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Sports from the week of November 12, 2003

Runners are all winners

The Panther cross-country team celebrated its 2003 season with an awards banquet last week.

"It's really been a pleasure working with these spectacular young people," said first-year coach Steve Jones.

The coach felt that the year had been successful because the program had been an enjoyable experience for the athletes.

"Is cross country fun? Absolutely!"

Jones said that he had stressed this year that each runner was in competition with themselves, not with their teammates. He felt that the Panthers had successfully become "a big family" that put team goals ahead of the individual.

Not all runners reached their goals this year, he said.

"But that's okay. Disappointment is a part of success. A lot of champions never got to state." Jones felt that team members will be able to build on what they learned this year.

Four team awards were presented.

Sophomore Jillian Tholen was "most valuable." Jessica Mason was "most improved." Jenna Schaar was "newcomer of the year" and Dani Jones was given the "motivator" award.

Tholen, Jones said, would have qualified for state his fall, had she not been sidelined by mononucleosis.

"She is a strong, muscular runner who is amazing to watch," Jones said. The coach said that he has seen few high school runners "who want to win as much as she does."

Schaar, who had been a volleyball player prior to this year, had been a great addition to the team, Jones said. Schaar was the team's seventh runner in the section meet.

Mason, a ninth grader, was the team's sixth runner as sections. Jones said described Mason as young runner who would get better as she gained confidence.

The coach credited Jones for having an upbeat, determined attitude, despite a season-ending ankle injury.

Seniors Johanna Schmidt, Erin McCoy, and Stephanie Kaup were also honored, along with senior managers Kim Lenertz and Emily Miller.

The coach gave a special acknowledgments to seventh-grade boys Ryan Tholen and Alex Jones. As the only two members of the new boys' cross-country program, Jones said that two "blazed a path" for the program.

"These guys did quite well," Jones said, noting that the seventh graders at times ran in varsity races against high school boys.

The Panthers won the 212 Conference girls' meet for the eighth season in a row. The Panther girls' were 12th in the Section 3A meet, as the team competed without several runners sidelines by injury and illness.

TMB football players honored

The Panther football banquet was held at the high school gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 6.

The team compiled a record of 1 win and 7 losses and will be losing eight seniors to graduation. They are Pat Spielmann, Jason Morin, Ross Ladehoff, Matt Persons, J. Hamilton, Anders Davidson, Eric Peterson and A.J. Chandler. Spielmann, Morin, Ladehoff, Person, Hamilton, Davidson and Peterson also received the Panther Football Four Year Award given to players who remain in the program from their freshman through their senior years.

The following awards were voted on by the players: Panther Award- A.J. Chandler; Offensive Lineman of the Year Award-Kong Her; Defensive Lineman of the Year Award-Paul Carlson; Offensive Back of the Year Award- Matt Persons; Defensive Back of the Year Award- Anders Davidson and Paul Johnson. Donald Strand, Paul Johnson and Kong Her were elected to captain the 2004 Panther Team.

The coaches voted Eric Peterson the award for being the most improved player of the season.

Big bucks fall in opener

212 deer registered at Tracy

Myron Trulock had been watching does pass in front of his deer stand all weekend.

Now the sun was getting lower in the Sunday afternoon sky and Trulock was getting nervous.

"I'd passed up shots on a lot of does and I was starting to wonder if I was going to get anything," Trulock recalled.

He was hunting on his brother's land near the Cottonwood River, east of Garvin Park. Two other members of his hunting party—his nephew Jim Trulock and neighbor Steve Schenkoske—had bagged bucks earlier. But he and his brother, Roger, were still empty-handed. They had gotten shots off at a big buck at the edge of the woods earlier that morning, but the whitetail had apparently only been grazed. The buck bounded off into the overgrown river bottom. The brothers tracked the buck fruitlessly for two hours before giving up.

Now time was running out.

Then at about 3 p.m., four does emerged at the edge of woods in front of Trulock's deer stand. The sight was tempting. But Trulock held off.

"I thought, there's got to be a buck following them."

There was. An imposing 10-point buck stopped 75 to 100 yards away. Trulock nailed the buck through the chest with a single shot from his 12-gauge. The whitetail ran about 50 feet before collapsing, trying to burrow underneath some low tree branches before it expired.

"It was exciting," the hunter said later. "It's the biggest buck I've ever shot." In previous hunts, Trulock said that he typically has ended up shooting a doe before he even sees a buck.

Trulock, who lives at Lake Sarah and runs Midwest Supply in Slayton, plans to have the deer head mounted by a taxidermist.

• • •

Trulock wasn't the only person to bag a trophy buck this weekend.

Andy Nelson, a sophomore at Tracy Area High School, was in a deer stand by 6:15 a.m. Saturday north of Lake Shetek. In a tree stand about a half-mile away was his step-father Dean Beierman. Not long after sunrise, at 7:35 a.m., a couple of does emerged from the woods. A huge buck was following.

The young hunter's heart might have skipped a beat.

"I saw him, and I thought, 'wow,' I don't want to let him get away," Nelson said.

The buck was trotting by Nelson's tree stand at a distance of about 25 yards. He pulled the trigger on his 12 gauge.

The first shot grazed the animal. But Nelson was about to quickly get off two more shots. One struck the whitetail square through its vital area behind the shoulder. The buck went down and stayed down.

The 10-point buck, which was an estimated four to six years old, dressed out at 240 pounds.

• • •

Many local deer hunters enjoyed success over the weekend, which was the state firearms deer opener. The Cenex C-Store in Tracy registered 212 deer Saturday and Sunday.

Whitetail populations in the region are considered high and hunting conditions were favorable. The completed 2003 harvest eliminated hiding places for deer in cornfields. A crust of icy snow made it easier for hunters to track deer and hear their approach.

Many hunting parties reported success.

The second weekend of the firearms deer season is Saturday and Sunday.