NHL Combine Statistics

     The NHL brought in the top 100 prospects for the 2010 Entry Draft to Toronto last week for six days through Friday. Among the group were Minnesota Duluth recruits Joe Basaraba, a forward from Fort Frances, Ontario, and Justin Faulk, a defenseman from South St. Paul, along with Duluth defenseman Derek Forbort, a North Dakota recruit. The players went through extensive interviews and physical testing in 31 categories. The results of the physical tests are available here from the Central Scouting Bureau with the top 10 listed in each category. Faulk was ranked in the leg power tests, while Forbort was noted in the wing span measurement. The Minnesotan listed in the most categories was forward Nick Bjugstad, the 2010 Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner headed to the University of Minnesota. The NHL Entry Draft is June 25-26 in Los Angeles.

     In mock drafts listed by NHL.com writers, Forbort is projected as high as a No.11 pick in the first round. The mock draft lists are here | here | here | here |and here.

Grandma’s has Smaller Field

When Grandma’s Marathon officially closes registration Tuesday, executive director Scott Keenan will look at the entries and see the lowest total in 15 years. There will be approximately 7,240 runners for the June 19 road race along the North Shore.

Keenan says he isn’t surprised by a second straight year of dwindling numbers. After a race-record high of 9,888 entries in 2008, the marathon attracted 8,377 in 2009 and now about 1,100 fewer for the 34th annual run.

“The same factors we saw last year are still in effect and that’s what we told our board of directors — this is not a one-year issue,” Keenan said Saturday. “The recession is still on and it isn’t cheap to travel to any marathon. There are other races to choose from; we have competition. There is growing trend of running half-marathons rather than marathons. And we have had three straight warm years on race day.

“We expected our numbers to be down again and we budgeted accordingly. We’ve spent as wisely as possible.”

The two-day Grandma’s Marathon festival, with a budget of $2.03 million, has record numbers in its accompanying races. There are 6,856 in the 20th Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon on June 19 and 1,648 in the 17th William A. Irvin five-kilometer race June 18, for approximately 15,735 in three races.

Grandma’s Marathon had sold out for 14 straight years from 1995 through 2008. This year’s entry total is the lowest since 7,269 in 1996.

The Duluth race is facing more regional competition. The Fargo (N.D.) Marathon is in its sixth year, and nearly 17,000 runners took part in four races May 21-22. There are two Minnesota events in their second year — Sunday’s Stillwater Marathon and the Minneapolis Marathon on June 6.

While Grandma’s Marathon built its reputation on cool weather in its early years, the past three races have been warm. In 2007, it was 66 degrees at the marathon start and 74 by 10 a.m. In 2008, it was 59 degrees at the start and 70 by 10 a.m. Last year, temperatures were in the mid 60s by the 7:30 a.m. start, with 78 percent humidity, and climbed to 80 degrees by noon in downtown Duluth. At one point early in the race, medical officials considered stopping the marathon. The day before in Duluth it was cool and foggy.

Since last year, Keenan spoke with hotels and motels about marathon weekend room rates and the request, by some owners, for multiple-night stays. Of 87 lodging sites in the Duluth-Superior area and along the North Shore, 31 list a full occupancy for race weekend, according to the Visit Duluth website.

“Two years ago we had the most runners in race history and we believe there will be a rebound in numbers by 2011,” Keenan said. “We still have one of the best courses in the United States and we put on one of the best road racing festivals in the United States.

“We’ll put on a good event in three weeks, then we’ll start promoting 2011 when we open registration July 1. It will be our 35th marathon and we think a lot of people will want to be part of that.”

Defending champions Chris Raabe of Washington, D.C., and Mary Akor of Hawthorne, Calif., going for a fourth straight women’s title, highlight the field for the 2010 Grandma’s Marathon.

UMD’s SanCartier 3rd in 1,500





Minnesota Duluth junior Michelle SanCartier of Stillwater, Minn., earned All-America status Saturday afternoon by placing third in the women’s 1,500-meter race at the 2010 NCAA Division II track and field championships at Irwin Belk Track Complex in Charlotte, N.C.

