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"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Milltown hosts another successful Milk Tourney
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
Last weekend, the annual Milk Tournament was held in Milltown. Young people got the opportunity to consume copious amounts of milk as well as get in some time playing ball under the hot summer sun.
Players competed in three divisions: seniors (grades 9-12), juniors (grades 5-8), and peewee (4th grade and younger).
The Milk Trophy for 2019 went to Vlasnik Tax Service whose team consumed 186 cups of milk.
A total of 56 gallons of milk was consumed by the teams over the weekend.
There were 14 teams that competed this year. During its hayday, 32 teams competed. Organizers are looking to build the popularity of the event back up and are hoping to field even more teams next year.
June 13, 2019
Local golfers named academic all-state
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
"The Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin (GCAW)" is pleased to announce that Nick Frokjer, Hunter Robinson, and Alex Robinson of Unity High School and Mitchel Steele of St. Croix Falls are all 2019 Academic-All State honorees.
Students are submitted by GCAW coaches if they meet the following criteria: 1) A cumulative GPA of at least 3.25, 2) participation in at least 75 percent of their team's varsity matches, and 3) are a sophomore, junior or senior and is a student-athlete who has served as a great example to others, proving that athletic and academic success are not mutually exclusive.
The GCAW is proud to announce that 401 students from 125 different high schools have been honored this year. In fact, the average GPA of these students is an exceptional 3.747.
The GCAW was formed by high school golf coaches in 1986 to help build and enhance Wisconsin's reputation for developing quality junior players by promoting golf in our schools and communities.
June 20, 2019
Milltown fast pitch softball tourney results
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
Last weekend, Milltown hosted its annual Fisherman's Party. As a part of the festivities, ball players from around the area participated in the fast pitch tournament.
The tourney fielded seven teams from across Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Dugout, Suzy's Heat and the Cushing Tigers all hailed from just down the road while other teams like the Apple River Inn, and Ffats Brewing came north from Star Prairie, Baldwin and Whitehall and the Pawns were the lone Minnesota team hailing from St. Paul.
The format was a three game pool day on Friday and Saturday and a single elimination tourney was held on Sunday.
Friday/Saturday pool play results:
Suzy's Heat 5, Apple River Inn 1; Ffats Brewing 9, Apple River Inn 1.
Strikers Lanes 9, Dugout 1; Suzy's Heat 10, Strikers Lanes 2.
Pawns 15, Suzy's Heat 0; Pawns 5, Dugout 0; Cushing Tigers 5, Pawns 0.
Cushing Tigers 3, Ffats Brewing 0; Ffats Brewing 4, Dugout 1; Strikers Lanes 14, Apple River Inn 0.
Final record and seeding: 1-Cushing Tigers, 2-Pawns, 3-Strikers Lanes, 4-Suzy's Heat, 6-Ffats Brewing, 6-Dugout, 7-Apple River Inn.
Sunday's Single Elimination Tourney:
Game #1 – Ffats Brewing vs. Suzy's Heat – The first game of the single elimination tournament ended dramatically as Suzy's Heat rallied back with five runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie and walk off in the 9th to steal a 9-8 victory over Ffats Brewing of Whitehall. Trent Peterson of St. Croix Falls got the win in relief, entering the 5th inning and striking out seven allowing two runs on three hits over nine innings and striking out seven.
Game #2 – Dugout vs. Strikers Lanes – The Dugout fell behind early and scratched out two runs on the bats of Ben Lundgren and Jeremy Dagstad of Cushing, but came up short , falling to Strikers Lanes 5-2. Matt Stuhr of Whitehall got the win going seven innings giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five, while Ryan Byl of Luck takes the loss.
Game #3 – Suzy's Heat vs. Cushing Tigers – The third game of the day pitted two Cushing teams against one another and the Tigers jumped out to an early lead scoring three runs in the first inning and never looked back winning 8-3. Matt Lowe of Brill threw six innings for the Tigers striking out 12 and scattering 10 hits giving up only three runs. Jack Nelson of Balsam Lake racked up three extra base hits. The Heat's Trent Peterson showed off his batting skills racking up three hits including a double. Kevin Fisher of Balsam Lake took the loss.
Game #4 – Strikers vs. Pawns – After an early morning forfeit by the Apple River Inn, the Pawns started their day against a rolling Strikers team. After a scoreless three innings, the Pawns eventually broke through and scored four in the fourth, and four more in the fifth, to end the game in the fifth 8-1. Matt Stuhr of Whitehall took the loss for the Strikers.
