"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn

Focus of pride in Morris MN: our school! - morris mn
Our school in Morris is a hub of community activity and enrichment. (B.W. photo)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Larson's TD spells defeat for MACA boys

ACGC 7, Tigers 0
The MACA Tigers found points elusive Friday night in Falcon country of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
The Tigers went from scoring 41 points in week #4 to being held scoreless in the week #5 affair.
ACGC's offense was hardly humming either. Or, let's say the two defenses put on a fine exhibition. Whatever the explanation, there was only one touchdown scored. Taylor Larson found the end zone for the host Falcons. He crossed the end zone stripe in the third quarter on a big run of 36 yards. Colton Minnick kicked the point-after.
ACGC upped its season record to 3-2 with a 7-0 win over our Tigers. The string of zeroes looks depressing in the game's boxscore. It was a far cry from the frequent scoring that marked the Morris Area Homecoming game the previous week.
Click on the permalink below to view a Flickr photo album of MACA Tiger football, 2013. I took these photos at three games at our Big Cat Stadium. - B.W.
 
The numbers were down for the Tigers including passing where Bryce Jergenson had three completions in eleven attempts for 28 yards and an interception. Bo Olson had two of the catches and Corey Storck the other. Corey's catch covered 20 yards.
Isaac Wente was slowed in his rushing yardage, accumulating just 37 yards on this night in 18 carries. Nathan Anderson had 24 rushing yards in nine carries, Olson 18 yards in three carries and Trent Wulf 15 yards in seven.
Noah Grove punted the ball five times for an average of 30.4 yards.
The Tigers had ten first downs and were called for seven penalties setting them back 35 yards. They recovered a fumble.
There just weren't enough pluses there to translate into points.
ACGC had ten first downs like the Tigers. Taylor Larson passed the football sparingly but most efficiently. The stats show him completing four passes in four attempts for 48 yards and no interceptions. All four catches were made by Maverick Whitcomb. (I like that name.)
Larson also had an interception on defense. Larson carried the football eleven times for 57 yards. The other significant ballcarrier for the Falcons was Jordan Nelson with 13 carries for 54 yards. David Kinzler did the Falcons' punting.
The Tigers' Wente, while slowed on this night, advanced his season rushing total to 558 yards.
We're past the halfway point in the regular season schedule. Alas, the Tigers don't look so good in won-lost, sitting at 1-4. They'll play another road contest this Friday vs. Montevideo. Monte is coming off a 34-6 loss to Minnewaska Area.
 
Runners in mass competition
The big running event at Milaca has won the name "mega." The description is most apt. A sea of runners vies in prep cross country.
You can look for some orange and black there. Morris Area Chokio Alberta is in the running.
The 2013 edition of the "Mega Meet" was held on Saturday, Sept. 21. A runner familiar to our Tigers, Alaysia Freetly of Lac qui Parle/Dawson-Doyd, was No. 1 in the AA girls race, covering the 4K in 14:56. The AA boys winner was Ephram Bird of Minnehaha Academy (15:55 in the 5K).
Minnehaha Academy was the boys team winner in AA, while LQPV-DB was No. 2 in the girls, trailing only Perham.
The MACA runners vied in the Class A competition. The Class A winning teams were Long Prairie-Grey Eagle in the boys and Trinity River Ridge in the girls.
Here's a listing of the Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys who covered that 5K: Aaron Goulet (17:33), Ryan Gray (18:45), Jon Jerke (19:14), Eric Staebler (20:41) and Travis Ostby (21:37).
Here's a listing of the girls running under coach Dale Henrich: Savannah Aanerud (17:20), Lauren Reimers (17:44), Becca Holland (18:15), Kindra Cannon (19:06) and Anna Grove (19:18).
The individual winners in Class A were both from Redwood Valley: Ryan Phillips (16:23) and Kayla Huhnerkoch (14:46).
 
Tennis: loss to 'Waska
Minnewaska Area's rackets were potent and precise against the Tigers in Tuesday (9/24) girls tennis action. The Lakers prevailed in all the categories.
MACA first singles player Abbie Olson was defeated by Ellen Stensrud. Kaitlin Vogel bowed at second singles vs. Jada Hoffman. Katie Cannon came out on the short end at third singles against Hannah Freske. Maddie Hennen was defeated at fourth singles by Myranda Thoen.
On to doubles: The No. 1 MACA team of Carly Gullickson and Kjersa Anderson fell vs. Rachel Riley and Makenna Hanson. Brittany Cardwell and Hannah Brueggemann wielded the rackets at No. 2 doubles and they fell vs. Joelle Thorfinnson and Annika Pederson. At No. 3 doubles it was Annie Brandt and Jessica Burks vying for MACA, and they were defeated by Sarah Freske and Karissa LaMont of the Lakers.
Quick question: Why do so many sports summaries in the Willmar newspaper appear with no mention of where the game/match was held?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tigers, Warriors engage in 5-game battle

BOLD 3, Tigers 2
The Tigers entered Thursday's (9/27) match on a roll. They had been on a roll not only winning, but winning by sweep.
On Thursday they faced a team with a little more punch than some of their recent foes. This was BOLD, the Warriors, who had several more matches under their belt. BOLD won Thursday and ascended to the ten-win plateau. They have lost four times. The MACA record coming out of Thursday was 6-4.
Fans at the MAHS gym saw a full five-game match. It was a seesaw affair. First BOLD won 25-23. The Tigers carved out the edge in game #2, 25-21. Then it was BOLD on top again, 25-21, before MACA took charge in game #4, 25-13.
The home fans were hoping to see a continuation of that game #4 momentum. But the Warriors came on strong to win game #5 and the match, 15-9.
Haley Erdahl and Chelsey Ehleringer each put up 17 set assists.
Beth Holland was precise at the serving line, nailing two serve aces while going 23-for-23 in good/attempts. Kourtney Giese, Erdahl and Sydney Engebretson each nailed one serving ace. Giese's G/A numbers were 11 of 12, Erdahl was 13 of 13 in G/A, and Engebretson finished 13 of 14.
Hunter Mundal had eight good serves in ten attempts, and Terianne Itzen was a perfect 17 of 17.
Erdahl and Paige Schieler each went up to execute two ace blocks. Engebretson added one ace block.
Itzen was tops on the digs list with 33. Holland executed 24 digs. Ehleringer and Erdahl each had 19. Lacee Maanum and Engebretson each performed 15 digs, Paige Schieler had ten, Nicole Strobel eight, Giese seven and Mundal six.
The hitting attack saw Engebretson at the fore with 17 kills achieved on 56 of 61 in good/attempts. Schieler was a force with 13 kills on 45 of 48 in G/A. Itzen pounded down 12 kills on 58 of 66 in G/A.
Maanum had three kills while going 25 of 30. Strobel and Erdahl each had one kill with Strobel having 13 of 14 G/A numbers, and Erdahl 14 of 14.
Bailey Kubesh had much to do with BOLD's success. Kubesh chalked up 22 kills to keep Morris Area Chokio Alberta at bay much of the time. Her good/attempts stats were 58 of 65. No other Warrior was in double figures in kills.
Kubesh also had two serving aces, nine set assists, eight ace blocks and 24 digs. Yes, she was all over the place.
Carly Sigurdson had three serving aces while going a perfect 19-for-19. Sigurdson was tops in digs for BOLD with 35. This Warrior had three ace blocks, seven kills and three serving aces.
 
