2012 Runestone Classic Volleyball Invitational

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome some new subscribers to the blog.  They are volleyball parents.  By way of introduction, this blog debuted on January 1, 2011 – to date, it has yet to make an appearance on The New York Times best seller list.  But I keep trying.  This is the 353rd entry on this site, i.e., more than one every two days.  That’s cranking them out faster than George Will – and he gets paid a lot more!  But the blog is a 501(c)(3) operation, meaning I don’t get paid – I tried to get mileage once, but I didn’t know where to send the bill.

On a good day, the blog gets a 100 hits.  It went viral once the day after Lauren Trumm scored her 1,000th point in basketball – 251 hits!  I can only assume the Trumms forwarded it to family worldwide?  I did have an opportunity to address a wider audience.  Al Edenloff, editor of the Echo Press, offered to put this blog on the Echo’s website.  While I recognized that was a wonderful invitation – thanks again, Al – I started this mainly as a vehicle to keep snowbird friends up to date on what was going on in their summertime community, and for the Cardinal family.  Besides, I wanted to maintain editorial control – i.e., not do anything to embarrass the Echo – to occasionally use some salty language such as “poopie butt.”

That’s senior Shanee’ Herd above.  We have been covering her for a third of her life.  She was a 7th-grader on the 2008 state champion hockey team.  She has learned to tolerate us.  Her mother, we’re not so sure?  The blog concept began in 2003 when we “discovered” girls hockey (we’ve blamed them ever since) and covered them through e-mails.  Many of the 353 stories herein are archival to those “early” years and make for Pulitzer Prize worthy reading material on those days when you really don’t feel like weeding or cleaning toilets.  With that as background, I hope you’re still here . . .

I arrived at the gym at 9:00 Saturday morning for the 18th annual – well, see the title above – and immediately began setting up first time monopod coverage.  After several misadventures with this awkward contraption in close proximity to other fans, I finally fired off the first shot of Shanee’ in the Cards opening round game against Rocori.  There were eight teams in tournament – Alex, Bemidji, Brainerd, Elk River, Grand Rapids, North St. Paul, Rocori, and Wadena/Deer Creek – and they were broken down into two 4-team pools in which they played round robin and then moved on based on their record.  The Cards were in with Bemidji, Grand Rapids, and Rocori.  This was going to take all day.  I recognized early on that my tushy could not stomach an entire day on hard wooden bleachers, but I stuck it out for the first two games with a break in between for a run to Dunn Bros. Coffee.

[Senior Natalie Watkins joins Shanee’ in the fray.]

[Joy, joy, joy!  Seniors Jenni Wild and Adrianne Wensman.]

[Junior Amanda Christianson and senior Tara LeBrassuer go up for the block, Jenni’s got their backs.]

[Amanda C led us in kills.  She’s just an excellent all-around athlete.]

[Shift change!  The ref (?) writes down all their numbers as they come and go.  I have no idea why.]

[We’re doing good, huh, coach?   This was a revenge match.  A short time ago the Cards traveled to Rocori and easily won the first two games.  Then the team apparently decided it would be a good idea to visit Sam’s Club in St. Cloud as they inexplicably lost the last three games?  On this day it was an NCer (no contest) as the Cards won both games hardly breaking a sweat . . . errr, glisten.]

[I’ve designated Adrianne as the Lead Celebrater.]

[Here’s the line-up.  As soon as the ball is put into play, everyone rushes to a designated position.  This apparently is done under some sort of plan.]

[Jenni shows a vertical beyond the scope of mortal men.]

Editor’s note:  At this point I’m taking a break in the action.  There are two leaf blowers going next door that are violating noise ordinances in Sauk Centre.  I lived my entire working career in the middle of a major metropolitan area and looked forward to retiring to the idyllic serenity of flyover country.  Now I miss the relative peace and quiet of downtown Washington, D.C.  This area is under the constant din of the internal combustion engine – from leaf blowers to ATVs, from snowmobiles to wave riders, from chain saws to lawn mowers, from speed boats to the race track (are they every night?), from construction equipment to backing up construction equipment, from garbage trucks to snow plows.  Now they all serve a useful function, of course – but 24/7?

[New plan.  Jimmy John’s after the game.]

[Yes!  A bag of No. 5’s!]

[Did it make it over the net?]

[Shanee’ gets ready for a dig, the hitters move toward the net.  Brainerd in the background on the other court v. Wadena/Deer Creek.]



[I’m all alone?]

[Hello, ball!]

[And away you go!]

[Do it again, ball.]

[I see an opening!]

[To the spot.]

[Wheat bread or sub roll?]

[Senior Allie Noetzelman serves.]


[Amanda C up for the block, Natalie in support.]

[Amanda C coming back down without a parachute.]

[Adrianne up, the Spartans look on.  Did it go out?]

