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Every athlete's experience with scouting looks different. For Alexandria's Ben Dirck, it looked like taking the reins and making it happen for himself. "I've been sending out letters for quite some time," Dirck said. "I had to get my name out there. I had to go to the coaches. I had to make my own resume and talk to them a lot." Minnesota State University, Mankato responded. On Friday, Nov. 10, Dirck formally signed his commitment to play golf for the Division II Mavericks after he graduates from Alexandria Area High School.
What did Travis Hochhalter, the Alexandria cross country coach, see from his runners at the St. Olaf state meet? "Great attitudes, many season bests and an opportunity that they took advantage of and finished the season with an exclamation point," Hochhalter said. That's what Hochhalter was hoping he'd see as the Cardinals wrapped up another nice season in the storied history of these programs. Bethany Miller, Aleah Miller, Caitlin Bright, Stormy Hegg, Jackson Wichtendahl, Jack Englund and Patrick Chromey all had season best times at St. Olaf on Saturday.
Bryce Ludwig was excited to get the ink on the page, officially committing himself to South Dakota State University for track and field. But first, his mom had to retrieve the letter Ludwig forgot on the kitchen counter. "I had to eat breakfast," Ludwig explained how he forgot the letter with a smile. Once the forgotten letter had arrived, Ludwig wasted no time making his official commitment to SDSU official.
The Alexandria Blizzard was back on their home ice after a rough stint in Northern Iowa. A rocky start against the Granite City Lumberjacks gave the Blizzard pause. "It just started out slow," said Brenden Payne. "It didn't start off right but the boys held it together." In the beginning of the second period, Alexandria was down 4-1 and it looked like it might be a repeat of their losses in Iowa. The Blizzard had generated a four game winning streak before the North Iowa Bulls handed them two losses in a row.
Last year, the West Central Area cross country teams contended with 90 degree heat for the state meet. It was a completely different story on Saturday with highs in the upper 30s and a wet and muddy course at the state meet at St. Olaf College. The girls earned a 15-place finish and the boys had an eighth-place finish through those cold conditions. This was the third year in a row competing at the state meet for the boys. The girls finished 15th last year as well, making this their second consecutive trip to state.
The Alexandria cross country teams are no strangers to the state meet so they knew how to prepare. They ran through the cold, the mud, the state meet pressure and hilly conditions for a 12th place finish for the girls and an 11th place finish for the boys. "There's a lot more people. A lot more noise," senior Keaton Gruber said. "Our team just tried to not worry about it. To treat it like any other race. Try not to get caught up in the moment. Try to run really smart."
The West Central Area football team hit the Fargodome field for the Section 6, Class AA Championship game hard, shocking the Pillager defense with a new strategy. It paid off. The very first play of the game, senior quarterback Ross Anderson threw a 61 yard touchdown pass to senior running back Kaden Spindler. Brady Sabolik caught the two-point conversion pass, giving the Knights at eight point lead 15 seconds into the game. "We got the momentum rolling and it just kept working," Spindler said.
In a battle of two-high scoring offenses, it was the Verndale defense that carried the day against Brandon-Evansville. Brandon-Evansville came into the Fargodome for the Section 4, 9-Man championship football game against a team that has ended their season three years in a row. But their hopes were dashed when the Pirate's defense kept the Chargers off the scoreboard for the first three quarters of the game.
Verndale has ended the Brandon-Evansville football team's season for the last three years in a row. They also are the only team that has defeated the Chargers this season. Friday is the Chargers' chance for revenge with a rematch with Verndale in the Section 4, 9-man title game in Fargo. "I think we'll be just fine when it comes to the nerves department," Chargers coach Tim Pattrin said. "We are doing some different things to get ready for the environment of the Fargodome which will allow us to focus on Verndale rather than that."
The Osakis volleyball headed into a the 5A-South semifinals against top-seeded Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (17-13) on Tuesday, Oct. 31, hoping to keep the momentum going from their three-match winning streak. But the Silverstreaks fell short, losing to the Jaguars in three sets. "We ran up against a tough BBE team," Osakis coach Kirsten Wessel said. "We struggled on serve receive at the start of the match. We had some great defensive moments." The Jaguars took the first two sets, 25-11.