TUESDAY - JULY 26,  2016


Paul Bittner has had an interesting and challenging year the past year after being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the 38th pick in the 2015 NHL draft in Sunrise, Florida.  Since he was drafted Paul has had hip surgery and hernia surgery and in between the surgeries he found out he was invited to the World Junior camp, watched his brothers win a National Championship in Division III Men’s Hockey, he saw his oldest brother get married and played with the Columbus Blue Jackets minor league team, Lake Erie Monsters, that won the AHL championship.  “It has definitely been an emotional roller coaster for me this year,” said Bittner. “I went up to Lake Placid to watch Mark and Ryan win the national championship so that was an up while I was down, which was nice.  Since the draft and on it has been a crazy year.”
Paul has been in Crookston and he stopped by the KROX studios to talk with Chris Fee about the peaks and valleys and everything in between this past year and what is coming up in a question and answer form below – (To hear the full interview listen to KROX's Valley Talk at 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27.)

Chris -  We are little over a year from when you were drafted, does it feel like it has been a year?
Paul – This year went by so fast with everything that happened.  It was  a cool experience to have all of you guys down there.  Now it will be a totally different mindset going into camp where before I was happy to be there and knew I was going to be going back.  Now I have to get my ass in gear and go and battle those guys in the NHL for a position on the team and I am excited for the challenge.

Chris – You found out that you needed hip surgery and that you were invited to the World Juniors camp at about the same time?  How hard was it for you?
Paul – It was definitely a killer.  When I got the call that I was going to play on the world junior team, I was actually getting on a flight to Nashville for my surgery so once the doctor said it is a 50/50 toss up to try to rehab and go that way or do surgery I asked what about playing, juniors is coming up and the night before the surgery was a whirlwind for me.  I talked to my dad for about an hour to hour and a half talking about it and that was a cool moment for sure.

Chris – How hard of a decision was it to pick surgery?
Paul - It was real hard.  I knew it was my last chance to play on the world junior team and I damn near cried because I wanted to play so bad and play in Finland, so it was tough. 
If I would have put off surgery I don’t know what would have happened.  I had five hernias fixed in May after my hip surgery.  It was definitely the right decision to have surgery.  The doctor told me he was glad I had surgery because it was worse than they thought so I was happy I did it, but bittersweet at the time.

Chris – After the surgeries I am sure healing up and getting healthy has been the main priority?
Paul – The whole month of June I was rehabbing in Columbus so it was nice to get away from there and get home for a month.  Pretty much the whole month of June was rehabbing after surgery on May 26, just rehabbing and getting stronger and stronger in the core and the hips and everything like that and now in July I have no restrictions in the gym and on the ice so that is pretty good.  No pain for the first time in nine months so that is good.  It has been a good time to spend with family and friends, that is for sure.

Chris – How important was it to be back home and around mom and dad after the surgeries?
Paul – Being home and around mom definitely helped out because I couldn’t even tie my shoes, I wasn’t cleared to do that so it was nice to have her around to help out.  It was nice to be home that month in January and get back to Cleveland and play a few games and it was good to be home.  Dad was helping me out and said I was fine and asked if I could do some yard work (said with a big smile) and he has been putting me to work every now and then and it has been a lot of fun.

Chris - I am sure being home with your parents this winter and summer has been nice, especially after not being able to see them very much the past few years. What was it like?
Paul -  It has been nice after all the downs I have had and support me through a tough time like this season has been so it has been really good for me to bounce some ideas off them, it has been really nice.

Chris - While you are home and you stop by the arena and have little kids coming up asking for pictures and autographs, what is that like?
Paul – It is a pretty surreal feeling going to the rink in the town that I grew up playing hockey and kids are asking for things like that because I was once one of those kids dreaming of meeting someone playing in the NHL or even making it there.  It is a pretty cool experience coming home, it really hits you deep in the heart asking for autographs, it is pretty cool.

Chris – It seems like Columbus has a wealth of good young talent, that has to make it tough going into camp.
Paul – To see what they have done with all the young guys playing and battling hard.  We are skilled, but we are a very hard working team and I am guessing there will be some moves with Oliver (Bjorkstrand) and others right there. It will be exciting to see how the first half of the season goes. 