In the days before Peyton Manning
"The Book of Manning" is a much-promoted special on ESPN these days. I remember Archie Manning not as the revered patriarch but as a young quarterback coming out of Ole Miss, much heralded.
It seems we'll never know how good ol' Archie could have been. His pro career was quite full, lasting 14 years. You'd think at some point he'd be part of a team that could assemble winning pieces. Instead, he seemed destined to play in situations where his talent was held back. Clearly this is how football history portrays him.
Many of us might not remember he had a stint with our Minnesota Vikings. He came here in a celebrated trade, joined by Dave Casper who was another huge name. I remember the Star Tribune headline word for word: "Vikings get Manning, Casper in trade." It made our jaws drop.
Trades involving big names often aren't what they seem. Players get nicked up through the years. Far from leading Bud Grant's Vikings to the summit, the pair limped along in a mostly forgettable phase.
What fun it would have been had Manning been in top form at quarterback and led the Vikings to some glory. Maybe he was just disoriented being north of the Mason-Dixon Line. This was a man of the very Deep South having played for Ole Miss and then the New Orleans Saints.
As a Viking I recall him getting sacked often and violently, so much so, I remember Del Sarlette saying that the sight of Manning at the end of a sack was like Beetle Bailey having just been beat up by Sarge.
I also remember a "highlight scene" where Manning, on the run, made an awkward and inappropriate, for him, underhand pass attempt. It was a blooper candidate.
Manning's time with the Vikings isn't recalled in ESPN's "The Book of Manning." Today his reputation is probably inflated. Minus the wins, we just can't assume how good he really was. His sons carry the football banner to be sure.
Peyton threw seven touchdown passes in the season opener. The previous pro QB to do that? It was Joe Kapp of our Minnesota Vikings. Yes, I remember Kapp as something other than an old man getting into a fight with another old man in a YouTube video.
Kapp threw seven touchdown passes on September 28, 1969, in a 52-14 win over Baltimore (the Colts, not the Ravens). His feat was on a warm Sunday afternoon at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington. Kapp threw passes to 12 different teammates that day.
Jim Souhan sketches a history of Vikings quarterbacks in his column today (9/27). He might have written more about the season when the position was up for grabs among three players. I remember that season well because it was the first when I really followed pro football and the Vikings. It's not so much that I reached a certain age, it was more of a case that we had just gotten the "able cable" (cable TV).
Coach Grant had acquired Norm Snead in the off-season. Many of us assumed that the well-established Snead would take over. Grant wasn't completely sold. Knowledgable friends told me Snead threw over the middle too much to suit Grant, who was very risk-averse. Remember, the rules didn't favor passing in those days so much as today.
Grant set up a three-way competition for the starting quarterback job. Gary Cuozzo was in this along with Bob Lee, who also punted. Lee had an advantage of height and stature. He ended up winning out.
Those were the days of the heralded "purple people," when our defense could really apply a vise. Alan Page was a long ways from showing his sober wisdom as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice. He was a supreme lineman, not always quite on the same page with the stoic Grant.
Us boomers have fond memories. We have seen many quarterbacks come and go since. For the record, Archie Manning is in there, unfortunately as a footnote, perhaps worthy of a Beetle Bailey cartoon.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hitting again strong as girls sweep LQPV

The home gym was a friendly place as expected for MACA volleyball on Monday, 9/23. The Tigers are at home for both their matches this week. Thursday's opponent will be BOLD.
On Monday the Tigers took charge, winning in the minimum three games versus Lac qui Parle Valley. It was the sixth season triumph for coach Kristi Fehr's squad. The Tigers turned back the Eagles by scores of 25-15, 25-10 and 25-18.
The success comes on the heels of the football team's decisive Friday win for Homecoming 2013.
Click on the link below to view a Flickr photo album on the Morris Area Homecoming parade. The photos are by yours truly (B.W.).
 
The volleyball Tigers didn't play at home last week. This week there's a much-appreciated generous dose of home volleyball. The bumping, setting and spiking attract many fans to our spacious and state of the art MAHS gym.
A sweep is usually achieved with a strong hitting phase. The Tigers certainly succeeded on that count.
We saw Sydney Engebreton and Paige Schieler both pound down nine kills. Engebretson had 19 of 20 good/attempts stats, while Schieler posted 30 of 33. Terianne Itzen slammed down six kills on 14 of 17 in good/attempts.
Lacee Maanum was a force with four kills on 14 of 16 in G/A. Erdahl was a perfect six-for-six with two kills. Nicole Strobel rounded out the attack at six-for-seven with one kill.
Maanum went up to perform four ace blocks. Schieler followed with three and Strobel had one.
In digs it was Beth Holland setting the pace with 17 followed by Erdahl with 12, Chelsey Ehleringer with eleven, Itzen with ten and Strobel with five.
Ehleringer and Erdahl were the Tigers busiest with producing set assists, finishing with 12 and 10 respectively.
Let's wrap up this stat report with serving. Erdahl executed two serving aces and was eleven of 13 in good/attempts. Itzen had one serving ace on 22 of 23 G/A. Hunter Mundal was one of three, Courtney Giese one of one, Holland five of seven, Engebretson 11 of 11, Ehleringer 12 of 12 and Tracy Meichsner one of one.
The Tigers enter Thursday's match vs. BOLD with a 6-3 overall record, 5-2 in conference.
Lac qui Parle Valley is having a struggling season, having only two wins as of mid-week. Kaitlyn Connor had five kills for LQPV vs. the Tigers.
  
Media happenings
Looking at the want ads in the Morris newspaper, it looks as though turnover is happening at the Morris newspaper.
It is my opinion that the newspaper is not a pleasant work environment.
We all know changes are happening with newspapers. The Internet has been a highly disruptive force for this medium. This is a good development for the general public but it creates obvious stress with the print media. Newspapers no longer have the entitled position they once did. They are trying to preserve whatever niche they have left.
Technology has allowed more work to be consolidated, to be done in central locations (like with Detroit Lakes, relative to the Morris newspaper). History books may someday tell us that networked computers were the biggest job killers of all time.
The Morris newspaper is owned by a chain which means it can harness all of the current trends. Does that mean it puts out a better product? Heavens no. But it can use synergy to cut costs.
Being an employee in a business that aggressively seeks to cut costs means watching your back. The modern corporation works the numbers constantly to optimize profit. Employees are statistics.
The heroes in the movie "Moneyball" (Brad Pitt) weren't the players. Rather we saw the cutting-edge approach with numbers analysis, using computers, trumping all the judgment that the scouts once made. It was a numbers proposition. You plugged in certain players that together had the odds favor them vs. most opponents.
But it wasn't about the players, not about their hopes, their dreams or their families. It was about the numbers and ultimately the money.
I don't know all the details about what is happening at the Morris Sun Tribune. I could scrounge around but have felt no strong impulse to do so. I suspect there is an atmosphere of instability and never reaching a status quo that can be comfortable for an indefinite period.
Should we care? Historically we have felt we should care about the stability of our newspapers. But that was when papers were in their entitled era, when they performed functions that couldn't easily be duplicated in any other way in the community. We have come light years from that.
People can get information at the micro level from their computer. The systems may have been a little specialized at first. The average layman might have been a little slow catching on to it.
I remember about seven years ago telling a friend that my photos were being posted on the Morris Eagles baseball website. This individual, who had a good education and worked at the soils lab, said "how do you find it?"
The average person is far more well-versed today "finding stuff" on the world wide web. Search engines are anything but a mystery. (We can be nostalgic about "Alta Vista.")
"Friday Facts" from our Morris Area Chamber of Commerce is getting better continually, as a bulletin board for upcoming events in our community.
I have continually needled the school district about how it should make its website more of a PR and outreach tool to the whole community. I have continually needled businesses in Morris to quit supporting those "sucker ads" in the Morris newspaper, which simply extract money from businesses with no tangible return.
Old habits fade slowly. Let's hasten the process.
I'm delighted to perform journalism with no need for a printing press. It's the year 2013. If you are going to spend money on advertising in print, then do it with Heather Storck's "Morris Area Merchant" publication. It's entirely local in its orientation. It doesn't exist to serve Fargo, ND.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tigers roar for Homecoming football 2013

