SPORTS FEEVER – February 22, 2024

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SPORTS FEEVER by Chris Fee of KROX Radio –

Here is another tournament-heavy Sports Feever column. Best of luck to all teams.

The Section 8A Individual Wrestling Tournament will be held at the Crookston High School gymnasium on Saturday, February 24.  Crookston, United North Central, Frazee, Fosston/Bagley, Fertile-Beltrami, Barnesville, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River, and Mahnomen/Waubun will be competing in the tournament.

The tournament schedule is below.

8:00 Scales available
8:30 Weigh-ins and skin checks, all in the gym
9:00 Doors open for fans
9:15 Seed meeting: MSHSL criteria (Mr. Stegman’s Room)
9:55 National Anthem
10:00 Quarters/Semis and first round of wrestlebacks
1:35 BreakAcademic/HCOY/Assist COY/Sportsmanship awards
2:00 Semis of wrestle backs
3:15 5th place matches
4:30 Championship and 3rd place matches
6:30 All non-true second awards.
6:45 True seconds
7:15 Final awards
7:30 Tournament completed
Please note: We will wrestle on two mats.
Medical staff: Paul Reese
Concessions: Will be available.
Admission: Adults $8/day- students $5/day
Officials: Corey Herlickson, Paul Cyr, Gabriel Mooney, Wayne Mooney

Here are the ranked wrestlers that will be competing in the tournament –

114 pounds – #6 Dominick Neisen, Mahnomen/Waubun (8) 12
121 pounds – #5 Ian Phrakonkham, Fosston/Bagley (8) 10
133 pounds – #8 Ayden Hauck, Barnesville (8) 12
139 pounds – #4 Zach Thompson, Fosston/Bagley (8) 11

145 pounds
#5 Bailey Peichel, Frazee (8) 11
#6 Aiden Wolfe, Fosston/Bagley (8) 12

172 pounds-
#5 Preston Mayfield, Frazee (8) 12
#6 Carter Coauette, Crookston (8) 12
#7 Cameron Halverson, Barnesville (8) 10

189 pounds – #10 Blake McMullen, Mahnomen/Waubun (8) 10

KROX will be live streaming the action all day long with both mats on the stream!

— — —

The Crookston Pirate Girls Hockey team played a heckuva game in the Section 8A Championship last week but ran into a team that knows how to win as the Warroad Warriors scored three third-period goals to win the championship 3-2 to advance to their ninth straight state tournament.

In the game, the Pirates did a tremendous job of keeping Warroad players away from the front of the net, and that allowed Kamabelle Freije the opportunity to make save after save as Warroad dominated the second period. Crookston took a 2-0 lead, even though Warroad was controlling play for a large portion of the two periods. It got to the third period and Warroad started to plant players in front of Freije, and I noticed a big difference in the final 17 minutes……Crookston wasn’t clearing the Warriors from the front of the net. Warroad scored all three goals on screens. I think one goal was even deflected.  Give credit to Warroad. They weren’t going to score a goal without traffic in front, and they flooded the area in front of the net with players, and it worked.

It was a heartbreaking ending to a fantastic season for the Pirate Girls Hockey team. They filled the Crookston Sports Center and had the community excited. What they did was amazing, and although some “fans” might think a section runner-up might not be a success, this season was a rounding success. The Pirates played a tougher schedule and still won 17 games. They beat Warroad for the first time in over a decade, and they represented Crookston to the best of their ability. They should be proud of what they accomplished. I know most in the community are beyond proud of the girls and coaches and what they did this year. So kudos to the Pirate Girls Hockey team. Be proud of what you accomplished this year.

Crookston will lose a solid group of seniors with Brekken Tull, Reese Swanson, Natalie Narvaez, Brynley Coleman, Morgan Nelson, and Cassie Solheim.

