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Minnesota Duluth volleyball players became accustomed to practicing in hot and humid conditions this time of year at Romano Gym, but one recent August, it was ridiculous. Apparently, a lightning storm tripped the heating system to turn on in July, making Romano feel like a blast furnace by the next month, before it was discovered. "That was the hottest Romano has ever been, I guarantee that," said UMD volleyball coach Jim Boos. "It was unbearable. It was like opening an oven door."
Matt Hammitt charged hard into the corner at Proctor Speedway last month, only to find the back end of his sister's Super Stock waiting there to greet him. Annika Hammitt checked up too much, and Matt Hammitt wasn't happy about it. "She almost came to a stop," Matt Hammitt said. "And I didn't." The front end of Matt Hammitt's car got scrunched like a bulldogs' face, but it didn't take him long to get over it. After all, that's racing, and at least sister helped him fix it.
Minnesota Duluth wide receiver Nate Ricci sat on the training table last fall, the gravity of the situation starting to sink in. "I thought that might be it," he said. Ricci had broken his collarbone, causing his season to end, but fortunately for him, not his career as he was able to get a medical redshirt. Ricci, a senior captain, is back to lead the 2018 Bulldogs, who begin practice today.
The Duluth Huskies welcomed a very special guest to Wade Stadium on Thursday. It was chilly, with the temperature dipping into the 50s, but 93-year-old Virginia (Beck) Kunde is a trooper, cuddling up in a blanket and sticking it out until late in the game, well after most of the fans had already left. Seventy years ago, Kunde, a Duluth native, was dating Duluth Dukes pitcher Don Schuchmann until he died in the infamous July 24, 1948, bus crash that claimed the lives of six people. "We were in love," Kunde said, matter of factly. "The summer was not yet over."
EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings had just completed their first fully padded practice of training camp on Monday as the team began walking off the field. It was a long, hot day, but one Vikings player — one — stayed on the field to take extra reps, blasting a blocking sled under the watchful eye of runnings backs coach Kennedy Polamalu. That player was none other than Duluth native C.J. Ham. Polamalu was asked if he was the one who wanted Ham to work on some things. "No, no, that's on him," Polamalu said. "He wants the extra work."
CARLTON — Ben Cogger was about 15 miles into the 37th annual Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon on Saturday when he and another runner crossed a bridge. They must have stirred a nest of hornets as Cogger was stung in the left calf. About two miles later, Cogger was stung again, this time in the mouth, causing his lip to swell like he was hiding a marble. Sorry, hornets. You stung the wrong guy.
While most of his teammates enjoyed three days off, Augie Isaacson was one of four Duluth Huskies who were in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Tuesday for the Northwoods League All-Star Game. While it didn’t go the way he wanted, leading off the game and going 0-for-2, Isaacson will have more opportunities to showcase his wares for scouts as the regular season winds down.
Mike Picott remembers his Iron Range teammates being skeptical of Bruce Grant when he first arrived on the Minnesota Duluth campus in the fall of 1979. Grant had the appearance of a 'city slicker,' a Twin Cities quarterback with Tom Cruise looks and the son of legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant.
While the Humboldt Broncos bus crash sent shockwaves through the hockey community in April, it undoubtedly hit closer to home for Bernie Gerl. Gerl, 91, is the last remaining survivor of the Duluth Dukes baseball team's bus crash 70 years ago Tuesday, killing six in one of the worst tragedies in professional sports. "I can't believe it's been that long," said Gerl, a catcher on that 1948 team. "How did it goes so fast?"
Romano Gymnasium became part of folklore among NSIC basketball coaches as its roof was known to sag under heavy snowfall, to the point where it lowered the height of the attached baskets by four or five inches. "I used to send a picture of our hoops to coach Tom Billeter at Augustana and say, 'My guys will be jumping out of the gym,' " former Minnesota Duluth basketball coach Gary Holquist said.