AREA NOTEBOOK: Big scorers spark Crookston

Crookston won four events and had top-three finishers in 13 events in winning the Section 8A girls true team track meet. To be competitive in the state true team meet, the Pirates will probably need similar big-point success.

Crookston won four events and had top-three finishers in 13 events in winning the Section 8A girls true team track meet. To be competitive in the state true team meet, the Pirates will probably need similar big-point success.

The Pirates are one of nine teams in the Class A state true team meet Saturday in Stillwater. It will be Crookston’s second appearance in Amy Boll’s five seasons as coach.

“I think we can be in the top five at the state meet,’’ Boll said. “You don’t know what other teams have. But we know we have some great athletes, and we have competitors.’’

At the section meet, Aleece Durbin was a double winner (100 and long jump, while also finishing second in the 200), Danica Brekken won the 1,600 and Crookston took first in the 4x400 relay.

“We have a nice balance, with some kids who should place pretty high and some depth,’’ Boll said. “It’s important to have depth. Every point matters. But you need those big scorers. It would be tough to finish high if you’re not getting some of those high places.’’


Elsewhere, postseason play gets underway in North Dakota Class B baseball as well as Minnesota and North Dakota softball.


Minnesota Section 8A: Seeding will be completed Friday, based on QRF rankings. Three 8A teams currently are in the top 10 statewide in QRF rankings, Sacred Heart (No. 5) and Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal (No. 8) in the south subsection and Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (No. 9) in the north subsection.

“We all have good pitchers,’’ B-G-MR coach Kent Christian said. “Sacred Heart (Hannah Reimer) is a strikeout pitcher. Our pitchers (Aunica Novacek and Julie Stenberg) rely more on the defense. Norman East (Rana Opsahl) is probably more of a combination pitcher, who can get strikeouts but who also relies on defense.’’

Christian said Red Lake Falls, Norman County, Lake of the Woods and Blackduck all are  in the contender mix in the balanced section.

Minnesota Section 8AA: Thief River Falls appears to be the No. 1 seed in North 8AA, which will be determined later this week. But the Prowlers have dropped games to Hawley (10-0) and Dilworth-G-F (11-2) out of the south subsection.

“The power has been in the south the last three years,’’ fourth-year TRF coach Carter Rogalla said. “I think the top two teams are in the south again.’’

The tournament begins Tuesday with games at the highest seeds.


“A lot of my kids have had success this year, be it in volleyball, hockey or basketball,’’ Rogalla said. “This is a different sport. But they’ve been in that moment, in those big games at state tournaments. Hopefully that helps us.’’

North Dakota Class B East Region: When Thompson beat Hankinson 26-24 on Saturday, “the umpires were joking that it was like a slowpitch game, there was so much offense,’’ Thompson coach Kayla Frappier said.

The game was fastpitch, and in the East Region, big-scoring games have been the norm. But Frappier looks for defense when the regional is held Monday in Kindred. The top four teams advance to state. Kindred-Richland is the No. 1 seed, followed by Central Cass, Thompson and Grafton.

“The hitting in our region has been outrageous,’’ Frappier said. “But the pitchers are more fine tuned now. I think the teams that can shut down their opponents are the ones who will advance.’’

N.D. Class B baseball

Region 2: It is crowded at the top. Hatton-Northwood (8-2) and Thompson (8-2) tied for the top seed, with Larimore (7-3) right behind.

“In years past, it seemed like it was usually two teams separating themselves from the rest,’’ said Ben Jacobson, in his 13th season as Larimore’s coach. “This year, there are four teams. Mayville-Portland has lost a lot of close games. All four of those should compete for the title.’’

The region begins Monday with games at Hatton and Thompson.
Region 3: Midkota, relying on co-op partner Griggs County Central, takes the No. 1 seed into the regional, which opens Monday in New Rockford.


Midkota is 9-1 in the region and seeded first on the strength of a pair of one-run wins against Carrington. Midkota’s starting lineup includes eight Griggs CC students. Top pitchers Tyler Gravseth (5-0), Riley Nelson (3-2) and Jayden Grover (4-1) are from GCC.

“Those three are very good high school pitchers,’’ Mustangs coach Rick Christianson said. “Riley and Jayden throw pretty hard. They all throw strikes and have good stuff. They’re the heart of our team.’’

Region 4: Grafton is undefeated (26-0) for the season and has locked up the No. 1 seed, with Pembina County North at No. 2. But the Spoilers have had some up-and-down moments.

“We’ve 10-runned everybody in the region once,’’ Grafton coach Chad Kliniske said. “But we’ve also had close games with everyone. Everybody else seems to be beating each other up. Pitching is a good place to start for us.’’

Hunter Baldwin and Jaron Lunday lead a Spoilers staff that has a 1.75 earned run average and holds opponents to a sub-.200 batting average. The region starts Monday with Grafton and Pembina County North hosting two games each.
Region 5: Harvey-Wells County has been solid all season and is the No. 1 seed entering the regional, which begins Monday in Harvey. Second seed North Star has won seven of its last nine games to improve to 9-4.

“We were making a ton of errors early,’’ Bearcats coach Jesse Vote said. “We’ve cut down on those. WIth Jayden Komrosky, we have one of the top pitchers in the region and we have decent depth. Our hitters put the ball in play. Defense is still the key for us.’’


Aunica Novacek has become the sixth player in the Badger-Greenbush-Middle River fastpitch program to reach 100 career hits. . . . Midway-Minto basketball teammates Helen Schuster and Mackenzie Irwin have signed letters of intent to play basketball at Lake Region State College. . . . Crookston’s Luke Edlund has signed a letter of intent to play football at Crown College. . . . Mayville-Portland-CG’s Chase Knudson has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Mayville State. . . . Kittson County Central’s Nick Kennedy has signed a letter of intent to play golf at Minnesota-Crookston.

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