K-Heart Sports – 05/04/23

K-HEART SPORTS – 05/04/23 – 0700

FARGO, ND – The North Dakota High School Softball Coaches Poll was released Wednesday. All head high school coaches
have an opportunity to vote on the polls that will be released weekly during the 2023 regular season.
Class A Softball Poll
(First place votes)
1. Minot High (8)
2. West Fargo Sheyenne (1)
3. West Fargo High (1)
4. Dickinson High
5. Jamestown (1)
6. Grand Forks Red River
7. Williston
8. Bismarck High (1)
9. Bismarck Legacy
T10. Valley City
T10. Fargo Davies
Class B Softball Poll
(First place votes)
1. Central Cass (11)
2. Beulah (5)
T3. Renville County (1)
T3. Kindred-Richland
5. Velva-Drake-Anamoose
6. May-Port-CG
7. Hillsboro-Central Valley
8. Thompson
9. Des Lacs-Burlington/Lewis & Clark
10. Grafton
ROCHESTER, Minn. (MSU) – The No. 7-seed Minot State Beavers needed 11 innings to finish the job, but pulled off the 3-2 extra-innings win, walking it off on a single off the bat of freshman Paige Kellogg to claim victory over the No. 10-seed Bemidji State Beavers on Wednesday in the first round of the NSIC Tournament. Sophomore Reegan Floyd (11-10) picked up the victory out of the bullpen for Minot State. The right-hander went three innings, giving up one run on three hits, allowing no walks and striking out three. Freshman Kierra Fournier also made an impact in the circle for the Beavers, starting the ballgame and throwing eight innings, giving up one run on six hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Freshman Sara Van Wickler led the way offensively for the Beavers, going 2-for-4 in the ballgame with a double and a triple. Kellogg put together a noteworthy day at the dish as well, going 3-for-6 with an RBI. Senior Leo Watson also contributed, going 1-for-5 for Minot State with an RBI. Trailing 1-0, the Beavers first put runs on the board in the seventh inning. Van Wickler came across to score the lone run of the inning for Minot State and get them on the board on a Watson sacrifice fly. Bemidji State then broke the tied and took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 11th before Minot State scored two runs in the bottom half of the 11th to grab the win, tying it on an RBI single by Courtney Chatburn, then walking it off on an RBI single off the bat of Kellogg.
With the win, Minot State (30-21 overall) advanced to play No. 2-seed Minnesota Duluth in a winner’s-bracket game. The Beavers were not able to notch a run against Minnesota Duluth junior pitcher Lauren Dixon and were shutout 2-0 by the Bulldogs. Freshman Kierra Fournier (5-8) started and took the loss in the circle for Minot State (30-22 overall). Freshman Calley Olson was a bright spot out of the bullpen, going four shutout innings while allowing four hits, walking one and striking out one. In the batter’s box, the Beavers were paced by junior Izzy Penner, who went 1-for-3 on the day. Minot State managed two chances with runners on third in the shutout, going a total of 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The Beavers last got a runner on third in the second, when freshman Paige Kellogg made it 60 feet away from scoring with one out.
The Beavers look to bounce back from the loss today when the face Minnesota State Moorhead in a 10 a.m. elimination game. The winner advances to another elimination game at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
BISMARCK, N.D. (MSU) – Once again, javelin thrower Jakob Braunstein had a big day and led the way for the Minot State track and field teams. Winning his third straight meet title, Braunstein turned in a new personal-best throw of 206 feet even on Wednesday for the victory at the Marauders-Mystics Tune-up, and once again bested the NCAA Division II national provisional qualifying standard. Improving by more than 13 feet on his previous best mark, Braunstein launched himself into the Top 20 in the nation and currently ranks No. 17 in the event this spring.
While he led the way for the Beavers, Chase Snyder added wins in the shot put and discus, and Nathan Trujillo-Aragon won the men’s 110-meter hurdles, while Damian Nino and Casey McMahon each were second in the 400 and 800 meters, respectively, for Minot State. Snyder won the shot with a throw of 51 feet, 4.25 inches and bested the discus field with a mark of 155-7 while Trujillo-Aragon won the hurdles in 15.19 seconds, Nino was second in the 400 in 50.98, and McMahon second in the 800 in 2:02.51. On the women’s side, Summer Krebsbach led the way as she was third in the 100-meter dash in 12.86 seconds. The Tune-up was the Beavers final tune-up before the NSIC Outdoor Championships held May 11-13 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
MINOT, N.D. (MSU) – While many Beavers who walk across the stage next week during graduation will wonder what the future holds, for Minot State football player Troy Kowal, his next step was announced Tuesday night. Kowal, a Professional Communication major who began his career in the classroom and on the gridiron for the Beavers in the fall of 2017, was selected with the 70th pick by the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League during the CFL’s 2023 Draft on Tuesday night, making him the second Beaver in the last two years to move on to play professional football. Sebastian Gutierrez signed as an undrafted free agent last spring with the NFL’s Denver Broncos, and after spending time on practice squads in the NFL played in one game with the Las Vegas Raiders.
As for playing in the CFL, Kowal follows in the footsteps of former Beaver offensive lineman Dalton Houghton, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2018, and defensive end Dexter Ross, the last Beaver drafted by the CFL, picked 49th in 2006 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A native of High River, Alberta, Kowal’s potential first pro game will be May 27, a preseason contest at Saskatchewan, followed by another preseason game at home in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 1. The season opener for the Lions and Kowal would be a homecoming for the soon-to-be Minot State grad, playing at the Calgary Stampede on June 8 – about 40 miles away from High River. Kowal joins a title contended as the Lions were 12-6 last season and advanced to the West Division final, a game shy of the Grey Cup.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND) – The North Dakota men’s basketball team added Zach Kraft from Grand Forks Red River High School to their roster for next season. The RRHS product scored 1,309 points in his career and was named EDC All-Conference twice, North Dakota Senior Athlete of the Year Runner-Up, a Mr. Basketball Finalist in North Dakota, Second team All-State, EDC Athlete of the Year and a member of the All-State Tournament Team. He led the Roughriders to a state runner up finish this spring.
