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West Fargo Packer girls basketball team fights fatigue

The Packer girls jump-started their basketball season and ran away with two quick opening wins only to lose four of their next five.

Now the Packers are finding they're running away again - from one side of the West Fargo gym to the other. Coach Barb Metcalf has her players running hard in practice to improve their conditioning after they appeared tired in the later stages of some of the recent losses. The team's most recent defeat came at Grand Forks Red River when West Fargo lost 58-44 on Jan. 6.

"We've been running a lot more. We're going through drills harder this week," said senior Blake Selisker. "I'm assuming it'll work. We'll be in good shape here soon, because we've been doing a lot of practicing."

Conditioning drills have the Packers running crushers, also known as lines, and running carpets - the always fun art of pushing a piece of wood covered in carpet across the floor with your hands.

"We've been working a lot on getting in shape. We're just trying to figure some things out. We played some good competition out west, and we went up to Red River and we didn't play well," said Metcalf. "We're still learning a new system and learning how to work with each other. We're not peaking by any means."

West Fargo, 3-4 overall, was in fifth place in the nine-team EDC at press time earlier this week. The Packers are 2-2 in conference play this season with wins over Wahpeton and Fargo Shanley.

The Packers host Valley City tomorrow in a contest worth two-points. It will be West Fargo's first home game since the season opener. The Packers are hoping they look more like the team that took the floor the first couple of games this season instead of the one that lost to the Roughriders.

"The Red River game was one of our bad games," said Selisker. "We didn't play good at all the whole game."

Two Rotary champs

The Packers may have finished 12th out of 25 teams at the prestigious Bismarck Rotary wrestling tournament last weekend, but it wasn't their placing that meant the most to coach Kayle Dangerud.

It was that just about everyone did something well, a welcome relief to a season that has seen its share of injuries, ineligibilities and losses. Two West Fargo grapplers did as good as anyone can; they kept on winning. Senior Austin Cassezza and junior Scott Schiller won championships and are both Packers of the Week.

Cassezza pulled off a last second escape for a 7-6 win in the 135 championship match. Schiller, ranked first in the state, was named the rotary's outstanding wrestler. He major decisioned the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the state in the semi-finals before pinning a defending Montana state champion for the title at 189.

"That's the first time anyone from West Fargo has received the award," said Dangerud. "It was a good day for us. All the way up our line there was a positive for every guy. This was probably the happiest we've been with a 12th place finish ever."

Sophomore Tom Kuehn, seeded sixth at the rotary, took third place at 119 lbs., while sophomore Zach Neer finished in sixth place at 140.

The Packers dual at Fargo South tomorrow.

Girls blank birds

The Packer girls hockey team kept pace with the rest of the state with a 5-0 win over Devils Lake. Junior Kelsey Kloos scored two goals for the Packers, who out shot the Firebirds 61-7.

West Fargo is in fourth place in the state standings with an 8-2 record.

Boys lose to Bruins

Fargo South beat West Fargo 6-2 in boys hockey action last week. The Packers, 3-5-1 overall and 1-3 in the EDC, are in eighth place in the conference.