Hillcrest Soccer Scores in Bunches, Ending in Football-like Score

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Hillcrest Soccer Scores in Bunches, Ending in Football-like Score

Hillcrest's soccer team scores like American Football players. After dismantling Bemidji in the second half last week, Hillcrest soccer followed up their 3-0 win with a 14-0 scoring clinic against the Fergus Falls Otters on Tuesday, September 1.

Hillcrest scores from all over the field with many different players. Tuesday afternoon Hillcrest saw over 10 players direct the ball into the net. Quick crosses and well placed passes marked the game for Hillcrest. Eivind Fluge notably set up a few players on a number of well placed balls. Senior Danny Martinez started the scoring early after beating the Otter defense to the left goal line, receiving a precision pass from Fluge to find the back of the net. Hillcrest found the net six more times in the half, giving them a 7-0 lead as they sat in the grass at Danielsen Field, working through strategy to continue play into the second half.

Coach Rod Jensen's second half orders delivered a goal two minutes into the half when Eivind Fluge won a ball and sailed a shot past the Otters.  Later in the half Fluge was awarded a penalty kick from a teammate who was taken down in the box. Fluge skirted a shot that skimmed the grass and found the net easily, giving him a hat trick for the game. Minutes later teammate Brian Villagommes scored his hat trick goal from a leading pass by Marcus Hagen. The Comets closed the scoring with two minutes in the game on a punted ball from keeper Juan Franco that sailed behind the Otter defense and led Tommy Thompson, who touched the ball a few times before beating the Otter keeper and giving the Comets their 14th point of the game. 

Hillcrest hosts Detroit Lakes Thursday at 4pm for a conference matchup at the Danielsen Field at HIllcrest.

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Comets Keep Ball From Stoppers in 3-0 Defensive Stand

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Comets Keep Ball From Stoppers in 3-0 Defensive Stand

After a quiet first half, Hillcrest's soccer team battled through the scoreless frame and emerged with 3 goals leaving the Danielsen Field with their first win of the 2015 season in a shutout victory.

Midfielders Joey Coronado and Tommy Thompson controlled the ball for the Comets through the first half of the Comets' last game in August. Their play opened a series of well-placed passes that came up empty when shot on goal. However, after five minutes in the second half Senior Jordan Foss put a 20 yard shot into the back of the net from outside the box. The low bullet beelined for the left corner post, leaving Bemidji's goal tender stunned, who was busy most of the day. The Comets outshot the Lumberjacks 12 to 6 on the night. 

The 65 minute mark brough Sophomore Eric Konynenbelt his first goal of his varsity career. Following a soft feed from Marcus Hagen, placing the ball gently in front of Konynenbelt, Hagen followed his pass and watched as the ball traveled to the right side of the net off Konynenbelt's rightside attack. The Comets went up 2-0 at the 65 minute mark with the offensive attack.

Jovanny Ramirez put a lightning strike on Bemidji with 3 minutes left in the game to close scoring for both teams. The 45 yard shot sailed to the upper right corner of the goal, out of reach of Bemidji's goal tender. 

The ball touched Hillcrest's stopper a handful of times on the day, showing the Comets to have the better defense in winning battles consistently at midfield. "Overall, I am very satisfied with our play," noted Head Coach Rod Jensen. "Bemidji is a big, fast, physical team...this game was a major test for our season opener."

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Comets Attack by Land, Air, and Foot in Rout of Pirates

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Comets Attack by Land, Air, and Foot in Rout of Pirates

A 47 yard pass, 41 yard field goal, and 40 yard catch and run jump-started the Comets to a 23 point lead in Verndale. With running time starting in the third quarter, the Comets quietly closed the game with their second win in a 39-8 underlined win Friday night.

"So many things went right for us tonight," recalled Hillcrest Head Coach Charlie Brue. "We had a really good completion rate." Comet Quarterback Sean McGuire completed 17 of 22 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. McGuire's work through the air was made possible by the Comet line who fortified the trenches against a hard-hitting Verndale team. 

Verndale's one-two punch of Mitch Blaha and Mack Jones is 9-man smash-mouth football at its best. Few teams in the area establish the run better than Verndale has over the last decade, and the 2015 Pirates are no exception. Verndale roughed-up 205 of its 213 total yards through their two-headed running back attack. The Comet defensive line was prepared for the contest and fortified the line of scrimmage. Coach Charlie Brue noted, "Our defense was stout, making several crucial third and fourth down stops...We surprised ourselves tonight."

The Comet clinic on scoring saw tough running from Kyler Newman and Chris Tungseth, in addition to the electrifying play of Sean McGuire and Reggie Undseth. Undseth hauled in 8 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, while McGuire used his legs eight times earning 49 yards and a touchdown. Newman had 10 carries for 64 yards with 5 receptions for 41 yards. Tungseth did his part with an 11 yards per carry average on 5 handoffs, while snapping 2 passes out of the air for 46 yards, giving him 101 yards from the line of scrimmage. 

Teams facing the Comets not only have to stop the traditional air and ground attack. Hillcrest Senior Jordan Foss is making a name for himself in the humid autumn air as he is putting-up big-time Comet points. A 41 yard field goal attempt continued to climb after reaching the goal line. Stout defenses can't let the Comets cross the 50 yard line with Foss' kicking ability on the Comet sideline. The challenge of stopping the Comets, who put together 390 yards of total offense Friday night, is made more difficult with the legs of Foss who offers the Comets points anytime they near the 40 yard line.

The Comets look forward to a Friday night contest verses Rothsay in hopes of going 3-0 on the season.

