The first domino in the reconstruction of the roster fell this week as long-time team member Everson Griffen voided his contract. It created some much-needed relief to the team's cap but at the same time creates another question-mark for the 2020 team as to who will be Hunter's collaborator. There are some in-house options that will get the chance and with both free-agency & the draft still to come it's likely that more names will get added to the rusher pool. If Griffen has played his last snap in purple the personality of the team will never be quite the same.
Bison Baseball concluded it's time on the island with an 8 - 0 loss. From there they traveled to Davis, Cali but all they could pull-off was one win. Earlier in the week, the Basketball teams were in Vermillion and the guys kept their successful run going with a 77-74 win that included another 27 point performance by Vinnie Shahid. Not surprisingly, the women were not as successful against one of the top teams in the nation. Into the weekend, the Softball team was in Austin where they faced another top team in the nation and were shown the sort of divide there can be even for a program as accomplished as NDSU's. They did salvage one win at the invitational, out of five chances. Back in the heartland, the Wrestling team faced SDSU and eeked out a 19 - 18 win and then followed that up against the 19th ranked Cyclones but were edged 22 - 16. The Basketball team wrapped the road portion of their schedule in Grand Forks with the guys losing on another buzzer-beater in the rivalry game, 68 - 71. That ended their winning streak but the women ended their losing streak to the in-state rival today 82 - 74. All five starters for the Herd finished in double-figures and it was another step in the right direction for the rapidly ascending team! As with the next two topics, the Track team was also in Grand Forks this weekend and as has become the standard, both the men and women were amongst the best at the tune-up. Which leaves only the women's Gold team as they were in Phoenix but could only manage a 12th place finish.
Moorhead started with a visit by Minot St. for Wrestling which ended in a 26 - 14 victory for the Dragons. The Basketball teams got the next crack at the Beavers and made it a sweep for the week, 78 - 50 by the women and 75 - 55 by the men. Peyton Boom led the way with 21 & 9 while the guys got 21 from Johnny Beeninga. On Saturday, when the pressure to perform rose to a higher level against tougher foes, they weren't quite able to take care of business as Mary won both, 69 - 67 for the women and 75 - 69 for the men. Earlier in the day, the Track team was in Grand Forks and finished with some new bests. Which leaves the Tennis team as they were in Winona. On Saturday they overcame Upper Iowa 6 - 1 and then the hosts on Sunday 5 - 2.
The corn's week started with the home finale of Basketball games against Macalester and a Softball doubleheader against North Central on Wednesday. On the diamond both games were run-ruled, 16 - 0 & 9 - 0 in favor of Concordia. The women's hoops got 17 from Emily Beseman as they rolled 64 - 48. The men came close but couldn't quite overcome an 11 point halftime deficit, 73 - 70. On Friday it was the Hockey teams' turn, against St. Olaf. The men got a pair of second-period goals sandwiching an Olie goal, to account for all the points in their go. The women, on the other hand, fell behind 2 - 0 in the first period but stormed ahead with five of the next seven scores, two coming from Libby Hinrichs for the Cobbs. On Saturday the Basketball teams had their swan song at Hamline. The men finished with a victory for just the third time this year, 67 - 62 with 18 by Bryden Urie. The women had a chance to extend their season with a win but came up a couple scores short, 79 - 76. The rematches on the ice went about as well as the openers with the men winning 4 - 1 with four different scorers. The women jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held-on down the stretch to win 3 - 2. The Track team was in Grand Forks and got some respectable numbers to their credit for the men and the women. Which leaves only the Tennis teams as they had a down weekend. The men lost 6 - 3 to St. John's while the women went down 8 - 1 and 9 - 0 to St. Benedict and St. Catherine.
The losing continues. Out of the all-star break it was revealed that Towns would miss more time with a fracture and Russell has been put on a "scheduled rest" plan. It's already a lost season so keeping the main guys healthy matters most while getting the most comprehensive look possible at the younger guys is a close second. The new news only aids in those two ends coming to fruition.
It's early in the Baseball teams spring training but they hit a bump as Fernando Romero had an issue with his visa when trying to enter the country ahead of the arrival day. It's not the biggest loss that the pitching staff could experience but may create some extra stress on the guys who are available for the early portion of the season. On the other hand, it may allow for some of the younger guys to show they deserve the chance to fill the role that Romero would have been in. The team can't have too much pitching but only time will tell how it will play out.
Fargo had two more against Sioux City after their trip last Sunday to Iowa. Off their losses to Omaha, they made it three wins in a row with a 5 - 4 victory on Friday and 2 - 0 yesterday. They fell behind 4 - 1 on Friday before staging a third-period rally to win off the stick of Noah Beck in overtime. In the shutout it was Adam Gajarsky & Oliver MacDonald that did the scoring. With the wins they've moved percentage points ahead of Tri-City for third place in the conference. They're nearing a stretch where they will play six of seven at home so their positioning may get even better from here.
Began the week with a visit to Glyndon as they hosted Ada/Borup in a game that included even more subplots than I knew about ahead of time. The week concluded with a memorable Davies doubleheader against West Fargo.
Meanwhile, on the rinks, the second season is well underway for many of the local teams. For the potatoes it ended with a drubbing of St. Cloud 8 - 2 to make the 20th consecutive section championship game. They'll go for their chance at another state title on Wednesday in Bemidji. The Orange already secured three more state appearers as Evan Fankhanel, Xander Risdal & Ryan Luthi all qualified on the mat. It's still early in tournament season but that's a good start for our region!