The West Fargo Patriots didn't play like a 1-2 team at last week's state tournament in Wahpeton, but that's the record they ended up with after being eliminated. The seventh-seeded Patriots started the tourney with an upset win over No. 2 Williston before losing to Mandan by one run in 10 innings. West Fargo was then eliminated by Minot, 2-0. It was a solid tournament of baseball for the Patriots, who showed vast improvement this season with a 26-25 record and their first trip to the state tournament in four years.
The West Fargo Flyers swimming club has been a huge part of the West Fargo Packers' swimming success in recent years. It could also be said that the Packers have been a big part of the Flyers' success, given the team's accomplishments. Beginning tomorrow, the Flyers will swim for their fifth consecutive state title in Mandan. Head coach Jeffrey Steele has been a big part of all things related to Packer swimming in recent years. Not only does he run the 140-swimmers-strong Flyers team, he also serves as an assistant coach for both high school swimming teams.
A streaky West Fargo Patriots baseball team got hot at just the right time at last week's state qualifying play-in tournament in Grand Forks, landing the No. 7 seed and a first round matchup with Williston. Yesterday's matchup versus Williston was West Fargo's first time at the state tournament in four years, signaling that West Fargo Baseball may be finally emerging as a state power. Results from that first round game in Wahpeton were unavailable before press time. The odds seemed stacked against the Patriots who went 1-5 the week prior during a regular-season-ending road trip.
Area tennis players weren't representing the Packers in a recent Aberdeen, S.D. tournament, but their efforts will certainly benefit the Packers in the future. Several West Fargo tennis players competed at the CC Lee Tournament in Aberdeen and brought trophies home with them. Three players captured singles championships, including Sammie Smith (14 and under), Megan Broton (16 and under) and Beth Anderson (18 and under).
The Patriots' recent six-game road trip went about as bad as it could, forcing the team to compete in a play-in tournament this week to make the upcoming state tourney. West Fargo went 1-5 against Mandan, Bismarck and Dickinson, ending the team's hopes to automatically make the state tournament and forgo having to play its way there. Now the Patriots must finish as one of the top two of six teams in the play-in tournament that started yesterday in Grand Forks. "I definitely think we can do it," said pitcher Luke Steckler earlier this week.
Either the head coaching job for the West Fargo Patriots is a very sought after position, or most coaches filling the spot haven't been the right fit. Either way, it seems this time around that the powers that be with West Fargo Baseball have found themselves a keeper in Shannon Miller, the third coach to fill the spot in the last three seasons. Most Patriots coaches would be thrilled with the 25-21 record the team had at press time earlier this week, but not so with Miller. The coach envisions more than just a winning record, and why not?
Patriots pitchers certainly took advantage of the chance to pitch in a Major League ball park last Thursday. They went out and threw a no-hitter against Alexandria in the Metrodome, and the seven West Fargo pitchers that combined to hold Alexandria batters hitless didn't even know what they'd done until the end of the game. "I didn't know," said Patriots pitcher Alex Pribula, the second of seven West Fargo pitchers. "Then I heard and realized, 'Oh yeah, we did have a no-hitter.' So that was pretty cool.
It may be July, but that doesn't mean some former Packer football players aren't making use of their helmets and shoulder pads. The high school playing days of recent West Fargo graduates Jake Kaiser and Luke Solum are over, but they recently took part in the Badlands Bowl all-star game in Miles City, Mont. The pair will be joined by fellow player David Schmidt, also class of '09, at the Shriners' game July 18, in Grand Forks. Although Montana continued the near regular trend of dominating team North Dakota with a 33-7 win, Kaiser and Solum did Packer football proud by playing well.
Things got even worse for the West Fargo Patriots baseball team after a poor performance in the F-M tournament late last month led to a three-game losing streak. That streak turned into five games for the Patriots who gave up 29 runs to Fargo Post 2 in losing both ends of a doubleheader last week, including a 19-1 loss in game two. Just when hopes for the Patriots were beginning to fade, the team returned to its earlier form this season with a doubleheader sweep of Wahpeton 3-0 and 14-3 on July 2. "It's been a big comeback.
Former Packer phenom turned Bison football star Tyler Roehl is far from giving up on his NFL dream, especially now that he's already lived part of it. No matter what happens in the injured fullback's future, he can always say he was the first West Fargo High player ever to be a professional football player and that he was part of an NFL team. And he still is. After not getting selected in the NFL draft, Roehl signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks in April. He tore his left ACL on June 1, during a non-contact kickoff drill with the Seahawks.