Wrenshall Forfeits Football Season
The 2009 varsity Nine-Man football season is over at Wrenshall High School. Coaches and administrators decided to forfeit the remainder of the season late last month after injuries and players leaving the team reduced the roster to nine players, seven of whom are freshmen.
"We only played one game this year," coach Jeremy Zywicki said. "We were in a real tough spot. We have three transfer students who have to sit out a year by state high school league rules, and we didnít have enough players to play."
Despite playing only one game on the field, a 42-8 loss against Nevis in the second week of the season, Wrenshall does have a win. Laporte forfeited the first game of the year to the Wrens before forfeiting its season, too.
Wrenshall in turn forfeited its game against Northland-Remer on September 18.
"We were starting five freshmen and we were starting players who werenít quite ready for a varsity field," Zywicki said. "They werenít ready mentally and, though they were big enough physically, they werenít ready to make the adjustment to the speed and strength of the players at the varsity level."
Wrenshall started the season with 15 players, but lost two seniors to injuries while a third senior left the team. Zywicki was starting a foreign-exchange student with no football experience at guard as a result, and he also left the team.
More Troubles Up North
The Iron Range sports programs are continuing to face threats of consolidation or closure as populations in those communities continue to decline.
Nashwauk-Keewatin, a grid power in Class 7A in recent seasons, has ended its football program and will send its 18 players to Coleraine to combine with the Raiders. Coleraine is facing its own problems and has combined with Grand Rapids in several sports and Nashwauk for wrestling. Nashwauk won the 7A grid title for three straight years as recently as 2005.
AlBrook, Cotton, Cook, Orr and Tower-Soudan are all threatened with the end of their football programs pending the results of a $78 million school district referendum in November. Nashwauk faced the alternative of dropping to nine man play had it kept its own team.
The additions swell the Raiders ranks to 60 in the top for grades. Cotton has paired with East Range Academy, a charter school in Eveleth, to maintain its grid team this fall. Tower has only 16 football candidates while Cook County of Grand Marais, which has long ruled the region, is facing a drop to nine man ball.
Even if the referendum passes, there will be major changes with a new consolidated high school built and Cook, Cotton, Orr, AlBrook and Tower-Soudan almost sure to close. Tower students would move to Babbitt-Embarrass High.
Gustafson, leads CLC women
Former Wadena-Deer Creek golfer Tracy Gustafson placed second as the Central Lakes College women's golf team opened the season September 2 by winning an invitational at Ruttger's.
Gustafson carded an 86 as the Raiders finished with a 286 team score.
PL grad signs at Weber International
Charlie Hollinbeck of Pequot Lakes has signed to play golf this season for Weber International University in Florida.
Hollinbeck was a member of the Pequot Lakes Patriots boys' golf team that finished runner-up the last two seasons in the Section 6-2A tournament.
Hollinbeck was also a member of the Northern Lakes hockey team.
Eden Prairie a national powerhouse?
Eden Prairie has landed a spot on Sports Illustrated's ranking of the top 10 high school athletic programs in the country.
In building its list, the magazine said it looked at state championships, Division I scholarship athletes and their success on and off the field.
The Eagles claimed the number nine spot. Sports Illustrated noted Eden Prairie's state championships in boys' hockey and girls' lacrosse, along with the school's second straight Challenge Cup -- a statewide, yearlong competition among the member schools in the Minnesota State High School League.
The top school, according to Sports Illustrated is Honolulu Punahou, which has won 61 state titles over the past four years, 19 of them during 2008-09. One of Punahou's distinguished former athletes is President Barack Obama.
Olafson captures inaugural Pine to Palm Mid-Am title
The Pine to Palm Golf Tournament is full of tradition through its 77 years of existence and it looks like itís adding to that trend. The Mid-Am Division made its Pine to Palm debut this summer and for all things considered ó it will be a mainstay for the future.
lthough the division had only 22 golfers register for qualifying, the competitive play from the 40-55 year old golfers was an attraction throughout the week at the Detroit Lakes Country Club.
For Jay Olafson, a former Wadena resident, it was extra special after he topped Kent Fronk 3 and 2 for the first Mid-Am championship. Olafson now has earned the right to have his named sketched as the first-ever Pine to Palm Mid-Am champion.
"That will be cool and great," Olafson said of seeing his name as the first Mid-Am champion. "To see my name somewhere up there will be huge. The Mid-Am was lots of fun this week and I think it will only be bigger next year with some bigger names."
The Mid-Am champion said the Pine to Palm committee was dead-on by installing the new division.
"It's a nice thing to have at our age," Olafson said. "You get to play guys your own age, who don't get the opportunity to play golf every single day like some of the young guys in Championship.
"It is still competitive, but it's not cut-throat competitive. There was some close matches and I see the quality getting better."