Trent Wulf carries the ball forward for MACA. (B.W. photos)
Noah Grove shows his reliable toe for a PAT.
Trent Marty wears No. 4 for the Tigers. He's the punter.
Tigers 41, Benson 15
The festive trappings of Homecoming were in place for the Tigers notching their first win of the 2013 campaign.
The Tigers had gotten a hair's breadth from victory the week before vs. Sauk Centre. This time they weren't to be denied. They asserted themselves with a memorable winning flair on Friday, Sept. 20, at Big Cat Stadium.
Lots of orange and black were to be seen. Coach Kevin Pope's Tigers lined up against the Braves of Benson. The Tigers took full control in the first half, building a 28-0 lead. Halftime saw the traditional presentation of Homecoming royalty. (Back in the 1970s, the MHS pep band played "All the Things You Are" for this ceremony.)
The defense struck first for the Tigers. This happened on the second play of the game. Aaron Ahrndt attempted a pass for the visitor. Riley Biesterfeld was the Tiger who caught it. He accomplished a nine-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Tigers were on their way. They were at their best in quarter #2, showing an authoritative running game. Isaac Wente went to work building his personal rushing yards on the night to 100-plus. He's the top area ballcarrier. He scored two of the Tigers' three touchdowns in the second quarter.
But first it was Trent Wulf scoring on a run. Wulf carried the ball in from the eight.
Wente went to work for the next two MACA touchdowns, scoring from the three and the one. So, the Tigers had four total touchdowns in the first half, and after each one, Noah Grove's toe was true for the conversion point. The scoreboard showed a 28-0 MACA lead as all eyes got trained on the halftime ceremony.
The third quarter was the time for MACA passing to emerge with great impact. Here we see the Tigers' senior signal-caller, Bryce Jergenson, get showcased. Jergenson completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Bo Olson. The PAT try failed after this score.
Next, Jergenson's arm produced a TD with Corey Storck on the receiving end. Storck's scoring catch went into the books as a 32-yarder. Grove nailed the PAT and the Tigers now own 41 points.
Benson got on the board with a two-yard run by Ahrndt. The PAT kick try was errant. Benson picked up a couple points on a safety. The Braves upped their point total to 13 with a TD pass from Christian Larson to Jacob Connelly (eight yards). Tanner Mikkelson kicked the point-after to conclude the night's scoring.
The Tigers won the 2013 Homecoming game by a score of 41-15. The weather was quite ideal. The Tigers will now go on the road to face ACGC.
Bryce Jergenson had top-notch stats as the MACA quarterback on Friday. Bryce completed eight passes in ten attempts for 142 yards and had none picked off. His passing yardage: 142.
Bo Olson hauled in four of those aerials for 64 yards. Corey Storck was a reliable target as he hauled in three passes for 65 yards. Gage Backman had one catch for 13 yards.
Wente had 102 rushing yards on 16 carries. Wulf carried 12 times for 48 yards. Storck had one carry for 23 yards. Olson picked up 22 yards on the ground, carrying four times. Jordan Thooft added six rushing yards to the mix.
Trent Marty performed the only MACA punt. Top Tigers on the tackle chart were Nate Anderson, Nate Vipond and Dylan Johnson. Johnson notched two quarterback sacks while Harrison Gravning had one.
The Tigers were called for nine penalties, setting them back 80 yards.
The MACA defense stuffed the Benson ground game. The Braves were limited to 39 rushing yards in 29 carries.
Aaron Ahrndt and Christian Larson did the Benson passing.
Quite the memorable Homecoming for Morris Area Chokio Alberta, 2013.
The fans who acquire today's (Saturday) Morris Sun Tribune newspaper will have the "treat". . .of being able to read about the loss to Sauk Centre. You'll have to wait a week to see the Benson game with its highlights covered in the Morris print media. But I'm sure all those advertising circulars will be up to date. Don't forget to shop at Fleet Farm.
A fan told me a week ago that the belated sports news in the Morris newspaper is "a joke." It's been that way a while now.
Links to my coverage regularly appear on the Maxpreps website. Here's the link to the MACA football Maxpreps page.
 
My coverage of MACA volleyball is also linked on Maxpreps. Here's the link to that page:
 
Are the Tigers at the start of a win skein? We'll see.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, September 20, 2013

Schieler, Engebretson pound the ball down

The MACA girls are on a roll and showed that winning habit through Homecoming week.
The Tigers did not have the good fortune to have a home match during Homecoming week. But they sure took care of business, winning by sweep over Yellow Medicine East on Thursday. The game outcomes were 25-15, 25-10 and 25-14.
The success upped the team's win streak to three. Coach Kristi Fehr's squad has won five of their last six matches.
Fans and players are in a most upbeat frame of mind with Homecoming week reaching its apex today (Friday, 9/20). Today has the parade and the football game (against Benson) on the slate. MACA volleyball has a 5-3 overall record and 5-2 showing in conference.
Paige Schieler and Sydney Engebretson were forces at the net in the win over the Sting of YME. Schieler applied her own sting with the 13 kills she performed. Her numbers in good/attempts were 25/28. Engebretson pounded down eleven kills and had 23 of 24 good/attempts.
Terianne Itzen added to the mix with seven kills on 16 of 17 in good/attempts. Nicole Strobel was seven of eight with three kills. Haley Erdahl was good on all seven of her attempts and had two kills. Lacee Maanum went 11-for-13 with one kill.
Schieler went up to perform two ace blocks, while Engebretson had one.
Itzen topped the list in digs with her 19. Beth Holland broke into double figures with her 14. The list continues with Chelsey Ehleringer and her eight, Hunter Mundal and Erdahl each with seven, and Schieler and Engebretson each with five.
On to serving: Here, Holland stood out by performing three ace serves on 23 of 24 good/attempts. Ehleringer made her presence felt with two aces on 15 of 16. Itzen had two aces as well, achieved on 13 of 13. Engebretson had an ace to go with 10 of 11. Mundal had four good in five attempts, and Erdahl went five of five.
Ehleringer and Erdahl were busy setting the ball, finishing with 13 and 12 set assists respectively.
YME is having a struggling season and came out of Thursday at 2-12 in overall record, 2-5 in conference. Allie Zieske and Jordan Hinz each had four kills for the Sting. Madison Hagert accumulated 13 digs.
The Tigers will get back to the home court on Monday, 9/23, to play Lac qui Parle Valley.
  
Newspaper publishes paean
I noticed a feature article on a former superintendent in a recent Morris newspaper. I don't buy the paper but I can occasionally page through at a public place.
I saw a feature article on a fellow named Frank Fox. He is deceased.
I wondered at first if this was the first in a series of articles on former supers. That would be an interesting concept. I wrote a blog post at the time Dennis Rettke passed away, sharing some personal recollections and acknowledging what I felt were his strong points. All supers have strong points or they wouldn't have reached that level in their careers.
I'm starting to think the newspaper feature on Mr. Fox was a one-shot deal. It was written by someone not on the newspaper staff. Maybe someone with personal connections to Frank Fox just wanted to see this article, written as a paean, done. I don't blame them.
But I'm not sure that Fox, who really wasn't here that long (1947-56), needs to be put on a pedestal relative to any other supers. I suspect he worked in a time when people in his position had greater latitude to run the system, as opposed to a later time when unionization and the empowerment of unions created a quite different complexion.
I was in high school when a fellow named Fred Switzer was superintendent. I think Mr. Switzer had the misfortune of working in a time when the teachers union really had its claws out. I remember a time when the spectre of teacher strikes seemed to be looming quite regularly around Minnesota.
I remember attending a public discussion at the Grant County Fair, Herman, one year where an exasperated individual (I believe either an active or retired superintendent) talked about how teacher strikes were "tearing apart" small communities. Charlie Berg was part of that discussion, I recall.
Teachers unions still exist. But it seems the system has been tweaked so that their activities aren't as disruptive as they once were. Oh, we all love teachers. But we want to stay on an even keel.
Fred Switzer himself told me about the tremendous amount of time required to get every "i" dotted and "t" crossed in negotiations with teachers. I also seem to recall there was a nucleus or clique of teachers here - I could name names but I won't - who were aggressive and parochial on these matters, pursuing sort of a scorched-earth policy vs. that big bad administration (and board).
Working under these circumstances, it would have been impossible for Mr. Switzer to have wrapped up his career here drawing such warm feelings as did Mr. Frank Fox (evidently).
I would say Mr. Switzer was a "maligned" superintendent. Which means that he got criticism but that much of it was undeserved or overstated. He was here a long time. I think he knew the ropes.
It is true that some phases of extracurricular declined during Fred's tenure. Even here I'm not sure he deserves much if any of the blame. Schools were going through retrenchment that meant they'd have to bite the bullet and allow volunteers to play a bigger role, especially with elementary athletics.
Morris dragged its feet on this, and it was that nucleus of activist and parochial teachers, that I have already alluded to, that bears the blame. Volunteers were anathema to all their aims. I'm quite sure that if a volunteer were walking down a school hallway and said "hello," many of the teachers wouldn't say anything back.
I think this climate has been addressed now. The MACA extracurricular is right in line with other schools, maybe superior. But it was a tough battle to fight for a long time. I was there. I was at that sports banquet/program of infamy back in about 1987. Many of you not familiar might not even believe me, if I were to tell you bout it. It's not a "tale from the crypt" but it's close.
Mr. Switzer should get his due. Maybe the newspaper can continue a series of profiles of former supers. It's really a pretty good idea. That paean about Frank Fox was quite fine. Now let's see some more.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MACA volleyball rolls over ACGC on road

