Landscape Hort Grad Opens Greenhouse

Bernadette Emery applies her knowledge to launch new business

Bernadette Emery, known as Bernie to family and friends, took what she learned earning an A.A.S. degree in the Landscape Horticulture program at Dakota County Technical College and started her own greenhouse business. A native of Cannon Falls, Minn., and a 1978 graduate of Cannon Falls High School, Bernie, 54, resides in Stanton, Minn., with Brian, her husband of 20 years. In fall 2013, the couple began constructing a 30′ by 60′ foot greenhouse on their property. The venture required a number of skills, including budgeting, commercial greenhouse construction, project management and site supervision.

Bernie and Brian EmeryWith help from two sons, Brandon and Brian, Bernie’s dad, Ken Meyers, and numerous other family members, they completed the project, battling blustery winds and unseasonably cold weather, and started their first crop of bedding plants during what has been called the worst Minnesota winter in 30 years.

“Our business is called J & Bs’ Greenhouse,” Bernie said, noting that the J stands for Julie, Brian’s late aunt, whose legacy financed the project. The pluralized B represents their own first names. “Our goal is to grow and sell enough flowers and vegetables to sustain the business. Our neighbors have been very supportive and have stopped by often to check on our progress.”

“The greenhouse really got tested this winter,” added Brian, who was born and raised in the Stanton area. He farms with his brother on a nearby acreage, growing alfalfa and custom-raising heifers. “We had a twenty-below day in early March. The temperature in the greenhouse held just fine.” As it turned out, both January and February 2014 had average temps of −3 °F. The typical February in Stanton averages out at 10 above zero. The March low was 38 degrees below average.

Greenhouse construction and early growing phases *

* Photos courtesy of Bernie Emery

Bernie worked from home for many years as a medical transcriptionist, having earned a degree in the field from Inver Hills Community College. She chose Landscape Horticulture at DCTC because she loves gardening and was ready for a career in the green industry.

Bernie Emery“I was going for the knowledge and the degree,” Bernie said. “The program is very hands-on and I loved the greenhouse part.”

Bernie especially enjoyed working during the program’s bedding plant sale, which takes place every spring and features product grown in the college’s state-of-the-art greenhouse. She got the chance to participate in key aspects of what she doing in her own greenhouse business, potting up material, setting up displays and consulting with customers. “That experience was huge,” she said.

Catherine Grant is an instructor in the Landscape Horticulture program. Catherine teaches courses related to greenhouse operation and plant production. She is the driving force behind the highly successful annual plant sale, which raises money for the college’s Horticulture Club. She regards Bernie Emery as a dream student.

J & Bs' Greenhouse“Bernie was a standout from the start,” Catherine said. “She is a formidable multitasker, a woman who never sleeps. She clearly wanted to learn about greenhouse production and did everything she could to use her education at DCTC to further her goal of opening her own greenhouse on her farm in Stanton.”

Catherine reported that Bernie attended two OFA Short Course greenhouse industry conferences in Columbus, Ohio, with funding from the student Hort Club. “While there, Bernie networked with vendors and attended relevant educational seminars about greenhouse pests, sanitation, media and more,” she said. “Between her coursework at DCTC, her educational trips to industry trade shows and her internships, Bernie managed to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to design, purchase, install and run her own greenhouse. She is a gem.”


 J & Bs’ Greenhouse

Bernie’s four Landscape Horticulture internships were at Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping in Northfield, Minn. Those internships led to a full-time job in a management role at Knecht’s, which operates the area’s largest garden center.

“Between my job at Knecht’s and starting our own greenhouse, I’m keeping busy,” Bernie said with a smile. She pointed out that J & Bs’ Greenhouse sells retail and wholesale spring plant material, both annuals and vegetables. Their business also rents hanging baskets for weddings and other occasions.

Along with Brandon, 31, and Brian, 27, the Emerys have three other children, Ben, 33, Andrew, 18, and Mary, 16. The family has one dog, a springer spaniel named Josie. In her “free” time, Bernie teaches piano and sews wedding and prom dresses. She plays piano at three churches in her vicinity as well.

