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MINNEAPOLIS Six years ago almost to the day, the Minnesota Duluth football team closed the regular season with a 31-19 victory over Minnesota-State Mankato. A crowd of 3,458 gathered at Malosky Stadium on a sunny and mild afternoon to watch as the defending national champion Bulldogs secured a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fourth straight year.
MINNEAPOLIS—As 90-degree temperatures descended on the North Star State over the past week, allergies soared as people mowed yards in late September. What was going on here? How could this be? Our world was turned upside down. It was the end of tater tot hot dish as we knew it. Pandemonium began to set in as the first signs of epidemic began trickling out of Minnesota Vikings' headquarters on Saturday, Sept. 16, when the team signed somebody named Kyle Sloter, a quarterback, off the 53-man practice squad.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Minnesota Vikings appeared to downplay the return of former running back Adrian Peterson, not so much by what they did, but what they didn't do. In the buildup to Monday night's season opener against the New Orleans Saints, the Vikings sent out releases detailing a 9/11 tribute and former receiver Randy Moss' induction into the team's Ring of Honor, but there was nary a mention of Peterson's return.
BRAINERD — Drag racer Greg Anderson was asked what's different with Pro Stock after qualifying Saturday at the 36th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, and his answer, announced over the track PA system, was something the announcer called the most honest interview he'd heard in a while. "We're not having fun anymore," Anderson said. Anderson was referring to the good old days of Pro Stock, but it could have been a metaphor for a season of struggles for him and his Summit Racing teammate Jason Line.
DULUTH — Dr. Fahd Arafat of Rainy River Medical Center understands the power of positive thinking, lessons he applied in his conversation with Father Ben Hadrich on Aug. 8, 2015. "The doctor came in with a picture of my brain and said I was having a stroke," Hadrich said. "I remember just asking, 'Am I going to die?' And he said, 'No, you'll be just fine.' I was kind of peaceful at that point." The rest of Hadrich's journey was anything but, including being read his last rites by a fellow priest, but he survived the massive stroke to return leading a remarkable life.
DULUTH — Hellen Jepkurgat was asked Saturday what it was like to make the last turn at Grandma's Marathon knowing she had the victory in her grasp. The standard reply generally involves acknowledging the crowd and pontificating about how great it is to cross the line first. Not Jepkurgat. She just wanted it over. "Ohhhhh ... I was tired," she said, shaking her head. While the Kenyan's English is limited, that expression was universal.
CHICAGO — Nobody knows whose idea it was to play the drinking game "flippy cup," but one thing led to another, and a handful of University of Minnesota Duluth hockey fans had a brush with fame on Friday night after the video of them having a good time at a baseball game got picked up by ESPN. Matt Ward and his buddies were in town for the Frozen Four. After UMD dispatched Harvard 2-1 on Thursday night, they were looking for something to do on Friday, an off day. Score!
DULUTH, Minn.—Legendary sportscaster Verne Lundquist followed his father by attending Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Ill., in 1962. It didn't take long to realize it wasn't for him. "I didn't have the dedication or the discipline to become a minister," Lundquist said. "It's a 24-hour-a-day job, and boy, you better have a value system that gives you permission to be that involved in people's lives. I didn't, and I knew it, so I followed a different path."
DULUTH — University of Minnesota women's hockey goaltender Sidney Peters figured this could be another long one, so during the second intermission of Saturday's game against Minnesota Duluth, the junior took a bathroom break. Fortunately for the Gophers, Peters didn't have to work overtime as Patti Marshall's goal 7:54 into the third period lifted fifth-ranked Minnesota to a 1-0 victory over third-ranked UMD in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals before 1,549 at Amsoil Arena.
MANKATO — Duluth native C.J. Ham has heard his named called by fans more than once at Vikings training camp this week on the Minnesota State-Mankato campus. The local fan base is pretty well educated, and when one of their own, a state product, is trying to make the team, they show their support. Ham, after all, has played on this campus before as a running back with the NSIC’s Augustana Vikings.