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Saints chosen third in UMAC poll

St. Scholastica failed to finish in the top three in the 2013 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference regular season for the first time under coach Dana Moore and lost to Northwestern in the conference semifinals.

Though the Saints return nearly everyone, they were selected third behind Northwestern and Minnesota-Morris in a preseason coaches poll released Thursday.

The Eagles claimed four first-place votes, Morris three first-place votes and St. Scholastica one.

Junior Kortney Morrin, a first-team All-UMAC selection who led the Saints with 338 kills and 321 digs last season, setter Erika Birkeland and libero Danielle Benusa are among the team’s returnees. Newcomers Amanda Belden and Christaia Houser of Esko also are expected to contribute.


Superior Man Triathlon returns

More than 400 endurance athletes are expected to compete in Sunday’s third annual Superior Man Triathlon, a scenic race with a unique start.

The triathlon begins with a jump off the Vista Fleet into the Lake Superior bay for a 1. 2-mile swim, which is followed by a 56-mile bike ride along the North Shore. The final leg, a 13. 1-mile run, ends under the arches of Bayfront Festival Park. New this year is a 41. 5 triathlon — a half-mile swim, 35. 4-mile bike race and 5. 6-mile run.

Sean Cooley of Grand Forks, N. D. , has won the full triathlon each of the first two years. His time last year was 4 hours, 36 minutes, 2 seconds.


Moline seeks third straight tourney win

The “Dan Slam” is not out of reach.

Duluth golfer Dan Moline, winner of the recent Arrowhead and Northland invitationals, is entered in this weekend’s Lakeview Medal at Lester Park Golf Course.

The 68th annual tournament runs Saturday and Sunday with 45 holes of stroke play.

Moline, a past Lakeview champion, won the soggy Northland Invitational on Sunday for his second straight win of the area’s “major” summer tournaments. If he wins this weekend, he could go for a fourth consecutive victory next June at the Reidar Lund Memorial to give him a version of the “ Tiger Slam” that Tiger Woods claimed on the professional circuit in 2000-01.

Alex Kolquist won this year’s Reidar Lund and he is entered along with defending champion Taylor Sundbom of Hermantown, who shot 6-under-par to win in 2013, his brother and current Cloquet Invitational champion Trent Sundbom, 2014 Nemadji Invitational winner Brian Moores and Reed Kolquist, former winner of all the events.


Thunder open season today

Fond du Lac opens the season against Minnesota State-Fergus Falls in a community college football game at noon today in Esko.

Veteran Keith Turner, in his 25th season as a coach, returns to lead the Thunder. Fond du Lac went 3-6 overall last fall but 3-1 in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Northern Division. The Thunder only return three starters from that team, all on defense.

Turner said the defense, which includes end Pierre Avesca and defensive backs Rashod Thomas, Terrell Deloach and Jaime Fore, should carry Fond du Lac early while the offense gains experience. Turner said taking care of the football will be key. He expects the kicking game to be improved.

Among the top local players for the Thunder are punter Logan Crowser of Cloquet and offensive lineman Hunter Herzog of Moose Lake-Willow River.

Fergus Falls went 2-6 last year and 0-4 in the MCAC South Division.


Laase seeks junior welterweight state title

Duluth boxer R. J. “T-Rex” Laase will fight Rondale Hubbert for the vacant Minnesota junior welterweight title tonight at a seven-bout professional boxing card at Grand Casino in Hinckley.

Laase (12-1, 8 KOs) has won eight straight but hasn’t fought since Jan. 24 in Hinckley, where the 26-year-old dispatched Jeremy Marts with a second-round technical knockout. Hubbard (6-0-1, 4 KOs) is coming off a fourth-round TKO of Jacob Fox in April. The fight is scheduled for eight rounds.

Duluth boxer Joe Lorenzi, 33, also is on the card. Lorenzi (2-5-1, 2 KOs) will fight Lucas St. Claire (3-4, 2 KOs). Lorenzi has won two straight bouts but hasn’t fought since April 2013 at Wessman Arena in Superior, where he earned a third-round TKO of Lexie Keshick. Tonight’s fight is a rematch of a bout from August 2007, when St. Clair earned a four-round unanimous decision over Lorenzi.

Minnesota welterweight champion Jamal “Shango” James fights North Dakota veteran Wayne Martell in the 10-round main event.