By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Athletic facilities coming together


The track, football practice and baseball fields are nearing completion, Superintendent Robert Indihar reported at the Moose Lake-Willow River Athletic Liaison meeting on Wednesday, June 20, at the Moose Lake school.

“The rubberized surface has been applied to the track and it is striped,” reported head track coach Tony Andres to the representatives of the Willow River and Moose Lake school boards. “We want to thank both boards for investing in the equipment. Everything is there. We are confident that we could hold a small meet but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”

He listed the needs: a press box or shelter for a person to operate a computer system, bleachers for spectators and grass seeding for a large area.

“It’s going to be a great facility,” he added. “A sub-section meet could bring in 500 to 1,000 people.”

“The baseball field is almost done,” Indihar said. “It will be seeded soon. But we need to let the grass grow for two seasons. We can play on the field at the old school.”

Indihar said the cross-country trail is close to done.

A building near the football field for ticket sales, concessions, restrooms and storage is needed.

“That is a hope of ours,” he said. “We have to see if we can afford it.”

The school and the city are discussing the need for more little league fields, Indihar reported. Practice fields are also needed for the junior varsity and varsity.

The liaison group recommended that all of the coaches for the spring sports be rehired: Tony Andres as the track coach, Brad Hubred as the golf coach, Kelly Goeb as the softball coach and Matt Niedzielski as the baseball coach.

All of the coaches reported that the weather kept the teams practicing indoors for the first six weeks and shortened the season.

“We shoveled three feet of snow off the field and in the dugouts,” said Niedzielski. “We played the first home game the next day. We ended up 7 – 6 in the month of May when we really started to play baseball.”

He added that he was looking forward to playing baseball on the new field.

“I’m really excited about the new field and new opportunities,” he said.

Hubred reported that the golf team. He said that he talked to the students at both the Moose Lake and Willow River schools and ended up with 27 students that came out for golf. However, 17 stayed on the team.

“All of the kids improved a lot,” he said. “We hope to have 40 kids on the team in the next few years. The girls finished first place in the Great River Conference. That’s the second year in a row.”

Hubred and Don Ottwell, the assistant coach, recommended that the schools contract with Divots Driving Range, a new facility located near Sturgeon Lake. There is no driving range at the Moose Lake Golf Club, said Ottwell.

Hubred announced that he was honored to have been named the 2018 Coach of the Year.

Goeb reported that the girls learned to embrace things that did not go well for them, such as having to practice in the gym for a longer period of time.

The softball team finished 14-8 for the regular season.

“We played the first game against Esko in a dome in St. Cloud,” said Goeb. “That was a neat experience for the girls. A fun game was when we played against Duluth Denfeld with the snowflakes falling at Wade Stadium. We had a very successful season.”

Andres reported that there had been the most girls out for track in the eight years that he has been coaching.

“This year 12 girls moved on to the sub-sections,” he said. “But no one qualified for the state meet. We had great pole vaulters. Now with the new pits, it will get even better.

“There were 49 boys on the roster to start the year. There were season records. The boys performed better in going to meets and placing. It was great!”

The full boards from Moose Lake and Willow River will meet in Willow River on Wednesday, July 18, at 5 p.m.


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