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 NY Mills softball team ran into a streaking Bertha-Hewitt club Thursday, dropping two games 11-3 and 12-2. The Bears are winners of seven straight and stand undefeated, atop the Park Region conference standings tied with Ottertail Central. Game one was tied at one run apiece heading into the fifth inning before the Bears broke out scoring 10 runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The nightcap saw the Eagles fall behind early 6-0 before scoring twice in the sixth.
I love football. Friday nights under the lights, when the air smells like the game and the crunch of pads and helmets sound off in the night air. Pep bands and cheerleaders, a hot dog and hopefully a hometown win - hard to beat. All-day Saturdays on the couch, followed by all-day Sundays with the fellas in front of the television watching pigskin - that's for me. The NFL draft, on the other hand, umm, it's going on this weekend, isn't it? Luckily, I have friends who are beyond neurotic about the draft.
Head Coach Dave Cresap announced the Perham boy's basketball season awards at the annual team banquet Thursday night. "I am very proud of the senior leadership we received this year. We will miss Ben Bucholz, Jake Kalina, and Ben Waldon, as they move on to the next phase of their lives." The threesome will be deeply missed in the boys basketball program, but Cresap and the team have set high goals for next year's club. "We are very excited about the 2010-11 season as we return many players from this past year. We have set some high goals which we will work hard to achieve," Cresap said.
Hannah Rutten led the New York Mills' girls basketball team and was named Co-Most Valuable Player in the Park Region Conference awards that were announced Thursday. Rutten was also named to the All-State First Team. "Our conference was really tough this year, so to make all conference or honorable mention is a great accomplishment," said Head Coach David Paavola. Alicia Boe, Brittnie Menze were also named to the all-conference team, with teammate Samantha Welter accepting honorable mention honors. "These girls deserve it as they have worked hard and had a great season," said Paavola.
Despite beautiful weather outside, the 13th annual gathering of the National Fish Decoy Association's (NFDA) National Sporting and Collectible Show, held at the Perham Area Community Center (PACC) was well attended. Show Chairman Ron Osvold noted the seasonable weekend weather, along with other show vendors. "It was like 80 degrees, laying in the sun and fishing on your boat weather," he said. Linda Olson, from Backus, proffered a large collection of books themed from Native American history to hunting, fishing and wildlife from her antique store in Walker. "We always kind of hope for rain
All-time school leading scorer Elisa Moenkedick led the way on the court last year and took home six awards at the girl's basketball banquet. "Elisa was a great leader for our team and showed the younger girls what it meant to work hard every day," Head Coach John Gullingsrud said. Moenkedick, a senior, used the same work ethic off the court and transferred it to the classroom.
Head Coach Bryan Dunrud has some pep in his pep talks. Two visits to the rubber to meet with the team sparked lively comebacks in a split with the Pillager Huskies. NY Mills won the nightcap 10-7 after falling two runs short in the opener 9-7. "You're a better team than this," Dunrud said. The Eagles fell behind 6-1 in the top of the second inning of game one. After Dunrud's chat with his huddled infield the Eagles defense retired three of the next four Husky batters and held Pillager scoreless four consecutive innings. It took until the fourth inning for the Eagles to get on the board.
The Perham softball team "got busy" in their first game of the season on way to taking two games out of three at the Frazee Softball Invitational. Holding on to a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, the team came into the dugout with threats for Fargo Shanley of "big inning" and "let's get busy." They did, plating four runs on back-to-back singles from Natalie Wierbos and Etta Scheidecker. Brita Sundberg and Steph Miller scored on the two hits after reaching base on errors by the Deacons' defense. Kristina Januszewski dominant pitching performance was matched at the plate.
Strong pitching from Brad Ellingson and T.J. Studer locked up a win in the nightcap of a double header with East Grand Forks.
A new event for fisherman is planned for the busy vacation month of June. The first annual Battle of the Pines Fishing Tournament is sure to bolster the week of fun between the Ottertail Wild Iron Truck and Tractor Pull and Turtle Fest. The tournament is scheduled for June 24-26. "Talk around the area between anglers and the Perham Sportsman's Club was that there was a need for a new fishing tournament," Organizer Craig Swanson said.