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A successful season has taken a bit of a downward turn in a quick way for the American Legion Patriots. However, it's a good thing for West Fargo that only two games from last week's 2-6 performance actually count in its season standings. The Patriots dropped both ends of a doubleheader to Devils Lake before giving up a whole lot of runs in last weekend's Fargo-Moorhead Invitational Tournament. "We haven't been pitching strikes," said pitcher Matt Strahm. "We've had a lot of walks and hit batsmen. Big innings are killing us.
If a minor league coach is leading a team to one winning season after another, why not make him the major league coach? That's the direction West Fargo baseball went when Shannon Miller, coach of the successful West Fargo Aces the last three seasons, was recently named head coach of the West Fargo Patriots. The Patriots are comprised of the same players that have won the last two section titles for the Aces. Many were part of last season's state tourney team that went 41-11 on the year. It's been an easy adjustment for Miller and his players, all of whom know each other well.
They say when starting a running program for personal fitness to never increase your overall weekly mileage more than 10 percent more than the prior week's. My quads and hamstrings are telling me that I haven't been following that rule. Life changes when you age your way into your 30's. People reading this who are perhaps considerably older than that may laugh when reading this, but it's true. I'm no beginning runner, but in some ways I am. There was a day in the not too distant past when I could run five miles and follow it up with an hour and a half in the weight room.
The annual year-end Pioneer issue of Packer sports rankings never ceases to garner a fair share of readers' opinions, and last week's was no different. The issue featured top 10 lists, featuring my picks of the most impressive team moments, female and male athletes. In reading several emails, it seems some readers feel other important achievements were left out. Just like the past couple years when these lists were published, I completely agree.
It's likely no one at West Fargo's recent summer girls basketball camp had more motivation to try to make a difference in the fight against cancer than Mary Dejong. A member of the high school's incoming junior class lost her father Tom Dejong to cancer during the summer of 2006.
Just like every school year, 2008-2009 had its share of memorable moments in Packer athletics. Once again it's our obligation to try to put it all into perspective. Instead of a sport-by-sport review of all 23 varsity sports, we at the West Fargo Pioneer decided to do something a little different and rank the top moments and athletes.
Score another one for the Packer softball team, winners of an amazing 12th state championship in a row. There seems to be an interesting twist or two that makes each West Fargo state title different than the last. Despite winning 11 championships before the one claimed last Saturday, this will be the first that earns a Packer softball team the honor of having its team photo featured in the commons area of the high school for eternity.
The boys golf team took fourth place at EDC last week, qualifying for this weekend's state meet in Hankinson, where the team hopes to put an exclamation point on one of its most successful seasons in recent years. West Fargo was just warming up on April 16, when the team took second at the Detroit Lakes Invite. In a four-day span in mid-May the Packers finished second in three invites and won the Wahpeton Invite.
Beth Anderson had competed in the state girls tennis tournament multiple times before last week's state tourney in Minot. But the Packer junior accomplished something new this time around. Beth Anderson went 3-2 and earned a sixth place finish in the state tourney after not placing as a sophomore in doubles competition or as a freshman in singles. In making her way to the fifth place match, Beth Anderson beat a Bismarck competitor that had beaten her at the West Fargo Invite earlier this month. "I wasn't expecting to get that far, so I'm pretty happy with it," said Beth Anderson.
Junior hurdler Ellie Grooters was yet again the star of the show at the state track meet in Bismarck last week as she won three state titles and helped the Packer girls track team to fourth place - the highest finish for the team in school history. The boys track team finished in seventh place behind several solid performances. Multiple relay school records fell, including one set a quarter century ago. "Across the board, both teams - the boys and the girls - had great performances.