A Blast from the Past IX

[All photos in this missive are from the Trumm files.]

[March 13, 2010]  Stupid refs (and how we grew to hate Sartell!)

Another drizzly, foggy evening that caused some Super Fan wimp outs (though fellow mall walkers, El Holm, and Ruth Helie Anderson and husband, were there).  Undeterred, Ruthie and I headed for St. John’s @ 6:30 last night for the 8:00 girls basketball section final between our Cards and Sartell.  When we got to the campus, we were directed by thousands of young men with flashlights to a parking lot we believed to be in a different zip code from where the game was actually to be played.  (St. John’s is the typical college campus where parking accessibility is the least of its concerns.)  Walking to the arena, we twice had to make stops for water and other provisions.

Once in the arena, we discovered that Sartell had used its higher seed, No. 1 (both teams were 22-5, had split the two regular season games, and the Cards were conference champs), much like the higher seed in hockey having the last line change, to crank up the temperature in the arena to sauna levels.  This was designed to enervate our Cards who have to play a fast, up-tempo game.  It also enervated Ruthie – we had to leave as soon as the game was over because she thought she was going to pass out from the heat!

[Kate Gearman greets a Sabre.]

The game.  Close all the way – as befitting the seedings and their previous games.  In match-ups between teams of totally different styles, it’s a matter of which team can impose theirs.  Alex wants to run and play helter-skelter; Sartell wants a half court game.  We got some of each.  In my totally biased opinion, Alex is much more fun to watch.  We had the better athletes – Sartell had the big center, a capable point guard, and a supporting cast that somehow made every “3” they attempted (ugly looking, off the ceiling, banking them in, etc.).  Our athleticism often gets us into trouble, though – we try to make plays that aren’t there, our turnovers usually are self-inflicted.

 [Gracie Bruzek]

[Sam]

The Cards led 57 – 53 with about two minutes left (with Coach Wendy Kohler addressing the team).  We seemed to have the momentum and just had to hang onto the ball for the win.  Somehow, we managed to turn it over a couple of times – and Angela Christianson, an 80+ per cent free throw shooter who had been swishing them all night, missed the front end of a one-and-one that could have given the Cards a 6-point lead and probably the win.  Still, with 1.9 seconds left in a tie game, the Cards had the ball for an inbounds play under their own basket.  They threw it in – Sam Trumm and a Sartell player grabbed the ball simultaneously – and they called a foul on Sam!  Unbelievable – there was .1 second left.  You just can’t make a call like that to decide a game.  Fortunately, the Sartell player missed the free throw – it should have been a no-call, but if they were going to make one, it just as easily could have been Sam shooting for the win.

The Cards came out in overtime in a bit of a funk knowing they should have won the game in regulation.  Sartell jumped to an immediate 4-point lead.  The Cards fought back and tied the score at 62.  The Cards fouled with 13 seconds left – and the Sartell player made both free throws.  The Cards had time – but two shots at the end refused to drop.  Sartell won 64-62, in overtime.

[It was Angela’s last game as a Card.]

[There were happier hugs this year.]

It was a terrific year – it would have been fun to see how this team would have done in the state tournament.  I think they could have made quite a favorable impression on a statewide audience.  But now the winter sports season is over (OK, Sue – except for Danielle and the fighting Gusties! Ha!).  It was a memorable season in which we came within one basket of having three teams make state tournaments.  Now we look forward to watching Gracie Bruzek and Kate Gearman, our starting basketball guards, as the keystone combination in softball.

For years, the Cards have mostly battled St. Cloud Tech and Brainerd for conference preeminence.  Now comes this upstart, Sartell – the Edina of St. Cloud.  They beat us for the section football championship by one yard (our two-point extra point attempt with no time left on the clock); we beat them for the section championship in boys hockey; and in girls hockey, they combine with Sauk Rapids so have to play in a higher class at tournament time, nevertheless, we split 2-1 games with them in the regular season.

Follow-up:  Ruthie said this morning she’s glad we can return to a “normal” life again.  For today, that would mean going to the winery this afternoon for the Salty Dogs; going to a Central Lakes Concert Association concert this evening (we’ve already missed the first three); and then heading over to SAWA to catch as much of Glory Muse as we can.  The dust bunnies are going to have to wait!

But I’m going to miss such as the two-“man” pick and roll between our “bigs,” Angela and Sam.   A thing of beauty when Angela hits Sam with a bounce pass streaking in for a left-handed lay-up.