Crookston returns their top three point-getters.
Addie Fee
(13 goals, 9 assists, 22 points)
Jocelyn Field
(6 goals, 13 assists, 19 points)
Taylor Field
(8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points)

Crookston loses their next five point scorers –
Morgan Nelson
(5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points)
Reese Swanson
(9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points)
Cassie Solheim
(5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points)
Brekken Tull
(6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points)
Brynley Coleman
(6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points)

The Pirates lose 31 goals, which is 37 percent of the team’s goals this season. That is the good news/bad news.
The team struggled scoring goals against quality teams this season, so it will be up to the three top scorers to pick up their game next year along with Emma LaPlante (8 goals, 5 assists), Adley Vigness (3 goals, 9 assists), Ashlyn Bailey (5 goals, 6 assists), Parker Strand (4 goals, 3 assists), and Kaylie Clauson (5 goals, 1 assist).

There are only eight players returning next season who scored a point this year, so they will have to find some depth and, most importantly, find a way to score.  You know they will be outstanding defensively with Freije in the net. I have heard from several Crookston hockey and goalie minds that Freije could be the best goalie to put on a Pirate hockey jersey (boys or girls). That is high praise and deservedly so.

Crookston will have a chance again next year. But, they need to get stronger, faster, and more aggressive without committing penalties, and most importantly, they have to work on goal-scoring. I couldn’t score goals in youth hockey, so I have no idea what you do to improve on that, but I know paycheck hockey won’t make you a better scorer. One more thing to work on….sliding and blocking shots from the point. If they had done that against Warroad, they probably would have won!

I received the following email from a proud Crookston Youth Hockey parent who is very involved in the youth program. It was sent to me after the Section Championship loss.

Heartbreak and Our Response

Tonight, we watched our girl pirate team’s dreams slip away like a sandcastle on the shore.  In 17 minutes, we went from a resounding high of positivity and aspirations to a depressing low. For the coaches and players, it was devastating, for our fans’ heartbreaking, but for our community, will we allow it to be crippling?

As the final horn sounded and our players slipped into the background. Jubilation swept across the opposing teams’ celebration yet in the stands and aisles, you could hear grumbling and cursing at those players and coaches celebrating. As our kids and future players mingled amongst us, the insults and curses hurled upon a group of young girls and their coaches became almost omnipresent.

This behavior brought forward a grave concern, how will we respond to this? Will we as a community, lose hope? Will we watch our players move off to places of alternate potential? Will we struggle again for another 16 years in hopes that someday we will be ready again?  We have the choice to believe that we have lost our greatest chance or to forge ahead and learn from not only our achievements but our mishaps as well.

I pray that as a community we can rally to find support and confidence. That we urge our youth and players waiting in the wings that we will continue, we will return, and we will be victorious. We will not throw shade on someone else’s success or make excuses but will get back to work, forge ahead and look to the future. At the same time, we must never forget this group of incredible young women whom have raised us to this level and passed along the torch at a higher step in hopes that we may find a way to bring it one step closer to our goal, a state appearance and someday a title.

— — —

The Section 8A Boy’s Hockey Tournament is underway with the play-in games held on Tuesday.

The schedule is below –

Thursday –  February 22 –  Quarterfinals   7:00 PM
Lake of the Woods winner   at  East Grand Forks
Crookston   at  Detroit Lakes
Park Rapids winner  at  Warroad
Red Lake Falls   at  Thief River Falls

Saturday –  February 24  –  Semi-Finals  at  Warroad
2:00 PM   –   Winner of EGF/LOW    vs  Winner Detroit Lakes/Crookston
4:30 PM   –   Winner Park Rapids/Warroad   vs  Winner of RLF/TRF

Thursday –  February 29  –  Championship  at  Warroad
7:00 PM  –

Here are my predictions –
EGF beats LOW 8-1
Crookston beats DL 4-3 in OT
Warroad beats Park Rapids 7-0
TRF edges RLF 4-2

Semi-finals –
EGF beats Crookston 6-1
Warroad beats TRF 4-1

Crookston has a large group of seniors that will need to step their play to another level on Thursday in Detroit Lakes in the quarterfinals.

Crookston has won six of their last seven games, and all six wins were one-goal games, including a big come-from-behind overtime victory against Red Lake Falls to solidify the fifth seed.
Crookston started the season scoring goals like they were going out of style. In the last seven games, goals have been tougher to score, and that will be a factor in the playoffs. The sophomores have been the leaders in goal scoring, and some of them will be playing their first Section 8A playoff hockey game, so some nerves could play a factor early on. The Pirates also have a bunch of seniors who will have to come out and pick up their play and get things going right away.