SanCartier finished in 4 minutes, 24.38 seconds, breaking her school mark of 4:28.73, and improving on her 2009 best by 17 seconds. Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler won a third NCAA 1,500 title in 4:15.43 and has a combined 12 Division II titles in cross country and track.

Minnesota State-Mankto senior Kelsey Leonard of Hermantown, in her final collegiate race, placed fifth in the women’s 400 in 54.37 to be come an All-American. That was just off her school-record 54.34, set in Thursday’s preliminaries. Leonard also helped Mankato’s 400 relay team place fifth in 45.56.

UMD sophomore Morgan Place of Ellsworth, Wis., competed in the women’s 5,000 later Saturday.

UMD junior Elizabeth Crane of Crookston, Minn., was 17th among 18 entrants in the women’s shot put at 40 feet, 7 inches. She holds the UMD record of 45-7.

Bemidji State senior Zac Preble of Coleraine placed second in the men’s decathlon Friday with a school-record 7,193 points. On the final day of the 10-event competition, he won the discus (137-1) and pole vault (15-3), and finished second at 1,500 in a personal-best 4:50.47. He was named 2010 Bemidji State student-athlete of the year and never lost a multi-event race against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference competition.

UMD’s SanCartier 3rd at 1,500





Minnesota Duluth junior Michelle SanCartier of Stillwater, Minn., earned All-America status Saturday afternoon by placing third in the women’s 1,500-meter race at the 2010 NCAA Division II track and field championships at Irwin Belk Track Complex in Charlotte, N.C.

SanCartier finished in 4 minutes, 24.38 seconds, breaking her school mark of 4:28.73, and improving on her 2009 best by 17 seconds. Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler won a third NCAA 1,500 title in 4:15.43 and has a combined 12 Division II titles in cross country and track.

Minnesota State-Mankto senior Kelsey Leonard of Hermantown, in her final collegiate race, placed fifth in the women’s 400 in 54.37 to be come an All-American. That was just off her school-record 54.34, set in Thursday’s preliminaries. Leonard also helped Mankato’s 400 relay team place fifth in 45.56.

UMD sophomore Morgan Place of Ellsworth, Wis., competed in the women’s 5,000 later Saturday.

UMD junior Elizabeth Crane of Crookston, Minn., was 17th among 18 entrants in the women’s shot put at 40 feet, 7 inches. She holds the UMD record of 45-7.

Bemidji State senior Zac Preble of Coleraine placed second in the men’s decathlon Friday with a school-record 7,193 points. On the final day of the 10-event competition, he won the discus (137-1) and pole vault (15-3), and finished second at 1,500 in a personal-best 4:50.47. He was named 2010 Bemidji State student-athlete of the year and never lost a multi-event race against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference competition.  

UPDATE: Brendan Smith Signs, Charged

    Wisconsin junior All-American defenseman Brendan Smith of Mimico, Ontario, has signed an NHL contract with Detroit. He led Division I defenseman in scoring in 2009-10 with with 15 goals, 37 assists for 52 points in 42 games as the Badgers finished second to Boston College in the NCAA tournament. He was the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and among among 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Smith, 21, was Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Wisconsin junior defenseman Cody Goloubef signed with Columbus in April.

     On Friday, Smith was charged with disorderly conduct for a fight outside a downtown Madison house party earlier this month.

     Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal has the Brendan Smith signing story here. And the disorderly conduct story by Ed Treleven of the State Journal is here.

     ALSO, Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey is reporting, after getting some inside information from this weekend’s NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, that Minnesota State-Mankato freshman forward Tyler Pitlick of Centerville, Minn., is not returning to the Mavericks. The link is here.

      Dilks: I just heard from someone involved in the interview process that interviewed Tyler Pitlick today, and he confirmed that Pitlick will be playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League next season, rather than returning to Minnesota State Mankato for his sophomore season. It’s a pretty crushing loss for Minnesota State, although not necessarily one that was unexpected.

Place 7th at 10,000 meters

   Minnesota Duluth sophomore Morgan Place of Ellsworth, Wis., earned a sixth All-American award Thursday night by placing seventh in the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field women’s 10,000-meter final at Irwin Belk Track Complex in Charlotte, N.C.

