A certain sports writer is making the transition from many helpings of Thanksgiving dinner to a full serving of Brainerd High School events.
Here's a preview of Warriors events the rest of this week:
Gymnastics -- Four-time defending Section 8, Class 2A champion Brainerd is at Sauk Rapids-Rice tonight for its first-ever dual meet against the Storm.
On Saturday, Robbinsdale Armstrong, St. Paul Highland Park and Wayzata are in Brainerd for a quadrangular at 11 a.m. Wayzata was fourth in the 2A state meet last year. It returns junior Tami Hels, who was second in all-around, third on bars and fifth on beam at state.
Boys' hockey -- The Warriors renew their fierce rivalry against St. Cloud Apollo 7:30 tonight at the civic center.
The Eagles have lost talented forwards Mike Howe and Matt Hartman and defenseman Jim Henkemeyer to junior leagues. Howe and Hartman were all-conference performers last season and potential Mr. Hockey candidates this winter. Hartman has signed with St. Cloud State for the 2003-04 season and Howe with Minnesota for the 2004-05 season. Apollo lost to Sauk Rapids for the first time, 4-1, on Tuesday.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, the Warriors host Robbinsdale Armstrong, coached by former Brainerd head coach Greg Aslakson. The Falcons are 3-1-1, tying Rochester Mayo 5-5, losing to Bloomington Kennedy 5-2 and beating Thief River Falls 4-3, Roseau 6-1 and Rochester John Marshall 3-2. The Falcons, like Apollo, lost three of their top players to junior hockey. They are led by Evan Kaufmann, who played in the high school elite league this fall.
Girls' hockey -- The Warriors host ninth-ranked Bemidji tonight. Brainerd is led in scoring by Samantha Welle with 5 goals and 8 points. Goaltender Mandy Hanson has a 2.0 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
Boys' basketball -- The Warriors, who opened Tuesday with a 68-42 rout of Hibbing, are at Sartell Friday.
The Sabres return Greg Gasser, who averaged 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds last season; guard Marcus Oistad, who averaged 9.0 ppg and 5.3 rpg; and Bryan Schnettler, who averaged 8.2 ppg and 4.6 rpg.
Girls' basketball -- Brainerd is at Little Falls Friday. The Flyers have a new head coach in Robin Pohlman and are 1-2 overall. The Warriors are 1-1 after losing to Willmar 59-30 Tuesday.
Wrestling -- Andy Pickar should become the Warriors' career win leader at the Coon Rapids dual-meet invitational Saturday. Pickar has 111 wins, tying two-time state champion Jim Caughey.
Becker, Blooming Prairie, Coon Rapids, Eastview, Osseo, Rosemount and Woodbury are the other teams.
In the first round, it's Brainerd vs. Osseo, Coon Rapids vs. Woodbury, Blooming Prairie vs. Rosemount and Becker vs. Eastview.
* Duluth's expansion team in the Northwoods League has selected Huskies as its nickname. Duluth will play in the North Division with Brainerd, St. Cloud, Alexandria and Mankato.
* LaCrosse, Wis., also has been awarded a Northwoods League franchise, which it has nicknamed the Loggers. LaCrosse will play in the South Division with Waterloo, Wausau, Rochester and Madison.
* Twenty-five percent of the 128 collegians who have played for the Brainerd Mighty Gulls since 1998 are playing in some level of professional baseball, with eight more expected to become pros in 2003.
* Brainerd Warriors volleyball and swimming and diving teams earned sportsmanship honors in the Central Lakes Conference this fall.
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