 

 

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Comets Cruise to Win in Home Opener

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Comets Cruise to Win in Home Opener

Providing 381 yards of total offense is a great way to start the season. Hillcrest had little trouble establishing home field advantage after Senior Chris Tungseth scampered for a first down on a fake punt, capitalizing on what seemed to be a quick 3-and-out opening drive to start the 2015 football season. Scoring on the first drive of the season, the Comets established their 2015 season and cruised to an opening night win.

Following Tungseth's bold run, Junior quarterback Sean McGuire found Reggie Undseth on a quick-out at the 30 yard line. Undseth quickly turned up-field and planted his left foot in an ankle-breaking move that left Hancock's cornerback reaching for air. Undseth sprinted to the middle of the field, averting the two more defenders, scoring Hillcrest's first touchdown of 2015 on a thirty-seven yard pass play. 

Later in the half Undseth picked-off a deep throw from Hancock quarterback Kaleb Koehl and tight-rope walked the sidelines in front the homefield crowd for an impressive interception. In a following Hancock possession, Undseth, gaining noteriety as ball-hawk from his work Saturday night, picked-off a midfield throw from Koehl near the end of the second-half and played-off a number of well-placed blocks from his teammates as he sprinted eighty yards for a touchdown. The Comets entered half-time with a 14-0 lead.

The second-half brought-out some of Hillcrest's lesser known weapons. Quarterback Sean McGuire's passing is renown, but his footwork at the line is something Hillcrest has kept a secret until Saturday night. Peeking through a hole in the offensive line, Sean darted fifty-nine yards for the end zone. Moments later Junior Jordan Foss booted a 27 yard field goal and gave Hillcrest a 23-0 lead. 

With fourteen seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter, Hancock put 6 points on the board following a 63 yard pass from Koehl to Noah Kannegiesser. Hancock's commitment to their passing game earned only one score on the night, providing 6 turnovers at the hands of Comet defenders.

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Hillcrest's air attack was more successful. McGuire was 17-38 passing for 188 yards. Undseth finished the game with 126 yards receiving on 6 catches. Chris Tungseth and Sam Isaac hauled in four passes each, with Isaac crossing the goal line for the final score of the game. The air attack opened lanes for McGuire. He provided 116 of HIllcrest's 193 rushing yards, taking advantage of great blocking from his offensive line. 

The Comets 30-6 win on Saturday prepared them for a much more difficult challenge they will face on Friday, August 28 in Verndale. Verndale is in the new re-districting of Section 6 West South 1 9-Man football. The section is likely one of the toughest in the state of Minnesota, housing perennial powerhouses Bertha-Hewitt, Park Christian, Underwood, and Verndale. 

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ISIS Rings Bell for Second Round of Holy War

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ISIS Rings Bell for Second Round of Holy War

Women hold small children as older kids run away from armed men. Piles of ashes and rubble dart the landscape as dust wafts into the air from remnants of loving homes. Crowds of displaced people huddle together without emotion. Steel glances peer into cameras documenting leathered faces that tell the story of the genocide committed by ISIS.

ISIS stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is working to create an Islamic state by ruling the area through intimidation. Smuggling, kidnapping, and extorting are their calling cards. The militant group was formed by the infamous leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is now known by his followers as Al-Khalifah Ibrahim. 

The Assyrians are fed up with the abuse. They are banding together to form militias to protect themselves. The problem is that they don’t have the training and weapons necessary to form a defense that ISIS won’t penetrate. 

This isn’t something new. In the year 1321, Muslim mobs destroyed Coptic churches in Egypt. According to historian Rodney Stark, these anti-Christian riots were carefully orchestrated throughout Egypt. The small-scale, anti-Christian attacks of arson, looting, and murder were consistent throughout the area. New Islamic converts in Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Syria persecuted Christians in an effort to uproot the church and kill the heads of the Christian congregations. Stark notes that by the end of the fourteenth century tiny remnants of Christianity remained in East and North Africa, nearly wiped out by Muslim persecution. 

In response, the European Christians banded together to stem the anti-Christian tide of Is
lam from Africa. The European forces worked to take back the Holy Land. Muslim pestering, targeting Christians and minorites, called Europe to fight for Jerusalem after the city was under Muslim control for 460 years. 

In a proverbial second act, Christians today are flying to Iraq and Syria from around the world. Retired servicemen are joining forces with Christians in the middle east to stem the rushing tide of Islamic extremism. The battles waged during the crusades are being replayed with modern technology, opposing the tenents of Islamic law and the call of the Quran to establish Islam as the chief religion.

UPDATE::

American Keith Broomfield from Massechusetts was the first American killed in action from the volunteers signing-up to fight ISIS in the Middle East. Broomfield's sister said he joined the militia because, "God told him he had to go, and without a second though, he went."

Broomfield's mother didn't want him to fight in the militia, "I didn't have a choice in the matter. He turned his life over to the Lord and he decided it was God's will and God wanted him to do it." Broomfield's sister is taking to social media to communicate some reasonings behind her brother's volunteer service. She notes, "My brother died to defend my sisters who are being sold, raped, and murdered." A text from the last message Broomfield sent his sister is on Facebook. The message reads, "Sometimes you got to be a man whether you want to or not. I don't expect anyone to understand but I don't need anyone to either. I appreciate your concern and take it as kindness."

Broomfield's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17.

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Hillcrest Announces New Chief Advancement Officer, Todd Mathison

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Hillcrest Announces New Chief Advancement Officer, Todd Mathison

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy welcomes Todd Mathison as the new Chief Advancement Officer. Todd served at Darmouth College in the advancement department, and the Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB) in home missions, giving him nine years of advancement experience to add to his sixteen years of pastoral ministry from the CLB in California and Minnesota.

Todd graduated from Hillcrest Academy in 1979, received his Master of Divinity at Lutheran Brethren Seminary in 1989, and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Seminary in 2011.

