The Mille Lacs County Times » Sports The Mille Lacs County Times cover community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Milaca, Minnesota and it's surrounding areas. Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:30:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dragons defeat Wolves in football season opener Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:07:44 +0000 The Milaca Wolves’ season opener against Litchfield was an introduction to the varsity game for several young players.
Brian Bowman / Mille Lacs County Times The Milaca Wolves’ Reece Sandberg, bottom, gets help from teammates Jon Boyle, second from right, and Luke Manoleff for a tackle.
Brian Bowman / Mille Lacs County Times
The Milaca Wolves’ Reece Sandberg, bottom, gets help from teammates Jon Boyle, second from right, and Luke Manoleff for a tackle.

And, as it is with many first-year players, it took the Wolves about a half to get adjusted to the pace of the play.
The result was a 20-7 road loss to the Litchfield Dragons in the season opener for both teams on Saturday, Aug. 22.
“I thought we had a lot of first varsity-game mistakes going on like offsides and not snapping the ball,” said Wolves’ head coach Cory Anderson. “Silly things like that hurt our drives. They were drive killers and, as the game went on, we got better and better.”
Litchfield wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Dylan Madsen opened the scoring for the Dragons with a four-yard touchdown run just four minutes into the game for a 6-0 lead (the two-point conversion attempt failed).
Jared Pedersen scampered into the end zone from five yards out to put the Dragons up 14-0 with 4:48 left in the second quarter (he also added a two-point conversion).
Litchfield then threatened to go up three scores as the Dragons drove deep into Milaca territory in the waning seconds of the first half. But a pass by Dragons’ quarterback Josh Prahl on the first half’s final play could not be hauled in by a Litchfield receiver.
The Dragons did increase their lead to 20-0, however, with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter when Prahl snuck into the end zone from a yard out. Again, the two-point conversion attempt failed.
Milaca finally scored its first points of the season when QB Nathan Hass hooked up with receiver Jimmy Kragt for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter. Blake Kiel then added the extra point.
Hass was 13 for 21 for 135 yards in the game. He also had an interception in the game’s final minute with Milaca driving deep in Litchfield territory. Seven of those completions went to Kragt for 80 yards.
“Our saving grace was that we won the second half,” Anderson said optimistically. “It was 7-6 in the second half, so as the game wore on I thought we were stronger and stronger.”
The Wolves were definitely better in the second half. Still, the offense has a long way to go before they put fear in opposing defenses.
“I was hoping we would move the ball more than we did,” Anderson admitted. “But Litchfield executed their game plan really well on both offense and defense. No one was running wide open and they pressured really well.
“They did what they do really well.”
The Wolves had trouble running the ball with Hass as the leading rusher with 48 yards on 10 attempts. Ted Blenkush did a nice job running, at times, finishing with 42 yards on 12 carries.
Defensively, the Wolves settled down nicely after giving up the early touchdown. Litchfield controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage for most of the game but the Wolves did do a better job defensively in the second half.
“Our offense didn’t move the ball very much so the defense had to deal with the short field quite a bit,” Anderson noted. “They handled that pretty well. We turned them over once and we stopped them right before the half, which was big, because they were getting the ball coming out of the break.”
Brody Sather had a great game defensively for the Wolves at the nose guard position. Sather was double teamed quite often, which created space for Blenkush to make tackles. Blenkush led Milaca with six solo tackles.
Despite being disappointed with the season-opening loss, Anderson said the Wolves gained plenty of experience in that first game.
“There were eight kids on both sides of the ball that this was their first varsity snap,” Anderson noted. “We gained that experienced and we finished, I think, healthy. Jon Boyle may have tweaked a knee but we haven’t seen him yet (Monday).”
Milaca will be back in action Friday, Aug. 28 when the Wolves (0-1) visit Little Falls (0-1) to battle the Flyers. Little Falls lost 21-14 to Detroit Lakes last Saturday in its season opener.
“They lost that game but they had several chances to win,” Anderson said, noting Little Falls has about 30 more players on its roster compared to Milaca. “They probably should have won that game. Offensively, it looks like they are kind of running the similar type of stuff as before. Defensively, they’re a 4-3 man-to-man type of team or a 5-2 man-to-man type of team.
“But if we play well, then we can play with anyone in our conference.” ]]> 0 Brown takes over Cathedral boys’ hockey program Sun, 23 Aug 2015 02:02:49 +0000 Derrick Brown may have had a real good situation as a teacher and head hockey coach with the Luverne Cardinals, but the opportunity to become the new St. Cloud Cathedral boys’ hockey coach was simply too good to pass up.

