SPORTS FEEVER – December 5, 2019

It is hard to believe we two months away from the Minnesota High School Girls Hockey section playoffs!!!  December will be gone before we know it and we will be getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year, March Madness.

The first week of the Boys Hockey, Boys Basketball and Girls Basketball seasons have been interesting.  This is what I have noticed so far after a few games –

Boys Hockey – Warroad is very good.  East Grand Forks is also very good.    There is going to be a good fight for the third through 7th or 8th spots.  Crookston seems to be a little better than I was anticipating.  The lack of size and strength (outside of Ty Hamre) has hurt them in games against quality teams like Little Falls and Warroad.  But against teams that are a similar size, they have played well and are fun to watch.  They are young and will take some lumps, but could be a dangerous team at playoff time.

In basketball, Section 8A boys and girls look to be wide open with anywhere from 5 to 9 teams with the possibility to make a run this year.

In 8AA Basketball, it is more like a four-team race in both boys and girls.  Boys will have Perham, Fergus Falls, East Grand Forks, and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and I never count out Breckenridge.   On the girls basketball side, they have Fergus Falls, Roseau, Hawley and Crookston at the top.  We might find out a lot more at the Fergus Falls tournament when Crookston plays Hawley and one of those teams will play Fergus Falls the next day.  That could be some great basketball!

Girls hockey – nothing has changed….Everybody is trying to play for second place behind Warroad.  It looks like Section 8A isn’t as strong as it has been in the past.

Men’s Basketball – The UMC Golden Eagle Men’s basketball team could be very good this year.  They have had a great start against their toughest non-conference schedule they have played as a four-year school and have a big weekend coming up.  They play at MSU-Moorhead on Friday and at Northern State on Saturday.  If the Men can win both games that would set them up for a great start to the season.  If they win one of the games, that would also be a great start.  You hate to say it is a huge weekend for the men, but it really is!  It should be some great basketball.

Women’s Basketball – The UMC Golden Eagle Women’s team might struggle in most games this year.  They don’t have a solid offensive or defensive presence in the post and that will hurt them.  They also don’t seem to be as athletic as teams in years past, which will hurt them in the ultra-competitive NSIC.  Hopefully, the Bemidji State game is an anomaly, but it doesn’t get any easier this weekend when they travel to Moorhead and Northern.

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COACHES – If you are a section 8A or 8AA Boys or Girls Basketball, Section 8A Boys or Girls Hockey coach. Can you, an assistant, or manager text or email scores after every one of your games to KROX?  We like to update the scores every night after the games so you can check it out before heading to bed.  You can send the scores to the following –

Text – 218-280-4021
email –

Thank you!

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I have put together a list of teams I think will have a good shot at making a run when the Section 8A Girls Basketball tournament gets underway in March of 2020.  Red Lake will have to be the favorite and it is wide open after that.  It should be a fun season with a lot of great games.  A reminder – I know nothing so this is just my idea on what I saw from teams last year and so far this year.

The Red Lake Warriors are the defending champions and will be one of the favorites to win the section this year.  Red Lake is returning four starters, including Autumn Holthusen (26 ppg) who will be one of the top players in the section.
Other teams in the running (listed in no particular order)-
Red Lake Falls – They play solid defense and have some good players.  They will be led by two juniors, Clara Girdler and Sienna Olson.
Sacred Heart – They have a new coach, Blake Karras and Ivy Edwards and Maddi Mitzel has returned to the team.  They will have a solid five or six players and depth, like many teams in the section will be a question mark.
Warren-Alvarado-Oslo – The Ponies have a bulk of their scoring back with Shelby Durand, Rylie Mortimer, and Mackenzie Roller leading the way.  WAO had a solid year last year and you can expect an even better year this year.
Kittson County Central – They lost some talent to graduation, but have some players coming back and so far this season they have shown they are going to be very competitive.
Clearbrook-Gonvick – I never count the Bears out because they always seem to make a run in the east sub-section and I am predicting they will make another run in March.  The Bears Coach Ross Faldet always has his team playing their best at the Ralph Englestad Arena.  They return a lot of experience and will be led by Jackie Lynn Tafflin and Danae Stenzel and pretty much the entire team from last year.
Stephen-Argyle – The Storm have lost A LOT of talent to graduation over the past two years, but they have a great group of talent coming up.  By the end of the year I expect to see a team that will be ready to make a run at tournament time behind Riley Mooney.
Fosston – The Greyhounds are returning a bulk of their scoring (I believe four starters) and will be led by Kora Norland, Jenna Manecke and others.  They will look to carry their volleyball success to the basketball season and will have a very good chance to make a run in the east sub-section.