The Tigers were smooth and powerful in their execution Tuesday, winning in the minimum three games. They took care of business vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.
Game scores were 25-9, 25-19 and 25-13. The site was the Grove City gym. Coach Kristi Fehr's squad notched win No. 4, climbing over .500 to 4-3.
We don't have a Homecoming week home match. Winning will salve that situation. The Tigers will strive to win again on Thursday (9/19) when they visit Yellow Medicine East.
Five Tigers each had one serving ace in the win over the Falcons of ACGC. Here are the five, with their good/attempts numbers in parenthesis: Hunter Mundal (13-15), Beth Holland (10-11), Haley Erdahl (10-11), Terianne Itzen (7-7) and Sydney Engebretson (14-14). Chelsey Ehleringer added her perfect 14-for-14 numbers to the mix.
Ehleringer had ten set assists, a department where Erdahl led with 15.
Engebretson was poised at the net and executed four ace blocks. Paige Schieler contributed two ace blocks followed by these Tigers each with one: Itzen, Maanum, Tracy Meichsner and Kayla Pring.
Engebretson showed that poise in hitting, leading the charge here with her 11 kills and 26 of 29 good/attempts. Two Tigers each came at the Falcons with eight kills: Lacee Maanum and Schieler. Maanum had 16 of 18 good/attempts stats while Schieler was a flawless 20 of 20. Itzen had 14 good in 14 attempts with six kills. Nicole Strobel went 10-for-12 with three kills.
Itzen was the busiest Tiger in digs with her 17. Beth Holland executed 14 digs and Mundal 12. Continuing with the list we have Ehleringer with eleven, Erdahl with eight and Engebretson with five.
In other West Central Conference action Tuesday, it was BOLD over Montevideo 3-0, Sauk Centre beating Benson 3-1 and Melrose topping Paynesville 3-0.
 
Whither old school property?
The recent suggestion of an outdoor pool for the old school property should have many of us feeling like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day."
I mean, the proposal has come up with regularity through the years. It's almost embarrassing because we can't seem to realize this goal. We eventually did realize the goal of an indoor ice arena. Perhaps we all take that for granted now. That's fine, but I remember well the days when hockey was kind of a "church mice" sport in Morris - a sandlot type of sport.
It was "mission accomplished" with the ice arena, our Lee Community Center, but the outdoor pool continues as kind of a mirage in our heads. It's a lofty idea or goal, and we have in fact flirted with success.
We had the "earthen pool" out at Pomme de Terre City Park for a time. It was all the rage when it opened but then it faded.
More recently we have gotten the "spray park" built at the city park. I don't know to what extent that has been successful. But I doubt many of us judge that as a substitute for a real outdoor pool. So we hear again that clarion call that a new pool is needed in Morris, an echo of many such cries through the years.
I remember writing a feature article about this for the local print media back in about 1980. I remember two female lobbyists showing up at a city council meeting. They much appreciated the attention I gave the subject. But there was no immediate action.
We eventually got that earthen pool. For some reason that couldn't get established for the long term. So a void is once again seen.
And now we hear the call for a new pool on the old school property. I'm not sure why we had to wait for this property to become available. I'm not even sure why the City of Morris ended up with the property dumped in its lap. But whatever, we're moving forward and now there's the high-profile suggestion of getting this new pool.
A good idea? Naturally, but it's much easier coming up with new ideas than paying for them.
Had the community really wanted this asset, why not initiate it at Green River Park? Green River is quite ideally located in terms of being convenient for residential neighborhoods. The old school property is on the northern end of town.
I'm skeptical about whether there's potential for any kind of development on the old school property. A new outdoor pool? Maybe it's worthy of looking at, but we as a community need to reach a resolution on this. Let's either get one or move on from this dream.
The suggestion has one feeling like Bill Murray (listening to Sonny and Cher at wakeup-time).
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The fragile Jerry Kill in Darwinian game

Jerry Kill, U of M football coach
We are into the new fall of football and the lure seems great as ever.
Perhaps it's ever greater because of how the media feed us. Sports channels on TV whet our palate. What escapism.
As a kid my generation couldn't have imagined such a lavish world of sports entertainment. We would just hope for a "doubleheader" of NFL games on a Sunday, not just the "regional games" which, translated, meant we'd just get to see one game. In the daytime we had soap operas and game shows. In the evening, vapid variety shows or cop dramas. We have perhaps forgotten.
Football intoxicates us. The big story out of the University of Minnesota this week is the revived questions about Jerry Kill and his health. Our conscience tugs at us as we assess this situation. There's a line of political correctness we feel we ought not cross as we judge.
Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune crossed it in a column where he comes across as sort of a bull in a China closet. But I'm not pointing fingers at him. He's being honest in his thoughts in a way that most of us would consider. He was a little glib and callous.
But if we're really all so sensitive, why don't we give more consideration to what this barbaric game of football does to its young participants? It's not a game that is compatible with compassion and sensitivity to begin with. Aren't you all feeling this sort of dilemma inside?
Look at that awful injury that afflicted that Dassel-Cokato young man. Based on what we are learning about football, damage is done to a great many men in an incremental way over time and with symptoms that don't all reveal themselves soon. At the same time we practice denial about these obvious realities, many of us will scream at critics who suggest coach Kill must step aside because of his health limitations.
This is hardly a typical case of "handicapped opportunity" where we insist the door be left open. Head coach in NCAA Division I is about the most atypical job there is. George Will has written about "coach centrism." George pines for the days when football was simple and more of a fundamental athletic test between two squads of student athletes. Those were the days when most of the non-big name programs were pretty laid back and conservative, not thinking about TV deals etc.
Today I would suggest college football has become a many-headed hydra. Mike McFeely of KFGO Radio says "all the teams are on TV now." Many of the traditionally obscure programs, programs that once might have been satisfied going through the motions - and, what's really wrong with going through the motions? - are today involved in all the promotional and fundraising stuff.
The pressure accelerates. Everyone is in a fishbowl. We have an ever-increasing appetite for it.
We hear the news reports about the terrible toll taken on the players. Perhaps we choose to be in denial. We seek the best entertainment in our free time. We find football fills the bill. The media and advertisers respond.
We see coach Kill carted off the field at halftime. It's a scene that has happened before. There's a rational element in all of us that tells us this is unacceptable - a head coach with such a limitation.
A more civilized element says that in the year 2013, we shouldn't have such thoughts. A chorus of criticism has grown over Souhan and others like him.
But I really don't blame Souhan at all. He's thinking in the real world of football. He knows the "coach centric" nature of the game and how these men are expected to be genius chessmasters. They are paid obscene salaries to manage incredibly complex organizations. There are many layers. There's recruiting.
Your "product" is to win. By definition, only 50 percent of teams on a given weekend can win.
People plead for compassion and understanding in connection to coach Kill and his problem with epileptic seizures. That's fine on its own terms. We live in an age of tremendous enlightenment in regard to these things.
But "enlightenment" and "football" do not go together. Football was almost outlawed early in the 20th Century. Maybe it should have been. Football is a game that is testosterone-fueled and incredibly Darwinian.
People who supervise the sport have been trying to suppress the testosterone part. After all, football seeks to make money, and women make up half our population.
I remember when Andy Rooney of CBS said women had no place as sideline reporters. They just didn't understand the game, he pleaded. The underlying message was that football is a men's sanctuary.
On a superficial level this understanding has been modified. No one questions female football reporters today. They are not a novelty and they feel no special pressure to prove themselves. Andy was a throwback and we gave him a pass. He has gone to that typewriter in the sky now.
Women are encouraged to feel no inhibitions joining the world of football enthusiasm now. But on the field, where all the dangers of the game present themselves, there are no women. Maybe a game that is too dangerous for women should be considered too dangerous for everyone. The facts are out there. They're in the back of all our minds.
And yet on weekends, football is this weird sort of alter we go to and pay homage - irresistible. We sense that everything else on TV on weekends is garbage or filler. Football is the "real deal." Which is fine if we can judge the entertainment to be something less than barbaric. And with football we just cannot do this.
Should coach Jerry Kill depart? Yes, and it's because he's in an atypical occupation that demands almost superhuman qualities. Is there any bigger fishbowl than NCAA Division I football?
Kill deserves compassion and he should avail himself of programs helping him deal with his symptoms. However, NCAA Division I coaches are in a world where there's no room for any such "safety net."
Football is Darwinian. That seems regressive. But isn't it really a microcosm for the kind of world we live in today? A world marked by competition and a quest for optimal possession of material things? A world where Wall Street is central to our ethos?
NCAA Division I coaches are little Napoleons who craft systems designed to "beat" other such systems.
We relax in our couches and consume ESPN Sportscenter. We sip our Pepsis. At the same time, young men who have developed huge and fast bodies are crashing into each other.
Was the young man from Dassel-Cokato lured by a desire to hear those cheers cascading down at him, at a stadium developed with community resources? We gather at such places to bestow praise and adulation if our young men win. Compare this barbaric model to the wholly healthy activity of being in band or choir.
Just think about it, if you're not afraid of the truth.
Update: I see where columnist Souhan is excoriated in today's (9/17) Strib. I totally expected that. So, why did the Strib go to press with his column? Was it total negligence? I would say not. I figure the Strib knew full well that many fans on a private, i.e. non-politically correct level had the same thoughts as Souhan.
Those thoughts have bubbled in my own mind while at the same time I try to tamp them down. It's not nice to pick on someone who James Watt, Ronald Reagan's old Interior secretary - remember? - would describe as a "cripple." 
The Strib's Jim Souhan is a fall guy of sorts. There has been quite the backlash vs. him. But now I'm waiting for the backlash against the backlash. I'm waiting for people to start saying "Hey, it isn't all about the coach."
This is what George Will has been trying to tell us.
In the end, of course, all that matters is whether the Gophers win.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sauk Centre surges late, stuns Tigers here