Chris – How cool was it watching Mark and Ryan win a national championship?
Paul – It brings a tear to my eyes because I didn’t tell Mark that I was coming up and I wanted to surprise him and texted Ryan to not tell Mark that I was coming.  They ended up winning it while I was there and Mark saw me and said “Oh my God” and started to tear up a bit and so did I and that was a pretty cool moment to share with him.  That was pretty cool. 

Chris – Training camp will start in September, how much of an advantage was being at last years camp?
Paul – I expect camp to be different this year.  I am going to have to battle harder, play harder, but now I know the guys and know what to expect. It will be good, exciting and hard.  It will be a grind, it will be hard.  I am not sure if I am able to spill the beans on what we are doing, but it will be really hard. 

Chris – What kind of training have you been able to do with all the injuries and surgeries this past year?
Paul – I have been given the all clear and have some modifications with some of the exercises and I can’t put as much stress on the hips or abs and try to keep that load light.  Other than that, I have been able to run and squat and that has been great.   We do more functional movement workouts now and maintaining during the season and even during the summer I do a lot of functional movements to keep everything loose.  We don’t do a lot of bench, but a lot of core and legs to be explosive and a lot of jumping. 

Chris – When you were drafted, the Blue Jackets wanted you to put some weight on.  How is that going?
Paul – I am getting there pretty good.  While I was rehabbing, skating and lifting in Cleveland I was at eight percent body fat and 222 pounds, right where I wanted to be for next season.  Then I had the surgery again and I went back down and now I am back to 10 percent body fat and 218 pounds.  I am really happy with that right now.  I want to get to 222 to 225 pounds and eight to 10 percent body fat.

Chris – What do you do the rest of the summer until camp?
Paul – I have been working out at Exos in Grand Forks with a guy from Boston that runs the gym there.  On August 5, I have to head to Columbus so I can be there by August 8 and camp starts in September.







The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball team was one of 119 NCAA Division II teams to receive the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award for the 2015-16 season.
The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
“The AVCA Team Academic Award is something that we have been striving toward since our first season at UMC,” said Head Coach Lee Anderson. “Achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better is very challenging and we are so proud of our team for all of the hard work that they have done this past academic year (and in their previous years at UMC). We have been very close to reaching this goal in the past couple of years and it’s very gratifying to finally reach this goal.”
The AVCA Team Academic Award is the single largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but two, while amassing a 475 team increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 762.

“Congratulations to the coaches and institutions that won the 2016 AVCA Team Academic Award,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “It is no accident that a volleyball coaches association recognizes academic excellence as a team, rather than an individual, achievement. Players influence each other, both in execution on the court and discipline in the classroom.”

The AVCA announced that 762 team in total earned the AVCA Team Academic Award, breaking the previous year’s total of 757 to set an all-time high. Prior to 2015-2016, only 26 teams had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year. This year, the AVCA is proud to recognize three programs that excelled in the classroom and on the court: Wheeling Jesuit University (NCAA Division II), California Lutheran University (NCAA Division III) and Columbia College (NAIA). 



MONDAY - JULY 25,  2016


The Crookston High School fall sports PAC (parent/athlete/coach) meeting will be Monday August 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School auditorium.
The meeting is for all students planning on playing a fall sport.

Also, a reminder that registration is online and can be found at crookstonactivities.com and is now open for registration.







CHS Boys Soccer Team will host the annual team information meeting on July 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Crookston High School Commons. Returning players, parents and any interested boys in grades 7 to 12th and their parents will receive a wealth of information about the upcoming season and meet the coaches and captains for the 2016 team.