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The defending Section 8A champion Ada-Borup Cougars will be the favorite coming into the season. The section lost a lot to graduation last year so it will be interesting to see how the newcomers to each team fill in with significant minutes on the varsity.  That will be the key for all the teams this year.  I have a list of the teams that I believe will be in contention in March (listed in no particular order).

Ada-Borup has one of the better players, Mason Miller (6’8 athletic post that will be playing football at NDSU next year) and they have some talented and athletic guards to compliment him. They lost some solid players like Jared Brainard, Colby Stevenson and Tommy Stewart to graduation so they will have some holes to fill.
Cass Lake-Bena – The Panthers lost to Ada-Borup in the championship last year and will be one of the teams that are expected to come out of the east.  Cass Lake-Bena lost a handful of players to graduation, but they return a lot of talent including Jarell Jacobs (was conference MVP last year).
Fertile-Beltrami – Never count out a Neil Steffes coached team.  The Falcons had 19 wins last year and lost some pretty good players to graduation, but they return some good ones including returning starters Addison McCollum and Cort Christianson.
Kittson County Central – The Bearcats are coming off a 13-12 season and only lose two players to graduation.  They also return one of the most explosive offensive players in the section with Jarrett Kujava (25 points and 11 rebounds per game).  The Bearcats have some height too with Mitchell Docken (6’5 sr post and all-conference player last year) returning.
Red Lake County – The Rebels had a 15 win season last year and return a bulk of their scoring.  They have Derek Peterson (19 ppg) who is another explosive offensive player.  The Rebels also have Isiah Olson (6’5 junior post who averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds a game) and Eric Gieseke (9 ppg) that will lead the way.  It should be a solid year for the Rebels.
Win-E-Mac – The Patriots are coming off a fantastic football season and will look to carry that success to the basketball season.  They won 22 games last year and are looking to give veteran head coach Vern Johnson his first trip to state.  The Patriots will be led by Bryer Strom (11 ppg) and Gavin Walker (12 ppg) and they have some decent height with Zach Simonson (6’4).  They only lost three players to graduation and return the rest.
Badger-Greenbush-Middle River – The Gators had a solid 17 win season last year and will lose four players to graduation, but they return four players that averaged close to double-figure scoring with Gage Creekmore (9 ppg), Kaden Opdahl (8 ppg), Kobey Dallager (8 ppg) and Adam Benke (7 ppg).  They also have several others that can score and play defense and when they are rolling, it will be hard to beat the Gators.

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The University of Minnesota Crookston has re-advertised the Club Hockey coaching position.  According to Activities Director Stephanie Helgeson, they are still hoping to hire a coach by the end of the year if possible.

UMC has some good news on the Club Hockey front.  They know they will be in the ACHA D2 Central Region and UMC is currently working on applying for conference affiliation.  UMC is working with the WCCHA on that and working on scheduling for next year.

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Congratulations to Brian Bakke, an outstanding wrestling official, on receiving the National Medal of Courage Award last month.  The Guillotine had a great story on Bakke and you can CLICK HERE to read it.

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The Crookston Pirate Wrestlers will be traveling to Hillsboro on Saturday for the dual tournament.  The teams will have a busy day of duals with five duals on the day!  If you are looking for non-stop wrestling action, Hillsboro is the place for you!