For more information about Landscape Horticulture at DCTC, contact:

Josie near rainwater collection equipment

Blue Knights Win NJCAA Region 13 Tourney

DCTC baseball defeats Williston State 10–5 in final; drops two games to Southeast CC in Districts

The Dakota County Technical College baseball team (21–14) defeated the Williston State College Tetons (21–19) 10–5 Sunday, May 11, 2014, to win the NJCAA Region 13 Tournament at Afeldt Stadium on the Williston campus in Williston, N.D. To reach the final and their second consecutive Region 13 championship, the Blue Knights rolled over the Bismarck State College Mystics 12–4 on Friday, May 9, and then slammed the Tetons by the same score on Saturday, May 10.

In the first game against the Mystics, Chase Lonetti, sophomore, CF, of Woodbury, Minn., went three for five at the plate, singling in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings, and scored two runs. Sophomore Tyler Smith (3–0) of Brooklyn Park, Minn., got the win, throwing seven strikeouts while allowing one earned run on four hits and four walks over seven and two thirds innings.

Freshman Victor Marin, C, of Miami, Fla., went four for five and scored three runs, doubling in the sixth inning and singling in the second, fourth and ninth innings in the second game against the Tetons. Sophomore Joel Klinkhammer (4–1) of Lakeville, Minn., got the win, striking out 13 while allowing four runs on nine hits over six innings.

The Blue Knights put together 14 hits in the final, going ahead 10–1 by the seventh inning. Sophomore Chris Gaynor, 2B, of Longwood, Fla., got three hits at five at bats with 1 RBI. Chase Lonetti went two for three, including a home run, scoring twice and getting three RBIs. Sophomore Josh Pierce (5–2) of Minneapolis, Minn., got the win, striking out five while allowing one run on four hits. Sophomore Roy Hotvedt of Perth, Australia, got the save.

Coach Trent Seaman reported that DCTC starting pitchers, Tyler Smith, Joel Klinkhammer and Josh Pierce, pitched full games. “Because our starting pitching was so good, we were in great position even if we lost a game with so many fresh bodies still left to come in and pitch,” Seaman said. “I can’t say enough about the job they did. They really competed; they pounded the strike zone, and kept their pitch counts down, things we have been preaching all year.”

Seaman added that the Knights received offensive performances from everyone in the lineup, scoring 34 runs in three games. “I don’t want to point any individual out, because everyone had a great weekend at the plate,” he said. “We don’t ever talk about scoring runs, but really preach putting together quality at bats. If we put quality at bats together, the runs will come, and, boy, did they come in bunches this weekend. There was no question our players stayed focused and committed.”

DCTC advanced to the NJCAA North Plains District Championship May 17–18, 2014, hosted by Region 11 champion, Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa. Joining the Blue Knights and Black Hawks in the Districts were the Southeast Community College Storm from Beatrice, Neb.

DCTC defeated Southeastern 7–3 in the first game on Saturday, but lost to Southeast 8–5 in the second game. On Sunday, DCTC lost to Southeast 4–3. Southeastern beat Southeast 9–4 in the final game to move on to the 2014 NJCAA DII Baseball World Series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla., May 24–31.

DCTC Blue Knights Baseball 2014

DCTC Blue Knights Baseball 2014

DCTC vs Bethel University JV | @home April 26, 2014 | 14–8 Blue Knights

Player spotlights

Kyle Banyard

Kyle Banyard

Kyle Banyard
Age: 20
Hometown: Burnsville, Minn.
Residence now: Burnsville, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: 2B, OF
Number: 7

Kyle Banyard, a 2012 graduate of the Academy of Holy Angels, picked DCTC for chance to play for the Blue Knights. Kyle likes his instructors, pointing out that they communicate well and step up for their students. He also likes the small class sizes at a two-year college.

Kyle considers baseball a mental game. He likes that you always need to be thinking on the field. He also likes that the flow of the game is not fast-paced. NCAA baseball is something he would like to pursue after DCTC. His career plans are centered on business and marketing. Kyle Spencer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, and lifting weights.