Championship game – Cushing Tigers vs. Pawns – The defending Champion Pawns were poised to defend their title against the Cushing Tigers, a team that they had lost to on Saturday. The Pawns came out swinging, scoring one run in each of the first three innings before blowing the door open scoring three in the fourth. The Tigers managed to scratch out a run in the fifth on the bats of Brian Sandstrom of Luck and Max Loew, but it proved not to be enough as the Pawns finished the game off winning the Championship 8-1. Cullen Hanson of Cushing took the loss giving up six runs on five hits and four walks, striking out five.
*Written with information provided by Clayton and Hans Hanson.
June 27, 2019
Osceola Braves Baseball
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
The Osceola Braves Baseball Team has had mixed results so far this season. They have had a few wins and some disappointing losses.
Last week, the Braves lost to Stillwater, had a close game with River Falls, but lost, but managed to defeat the Haugen Hornets
Their game on Sunday against the Brill Millers was canceled due to heavy rains and storms. This was to be “sparkle” night as the Osceola Royalty was going to have a get together during the game. That game has been rescheduled for July 21 at 1 p.m.
The Braves are now entering their mid-season break and no games are scheduled for July 1-9.
July 3, 2019
Results from the Balsam Lake 5K
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
At 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, the annual 5K held as a part of the Balsam Lake Freedom Festival was held. It's gathering point was at the edge of Pine Park. Runners registered and eagerly awaited the start of the race. There were 118 participants this year.
What follows are those in the first 60 places. It should be noted there may be some errors or omissions since the time keeping was done without the aid of a sophisticated computer system.
1. Oliver Paleen (St. Paul, Minn.) 15:23; 2. Tommy Murray (Port Byron Ill.) 17:50; 3. Ted McKleen (Edina, Minn.) 17:59; 4. Lucas Anderson (Bloomer) 18:20; 5. Joe Ziegenfuss (Golden, Colo.) 18:41; 6. Nick Paulsen (Balsam Lake) 18:44; 7. Mason Peer (Centuria) 19:04; 8. Will Liethan (Edina, Minn.) 19:26; 9. Aaron Johnson (Hammond) 19:28; 10. Luis Santana (LaCrosse) 19:50.
11. Luke Unbehaun (Dodgeville) 20:48; 12. Taylor Polomis (Edina, Minn.) 20:58; 13. Jeffrey Peterka (Minneapolis, Minn.) 21:08; 14. Anna Czupryna 21:10; 15. Zeke Anderson (Bloomer); 16. Katie Benzinger (Duluth, Minn.) 21:15; 17. Brad Chartrand (Luck) 21:23; 18. Alex Chartrand (Luck) 21:25; 19. Dave Belisle (Somerset) 20. JD Manley (Edina, Minn.) 21:33.
21. Paul Manley (Edina, Minn.) 21:34; 22. Lauren Rochford (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) 21:36; 23. Jack Liethan (Edina, Minn.) 21:42; 24. Kacey Smekrud (LaGrange, Ky.) 22:09; 25. Adam Ziegenfuss (Golden, Colo.) 22:16; 26. Kevin Shay (St. Paul, Minn.) 22:36; 27. Emily Jorgenson (Balsam Lake) 22:52; 28. Ellen Somerville (Hudson) 22:53; 29. Scott Bock (St. Paul, Minn. 23:17; 30. Bianca Letteri (Minneapolis, Minn.) 23:26.
31. Paul Commers (Edina, Minn.) 23:35; 32. Brian Heller (Atlanta, Ga.) 23:47; 33. Scottie Stankiewicz (St. Paul, Minn.) 23:50; 34. Andy Peper (Mohtohmedi, Minn.) 24:00; 35. Grace Commers (Edina, Minn.) 24:00.81; 36. Sophia Black (Edina, Minn.) 24:01; 37. Andrew Huss (Maple Grove, Minn.) 24:05; 38. Mark Getty (Plymouth, Minn.) 24:20; 39. Chris Lenemen (Norwood Young America, Minn.) 40. Debra Dunsmoor (Centuria) 24:23.
41. Tessa Goodman (Apple Valley, Minn.) 24:24; 42. Landon Hanson (Apple Valley, Minn. 24:25; 43. Amy Smekrud (LaGrange, Ky.) 24:29; 44. Anne Turner (Rosemount, Minn.) 24:31; 45. Brian Erickson (Frederic) 24:34; 46. Tony Waters (Hammond) 24:20; 47. Jill Ziegenfuss (Golden, Colo.) 24:50; 48. Lauren Gropetti (Edina, Minn.) 24:55; 49. Payton Bjorkman (Madison) 25:07; 50. Kylie Swanson (Ham Lake) 25:17.