Mat 1 Mat 2 Mat 3
Round 1 HCV CC Crookston
DGF M/W Grafton
Round 2 LaMoure UCB
Round 3 CC HCV Grafton
Round 4 CC LaMoure
Crookston M/W
Round 5 HCV Grafton DGF
Round 6 PCN Crookston
UCB LaMoure
Round 7 CC LaMoure HCV
NYM Grafton M/W
Round 8 Crookston M/W
Round 9 HCV DGF CC
Round 10 Crookston Grafton

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Minnesota Hockey has announced the hosts of the District Hockey tournaments. The area district tournaments are listed below –

Squirts – Region 15
February 7 – 9, 2020
Squirt A – Northern Lakes
Squirt B North – Park Rapids
Squirt B South – Long Prairie

10U Girls Hockey Region 15-
February 14 – 16, 2020
10U A – Wadena
10U B – Brainerd

Pee Wee’s Region 16 –
February 14-16, 2020
Peewee A – Crookston
Peewee B – Lake of the Woods

12U Girls Hockey Region 16 –
February 14 – 16, 2020
12U A – Roseau

Bantam’s Region 16-
February 14 – 16, 2020
Bantam A – Thief River Falls
Bantam B – East Grand Forks

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University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball player Harrison Cleary (Sr., G, Oak Creek, Wis.) was selected as the NSIC North Division Player of the Week for the second-consecutive week after a stellar performance in a non-conference win over University of Sioux Falls.

Cleary had a season-high 40 points in the win on 11-of-19 from the field, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 15-of-15 from the charity stripe. He has scored 40 or more points four times in his career. Cleary also dished out six assists and had a steal in the 94-69 rout of the Cougars in Sioux Falls, S.D. He leads the NSIC with 28.6 points per game and is third in the conference with 4.9 assists per game. Cleary is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. The NCAA Division II free throw shooting percentage leader the last two seasons, Cleary continues to dominate from the line hitting at a 92.6 percent clip.

Cleary has earned seven NSIC Player of the Week honors in four seasons. He has earned two NSIC Player of the Week honors in each of the last three seasons.

The Golden Eagles hit the road this weekend to play Minnesota State University Moorhead Fri., Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., in Moorhead, Minn., and Sat., Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. versus Northern State University. Minnesota Crookston is looking for their first win in Moorhead since 2009, and their first victory at Wachs Arena ever.

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University of Minnesota Crookston Athletics had 38 student-athletes named to the 2019 NSIC Fall All-Academic Teams as announced by the conference office.
To be eligible for the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence, a student-athlete must have a 3.60 cumulative GPA or higher, while NSIC All-Academic Team members must have a 3.20 cumulative GPA or higher. Additionally, the student-athlete must be a member of the varsity traveling team, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at her/his institution (true freshmen, red-shirt freshmen and ineligible athletic transfers are not eligible) and must have completed at least one full academic year at that institution.
The 818 student-athletes from the NSIC that earned All-Academic recognition is an increase of 78 from last fall’s 740.


MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY– Anthony Kampa (Jr., St. Cloud), Yeonshik You (Jr., Seoul, South Korea), Peter Hendrickx (Jr., Butler), and Paul Hendrickx (Jr., Butler), with Kampa earning NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence honors.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY– Roseline Kanssole (Jr., Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), Paige Pitlick (Sr., Jordan), Ashley Watkins (Sr., Mountain Lake), Caitlin Michaelis (Sr., Marshfield, Wis.), Kayla Stangeland (Sr., Mitchell, S.D.), and Samantha Proctor (Sr., Champlin) with Kanssole, Pitlick, Watkins, Michaelis, and Stangeland all earning All-Academic Team of Excellence accolades.