I am joining a passionate and committed team at Hillcrest, working to connect Hillcrest alumni and friends to partner together with us, to fulfill Hillcrest’s ongoing mission of preparing students for a life of eternal significance.
— Todd Mathison | Chief Advancement Officer

During Todd's time at the Seminary he was asked to represent Hillcrest Academy at Tuscarora Inn for a winter weekend youth retreat. Through a series of events, including a 6am call requesting his service, finding a substitute preacher for his 10am chapel service that morning, a meeting with a church council for a church plant oppotunity at 9am, Todd boarded his flight before noon, represented Hillcrest at the winter retreat, and met his future wife, Anne, on the bike path near the Delaware Water Gap. Todd and his wife have two children, both attended and graduated from Hillcrest Academy. The mission and vision of Hillcrest not only provided a path for Todd to meet his wife, but saw his family supported as his children received a renowned college preparatory, Biblically-based, Christian education. 

As Hillcrest continues to grow in both student enrollment and financial stability it is looking to enhance the reach of the ministry. Todd's arrival to Hillcrest coincides perfectly with the Student Union Project, a renovation of the former Seminary building to a student commons, dining hall, and commercial kitchen. The Student Union will provide space and resources for students to spend more time with staff and more time with eachother in Christian community. View the video to see a walk-thru tour from Todd.

Todd's role in advancement combines the offices of Development and Alumni Relations at Hillcrest. He will be based out of the Twin Cities, connecting with alumni and friends regionally and across the country. Todd has served as the chairman of Hillcrest's Board of Directors, but is stepping down from his post this summer to join Hillcrest's staff full-time. He mentions that his role in the Board is like looking out over a moving river and noticing the beauty, turns and churns in the current. Now on staff he is discovering the undercurrent at Hillcrest that provides the beautiful scene in his analogy. As his feet get wet with the ministry of Hillcrest in a different context, Todd remarks, "I am joining a passionate and committed team at Hillcrest, working to connect Hillcrest alumni and friends to partner together with us, to fulfill Hillcrest’s ongoing mission of preparing students for a life of eternal significance.”

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Life and Cancer: Contemplating Assisted Suicide

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Life and Cancer: Contemplating Assisted Suicide

CBS, CNN, and multiple other news stations covered Brittany Maynard’s final weeks on earth. At 29 years old, Brittany Maynard trended on social media as she publicly announced her decision to end her life.  

Brittany Maynard holds a wedding picture for a photoshoot prior to her assisted suicide.

Brittany Maynard holds a wedding picture for a photoshoot prior to her assisted suicide.

Brittany was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and was given a short time to live. She gained popularity through her video blogs, that she consistently posted throughout her journey.Instead of letting the cancer take over her life, Maynard made the decision to end it while she was feeling good and healthy to prevent any extensive suffering and pain for her and the loved ones around her.  Traveling from mountains to beaches to canyons, Maynard embarked on adventuring to her dream locations before she chose to end her life on November 1, 2014.

Death by a physician is legal in five states: Washington, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Vermont. Brittany and her husband moved to Oregon so she could be given life ending medication legally. Since Maynard's death, the phrase “Dying with Dignity” is gaining popularity, as activists try to legalize prescribed death in the United States. 

Kara Tippets poses for before and after pictures with her husband in their home in Colorado where they planted a church during Kara's battle with cancer.

Kara Tippets poses for before and after pictures with her husband in their home in Colorado where they planted a church during Kara's battle with cancer.

A young mother of four, wife, and devout Christian, Kara Tippets, has been dealing with stage four glioblastoma, the exact same diagnosis as Brittany Maynard. Kara wrote an urgent open letter to Brittany begging her to consider a different route before her suicide. Sadly, Maynard carried out her plans. Since her death, Maynard has become an icon for major advocates for assisted suicide claiming that it is humanity's right to have complete control of their bodies, meaning that we can chose when to pull the plug. However, Job 1:21 offers an alternative thought of who really is in control, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In the open letter to Maynard, Tippetts said, “Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but it can be the place where true beauty can be known.” Sympathizing with the pain and struggle cancer brings, and the hard walk down a road that seems impossible to walk, Tippetts makes it clear that pain is possible to bear. There is a misconception in culture that struggle is bad, embarrassing, indestructible, and useless. But without pain, times of joy would not be as joyful. Without struggle, there would not likely be as many blessings or as much growth, at least that is my experience. 

Kara is held by her father, Keith, receiving loving hugs some 15 years before Keith's battle with cancer.

Kara is held by her father, Keith, receiving loving hugs some 15 years before Keith's battle with cancer.

Watching my dad battle terminal cancer was certainly not easy, but i am so thankful for the experience. So many blessings came from the heartache and I can confidently say it was worth it. My family grew close together during my dad's cancer journey, and we all learned how to cherish life. I appreciated my dad more than I ever could in a lifetime because of his end-of-life experience.

Through the madness and sorrowful emotions, God blessed me with an immense peace that I can't describe. My dad could have stopped treatments, and ended his life, but he didn’t because he knew God could be praised in his situation. Through the harsh treatments and pain, my dad spoke about the reality of people needing a Savior. He testified of God’s provision in Jesus Christ to fulfill that need. He shared this message with as many people as he could, and to me, that is dying with dignity.

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Graduation Weekend Revisited

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Graduation Weekend Revisited

Finding a moment to think during the month of May is difficult for many Seniors. Recalling past experiences and reflecting on a decade of classroom instruction is marked by simple practices. Gathering around the dinner table with a box of photos for graduation boards, piecing together slideshows after dusting-off old CDs and sorting through Facebook photos, are rituals that cause pause. At Hillcrest, there is so much more processing than simple preparation for a graduation party.

