Ridgewater begins another season Saturday
Ridgewater College football begins two-a-days on Saturday. Practices are scheduled from 9-11 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. Coach Rob Baumgarn, beginning his fifth fall as head coach, expects up to 70 prospects.
High on the list of incoming freshmen is Paulo Sineos of Doral Academy in Miami, Fla. The offensive lineman is listed at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds. He arrived in Willmar earlier this week after making the 1,800-miles-plus drive with his mother, an aunt and an uncle, Ed Nunez, who is a professional sports photographer covering major college and NFL football.
The Warriors will open Aug. 28 in St. Cloud for the annual MCCC Kickoff Classic against Itasca College.
The Lady Warriors volleyball team is coming off a third-place finish at the NJCAA Division III National tournament. Coach Joe Sussenguth expects a high turnout of 20, which will mean tryouts the first few days. Practice begins Aug. 13 for the Aug. 27 debut, which is Ridgewater's invitational.
The list of first-year players includes Hannah Smith of Willmar, Karli Wendlandt of New London-Spicer, Aimee Johnson of Yellow Medicine East and Miranda Kostboth of Montevideo.
The Lady Warriors went 36-5 last season behind Stephanie Tillman of Sartell, the program's first-ever, two-time first-team All-American. Freshman Emily Roelike of Belgrade also made first team and freshman Macy McKay received honorable mention.
On to state
Bruno's Tavern, a slowpitch softball team out of the Sauk Rapids League, and staffed with area athletes, won the ASA Double EE District 5 Tournament at Swansson Fields this past weekend. Willmar natives on the team were Dan Berg, Tom Boike, Gabe Brunick, Mitch Swierenga and Jeff Gimse. The champions also included ex-Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City athletes A.J. Frederiksen, Nate Frederiksen and tournament MVP Travis Frederiksen, plus Colin Devorak, Matthew Vogt and Ben Miller.
Also advancing to the ASA state tournament Aug. 14-15 in Rogers are Culligan Water of Wheaton, out of the Morris league, Double Vision of Hutchinson and the Eagles Club of Litchfield. The 23-team field included five teams out of the Brainerd league.
On Aug. 20, the Atwater Karting Speedway will honor the memory of Craig Hartman with a memorial race night. Hartman died in a car accident this winter near Kerkhoven.
Hartman was a founding AKS board member who played a key role in getting the track up and going. Craig's son Paul is a former karter who now competes in stock cars.
Trophy awards in each class will be expanded from top three to top five. The event will also be a fundraiser for the Ridgewater College Electronics Department.
The three-day Rice Tennis Classic opens today with first-and second-round singles and continues Saturday with doubles play on Sunday. WCER takes over the management of the tournament this year after the Rice family decided to step back after 15 years. Jim Anderson will be the on-site director.
Marco Vazquez of Willmar is a player to watch in Men's Open Singles. In July, the Minnesota State-Mankato No. 1 was the runner-up at both Litchfield's Watercade and New London's Water Days tournaments. It's a rugged road to Saturday's final with veterans like Brent Gloege, Chad Schmeising, Luke Beckermann, Neil Radermacher and Paul Bates in the draw.
Volunteers are needed at Willmar's baseball park during the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament. Thirty-two teams in the Class C Division and 16 in Class B will be competing the first weekend at ball fields in Bird Island and Spicer, as well as Willmar.
Hours and dates are flexible. Age is no barrier. The tournament runs over three weekends: Aug. 20-22, Aug. 27-29 and Sept. 3-6. Contact Mary Sawatzky at 320-894-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the fly
- The 45th Smith Open Golf Tournament takes place Saturday at Eagle Creek Golf Club with a 1 p.m. shotgun. Registrations are accepted at willmarhockey.pucksystems.com or by phoning Sheri TerWisscha at 320-796-5190. The five-person scramble is a fundraiser for the Willmar Hockey Association. The $70 per individual entry fee includes golf, cart, prizes and buffet.
- Willmar Senior High School fall sports can begin conditioning and drills on Aug. 16. Boys cross country won the school's one Central Lakes Conference championship last fall. Volleyball and boys soccer each placed third in the 10-school circuit. Just north of the high school, heavy equipment is moving dirt where new soccer fields will be made.
- With a large majority of its players returning from a year ago, Cardinal football can be expected to improve on a 3-4 record (tied for sixth in the Central Lakes Conference). They'll find out fast how they stack up, opening the season at Alexandria Sept. 3 and hosting Brainerd at Hodapp Field on the following Friday. Second-year head coach Jon Konold has scheduled three-a-days the first week: 8-10 a.m.; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.
- The KRA Speedway has set Aug. 19 for the annual "Faster Pastor" race. Six to eight local reverends are expected to put the hammer down.
- Bill Taunton, for whom the stadium is named, threw out the first pitch before Wednesday's Stingers' game. The former grocer and Big 10 umpire was instrumental in bringing the American Legion State Tournament to Willmar in 1979 to brand-new Baker Field.