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Willmar Notebook: Tennis courts, baseball fields, soccer fields to get upgraded

WCER has budgeted for tennis court resurfacing. Director Steve Bresendine said the four middle school courts are slotted for a makeover in 2013 and the two Rice courts next in 2014. Sperryville could be the following year.

There are cracks in the Rice courts large enough to concern the half-dozen or more seniors who play pick-up tennis two mornings a week. An ankle sprain at any age is not good.

The rec department is also dealing with a surge in demand by baseball and soccer.

Increased participation is welcomed, but the pressure means city/school/college must cooperate in maintaining and improving venues.

As for soccer, the two new high school fields on the north side are a big help. The adjoining soccer fields at Roosevelt in the southwest section are in demand spring through fall, mainly by the adult league.

Bresendine admits that his department is still learning something about turf management when it comes to keeping the soccer venues playable with so many adult games being played. He believes the fields will be in good shape going into spring after idling the fields this past spring and summer.

Demand for baseball fields is peaking. Baker is no longer available for practice. It's the home field for the Stingers, college, high school, the American Legion Post 167 team, the Rails and occasionally the two VFW Post 1639 teams.

The baseball fields at the high school have been upgraded. But come summer, it's unclear who will maintain them.

Legion, VFW, as well as youth teams, have had a hard time finding an idle field on which to practice.

Brisendine said that is something that will have to be ironed out in a cooperative plan involving the school district, parks and WCER.

Sunrise Park on the east side is getting overhauled with a bigger backstop and a 6-foot fence at 300-330 feet that can be used for freshman baseball, and also for adult softball.

Locals run from Dome to Dome

A number of area runners ran in the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday morning. The 26.2 mile jaunt starts at the Metrodome and ends at the State Capitol building.

The number of runners timed is listed at 8,780; the average time was 4 hours, 16 minutes.

Here's a list of local runners in no particular order, plus several others from the coverage area. Additions may be sent to

Amy Rongstad, 40, Montevideo, 4:15.19; Ashley Dohlen, 25, Morris, 4:13.05; Kenneth Meints, 28, Olivia, 4:35.39; Amy Morrell, 43, Spicer, 4:29.27; Wayne Martin, 60, Glenwood, 4:29.38; Greg Nelson, 31, Glenwood, 4:28.31; Ron Guetter, 52, Willmar, 3:49.37; Jay Lawton, 35, Willmar, 4:15.58; Mick Quinn, 38, Willmar, 3:21.11; Rebecca McCleery, 41, New London, 3:57.10; Melissa Radel, 44, New London, 4;29.50; Jeffery Bond, 46, Prinsburg, 3:29.54.

On the fly

n St. Cloud Tech (16-2), coached by 1982 Willmar grad Paul Bates, won another 8AA girls tennis title on Saturday beating Bemidji 7-0.

n Here are the Cardinal pairing for the 8AA girls tennis individuals at Sartell today and Friday. In singles, No. 2 South Gabie Bierbaum vs. Taylor Madison of Rocori and Cayle Hovland vs. Tracy Molitor of Rocori; doubles, No. 4 South Hayley Horning/Kassy Linbo vs. Kendra Buetter/Katie Suckert of Becker and Waverly Slette/Leah Ramon vs. Ashley Gregerson/Remington Deyak of St. Cloud Apollo.

n Star Tribune columnist and radio/TV personality Patrick Reusse called the wild ending at Bethel College "One of my most unforgettable Saturdays" in a long career, which began in the 1960s writing for the St. Cloud Times. Concordia College had the game won 14-7 with 00:00 on the fourth-quarter clock but a penalty for premature on-field celebrating gave the Royals life and they ended up the victors 15-14. It was the only Cobbers penalty of the game. Reflected head coach Terry Horan (WHS '85) this week in an email: "It was a very tough turn of events obviously, but as I told our team -- 'We can control what we can control (attitude, effort, prep work, etc). We will get through this, and I hope it's just what we need to go to yet another level of play. Time to play with a chip on our shoulder -- show our true character!' "

n Kari Higdem, 26, an all-state runner for the Cardinals before graduating in 2005, finished 181st of 7,672 runners in the Twins Cities 10-mile run on Sunday with a time of 1:06.32. She was 22nd of 4,250 females. Older sister Kirsten (WHS '03), also all-state here, ran the marathon (3:45.19).

n Jason Mayer will be JaColby Anderson's assistant coach in girls hockey. Mayer, lab supervisor at Rice Hospital, coached the varsity the last two years but resigned because of the time demands of being a head coach. He stressed in stepping down that he would be happy to remain in the program in another capacity. Anderson said he feels fortunate to have the former head coach to turn to in his new position. "With Jason on the staff, I have been able to ask him questions when needed. Jason has been a great mentor and very supportive in everything I have done."

n Bonnie Henrickson and the Kansas Jayhawks women's basketball team held media day Tuesday on the James Naismith Court at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The Willmar native and 1986 St. Cloud State grad is beginning her ninth year at Kansas. She's elevated the Big 12 program from the cellar when she came from Virginia Tech to a team climbing toward the top. Last season, KU finished 21-13 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 before losing to Tennessee.

n Ridgewater College women's hoops coach Carrie Ogdahl has nine on her preseason roster. From the area are 5-6 Jessica Kalenberg, 5-5 Lynsey Runke and 5-9 Courtney Kramer, all of Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart; 5-10 Brittany Nissen of BOLD, and 5-8 Raeann Sorenson of BBE. Cameo McNeley, a 5-10 sophomore post, from Salem, Oregon, returns.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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