There is no reason why Crookston won’t be traveling to Warroad to take on the EGF in the semi-finals on Saturday.

— — —


We are down to the final week of regular season girls basketball and things are starting to clear up, but tie-breakers are muddying things a bit.

Here is the QRF as of Wednesday –

TEAM – Record (QRF)
1. Perham 22-3 (145.7)
2. Pelican Rapids 22-3 (121.1)
3. Barnesville 16-8 (118.7)
4. Menahga 24-1 (115.9)
5. East Grand Forks 18-7 (105.9)
6. Hawley 12-11 (82.3)
7. Frazee 12-11 (82.3)
8. Park Rapids 13-13 (81.8)
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 15-11 (52.3)
10. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 11-15 (73.6)
11. Roseau 10-16 (58.0)
12. Thief River Falls 6-19 (57.2)
13. Crookston 3-22 (44.5)
14. Warroad 7-17 (43.1)

It looks like Perham will be the top seed as they beat Pelican Rapids both times and will be past the tie-breaker anyway.

The second seed will be Pelican Rapids, as they beat Barnesville in both regular season meetings.

Now things get interesting. Here are the official tie-breaking rules for seeding.

These are the Tiebreakers as agreed to by the MSHSL.

  1. The first tiebreaker is Head to Head competition *(this Tiebreaker will be applied using 2xTM)
  2. Ranking based on either Conference/Sub-District (C/D) winning percentage OR C/D point total based on the by-laws of the C/D * teams must be in the same C/D
  3. Overall winning percentage
  4. Section winning percentage (if at least 25% of the teams competitions are against section opponents – if not met, #4 is skipped)
    • Basketball/Hockey/Volleyball – 6
  5. QRF points
  6. Coin Flip

Here is what I see happening the rest of the seeding.

The third seed will be Menahga. Menagha and Barnesville don’t play each other. They aren’t in the same conference. So it goes to the third tie-breaker, which is the overall winning percentage, and Menahga is 24-1.

Barnesville will be the fourth seed.
East Grand Forks, the fifth seed
Hawley will be #6 (They split with Frazee, but have a better HOL Conference record)
Park Rapids will be #7
Wadena-Deer Creek will be #8
DGF will be #9
Roseau will be #10 (They split with TRF, but have a better record in the NW conference)
Thief River Falls will be #11
Crookston is #12 (beat Warroad in only head to head game)
Warroad is #13

We will see how my predictions go.

— — —


West Subsection –
Here is the QRF as of Wednesday –
1. Sacred Heart 22-4 (95.1)
2. Kittson County Central 20-4 (93.9)
3. Northern Freeze 18-6 (79.3)
4. BGMR 17-7 (76.8)
5. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo 15-9 (73.0)
6. Climax-Fisher 12-12 (62.7)
7. Stephen-Argyle 8-12 (60.9)
8. Fertile-Beltrami 11-15 (56.3)
9. Goodridge/Grygla 7-15 (44.6)
10. Red Lake Falls 4-20 (37.1)
11. Red Lake County Central 3-22 (34.3)

So here is how I see the section seeding as of Wednesday.

1.Kittson County Central (they beat Sacred Heart in only meeting)
2. Sacred Heart
3. Northern Freeze/BGMR (If they beat BGMR on Thursday. But if BGMR beats NF on Thursday it looks like they will be the 3 seed)
5. Warren-A-O (They could be a fourth seed depending on who wins between NF/BGMR on Thursday and if they beat Fosston on Thursday and BGMR on Friday. We won’t know the 3, 4, and 5 seeds until after Friday.)
6. Climax-Fisher or Stephen-Argyle (Whoever wins the game on Thursday)
8. Fertile-Beltrami
9. Goodridge/Grygla/Red Lake Falls (If RLF wins on Thursday they are the ninth seed)
11. Red Lake County Central