Hillcrest's reflective times begin as Seniors gather together to decide their class song, class Bible verse, and the general order of their Senior Class Night. Tumultuous meetings where 40+ high school students look to boil down the personality of their class to a simple theme with a 20 word Bible verse forges the class. 

Students think back to the first day of junior high. The years from junior high to high school transition new students into their class. Some join them at the semester break of their freshman year, building bonds in the dormitory and friendships in the classroom. Others start Hillcrest their sophomore year as the class begins to take-on an identity of intercultural ties. The junior year brings students from the east and west coasts. Class meetings are louder and there are more personalities and opinions to appease. The senior year brings new students with high expectations of growth, change, and development in a one year Hillcrest experience. Student testimonies are captured at Hillcrest, documenting the individual lives that experienced the movement from high school student to equipped follower of Christ, future father, mother, and employee. The testimonies cause pause, a time to verbalize a change the students have witnessed at Hillcrest.

The cherished weeks in the month of May bring the first lasts the students will experience. The last time they attend the Junior-Senior banquet and the post-party at the Perham Area Community Center. It's the last time they receive a report card from Hillcrest. The last time they have math class outside. The last time they gather for class meetings. The last chapel service with their friends. The last time they will run into the dorms after school to gather with their closest confidants before walking for a post-school coffee.

Students plan to attend the weekly Principal's Breakfast where they will share their plans after graduation. They receive a blessing from President Brue and Principal Isaac. The time with Hillcrest's administration leads them to think back to the first time they gathered in the Chapel and Principal Isaac prayed or the last prayer day they attended where they led their group in prayer. This time of reflection gives perspective for their experience. A wayside rest on their road to graduation.

Kevy Konynenbelt | Graduation 2015

JK Lee Testimony | Graduation 2015

As graduation weekend begins student testimonies play before the All-school Concert. What is normally a bustling crowd of 300+ people is hushed at the voices of Hillcrest's seniors. Applause follows the story of JK Lee who experienced a life-changing move to Christ following his classroom experience at Hillcrest. Smiles emerge on faces of attendees as they realize the unlikely road Mackenzie Dunsmore took to Hillcrest Academy. Laughter follows Kevy Konynenbelt's testimony as she shares her preconceived ideas of apologetics being an academic exercise, and the realization she has that it is actually a practice in spiritual disciplines to see the hand of God in the world; a road that has enabled her to share her personal faith in Jesus with unbelieving friends at Hillcrest.

Mackenzie Dunsmore | Graduation 2015

Intermission in the concert leads President Steve Brue to share news of Hillcrest's expansion. Students in the pews begin to process how they will build community and have new opportunities to forge friendships in the commons area of the Student Union that will complete renovation this summer. As the offering plates are passed following the intermission, students gather on stage to continue their song. A group of Seniors close the concert with a song they have all grown to love during their music experience at Hillcrest. The smiles and hugs following the concert is a small glimpse into the impact their music rehearsals, competitions, and tours have had on them. As tears fill their eyes it is easy to see that they have reminisced on their growth, and the role music has played in their time at Hillcrest. 

After a hoard of graduation parties where students share their plans and goals with friends and family, Hillcrest's Seniors join their families in the Student Activities Center for the Senior Banquet. Gathering in the mezzanine, students take pictures with cell phones of friends and their family in formal attire. Parents from as far as South Korea stretch their arms around their students' friends. Smiles and handshakes break the barrier of relationship for many families who have only met their senior's friends through Skype and Facetime.

Kelly Dzialo | Senior Response

Julie Kasulis | Senior Response

The Banquet is a highlight for many families who sit with other students and their families in an honored position as the program outlines the Senior class. Facutly and staff provide a program, reciting a specific blessing written for every student. Parents grab tissues and smile from ear-to-ear as they discover how well Hillcrest's facutly and staff know their student. The blessings are a charge for students, a calling to attention their gifts and how God has prepared the student for a life of eternal significance.

Senior Honors Banquet | Graduation 2015

Student greetings close the special gathering. Hillcrest's senior class elects two representatives to speak on behalf of the class to the gathering body to share the impact Hillcrest has made on them and their friends. As the speeches close it is easy to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of students at Hillcrest Academy.

Class Night Address | Dan Malmstrom

The banquet hall quickly transitions to an auditorium as the Senior give hugs to their families and line-up for the processional. The gym is soon occupied by friends and family, who pull-up chairs next to parents and receive a debriefing on the banquet program. As the seniors enter the room in their formal attire they begin to carry-out the planning of their class meetings. This is Senior Class Night, and the program is theirs to run. Their top-ranking students share experiences. Accolades are given to students, notably Hillcrest's Tri-College Math team that earned honors and is carrying a tradition of dominance in local competition that Hillcrest has had in Mathematics for nearly a decade. As the awards are delivered specific honorable accolades are given to students. The Joseph Undseth Scholarship and the Mike Rhode Memorial Award are two that bring a tear to every eye in the room as the students selected are highlighted to embody the character both parties were looking to spotlight. The evening closes with a special address by a Hillcrest parent, a parent many in the class respect and would love to spend a year with to glean knowledge and insight, but alas the class only receives a 20 minute address that leaves them thinking, something this class loves to do. Senior Class Night highlights the character of the class, a tradition at Hillcrest that requires processing, thinking back to the way God has fortified their faith while in the Castle.

Commencement Address | Paul Larson

The final gathering of the class of 2015 begins with the commencement exercises. Watching the 50 year Golden Alumni walk across the stage leads students to look to the future after processing their past. They all hope to return as fans of Hillcrest, just like their alumni brethren are doing during the 2015 graduation exercises. The commencement address highlights the character and thoughtful nature of the class, delivered by CLBA President Paul Larson. Following the address students walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, a goal for many and the mark of a chapter in the lives of these students who are now pondering their future after their Christian education preparation at HLA. 