FOOTBALL – Will Cross (Sr., Turtle Lake, Wis.), Logan Huso (Sr., Eagan), Jared McLemore (So., K, Lucas, Texas), Tyler Kropuenske (So., OL, Baileys Harbor, Wis.), Trevor Long, Jr. (Sr., LB, Brooklyn Park), Boyce Harr (So., RB, Spearfish, S.D.), Emmitt Stevens (Sr., LB, Albert Lea), Tristan Robbins (So., QB, Muskegon, Mich.), Jeremy Neuman (Jr., WR, Andover), and Austin Steele (So., LB, La Crosse, Wis.) all earn All-Academic Team honors. Cross, Huso, McLemore, Kropuenske, and Long all earned placement on the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence.

SOCCER – Jessica Withrow (Jr., Gardnerville, Nev.), Jacqueline Burke (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska), Kiya Gere (So., Vancouver, Wash.), Mika Rodriguez (Sr., Laveen, Ariz.), Paige Pettit (Sr., St. Michael), Maggie Peterson (Jr., Princeton), and Mataya Mierzejewski (So., Woodbury). Withrow and Burke were named to the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence.

VOLLEYBALL – Lauren Wallace (So., Bloomington), Sydney Kruisselbrink (Jr., Rochester), Katie Lienemann (Jr., Rosemount), Deaira Gresham (Jr., Maplewood), Alyssa Thomas (Sr., Marion, Iowa), Hannah Stark (So., Esko), Porsha Porath (So., Windom), Meli Rodriguez (Sr., Sarchi, Costa, Rica), Sabrina Leuer (Sr., Hamel), Kaitlin Sikkink (Sr., St. Charles), and Ali Schueler (Sr., Howards Grove, Wis.). Wallace, Kruisselbrink, Gresham, Thomas, Leuer, and Sikkink all earned placement on the NSIC All-Academic Team of Excellence.


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The NSIC All-Sports Standings have been complied following the fall season.  For the third year, the NSIC will recognize an overall champion along with a men’s and a women’s champion.

In the overall standings, Augustana amassed 70.5 points and holds a 12 point edge on Concordia-St. Paul  (58.5) after the completion of five fall sports.  Augustana also holds the edge in the men’s standings with 30 points, five points ahead of Minnesota State. The Vikings also top the women’s leaderboard with 40.5 points, one point ahead of CSP.

Augustana took top honors in men’s cross country and was second in women’s soccer to earn 15 points in each sport. Northern State won the volleyball title (17 points), while UMary won women’s cross country (17 points).  Concordia-St. Paul earned 17 points for winning the NSIC Soccer Regular Season Championship.

The winner of each title in a conference-sponsored championship receives points totaling the number of teams in that sport plus one. The next place finisher receives points totaling the number of teams less the number of places from first place. Ties in the standings at any level shall result in the totaling of points and equal distribution.

The NSIC will release all-sports standings again following the winter sports season. The NSIC All-Sports Champion is announced following the spring season, with the award being presented at the NSIC Summer Kickoff in July 2020.

2019-20 NSIC All-Sports Standings (Fall)
1. Augustana 70.5
2. Concordia 58.5
3. Mankato 57
4. UM-Duluth 53
6. Winona St. 51
6. Sioux Falls 43.5
7. Northern St. 43
8. Mary 42.5
9. St. Cloud St. 41.5
10. Moorhead 39
11. Wayne State 36.5
12. Bemidji St. 34
13. SMSU 28
14. Minot State 27
15. Upper Iowa 22.5
16. UMC 6.5

Past NSIC All-Sports Award Winners
1999-00    Minnesota Duluth
2000-01    Minnesota Duluth
2001-02    Minnesota Duluth
2002-03    Minnesota Duluth
2003-04    Minnesota Duluth
2004-05    Winona State
2005-06    Winona State
2006-07    Winona State
2007-08    Winona State
2008-09    Minnesota State
2009-10    Minnesota State
2010-11    Augustana
2011-12    Augustana
2012-13    Minnesota State
2013-14    Minnesota State
2014-15    Augustana
2015-16     Augustana
2016-17     Augustana
2017-18    Minnesota State (O/M), Augustana (W)
2018-19    Minnesota State (O/M), Augustana (W)