Brown confirmed last week that he’s leaving Luverne, a small city situated in southwestern Minnesota, for the coaching and high school social studies teacher position at Cathedral.

He takes over from Eric Johnson, who resigned as the boys’ hockey coach and teacher.

“It’s a good move location-wise,” said Brown, whose parents Wally and Elaine live in Milaca. “Cathedral is a really good school and program, so it just felt right.”

Brown was highly successful at Luverne, leading the Cardinals to their first-ever state tournament appearance in 2014. That same year, Brown was named the winner of the John Mariucci Award as the Class “A” hockey coach of the year.

Last season, Luverne posted an impressive 21-4 record.

“It’s a big change, I was in Luverne for six years,” said Brown, who graduated from Princeton High School back in 2004. “Obviously, for me, I went to high school in Princeton and now I’m going to see some familiar schools again and get back to playing teams that I used to recognize in high school.

“It will be a drastic change because I’m going from the southwest corner of Minnesota to central Minnesota – but I’m excited about it.”

Brown admits he is taking over a Cathedral boys’ hockey program that was very successful under the guidance of Johnson.

“I have some big shoes to fill,” Brown admitted. “Eric Johnson was there for 10 years (leading the Crusaders to a 195-76-9 record) and they’re a top-15 program, always a state-tournament contender. It’s a very good program and that’s what excites me about this opportunity.

“I’m just going to try to continue with the tradition that he’s built here.”

As a player, Brown, a talented defenseman, led the Tigers to the 2001-02 and 2002-03 state tournaments and was captain of the 2003-04 squad.

He is a Milaca native who transferred to Princeton to play hockey. Brown played hockey as a youngster until his parents moved to the Milaca area. He wanted to continue playing hockey, but Milaca didn’t have a hockey program.

That was a bold move making the short trip south down Hwy 169 to play high school hockey for a Milaca rival. He hopes this latest decision is just as successful.

“We have more of a veteran group (at Cathedral) and a good core of seniors,” explained Brown, who played college hockey at St. Mary’s in Winona. “When these seniors were sophomores, they were at the state tournament when I took Luverne there in 2014.

“There’s good leadership, I’ve already had their captain call me and introduce himself and other kids have texted me and welcomed me to the Crusaders’ family.

“I can tell that I’m taking over a program that they are very, very proud of.” ]]> 0 Stones Throw hosts Invitational golf tournament Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:00:06 +0000 The Stones Throw Golf Course hosted a Match Play Invitational tournament on Sunday.

The women’s low gross golfer was Heather Hoeck with an 85 while Sara Jacobson was the low net women’s player with a 72.

The men’s flights were match play and the first flight winner was the foursome of Nick Wilken, Joe Hasz, Clay Hoeck, and Dan Dehart.

The championship flight winners were Matt Ruis, Ryan Olson, Mike Herr, and Todd Norgart.
Meanwhile, Ken Muller won the fifth flight and Daren Koppendrayer captured the fourth flight. Ken Swenson won the third flight while Al Siemers took the second flight title.

Joe Hasz won the first flight and Ryan Olson was tops in the championship flight.

The local course will be hosting the Fairview Scrubby Bear tournament Saturday, Aug. 15 and then the Milaca Youth Wrestling event on Saturday, Aug. 22.

The club championship is slated for Sunday, Aug. 30. ]]> 0 Wolves looking to slay Dragons in Litchfield Thu, 20 Aug 2015 02:15:29 +0000 When the Milaca Wolves take to the field against the Litchfield Dragons on Saturday, Aug. 22, it will be the season opener for both teams.