Here are the QRF rankings as of Wednesday.
1.Fosston 24-2 (101.5)
2. Cass Lake-Bena 19-5 (94.1)
3. Kelliher/Northome 21-3 (90.7)
4. Blackduck 14-12 (53.4)
5. Mahnomen/Waubun 8-18 (46.4)
6. Win-E-Mac 6-18 (39.8)
7. Bagley 7-16 (39.3)
8. Clearbrook-Gonvick 7-18 (34.4)
9. Red Lake 4-19 (33.0)
10. Lake of the Woods 3-21 (30.4)

Here is how the seeding will likely go.
1. Cass Lake-Bena (beat Fosston big this week)
2. Fosston (beat K/N in a head-to-head)
3. Kelliher/Northome
4. Blackduck
5. Mahnomen-Waubun
6. Win-E-Mac (Split with Bagley, but has a better conference record)
7. Bagley (better overall record vs CG)
8. Clearbrook-Gonvick (beat Red Lake twice)
9/10. Red Lake (beat LOW first time and they play again Thursday. If LOW wins on Thursday, they would be the ninth seed)

— — —

The University of Minnesota Crookston soccer team announced the signing of Kali Yates (D, 5-8, Hedgesville, W.V./Hedgesville H.S.).
Yates was a First Team Eastern Panhandle Athletic Conference pick as a sophomore, junior, and senior at Hedgesville H.S. She was a First Team All-Region selection as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Yates served as a team captain as a sophomore, junior, and senior. She was a four-year varsity starter. Yates was her Team Defensive MVP as a sophomore, junior, and senior.
She is the daughter of Rachel and Jacob Yates. Yates plans to major in animal science.

— — —


Braden Swenby (Fertile-Beltrami) recently scored the 2,000th point of his career last week.

Faith Lilly (Warroad) recently became the Warriors all-time leading scoring record (1,711 points) in a win over Lake of the Woods on Thursday.

Josiah Sundby (Sacred Heart) scored the 1,000th point of his career on Thursday in a loss to Ada-Borup-West.

Gunnar Lund (Roseau) scored the 1,000th point of his career on Thursday.

Anya Edwards (Roseau) scored the 1,000th point of her career on Thursday.

Ian Phrakonkham (Fosston/Bagley) picked up his 50th win by pin last week.

Zach Thompson (Fosston/Bagley) picked up his 50th win by pin last week.

— — —

The latest Minnesota High School sports rankings are available by clicking the link below.

Minnesota High School Rankings – KROX (

— — —


Make plans now to attend the 29th annual “Lace ‘em Up” basketball camp to be held in Red Lake Falls High School at the Robert Matzke Gym from June 3-6, 2024

The camp is open to any boys or girls who are currently in grades K-11.  The camp is set up to run from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 for grades 5-11 (grade they were in this past school year) each morning and from 12:30 until 3:00 p.m. for grades K-4 (grade they were in this past school year).  The cost of the camp is $70, with a maximum cost per family of $100.  If you register before May 22,  you will also receive a camp T-shirt.  After May 22, ALL SINGLE REGISTRATION FEES WILL BE $80, AND THE MAXIMUM COST PER FAMILY WILL BE $120 due to CAMP PREPARATION AND AWARD ORDERS.

Cut on the dotted line and return the following to: Steve Philion, 518 Champagne Ave., Red Lake Falls, MN 56750. (cell:  218-686-3608) (home: 218-253-2499). E-mail:

Make checks payable to: Lace ‘em Up Basketball Camp

If anyone needs help with the cost of the camp, let Mr. Philion know as we have people who have offered to cover costs for kids that need financial help.

_    _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _

Grade in 2023-2024________________ (GRADE JUST COMPLETED)

T-shirt sizes:     Please circle one:

Youth sizes:       EXTRA SMALL           SMALL            MEDIUM             LARGE

Adult sizes:        SMALL     MEDIUM     LARGE      X-LARGE        XX-LARGE


MALE____________              FEMALE____________

I, the parent of the above student agree to allow my child to participate in the 2024 “Lace ‘em Up” basketball camp in Red Lake Falls.  I also understand that the camp director, the City of RLF, and the RLF school district are not responsible for any injuries, accidents, or COVID that my child might incur.

