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Hoops, pucks add pizzazz to winter

Dear Shirley, We have hoops and pucks on the calendar this weekend. I don't know how we'd get through the winter here without Sioux sports. There's nothing I'd rather watch than Carissa Jahner at work as a guard, Karla Beck with her swift moves o...

Dear Shirley,

We have hoops and pucks on the calendar this weekend. I don't know how we'd get through the winter here without Sioux sports. There's nothing I'd rather watch than Carissa Jahner at work as a guard, Karla Beck with her swift moves or Kelsey Maffin cutting to the basket.

Well, the whole team is a joy to watch. And tonight they will be meeting a good Augustana team at 6 p.m. at the Betty Engelstad Arena.

I like the whole scene, Shirley. The Athletic Band directed by Robert Brooks and a bunch of students in the Sioux Crew make things lively. Then there are the cheerleaders and the dance team. Lots of pizzazz.

And one of the best touches is when the guy with the great big green flag leads the teams onto the floor. His name is Loyall Jahnke and he drives up from the Casselton, N.D., area for Sioux games. He wears a black cowboy hat because he says that's just him. He's really into Sioux sports.

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It all started for him when his stepson, Marcus McKenzie, was playing football for the Sioux a dozen years ago. Marcus has now moved on - he's playing arena football in Columbus, Ohio. But Loyall and his wife, Carol, find their way to Grand Forks in their little black Honda for games.

Jahnke is the guy who runs around the football field after every touchdown waving a big green flag. That's something he started on a dare years ago. Then last year he went to a basketball game and said he would be honored if he could lead the women's team onto the floor with his flag. Coach Gene Roebuck checked with his team, and they thought it would be great.

Now Jahnke is out there bringing in the women's team and the men's team as well. It's really fun to see. The guy is about 50 and his daytime job is running heavy equipment for a dirt-moving contractor. He'll be at the game tonight if he can get off work a little early.

All the action - that's what I like about Sioux sports. I am finally figuring out who all the players are on the men's team. They're mostly new this year and so is the coach, Brian Jones.

One of my favorite players is Emmanuel Little. He's very talented, Shirley. Then there's a guy named Mike Gutter, and I don't think you would want to mess with him. He comes to play the game, and he really means business.

There's more basketball Saturday when the teams from Nebraska-Omaha show up. And the Sioux hockey team is playing the Bulldogs from Minnesota-Duluth on Friday and Saturday nights.

I guess there won't be much time to worry about the weather, Shirley. I'll just try to remember where I park my car so I don't have to run around in the cold looking for it.

I'd like to come down and warm up at your place on the desert, but I am organizing a basketball bus trip to Duluth on Feb. 24. Then next thing you know it'll be March.

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And for some reason, I always think spring is here when March rolls around - even though that historically is the month for blizzards.

We have our joys and our sorrows around here, Shirley. This week brought a final farewell at First Presbyterian Church for Jessie Lavoy, a woman who came from Texas years ago and lived and loved in this community. She pitched in and helped as a volunteer. She played bridge. She gardened. She made many good friends because she laughed a lot. That is how we will remember her.

And tonight at UND, students and the public are invited to listen to four fairly recent women graduates of UND College of Business and Public Administration who are excelling in their fields. They are Heather Johnson Kukla, Jackie Simon-Anderson, Stephanie Helgeson and Sarah Nielsen. They will appear in a Hultberg Lectureship panel at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Union.

Their stories should be an inspiration to students following in their footsteps.

Thanks for your e-mail about the temperatures at 80 degrees in Tucson and the 18 holes of golf you played this week. You can be a pain in the neck. But I send my love from frozen North Dakota.

Your sister, Marilyn.

Reach Hagerty at (701) 772-1055 or mhagerty@gfherald.com or mhagerty@gra.midco.net

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