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AREA PREP SPORTS: Morehart back at coaching; crossing line in one of area's biggest rivalries

Kyle Morehart's departure from the basketball coaching ranks didn't last long. And not only is Morehart back in coaching; he's crossing the line in one of the area's biggest rivalries. After several seasons as the head girls basketball coach at H...

Kyle Morehart's departure from the basketball coaching ranks didn't last long.

And not only is Morehart back in coaching; he's crossing the line in one of the area's biggest rivalries.

After several seasons as the head girls basketball coach at Hillsboro High School (and co-coach on last season's initial Hillsboro-Central Valley co-op team), Morehart has accepted the position as boys head basketball coach at Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg.

That's the stuff of Hatfields vs. McCoys. Hillsboro and Mayville-Portland-CG have been big rivals through the years. Morehart played through the rivalry as a 1985 Hillsboro High School graduate. But, he said, times have changed.

"This wouldn't have happened in the 1980s," Morehart said. "The rivalry was so much deeper then. It's still a rivalry. But I don't think it is the bitter rivalry it once was. Social media has changed things. Kids (from the different schools) know each other more personally than when I was in school. They're friends more than rivals."

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Morehart resigned from the Hillsboro-CV coaching position in August. He said he wasn't looking to get back into the profession. But after Ryan Silbernagel resigned as the Patriots' boys basketball coach last summer, the wheels started turning.

"I wanted to take a break," said Morehart, who will continue teaching at Hillsboro. "That's what I thought at the time, anyway. But some of the Mayville-Portland people I know pretty well sort of joked around about me taking the job.

"I never thought of it as a possibility; that I could teach in one school and coach in another, especially a rival school. But gradually it went from joking around to serious talk. I grew up following and playing Class B boys basketball. Deep down, I always wanted to be a part of it again."

This isn't the first Burros-Patriots connection in the May-Port-CG program. Hillsboro High School graduate Dave Nelson retired in 2008 after coaching Patriots boys basketball for nine years, a span in which May-Port-CG won two North Dakota Class B state titles and was runner-up in another season.

Keith Meyer has been named the new Burros girls basketball coach. He's a Hillsboro graduate who has past coaching experience with the program. In the 1984 season, Meyer led the Burros to their lone state girls basketball title.

Roseau's 1-2 punch

Perham is ranked third in the Minnesota Class A girls cross country poll and will be favored to repeat as champion at next week's Section 8A meet in Bagley.

Roseau lacks the Yellowjackets' depth. But the Rams have a one-two combination that is the equal to Perham. At the Park Rapids meet Monday, in a field that included Perham, the top two finishers were Roseau teammates Ellie Nelson and Madeline Huglen.

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Nelson, an eighth-grader, won with a time of 15 minutes, 4.1 seconds. Huglen, a junior who is defending 8A champion and has been in the top 12 in the state rankings this season, was second at 15:07.2.

"Madeline always is up near the top in races," Roseau coach Ken Hayden said. "This is the first time Ellie has beaten her. She's really come on strong.

"Madeline won earlier in the year when we raced Perham. She's no surprise. But Ellie was fourth, behind two other Perham girls."

Perham had five of the top 17 finishers in winning with 43 points. Roseau, even with the top two placers, finished third with 110 points. "Perham has so much quality depth," Hayden said. "We rely on our one-two punch."

Strong field in East

Ashley Perez is defending state champion in North Dakota Class B girls cross country. And yet, in the latest state coaches' poll, the Dakota Prairie standout is ranked seventh, with three East Region runners ranked ahead of her.

Veteran Griggs County Central coach Rick Anderson said it isn't that Perez's performance has declined. Rather, that shows the quality of the East Region, which has six of the top nine in the latest poll.

"I don't know that Perez has slowed down,'' Anderson said. "It's just that a lot of girls have really improved.

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"I think there are five or six girls who could win the regional and it wouldn't be a surprise. Ashley Neumiller (of Carrington) is probably the favorite, but there are a lot of girls who are capable of winning it.''

The regional meet will be held Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., in Cooperstown. The region's ranked girls runners are Neumiller (second), Hillsboro-Central Valley's Annika Rotvold (fourth) and Gracie Wright (sixth), Perez, Langdon's Madison Gapp (eighth) and Mayville-Portland-C-G's Cailee Peterson (ninth).

Hillsboro-CV, the two-time defending state champion, figures to be the favorite to win the regional.

On the boys' side, Anderson said Medina is a slight favorite in a wide-open field. "But there are four or five teams who have been beating each other -- us, Hillsboro-Central Valley, Grafton, Langdon and Central Cass have all had their days. But Medina seems to be the most consistent,'' Anderson said.

Thomas Horgeshimer of Lisbon is the individual favorite, Anderson said.

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1128 or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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