Isaac Wente charges forward with the football. (B.W. photos)
Bryce Jergenson delivers a pass for MACA.
The Mainstreeters celebrate after their dramatic win.
Sauk Centre 36, Tigers 35
Sauk Centre found new life in the late stages of Friday's (9/13) game at Big Cat Stadium, Morris. The Streeters surged at the expense of our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers.
It was the second of three straight home games for coach Kevin Pope's MACA squad. Again there was totally pleasant weather. Any threat from too much heat had abated. And yet there was a summer-like atmosphere, a factor no doubt pushing the fan turnout high.
Fans of the orange and black watched with great satisfaction through the first half. The second quarter saw the Tigers outscore the Streeters 22-7. As this game continued into the third quarter, the Tigers not only seemed in control, the game took on a tone of perhaps being a little boring.
Could we indeed chalk this game up as a "W"? Well, as Chris Berman of ESPN has said for years: "That's why. . .they play. . .the game!"
Sauk Centre kept taking the field in an undaunted way. It didn't matter that the Streeters trailed 29-14 with six minutes left in the game. MACA fans watched stunned as the Streeters really got going, putting points on the board sufficient to get the score tied! Amazing.
Regulation time ended with the score 29-all. Representatives of the teams walked out to midfield as the plans were set for overtime. Could MACA eke out an edge again, or would Sauk Centre keep rolling forward with its new life?
Overtime began with the Tigers scoring but getting stopped on the conversion. The conversion failure loomed. Then there was a setback with a penalty on Sauk's first OT play. So the Streeters sat with first-and-five.
The Streeters found the end zone, Trent Berscheit scoring, whereupon MACA fans realized that just one more successful Sauk Centre play would spell the end of the game and defeat for the orange and black!
Out on the field trotted Josh Buschette whose kicking toe would be the center of attention. Former MACA coach Jerry Witt was standing on the bleachers (on the east side) just a few feet from me. He informed me that Sauk Centre had a proven kicker. This is not always a given with high school teams.
This proven kicker, Buschette, showed poise in the clutch and sent the ball through the uprights, capping this spectacular comeback by Sauk Centre. The Tigers had come so close to achieving their first victory of the season and first win in Pope's young tenure.
A win would have also sealed an especially upbeat tone for Morris Area Homecoming week which is this coming week. Of course, everyone will be in a good mood anyway. But a 1-2 record would feel much better than 0-3. The Tigers will host Benson on Friday.
The most exciting play in the Sauk Centre game was probably the long pass that allowed the Streeters to get the score tied and force overtime. Seth Otte threw that pass and Berscheit caught it. It covered 67 yards. It was also necessary for Sauk Centre to succeed on the two-point conversion play. Again Sauk Centre succeeded with an Otte pass. The score was 29-all!
Such a state of affairs couldn't have been foreseen at halftime.
MACA couldn't resurrect its earlier momentum. I wonder if Witt was standing there wondering if MACA could have held its 29-14 advantage if he still had the reins.
 
Upbeat start for the Tigers
MACA was the first to score in this game. Isaac Wente broke loose on a 35-yard run that ended in six, and Noah Grove kicked the point-after.
Sauk Centre answered as Austin Landkammer scored on a one-yard run and Buschette kicked the PAT. The score was 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers executed at their best in quarter #2. Wente, who would finish the night with 196 rushing yards, scored on a 12-yard run. This time the PAT kick try was errant. (Yes, that would haunt.)
Sauk's Berscheit scored on a five-yard run and Buschette kicked the PAT.
The Tigers' Corey Storck caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bryce Jergenson, after which a two-point conversion pass try fell incomplete. Then it was Wente showing his scoring touch again, carrying in from the eight. Wente ran for two on the conversion too.
The next score was on a safety, which the Willmar newspaper reports as having been accomplished by Sauk Centre, but I believe these points went to MACA.
Sauk's Berscheit scored a TD on a seven-yard run, after which Buschette drilled another PAT. The regulation-time scoring was capped by that big 67-yard Otte-to-Berscheit pass. This game had certainly turned non-boring. What the MACA fans really wanted was for this game to be non-losing. It wasn't to be.
Sauk Centre had the look of a team of destiny, at least on this night. Sauk Centre won in the final score of 36-35.
The Tigers' OT touchdown came on a one-yard Jergenson run. He's the senior signal-caller.
I invite you to keep scrolling down to read about the MACA volleyball team's Tuesday and Thursday matches. I am posting more frequently about Tiger sports than in the past. Partly that's because the Morris newspaper seems to be fading ever more in its commitment.
Anyway, I'm having fun even though I seem to be a little "in exile" on the east (visitors) side of the field.
Click on the permalink below to view the MACA football page on Maxpreps.
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, September 13, 2013

Girls use balanced attack to sweep Monte

Tigers 3, Monte 0
The MACA girls got established in their home schedule over this past week. It was a seesaw week, initially having coach Kristi Fehr's squad getting swept by Sauk Centre, but on Thursday the story was the opposite. The Tigers swept the Montevideo Thunder Hawks in the Thursday (9/12) home action.
Game scores were 25-11, 25-13 and 25-14.
Both teams have played around .500 thus far in the young season. Coach Fehr is going to strive to coax her squad a healthy distance over .500. We'll see. If they show the kind of balanced quality they did Thursday, success most likely is in store.
The Tigers wrap up the week with a 3-3 overall record and 3-2 in conference.
Yes, the Tigers have gotten their 2013 home slate established with the two home matches. But they're going on the road again for next week! First, all eyes will be away from sports as the MAHS auditorium gets filled for the Homecoming coronation on Monday, 9/16.
The volleyball Tigers will visit ACGC on Tuesday. Then they'll travel to Yellow Medicine East for the Thursday chapter of play. There must be some home matches bunched later in the schedule.
Don't forget the Homecoming parade next Friday, 9/20 (at 2 p.m.). Let's have some nice weather. The MACA football Tigers will host Benson on that evening.
In volleyball, the Tigers' win over Monte was the third in a span of four matches. Sweeping has been the norm of late.
Hunter Mundal and Haley Erdahl each came at the T-Hawks with two ace serves. Hunter's good/attempts numbers were 12 of 13. And Haley's: 14 of 15.
Beth Holland and Sydney Engebretson each had one ace serve. Beth had nine good serves in ten attempts, while Sydney was a perfect 12-for-12.
Chelsey Ehleringer had 14 of 14 good/attempts stats. Terianne Itzen was seven of seven, and Lindsey Dierks and Kourtney Giese each were one of one.
In set assists it was Ehleringer leading with 14 followed by Erdahl with ten. Engebretson went up at the net to perform five ace blocks. Paige Schieler had two blocking aces, and Erdahl and Itzen one each. Holland was tops in digs with eleven to edge out Itzen and Mundal who each had ten.
We're wrapping up this stat report with hitting. Here it was Engebretson slamming down seven kills and posting 18 of 21 in good/attempts. She led the charge. Three others joined the charge in a big way, each achieving four kills: Itzen, Lacee Maanum and Schieler. Each of these three were perfect in good/attempts, Itzen at 19 of 19, Maanum 12 of 12 and Schieler 15 of 15.
Erdahl and Nicole Strobel each added one kill to the winning mix.
 
