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If you asked Two Harbors senior Tyler Keech three years ago that he would sign a national letter of intent to be a Minnesota Duluth football player, he wouldn't have believed you. "Not in a million years," Keech said. But that is exactly what Keech did Wednesday as part of national signing day. Keech is the one local highlight in a group of 29 high school seniors who put their commitments to the Bulldogs on paper, and one of the most intriguing prospects. Keech first caught the Bulldogs' attention during their annual High School Team Camp last June.
Josephine "Fiina" Yoki and her daughter, Haley, were enjoying their family sauna in Silver Bay three years ago when Haley bent over to pick up an object. "I was like, 'Whoa. Bend over again,' " Fiina Yoki recalled. Haley Yoki had two large humps, one on her upper-left shoulder and one on her lower-right back. She had severe scoliosis, causing her spine to curve into an S. She underwent major surgery to correct her condition, and now, 30 months later, the results are inspiring.
While runners often scale back on training before a big race, taking two weeks off isn’t usually considered ideal preparation. But for Two Harbors sophomore Jake Paron, he didn’t have any other options as his chronically bad knees kept getting worse. Rest was necessary. It worked.
It had to feel a bit surreal as Mike Daniels teed it up on No. 6 at Poplar Golf Course, reared back and let it fly. Here it was, mid-March and 80 degrees in northwestern Wisconsin, and golfers were along the course wearing shorts and T-shirts as Daniels' 7-iron shot bounced once and rolled into the cup on the 150-yard hole. It is believed to be the earliest opening in Poplar history, and safe to say, the earliest hole-in-one ever recorded there. After all, it was March 18. About 70 golfers showed up that first day. "This year's been unbelievable," said Poplar club pro Paul Stein.
The early spring has provided a financial boost to area courses that have already been trying to find ways to cope with a tough economy. Case in point: Poplar, Norwood and Botten's Green Acres golf courses. Called the trifecta, if you buy a season pass at any one of those courses, it's honored at all three. "It's a sign of the times," said Poplar club pro Paul Stein. "We can't be competitors.
HAYWARD, Wis. -- Tad Elliott, of Durango, Colo., won the 39th American Birkebeiner today, leading an American sweep of the top three men's spots in the 50-kilometer race from Cable to Hayward. Holly Brooks, of Anchorage, Alaska, edged defending champion Caitlin Gregg to win the women's race. Elliott's winning time was 2 hours, 4 minutes, 48.5 seconds. He was followed by Matthew Liebsch, of Orono, Minn., at 2:05:02.3; and Brian Gregg, of Minneapolis, at 2:05:03.4. Brooks' winning time was 2:18:53.2 was a half-second ahead of Caitlin Gregg, Brian's wife, who finished at 2:18:53.7.
Taylor Guzzo made the hour drive from Silver Bay to Duluth three times a week this past summer to work out. Sometimes her legs hurt and her muscles ached, but for three to four hours each day she dedicated herself to getting better, lifting weights early in the day and later training on a special treadmill designed to simulate skating. Then she'd return home and skate and shoot pucks at the rink. Guzzo's dedication is paying off this winter as the Silver Bay Area senior center leads the Northland in scoring with 54 points on 24 goals and 30 assists.
The Minnesota Twins 52nd annual Winter Caravan stopped at Grandma's Sports Garden in Duluth on Monday, and based on the turnout, one would think the Twins won 99 games last summer, not lost that many. Fans packed Grandma's Sports Garden to see up-and-coming outfielders Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni, former Twins great Tony Oliva, sportscaster Dick Bremer and mascot T.C. Bear, who "high-foured" youngsters. "Our fans are the same no matter what. They always come out to support us," Revere said. "They're disappointed with last season, just like we are, but they understand the situation.
Wayne State (Mich.) cornerback Aaron Cornett admitted he made a mistake late in the Warriors' NCAA Division II quarterfinal against Minnesota Duluth by not forcing Bulldogs' receiver D.J.
Nick Goeser's travels as a Minnesota Duluth assistant coach took him across Wisconsin but never to a swimming pool until he met defensive line prospect Chris Vandervest. Vandervest was an excellent swimmer for Ashwaubenon High School near Green Bay, but he was perhaps an even better football player. "Chris must have looked pretty big coming down that pool," UMD coach Bob Nielson said, laughing. Now three years later, the 6-foot-1, 265-pound Vandervest anchors a UMD defensive line that is young but promising.