FARGO, N.D. (NDSU) – Roger Kish, head coach of the North Dakota State wrestling program for the past 12 seasons, was named head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday. Kish had a 109-69 record in dual meets as the Bison head coach including a 50-30 record in conference duals. Kish spent 14 years with the Bison including two seasons as an assistant coach under Bucky Maughan prior to taking the head coaching position ahead of the 2011-12 season. North Dakota State went 11-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference last season. The Bison earned their highest ranking in school history at No. 15 in the NWCA Coaches Poll and No. 12 in the Intermat rankings. NDSU placed fifth at the 2023 Big 12 championships and 24th at the NCAA Division I national championships with All-America performances from Jared Franek (4th, 157 pounds) and Michael Caliendo (7th, 165 pounds). Kish’s teams had 54 NCAA championship qualifiers in his 12 seasons as head coach including 21 over his last four seasons. He had six wrestlers advance to earn All-America honors including Trent Sprenkle (2013, 125/5th), Steven Monk (2014, 165/3rd), Kurtis Julson (2015, 174/8th) and Hayden Zillmer (2015, 184/6th). Kish directed the Bison to a pair of NCAA West Regional/Western Wrestling Conference championships (2014, 2015) and two WWC regular season titles (2013, 2015). He was a three-time WWC Coach of the Year.
CHICAGO (AP) — Eloy Jiménez hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 for their third straight victory. Luis Robert Jr. homered as Chicago secured its first series win of the season. Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal each had three hits and Keynan Middleton worked the ninth for his first save of the season. The White Sox will try for a three-game series sweep this afternoon. They dropped 10 in a row before their win streak. Carlos Correa had two RBIs for Minnesota, and Nick Gordon homered for the second straight day. Louie Varland made his second start of the season for Minnesota, stepping into the rotation after Tyler Mahle was sidelined by an elbow injury. The rookie right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The big blow was Robert’s first homer since April 11, a three-run drive to center in the first. The slugging center fielder hit just .129 (9 for 70) in his previous 20 games.
Right-handers Pablo López (2-2, 4.00 ERA) and Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.15 ERA) start the series finale. López is 1-2 with a 7.31 ERA in his last three starts for Minnesota. Giolito pitched 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball for Chicago in a no-decision against Tampa Bay last week.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The absence of a contract extension for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota could well spell the end of his time as quarterback of the Vikings, who have won only one game in the NFL playoffs since their groundbreaking signing five years ago. Despite the depth of his desire to finish his career with Minnesota, Cousins would be about the last player in the league to feel defeated or slighted. Betting on himself, after all, has been the story of his entire football career. Assuming there’s no new deal done in the meantime, Cousins will for the fourth time as a pro play the season on an expiring contract. That’s a rare scenario for an established starter at this premium position around which every NFL team revolves its roster construction and, thus, salary cap strategy. “In this league, there should never be entitlement,” Cousins said. “You’ve always got to go play, and teams can do whatever they want to do. That’s their prerogative.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday after the team’s voluntary workout, his first public comments since the Vikings lost in the first round of the playoffs in January, Cousins sounded as confident, determined and relaxed as ever. “I do think I have a lot of good football ahead of me, so I’ve got to go out there and earn that. I feel positive about the future looking forward,” said Cousins, who agreed in March to change bonus language in his existing deal that saved the Vikings $16 million in cap charges for this year.
Harkening back to his time at Holland Christian High School in Michigan, Cousins recalled answering questions from the hometown newspaper about his lack of college scholarship offers. After developing into a Big Ten standout at Michigan State, he was a fourth-round draft pick by Washington in 2012. He became the full-time starter in 2015, the final season of his rookie contract. Then he played 2016 and 2017 on one-year — albeit expensive — deals after the team put the franchise tag on him. Finally, Cousins hit free agency in 2018 and got an $84 million, fully guaranteed contract from the Vikings. They’ve extended him twice since then, but a third remains to be seen. So as Cousins approaches his age-35 season, he’s in prove-it mode yet again. “It’s more the norm than the exception. I think the exception is that you have something penciled in for future years. Most of our locker room has no idea what’s coming in three or fourth months, let alone three or four years, or next year,” Cousins said. “So I feel like I’m one of the guys, if you will, like we’re all in this together.”
Cousins is the perfect example of quarterback value in the NFL. He’s in his 12th year, with career earnings from salaries and bonuses that will pass $231 million by the end of the season, yet the commitments from the Commanders and the Vikings have been merely temporary and tentative. “I think it’s part of what makes this league great, because everybody has an edge, everybody’s working, everybody’s got something to prove,” Cousins said. The Vikings didn’t bring in anybody to challenge him, re-signing backup Nick Mullens and drafting a developmental quarterback in the fifth round: BYU’s Jaren Hall. If Cousins thrives this year and the Vikings do, too, they could well get a new deal done before he hits the open market again. Still, the possibility of this being his last year in purple is real. “I don’t think you go there. I just think it’s healthiest to be present,” Cousins said. That means taking advantage of the knowledge base from his first season in head coach Kevin O’Connell’s system and using it to create more momentum over the spring and summer entering 2023. “It’s nothing to make you think, ‘Oh, we can just show up, second year, it’ll click.’ I think it’s important to still have an edge in your work,” Cousins said. “But you can also take some encouragement in the fact that time on task together is good. Having somebody in my helmet for the second year in a row I’m really encouraged by, because there had always been that change.”

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