The class forms a receiving line in front of the historic Hillcrest building, following the formal experience in the Student Activities Center. As the line of congratulations fades the students slowly walk to the front steps of Hillcrest to carry out a timeless tradition. Two guitars emerge from the red robed students on the steps, Jee-Hoon Park sits on an african drum and begins to beat away. The class sings their class song with a series of friends and family snapping pictures to document the final time the class of 2015 will all gather in the same place. 

Hillcrest leaves a significant impact on students. Teachers, curriculum, student life experiences, and many other intentional activities have caused students to think through their life and its significance. Their time together has taught them that Jesus Christ makes their lives significant, and their call to leave Hillcrest is communicate the message of how God created the world, planned a way of salvation after man turned his back from God, how God died and rose from the dead to bridge the gap between God and man. The students know that their future relationships will be a light to others of the relationship God desires with every person. The testimony of the class of 2015 shines because of the love of God in their class. They will look back after processing their time, guided through experiences that have fortified their faith, to see the guiding hand of God.



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Comets Close Season with 9th Inning Surge, Reflect on Bonds Forged Through Baseball

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Comets Close Season with 9th Inning Surge, Reflect on Bonds Forged Through Baseball

Sean McGuire was the rock on which Hillcrest built their season. Entering the game with nine wins and the #4 seed, the Comets sent their ace to the mound and he didn't disappoint. McGuire fanned 9 batters with ease, allowing a startling 3 hits and one earned run in seven innings. 

The Comets played #5 seed Menahga, whose ace painted the corners and allowed 1 run in seven frames. The Menahga Braves boosted ace Charles Haataja's confidence with a quick run in the first inning. Kyle Skoog watched four pitches miss and walked to first base. He stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly where he was tagged at the plate, but the Comets dropped the ball after the tag. 

Reggie Undseth provided defense for McGuire in the 2nd inning with a lead-off single. He moved to second on a bunt, and scored on groundout by Jake Steinle.

The small-ball strategy paid off for both squads as runners advanced with infield hits and quick feet on the base path. In the 3rd the Braves moved ahead with the lead that they held through the rest of the night. Skoog watched pitches to earn a free trip to first base again. He scored on a two-out bloop single.

The preceeding innings saw both pitchers dig-in. The three frame warm-up prepared the squads for the subsequent defensive battle as neither team could place their bats on the ball for quick runs. 

The bottom of the 9th saw Hillcrest give a final surge. A deep double by Jonathan Eckhardt put the Comets in scoring position with no outs. The Braves called an infield timeout and met on the mound. Coming out of the huddle Haataja's eys drifted to first base before he pulled his foot from the rubber with a lightning move. The Braves exercised a precision pick-off that saw Eckhardt depart for the dugout and the Comets lose their advantage on second base. A strike-out and dribbling groundout caused the Comets to close the inning after putting one more man on the bases. They zipped-up their bags and wiped eye paint stained with a few tears caused by the closing of their 9-7 season.

Comet Coach Steve Undseth explained the loss, "We were just not able to generate much offense. 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, and just 5 hits total." Chris Tungseth and Jonathan Eckhardt strung-out nice doubles. Reggie Undseth, Sean McGuire, and Jared Christenson provided singles. "When we look back at the complete body of work, we had a nice season full of fun memories, but right now this one hurts." 

The Comets close the season with a group of guys who have grown close together. Highlights from Nathan Doering, a Senior at Hillcrest, include the opportunity to unite together with his team under the guidance of Coach Unseth. He also remembers executing a hit-and-run, something he says he'll never forget as his team cheered him on. Jonathan Eckhardt, also a Senior, mentioned a great deal about Baseball in his Salutatory speech at Hillcrest's graduation last weekend. The comments revealed a bond and lesson learned through Baseball that will outlast the win/loss column. Please view Jonathan's speech below:

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Comets Stand Tall in Conference Track Meet

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Comets Stand Tall in Conference Track Meet

Hans Holzner's quick feet are propeling he and the Hillcrest Comets to the section track meet with confidence. 

After a slow start to the year due to debilitating temps that canceled a series of meets, Hillcrest has come on as of late and is positioned for a run at State in a number of competitions.

Sophomore Hans Holzner is taking the lead on the team. A first place finish in the 1600 meter race earned Holzner a trip to the Section meet. Moments later Holzner joined Eric Konynenbelt, Toby Simonsen and Tommy Thompson in the 4X800 relay. The team of four has finished the season strong, pulling-out a first place finish and giving Holzner a second race to compete in at Sections.

Junior Abby Christenson is leading the ladies, finishing in second place in the 800m and third in the 1600m. Senior Janaya Caines pulled out a second place finish in the 200m and third place in both the 400m and 100m. 

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Tungseth Pitches a 4 Hitter in the Lady Comet 12-0 Victory

Laura Tungseth got her first career shut out for the Lady Comets Wednesday night in CGB. Tungseth struck out 10 batters and only allowed 4 hits in the game. The Comets didn't seem to be fazed by the long bus ride, winning the game 12-0 over the Wolverines. "Laura was focused and poised today..." states Head Coach Craig Nersten. 

Lydia Tostenson led the Lady Comets hitting going 4-5  followed by Megan Aasness and Annie Murphy adding 3 hits a piece. Aasness stole 4 bases in the game which compiled 29 stolen bases, which is a single season record. Madelyn Veum had a great defensive night in centerfield. She saved Tungseths shutout with a diving catch, she also contributed 2 runs and 2 hits offensively. 

The Comets take on the Chargers in BrandonThursday afternoon for their last regular season game. 

