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Sports from the week of September 10, 2003

Spikers show 'poise & maturity' in Columbia Heights tourney

The Panther volleyball team split four matches at the prestigious Columbia Heights Tournament Saturday.

In pool play, Tracy/Milroy/Balaton lost to Eastview 25-20 and 25-8.

The Panthers then beat Columbia Heights 25-21 and 25-21, before losting to Marshall 25-17, 25-20.

In a match for fifth place, the Panthers beat Anoka 25-19 and 25-17.

"We started off very sluggish and lost to Eastview, a team we could have been very competitive with and possibly won," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "We came out in the second match with more energy and with that played more consistently and defeated Columbia Heights.

"Our third match was set up against Marshall--the girls came out strong and held their own--in fact we were up in the first game 13-5 before Marshall started passing more consistently and their offensive power put them back in the game--eventually winning. As coaches you tell your girls not to be intimidated by teams and they proved they weren't against Marshall."

The Panther coach said she was "I was very impressed and proud of the girls." She felt that the team showed "poise and maturity" finishing strong in the tourney.

"Our goal going into the tournament was to leave better than when we came in," added Gervais. "I thought we accomplished that and more. The girls discovered that they can compete with quality teams and it really has given them a lot of confidence going into this busy week."

Early lead disappears for TMB football team

Mistakes erased an early Panther lead, as St. James beat the Tracy/Milroy/Balaton football team 24-15 Friday at St. James.

The loss dropped the Panther's season record to 0-2. St. James had lost to Windom 36-0 in the season opener while T/M/B lost to Redwood Valley 51-13.

"We improved defensively," said Panther Coach Randy McIntire. "We improved both in our open field tackling and protecting the linebackers on defense but must work on our pass protection and run blocking."

Gridders travel to Fairmont Friday

The Panther football team faces the Fairmont Cardinals at Fairmont this Friday night with both teams looking for their first win of the season.

Fairmont lost to Worthington in the opening game 26-25 and to Waseca last Friday 37-0 while T/M/B has lost to Redwood Valley 51-13 and to St James 24-15.

"I was both pleased and disappointed in our effort last week," said Panther Coach Randy McIntire. "We improved in our open field tackling and in our defensive line play but need to work on pass protection and run blocking. We are considering making a lot of changes on both offense and defense. I am declaring every offensive and defensive position open during practice this week. I am looking for our best eleven players on both offense and defense."

The Fairmont team is about the same size as the Panthers. They were outclassed by Waseca and looked slow compared to their opponents. They are a run-oriented team that looked good against Worthington in the opener.

The Panthers had some injuries against St James. Matt Persons has ankle and back problems and J Hamilton has a bad ankle sprain. Both are likely lost for the Fairmont game. Kong Her and David Schiller are nursing sore ankles but will likely play while Josh Ruppert seems to have recovered from a bad sinus infection and Sean Kirk will be available for the first time this season.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Harriers third on home course

The Panther cross-country team finished in third place at the Panther Invite last Thursday at the Tracy Country Club. The team scores were: 1) CML, 49; 2) SCMC, 87; 3) TMB, 88; 4) LQPV/DB, 108; 5) Windom, 114; 6)YME, 120; 7) Redwood Valley, 165.

"Cross-country courses vary considerably in difficulty," said Panther Coach Steve Jones. "Our course is very tough with the steep hills making it difficult to compare running times from various races."

In the boys junior varsity race, the Panthers' Ryan Tholen finished in 19th place with a time of 7:45 while Alex Jones finished 34th at 8:11.

TMB was also third in the girls junior varsity race behind CML and SCMC.

Runners third in 10-team field

The Panther girls finished third at the Marshall Invitational cross-country meet on Monday.

Team scores were: Canby-Minneota-Lincoln Hi, 48; Marshall, 57; Tracy/Milroy/Balaton, 118; Luverne, 124; Springfield Cedar Mountain, 130; Windom, 144; Yellow Medicine East, 175; Murray County Central, 203; Redwood Valley, 212; Worthington, 230.