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SPORTSLINE: Four NCC members apply to NSIC

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The four members of the North Central Conference soon to be homeless by the demise of that league, have applied for membership in the NSIC.

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The four are Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato and Augustana.

All but Augie are former members of that circuit or its predecessor the NIC.

The other three went social climbing to the more prestigious NCC, generally considered the top Division II conference in the nation.

The loss of Northern Colorado, SDSU, NDSU, North Dakota and South Dakota to the Division I ranks and Morningside to the NAIA has left the 80 year old circuit without enough teams to survive.

NSIC Commissioner Butch Raymond has received formal requests from all four schools.

The next step will be a visit by the NSIC to each of the institutions. It will then discuss possible expansion at next month's NCAA convention at Orlando, Fla. No vote would be expected before April.

The NSIC recently expanded to 10 teams with the addition of Upper Iowa and Mary though Crookston is considering dropping to Division III or the NAIA.

The four newcomers would face a drop in football scholarships from their present 30 to the NSIC limit of 24.

It might also lead to the addition of more sanctioned sports such as men's tennis and women's swimming.

Whether the smaller schools in the NSIC would welcome the addition of schools in the 10-15,000 enrollment category is problematical.

West Central grows

Another conference facing growing pains is the West Central Conference which will gain Mora and Milaca for the 2009 school year.

The MHSHL denied the appeal of that league to prohibit the move.

The two were left homeless with the breakup of the Rum River Conference.

Their addition would stretch the West Central from the west to the east borders of the state. The newcomers would also be the largest two schools.

Many West Central members feel the addition will result in the breakup of the West Central. That league has already accepted Foley from the Rum River to join the circuit next year. That will raise the conference to 16 teams, split into West and South Divisions.

Stejskal goes Green

Grand Rapids hockey and tennis star Joe Stejskal will go Ivy next year.

He has verbally committed and been accepted at Dartmouth to play hockey.

Dartmouth competes in the ECAC with most of the Ivy League schools.

Stejskal said the deciding factor in selecting Dartmouth was the quality of education offered.

Minnesota, Duluth, North Dakota, Mankato and Colorado College were other schools seeking his services.

Rapids hosts state

The Itasca Curling Club is hosting the state Junior Curling Tournament this weekend.

Six women's and eight men's teams are meeting for the state titles and berths in the National Junior meet at Seattle. Two men's teams and one women's rink will advance.

Among the returnees are the defending champion Alexandra Carlson rink and Duluth's Aileen Sormunen rink which gained the nationals last year.

That rink is coached by Bemidji's Bob Fenson.

Duluth's Chris Plys, the defending champion, leads the boys' field with Plys the only returning member of that rink. His three teammates last year are now past the age limit.

The national champions move on to the World Championships which will be curled this year at Eveleth.

Gravdahl retires

Former Park Rapids Enterprise sports editor and long-time general manager of that biweekly has announced his retirement due to health reasons.

The Park Rapids high and BSU graduate began his career in 1972 and became general manager in 1987

He will continue to write his column and work in the production department on deadline days.

Enterprise publisher Dennis Winskowski, also a Park Rapids high and BSU graduate, will assume the general manager's duties.

Ninham honored

Bemidji's Byron Ninham has been honored as the MCCC Southern Division Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season.

The 6-4 forward averaged 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds. 5.5 blocks and 2.5 assists per game in two Spartan victories during the week. He is the first player to earn the award twice this season.

On the year, he is averaging 14.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Fergus is currently 9-3 and ranked second in the conference.

Ninham played his high schools ball at Cass Lake-Bena for his father Dan.

Cage tournament

The MSU-Moorhead Booster Club will sponsor a basketball tournament April 14 open to boys currently enrolled in Grades 6-7-8 and girls enrolled in the seventh grade.

The fee is $120 per team. The deadline is April 4.

Call Robin Abraham at 218-477-2625 for further information. The entry fee should be made payable to Dragon BB Tournament, Box 71, MSU-Moorhead, 56563.

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