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Admittedly, it's getting tougher and tougher for Mike Baclaen to meet the demands of a late model race season. Now in his 35th season of racing, Balcaen, however, is meeting those demands—evidenced by his win last week in the NLRA season-opener at the Devils Lake Speedway. "Some days it's fun, some days it's not," said Balcaen, who has been one of the top drivers in the Upper Midwest for decades. "But last week was a lot of fun." The Winnipeg driver is looking for more fun tonight at River Cities Speedway, where a regular night of racing is on tap.
The baseball honors keep piling up for Minnesota-Crookston's Reed Hjelle, who now has become the most-decorated player in program history. On Wednesday, Hjelle was named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Division II Central Region Position Player of the Year after putting up big numbers for the Golden Eagles this season. Hjelle now is in line to become a first- or second-team Division II All-American, which would be another first for the program. "Reed has gotten better every year," said UMC coach Steve Gust. "His work ethic is what really stands out."
CRARY, N.D.—Mike Balcaen is getting older but it appears he isn't slowing down. The Winnipeg driver is off to another fast start this season as he captured Saturday night's NLRA feature at the Devils Lake Speedway. It was the NLRA season-opener and Balcaen led the majority of the race as he held off a late charge from Dustin Strand. Balcaen has been racing late models for more than 30 seasons. He's won more than 200 features and various championships—including six NLRA series titles.
CRARY, N.D.—Approximately 15 miles east of Devils Lake a quarter-mile race track exists along the south side of U.S. Highway 2. The Devils Lake Speedway, for the past few seasons, has been home to weekly races for mainly modifieds, streets and pure stocks. This season, Devils Lake Speedway owner Nolan Olmstead has moved the track into the fast lane—promoting a number of higher-paying late model and sprint shows to complement the usual classes that run on a weekly basis.
For Dustin Strand, the start to the 2018 late model race season has been a mixed bag. And a fairly costly one, as well. Strand finished second at River Cities Speedway last Friday, 0.955 seconds behind winner Ricky Weiss. On Saturday, Weiss and Strand were at it again at the Devils Lake Speedway. The two were battling for the lead on the last lap when they made contact in Turn 4 while coming for the checkered flag. The contact sent Strand hard into the wall. Weiss was charged with bringing out the caution flag, which resulted in Cole Schill taking the win.
During UND's time in the Big Sky Conference, the Fighting Hawks faced a number of players from other countries. UND won't play in the Big Sky anymore, but the Hawks have gone the international route—signing 6-foot-9 center Marko Coudreau to a letter of intent. UND coach Brian Jones announced the signing of Coudreau on Tuesday. The 17-year-old will have four years of eligibility for UND. The addition of Coudreau fits a recruiting need for UND—size on the front line.
The 2018 race season is expected to begin tonight at River Cities Speedway, where The Bullring will celebrate its 20th season under its current management. The late spring delayed the start of the season by two weeks, but the facility is ready for the season. The delay, gave track officials time to make some needed grandstand repairs, said RCS managing partner Linus Mack. Everything else is ready to go, he said. And tonight's turnout in all four classes—streets, Midwest modifieds, late models and sprints—should be strong for an early season show.
Arguably, the weekend that wrapped up Saturday at Apollo Field was the greatest in UND softball history. How special was it? The Fighting Hawks: • Qualified for the upcoming Big Sky Conference tournament for the second-straight season. • Set a program record for wins in a season (25) and Big Sky wins in a season (10). • Drew a healthy crowd for all three games and performed like a program that has turned the corner.
College baseball 6 Friday's results Minnesota Crookston 8-6, Minnesota Duluth 6-3 Oral Roberts 11, NDSU 8 NSAA tournament First round In Valley City Dakota State 13, Mayville State 3 Presentation 17, Waldorf 11 Today's games Loser-out Mayville State vs. Waldorf, 11 a.m. Winners' bracket Dakota State vs. Presentation, 2 p.m. In Jamestown Jamestown 8, Viterbo 3 Bellevue 8, Valley City State 6, 11 innings Today's games Loser-out
Prep baseball Fargo North 9, Red River 0: Fargo North received three hits each from Cameron Blazek and Brandt Kolpack as the Spartans downed Grand Forks Red River on Thursday at Kraft Field. Blazek also picked up the win, striking out nine Red River batters. Parker Monette had two hits for the Riders. Sacred Heart 7, Kittson Central 1: Brenden Bethke struck out eight batters and Oscar Ortiz drove in three runs to lead East Grand Forks Sacred Heart past Kittson County Central on Thursday. Zach Johnson was 2-for-3 to lead KCC.