Tough conference offers Henrickson little rest

Bonnie Henrickson, the 1981 Willmar graduate who is in her 11th year helming a major college team, has found winning tougher in the middle of the country than on the coast.

Bonnie Henrickson, the 1981 Willmar graduate who is in her 11th year helming a major college team, has found winning tougher in the middle of the country than on the coast.

Over seven seasons her teams at Virginia Tech compiled a 158-62 record and seven post-season appearances. In her fourth season at the University of Kansas, her record is 55-58 (with one post-season trip) going into Wednesday night's game with Texas -- 37-17 non-conference but 18-41 in the rugged Big 12.

The first Cardinal girl to reach 1,000 points was asked how things are going in Lawrence?

Her reply: "Rebuilding this program has been challenging because of the strength of this conference. The Big 12 is the best women's basketball conference in the country. Our freshman and sophomore classes have been more competitive in this league and we welcome a talented freshman class next year.

"We have gone out of the state and region to recruit but make this area a high priority. We have signed the best players locally in the last two years. We were 11-2 in our non-conference schedule (this year)."


Last year, the Jayhawks' went 11-20 against a schedule ranked 33rd hardest in the country. After beating Nebraska 62-61, the KU lost by four at Texas Tech and by three at Missouri on Sunday.

A first for CLC hockey

When Alexandria beat The Breck School 2-1 on Saturday for the Class A girls hockey title, the Cardinals became the first member of the 30-year-old Central Lakes Conference to win a state championship in hockey -- boys or girls. In fact, Alexandria is the first Central Lakes Conference team to reach a hockey final.

Alexandria was 1-7 at state the last four years before the 3-0 run last week. Willmar won't be too sad to seed the five Alex seniors graduate. While Willmar dominated the series in the early years, starting with the 2003-04 season Alexandria has won 10 of the last 11 meeting with Willmar.

On the fly

n In Class A state swimming starting Friday, Section 3A 200-freestyle relay champion Willmar (1:29.69) and runner-up Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield (1:29.95) are the only sub-1:30.0 seeds among 24 team entries. Section 3A has also produced the three top seeds going into the 400-free relay: Fergus Falls (3:18.01), Willmar (3:18.69) and DCL (3:19.65).

n Pete Stahnke (WHS '83) and his Park Rapids boys hockey team had their dream season halted by East Grand Forks in the Section 8A semifinals at Thief River Falls. The Green Wave handed the Panthers only their second loss, 8-2. Stahnke's former Cardinal teammate Lee Smith (WHS '84, also had a hard landing in the playoffs. His Eden Prairie Eagles were ousted by Benilde-St. Margaret 6-5 on Saturday in 6AA. Dave Aus (WHS '87) has Blaine in the semifinals looking for third straight Section 5AA title.

n Concordia's Tony Neumann (29-12) qualified for the NCAA wrestling tournament on Saturday when he pinned his foe in a true-second match. The junior at 197 pounds went 4-1 in the tournament held at St. John's University on Saturday. Concordia junior hockey players Alyssa Dahl (7-10-17) and Mandi Samuelson (5-8-13) ranked first and third, respectively, in final Cobber regular-season scoring. No. 3 Concordia (10-6-2, 10-11-2) plays at No. 2 St. Thomas Saturday in the MIAC semifinals.


n Kelsey Fehl, a four-time softball letter winner at Minnesota State Moorhead, has enrolled in graduate school to study sports management with an idea of coaching at the college level someday.

n The two campuses in Moorhead continue to pull in some of Willmar's top student/athletes: Greta King says she will attend Concordia in the fall and play volleyball with track an option.

n When Willmar and Worthington meet in the 2AAA semifinal Saturday at Mankato, it marks the first time the schools have met in girls basketball since the Trojans were a guest at the WildCard Tournament in late December, 1992. Willmar, under head coach Shorty Schroeder, won 48-41 but lost to New London-Spicer in the final the next day. Schroeder retired two years later and MACCRAY coach Brad Atchison was hired.

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