51. JH Bjorkman (Ellsworth) 25:25; 52. Daryl Ince (Balsam Lake) 25:35; 53. Jon Commers (St. Paul, Minn.) 25:38; 54. James Czupryna (Hudson) 25:39; 55. Henry Czupryna (Hudson) 25:40; 56. Jason Wirka (Mahtomedi, Minn.) 25:42; 57. Asia Lansing (Ellsworth) 25:44; 58. Erin Smekrud (Cayce, S.C.) 25:46; 59. Faith Peper (Mahtomedi, Minn.) 25:46; 60. Scott Stankiewicz (Vadnais Height, Minn.) 25:48.
July 11, 2019
In and Out of Luck 5K results
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
Last weekend was Lucky Days, and part of that annual town festival was the 5K held Saturday morning at 8 a.m.
The turnout was not as good as it might have been as the area suffered severe weather the day before and many were still dealing with the aftermath, as evidenced by the running course that was littered with debris.
Still 20 runners showed up to take part. The results are as follows:
1 – Wyatt Jensen 21:49, 2 – Michael Klein 23:56, 3 – Dave Belisle 23:55, 4 – Kent Throlson 24:10,
5 – Patrick Quinn 25:10, 6 – Steve Brandt 25:36, 7 – Trey Schmalz 26:12, 8 – Don Weber 26:17,
9 – Jennifer Watkins 26:17, 10 – Emma Peters 26:49, 11 – Caitlin Klein 27:16, 12–Debra Dunsmoor 27:21
13 – Ava Peters 28:05, 14 – Rick Vezina 28:06, 15 – Ralph LaDuke 28:32, 16 – Daniel Johnson 29:11
17 – Olivia Peters 29:23, 18 – Ella Danner 29:37, 19 – Sharon Stoll 31:26, 20–Colleen McMillen 31:55
July 25, 2019
Jump results from the Polk County Fair
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
What follows are the results for the 4H Horse Project Jumping Program. Those under Section A are the most challenging with cross rails, verticals and oxers. Section B is intermediate with cross rails and verticals. Section C includes only cross rails. The Hunter over Fences portion scores the horse. Hunter Equitation over Fences scores the rider.
Hunter over Fences A- 1st Blue – Katrina Gamer, White – Hannah Johnson. Hunter over Fences B- 1st Blue – Katelyn Kozak-Hach, 2nd Blue – Greta Erickson
1st Red – Tori Collins, 1st White – Daedyn Pearce, Hunter over Fences C- 1st Blue – Ava Schueller, 2nd Blue – Caitlyn Vitalis, Red – Leah Olson, White–McKenzie Christian, Pink – Tia Lochner, Hunter Equitation over Fences A - 1st Blue – Katrina Gamer, 2nd Blue – Hannah Johnson, Hunter Equitation over Fences B - 1st Blue – Katelyn Kozak-Hach, 2nd Blue – Tori Collins, 1st White – Daedyn Pearce, 2nd White- Greta Erickson, Hunter Equitation over Fences C-
1st Blue – Caitlyn Vitalis, 2nd Blue – Ava Schueller, Red – Leah Olson, White–McKenzie Christian, Pink – Tia Lochner, Timed Obstacle Jumping for Section A:
1st Blue – Katrina Gamer, 2nd Blue Hannah Johnson, Section B: 1st Blue – Tori Collins, 2nd Blue - Daedyn Pearce, 1st Red – Greta Erickson, Pink Katelyn Kozak-Hach, Section C: 1st Blue – Ava Schueller, 2nd Blue – Leah Olson, 1st Red – Caitlyn Vitalis, 2nd Red – Tia Lochner
Pink – McKenzie Christian
August 1, 2019
Polocrosse in Polk County
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
In a humble hay field north of St. Croix Falls last weekend an event exciting to both spectators and participants took place.
The Minnesota Polocrosse Club held a tournament over the weekend that drew participants from as far away as Australia. However most players and their mounts came from the continental United States including Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Texas to name a few.
Imagining lacrosse on horseback will give a pretty good person an idea of what they will see attending a match.
Each rider uses a cane or fiberglass stick to which is attached a racket head with a loose, thread net, in which the ball is carried. The ball is made of sponge rubber and is approximately four inches across. The objective is to score goals by throwing the ball between the opposing team's goal posts.
The Polocrosse World Cup is held every four years. The 2019 World Cup held in Australia was claimed by the Australian team.