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Chris Tungseth Propels Comets to a 10-0 Victory

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Chris Tungseth Propels Comets to a 10-0 Victory

Chris Tungseth was dealing on the mound for the Comets, allowing only 1 hit and 0 runs in the 10-0 shutout victory over the Ashby Arrows. Tungseth struck out 13 batters in the 6 inning game.

Jared Christenson led the team with 3 hits followed by Evan Malmstrom and Jonathan Eckhardt each had 2 hits. The Comets had 10 players get a hit in the game, all in all it was a great night for the Comets. The Comets scoring was contributed by all players on the team for start to finish. 

"In addition to Christopher's terrific pitching, it was nice to see all 10 guys who went to the plate tonight get a hit. If we can continue to get production all the way through the line-up that bodes well for the rest of the season." says Coach Steve Undseth.

The Comets are now 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Conference. They play the top seeded Brandon-Evansville Saturday for a Conference matchup.

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Anderson's Fundraiser Provides Support for DropBox Pastor from South Korea

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Anderson's Fundraiser Provides Support for DropBox Pastor from South Korea

Students shuffled through the parking from Hillcrest, making their way to the Bethel Sanctuary for Friday chapel. As they filed into pews HIllcrest student Bo Anderson keyed-away on the Pipe Organ. Following the prelude, Marie Preston greeted the student body and shared a little bit about Bo’s mission.

Many students recognized Bo as the student who played accordion in chapel last year. During that event he shared about his God-given talent, shedding a glimpse into the background behind his incredible gift. Marie Preston's overview of the event called attention to Bo's few classes he takes in the Online Learning Lab. Adopted from South Korea, Bo has some challenges that keep him out of the traditional classroom. However, despite his obstacles, Bo has grown into a renown musician at Hillcrest.

When Bo heard about The Drop Box film, and how Brian Irvine and the rest of his team were helping Pastor Lee, he was intrigued. The film documents the story of a South Korean pastor who's son's disability opened the door to care for those cast onto the streets of South Korea.

Abortion is illegal in South Korea, so children born with deformities or disabilities are often left in the cold climate of city streets. As Pastor Lee tended to his son, born with a severe tumor that inhibited normal development, he witnessed families leaving the hospital without their disabled children. He began to care for them, receiving a moniker of caretaker for the disabled.

Young women, facing a future of medical bills for their children, would leave the deformed little ones on Pastor Lee's doorstep. The South Korean minister built a dropbox into the side of his home, with signs for weary mothers to leave the babies in the warm box, where the pastor would retrieve them following a doorbell ding when a baby is placed in the life giving cocoon. 

Bo knew full well that he could’ve been one of the children Pastor Lee found in his drop box. This surreal scenario played in Bo’s mind. He concluded that he wanted to come alongside Pastor Lee’s efforts and his family by performing a benefit concert for the students at Hillcrest.

The concert hits close to home for some Hillcrest students. A number of the students from South Korea know where Pastor Lee lives, making plans to visit the Pastor and support his ministry this summer when they return home. The concert gave all students a sense of pride, watching a classmate, considered one of the least in his birth country, raise nearly $400 from a concert to 200 high school students.

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The Drop Box has had an incredible impact on many students at Hillcrest. The Understanding the Times classes took a field trip in February when the movie was in theatres, and the adminstration purchased the rights to show the film in chapel last week. Bo's work highlighted the impact of the film in a very special way. Using his gifts from God, and his passion to help, Bo was able to bring together the student body to recognize life in a special way, while also helping a pastor on the other side of the world.

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Tungseth K's Double-digits in Comet Win

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Tungseth K's Double-digits in Comet Win

Wet and dreary weather came back to the area on Thursday as the Hillcrest Academy Comets softball team took on the Cowboys in Breckenridge. The Comets pulled out the low scoring game winning 2-1. 

Pitcher Laura Tungseth was exceptional, striking out 11 Cowgirls, and recording her second win of the week. 

"Laura got us out of a couple critical jams and had some huge strike outs," commented Coach Craig Nersten. 

Tungseth struck out the side in both the 1st and 5th innings. 

Both teams struggled getting their offenses going as neither team scored through the first four innings. After back to back singles by Megan Aasness and Annie Murphy in the 5th inning, Aasness found herself looking to score from 3rd base. For the 6th time this season Aasness seized the opportunity and stole home, giving the Comets a 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Tungseth continued to hold off the Cowboy's offense with her great pitching and some help from her teammates behind her.Maddie Veum scored an insurance run in the 7th for the Comets which later proved to be the game winner. 

With 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th, with the Comets up 2-0, the Cowboys had consecutive hits and capitalized on 2 Comet misplays. The Cowboys cut the lead in half and had a runner in scoring position. Tungseth fanned the next batter and sealed the victory for the Comets. 

Offensive leaders for the Comets were Annie Murphy, 3-4 with 2 doubles, and Megan Aasness, 2-4 with 2-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. The Comets are now 4-5 overall.

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Comets String-out 15 Hits in Victory Over Cowboys

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Comets String-out 15 Hits in Victory Over Cowboys

Jared Christenson went 4 for 4 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI's to lead a 15-hit Comet attack, and Reggie Undseth pitched 6 strong innings to lead Hillcrest to an 11-2 victory over the Breckenridge Cowboys Thursday evening at Legion Field.  

Evan Malmstrom went 3 for 5 and scored 3 runs while Jordan Foss went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs, and Chris Tungseth and Jonathan Eckhardt each went 2 for 3 to lend solid support to the cause. 

Undseth allowed 8 hits while striking out 6 and walking only one batter.  A 2-run single by Austin Ramos with 2 outs in the 5th accounted for the only runs by the Cowboys.  Carson Yaggie was saddled with the loss. 

