Cherry, Minnesota is way up North! It's near Hibbing, Chisholm, Virginia and Eveleth in the heart of the states historic mining region. It's about equal distant from Grand Rapids and Duluth heading north.
Cherry Head Football Coach Justin Bakkethun made news in Cherry last season by ending a long string of losses, "After coaching in Cherry last season as a first year head coach I took over the program that had 22 straight loses. I was able to go 2-6 and make it to the playoffs," said Bakkethun when talking with MinnesotaPreps about his record breaking first season.
Bakkethun grew up and went school on the Iron Range, "I graduated from mesabi east 1993 and played football and led my team in rushing and touchdowns. I went to mesabi community college in 1994 and was the leading reciever and scorer," he said. He was an assistant coach at Chisholm from 2008 until 2011.
Now Bakkethun is taking his skills to the world stage with a trip to Australia as a Coach for the 26th annual Down Under Bowl.
"Teams from the United States play 2-3 games against other teams from the US and Australia. The trip is 7 days in Australia and then they send us to Hawaii for 3 days for rest and relaxation," said Bakkethun as he described the upcoming trip.
The event is from June 28 through July 11 and includes players who were All-conference, Honorable Mention, or All-State. Participants are invited by letter. The cost is 4300.00 and may come from fund raising or out of pocket.
Bakkethun talked about his selection, "For me, I was selected originally as a track coach after a former track runner of mine had gone over in track. Afterward my name was given to Down Under Sports to coach track, but my schedule wasn't open to be able to go... They contacted me to coach the Midwest team which I accepted to do," explaining his selection as Coach.
It will be interesting to hear how midwest kids fare down under, they certainly travel in good hands. MinnesotaPreps will have more details on the experience when we visit Cherry later this summer on our State wide pre-season football tour.
More information about the event is available on the organziation website at www.downundersports.com