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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The Perham volleyball team used striking offensive play to even their Heart O' Lakes conference record at 1-1 defeating Breckenridge 3-1 Thursday night. "This team is improving a little each match - hoping for it to peak at playoff time," said Head Coach Dan Christenson. The Yellowjackets had a shot at sweeping all three sets but a wild ending to the second slanted in favor of the Cowgirls 31-29. Perham had five set points but were unable to finish. That was not the case in the final set. Down 21-20, Breckenridge called timeout and the Jackets huddled up for a pep talk.
An unexpected return to a younger version of self appeared Saturday afternoon as I left Perham city limits destined for a volleyball match in Pelican Rapids. Running between New York Mills and Perham keeps me on highway 10 much of the time. It had been sometime since I had whipped through the county on Minnesota State Highway 108. Talulah, my Camry, certainly doesn't handle like the ol' 5.0 Mustang, the CRX or even my favorite, the now deceased RX-7 of days of yore, when I had more hair that was black and not gray and a testosterone-led foot.
The fat lady was warming up her voice late in the fourth quarter as Park Rapids held on to a tenuous 6-0 lead with under two minutes on the clock. Perham had trouble all night moving the ball against a stingy Panther defense and had to fight through nine penalties. "We ended up with a couple breaks and had to overcome some adversity," Head Coach Mike Jordahl said.
The elements of wind and rain did little to slow down the Ottertail Bulldogs in a 50-20 win over the New York Mills Eagles football team Friday night in Battle Lake. The Bulldogs put up 435 yards of offense scoring seven touchdowns, mostly in the first half, as the starters dominated the Eagles. Bulldog quarterback Marty Charest was 6-8 passing for 193 yards with two touchdowns. Over 100 yards came in his first two passing attempts of the game. Charest also had a couple big hits on defense. "We got beat by a very good football team.
The Perham tennis team lost a few close matches in a tight battle with West Central Area at home. The Yellowjackets dropped match to Park Rapids Monday night by the same score, 5-2. Hannah Brenk at number one singles beat Nicole Anderson two and four and the number two doubles team of Rachel Wiskow and Haley Fraki beat the West Central duo of McLaughlin and Westram 7-6, 8-6 in the tiebreak and 6-3 in the second set. "There were a lot of close matches," said Head Coach Kathy Pesch.
The Yellowjackets swam away from Holdingford and hosts Staples-Motley at the Staples triangular. Perham totaled 157 points taking first place in 16 races combined in the varsity and junior varsity meets. Holdingford finished second with 98 points to 49 from Staples-Motley. "The girls did really well on the first meet of the season," said Head Coach Sheri Ressler. "Many started where they left off last year with their best times of the season." Kelsey Kratzke qualified for sections in the 200 I.M. and the 100 breaststroke. Natalie Murphy qualified for sections in the 50 freestyle.
Perham started off the week's play with a solid win at Detroit Lakes sweeping all three games: 25-18, 25-16 and 25-21. "This was a good section 8AA win for us," said Head Coach Dan Christenson. "The girls played well coming off of their Eden Prairie sixth place finish last weekend." Accurate serving was the key to the win at DL. "Whenever you serve 90 percent or better, you are giving yourselves a great opportunity to win the match." Brooke Mickelson had a solid night on the outside. She provided the spark offensively to put the Lakers away in three straight.
The New York Mills volleyball team just missed their first win of the season in a nail biter at Staples. The Cardinals capitalized on a few minor errors to sneak out a victory, 15-13, in game five to take the match 3-2. "It was a nail biter," said Head Coach Amy Koskela.
The Perham volleyball team lost a close season opener at Bemidji 3-2. "It came to game five and we had too many unforced errors in a game to 15," Head Coach Dan Christenson said. "It was too much to overcome." The Yellowjackets looked on the verge of being swept by Bemidji, who took game one easily 25-15 and went extra time to take game two 30-28. Perham would storm back taking games three and four 25-16 and 25-17, but errors in the fifth game would prove costly for the Yellowjackets in the shortened 15-point tiebreaker game 16-14. "Maybe it happened at the right point of the season.
Royals' running back Zach Lanners put on a show in the first quarter at New York Mills outscoring the Eagles 21-0 himself, while accumulating 100 yards on the ground in what ended as a 45-7 thumping. "We lost to a very good team tonight," said Head Coach Matt Radniecki. "We are not going to face any back better than Lanners was.