The Comets jumped ahead with a 2-out rally in the first when Evan Malmstrom singled, stole 2nd, and scored on Jared Christenson's first hit.  Chris Tungseth followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 3-0.  They added another run in the 3rd when Christenson doubled and scored on Tungseth's single. 

Singles by Malmstrom and Sean McGuire set up a bases-clearing double by Christenson to increase the Comet lead to 6-0 in the 4th inning.  They nearly ended the game in the 5th when the Comets batted around to score 5 more runs.  Jonathan Eckhardt started the fireworks with a double, Collin Erickson walked, and Reggie Undseth was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Evan Malmstrom's 3rd hit scored one run, an error scored two, Christenson's third double scored another, and Foss' third hit made it 11-2.  He was then tagged out in a rundown an eyeblink before Tungseth scored the would-be game winner. 

Coach Steve Undseth said, "It was good to see us break loose with the bats, our highest output of the season with 15 hits.  Jared is just crushing it right now, plus we had 4 other guys come up with multi-hit games tonight.  We fielded the ball well (our first errorless game of the year), and Reggie pitched a terrific game with just one walk.  I thought a key was the first inning when Breck had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, and Reggie got their 3-4-5 hitters out on a strikeout and two pop-ups.  Then we came up and put a crooked number on the board with 3 clutch two-out hits.  That set the tone for the game.  I don't remember the last time we had 7 doubles in a game either.  It was a good night at the ballpark."

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Hillcrest Presents Dominican Trip on National Day of Prayer

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Hillcrest Presents Dominican Trip on National Day of Prayer

Hillcrest's school year is winding down, but students are gearing up for a special part of Hillcrest's tag line, "Live, Learn, Go." The marketing slogan was most recently lived out on Thursday's National Day of Prayer as the school sent a delegation to Morning Son Christian School and Nelson Ford to share the fruits of their annual Dominican Mission Trip.

The sanctuary at the First Church of the Nazarene filled with rows of children sitting politely as principal Tessa Martinson introduced the grade school's special service marking the National Day of Prayer. Turning the microphone to Gregg Preston from Hillcrest, Tessa watched her orderly grade school participate in boisterous songs, releasing the pent-up energy present in every grade school student.

Following a time of song, the Dominican Mission team, led by Senior Jake Isaac, transitioned to share their experiences on the trip. Evan Malmstrom spoke to how the team used sports like Basketball and Softball to earn the right to be heard by athletes in parks at the Dominican. Evan detailed how the team played sports, holding a special meeting following the games to communicate why a group from Minnesota traveled all the way to the Dominican Republic. Malmstrom's depiction drew the team back to the dust covered courts and sweaty faces they interacted with as they competed in the Dominican heat. The group was taken back to the joy they experienced as Evan told of countless numbers who would come forward when introduced to the Gospel. Senior Maddie Veum echoed Evan's sentiment, sharing how God used the Hillcrest team to open doors that Dominican softball, basketball and boxing coaches were hoping to break through to share their faith. Veum noted that God used the team to plant seeds that will bear a harvest of people committed to living for Jesus Christ for years to come.

Gregg Preston transitioned the attention from athletics to orphanages, calling Senior Jared Christenson to the microphone. Christenson shared the touching experience he had in visiting a home for orphans with severe disabilities. Sharing how he froze, feeling sorry for the children as he stood in the doorway of the orphanage room that held bedridden boys with baseball caps and toddlers confined to wheelchairs. As time stood still for Jared, he recalled how one small child wheeled over to him, grabbing his hand, leading him to a bed side to introduce him to the friends that were members of the small community. Christenson identified how the students at Morning Son were able to walk and talk, a blessing not often thought of on a daily basis. However, the experience in the Dominican Republic showed Jared that joy is not bound in physical health or material possessions, but in a loving God who cares for the infirmed and the healthy.

Preston then transitioned the focus from sharing Christ to receiving the love of Jesus personally. Calling senior JK Lee to the front, Preston asked Lee to share his testimony. Highlighting his family's athiesm, Lee shared how teachers and friends at Hillcrest painted a picture of a world with God. Understanding that the world made more sense with God than without Him, Lee told students He was led by the Holy Spirit to place his faith in Jesus Christ, culminating in sharing Jesus with the people of the Dominican Republic and being baptized in the Caribbean Sea.

A small group of students broke from the large group of twenty to share their trip with a local sponsor, Nelson Ford. Gathering in a breakroom filled with Nelson Ford employees, the students filled plates with pizza and started to explain what has happened in the Dominican Republic since the local dealership started partnering with the school. Gregg Preston gave a synopsis of the Santa Fe school, the project most impacted by the local car dealership. Painting a picture of a dilapitated barn where nearly 50 students gathered daily in the Dominican humidity and scorching heat to attend school, Preston spoke to the dramatic transformation that has taken place. People in the Dominican Republic know and appreciate Nelson Ford, notably for the dealership's offering of the Drive For Your School event, where Hillcrest has raised nearly $8000 that has enabled the school to purchase the land the school resides on, build a roof, second story, and being a third story for the main school building. The enhancements have enabled the school to set its sights on a 200 person student body with the plan of building a business on the school's grounds to enable the school to be self-sufficient. Preston communicated how the dealership has enabled fund raising of 1/3 of the purchase for a water factory, the school's small business plan, with hopes Hillcrest can complete the other 2/3 of the fundraising through Fergus Falls community sponsors to allow the school to sustain its ministry for years to come.

As the luncheon ended the Nelson family remained with students, talking through the impact the trip has made on the students' personal and professional lives. Laurel Nelson urged the students to explore opportunities in their careers to make a significant difference in the world. As the team drove back to Hillcrest they were reminded of the school's slogan; live, learn, go. For these students traveling from Canada, South Korea, Virginia, and Fergus Falls, they have lived life together at Hillcrest, learned of God's world, and have gone to the far reaches of the United States to share their knowledge. 