Unlike polo, players are allowed only to play one horse, except in the case of injury. There is no restriction on the horse's height, although polocrosse horses are generally smaller than 16hh. Horses of all breeds play polocrosse.
A team consists of six players, divided into two sections of three who each play either two, three or four chukkas of six to eight minutes, depending on the rules of the tournament, with the two sections from each team alternating on and off the field each chukka.
A match comprises four, six or eight chukkas. The three players in each section play the position of a #1, attack, a #2, midfield (a combination of defense and offense), or a #3 defense.
The team structure was designed to force players to pass the ball about amongst themselves, making it a better skilled, faster sport.
The field is 60 by 160 yards, with three separate areas. The goal scoring areas, on each end, are 30 yards long. Only the #1 of the attacking team and the #3 of the defending team can play in these areas.
The middle area is 100 yards long. The line separating the goal scoring and center area is called the penalty or thirty-yard line. Goal posts are eight feet apart. To score, the ball must be thrown from outside an 11-yard semicircle in front of the goal.
Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racket, and ride with it. They throw it to other players until the #1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it while actually crossing the line. It can also be passed to a player over the line.
When carrying the ball, a player must carry it on the stick side, i.e. right-handed players must carry it on the offside of the horse (if a person has possession of the ball and crosses the racket over the centre-line of the horse (the line that runs from the horses ears to the tail) it is a foul). A player can, however, pick-up or catch the ball on the non-stick side provided they immediately bring it back to their stick side.
Each chukka begins with a line up at a central spot on the side boundary line in center field. The players from each team line up in single file, facing the umpire at the edge of the field, with the #1's in front, followed by the #2's and then the #3's. The umpire then throws the ball between the players, between shoulder and racket height so that all players have a chance to catch the ball. The teams always line up on the defensive side of one another.
The game reconvenes similarly after a goal has been scored, with the line up taking place on the alternate side of the field for every goal that is scored. Whenever a goal is missed, the #3 is awarded a 10-yard throw from the 30 yard line.
The most common award given in the case of a penalty is a 10-yard throw. Where the foul occurred determines the position on the field at which the throw is taken. Depending on the nature of the penalty, the 10 yard throw may be taken at the spot where the penalty occurred or it may be moved down the field to the next 30 yard line to advantage the fouled team.
Not all fouls are punished with a ten-yard throw. Particularly dangerous fouls (such as hitting another player in the head or helmet with the racket) result in a free goals being awarded. If a player continues to commit fouls after being cautioned by the umpire, commits a particularly dangerous or intentional foul, or generally behaves dangerously, the umpire can dismiss the player from the field.
If both teams are responsible for a penalty, or if the ball goes out of bounds after being deflected off a horse, the game is restarted with a line up. If the penalty occurs when the ball is in the end zone, the umpire will call a line up from within the area, between the attacking 1 and defending 3 players. If the penalty occurs when the ball is in center field the game is restarted with a line up at the nearest sideline.
It is also illegal to ride through the goal posts, if any player's horse steps all 4 legs through the posts, it is an automatic free goal to the opposing team.
Players can get the ball from the opposition by hitting at an opponent's stick in an upwards direction only, with the swing starting from below the horses quarters when swing is forward, or below the horses withers when the swing is backward. This is done either to dislodge the ball or to prevent the opposition from gaining possession of it. This is called “giving wood.”
Riding off is also allowed, but crossing, stopping over the ball, or elbowing all constitute fouls. Sandwiching one player between two others also constitutes a foul.
So there it is. A sport that looks challenging to even stay mounted for with seemingly as many rules as football, baseball and wrestling combined. The players in attendance this weekend knew the rules and knew how to ride and play the game.
What follows are the results from last weekend. As one can tell by the names of the participating teams, no one takes themselves to seriously. Players are rated from A-D, highest rank to lowest.
A Division -
1st – Win or Booze (Tennessee Valley Club from Alabama).
2nd – That's What She Said (Lone Star Club from Texas).
3rd – Dream Killers (Sugarloaf Club from Maryland).
4th – Kiss My End Zone (mostly from Canada).
B Division –
1st – Back That Pass Up (Grand Bay Club from Alabama).
2nd – Can't Touch This (Kokopelli Club from Colorado). 3rd – The Ball Handlers (mostly Minnesota). 4th – The Young and the Rest of Us (mostly Lone Star Club from Texas).
C Division –
1st - Need for Speed (mostly Minnesota).
2nd – MN Rising Stars (Minnesota).
3rd – Game of Throws (mostly Lone Star Club).
4th – Fearless and Flawless (Minnesota).