The 12th Annual Take a Kid Fishing Day is Friday, July 29.  Boys and Girls ages 9 - 15 years old will be going to the Polk County Park on Maple Lake.  The bus leaves the Crookston Sports Center at 11:00 a.m. and returns to the CSC at about 7:00 p.m.  Along with a day of  fishing, each participant gets lunch and a door-prize.  No fishing equipment is necessary, but if you have your own, please bring it.   The event is free, but registration with P&R is required along with a signed permission slip. Register at P&R in City Hall or on-line at www.crookston.mn.us  Call 218-281-1242 for more information. Take a Kid Fishing is Co-sponsored by MN Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #8, Crookston Local Law Enforcement, Crookston Fire Department, Harlan's Boats R-US, and B & E Meats.



SUNDAY - JULY 24,  2016


The Crookston Reds swept the Warroad Muskies 2-0 and 5-1 in a double header played at Jim Karn Field in Crookston.

In the first game, Lars Brevik pitched seven solid innings and only allowed four hits to lead the Reds.  Offensively, Crookston scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning when Josh Edlund and Matt Morin had back-to-back doubles for a 1-0 lead.   The Reds added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Morin was hit by a pitch, Seth Desrosier walked and Noah Zimmerman singled to score a run for a 2-0 lead.
Brevik retired Warroad in 1-2-3 fashion in the seventh inning to earn the complete game shutout victory.


6 7


0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
CROOKSTON 0 0 0 1 0 1 - 4 8 2


Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
Lars Brevik - Crox (WP) 7 4 0 0 0 4

For Crookston
Josh Edlund - 2-3, run
Noah Zimmerman - 2-4
Matt Morin - 1-2, rbi, run

In the second game of the double header, Crookston scored five runs in the first three innings and that would be good enough in a 5-1 victory to complete the sweep.
In the bottom of the first inning, Crookston's Noah Zimmerman singled, Aaron Hollcraft reached on a fielders choice, Lars Brevik and Matt Morin walked to load the bases.  Zimmerman scored on a wild pitch and Johny Olson hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score another run for a quick 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, Justin Johnson walked, Zimmerman singled and Hollcraft reached on an error that allowed a run to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Reds added two more runs in the fourth inning when Johnson walked, Zimmerman reached on an error and Hollcraft singled in two runs for a 5-0 lead. 
Warroad tried to mount a rally in the sixth inning with two doubles to score a run to get within a 5-1 deficit.  In the seventh inning Warroad was retired in 1-2-3 fashion and the Reds held on for the 5-1 victory to complete the sweep.
Crookston improves to 8-9 on the year and will host Roseau on Saturday, July 30.



6 7


0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 2
CROOKSTON 2 1 2 0 0 0 - 5 3 1


Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
Matt Morin - Crox (WP) 7 6 1 1 1 5

For Crookston
Noah Zimmerman - 2-4, 2 runs
Justin Johnson - 0-1, 3 walks, 2 runs
Matt Morin - 0-1, 2 walks


WEDNESDAY - JULY 20,  2016



The Crookston Reds had two costly errors in the seventh inning and gave up four runs in a 6-2 loss to the Moorhead Miners in a game played at Jim Karn Field in Crookston.
After four scoreless inning, Crookston recorded the first run when Cody Magsam singled and later scored on a Scotty Mortenson double for a 1-0 lead.
Moorhead took advantage of errors and some walks to score four runs in the seventh inning. The inning started with a walk, single, a fielder’s choice, another walk, an error, a pop out another error and a walk to score the four runs to give Moorhead a 4-1 lead.
Crookston responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Seth Desrosier and Magsam singled, Johny Olson walked and a sacrifice fly by Mortenson to bring the Reds within a 4-2 deficit after seven innings. 
Moorhead added two insurance runs in the top of the eighth and held off a ninth inning rally by Crookston for a 6-2 victory.
Crookston drops to 6-9 on the year and will host the Warroad Muskies on Sunday for a double header starting at 1:00 p.m.


Seth Desrosier beat the throw home and scores the second run of the game


6 7 8 9


0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 6 8 1
CROOKSTON 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 8 3

  Aaron Hollcraft with a pitch in the sixth inning


Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
Aaron Hollcraft - Crox (LP) 6.1 4 4 1 6 3
Joe Kvidt - Crox .2 0 0 0 1 0
Matt Morin - Crox 1 4 2 2 1 0
Justin Johnson - Crox 1 0 0 0 0 0

For Crookston

Scotty Mortenson - 2-4, rbi, stolen base
Cody Magsam - 2-3, walk, run
Johny Olson - 2-3, double







Former University of Minnesota Crookston and Crookston Pirate golfer Seth Heppner was named a NCAA Division II Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar-Athlete. A total of 91 golfers in NCAA Division II earned the honor.