Cross country: NL-Spicer Invite
Aaron Goulet was the runner-up runner in the big New London-Spicer Wildcat Invitational held Thursday (9/12) at Little Crow Golf Club.
Goulet ran a 17:33 time, trailing only Ben Burgett of Willmar Community Christian whose time was 16:47.
Litchfield was the top boys team and LQPV/DB was No. 1 among the girls. Alaysia Freetly of the champion team won the girls race (15:18 time).
Goulet was joined in the Morris Area Chokio Alberta effort by: Ryan Gray (11th place, 18:40), Jon Jerke (15th, 19:06), Eric Staebler (41st, 20:28) and Travis Ostby (47th, 20:59).
Savannah Aanerud of the MACA girls team made the top ten, finishing right in tenth (time not available). Lauren Reimers placed 22nd with her time of 17:43. Rebekah Aanerud was #32 to the finish chute, clocked at 18:52. Kindra Cannon placed 33rd with her 18:54 time, and Becca Holland was No. 36 (19:01).
 
Fan mail from some flounder
I was walking home from my breakfast at McDonald's the other morning when a car pulled up beside me and the window rolled down. This charming citizen informed me that in her view, the Morris newspaper isn't nearly as good as when I was there.
Obviously there is a lot I could say about this. The reason I have rolled up my sleeves of late writing about Tiger sports is that the newspaper has seemed to exude more lethargy than usual, certainly in terms of its website. If the coverage isn't later, it's minimal or skeletal. It might have originated from the Willmar newspaper.
I learned long ago that the Willmar paper is quite fallible when the Tigers play on the road. That's because the home team coaches call in.
But even if the material weren't fallible, we have kind of an empty feeling when our own Morris paper relies on material from Willmar. I assume the Morris paper has an employee who "gets in free" with a "press pass" for home games. Thus there's an expectation that the Morris paper will give a rip.
If this attitude is not forthcoming, then I have a theory as to why. I shared this with a sports parent at the Morris Public Library recently. The day may come when the newspaper pleads that it really can't do a good job without "sponsorship" (i.e. sponsorship specifically of sports coverage). I guarantee you this is their mindset these days.
And don't think my theory is outlandish. Who would have thought ten years ago that people would have to pay for obituaries? Today they do, by paying something like 50 bucks to the funeral home which then pays the paper.
We already have "sucker businesses" in Morris who pay to be in the paper's "sucker ads." This is the term used by some in the newspaper industry for those "ads" which are just a block of space with some benevolent or promotional theme at the top, and then you see lists of businesses below. I'm sure you know what I'm referring to.
Even the MACA sports schedules appear each season in a "sucker ad" form, with those tiny - yes, very tiny - boxes along the edge with businesses' names. If you have paid for such an ad, think of how you might spend this money better. You could give it to the Sports Boosters or the Morris Area School Foundation, where the money would have tangible results. You don't have to send it to Fargo where the newspaper is owned out of.
Just stop and think, please.
And most importantly, keep supporting the Tigers!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Volleyball drops home opener vs. Sauk

Sauk Centre 3, Tigers 0
MACA had its somewhat belated home opener in volleyball Tuesday (9/10).
The Tigers entered the night having won their two previous matches. Both of those wins came by sweep. But the Tigers got a dose of their own medicine Tuesday, getting swept by a Sauk Centre team that was not only undefeated, they may have benefited from having more matches under their belt.
The Streeters came out of Tuesday owners of a 7-0 record (3-0 in conference). The Tigers meanwhile slipped under .500 again, owners of a 2-3 overall mark and 2-2 in league.
The Tigers will strive to get back to .500 on Thursday, Sept. 12, in their second home match of the week. Fans are (especially) encouraged to wear orange for the match vs. the Montevideo Thunder Hawks. And, get ready for Homecoming! This coming Monday is coronation night and the parade will be on Friday afternoon. The new school year is in full swing.
Amanda Weir of the Streeters was a nemesis for the Tigers Tuesday. Weir came at the Tigers with 14 kills. Her mates Ali Peterson and Madison Moritz each had seven kills.
The setting pair of Katelyn Durbin and Amanda Kulzer combined for 34 set assists.
Chelsey Ehleringer and Haley Erdahl were the setting cogs for Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Ehleringer came through with 12 assists and Erdahl with eleven.
Beth Holland and Erdahl each had a serving ace. Holland was good on ten of her eleven serve attempts. Erdahl had 16-for-17 good/attempts numbers.
Hunter Mundal went 11-for-11 at the serving line. Three other Tigers "batted a thousand," as it were, as Terianne Itzen went eight-for-eight, Sydney Engebretson seven-for-seven and Ehleringer 12-for-12. The Tigers needed more serving aces.
Three Tigers each had two ace blocks: Lacee Maanum, Itzen and Engebretson. Holland was the busiest in the digging department, accomplishing 27 digs. Mundal had 20 digs, Itzen 17 and Ehleringer 11.
Let's proceed on to hitting: Paige Schieler was the premier force for MACA with her ten kills and 26 of 29 good/attempts numbers. Engebretson made a mark with her eight kills on 24-for-28 stats. Itzen attacked smoothly and she harvested seven kills on 32-for-40. Maanum had 22 good, 25 attempts and four kills; and Erdahl had nine good in as many attempts, and two kills.
Did you think I'd forget about the game scores? Sauk Centre won 25-20, 25-23 and 25-22.
 
Tennis: win vs. LQPV/DB
The singles category stood out for Morris Area Chokio Alberta tennis on Tuesday. The Tigers hosted the program that includes Lac qui Parle Valley and Dawson-Boyd. Propelled by success in three of the four singles matchups, the Tigers won 5-2.
Abbie Olson wielded the racket at #1 singles. She prevailed in a back-and-forth match. She took the first set 6-4, dropped the second 2-6 and rebounded to win 7-5 vs. Kylie Jahn.
Kaitlin Vogel went to work for MACA at #2 singles. Playing Kamryn Siedschlag, Kaitlin won 6-3 and 6-2.
Katie Cannon at third singles came out on the short end vs. Molly Hacker, 2-6 and 4-6. Fourth singles Tiger Maddie Hennen was quite in command vs. Ashtyn Oie, winning 6-3 and 6-0.
On to doubles: The #1 Tiger doubles pair of Carly Gullickson and Brittany Cardwell were in winning form over Mary Savoy and Courtney Hanson 6-0 and 6-2.
At No. 2 doubles it was Hannah Breeggemann and Annie Brandt wielding the rackets for MACA. Hannah and Annie defeated Karissa Jahn and Kris Frank 6-1 and 6-3. The No. 3 doubles tandem of Jessica Burks and Rachel Wagner came up shy vs. Kathryn Bratsch and Marissa German, 2-6 and 7-5 (with a 7-10 tiebreaker).
 
Anniversary of infamy today (9/11)
I'm writing this post on September 11, 2013. I remember showing up at the (now vacated) Morris Sun Tribune building on the morning of September 11, 2001, entering through the back which was typical, and being told a plane hit the World Trade Center (or "Twin Towers").
I remember being in New York City in the summer of 1972 and using my Kodak Instamatic to shoot a photo right from the base of the towers, which were at the time new and I don't think even fully implemented yet. It will be haunting to look at that photo.
Instamatics were the "camera for the masses" at that time and not real impressive. We're so spoiled today having digital cameras with quite fine quality, ease of operation and economy! Of course I don't have one yet. I always trail fairly far behind when it comes to technology. I use my Canon AE-1 35mm camera at Tiger football games. I feel rather like Paul Bunyan and his axe competing with the folks with chainsaws.
But I'm proud of my work.
I wrote a 9/11 remembrance post in 2011. Here is the permalink to that. Thank you for reading. - B.W.
 
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Volleyball wins 3-0, football gets humbled

Girls complete road stretch
The Tigers did a reversal after an 0-2 season start, putting together back-to-back wins, both achieved in the most pleasing way possible: sweeps!
The volleyball Tigers swept Minnewaska Area and then Paynesville. Thus they enter the new week 2-2. All four of these matches have been played on the road!
Fans will be relieved and happy to get a dose of home cooking. Finally that time arrives this week. Coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers will host Sauk Centre on Tuesday, Sept. 10, then they'll host Montevideo on Thursday.
Playing at the Paynesville court this past Thursday (9/5), the Tigers won in three with scores of 25-10, 25-19 and 25-21. It was a West Central Conference success. It came during a week when the conditions outside seemed to spell midsummer.
I could have sworn that on Friday night, the football game was going to be delayed an hour again, just like for the previous week's season opener. But the game's kickoff was on schedule.
 