Kyle Banyard 2013–2014 stats

Kyle BanyardBatting

  • Games: 19
  • Average: .453
  • Runs: 14
  • Hits: 24
  • Doubles: 7
  • Triples: 1
  • SB: 3
  • RBI: 18
  • On base percentage: .517
  • Slugging percentage: .623
For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Baseball: Dakota County Technical College
Spencer Brooks

Spencer Brooks

Spencer Brooks
Age: 20
Hometown: Mendota Heights, Minn.
Residence now: Mendota Heights, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: 2B, OF
Number: 2

A 2012 graduate of Henry Sibley High School, Spencer Brooks has been playing baseball since he was 4-years-old. Spencer chose DCTC specifically for the college’s strong baseball program. He also knew Head Coach Trent Seaman. He is impressed by his instructors at DCTC, noting that they have a good rapport with their students.

Spencer loves baseball for the variety of skills you need to play. He is undecided about his baseball plans for after DCTC, but is considering playing NCAA ball for the Red Hawks of Mount Clair State University. His career plans are focused on sports management, working in the front office of a pro franchise. Spencer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, bass fishing and listening to music.

Spencer Brooks 2013–2014 stats

Spencer BrooksBatting

  • Games: 17
  • Average: .262
  • Runs: 11
  • Hits: 11
  • Doubles: 1
  • Triples: 2
  • SB: 3
  • RBI: 9
  • On base percentage: .340
  • Slugging percentage: .381
For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Baseball: Dakota County Technical College
For more information about Blue Knights baseball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:

DCTC Partners with HAFA Via Service-Learning

CET and Interior Design students apply skill sets in real-world project

HAFA Farm Service-Learning ProjectSpring 2014 marked a new partnership between the Hmong American Farmers Association, or HAFA, and Dakota County Technical College. The partnership is organized around a service-learning project that harnesses the know-how of students in the college’s Civil Engineering Technology and Interior Design programs. Faculty in both programs are working with their students to help prepare a new HAFA land acquisition for agricultural use.

Janssen Hang, the senior organizer at HAFA, reported that his organization acquired the land, now known as HAFA Farm, with help from an angel investor. “This spring, HAFA members will be farming the parcel, growing an assortment of vegetables and flowers for sale at the local farmers market and through HAFA’s Alternative Markets Program to Minneapolis Public Schools and Fairview Hospitals,” Janssen said, noting that HAFA Farm also provides opportunities for Hmong American farmers to sell fresh produce through the HAFA CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. “Moreover, the land acquisition has helped cultivate new practices such as record-keeping, accessing microloans, high-tunnel production, cover crops and, most importantly, partnerships.”

HAFA Farm Service-Learning ProjectLocated on a 155-acre homestead site near the Vermillion River just west of U.S. Highway 52 in Dakota County, HAFA Farm features a century-old farmhouse, a number of outbuildings and a stave silo. The service-learning project focuses on two fronts, reconfiguring the acreage to allocate small plots for Hmong American farmers and redesigning the interior layout of the farmhouse to create a first-floor office setting and a second-floor living corridor for interns and volunteers.

“The interior design students tackled the farmhouse, taking measurements and bringing their creativity to redesign a suitable space to meet the intent of the structure,” Janssen said, adding that civil engineering technology students surveyed the property, evaluated contour and provided a plan for subdividing 125 acres into five-acre parcels that 16 Hmong American farmers will begin working spring 2014.

HAFA-DCTC Service-Learning Project


HAFA Farm Service-Learning Project


Interior Design contribution

Interior design instructors, Anne Farniok and Anne Painter, involved students from their program’s Studio I and Drafting II courses in the service-learning project, with the aim to increase knowledge in the area of design practices for single-family residences. The project has four phases:

  1. Programming: identifying client needs and goals
  2. Schematic Design: developing conceptual skills through initial design concepts
  3. Design Development: detailing and refining ideas from the schematic design phase
  4. Construction Documents: drafting documents in preparation for the bidding and contracting of construction, fixtures and furnishings

“Thirteen of our students went out to HAFA Farm to explore what could be done with the existing foursquare farmhouse,” Anne Farniok said. “The house currently has six bedrooms and one bathroom. HAFA would like to update the space to modern standards while adding one bath and remodeling the main level as office space.”