D Division -
1st – Dolls With Balls (mostly Minnesota).
2nd – Not Fast Just Furious (Minnesota).
3rd – Small But Mighty (mostly Minnesota).
4th – Weekend Warriors (Minnesota).
August 8, 2019
Ski team co-op looking bleak
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
At the St. Croix Falls School Board meeting on Tuesday night, Athletic Director Paul Randolph was present to discuss a number of topics, amongst them was the request of one student's family to “rejoin” the ski-team co-op with Chisago Lakes.
The school district hasn't participated in the co-op for a number of years.
“The last time we participated in it was eight years ago,” noted Randolph. “It was a seventh grader. She participated for a year and then was done. During that time, they (Chisago Lakes) have changed athletic directors three times.”
Randolph noted that if the board decided to approve the request, it would only be good for one year as the Chisago Lakes School District had formally requested to dissolve the co-op to their athletic governing body.
“They have the numbers sufficient to support it,” said Randolph. “They have numbers in the 30s. I approached Forest Lake about a co-op and they were not interested either, because they also have the numbers to support the program. And North Branch doesn't have a downhill team, only a cross country ski team.”
Participating on the ski team comes with a hefty price tag. Last year, the cost was $882 per student. This includes lift tickets where they compete, and transportation and coaching costs. This year it is less at $765 per student, plus the Chisago Lakes student athletic fee of $205, plus $382.50 for a season pass to Wild Mountain (if purchased by October).
The board made no decision on the matter.
August 15, 2019
Football season gets underway
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
The 2019 fall sports season is getting underway as student athletes are all participating in practices in their selective sports as well as participating in games, triads and the like as they learn what their teams have going for them as well as what they still need to work on.
The Eagles, The Cardinals and the Saints have all had the opportunity to get some quality playing time on the field, with mixed results.
The Luck Cardinal Football Team is unique with its 8-man line-up, and last year they were a dominate force making it to state last year.
Luck took on Mellen last Friday and they didn't take any prisoners. The Cards dominated the other team early on establishing a handy lead 40-12 in the first quarter, thanks in part to the fancy footwork of Bennett Jensen and successful two-point conversions.
With a significant lead going into the second quarter they toned it down a bit scoring another 16 in the second while allowing Mellen 14 points.
The third quarter saw the Cards earn another 16 points while holding Mellen scoreless.
Luck did not score in the fourth and Mellen got another six points making the final score 72-32, Luck.
The Unity Football Team has high hopes for a successful season and were truly tested by Spring Valley last Friday.
Things stayed even in the first quarter with each team earning seven points. Unity lost a little ground in the second, scoring six points to Spring Valley's seven.
The third quarter is what hurt the Eagles the most when they proved unable to score while allowing their opponents another seven points.
The Eagles attempted a rally in the fourth quarter with another eight points, but the Spring Valley Team managed seven of their own. Final score: 28-21, Spring Valley.
“We knew going into the game that it would be a dog fight,” observed Unity Head Coach Cory Nelson. “Spring Valley always has a strong team and this year is no different. I thought our offense moved the ball effectively at points during the game, but we were a little out of sync early on. Once we figured a few things out, we were able to control the clock and move the ball.
“We had two drives of 15 plays or more, and two other drives with at least 10 plays. I think our offensive line did pretty well on Friday night and opened up some nice holes for our running backs and quarterback.
“I was really impressed with how our kids responded after Spring Valley scored their last touchdown. We could have folded, but our players drove the ball down the field and put us in a position for us to score at the end of the game. Unfortunately, we were unable to.
“Our defense was able to stop them on a few drives, but we also had a few times where our kids read something wrong and they broke the play for big yards.
“Like I said earlier, they are a good team and I am happy we opened the season with them to see where we are at,” noted Nelson. “Although we lost Friday night, we learned some valuable lessons that will help us later on during the season. We play Amery on Friday and it should be another good game. We have to have a good week of practice and move on from this loss and focus on improving and getting back in the win column.
St. Croix Falls Football
The St. Croix Falls Saints Football Team went up against Bloomer last Friday.
The Saints have saw some struggles last season, but have higher expectations this season.
Bloomer was the first and only team to score in the first quarter of the game thanks to a completed 37 yard pass and two point conversion.
The Saints did manage to score in the second with McKinley Erickson making a two yard run and a successful field goal kick by Caleb Bents for seven total points.
Unfortunately, for the Saints that is all the scoring that their team mustered as Bloomer countered with another eight points in the second and another six points in the third.
Final score: 22-7, Bloomer.
August 29, 2019