Volleyball: Tigers 3, Paynesville 0
Two Tigers were in double figures in kills in the Thursday volleyball win. Sydney Engebretson came at the Bulldogs with 12 kills. She had 28 good in 31 attempts. Terianne Itzen was proficient at the net with ten kills and 25 of 29 good/attempts numbers.
Paige Schieler was 23-for-26 with nine kills. Lacee Maanum had 16 good, 20 attempts and six kills. Haley Erdahl's numbers: 10-for-12, two kills. And Nicole Strobel produced a kill with her six-of-seven stats.
In serving, Engebretson had two aces to go with her perfect 11-for-11 good/attempts stats. Also to be acknowledged in serving are: Beth Holland (10-for-11 and one ace), Erdahl (15-for-16 and one ace), Chelsey Ehleringer (a flawless 19 of 19 with one ace) and Hunter Mundal (7-8-0).
Erdahl and Ehleringer were the cogs in setting, each posting 12 set assists.
Engebretson was poised at the net, not only attacking the ball but ready for blocks, a department where she had four aces. Erdahl had two blocking aces and Itzen and Schieler one each.
Let's wrap up this stat report with digs. Holland was poised to perform digs, accumulating a team-best 21. Itzen and Mundal accumulated 13 each. Erdahl and Ehleringer each had 11 digs.
I hear that everyone is encouraged to wear orange at the MACA gym on Thursday. Of course, it's the quite natural color to wear at all MACA sports events.
 
Football: Paynesville 38, Tigers 14
Such was the heat on Friday, you could detect a haze in the air. The Tigers bounded onto the turf at our Big Cat Stadium, ready to take on the green-clad Bulldogs of Paynesville. It was going to be a tough challenge.
Fans could see as this game progressed that Paynesville had a quite smoothly-executing quarterback, looking like a good college prospect (in my view anyway). This individual: Matthew Quade.
Quade certainly had chemistry with Nick Dingmann, a pass-catcher. MACA fans looked on in a downcast way as Quade and Dingmann worked together on four touchdown passes. It was an attack that coach Kevin Pope's Tigers could not surmount.
The Tigers did manage to lead twice in the first half. But the Bulldog passing machine was too much, underscored by 28 of 38 passing stats for Quade and 232 yards. Dingmann had seven total catches for 169 yards. His touchdown catches covered 16, 7, 79 and 17 yards.
Isaac Wente was a stat leader for Motown with 162 rushing yards in 29 carries. Wente crossed the end zone stripe for both of the MACA scores in the first half. Wente had the game's first score: a run from the three. Noah Grove kicked the point-after.
Quade and Dingmann worked their magic for Paynesville's first score. Quade passed to Bryce Savage for two on the conversion. So Paynesville leads. Wente scored from the nine to give Morris Area Chokio Alberta the lead again. Grove's toe was true for the conversion.
Quade and Dingmann hooked up for the game's next two scores - passes of seven and 79 yards. Paynesville did the rest of the night's scoring. Quade ran three yards for a touchdown and passed to Dingmann for 17 yards. The game's final score: 38-14.
The Tigers failed to score in the second half. They now own a 0-2 record.
Wente dominated the Tigers' running game. Jordan Thooft also got some handoffs and this Tiger picked up 35 yards in ten carries.
Quarterback Bryce Jergenson had trouble finding his rhythm as he completed four passes in 12 attempts for 36 yards. He was not picked off.
Coach Pope's crew will play the second of three straight home games this Friday, Sept. 13 (yes, Friday the 13th), when the opponent will be Sauk Centre. Will we hear the band again? Will the heat subside?
 
Should "visitors' comments" be re-visited?
I'm starting to get the notion that our Morris Area school board will rue the day it began the "visitors' comments."
The public has historically not made a big deal of this, or at least that's my impression. Lately, though, I get the impression that "visitors' comments" might be becoming a forum in which parents with a variety of beefs are going to show up and hang them out to dry.
Free speech? Of course we have free speech. The question is process. Should anyone just be allowed to show up and squawk about something? This perhaps isn't even the crux of the problem.
The crux may be the inclination of a certain media business in Morris to highlight a "squawk" in its subsequent coverage, as if that item had the most gravity on that night. A parent will come and vent and then see that subject get headline treatment. The public observes and realizes this is a platform for getting grievances aired.
Which is fine, but grievances could get disproportionate attention in the scheme of things. We all know it's tremendously easy for school parents to develop their little gripes, not that they are all to be dismissed, of course, but it's impossible running a school to please everyone all the time.
Here's the danger I see now: A pattern of complaints getting disproportionate attention in the press, could get administrators discouraged, feeling under siege as it were. They might become jaded and cynical before their time. And we don't want them to have that kind of outlook. We want them to be cheery and idealistic as long as possible.
I have seen certain school administrators get worn down in my life. It's a daunting job they have. And I'm not sure school board members should have to sit there listening to comments on subjects that may not be under their direct purview. Many such comments ought to go directly to an administrator, perhaps via email, and get a response on those terms with no newspaper headline involved.
It is ridiculous that the school's most reasonable no-hat (in classroom) policy became a tempest in a teapot recently. A certain media manager in Morris greased the skids on that, crossing a line in terms of propriety, in my view. I don't think this community has been torn apart at all on the hat policy.
This pass-fail hubbub of late could probably be adjudicated without the public demonstration at the school board meeting. Parents who wish to speak for "visitors' comments" should perhaps at least be screened beforehand, to see if the subject is really proper for the board to listen to in such a formal setting.
Other than that, let's have a happy and successful new school year at MAHS!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Volleyball and tennis: MACA girls prevail

Volleyball: a sweep
The MACA girls used a road venue to pick up their first win on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The volleyball Tigers excelled at the Minnewaska Area court. They entered the night at 0-2 and came out 1-2, victorious in a sweep.
Scores were 25-7, 25-15 and 25-7. Coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers showed mastery over the Lakers.
Beth Holland picked up two serving aces on the night. Hunter Mundal came through with one.
In set assists it was Chelsey Ehleringer setting the pace with 14, followed by Haley Erdahl with eleven. Sydney Engebretson and Nicole Strobel each had one blocking ace.
Terianne Itzen was busy in digs, performing 19, while Mundal and Erdahl came through with eleven and seven, respectively.
We're saving hits for last in this update. Here we have Engebretson standing out with her nine aces. Paige Schieler had seven hitting aces, Lacee Maanum five and Strobel two.
 
Tennis: win over YME
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta tennis Tigers showed a winning flourish on the court vs. Yellow Medicine East.
Doubles is where the Tigers carved out their decisive advantage. First singles Tiger Abbie Olson also won, so when all the action was completed, MACA was up 4-3 over the Sting. The action was at the home courts. Summer conditions prevailed.
Olson showed her winning flair vs. Danielle Clarke, taking care of business in two sets: 6-4 and 7-5. The first doubles team of Carly Gullickson and Kjersa Anderson downed the Sting pair of Jordan Trotter and Sandy Bartels, 7-6 (7-2) and 7-5.
The second doubles team of Kaitlin Vogel and Brittany Cardwell had to overcome a slow start. They must have spotted some weaknesses in their opponents: Ann Clarke and Mariah Norell. Kaitlin and Brittany dropped the first set 1-7, then came on strong to win the rest of the way, 7-6 (7-5) and 10-8.
The third doubles tandem of Jessica Burks and Annie Brandt also dropped their first set, although it was a close 4-6. Then they surged, downing the YME pair of Steph Bartels and Hailey Spielman 6-2 and 6-3.
Maddie Hennen occupied second singles for the Tigers and she fell vs. Jordan Glad, 3-6 and 2-6. At third singles, Hannah Breeggemann was defeated by Britannia Radditz, 0-6 and 2-6.
Fourth singles Tiger Caitlin Wilts came out on the short end vs. Sophie Timm, 1-6 and 2-6.
 
