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The Packer boys soccer team isn't just one of the youngest teams in recent years, it's also one of the deepest in terms of talent. The team has so much potential this year that coach Doug Millar is even having difficulties deciding on who to play. It's a problem any coach would love to have. "It's a challenge to get the kids the minutes they want," said Millar, now in his 11th year in charge of the Packers. "This is probably one of the deepest teams.
It's been 31 years since the Packer boys tennis team made the state tournament in 1978, and signs indicate that dry spell may continue through this season. Last season's team seemed full of promise with the return of a six seniors at the start of the season, but the year ended at EDC, coming down to the Packers' final doubles contest. This year's team may be too young and inexperienced to contend for a state tournament berth. Regardless of how the season plays out, with only one senior this year (reserve Brett Garske), the Packers will be loaded with experience the next few years.
Something happened on the football field last Friday that was a first for the Jay Gibson coaching era at West Fargo, and it wasn't good. West Fargo finally lost to Mandan for the first time since at least 1991 when Gibson took over the program. The longtime coach has a theory as to how the Packers managed to lose and cough up the ball to the Braves a whopping seven times, and Gibson is only half joking when he shares it. "Mars last Friday was the closest to the Earth that it will be for like another 40,000 years. It's true," he said.
As the summer draws to a close and students return to school, another fall sports season begins in West Fargo. There aren't too many absolutes in high school sports, but there are a few. You're sure to hear assistant coach Jim Jonas barking orders on the football field if you drive by the high school. As sure as the leaves that will cover the ground, you can smell pigskins in the air and feel it inside. Yes, the stands will surely be full for another edition of Packer football. Sophomore Alyssa Mears will dominate girls cross country - that's about as sure a thing as there can be.
To start off with, it may be prudent to get one lingering thought out of the way. Does this year's Packer volleyball team have what it takes to go undefeated during the conference regular season for the third year in a row? After the graduation of seven seniors, does anyone really expect West Fargo to have that kind of success? "This is a completely different group of kids," said Packer coach Paula Pierson. "My goal with them isn't to put pressure on them that we want to go undefeated in the EDC. That's going to be a tall order, especially early in the season.
After the graduation of so many players from last year's Packer football team that made the state quarterfinals, some fans may think the team's prospects aren't too bright this year. But actually last year's team had it worse, entering the season with very little varsity experience at all.
There is no doubt it's a rebuilding year for the Packer girl golfers after the graduation of three top seniors, including the best golfer in school history. Not all is lost though. West Fargo returns a trio of lettermen, two of which are highly experienced seniors.
Current and former Packer boys soccer players can take more pride than usual in tomorrow's annual alumni pre-season scrimmage. This time they're playing for one of their own. The scrimmage will help raise funds for Ronnie Engelking and his wife Erika. Ronnie is fighting stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Both are former Packer soccer players. "When it's closer to home, if you will, people seem to find time to do a lot of things for people that mean something to you,' said Packer boys head soccer coach Doug Millar.
The West Fargo Babe Ruth baseball 15-year-old team has done it again. The team hosted and won the Central Plains Regional Tournament and landed itself in its third consecutive Babe Ruth World Series. After making the esteemed series as 13 and 14-year-olds, the same group of players heads to the World Series again Aug. 21-28 in Longview, Washington, near Seattle. West Fargo is the first North Dakota team to make three World Series at any level of youth baseball. "There have only been nine appearances in the history of the state, and now we have three of them.
What is really the culmination of years of hard work and progress begins today at Veterans Memorial Field here in town. West Fargo hosts the 15-year-old Midwest Plains Regional Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament beginning today, August 6, and ending Monday, August 10.