Jake Schultz is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune, working his first job out of college. He graduated from St. John's University (CSB/SJU) in 2016 and is a baseball fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @StJake29.
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The referee just blew the whistle for the end of the first quarter of the season and he's ready for the second quarter to get underway but everyone is waiting for some kid to find his helmet because he swears he left it on the bench but now it's not there and it doesn't so much matter because he probably shouldn't be playing anyways. I won't name names but this person's name rhymes with Make Hultz and may or may not be writing this article.
WILLMAR—Willmar's doubles teams gave perennial powers St. Cloud Tech a run for the Tigers' money but the Cardinals ultimately fell 5-2 Thursday afternoon at Willmar High School. Willmar earned wins at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, including a three-set battle by Abby Stauffenecker and Paige Hanson at No. 2 doubles. Abigail Hoffmann and Mady Spencer battled at No. 1 doubles but Leah Donnelly and Carly Heine ran away with a third-set victory for the win 7-6, 3-6, 6-0. The Tigers swept all four singles matches. SC Tech 5,
WILLMAR—Three Willmar Cardinals got their first taste of varsity action on the home hardwood and if Tuesday was any indication, the Red Sea will have plenty to be cheering for the next few years. Outside hitter Sydney Schnichels, an eighth grader, slammed nine kills in her first game wearing the home colors and setter Lydia Larson, a freshman, finished with 13 set assists to complement teammate Carly Wedel's 27 set assists in a four-game win over Alexandria. Willmar won 25-15, 25-13, 25-27 and 25-21.
The curtain is set to fall on arguably the state's best opening game of the football season but Friday's finale should bring some fireworks. The BOLD-Paynesville game, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. Friday start at Paynesville High School, marks the end of a five-year season-opening run dating back to 2014. The Bulldogs won the opening two matches but BOLD has the two-game win streak going with wins in 2016 and 2017. Friday's battle will give the winner a series lead in season openers.
SPICER — New London-Spicer looked dominant for stretches of Thursday's season opener against Holy Family Catholic but the Fire came back to life with a strong second half to defeat the Wildcats 32-23. NLS came out of the gates strong, scoring 16 points in the first quarter and led by as much as 23-7 in the first half. Holy Family running back Nick Hendler took over, though, scampering for runs of 20, 18 and 16 yards to go on a 19-0 scoring run and edge the Wildcats.
The Willmar Cardinals kicked off the 2018 season Friday night at the Willmar Invitational. Willmar's annual invite featured Bemidji, Melrose, Minnewaska, Morris, Montevideo, Rocori, Sauk Centre, Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud Tech. Results were not provided.
The lights shone bright yet again Thursday night at Hodapp Field. The speakers blasted Guns N Roses instead of a public announcer calling out down and distance and the stands were largely empty but the Willmar Cardinals looked set for the start of another fall. The Cardinals practiced Thursday night as the second part of a two-a-day in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage against St. Cloud Tech at St. Cloud State University. Willmar kicks off the regular season Aug. 31 on the road against Fergus Falls.
KRA Speedway hosted the Kandiyohi County Fair Night Races Thursday evening in Willmar. All seven classes competed with a number of local racers hitting the dirt track. Willmar's Taylor Garberich won the Pure Stock A Feature, edging an all-local field. Pennock's Austen Bowman took second place, followed by Brayden Hedtke and Taylor Krueger, both from Atwater.
The West Central Tribune Sports Show is back with a new co-host. Joe Brown is the newest addition to the West Central Tribune sports staff and he joins the show by taking on a gauntlet of the world's toughest questions. Jake is on vacation next week but the guys will return the week of August 20 to get you ready for everything the fall season has to offer.
ATWATER - The New London-Spicer Twins and the Raymond Rockets turned Kingery Field into a Little League ballpark Sunday afternoon, blasting four home runs in a 6-3 Twins win that earned them a spot in the Class C amateur baseball state tournament. NLS left fielder Mike Danielson hit a two-run shot to left-centerfield in the bottom of the seventh inning to break the deadlock and propel the Twins to a narrow Region 4C victory Sunday afternoon.