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Sportsline: Rocori's Brink faces new experience

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Sportsline: Rocori's Brink faces new experience
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Rocori's Bob Brink, the legendary boys' cage coach at that school for 41 years, has enjoyed a new experience this season.

Brink trails only Bob McDonald of Chisholm in the all-time state win records, both well over the 900 mark.

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For the first time, however, he is coaching his grandson, junior Jaren Brink who plays mostly with the Spartans JV.

Brink has coached at Rocori since 1970 and has taken 12 teams to the state tournament, wining the state in 1988 and finishing second in 1999.

He coached his sons including Jaren's father Doug who was also a member of his coaching staff for 10 years.

Several other grandchildren were cage stars but did not live in the Rocori district.

Like Brink McDonald has dealt with a family of cage stars including sons Joel (3,292 points) and Tom (2,221) and daughter Judy (2,122) among the state's top scorers.

All six went into coaching with three still active.

But none resided in Chisholm with Joel now coaching against his father at Hibbing and Mike at Cambridge and Tom at Ely.

Grandson Bryce Tesdahl is a star of this year's BSU quintet.

Good company

Ryan Rude, who topped the 1,000 point career mark Thursday at Cloquet, became only the fifth Bemidji High boys cager to reach that figure.

The list is topped by Jim Jensen (1,763), Ray Cronk (1,477), Keith Salscheider (1,195) and John Solheim (1,148) with Cronk playing only three seasons in the Bun Fortier era when freshmen never gained varsity status.

A sixth is not far away, however, with junior Carey Woods at 775 and rising rapidly.

Other 1,000's

Other new 1,000-point members include Eva Lampert of Walker.

Lampert went over the mark in a 39-35 setback to Crosby-Ironton.

Lampert began her career at Laporte and played two years before transferring to Walker.

She hopes to continue her cage career at college next winter.

Whitney Weisz of Little Falls topped 1,000 in the Flyers' 61-47 win over Bemidji.

Also reaching 1,000 was Kurtis Moody of Pequot Lakes who hit 16 in a win over Aitkin. He is a product of ex-Lumberjack coach Garry Grewe.

Laqua MSUM coach

It's official. Fargo Shanley Coach Steve Laqua has been named to rebuild the Moorhead Dragons grid program.

He was picked from a field of four finalists Friday.

The Cavalier, N. D. graduate played quarterback and linebacker at NDSU and coached collegiately at NDSU, UMC, St. Olaf and NDSU again before taking the Shanley post. He coached the Deacons to two state 2A titles.

He was signed to a four-year contract, details of which have not yet been finalized.

He has already begun recruiting.

He will follow in the footsteps of Moorhead's most famous grid coach, Bemidji's Ross Fortier who led the Dragons from 1970-1992, winning 152 games, twice as many as his nearest pursuer.

Speaking from his winter home in Florida, Fortier admitted that recruiting is a far tougher task these days with Moorhead in NCAA Division II which permits 36 football scholarships,

The long underfunded Moorhead program has only 10.

Under three previous coaches the Dragons are 17-48

Fortier advised reviving a freshman program which he used successfully to bring in 60 newcomers each year.

Another problem, Fortier stated, is the 40-year-old Title IX program which cuts deeply into the men's budget.

Fortier added, "There's just not as many good players at Moorhead as there used to be. That's where everything starts."

BYB meeting

The annual meeting of Bemidji Youth Baseball will be Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Cattails Restaurant.

Immediately following that session the group will hold an election of officers for the coming year and conduct a board meeting.

The BYB is the fund-raising association for the Bemidji youth baseball program and is currently in charge of funding and operating the BSU diamond.

It is associated with but not the same as the Bemidji Youth Baseball League, the organization that runs the summer program for 9-15 year olds.

DAC stays alive

The Dakota Athletic Conference, reduced to four schools with the withdrawal of another four to move into the NCAA-II ranks or elsewhere, will remain alive.

Dickinson, Jamestown, Mayville and Valley City will continue to make up the league which will try to add new members for the 2013 year.

With fewer than six schools, the league no longer qualifies its champions for NAIA tournaments but could advance as an independent.

Football champs will advance on their rankings in the NAIA Coaches Poll which picks 16 for the playoffs.

Other champs will likely advance on a vote of coaches into regional competitions where they may seek to qualify for national events.

Black Hills State, Minot, Dakota State and South Dakota Mines leave the league this spring, Dakota State to become an NAIA independent and the other three to move into NCAA-II. Minot will join Sioux Falls College as new NSIC members.

Dickinson and Jamestown have applied for admission to the NAIA Frontier Conference which also approached Mayville and Valley City though that pair chose not to apply.

Stolski nominated

Brainerd's Ron Stolski has been nominated by the Minnesota Vikings for the inaugural Don Shula Coach of the Year Award.

Each of the 28 NFL teams nominated one coach for the honor.

Stolski is the state's all-time winning coach with a 330-148-5 record and guided Brainerd to the state semifinals three of the past four seasons.

All the nominees are active football coaches at NFL, college, high school or youth levels.

The winner will be announced during Super Bowl week. He will receive $25,000 and be a guest of the league at the Super Bowl where he will be recognized at a news conference.

Maras enters Hall

Long-time Brainerd High gymnastics coach Dave Maras has been selected to join the Minnesota University Men's and Women's Hall of Fame.

Maras has guided the Warriors gym team for the past 29 seasons.

The induction ceremony will take place Feb. 19 at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville.

Prowler coach

Aric Attig is the new Thief River Falls football coach succeeding Jeff Mumm who stepped down at the end of the 2010 season after three decades at the helm.

Attig is a 1999 Albert Lea graduate where he competed in football, wrestling and baseball and later from Winona State.

He began his teaching career at Albert Lea before moving to Thief River five years ago where he has coached in the football, wrestling and baseball programs. He teaches phy ed at the Challenge Elementary School.

Curling notes

Aileen Sormunen of Duluth and Norma O'Leary of Silver Bay were among eight women's teams qualifying for the USA Curling Championships.

The Matt Hamilton rink, including Paul Pustovar, won the final berth in the challenge round with a 7-5 win over Mike Farbelow of St. Paul.

Previous qualifiers included the Pete Fenson rink of Bemidji with Joe Polo, Shawn Rojeski. Tyler George and Craig Brown of Madison, Wis.

The nationals will be at Fargo Feb. 12-19.

I-500 ends early

The annual I-500 snowmobile race ended a day early due to whiteout conditions after two days on the trails at Thief River Falls.

Brian Dick, of Thief River, who led during the first two days, was declared the winner.

Dick's time was 4:57.05, finishing four seconds ahead of Ryan Simons of Compose, Alberta. Ryan Greening won the Pro 600 class.

The next USCC race will be the Chase on the Lake at Walker Feb. 13.

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Pioneer staff reports
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