Weather ruins all the fun - again
The often annoyingly cold and snowy early spring North Dakota weather has made its presence known once again, canceling and postponing more than enough Packer sporting events to give a guy a headache as he tries to keep track of it all.
Here's the rundown as it stood at press time:
The West Fargo Triangular track meet scheduled for April 10 was cancelled. The Packers may have lost hosting rights to that one, but they will host the Grand Forks Sertoma on April 15, after a change of venue was decided; the meet starts at 3 p.m. Whether or not Friday's scheduled Moorhead Invite takes place is anyone's guess.
In baseball news, the Packers were scheduled to finally take the field on Monday in their season and home opener against Thief River Falls. The planned April 7 opener at Fargo South and the April 10 home opener against Wahpeton will be made up in the near future.
The girls' soccer team lucked out when it went west to not only get some games in but also open with a pair of wins on April 5, with shutout victories over Mandan and Minot. The luck ran out last week when West Fargo's home opener against Fargo North on April 8 and the April 10 game at Fargo South, were both postponed with no makeup date announced.
The boys' golf team was - and may still be - scheduled to tee off the season at Rose Creek today. The girls' tennis team is scheduled to open tomorrow at home against Grand Forks Central. The Packer tennis and golf teams will be previewed in next week's Pioneer.
Meanwhile, more April snowstorms could change all of the above.
Softball opens strong
Despite the weather, the Packer softball team has managed to get in four games already this season. After dropping their season opener to Bemidji, the Packers swept a doubleheader in Bismarck against the Demons by a combined score of 28-2 on April 5.
West Fargo, hunting for its 11th straight state title, followed up on April 8 with a 19-1 demolition of Grand Forks Red River in a game moved north due to the weather.
"It's kind of hard to say (how good we are), because we've played some easier teams," said junior shortstop Aryelle Jones, who is hitting over .500 on the young season. "I think when we play North and Shanley, it'll get a little more competitive."
Coach Pat Johnson said the early season games will help the Packers - especially the newcomers - but aren't an accurate measure of his team's progress.
"It helped us out and gave us some confidence," he said. "That's what we wanted, to get some people feeling comfortable out there."
Some of those newer players include freshman Kacie Johnson, who was 3-for-4 at the plate against Red River, as well as junior right fielder Lindsey Levin, who is hitting over .500. Junior pitcher Ally McCracken, used sparingly last season on varsity, is hitting over .800 so far.
Sophomore catcher Brooke Yochim has done well behind the plate, according to Pat Johnson. Senior Becca Pegg, last season's starting catcher, hasn't played yet this season due to sickness. Pegg said she'll be back soon.
"I'm going to rest up as much as I can, so I'll be ready," said Pegg. "It's been really hard not being able to play."
Last Friday's game at Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) was postponed due to weather, while the Packers' appearance in the St. Cloud Apollo Tournament was cancelled and will not be made up. It's the first time in five years that Pat Johnson can recall Packer games cancelled by the weather and not rescheduled. The makeup dates conflict with West Fargo's scheduled Detroit Lakes Tournament appearance on Saturday.
Schiller wins awards
Sophomore Scott Schiller highlighted the recent Packer wrestling award banquet, claiming the hardest worker and MVP awards. Schiller broke the school record for most wins in a season with a 42-4 record this winter, including the state 171-lb. championship.
Senior Cameron Ramberg, who battled injuries most of his high school career, won the "heart award" after a state second place finish at 130.
Freshmen Tom Kuehn and Zach Neer, who both won their fifth place matches at state, were named most improved. All helped the Packers to an EDC title.
Swimmers hold banquet
Juniors Eric Benson and Zach Cormican, who helped lead the Packers to an EDC title and a second place finish at state, were named team co-MVPs at the recent boys' swimming banquet.
Freshman Daniel Hulbert was named hardest worker, while eighth-grader Ty Laufenberg was named most improved. Seventh-grader Ethan Doll was tabbed as Rookie of the Year, and seniors Sam Jacobs and Alex Windjue took coaches' awards. Senior Jake Danielson received the Brian Prochnow Award.
Benson, Hulbert and Cormican were part of the state title 400 free relay team, along with sophomore Jake Weible, who also won state in the 100 backstroke.
Windjue, Jacobs and Cormican all received their fifth varsity swimming letters.