For five years Chad Anderson has been nurturing his girls tennis program, watching the numbers and talent grow as he brings his knowledge to the sport at West Fargo High School. Now, his team is turning the corner, as the Packers bring back a talented group that just missed qualifying as a team for last years state tournament. West Fargo is a favorite to challenge teams in the East Region this season, as Andersons five-year plan begins to hit full stride. Our numbers are as high as theyve ever been since Ive been here, Anderson said.
Like most events, the North Dakota State University Horse Fair started with a small idea, as faculty and students worked together to bring in outsiders for a day of equine education at their new facility at the North Dakota Horse Park. The result of that small idea was a small event, as the university welcomed about 200 visitors to the 600-foot-long barn, educating people on everything from how to feed a horse to how to properly mount and ride the animal. It was an educational opportunity, mostly, Clare Purdy, a faculty member in NDSUs Department of Equine Studies, said.
He left us a long time ago, Roger Maris. Another person stolen from this world by that ugliest of diseases: cancer. But we never forget our own. And Maris is someone for whom North Dakotans will always step up to the plate. That was even more evident over the last few weeks, when North Dakotas contingent in Washington, D.C., and the North Dakota Legislature each took time to once again recognize Maris 61 homeruns in 1961 as the true single-season homerun record. In truth, its hard to argue with that.
Its the same situation, but a totally new squad for Pat Johnson and the West Fargo Packer girls softball squad this season. The Packers enter the year defending their seventh straight state championship. But, many of the familiar faces from those title years are long gone, including a slew of seniors that won titles in each of their four years as varsity players.
The crews were smaller, the roads were less crowded, and the phrase small-town actually applied to West Fargo, literally, back when Dennis Bjugstad decided to heed the call from friend Julius Helm and join the West Fargo Volunteer Fire Department. Since 1977, when a 30-something Bjugstad became a part of the Department, West Fargo has more than quadrupled in size, added prolific developments like Charleswood and Eagle Run, and surpassed anyones expectations. Its been an explosion, in every sense of the term, Bjugstad said.
Jim Flores, head coach of the West Fargo Packer girls soccer squad, calls last season the tale of two halves. West Fargo started out the year on a roll, dominating competition on the defensive end to push out to a 5-2-1 record in its first eight games of the season. The last half of the year, however, was more like a rock. In essence, the Packers hit the wall, and won just two of its last 11 games. Injuries and a lack of depth hurt West Fargo, to the point where the No. 2 team in the conference fell so fast they were in danger of missing out on the state tournament.
When the North Dakota House of Representatives voted last week to give themselves a pay increase, I was a little annoyed, but understanding. With a steady increase in gas prices, its hard to be a part-time lawmaker with a full-time job back in your home community, among your constituents. And that steady drive can probably get very expensive. When I heard the pay-raise was voted on without any knowledge from the House members on the floor, I had to chuckle. Yeah, right, I said to a friend.
Its been an interesting indoor track season for the West Fargo Packers and head coach Darrin McKinnon. Hes watched star sprinter Karen Okigbo battle injury on the girls side, and speed demon Brian McNeill blaze his way back to the top on the boys side. And hes seen both teams post finishes in the middle of the pack at the first two indoor meets of the season. Both the boys and girls track teams will finish the indoor season this week, at the State Indoor Championships.
After just one season at the helm of the West Fargo High School baseball program, Brett Peterson has learned two things. No. 1: win your first game at the East Region Tournament at the end of the season. No. 2: remember who your stars were last summer. Peterson, who led the Packers to third place in the regular season, took West Fargo to the brink of a State A Tournament berth last year only to be denied in the state qualifier. He has no intentions of forgetting that lesson. You have to win that first game at the regional, he said. Its so important.
The West Fargo School District could be moving its alternative school and adult education classes to the second floor of the Lodoen Library and Community Center in a solution to add more room to both programs, according to a proposal given to the West Fargo School Board Monday night. After some discussion, the Board decided to table the issue until a tour of the building, which is the old West Fargo Middle School, can be given, and concerns raised by Community High Principal Colleen Bremer can be addressed.