Despite a total lack of permission, am forwarding a couple of commentaries on last evening festivities:  From “Crazy” Dave Owen, a/k/a, Dick Vitale (Go Gophers!) in Sarasota, the agent for Ohio State Buckeye football coach, Jim Tressel [Editor’s note:  Let it be known that, to our knowledge, “Crazy” Dave had nothing to do with OSU’s subsequent issues!]; and from Marnee’ Herd, mother of Cardinal hockey player, Shanee’, and former Breck hockey player, Reid:

From Crazy:  Ok now, is this it? Are you going to spend some quality time now at home reading until golf starts? Do you anticipate taking up a hobby? After sports what’s life about — right Tom?

Relax and enjoy the NCAA tournament.

Regards,  Dick Vitale

From Marnee’:  It was a great game.  Alex lived and died by the helter-skelter.  I agree with Ruthie it was too damn hot!  They could’ve turned the heat off with that many people there for 2 games!  I think you had to park in Reid’s parking lot at SJU.  It’s for freshmen and of course the farthest from anything!  We parked in the staff lot right across the street by Reid’s advice!  🙂  We’re headed down to the X today to cool off.  Casey V told me last night Reid was on the jumbotron a bunch so we thought we might as well go see it. 🙂  I think Hermantown can give Breck a run for their money.  They have 13 seniors Breck 12.  If you do watch the game today Reid’s goal is a short-handed game winner.  Reid runs into the boards and has his arms in the air after.  He’s number 6.  The other one is with him and Joe lifting the trophy.  He’s the one on the right with the taped (broken) wrist.  They showed both a bunch yesterday.  I know you don’t care about Breck but wanted you to at least know who Reid is.:) 

Did you watch the Minnetonka Hail Mary game?  Wow didn’t get over until a little after Midnight.  Glad Minnetonka won! Damn private schools! 🙂  Actually Max Gardner from Minnetonka is a friend with us.  He is going to the Gophers.  His brother Jake played with Reid on a summer team and plays for Wis.  They are both huge boys who will play in the NHL.  Jake was drafted very high.  I’m sure Max will be too.  They have a log cabin across the lake from us but it really isn’t a cabin.  (Way bigger than our house.)  His Dad is coming up this next week to go fishing with John. 

Thank you for all the wonderful things you do for Alexandria sports teams! GO CARDS!

Marnee’

[Editor’s note:  And yes, we were surprised to get home last night to find the Minnetonka (No. 1 seed in class AA) – Hill-Murray hockey game was still going.  It was in the 2nd OT.  Try as I might to stay awake, I was pooped and dropped off after shortly after my head hit the pillow.  For inquiring minds, Minnetonka won 2-1 in the 4th OT.  And yes, Hermantown should be able to give Breck a game.]

[March 16, 2010]  Cards girls’ basketball

The final analysis from Coach Wendy Kohler, below, is right on point.  Until you get to that final stat, you would’ve thought the Cards won handily.  I thought all year there were two things that could hurt the team down the road:  1) shooting (strange in basketball, and for a team that was one of the highest scoring teams in the state; and 2) lack of bulk.   It seemed that everything Sartell threw up there went in, particularly 3’s!  The Cards again missed a lot of bunnies – and a lot of those came after offensive rebounds where, because of lack of bulk, they were unable to put it back up and in through all the traffic underneath.  And a lot of times the Cards would go for the spectacular when the routine would have worked just fine.  But they were fun to watch – a shame they won’t be able to put in on display for a statewide audience.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Alexandria 62 Sartell 64 OVERTIME

Section 8AAA Finals

The Cardinals fell to the Sabres in overtime on Friday night at St. Johns University 62-64.  What a heartbreaker to end such a successful season. The game was tied 7 times and the lead changed 12 times throughout the contest as the Cards bowed to the Sabres in OT.  All week we focused on rebounding as the Sabres have pounded everyone on the boards and we won that category out rebounding them 45-27. We also forced the Sabres into 29 turnovers and scored a whopping 31 points off their turnovers.  We had some key turnovers of our own that opened the door a crack for the Sabres to force OT where they eventually seized the win.  It was a tough loss to swallow as at stake was a berth in the State Tournament. Scoring for the Cardinals was Angela Christianson with 27, Gracie Bruzek 11, Sam Trumm 9, Alli Haar and Lauren Trumm 6, and Kate Gearman 3. Haarsy led on the boards with 10, Sambo 8, AC 6, and 5 for Lauren Trumm, KG, and Woody.  Gracie Bruzek dished out 6 assists and played on fantastic floor game pushing tempo and setting the offense for the Cards. Ang C. recorded 5 steals for the Cardinals. The game boiled down to shooting percentage as well as the Cards usually shoot much better but only shot 36% and the Sabres shot 52% from the field.  It was a very fun season for the Cards and coaching staff as we finished 22-6 overall and won the CLC Championship with a 16-2 record in the Conference.  The Cardinals will graduate 4 seniors that have put Alex Basketball back on the radar with their skills, hard work and dedication to the game and program.  We thank them very much for everything and their parents as well.  They are Allie Thul, Gracie Bruzek, Angela Christianson, and Kate Gearman.  Special thanks to the band, cheerleaders, students, parents and all of the fans that have supported us all season with their attendance and encouragement everyday!  What a fantastic crowd we had a St. Johns as well!

