still had a great season opener and were led by senior Cassie Beseman. Beseman finished 17th overall, finishing the 4k in a time of 17:09.63.
The New York Mills volleyball team, looking to get back to winning ways, got up early against Frazee in multiple games but were stung by Hornet comebacks leading to a 3-0 victory for the home squad 25-20, 25-21, 25-17. "We went out there last night like I've never seen us play before, which was exciting to see," Head Coach Amy Koskela said. The Eagles took leads of seven and five points midway through the first two sets were unable to hold leads dropping the first two 25-20 and 25-21. NY Mills was also hampered by the loss of libero Brooke Kupfer, who left the match early in game two with a
Northwest winds all weekend played havoc with the best skeet shooters the state of Minnesota has to offer. "One thing about the wind you just can't control that thing," Fort Thunder Shooting Center Owner LeRoy Atkinson said. The wind showed in the scores with no shooter shooting a perfect score of 100 in any event, a feat that is not uncommon at shoots of this level. Low skeets were sent rising and high skeets took off in the wind.
Bluffton baseball is about family. Multiples of last names people the Braves' lineup each summer. One of those names is Geiser and for 40 years, Terry Geiser has been in the dugout as a player and the last 15 years as manager. The Bluffton Braves were playing a doubleheader in Henning this past July.
The Brandon-Evansville BlueDogs swept their way to the Region 16C baseball tournament championship defeating Leech Lake 9-4, the Midway Snurdbirds 8-5 and the Pelican Rapids Lakers in round three by a score of 5-4 to advance to the championship game. The Pelican Rapids Lakers fought their way through the loser's bracket to get to the title game and also earn a birth in the state tournament. The Lakers awaited the winner of the Vergas Loons and Midway Snurdbirds elimination game won by Vergas 3-0.
Gabe Pankonin, who will be a senior at Perham High School, recently participated in the Atlanta Braves tryout camp in Minnetonka, Minn. Pankonin, who is a switch-hitting catcher for Perham's baseball team, was invited to participate in the camp that was held Aug. 4. Activities at the camp centered around 60-100 yard dashes, batting and pop times. Pop times are the measurements of when a pitch hits the catcher's glove and his throw to the second baseman's glove. A standard for Major League Baseball catchers is 2.0 seconds.