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It is that time of year again.  The Crookston Hockey Alumni Scrimmages will be held on Saturday, December 21 at the Crookston Sports Center.
Alumni from Crookston High School, Crookston Central High School, Cathedral/Mount St. Benedict are invited to play.  The information is below-

Saturday, December 21, 2019
GAME 1……….2:30-3:45………..……2009-2019 ODD vs EVEN
GAME 2……..4:00-5:15…………2008 & OLDER ODD vs EVEN

COST: $10.00

PO BOX 496

WAIVER: I understand that the Crookston Public Schools, its directors and the city of Crookston will not be held responsible for any
injuries or loss of personal property with the above athlete is involved in the alumni scrimmages. I authorize the directors to secure
any emergency treatments deemed necessary.
Signature: ___________________________________________________

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The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program will hold three dates of Winter Volleyball Camps at Lysaker Gymnasium Sunday, January 19; Sunday, February 2; and Sunday, February 23. The camp offerings are for both boys and girls under the age of 12.
The cost for the camps is $40 for one camp, $75 for two camps and $110 for all camps. The camps provide the opportunity to learn under Minnesota Crookston Head Coach Sarah Rauen and Assistant Coach Anna Morgan, along with the Golden Eagle volleyball players who compete in the top NCAA Division II conference in the nation. All skill levels are welcome. The camps commence with check-in at 12:30 p.m. and run from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

If you are interested you can register online at For more information, you can contact Coach Morgan at 218-281-8410 or at

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The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball program will hold the Third Annual Minnesota Crookston Challenge, which consists of four JO volleyball tournaments at the UMC Sports Center.

Ages – Date
12s – March 28
16s – March 29
14s – April 4
18s – April 5

To register, visit For further questions please contact UMC volleyball assistant coach Anna Morgan at or at 218-281-8410.

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Floyd the rooster costs a lot of money, but the farmer decides he’ll be worth it. So he buys Floyd. The farmer takes Floyd home and sets him down in the barnyard–then gives the rooster a pep talk.

“I want you to pace yourself now. You’ve got a lot of chickens to service here, and you cost me a lot of money. Consequently, I’ll need you to do a good job. So take your time and have some fun,” the farmer said, with a chuckle.
Floyd seemed to understand, so the farmer pointed toward the hen house and Floyd took off like a shot. WHAM! Floyd nailed every hen in the hen house, three or four times. The farmer was flabbergasted.
After that, the farmer heard a commotion in the duck pen. Sure enough, Floyd was there.
Later, the farmer saw Floyd after a flock of geese by the lake. Once again, WHAM! Floyd got all the geese.
By sunset, the farmer saw Floyd in the field chasing quail and pheasants. The farmer was distraught and worried that his expensive rooster wouldn’t last even 24 hours. The farmer went to bed.
When he awoke the next day, he found Floyd on his back–stone cold in the middle of the yard. Vultures were circling overhead. The farmer, saddened by the loss of such a colorful and expensive bird, shook his head and said
“Oh, Floyd, I told you to pace yourself. I tried to get you to slow down, now look what you’ve done to yourself.”
Floyd opened one eye, nodded toward the vultures circling in the sky and said, “Shhh! They’re getting closer.”

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How are former Crookston Pirates athletes doing in college or elsewhere?

Paul Bittner is playing for the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Bluejacket. Paul didn’t score while getting one shot on goal in a 3-2 loss to Rochester on Saturday and he didn’t score while getting another shot on goal in a 3-2 loss to Laval on Wednesday. Cleveland will travel to Belleville on Friday and Saturday and then to Laval on Tuesday.

Cade Salentine is a redshirt Freshman playing football at the University of North DakotaCade didn’t play in a 24-6 loss to #19 Nichols State in Thibodaux, Louisiana on Saturday in the first round of the FCS playoffs.  UND’s season came to an end with the loss.

Thea Oman, a freshman, is swimming at St. Ben’s.  St. Ben’s is off until January 17 when they travel to Gustavus.

Brady Heppner, is a Senior, playing hockey at St. Johns University in Collegeville. St. Johns was off this week and will host Hamline on December 10.