SIGNATURE OF PARENT OR GUARDIAN:_______________________________________

Emergency cell number of parent or guardian:________________________________

— — —


A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.

As he sits, the waitress comes over and asks for their orders.

The man says, “I’ll have a hamburger, fries and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $6.40 please,” and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “I’ll have a hamburger, fries and a coke,” and the ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Once again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes a routine until late one evening, the two enter again.

“The usual?” asks the waitress. “No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and salad,” says the man, “same for me,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress comes with the order and says, “That will be $12.62.”Once again the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer.

“Excuse me, sir.How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the man, “several years ago I was cleaning the attic and I found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!”says the waitress. “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the man.

The waitress asks, “One other thing, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”

The man sighs, pauses, and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

— —

A dad went into his 13 yr old daughter’s bedroom to find her smoking.

“How long have you been smoking?” he shouted.

“Since I lost my virginity,” she replied.

“You lost your VIRGINITY?” he shrieked. “When the hell did this happen?”

The daughter replied, “No idea, I was drunk!”

— — —

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

Halle Bruggeman is a freshman on the University of Wisconsin-Stout Women’s Tennis team.

Grace Fischer is a freshman on the Concordia College (Moorhead) Women’s Golf team.

Ethan Boll is a Freshman on the University of North Dakota Football team.

Breanna Kressin is a Sophomore on the Hockey Cheer Team for THE University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey team.

Emma Osborn is a Sophomore playing basketball at Northland Technical and Community College in Thief River Falls.

Jacey Larson is a Sophomore playing hockey at Dakota College at Bottineau.

Aleah Bienek is a Sophomore playing hockey at Trine University in Indiana.

Elise Tangquist is the Head Girls Golf Coach at Horace High School in Fargo, ND..

Kaleb Thingelstad is a junior playing golf at Kansas Wesleyan.

Joslynn Leach is a sophomore playing golf at Concordia College in Moorhead. The Cobbers wrapped up the Fall season.

Brady Butt is a Junior playing football at the University of Jamestown.

Ty Hamre is playing football at Bemidji State University.

Aleece Durbin is a Junior on the University of North Dakota Womens Track and Field team.

Elizabeth Erdman is a coach for the Moorhead Red Dragon swim team.

Crookston School District Coaches
Todd Miner 
is a Pirate Football assistant coach.
Ben Parkin 
is the head Pirate Baseball Coach.
Emily Meyer 
is the Pirate head girls hockey coach and softball assistant coach.
Jeremy Lubinski 
is a Pirate 8th Grade Football coach.
Amy Boll 
is the head Pirate Girls Track head coach
Sarah Reese 
is the Pirate Head Girls Soccer coach
Marley Melbye is the Head Girls Swimming coach and assistant girls golf 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 a youth wrestling Coach
Colton Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach

Non-Crookston High School coaching/Admin/etc

Tim Desrosier is an Assistant Coach for Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Pony Boys Basketball

Pat Wolfe is the head wrestling coach for Fosston/Bagley.

Austin Sommerfeld is an Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Communication at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.

Collin Reynolds is the head baseball coach for the University of Colorado Buffalo Club Baseball team.

Trent Stahlecker is a School Security Specialist & he works for the Brevard Public Schools, Florida.

Cody Weiland is an assistant wrestling coach at Proctor/Hermantown.

Josh Edlund is the head football coach and phy ed teacher at Flandreau, South Dakota.

Allison Lindsey Axness is Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach at Champlin Park

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

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

Katy (Westrom) Horgen is the Head Boys Tennis coach at Monticello High School.

Matt Harris is an Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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 Wisconsin Badgers Men’s head Hockey coach.

Mike Biermaier is the Athletic Director at Grand Forks Schools.

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

Jason Bushie is the hockey athletic trainer at Colorado College.

Chris Myrold is the Director and Fitness at Mission Ranch and Fitness in Camel, California.

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

Ben Andringa is serving our country in the Army and is now a Ranger.

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 a grad of West Point and currently 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.

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

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