Each student created of a full range of deliverables, including:

  • Field measure
  • Conceptual images
  • Furniture plan
  • Elevation
  • Ceiling plan
  • 3D/axonometric
  • Furniture, plumbing, lighting and equipment specification
  • Finish plan
  • Presentation board
  • Project booklet

Anne Painter reported that the service-learning project integrated many different aspects of design while bringing multiple classes together. “Looking at an entire project as a whole and not just individual pieces allows the students to experience what designing will be like once they leave school,” Anne said. “It is a great opportunity!”

Student perspective
Casandra Behnke

Casandra Behnke

Casandra Behnke
Age: 32
Hometown: Hastings, Minn.
Residence now: Hastings, Minn.
Program area: Interior Design
Degree: A.A.S.

Casandra Behnke is following a childhood dream in the DCTC Interior Design program. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved looking at interiors,” Casandra said. “I remember ripping pages out of my grandma’s Good Housekeeping magazine and putting them in a three-ring binder.”

HAFA Farm Service-Learning ProjectA 2000 graduate of Hastings High School, Casandra admits studying was not always her first priority, but she does have fond memories of taking an elective in interior design. “I loved the course,” she said. “Interior design came to me naturally.”

After high school, Casandra got married and started a family. Eventually, she decided trying her hand at college-level interior design. The DCTC program has exactly what she needs, great instructors with plenty of industry experience. “They push us in the right direction,” Casandra said, “and still give us the leeway to be creative.”

Space planning is her favorite part of the interior design process. She likes seeing how things can work together cohesively. The service-learning project gave her the chance to put her design talents to the test on an actual structure. “We had to find products and put components in place using Revit [Autodesk building design software],” she said. “We learned while we worked.”

Casandra’s plans for after DCTC include going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in interior design. Career-wise, she is interested in the commercial side, especially doing design work for restaurants, hotels, retail locations and firms. She and her husband, Dustin, a cabinet fabricator, have one child, Trinity, who is 8 years old. Casandra’s favorite pastimes included canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, playing Frisbee golf, ice skating and helping her daughter pursue her love of art.

As for her studies nowadays, Casandra is having the time of her life. “It’s amazing how well I’m doing,” she said. “It blows my mind.”

Civil Engineering Technology contribution

HAFA Farm Layout ModelCivil engineering technology instructors, Alan Hancock and Travis Van Neste, welcomed the service-learning project as an optimal way to deliver professional-level field experience to students in the program’s drafting and surveying courses. Alan reported that the CET students traveled to the farm site and completed survey work using the Trimble S3 Robotic Total Station as well as a real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) virtual reference system (VRS) that utilizes a cell phone to connect with American and Russian GPS satellites. The students identified spots ill-suited for intensive cultivation due to the steepness of the slope. They later created a contour map and designed a five-acre lot layout using AutoCAD Civil 3D.

“We were looking for the ideal configuration,” Alan said. “HAFA Farm is a cooperative that gives Hmong American farmers access to land and the means to market their produce. We are glad to help.”

Travis Van Neste reported that the work his students are doing for the Hmong American Farmers Association is a perfect example of what sets DCTC’s Civil Engineering Technology program apart from other programs. “We really stress the practical application of every part of our program,” Travis said, “and strive to find real-world applications of what our students have learned in the classroom over the winter. Alan and I were both very excited for this opportunity. The size of this project required a collaborative effort of five different student-managed survey crews. Coordinating this project utilized not only the technical skills the students have been working on, but also put into practice some important concepts of managing personnel, equipment and data that our students would otherwise not have been exposed to. This experience was a great opportunity for the students, the farmers and DCTC—a real win-win-win situation.”

Student perspective
Nathan DuBois

Nathan DuBois

Nathan DuBois
Age: 31
Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.
Residence now: Lakeville, Minn.
Program area: Civil Engineering Technology
Degree: A.A.S.