[Adrianne in a good mood.]

[Allie serves, Shanee’ readies for a return.]

[We’re gonna win!]

[One more point.]

[Hydrate, ladies, hydrate!]

[Tara and Allie ready for game 2.]

[Jenni and Tara on the block.]

[Everybody was moving in a different direction, but as trained athletes they managed to avoid any collisions.]

[Tara signals two fingers left.  Is that a change in the Jimmy John’s order?]


[I’m ready!]

[I’m still ready!]

[Adrianne:  Left, left, left!]

[Now right, right, right!]

[Allie sets.]

[Adrianne’s having another good mood – well, half of her is.]

[Tara:  Where are my teammates?]

[Looks like junior Emily Kuennen, a/k/a, the power hitting 1st baseman.]

[The Spartans are young, and with good size.  No. 9 is only a freshman.]

[Adrianne in search of another good mood.  Emily and Natalie on her flanks.]

[Eyes on the prize.]

[Same threesome.]

[Amanda C back in for Emily and heads right, Natalie left.]

[Oh, happy day!]

[We won!]

[Jimmy John’s orders please.]

[I feel happy . . .]

[oh so happy . . .]

[Next up, the Lumberjacks.]

[Senior Dani Strater]

[My source, Deep Doodoo, told me this Lumberjack is a highly sought after athlete.  Allie Heifort is a 6-foot tall senior who is a talented hockey player and who supposedly has been told that with proper coaching she could be an Olympian in shotput and discus.  Her brother plays football for the Gophers.]

[Coach Becky Schlichting]

[Go, Cards!]

[Amanda C from midcourt.]

We interrupt this program to advise all that Crazy Dave has safely returned from his cruise of the Mediterranean and is safely ensconced in the wilds of Sarasota.  He reported it was a FABULOUS trip – his first ever beyond a 3-day paddle from Youngstown.  His only concern  was the difficulty in getting the Buckeye Network in the Adriatic.  In other news for the snowbirds, took the lake pump out yesterday.  It was almost on dry land.   Our riprap is totally out of the water.  Neighbor Arnie, who has been here since before statehood, reported he has never seen the lakes this low.  I don’t think we’ve had any measureable rain since August.  And, of course, last year the lakes were the highest anybody had ever seen.  Go figure.  Meanwhile, back at the game . . .

[Heifort is on the far side.  But their true menace was the player in the foreground, Jessica Yost.  The program listed her as 6’1″ – maybe when she was a 7th-grader!  She towered over everyone else on the court.  They set her well all game, and she could really bang ’em.]

[All eyes hoping the ball makes it over the blocker.]

[Natalie, who lest I forget, had a great night serving against Moorhead last night – a story for another day.]

[Jenni heads for the left flank . . .]

[Where she was a blur of action . . .]

[And went high for the hit – she has really good hops.]


[We were overwhelmed by Bemidji’s size in the first game and were never in it.]

[13 in for 5, 2 in for 1 . . .]

[Go get ’em, Nicole.]

[Bring it on, you tough ole Lumberjacks!]

[She looks like an Olympic athlete.]

[I don’t care.  The bigger they are, the harder they fall!]

[Yo, Lumberjacks, we’re quicker off our feet!]

[Ace ’em, Nat!]







[Well, you get the idea.]


[You go, girl!]

[Barrier guards.]

[Poor Shanee’!  She hits the floor all fall, and the ice all winter.  😦 ]

[When I do this really fast with my hand, it means I want extra onions on my No. 5.]

[Shanee’ does that Michael Jordan tongue trick.]

[Hey, no green peppers on my No. 5!]

[And that’s how you release a rehabilitated bird back to the wild.]

[The art that is deployment.]

[And the celebration.]

[Pretty darn good posture.]

[Finally, a jump photo that’s pretty darn good.]

[Emily two-hands one over.]

[And then one-hands one over.]

[The confrontation of the night!  He got into a lengthy stare-down with the ref.  I don’t recall who won?]

[No. 1 priority is hair alignment prior to each point – I say that, of course, with a bit of envy.]




[Console!  We also lost the 2nd game to the Lumberjacks, but it was very close and well played all the way.]

The Cards then went on to beat Grand Rapids in the round robin, and then lost, in a tie breaker, to Wadena/Deer Creek in the 3rd place game.  As I recall, Wadena/Deer Creek is the defending state champion in their class.  I did not see either game as I . . .

[Joined the supervisor for an afternoon of music with the Salty Dogs at the winery.]

[Bill Riggs, trumpet; Erik Schultz, guitar and vocals; Tom Mulder, vocals and a shakey noise thing.]

[The supervisor is always happy when Tom sings her favorite Tom song, What’ll I Do?]

[A beautiful autumn afternoon at the winery.]

Next up:  Even more volleyball!

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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