Go Cards!

[Maggie Leland in the Resorters.]

[June 19, 2010]  Minnesota girls’ high school golf tournament

Give ‘em heck, Tom.  I was thrilled to see an Alex girl win the tournament.  What a bunch of great young athletes come out Alex.  Watching the Open right now.  Going to be interesting, eh?  ~ From my cousin Barb Arrell in St. Paul, a winner of the Minnesota state amateur golf tournament and the Resorters

[June 16, 2010]  Minnesota girls’ high school golf tournament

I sent the following e-mail to the Minneapolis paper yesterday, basically giving them the ole verbal raspberry.  Maggie backed me up – by shooting a 74 yesterday and a “69” (4-under) today at Bunker Hills, she was individual champion by 5 shots!  [Photo from the Echo.]

[Maggie at state.]

[June 15, 2010]  Alex’s Maggie Leland has been ranked No. 1 in the state all year, for all classes.  And she’s not considered a contender?

[July 16, 2010 – for Sue & Ted Justice.]

[September 3, 2010]  WHATTA GAME!!

As a one-day early birthday present for the Cub Reporter, the Alexandria Cardinals defeated the Willmar Cardinals tonight, 22 – 21, in what was most surely one of the more bizarre games I have ever seen.  Our Cards scored first after a situation I can no longer recall – I think it may have come after an interception – and it required only a very short scoring drive.  We went for two.  I knew then we probably had a kicker problem.  We didn’t make it.

Willmar totally controlled the rest of the first half.  Our Cards had 22 TOTAL yards.  Our defense was on the field the whole half.  Willmar had a sophomore quarterback with the poise of Tom Brady.  He ran multiple pro-style sets with multiple plays.  He threw short, he threw long, he threw screens, he ran out of trouble, he led Willmar to a 21 – 6 halftime lead.  Alex looked badly overmatched.  Alex has two plays – run right, run left.  Most of the runs resulted in little if any gains.  We knew Alex had a totally inexperienced offensive line and they looked it.  Sometimes it seemed a Willmar defensive lineman would take the Alex hand-off before the halfback would even get there.  The only good news was that after their first offensive series, Willmar could no longer run against Alex either.

I’m an admitted fair weather fan.  Ruthie & I talked about leaving at the half.  It was a blustery, uncomfortable day.  But by halftime the wind had settled and it was turning into a nice evening.  So we stayed.  Alex received the 2nd half kickoff, ran three plays for little yardage and punted again.  We wished we had left.  Willmar moved the ball a bit, but Alex stopped them.  I believe it was on the next series that the whole momentum of the game changed.

We knew Alex had two good experienced running backs – if they could just get a crease.  Finally, Parker Giroux broke free for about a 47 yard run (he also played great defensive back, particularly in the 2nd half).  Alex didn’t score on that drive, but the run had set a new tone.  The Alex Cards had a little more life in their step.  They stopped Willmar again.  On the next series, Michael Joerger broke off a 50-yard run for a TD – a two-point conversion made it 21 – 14.  Then with 2:46 remaining on the game, one of the few Alex passes hit Joerger running free straight up the middle, and he continued on for a 70-yard TD play.  The crowd went crazy!  Absent a kicker (apparently), the Cards went for two and the lead.  Stuffed!  Behind by one with little time left.  Then the play of the year (OK, it’s early) . . .

Willmar anticipating an on-side kick had ten men playing way up and one guy about half way back.  Alex kicked away.  The ball came to rest on about the one-inch line.  The poor Willmar kid picked it up and kneeled in the end zone.  We all shouted “SAFETY.”  Sure enough, it was.  Alex had a 22 – 21 lead.  Though I thought Alex had some questionable clock management at the end, our Cards hung on for the victory.