Nathan DuBois worked as a utility location technician specializing in damage prevention before deciding to enroll in the CET program at DCTC as a way to advance his career. He knew what civil engineering techs did on the job from his own work experience and realized he was more than ready to take on that role.

A 2001 graduate of Chico Senior High School in Chico, Calif., Nathan chose Dakota County Technical College for a number of reasons. “The campus is close to home, my wife is a graduate of the Interior Design program, and DCTC is the best option in the state for civil engineering technology.”

Nathan is a hands-on learner who likes that his instructors emphasize practical applications for the theories covered in the classroom. He also likes that his instructors are seasoned industry professionals. Alan Hancock has more than 20 years experience working as a civil engineering technician in nearly every aspect of the field. Travis Van Neste owns his own surveying company.

“Applying what you learn is the best way to retain knowledge,” Nathan said, adding that the HAFA Farm service-learning project gave him the chance to get practical experience using the equipment of his future occupation. “Basically, we did what we will be doing in the field. We worked with county coordinates, established boundaries, did a topographic survey of the property to get elevations, and determined the best way to divide the land into equally usable five-acre sections.”

Nathan’s wife, Christine, is a mortgage underwriter at Wells Fargo. Nathan and Christine have one child, Kailyn, 2, with another daugher, Olivia, on the way. In his free time, Nathan enjoys softball, bowling, working around the house and traveling. One of his favorite trips was to Playa del Carmen, a resort town on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The family has two shorthair-mix cats, Sally, 16, and Chichi, 9.

Service-learning contribution

Katie Halcrow | IHCC and DCTC Director of Service-LearningKatie Halcrow, the director of service-learning at Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College, recognized the potential for an ongoing partnership with HAFA and helped get the service-learning project underway. She contacted CET Instructor Alan Hancock in January 2014 and proposed the idea.

“I have been so impressed with the ways that Alan, Travis, Anne and Anne have so seamlessly integrated this work with HAFA into their curricula,” Katie said. “They immediately embraced this collaboration as a way for their students to gain hands-on, real-world experiences while honing their problem-solving skills. I really can’t speak highly enough of their work. I also want to give a shout-out to HAFA, whose work and mission relate to so many different programs on the DCTC campus—and I think this is just the start of many collaborations to come. We truly appreciate their partnership and work with our students.”

About the Hmong American Farmers Association


The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) is a member-based organization that was newly created in October 2011 to serve, support and advocate for Hmong American farmers and their families.

The organization’s mission is to advance the economic, social and cultural prosperity of Hmong American farmers through economic development, capacity building, advocacy and research. More specifically, HAFA uses an organizing approach to work with its members and other farmers in the Hmong community to access land, equipment, capital and trainings so that they can expand and improve their farming operations.

HAFA is the only organization in Minnesota that was started by and is led by Hmong American farmers. It is the only one staffed by bi-lingual and bi-cultural Hmong Americans with over 40 years of combined experience in farming. And it is the only one singularly focused on the advancement of Hmong American farmers and their families. — courtesy of the HAFA website

Janssen Hang is looking forward to continuing the partnership with DCTC. “It has been a pleasure to work with staff and students at Dakota County Technical College, knowing that the HAFA Farm is an experimental source to cultivate the next generation of professionals,” Janssen said. “Moreover, the Hmong American Farmers Association and our members are extremely grateful for the amount of motivation, creativity and hard work that was committed to make this farm operational. The partnership has been rewarding, and I hope the HAFA Farm continues to be part of the college’s Service-Learning program.”

For more information about service-learning or how to get a service-learning project off the ground, contact:
  • Katie Halcrow
    Director of Service-Learning
    Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College
For more information about the Interior Design program at DCTC, contact:
For more information about Civil Engineering Technology at DCTC, contact:

Ethics Course Offers Real-World Challenges

Future med student Jeff Germundsen brings service-learning to area hospice

Jeff Germundsen, 32, a 2001 graduate of Farmington High School, started working in the meat department at a metro area grocery store while still a student at FHS. He passed on college and turned his job into a career. As time went on, Jeff regretted not getting a college education.