And it will be a new experience for many of the Milaca players.

The Wolves lost a plethora of seniors from last year’s team due to graduation, so many younger players will have an opportunity to show off their skills on the gridiron.

There are plenty of question marks with the Wolves this season and the same can be said for Litchfield. Both teams won just one game a year ago, but other than that, Wolves’ head coach Cory Anderson admitted not much is known about their rivals from the west.

“I don’t know much,” said Anderson last week. “They had under 40 kids last year and they were graduating some, so I don’t know what kind of numbers they’ll have. We haven’t shared a common opponent, so I know very little.”

Both teams exchanged film, said Anderson, from last year’s games. But this year is a different story with so many new players.

“We’ll probably have a chat this week and share some formations and whatnot, so that we both look a little bit prepared,” Anderson noted. “But other than knowing that they seem to be running a 4-4 defense and they mix up an I set with some zone read spread stuff on offense.

“But, other than that, I don’t know a whole lot.”

The Wolves started training camp on Monday, Aug. 10, which means that they did not have a whole lot of time to prepare for the season opener. Still, Anderson has been pleased with the Wolves’ progress in that short time period.

“We have gotten a lot of work in and we’re feeling very good with where we’re at,” Anderson said. “But we also have a ton of more work to get done. We’re still in the training and conditioning faze of the season, and (we started) game planning for Litchfield a little bit (last) Saturday morning.”

Coach Anderson and his staff are going to have to make sure that the Milaca players don’t get caught up with the excitement of that season opener on the road.

“That’s why we tried to do as much as we could in the summer, so our kids have seen some other towns now,” he explained, adding he has been very impressed with his players’ attitudes and their leadership so far this season. “The 7-on-7 kids have seen three competitions this summer and we went down to Winona State for some live scrimmages down there against some teams.

“We tried to do as much as we can with live ball.”

To earn a road win over Litchfield, Milaca is going to have to play a complete game. They are going to have to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves, whether it big a big block or hooking up with a wide open receiver.

Turnovers, as always, will be a key.

“We have to take care of the football,” Anderson stressed. “Those first scrimmages that we would normally have tend to have lots of penalties and lots of turnovers because we haven’t had those things practiced as well. I’m a little concerned about that kind of work.”

This Saturday’s season opener has a 7 p.m. start. Anderson encouraged fans to make the road trip to watch the Wolves.

“I know it’s a long drive out there, but we want to remind people that we have three games before Labor Day this year,” he noted. “Hopefully, they can get out and support our kids the best that they can, even when it still feels like summer.” ]]> 0 Sandberg has Hall of Fame experience in Canton Sat, 15 Aug 2015 02:17:56 +0000 sports Reese Sanberg team

Reece Sandberg may only be 16 years old, but he already has had a Hall of Fame football experience.

Sandberg was one of just two Minnesotans – and the first ever from Milaca – to be selected to attend a six-day Team USA football camp in Canton, Ohio back in late June.

“It was basically a tryout to make the USA national football team,” said Sandberg, a talented linebacker with the Wolves. “They had scouts there, college scouts at the camp itself, and it was a full-contact camp with scrimmages and all sorts of great workouts.”

The experience of competing against the best, young football players in the country was an exceptional one.

“There were some great football players there,” said Sandberg, who was voted co-captain by his teammates in Canton. “They were insanely athletic and insanely cooperative. They were ready to play football and they were ready for everything about that sport.

“The guys there at the camp were huge but it’s just football. You hit low at the hips and legs. I’m a wrestler as well, so you get into position to take guys down.”

Sandberg feels he will be a much better player this season based on what he learned from the coaches at the Ohio camp.

“I learned a lot of things,” said Sandberg, listed at just under 5-foot-9 and 153 pounds. “(I learned) communication and (the fact) that you have to work as a team rather than just thinking about yourself and an individual person.”

