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After fielding only a JV team a season ago, the Mitchell High School boys' soccer team is back to the varsity level. And with change, comes more change. Chris Fischer, a 2001 Mitchell High School graduate, takes reign of the first-year program in place of former head coach Scott Duff. Fischer takes hold of a team that will play in Class A, the lower of two levels of soccer in the state. "We kind of have a wide spread of ability on the team," Fischer said.
Four goals and one win in 2008 didn't disappoint Mitchell Christian soccer coach Bob Lemon one bit. Instead, the coach was pleased as he watched his first-year team improve throughout the season. "The first day of practice last year we started out with basic fundamentals," Lemon said. "The first day we showed them this is a soccer ball and here's how you kick it. This year, we had a scrimmage on the first day and it didn't break down into complete chaos.
After taking a year off to focus on his regular day job, Jerry Thomsen is back as the Mitchell Christian boys' head golf coach. Prior to 2008, Thomsen coached the Eagles for four years, and he returns this year to with some coaching help. Because Thomsen's job still requires a large amount of travel, Rob Marchand will help with the day-to-day practices. "I'm not able to do all the practices schedules," Thomsen said. "Rob volunteered to help with the daily things, so that is going to help quite a bit." Thomsen enters the season with six golfers on the roster and only one upper classman.
Over the course of the weekend, the South Dakota state cowboy fast draw competition will be held on the Cabela's grounds. Quick draw shooters -- both men and women -- will be coming to Mitchell from different states around the country to attempt and win the prestigious state championship. The main event will run Saturday through Sunday as a 4X competition, meaning shooters can lose three times before being eliminated on the fourth loss.
Here's an answer to a question many Canova fans are wondering: Kevin Leighton will absolutely not play baseball next season -- not one single game. The Gang just captured their first state championship in 30 years, but who at Cadwell Park Sunday didn't wonder if Leighton would at least play a handful of games next season? After the game, this was part of my congratulatory conversation with the state's all-time leading home run hitter: Me: Congrats, Mr. Leighton.
All is well in the state's biggest small-town baseball community once again. Canova got six strong innings from Jared Donahue, Kevin Leighton played his final game and the Gang captured its first Class B state amateur championship in 30 years Sunday at Cadwell Park. "This means just a little bit to this community. I don't think there's anybody left in Miner County right now," Leighton said while celebrating with friends, family and teammates after the victory.
CANOVA -- After a come-from-behind victory Thursday, 51-year-old Kevin Leighton told his team, the Canova Gang, that his body has two more games left in it. South Dakota's all-time home run leader, who's played over 30 years of amateur baseball, promised himself going into the season that it would be his last. Leighton hit career home run No.
Canova's eighth-inning clutch hitting sent the Gang within two wins of their first state title since 1979 Thursday night at the Class B state amateur tournament at Cadwell Park. Pickup player Thomas Gulledge hit a two-out, two-RBI double to the right field corner in the bottom of the eighth, giving Canova a 10-9 lead -- its first lead since the third inning. "I knew exactly what I was looking for in that last hit," Gulledge said. "He threw it in the exact spot I was looking for.
MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are looking to accomplish something they haven't done in 30 years. After winning the NFC North last season with a 10-6 record -- its first division title since 2000 -- Minnesota is shooting to win back-to-back division titles for the first time since the 1977-78 seasons. During the offseason, the NFC North has seen numerous drastic changes, but the Vikings seem to be the team with most constants. "It's a much improved NFC North," Vikings' linebacker and Mount Vernon native Chad Greenway said.
MANKATO, Minn. -- Linebackers Chad Greenway and Ben Leber stared down quarterback Sage Rosenfels during a Monday morning practice at Mankato State University, the second full-pad scrimmage at the Minnesota Vikings' annual summer training camp. The South Dakotans -- who both worked with the No. 1 defense -- each are entering their fourth year with the Vikings and the two starters are perennial locks to make the 45-man roster.