To be eligible for the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar-Athlete award an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50 percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a strong average under 78.0 in Division II and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.

Heppner was a four-year member of the UMC men’s golf program. He averaged a 77.2 on the 2015-16 season, his senior season with the program. In the classroom, Heppner had a 3.3 in management and marketing. 



TUESDAY - JULY 19,  2016


The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball program announced the signing of Gabrys Sadaunykas (G/F, 6-4 190, Vilnius, Lithuania/St. Joseph H.S. (Calif.) to a National Letter of Intent. Sadaunykas is the fifth signee for the 2016-17 recruiting class for the Golden Eagles. “I have spoken to different coaches in California about Gabrys and they all said the exact same things about him,” said Head Coach Dan Weisse. “He is a hard worker that just needs an opportunity to play at the next level. Gabrys is a great scorer who was named the Offensive Player of the Year in his high school league, but he also passes the ball very well and is an intelligent player. He will fit right in with our current players and with what we are doing as a program. I’m looking forward to having Gabrys as part of our program.”

Gabrys Sadaunkyas/G-F/6-4 190/Vilnius, Lithuania/St. Joseph H.S. (Calif.)
Sadaunykas is originally from Vilnius, Lithuania, but he attended St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, Calif., for the last two years. As a senior, he led St. Joseph H.S. to a 31-4 record on their way to a 2015-16 CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA Championship. He also helped lead his team to the Pac 8 Conference Championship. Sadaunykas averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a senior. He was named Pac 8 League MVP during his senior season, while also being named All-Area Offensive Player of the Year. As a junior, he averaged 9.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. 
Sadaunykas shot 35 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the charity stripe during his senior season. He was also named All-CIF Southern Section and helped lead his team to the Las Vegas Invitational Championship and White Mountain Holiday Classic Championship, where he was named Tournament MVP both times.
He is the son of Gaudenis and Ina Sadaunykas. He was born Feb. 28, 1997. He was a member of the honor roll in high school. He came to the U.S. to pursue a college basketball scholarship, putting in a lot of hard work to help achieve his goal.

Sadaunykas joins previous signees Harrison Cleary (G, 6-1 165, Oak Creek, Wis./Oak Creek H.S.), Chase Johnson (G-F, 6-7 200, La Crosse, Wis./La Crosse Logan H.S.), Josh Lanasa (F-C, 6-6 230, Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie H.S.) and Benjamin Rounds (G-F, 6-6 175, McFarland, Wis./McFarland H.S.).
The Golden Eagles return 11 players from last season's team, 10 of which were in their first years playing with the Golden Eagles.



SUNDAY - JULY 17,  2016


The Crookston Reds baseball team had a cancellation of a double header because Halstad wasn't able to field a team last week and a team they were suppose to play this week had folded due to lack of players forcing them to scramble to find some more games and they talked to Mayville and they were happy to come to Crookston and play a game on Sunday and Mayville was probably a little happier after they beat Crookston with four runs in the 10th inning for a 9-5 victory in a game played at Jim Karn Field.
Mayville had a great start to the game when they took advanatage of a single, two walks and a hit batter in their first four batters of the game to score a run.  Mayville added another run to take a 2-0 lead.
Crookston responded in the third inning when Noah Zimmerman reached on an error, Josh Edlund singled and a run scored on a ground out by Aaron Hollcraft.
The Reds took the lead in the fourth inning when Johnny Olson walked, Mikey Hajostek and Tanner Reinhart singled.  Justin Johnson grounded out to third base to score a run, Zimmerman singled to score a run and Edlund followed with another single to score a run to give Crookston a 4-2 lead. 
Crookston kept the hot bats going as Olson singled and stole second base and Reinhart singled to score Olson to give the Reds a 5-2 lead after five innings. 
Mayville scored three runs in the seventh inning, again taking advantage of Crookston control problems with two singles, two walks and a hit batter to tie the game at 5-5.
Neither team scored the until Mayville exploded for four runs in the top of the 10th inning.  The inning started with the Mayville leadoff batter reaching on an error, three walks and two singles scored the four runs for a 9-5 lead.  In the bottom of the 10th inning Crookston's Hollcraft singled and stole second base, but the next three batters were retired and Mayville won 9-5.
Crookston drops to 6-8 on the year and will host the Moorhead Miners on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m.