Nick Garmen, is a freshman playing basketball and tennis at the University of Minnesota Morris. Nick didn’t play in an 81-75 loss to Mayville State on Tuesday.  Minnesota Morris will host Northland (Wis) on Saturday and travel to Crown on Wednesday.

Aleece Durbin, is a Sophomore on the University of North Dakota Women’s Track and Field team.

Brita Fagerlund, is a Junior on the University of Jamestown Jimmy Women’s Track team.

Ben Trostad is a sophomore member of the University of Minnesota Crookston golf team.  The Golden Eagles will be off until the spring.

Isaac Westlake, is a Senior on the Winona State Warrior Men’s Golf team.  Winona State will be off until the spring.

Elise Tangquist, is a Junior golfer for the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.  Northwestern will be off until the spring.

Mason LaPlante, a freshman, is playing soccer at the University of Jamestown.

Rachel Hefta, a freshman, is playing volleyball at Hastings College in Nebraska.

Crookston School District Coaches –
Jeremy Lubinski
 is a Pirate 8th Grade Football coach.
Amy Boll 
is the head Pirate Girls Track head coach and assistant volleyball coach
Sarah Reese 
is the Pirate Head Girls Soccer coach
Cody Brekken
 is the Head Pirate Girls and Boys Tennis coach and Crookston Community Pool Supervisor
Marley Melbye is the Head Girls Swimming coach
Mitch Bakken is the head Pirate Baseball coach.
Brock Hanson
 is the Pirate Baseball volunteer assistant coach.
Jeff Perreault 
is the Pirate Girls Golf head coach
Wes Hanson is the Pirate Wrestling Head Coach and assistant boys golf coach
Kevin Weber is a Pirate Boys Basketball volunteer assistant coach
Connor Morgan is the Pirate Boys Hockey assistant coach
Sam Melbye is the Pirate Boys J.V. Hockey coach
Chris Dufault is an Assistant Wrestling Coach
Nate Merten is an Assistant Wrestling Coach

Non-Crookston High School coaching –

Kaylee Desrosier is a softball coach for Fargo Davies Middle School.

Justin Johnson is an assistant softball coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Josh Edlund  is an assistant football coach and phy ed teacher at Flandreau, South Dakota.

Allison Lindsey Axness is Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach in Champlin Park

Jeff Olson is Head Wrestling coach and Head Baseball coach at Delano.

Jake Olson is an Assistant Football Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Delano.

Carmen (Kreibich) Johnson, is Head Volleyball coach at Little Falls High School.

Katy Westrom, is Head Girls Tennis Coach and Head Boys Tennis coach at Monticello High School.

Matt Harris, is a Director of Athletics at the British International School of Houston.

Marty Bratrud is the Superintendent and High School Principal at Westhope High School.

Gordie Haug is an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming

Mike Hastings is the Minnesota State Mankato Men’s head Hockey coach

Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Thief River Falls High School

Stephanie (Lindsay) Perreault works with the North Dakota State stats crew for Bison football and volleyball and basketball in the winter. Stephanie’s husband, Ryan, is the assistant director for the Bison media relations

Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College

Chris Myrold is a Tennis Pro on Nevis Island in the West Indies

Kyle Buchmeier
 is a Tennis Pro at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis

Jarrett Butenhoff is serving our country with the U.S. Navy

Joshua Butenhoff is serving our country on a Submarine with the Pacific Fleet with the US Navy.

Peter Cournia is a 2002 Crookston High School Graduate and also a grad of West Point and is currently is serving in the U.S. Army.

Erik Ellingson is serving our country with the U.S. Air Force at Minot.

Philip Kujawa class of 2004 from Crookston High School.  He is an Army recruiter in Rochester.

Scott Riopelle is head of Crookston Parks and Recreation

Rob Sobolik is the General Manager of the Fargodome

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for the comments and if you have anything to add or share, please e-mail or call.  Thanks for reading and listening to KROX RADIO and