“One morning I woke up and decided to go to school,” he said. What makes that decision unusual is Jeff’s long-range goal: Earn his M.D. and practice medicine. For Jeff, that goal starts with earning an A.S. degree in Individualized Studies at Dakota County Technical College.

Socrates“I chose DCTC because tuition is affordable, the commute is only twenty minutes and the general education courses transfer to four-year colleges,” he said. “I like that everyone on campus is friendly and my classes are all conveniently located. You can actually talk to your instructors. Class sizes are small and not like university lectures with hundreds of students.”

Jeff reported that one general education course, Ethics, has made a strong impression on him. By exploring classical and world philosophies, the course serves as an introduction to the study of ethics, a term Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines as “that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.” In other words: a system of moral principles.

Wes JordeWes Jorde, a philosophy instructor at the college, teaches the Ethics course. Wes noted that his students use the Socratic method, which is named after the Greek sage, Socrates, and which emphasizes a brisk Q & A format to galvanize critical thinking and shine a brighter light on concepts and ideas.

“The ethics course gives students a chance to develop skills in critical analysis,” Wes said, “which involves, first, explaining their agreement or disagreement with philosophers of the past and, second, explaining connections and disconnections they see between theories they’re reading about and the real world.”

Jeff at Campus Lions Club 2014 Chili Cook-OffStudent philosophy: “Just do it. You only live once. Do what makes you happy.”

On Ethics: The course changed the way I think about things. I learned about issues in the world that I never thought of, issues that may not affect me personally, but that I now look at from an ethical perspective. The course broadened my horizons.  — Jeff Germundsen

Jeff admitted that some of the early assigned reading went over his head, but he adapted easily and now taking on the writings of deep-end philosophers is no different from regular reading. “The class isn’t about reading textbooks,” he added. “Class and group discussions are great. Having so many ideas coming into one room is really neat.”

One aspect of the Ethics curriculum involves participating in service-learning projects that support student perspectives on theories covered during the course. Jeff took his service-learning assignment to an area hospice where end-of-life care and support are delivered to patients and their families.

Hospice Care“I just called up and asked if they needed volunteers—and they said, ‘Yes,’” recalled Jeff, who pointed out that hospice care focuses on patients who have exhausted conventional medicine options and are preparing to die. Hospice nurses make sure their patients are free of pain and comfortable. Hospice care professionals also stay in close communication with family members.

As a hospice volunteer, Jeff was not sure what to expect. His initial reaction left him uncertain and unsettled. “At first, it was tough,” he said. “I thought, holy cow, what am I doing here? Why am I doing this? I am watching someone die.”

That feeling soon vanished and was replaced by an unexpected serenity. Jeff kept vigil with a patient who was unaware of his presence much of the time. Jeff offered support to the patient’s daughter, conversing with her and keeping her company. “I never got the chance to get to know her mother,” Jeff said. “We spent much of our time talking about her mother’s life.”

With other patients, Jeff played cards, looked at photo albums or just talked. His job title at the hospice was simply Volunteer Jeff.

“In the movies, death seems so dramatic,” he said, indicating that his service-learning experience made the idea of dying a little bit easier to contemplate. “What I saw at the hospice was just really peaceful. It wasn’t what I thought it would be at all.”

Hospice CareWes Jorde reported that Jeff was able to take the knowledge he gained from his service-learning volunteerism and apply it to support his thinking on such difficult topics as Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of universal principles as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Jeff is a thoughtful student whose understanding of theories and insight into ethical dilemmas are exceptional,” Wes said.

Jeff is married, and he and his wife, Mary, a therapist, reside in Lakeville, Minn. He continues to work 20 to 30 hours a week at the grocery store while attending DCTC. Jeff’s plans for after DCTC include transferring to Augsburg College to major in chemistry and microbiology. From there, his aim is to attend medical school, possibly at the University of Minnesota, but he is not ruling out Stanford, Harvard or Oxford.

The hospice coordinator might be the first person to write Jeff a letter of recommendation. After the project, Wes got the chance to speak with the coordinator, who left him with this message: “Tell Jeff we love him.”