I’m glad we stayed!

[September 10, 2010]  Cards win!

The day dawned with a beautiful sunrise over Lake Cowdry (on my way to the Y for the morning walk).  The 2nd home game of the year – parent’s night.  Roger “One-in-a-Row” Riley and I provided debut coverage by the Super Fans.  I was delighted to do so as I was thus able to avoid a political meeting Ruthie had to attend.

The game was a half hour late getting started – the JV1 game went long, plus the pre-game festivities.  A big conference rivalry game v. the dreaded Brainerd Warriors.  Because there were also JV1 and JV2 games, Brainerd had a large fan base of squeaky, high-pitched voices from the JV teams . . . and Roger and I were sitting right next to that (oy!).  So, there was a continuous battle of which side (Alex high school boys, with girls’ basketball star, Ally Haar, right in the middle of them all – don’t know I missed her in that fan photo, she’s 6′ tall?) could make the most noise.  We highlighted in the team photos captain Sam Trumm (No. 4) and libero Shanee’ Herd (No. 6) because we know their parents – I think all recognize Sam is our star player (in basketball as well), and Shanee’, though only a sophomore, has been playing on the varsity hockey team since she was a 7th-grader.

So, anyway.  The opening serve by Brainerd (captured in mid-air by photo-journalist Obert) inexplicable fell in for a point for the Warriors.  But the Card led most of the game until Brainerd caught them late – the Cards hung on for a tough 26-24 1st game win.  The Cards played well and won the 2nd game handily, 25-16.  The situation seemed well in hand.  If the Cards did not make serving errors (apparently a problem since season’s beginning) and made good sets for Sam to kill, they seemed the better team.  The game had taken an hour to play to that point, so I had to run to meet Ruthie at SAWA for the Funky Gumbo Trio (who were just great, as usual).  I left Roger by himself to bring home the victory.

I saw this morning that Brainerd won the 3rd game by 2 points, and Alex won the 4th game by 2 points!  If Roger stayed until the end, he must have been there until midnight!  The Cards are a very young team – only 2 senior played significant minutes last night.  So I’m sure we’ll have fun watching them grow during the season.

[September 13, 2010]  Cardinal Athletic Supporters

A new season has begun.  The Cardinal football team is off to 2 – 0 start, with an unexpectedly easy 24 – 0 victory at St. Cloud Tech last Friday.  I think this has to be a bit of a surprise considering they lost almost all of the starting offense from last year’s 9 – 2 team.  And the volleyball team, after a tough start against top-ranked competition, is beginning to show they will be a talented team – they are very young with, I believe, only two seniors in the normal rotation right now.

But to understand where we are going, we have to look back at where we have been.  (Does that have a proper degree of “heavyosity,” as Woody Allen would say?)  Last year was a great year for the Cards.  We had individual state champions in golf (Maggie Leland), the long jump (Rosey Erickson), and the 1,600 (Jamie Piepenburg).  The girls’ and boys’ hockey teams both went to the state tournaments, the girls’ volleyball team went to the state tournament, the girls’ golf team went to the state tournament, Rosey (also 3rd in the 200m and 7th in the 100 (as I recall)) and Jamie (also 2nd in the 3,200) almost carried the Cards to a state track title, the football team came within one yard of sending the section final into OT, the girls’ basketball team lost the section final in OT.

So, there were a lot of highlights.  What to select for the lead-off issue?  How about Wendy Kohler’s girls’ basketball season during which she got her 400th career win with the Cards (look out, Pat Summitt)!  The attached photos of Coach Kohler’s season are courtesy of Greg and Val Trumm (thanks again to them).  After years of great relationships with hockey moms (well, at least from my perspective), the Trumm’s introduce us to sports in which their daughters, Sam (volleyball, basketball) and Lauren (basketball, softball), participate.  Both Sam and Lauren played on last year’s team – a team I thought was probably as athletic and entertaining as any in the state.  But stuff happens.  And although the team loses both starting guards and possibly the most talented basketball player ever to play for Alex, Sam and Lauren will be back and the Cards will be good again.  [Editor’s note: Turns out to have been a great call!  🙂 ]  But I get ahead of myself.

Got an e-mail today from a classmate who lives in the Bay Area in California.  She was here this summer for our 45th class reunion.  She said she will be back here on the weekend of October 15 and was wondering if the Cards had a home football game then (they do, Little Falls).  If so, she wanted to join the “Super Fans” at the game – and then go to Osterberg’s after the game!

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