Sandberg, a junior, was invited to Canton after attending a developmental camp at the Blaine National Sports Complex earlier this summer. An estimated 120 players attended that camp and just two, according to Sandberg, were picked to go east to Canton.

He now awaits a decision whether he will be selected to the national team that will play in Dallas this January.

As a linebacker, Sandberg has the luxury of hitting people. And that suits him just fine.

“I started playing football in the fourth grade and I just love hitting people,” he stressed, noting he has also played on the defensive line and has been a running back already in his amateur football career. “Football is one of my favorite (sports).”

Sandberg spoke highly of the experience of playing football with, and against, the best high school-aged football players in the U.S. He is automatically invited to next year’s camp.

“It was an awesome thing to do,” Sandberg said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was just a great camp. We were broadcasted on YouTube and we went inside the Hall of Fame museum and we saw all of the trophies and everything.”

As a reward of five days of hard work at the camp, players had the rare opportunity to play at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. It was the same field that the Minnesota Vikings played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s Hall of Fame game this past Sunday evening.

“It was one of those types of stadiums that aren’t very big,” Sandberg explained. “It’s not like the new Vikings’ stadium or a Pittsburgh stadium or Ohio State or anything like that. It’s a smaller stadium but a great stadium. It’s a great field.”

The experience of being part of the Team USA camp will help Sandberg immensely this season and for the remainder of his football career. He did not start for Milaca last season but has a good chance to be a starting linebacker this year.

The Wolves started training camp this past Monday with a pair of practices. The Wolves were busy all this week preparing for their season opener on the road against Litchfield on Saturday, Aug. 22.
“I’m already prepared, my shoes are all ready, the pads are where they need to be,” he said Sunday afternoon. “I’m excited to get started.” ]]> 0 The Wolves Way Team Camp deemed a success Tue, 11 Aug 2015 02:41:22 +0000 Brian Bowman / Mille Lacs County Times Milaca varsity head football coach  Cory  Anderson gave  instructions to his  players  during Monday evening’s practice as part of the Wolves Way Team Camp.

Brian Bowman / Mille Lacs County Times
Milaca varsity head football coach
Anderson gave
instructions to his
during Monday evening’s practice as part of the Wolves Way Team Camp.

The Milaca Wolves were very pleased with their how The Wolves Way Team Camp worked out last week.
Now, they hope to have the same kind of success when the Wolves’ training camp begins bright and early on the morning of Monday, Aug. 10.
“(The Wolves Way Team Camp) went really well,” said Wolves’ head coach Cory Anderson Monday afternoon. “I was really excited about both the numbers and energy… especially (from) the youth camp and the junior high camp.”
The junior high numbers were definitely improved from last season, said Anderson, while the youth numbers were “probably the same”.
The varsity numbers, meanwhile, were down slightly. That decline was expected, though, as Milaca graduated 23 seniors last year.
“When you have a big class like that, it’s going to look like we dropped a bunch of kids, but we just graduated them,” Anderson noted. “I’m always looking for more linemen but, other than that, our skill positions are going to be good if we stay healthy.”
Anderson is extremely excited to get the football season started.
“Every year it’s rejuvenating,” he exclaimed. “It wears you out but gives you energy at the same time. We’re super excited this year and it feels a little more stressful because we lost a week of training before our first game.
“We’re going to be busy these first two weeks before our first game.”
A New rule this season, said Anderson, prevents teams from having two-a-day practices on two consecutive days. That means Milaca will work out twice a day Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Wolves will then practice just once on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Each practice will be two hours in length, said Anderson. The morning practices will run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then the nightly workouts will go from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Anderson said the coaching staff has a couple of main goals each training camp.
“Every year we come into our camp and we want to accomplish a couple of things,” said the Wolves’ head coach. “We want to make kids better football players but we also want to build better men. We do lots of little lessons and encouragements to help the boys grow up to be responsible people.
“And I think that’s every bit as important as the football side.”
Milaca will play its first game of the season at Litchfield on Saturday, Aug. 22 and then the Wolves will travel to Little Falls on Friday, Aug. 28.
Milaca’s first home game is against Zimmerman on Sept. 3. ]]> 0 Free sports physical at Fairview Wed, 15 Jul 2015 19:20:46 +0000 Fairview is making it easy for high school athletes to get ready for the school year by offering free physicals at Fairview Clinics. Fairview clinics in the area with openings for free sports physicals are: Fairview Clinics-Princeton and Fairview Clinics-Milaca. A comprehensive medical team of physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists and athletic trainers will perform the physicals. Immunizations are not included.  Advance registration is required. Visit to register online or call 612-672-7272. ]]> 0 Milaca native makes the calls on oval dirt tracks Thu, 09 Jul 2015 21:39:50 +0000 sports race track sahlstrom w

