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Swimming not foreign for Morris in France

Mary Morris, senior swimmer, spent her junior year studying in France but her athletics didn't suffer. "I swam from late August (last year) right up until the time I came home on June 30," said the state qualifier. "I swam with a club program, co...

Mary Morris, senior swimmer, spent her junior year studying in France but her athletics didn't suffer.

"I swam from late August (last year) right up until the time I came home on June 30," said the state qualifier. "I swam with a club program, concentrating on the 100 meters. We had a full-time coach who oversaw all the youth programs. We practiced mainly in a 25- meter pool, though there was a new 50 meter pool in the town, too. Most of the competitions were in 50 meter pools."

Morris, who swam at state as a sophomore, said the French are every bit as competitive as Americans. She lived with a family in Saumur on the Liore River, about 2Β½ hours southwest of Paris.

Her two older brothers also spent a year overseas. Paul and Mark both studied in Norway.

The Willmar 400 free relay, seeded fourth in Class A, set a school record at the section meet Saturday in Morris. Freshmen Alissa Tinklenberg and Aleasha Blokzyl, sophomore

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Sarah Hund and Morris went 3:44.35, besting the two-year old mark set by Morris, Tinklenberg, Dana Guetter and Krista Koenen of 3:44.50 by a fraction.

On the Fly

Mike Markkanen returns as an assistant coach with the girls hockey team, an item left out of the preview that appeared Tuesday. The former Iron Ranger and full-time police officer is in his ninth season working with Cardinal hockey, especially the goalies.

Cardinal Hall-of-Famer Pete Stahnke's part-time job coaching boys hockey at Park Rapids is safe. District 309 voters approved the operating levy 3,486 to 2,807 on Nov. 7., Superintendent Glenn Chiodo, formerly at Renville, made news when he declared all extra curriculars would be cut in addition to eight teachers if the levy went down for a fifth time. Four sports and 43 teachers had been cut.

The Vermilion Ironmen are the 2006 MCCC state champions after crushing defending champion Rochester 30-0 in St. Cloud. Vermilion (11-0) smashed Minnesota West 33-7 in the first round.

St. Cloud Tech's winning streak since its loss to Willmar has reached six. The Tigers (9-3) pounced on the Hopkins Royals 41-14 at Clark Field and will play undefeated Eden Prairie Thursday at the Metrodome.

Laura Nielsen, listed as a 6-2 freshman forward, played in a total of 16 minutes in South Dakota State's two exhibition victories but did not get in the Jackrabbits' first game, a win, at Middle Tennessee State on Monday.

Ridgewater wrestler Jimmy Marx upset North Dakota State junior Eric Hoffman in the first-round of the 27th annual Bison Open. Hoffman was the 2005 NJCAA champion at 125 pounds in 2005 and rallied for third place on Saturday. Marx finished 2-3. Freshman Greg Skerik, at 141 pounds, won four matches, no small feat in a senior-college tournament. He lost in the semifinals to the Gophers' Manuel Rivera, who went on to win the weight class.

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Matt Wetterling (WHS '03), NDSU junior, finished second at 184 pounds. He was pinned in the fifth minute by Minnesota's Roger Kish. He led the Bison last season in wins (25), pins (18, 9th nationally all divisions) and fastest pin (0:37).

The Lady Warriors will be without reserve 6-foot freshman middle hitter Krystle Prodoehl, at the NJCAA nationals at Rochester starting Friday. The Redwood Valley product sprained her ankle at practice Tuesday when she landed on a teammate's foot coming down from a block. The injury will also mean a delayed start in basketball.

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