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Sports for the week of September 22, 2004

TD punt return is difference

The Fairmont Cardinals spoiled Tracy/Milroy/Balaton's homecoming with a 14-7 win.

"We came into a hostile environment and won over a very good team," said Fairmont Coach Todd Rather. "I'am very proud of my team's effort."

The touchdown that separated the two teams came on the first play the Cardinals touched the ball.

When Fairmont kicked off to start the game T/M/B put the ball in play on their own 34 yard line. Before they could snap the ball T/M/B was penalized 5 yards for illegal motion. Two passes fell incomplete before Quarterback Donald Strand scrambled for 6 yards making it 4th and 9 on T/M/B's 35-yard line. Sean Kirk's punt was fielded by Fairmont Junior Mike Wubenna on his own 38 and he raced down the east sideline 62 yards to the game's first score. The extra point kick was good and Fairmont led 7-0 with 10:49 left in the first period.

"Except for the special team's breakdown on that first punt we played very good defense against Fairmont," said Panther Coach Randy McIntire. "If we would have finished our blocks we could have added about another 100 yards to our rushing total."

Strong YME team comesto Tracy Friday night

The Panther football team begins its 212 Conference schedule with a home game against Yellow Medicine East Friday night.

Both teams are considered conference contenders. Yellow Medicine East has won over Montevideo (32-12)and Lac Qui Parle Valley (35-12) this season, but lost to Redwood Valley (42-28) Friday. The Panthers are also 2-1, with victories over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton, and St. James, and a loss to Fairmont.

Panther Coach Randy McIntire is anticipating a good game. "They (YME) are averaging over 30 points per game so far," said Panther Coach Randy McIntire. "Their offense includes a strong rushing game featuring Arneson, one of the top running backs in this area." The Sting offense, he said, tends to run a lot of sweeps and counters.

Kick-off time is 7 p.m.

Tholen leads pack at Turkey Trot

Panther junior Jillian Tholen continued her running successes with a first-place finish at the Worthington Turkey Trot Saturday. Her winning time was 14:44.

In the team standings, Panther runners were fourth. Martin County West won the meet with a low-score of 46, followed by Adrian, 54; ML-B-O, 99; Tracy/Milroy/Balaton, 106; JCC, 119; Worthington, 136. Murray County Central, Luverne, and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central all had incomplete teams.

Other varsity runners for the Panthers were: 8) Stacy LaVoy, 16:57; 29) Megan Pool, 18:54; 33) Jenna Schaar, 19:01; 35) Rebecca Gervais, 19:18; 37) Jenny Vroman, 19:45; 41) Celia Brockway, 20:07.

"Jillian Tholen continues her excellent season with another win," said Panther Coach Marie Clauson. "She is looking forward to the U of M Roy Griak Invitational next Saturday, where she, and the team, will compete with excellent athletes from throughout the United States. Jenny Vroman and Celia Brockway had a strong debut at the varsity level with both running competitive times."

"After all the rain the past week the course was very wet and sloppy, which made it hard for some runners to keep good footing," said Clauson. "Jessica had a minor slip on some wet ground but fought through to finish a good race. Julia ran the best race of her season so far and looked relaxed and confident. Ashlei er also ran the best race of her season and finished with a good kick."

As a team, the Panther JV was sandwiched between first-place Martin County West and third-place Windom.

In the boys' JV race, the Panthers Ross Ryan finished 18th with a time of 13:26 and Sam Van Nevel was 29th at 14:46.

The Panthers' Ryan Tholen won the boys' junior high race with a time of 6:06. Other Panther runners were: 6) Alex Jones, 6:27; 37) Dalton Kirk, 7:32; 55) Josh Lubben, 8:39.

"Josh Lubben keeps getting better each race. He's worked hard at practice and it is paying off," said Clauson. "Ryan Tholen had a bit of competition at the end of his race but pulled through to take the win."

Spikers beat YME

The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton Panther Volleyball Team won over Yellow Medicine East Tuesday night at Granite Falls by score of 3-1. The game scores were: 22-25, 25-16, 25-15 and 25-9. The win improved T/M/B's season record to 8-2 and they are now 3-0 in the 212 Conference.

"We need to play with more intensity throughout the match," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "We have highs and lows that we need to level out during the game. We had a balanced attack that helped us in the later stages of the match. Krysta (Tholen) made good decisions on hitting slots."

The Panthers will host BOLD in a conference match Thursday with B squad action beginning at 6 p.m.

TMB wins battle of state-ranked teams

The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton volleyball team won over the Central Minnesota Christian School at Tracy last Thursday by a score of 3-1. The game scores were 25-20, 25-10, 23-25 and 25-17. T/M/B improved to 7-2 for the season and are now 2-0 in the 212 Conference.

It was a match between conference rivals, both state ranked in their respective classes, with T/M/B featuring ball control, hitting and blocking while the Blue Jays featured very aggressive serving. The CMCS serving made it difficult to get good passes to the setter, which adversely affected the Panther hitting.

It is hard to see how difficult some of those serves can be to receive from the sidelines. However fans on either end of the floor can easily see how the ball reacts to the air resistance and the CMCS serves were darting in all directions.

"We struggled with consistency and aggressiveness in various parts of the match," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "The CMCS setter was very active and we didn't adjust to her until the end of the match. We need to make adjustments quicker. We looked pretty good in game #2, so it was disappointing to come out in game #3 as flat as we did. We have a number of areas to improve in the upcoming weeks. It was nice to be able to win a match that we didn't feel we necessarily played well in."