OGILVIE – In order to make the proper call on the oval, with a number of fast vehicles battling for track positions, you need to concentrate on but only one thing.
“This is something I have a passion for and really enjoy doing it and when people ask what did you think of the races, I tell them I really didn’t see them, as I announced the race,” Randy Sahlstrom said.
Now in his seventh season making the calls behind the microphone at the Ogilvie Raceway, Sahlstrom continues to do what drives him.
“If I start watching, I will have to quit announcing as you can’t do both,” was his response during a recent visit to the “Big O.”
Sahlstrom has been working as the track announcer at the racetrack “since the beginning.”
While he works the Saturday night events at Ogilvie, Sahlstrom actually honed his skills behind the microphone at the Granite City track, as he is now in his 12th season announcing automobile racing action at Sauk Rapids track.
It was his background in dirt track announcing that landed him the job in Ogilvie after, “I found out who the promoter was and contacted him and was hired and have been there ever since.”
Now under new ownership, Sahlstrom looks for the racing program in Ogilvie “to only get stronger.”
Following graduation from Milaca High School in 1981, Sahlstrom first found himself opting to attend the Oak Hills Bible Institute in Bemidji for one year.
It was then off to St. Cloud State University where he earned himself a bachelors degree in engineering.
After working at Milaca High School as a Para-Professional, working in the Special Education Department, Sahlstrom now finds himself in a different occupation during his weekdays, serving as a Personal Care Attendant (PCA).
In his spare time, Sahlstrom does a “lot of homework,” as he keeps current data on the drivers, along with sponsors and any updates at the track facilities.
Sahlstrom, the son of Dorothy and John Sahlstrom of Milaca, credits growing up and going to races with his father at the Princeton Speedway as the hook for his interest in oval dirt track racing.
He recalled first being hired as a story writer for a news publication, dealing with “dirt racing news.”
It was the next season in Sauk Rapids when that track was in need of an announcer, and Sahlstrom asked for “a shot at it and got one.”
His love for racing keeps him more than busy as last year the Granite City track was operated on Sunday evenings, allowing him to announce in Princeton on Friday, settling in Oglivie on Saturday and off to Sauk Rapids on Sunday.
Since the switch in race nights in Sauk Rapids to a Friday show, that now finds Sahlstrom making the call only on two nights.
In describing the art of track announcing, Sahlstrom pointed out, “you have to be very focused on what you are doing or you will get lost, as things happen quickly.”
He looks at his job as being important to not only the racers, but to the sponsors and especially to the track.
While the noise may muffle out his voice during a heated race, his voice can be heard plainly on a highlighted video file of each race that is made available to the public.
In order to make the proper call, Sahlstrom notes he must be, “mentally prepared for the action as nothing is scripted and every race is different.”
He added, “pretty much anybody, on any given night, could be the winner.”
Another part of his homework comes just prior to the races as he spends a great amount of time in the pit areas, working with drivers and other individuals from pit crews.
Sahlstrom has established a database, where he logs personal information on all the drivers, along with car number, sponsors and their hometown.
Most nights can include up to six race classes, with the car count reaching as high as 100, leaving a lot for him to capture in motion.
Joining Sahlstrom in the announcers box area on race nights in Ogilvie is Laurie Hoffman, also from Milaca, who is responsible for the computer scoring system being utilized at the track.
Now with the change of ownership at the Ogilvie Raceway, Sahlstrom stated, “the initial owners did a great job, leaving room for expansion of a good thing.” ]]> 0 Milaca pounds Mora in Legion action Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:27:04 +0000 july 6 milaca legion baseball 458