6 7 8 9 10


2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 4 9 7 1
CROOKSTON 0 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 6 2


Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
Noah Zimmerman - Crox 7 4 5 4 8 7
Seth Desrosier - Crox (LP) 3 3 4 3 5 2

For Crookston
Tanner Reinhart - 2-3, run, rbi, walk
Josh Edlund - 2-5, rbi
Johnny Olson - 1-3, 2 runs, 2 walks
Noah Zimmerman - 1-5, run, rbi



TUESDAY  -  JULY 12, 2016


Strike outs were a problem all spring for the Crookston Pirate Baseball team and the struggles at the plate carried over into the summer legion season as the Crookston American Legion Post 20 Baseball team struck out 10 times in a five inning loss to Warroad Post 25 in a District 9 Division II tournament play-in game played in Warroad.  Crookston was also short handed as two of their top players, Cody Wardner (minor knee surgery) and Chris Wavra (RYLA Camp) were not able to make the game and the team only had 10 players available for the game.
In the top of the first inning, Crookston had two outs and Tanner Reinhart singled up the middle, but the next batter grounded out to short stop and Crookston was retired.  In the bottom of the inning, Crookston pitcher, Seth Desrosier, got the first two batters to pop out, but he walked Beau Wilmer, who stole second base and came into score on a Nick Streiff double for a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second inning, all three Crookston batters struck out and Warroad answered in the bottom of the inning when Phil Ness hit a solo home run for a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, the first two Crookston batters struck out (the fourth and fifth straight Crookston batters to do so) before Blake Kawlewski singled and stole second base.  The next Crookston batter popped out to the first baseman and the threat was over.  Warroad opened up the game in the bottom of the third inning when Beau Wilmer singled, Streiff walked and the two advanced to second and third base on a wild pitch.  Jackson Nash hit a sacrifice fly to left field for a 3-0 lead.  Dylan Storey was hit by a pitch and after a strike out, Andrew Thompson hit a three run home run just over the glove of a leaping Crookston left fielder and Warroad had a 6-0 lead after three innings of play.
Crookston didn’t have a threat in the fourth inning, but Warroad added some insurance with five runs in the inning.  After the first Warroad batter flew out, Warroad singled, walked, reached on an error, another single, a hit batter, a walk and the third single of the inning to score the five runs for an 11-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, the first Crookston batter struck out before Ethan Stroot singled.  The next two Crookston batters struck out and Warroad won 11-0 in five innings because of the 10 run rule.
Crookston ends the season with a record of 3-13.  Warroad improves to 9-8 on the year and will play Win-E-Mac on Friday.

        Seth Desrosier eyes down the ball on a swing in one of his two at bats



0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Warroad 1 1 4 5 - 11 9 0

    Ryan Swenson with a pitch in the fourth inning        Tanner Reinhart gets ready to swing at a pitch

Pitching IP H R ER BB SO
Seth Desrosier- Crox (LP) 3 6 6 6 0 2
Ryan Swenson - Crox 1 3 5 3 2 0
Beau Wilmer- War (WP) 3 2 0 0 0 6
Logan Wilmer- War 1 1 0 0 0 1
Nick Streif - War 1 1 0 0 0 3

For Crookston

Blake Kalewski, Tanner Reinhart, Seth Desrosier, and Ethan Stroot were 1-2

For Warroad
Andrew Thompson - 3-3, home run, 3 rbi
Beau Wilmer - 1-1, 3 runs, 2 walks
Jaron Moyer - 2-4

Webmaster-Chris Fee

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