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Nersten Gets Wish As Lady Comets Heat-up to 20 Run Victory

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Nersten Gets Wish As Lady Comets Heat-up to 20 Run Victory

Coach Craig Nersten noted hot hitting from a few girls following a tough loss to Barnsevill this week. Calling on Senior Laura Tungseth and Junior Megan Aasness, Nersten hoped the rest of the team would follow hot hitting from the two leaders. His mid-season wish came true.

Ortonville didn't have a chance in the game following two huge innings from the Comets after Nersten set his team on fire. With 13 hits, and 12 free trips on the game, the Comets turned over a new leaf. Only striking out 3 times, the Comets stood tall at the plate. Senior Abby Taylor blasted her 3rd home run of the season, providing 3 runs following her day at the plate. Megan Aasness continued her hot-streak, going 3-4 at the plate, enabling her to score 2 runs while adding 2 stolen bases to her stat line. Outfielder Kari Simonsen answered Coach Nersten's call as well with 4 RBIs following her 2 hit afternoon, and third baseman Lydia Tostenson caught fire with a pair of hits that drove in 3 runs. 

"I was very pleased that our outfielders played a solid and aggressiv game," noted Head Coach Craig Nersten with a grin. "We played a very disciplined game today, both in the field and at the plate. It's encouraging to see that our girls are starting to put their minds together with their physical gifts."

The Comets played to the 5th inning on Laura Tungseth's 6 strikeout day from the mound. Following the 15-run rule, the Comets set their sights to Breckenridge on Thursday, with a home game Friday before the weekend, hoping to enter Saturday at .500 with their sights on playoffs.

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McGuire's 4 hits Pairs with Christenson's Free Trips to Beat Warriors

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McGuire's 4 hits Pairs with Christenson's Free Trips to Beat Warriors

Sean McGuire strung-out 4 hits, and Jared Christenson walked to first base 3 times, as the Comets overcame a see-saw battle with Wheaton in an 8-5 victory on Monday night.

Following a quick 3-0 deficit in the first inning, the Comet bench grabbed the chain-link fence in the dugout for the second. A Jared Christenson double to start off the inning placed the senior on third base following a groundout. Playing small-ball, the Comets executed a squeeze play to perfection, with Jordan Foss gently laying a hard pitch in front of home plate, where the Warriors elected to fire at Foss and watch Christenson waltz in and break-up the shutout. 

The Comets continued playing good baseball as Collin Erickson's keen eye placed him at first base, a Reggie Undseth single moved Erickson to second. A well-placed base hit by McGuire drove Erickson home capping the 3rd inning's scoring with a Warrior lead of 3-2.

An uneventful 4th inning led the Comets to take their first lead of the game entering the top-half of the 5th. McGuire led off the inning with a double. A walk to Christenson and a bunt single by Chris Tungseth loaded the bases with no one out. Foss executed his second masterful squeeze of the day, tying the game at 3. With runners at second and third, Senior Jonathan Eckhardt provided an RBI grounder to score Christenson for the Comet lead, 4-3. 

Following a Wheaton answer in the bottom of the 5th, Hillcrest immediately attacked in the sixth. Following a pair of outs, Evan Malmstrom reached base on a fielder's choice and moved to 2nd on a balk. McGuire's second double of the game tied the score at 5. Christenson's third walk, the second intentional free trip for his afternoon, gave McGuire a useful distraction to exploit on the basepath. McGuire played to Wheaton's compromised focus, stealing third and sliding into home, giving the Comets a 6-5 lead that they built on in the 7th frame, following a sacrifice fly by Reggie Undseth and an RBI basehit by McGuire.

The Comets are 4-3 in the Pheasant Confernce, 5-4 overall. They play Thursday night at 5pm at th Legion Field.

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Aasness Homerun Propels Comets to 7th Inning Battle with Trojans

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Aasness Homerun Propels Comets to 7th Inning Battle with Trojans

With two 3 game weeks in front of them the Lady Comets look to make a push over the .500 mark with half the season to play. At 2-4 the Comets faced Barnseville in an area contest that saw great pitching, head-down hitting, and some speed on the basepath that has been the hallmark of the Comets this season.

Junior Megan Aasness is making a name for herself using precision bat movement and quick feet out of the box to land base-hit bunts, painting the corners of the infield. Her Remembrandt-like talent with the bat lulled the Trojans in the second inning. Aasness took a perfect pitch over the left-field fence for her first career homerun. Aasness' focus was incredible at the plate, leading the Comets with three hits, scoring three times and driving in two runs.

Hillcrest's offensive production was spotted across the line-up card on Monday afternoon. Aasness led-off in the order, Abby Taylor two spots down produced 4 hits, 3 of which were doubles. Pitcher Laura Tungseth took to the plate a few batters later and produced 2 hits, with Annie Murphy providing the other offensive boost a few batters later giving 3 hits to the Comet scorecard. "Megan, Annie, Abby, and Laura are hitting well, and I hope their success becomes contagious. Every girl on our team can hit, but some seem to be lacking confidence," notes head coach Craig Nersten. "Our hope is that we can turn things around for the second half of the season."

The Comets jumped to an early lead Monday afternoon, racking up a 5-0 score going into the 5th inning. However, the Trojans pulled together a strong 6th inning, with the Comets matching a run and leveling the playing field at 6-6 going into the final frame. Tallying 12 hits on the day, the Trojans mustered a 3-run 7th inning, a rally the Comets couldn't overcome as they pulled out 1 run in the 7th and were left heading to their bench following the final out of a 9-7 heartbreak loss for Senior Laura Tungseth. 

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