Brian Kiel did it all against Mora in Legion baseball action on Monday, July 6.
On the mound, the right-hander completely shut down Mora, going seven complete innings while giving up just two hits and four walks in an impressive 7-0 road win. He also struck out 12 for the second consecutive game.july 6 milaca legion baseball 009
Kiel did a very good job throwing strikes and his slider was extremely effective in the win.
“(His slider) is his bread and butter pitch,” said Milaca head coach Bart Naumann. “He can throw that slider pretty much any time in the count. He has a curveball and a slider, but the slider is really tight and it breaks when it gets right in the zone.”
At the plate, Kiel helped his cause by blasting a two-run homer that sparked a five-run, fourth inning. Earlier in the game, Kiel narrowly missed hitting two dingers that had the distance but just went to the wrong side of the left-field foul pole.
“He’s kind of textbook when it comes to hitting,” Naumann said. “When he gets his timing down, he hits really well.”july 6 milaca legion baseball 354
Milaca led 1-0 after three innings and then broke the game wide open with that huge fourth inning. Nick Wolbert and Matt VanSomeren also had big blasts in that inning that resulted in runs for Milaca.
“When we first started out everybody was tight and kind of antsy, getting ahead of themselves at the plate,” Naumann said. “But once we got a couple (of runs) on the board, then everybody got relaxed. (The big inning) also lets Brian throw strikes and work on getting hitters (out).”
Monday’s victory improved Milaca’s record to 5-5 heading into this past Tuesday’s home game.
“It’s always (good) when you can win on the road,” Naumann said Monday evening. “We really needed that (win). It puts us back up to .500 with Pine City-Hinckley coming to town Tuesday.”july 6 milaca legion baseball 318july 6 milaca legion baseball 107 ]]> 0 Milaca VFW squad splits at Paynesville tourney Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:29:33 +0000 The Milaca VFW baseball team finished with a 1-1 record at a Paynesville tournament last weekend.

sports VFW moos
Brian Bowman / Mille Lacs County Times Milaca VFW’s Riley Moos is out on a close play at second base.

Milaca was defeated 10-0 by Minnewaska in six innings but rebounded nicely to trounce Paynesville 13-3 in its second game.

“We had just one hit (against Minnewaska),” said Milaca head coach Craig Talberg. “We hit the ball but we hit the ball right at people and they made a couple of good plays. They turned two or three double plays against us. It was one of those games where everything bounced their way.”

In their second game of the tournament, Milaca came out and hit the ball well all over the field. Milaca banged out 10 hits in the lopsided 10-run win over Paynesville.

“It was really good to see my guys bounce back after getting beat by 10 the game before,” Talberg said, noting Paynseville scored all of its runs in one inning.

Jimmy Kragt was very effective on the mound for Milaca, pitching all five innings. He gave up just two hits while striking out six.

“He had one inning where he got in trouble in the third,” Talberg noted. “But, other than that, he had total control the whole game.”

On Thursday, June 25, Milaca doubled Paynesville 4-2 at home. Milaca scored a pair of runs in both the first and second innings and held on for the win behind a strong pitching performance from right-hander Matt Fransen.

Fransen gave up just three hits while striking out nine. He walked just one hitter.

“We played pretty well and Matt pitched a good game,” said Talberg. “It wasn’t great, but he pitched a good enough game to keep us in the game. We got some hits when we needed them and we played alright.”

Fransen had a single and two RBI while Kragt and Raleigh Millar also drove in runs.

Defensively, Milaca did a good job limiting Paynesville to just the two runs – one of which was earned.

Milaca (3-1) hosted Crosby-Ironton Wednesday, July 1 but no score was available at press time. They then will play Aitkin Thursday, July 2, although the location had not been determined at press time.

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