As far as Paul Bates is concerned, he has the best of both worlds when it comes to prep sports.
The St. Cloud Tech head girls tennis coach has a young team, with no seniors currently in the lineup. The feeling is the Tigers can’t help but improve.
But, Tech also is very good, one of the favorites in the Central Lakes Conference and in Section 8-2A.
“It’s a great group,” Bates said.
Tech is 4-0 in the Central Lakes Conference and 4-0 overall. The Tigers’ top lineup has eighth-grader Taylor Tarrolly at No. 1 singles and her sister, seventh-grader Katelyn Tarrolly at No. 2.
“Usually, if you get a junior high player in the lineup, they’re playing fourth singles or third doubles,” Bates said. “Players like them don’t come too often.
“They play a lot of tennis. And it’s really a family game for them.”
It’s one reason why the Tigers hope they can return to the state meet for the first time since 2005.
“That’s their goal,” Bates said.
They have a good chunk of their lineup back from a squad that lost 4-3 to Brainerd in the Section 8-2A final last season. Brainerd is a young team that went into Monday 2-1 in the conference and 3-3 overall.
Tech, meanwhile, has juniors Leah Wurm and Sarah Donnelly at Nos. 3 and 4 singles, respectively.
The Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team of junior Lexi Bortz and sophomore Jill Kedrowski also returns. That duo qualified for the state tournament last season, winning a first-round match.
At No. 2 doubles is sophomore Sam Eisenreich and junior Sabrina Sturm. And at third doubles is a rotation of sophomore Katie Williams and juniors Steph Nardi and Kayla Burroughs.
“We have a lot of young girls, but they’ve played a lot of tennis,” said Bates, who thinks this might be his youngest team in his 20 years as Tech’s head girls coach.”For a bunch of girls, this is already their third year on varsity.
“They played as a group in the summer and they’ve had some success.”
Bates said he believes Brainerd and Alexandria are teams to watch in the CLC and that Bemidji is another top contender in the section.
The Tigers also have kept their nonconference scheduled challenging. They scrimmaged at Edina and are set to play at No. 2 Minnetonka today. There also is Elk River on the schedule.
“It’s a close group and they support each other really well,” Bates said. “It’s a fun group to work with.”
Sartell and Proctor wouldn’t seem to have much in common when it comes to girls soccer. The Sabres play in Central Minnesota and the Rails are a Duluth-area school.
But despite the geography, the two programs have played yearly and developed a rivalry that now includes a traveling trophy.
“We have a great relationship with their kids and their program,” Sartell head coach Joe Perske said. “We’ve gotten into this deal where we have a pot-luck (supper), have the game and when we’re up there, we jump into the lake.”
Sartell beat the Rails 1-0 on Saturday in Proctor. It’s the first time in 10 years the Sabres have won in Proctor. After beating Little Falls 3-0 in a nonconference match on Monday, Sartell is 4-1-1 overall.
The Sabres play at 7 tonight at Alexandria (2-1, 3-1) and then are host to St. Cloud Tech at 5 p.m. Thursday before wrapping up the week with their fourth game at 1 p.m. Saturday against St. Cloud Cathedral at Husky Stadium.
Circle Sept. 28
Sauk Centre activities director Rick Fischer is optimistic the Mainstreeters will be able to play their home opener Sept. 28 against Benson.
Delays in the construction of their refurbished field caused Sauk Centre to move last Friday’s game to Montevideo. The Mainstreeters’ game with Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta this week has been moved to Morris.
“We’re hoping for the 28th unless something crazy happens,” Fischer said.
Fischer said that the fences are expected to go up around the facility today and the bleachers are supposed to be completed Sept. 17. When finished, Sauk Centre will be the first area high school with an artificial turf field.
“I just can’t wait for it to be done,” Sauk Centre senior running back Roosevelt Austin said. “Everyone knows turf is fun to play on.”
Sauk Centre is off to a 2-0 start in football.
Count veteran Pierz head football coach Leo Pohlkamp among those impressed by Holdingford. The Huskers beat Pierz 12-7 in a Central Minnesota Conference game Friday.
“They are improved, a very good team,” Pohlkamp said. “I expect them to win a lot of football games this year.”
Pierz struggled with four turnovers, twice losing the ball inside the Holdingford 5-yard-line, including once at the goal line. It’s something the Pioneers are working on as they prepare for their home-opener at 7 p.m. Friday against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
Holdingford (1-0 CMC, 1-1 overall) plays Friday at B-B-E.
This and that
* Legendary hall of fame prep sports announcer Odis “Oats” LeGrand passed away recently in Valley City, N.D. He was four days shy of his 97th birthday.
LeGrand was a teacher and coach in Fergus Falls for 40 years, eventually becoming the city’s first recreation director and coaching high school football, basketball, wrestling and track. He also coached VFW and American Legion baseball and started the baseball program at Fergus Falls Community College in 1964. LeGrand was a sports broadcaster from 1953-99 and is probably best known there, becoming a member of the Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, among many other honors.
Survivors include his son, Steve LeGrand, a former head football coach at Holdingford and St. Cloud Cathedral as well as an assistant at St. Cloud State.
* Cathedral activities director Emmett Keenan reports that there are 654 students at Cathedral in grades 7-12. Of those, 469 are involved in a fall sport. That’s a 72-percent participation level. There are also 16 students from Prince of Peace, St. Cloud Christian and St. John’s Prep on Cathedral co-op teams, bringing the number involved in Cathedal sports this fall to 485.
* The Central Minnesota Umpires Association was well-represented at the 89th annual state amateur baseball tournament in St. Cloud. Pat Galdonik, Brian Dorr, John Gerads, Dave Gunderson and Nick Berscheid all worked games at the tournament.
* Jim Wagner is the new principal at Albert Lea High School. Wagner is a former Royalton and St. John’s University football star who also was head football coach at St. Cloud Apollo. After working as an Apollo science teacher for 11 years, he was Aitkin High School’s principal for two years and an assistant prinicipal at Monticello for three years before landing in Albert Lea.