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Sports from the week of September 4, 2002

Runners have strong start

The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton girls cross-country team was second in a field of 18 teams in the Mountain Lake Invitational Wednesday.

The Panthers had three top 20 finishes: Kristin Sweetman, 8th, 16:07; Steph Kaup, 12th, 16:29; Jillian Tholen, 20th, 16:54.

The team scores were: Fairmont 68, T/M/B 104, Madelia-Truman 111, Jackson County Central 123, United South Central 128, Luverne 193, Blue Earth Area 225, Martin County West 258, Windom Area 266, Waseca 277, Worthington 287.

"I was extremely pleased with our showing in this meet," said Panther Coach Brian Michelson. "The girls did a great job and beat two state-ranked teams in Jackson County Central (3) and United South Central (10)."

Michelson went on to say the upcoming meet this Thursday, the Panther Invite, will be something to see. Canby/Minneota beat the number one state-ranked team, New London-Spicer, in their first meet and will be going head to head against the Panthers. The meet will be held at the Tracy Country Club starting at 4:30 p.m.

The Panther cross-country team will next participate, following the Panther Invite, in the Marshall Invite to be held on Monday, September 9.

Spikers stay on road

Columbia Heights tourney is Saturday

The Panther volleyball team has a busy week.

Tracy/Milroy/Balaton travels to Kerkoven Thursday, Columbia Heights Saturday, and Tyler Monday. The Panthers first home match is against MACCRAY, Thursday, Sept. 12.

The Panther were blanked by Minneota last tuesday in their season opener. "We had a good effort against Minneota after the fierst game," said Panther Coach Katie Gervais. "We had our chances to win in each of the last two games." Gervais feels the team has great potential but must learn to be more consistent and to hold the runs made by their opponents to no more than l or 2 points.

Gridders get lesson in opener

The Panther football team opened their 2002 season with a 41-22 loss to Redwood Valley at Redwood Falls Thursday night.

Everything was against the Panthers in this game. The team is very young with only a half dozen seniors on the squad, they were playing on the road against an experienced team of a class higher and they had a new set of coaches. The Panthers had been given a great deal to learn in a short time so that they did not react quickly on either offense or defense but moved as a result of conscious thought which made them predictably slow.

"We were just a half step slow, particularly on defense," said first year Head Coach Randy McIntire. "We had given them a defensive plan and thought they had absorbed it but the film shows that we have a lot of work to do yet."

Redwood Valley is an experienced team that is favored to contend for the Southwest Conference Championship this year.

"We made great strides of improvement as the game progressed," said McIntire. "Donald Strand, sophomore quarterback, had a really nice second half. The Cardinals have a good team with a great receiver."

Strand was 10 of 17 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown in the second half alone and Senior Jake Peterreins caught 5 passes for 41 yards including a touchdown and a two point conversion.