It feels like summer
School is on and the sports teams have been active. The fall season is vibrant for Morris Area Chokio Alberta, to be sure. Still, up through today (Thursday), the conditions have been most summer-like.
The starting time for the MACA football season opener got pushed an hour later because of the heat on Friday. The Tigers played at Minnewaska Area and were defeated 31-14.
The pre-season headline in the Morris newspaper read "Pope, Tigers ready for fresh start." Kevin Pope is the new head coach of the Tigers. He succeeds Jerry Witt who held the reins for something like 30 years. I was along for basically the whole ride.
Even after I left the Morris newspaper, I had the good fortune of being able to photograph the Tigers for the past three years, assembling a photo album on Flickr for each season. I'm not sure the newspaper has even bothered doing a photo album (or gallery) on Tiger football.
It's nice to know that not only can I keep covering the Tigers, I can do so while delivering a product that is actually superior to the newspaper. I checked the newspaper website Wednesday afternoon and, unless I missed it, there was no coverage of the MACA vs. 'Waska football game. I still saw that headline "Pope, Tigers ready for fresh start."
I often wish the Morris newspaper would have a fresh start.
In fact, does the new coach in Tiger football really represent anything "fresh?" Are we to surmise that things had gotten "stale" in Tiger football? I'm sure coach Witt would laugh at this observation. At any rate, coach Pope - the "young guy" - doesn't appear quite so fresh now, his team having yielded 31 points in game #1.
We'll see how things go tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 6) when MACA hosts Paynesville at 7 p.m. Will Big Cat Stadium be hopping? Will there still be a  P.A. guy who says "that's another Tiger FIRST. . ." (The crowd finishes with "down.")
Will there be a pep band? The Morris Area musicians have seemed rather rare at Big Cat. Will MACA ever re-institute cheerleaders or a (male/female) "cheer team?"
Should we even want football to stay popular? I have written continuously about how football has come under close analysis and concern because of the very serious health issues, largely involving the human brain. The brain would seem to be a body part that parents would want to guard with fair vigilance. But what do I know? I'm not a parent.
Apparently the parents feel it's more important to have their boys racing across that big green field, entertaining us in that distinctly American sport of football, not to be confused with European-style football which is probably the type we should encourage. But again, what do I know?
Who am I to suggest that the Morris newspaper should actually have some decent coverage up on its website, or run photo galleries, or do some interesting, imaginative stuff, trying to avoid simply re-running stuff from the Willmar newspaper?
Who am I to suggest? I'm not an advertiser. Nor do I sell advertising. I'm just a journalist.
- Brian Williams - morris mn - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, September 2, 2013

MACA boys drop opener on hot evening

Football: Minnewaska 31, Tigers 14
How long will the honeymoon last for the new MACA football coach? OK I'm just kidding.
Kevin Pope is this young man, too young for me to be acquainted with, and he reportedly seeks a productive ground game as a priority. On Friday, Aug. 30, that game wasn't productive enough to keep pace with the host Minnewaska Area Lakers.
The dateline in the Willmar newspaper reads "Glenwood" but of course the 'Waska school is right in between Glenwood and Starbuck. It was planned (painstakingly) that way. I'm old enough to remember.
The Tigers and Lakers vied on a torrid season opener night, on that football field next to the "cornfield school" of Minnewaska. The game's start was delayed due to heat. A more prudent move might have been to suspend or cancel.
"How hot was it?" Johnny Carson might ask. "It was so hot. . ."
The Lakers overcame the heat and the Tigers. The score was 31-14 as MACA got humbled in Pope's head coaching debut.
It sure seems different not having Jerry Witt along the sidelines as the MACA head man. The passage of time brings change. I'm glad to still be writing about the Tigers. I pre-date coach Witt, going back so far as to a gentleman named Jim Satter (in the disco '70s).
The Tigers made a bid to close the gap Friday. They got to within ten, 24-14, during the fourth quarter. But 'Waska would get breathing room with the game's last touchdown.
If it's any consolation, the total yardage stats for the two teams were pretty even, around 240 yards.
Let's go through the game's scoring. We had Laker Matt Paulson scoring the game's first touchdown on a 39-yard pass reception from Austin Ostrander. The PAT try was no good. The first quarter ended with Minnewaska holding that 6-0 lead.
The Tigers scored their first touchdown of the season when Corey Storck hauled in a pass from Bryce Jergenson. It was a seven-yard aerial hookup and it was followed by a failed kick, so we have a 6-6 tie. The Lakers regained the lead when Greg Helander ran the ball in from the three. Conversion woes continued.
Then it was Ostrander crossing the end zone stripe for Minnewaska on a run from the five. 'Waska tried a pass on the conversion and it fell incomplete.
Halftime arrived with the Lakers up 18-6.
Things got worse before they got better for the visiting Tigers. Ostrander scored on a one-yard run as the second half unfolded. The PAT kick try went awry, so now the score is 24-6.
The Tigers' Jergenson scored on a one-yard run and he also carried successfully on the conversion play. The score breathed new life into the Tigers' cause. But the hopes were snuffed out as Jack Schultenover turned on the jets on a kickoff return. Jack covered 82 yards to score the evening's final touchdown. Ethan Anderson kicked the point-after.
The game's final score: 31-14.
The Tigers had 16 first downs on the night, actually outdoing 'Waska whose total was 13. Jergenson passed for 58 yards but was hurt by two interceptions, one of which had a long return and set up a 'Waska touchdown. Bryce completed eight of 17 pass attempts. His receiving targets were Bo Olson (four catches, 34 yards) and Storck (three catches, 23 yards).
The Willmar newspaper once spelled Bo's name "Beau."
Coach Pope's accented running game had Isaac Wente doing quite well carrying the football: 23 carries for 94 yards. Jordan Thooft had 13 carries for 59 yards. The Tigers were penalized three times for 25 yards. Noah Grove punted the football three times for an average of 34 yards.
Schultenover was "Waska's leading ballcarrier with 56 yards on just two carries. Ostrander completed eight passes in eleven attempts for 86 yards and had one interception. Jayden Beecher was 'Waska's top pass catcher: four, for 50 yards.
Lakers J.R. Formo and Ryan Stottler had quarterback sacks.
Our coach Pope aims to get Motown pointed in a winning direction. If this isn't achieved, might coach Witt be brought back the way the Minnesota Vikings once brought Bud Grant back? It makes me nervous seeing those "young guys" take over!
The Tigers' home debut is set for this Friday, Sept. 6, when the foe will be Paynesville at our Big Cat Stadium. Pheasant Country Sports identifies home games as being at "UM-Morris" but of course Big Cat is a cooperative arrangement, right? It's 50/50.
Kickoff time Friday is 7 p.m. The next three games are all at home!
Volleyball: BBE 3, Tigers 1
The Monday (8/26) match started out on an encouraging note for Morris Area Chokio Alberta volleyball. It was season opener night for the MACA girls. The site: Brooten.
On the other side of the net: the Jaguars of Brooten-Belgrade-Elrosa.
MACA knew a tough challenge awaited. Last year's BBE squad fashioned a 25-8 record. The 2012 Jaguars were close to qualifying for state, coming just one win shy. Last year's data don't necessarily suggest qualities about this year's team. Personnel can change over.
The Tigers and Jaguars bounded onto the court, with temperatures outside sizzling, with 0-0 records. Both were striving for optimism. Only one could win.
Initially the tone of this match looked most encouraging for coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers. (Yours truly worked with Kristi for a number of years when she was at the helm of the Hancock Owls.)
The Tigers turned back the Jags in game #1: score of 28-26. But the Jaguars bore down, employing a balanced attack that steadily overcame the Tigers.
Jaguar Becca Gruber was a force at the net. For the night she'd have 17 kills. Her efforts were complemented nicely by Megan Weller and Kinlee Swanson who turned in 14 and 11 kills respectively. Helping oil that proficient BBE attack was setter Hailey Braegelman whose assist total was 44.
BBE's strong suits yielded winning scores in games #2 through #4. Those scores were 25-15, 26-24 and 25-14.
The game #3 standoff was obviously pivotal. BBE had seized the momentum going into game #4.
The Tigers had to be consoled just being competitive on the night. Highly competitive they were. (I have been waiting for years to see MACA "raid" Hancock for coaches.)
Gruber added to BBE's assets with four ace blocks - team-high. Randi Gafkjen came at the Tigers with four ace serves. Karlee Kern added eleven digs to the mix, plus this Jaguar had three serving aces.
Let's move on to the MACA individual performances. Terianne Itzen stood out in kills with 16. Sydney Engebretson had five and Paige Schieler four. Hunter Mundal was busy in digs, finishing with 27. Beth Holland had 14 digs. Holland had two serving aces.
Chelsey Ehleringer led in set assists with 12 followed by Haley Erdahl with ten.
Last year's Tigers finished 16-9. Look for lots of volleyball thrills on the court over this coming fall!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com