On an 80 degree night, Place ran a school-record 35 minutes, 17.69 seconds. That broke her mark of 35:27.70, set earlier this year. Senior Tanya Zeferjahn of Queens University of Charlotte won in 34:46.59.

“Morgan couldn’t have run any better than she did,” said UMD coach John Fulkrod. “It was warm and only two runners ran personal bests, and Morgan was one.”

Place has won two All-American honors in cross country and three in indoor track. Friday marked her first outdoor track All-American recognition after placing ninth in the 10,000 final last year. She will run in 5,000 qualifying Friday.

Minnesota State-Mankato senior Kelsey Leonard of Hermantown and Minnesota Duluth junior Michelle SanCartier of Stillwater, Minn., advanced to final events in Thursday qualifying races. Championship races are Saturday.

Leonard finished seventh at 400 meters in a school-record 54.34 seconds to be among eight qualifiers. She held the previous Mankato mark of 54.98. Mankato was also fourth among seven qualifiers in the 400 relay with Linnelle Clark, Becca Schmidt, Leonard and Brittany Henderson. They ran 45.71.

SanCartier was fifth among 12 qualifiers in the 1,500 with a time of 4:31.17. Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler led at 4:28.68.

Hockey Day Minnesota: 2011

     This release Thursday from the Minnesota Wild on 2011 Hockey Day Minnesota:

FOX Sports North announced Thursday a cooperative effort to celebrate the Fifth Hockey Day Minnesota with a full day of hockey programming, including telecasts of games taking place across the state Saturday, February 12, 2011.

Hockey Day Minnesota 2011 on FOX Sports North, presented by Wells Fargo as part of a multi-year agreement, will include a full day of hockey-related programming designed as a celebration of the game from peewees to pros. The city of Moorhead, Minn., will serve as the background for the high school games featured in the Hockey Day Minnesota 2011 lineup.
 
“Moorhead is an ideal location to celebrate the community spirit of Minnesota Hockey,” said Dave Margenau, President of Minnesota Hockey.  “The Moorhead Youth Hockey Association is well respected and will represent all that makes hockey in Minnesota so special.”
 
Hockey Day Minnesota continues to grow and build tradition throughout the State of Hockey,” said Mike Dimond, Senior Vice President and General Manager of FOX Sports North. “It provides an opportunity to highlight hockey in Minnesota at all levels and we’re very excited to showcase the programs in Moorhead.”
 
Hockey Day Minnesota coverage will also include a Minnesota Wild game from Xcel Energy Center, as well as a University of Minnesota game. A complete list of games and programming schedule will be released at a later date.
 
Hockey Day Minnesota has quickly become a date that the residents of the State of Hockey mark on their calendars,” Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka said. “The Wild is pleased to partner with Wells Fargo, FOX Sports North, Minnesota Hockey and the city of Moorhead on this tremendous day.”
 
Last season’s day-long event took place on January 23, 2010 and included 21 hours of hockey-related programming with five games from three different Minnesota locations: the Hermantown Hockey Complex in Hermantown, Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. A record-breaking 3,500 fans attended the outdoor high school hockey games and activities in Hermantown. Other previous locations include Baudette Bay and St. Paul.

The Oregonian on Kara Goucher

     The Oregonian of Portland, Ore., caught up Kara Goucher, a Portland resident, to talk about the life and times of an expectant Olympian. Tuesday’s Doug Binder story is here with the lead to the story below:

The Oregonian

Kara Goucher met her deadline for becoming pregnant and will have about 22 months after the birth of her baby boy to prepare for the 2012 London Olympic Games (with a spot in the women’s marathon).

Goucher, 32, and husband Adam are spending the down year of 2010 — with no major championship on the calendar — to begin their family and move into a new home in Northwest Portland.

The running community has been abuzz over Goucher’s pregnancy since she publicly stated last year that she planned to try to have a baby and then proceed with her goal of winning a medal in the marathon at the 2012 Games.

Goucher said her pregnancy is going well, and she is looking forward with all of her competitive goals intact.