For more information about philosophy courses at DCTC, including Ethics, contact:
  • Wes Jorde
    Philosophy Instructor

Hospice Care

Softball Posts 2nd Consecutive 21-Win Season

Blue Knights win two in Region 13 tourney before losing to Williston State

The Blue Knights fastpitch softball team at Dakota County Technical College finished the 2013–2014 season with a 21–9 record, matching a team record for wins. The team went 21–11 last year. The Knights compete in NJCAA Division II softball.

DCTC traveled to Bismarck, N.D., for the NJCAA Region 13 Fastpitch Softball Tournament May 3–4, 2014, at the MDU Resources Community Bowl. The Knights took their first two games, downing the Lake Region State College Royals 14–4 and the Williston State College Tetons 8–1. The Tetons (29–15) went on to defeat DCTC 2–12 and 4–12 to advance to the District F Championship Series in Columbus, Neb.

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

In 30 games, DCTC batted .355 as a team, scoring 178 runs with a .437 on base percentage and .516 slugging percentage. Sophomore Amanda Orrell (1B, CF) led the team in batting with a .568 average. Sophomore Kendall Palfi (P,1B) went 14–5 on the season with a 3.24 ERA.

Head Coach Tom Cross was pleased with his players and their performance. “We had a terrific season,” Cross said. “Our team was mostly sophomores who enjoyed a lot of success over the course of two years. Next year will be a rebuilding process, but we do have outstanding talent coming into our program.”

DCTC vs Century College | @home April 19, 2014 | 11–1 Blue Knights

Player spotlights

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell
Age: 20
Hometown: Santa Maria, Calif.
Residence now: Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: 1B, CF
Number: 3

A 2012 graduate of Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Calif., the largest city in Santa Barbara County with population topping 110,000, Amanda Orrell played fours years of varsity softball for the PVHS Panthers. Amanda was featured in the Santa Maria Times article, “Panthers’ distinguished hitter: Amanda Orrell an all-around star on the softball field,” where her coach called her “…one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever had.” She hit .529 that year was named to the First-Team All-PAC 7 League.

Amanda chose DCTC for the chance to play for the Blue Knights. She likes that DCTC is a smaller college and all her classes are in the same building. Her program, Individualized Studies, allowed her to custom-design her courses to help meet her long-term educational goal of achieving a baccalaureate degree while giving her more opportunities to explore her career options. Her first love is fastpitch softball.

“I like the hitting,” said Amanda, who made the NFCA NJCAA Division II All-Region Midwest Region Team in 2013. “I like being the lead-off power hitter. I like how softball is a team sport. Everybody’s producing and getting their job done. We are always picking each other up and staying positive.”

Amanda Orrell 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyBatting

  • Games: 26
  • Average: .568 *
  • Runs: 37
  • Hits: 50
  • Doubles: 15
  • Triples: 2
  • HR: 4
  • RBI: 22
  • On base percentage: .500 **
  • Slugging percentage: .700 ***

* 2nd in NJCAA Region 13
** 1st in NJCAA Region 13
*** 13th in NJCAA Region 13

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Amanda Orrell was a key player in our success especially as our lead-off hitter. She is a combination of speed and power.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

Amanda’s plans for after DCTC include attending either Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D., or the University of Jamestown, in Jamestown, N.D. Her major of choice is psychology with an emphasis in social work. She would like to play NAIA softball for either the Comets or Jimmies. Amanda is looking forward to a career in social work after earning her bachelor’s degree.

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi
Age: 21
Hometown: Lakeville, Minn.
Residence now: Farmington, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: P, 1B
Number: 13

Kendall Palfi was active in a number of roles on the DCTC campus, earning recognition as the 2014 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student of the Year. Kendall served as a student ambassador and secretary of the Student Senate. She participated in Leadership from the Heart, an intense two-day leadership training seminar offered to DCTC student leaders, and attended Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) leadership conferences.

A transfer student from the University of North Dakota, Kendall chose DCTC to advance her education and play fastpitch softball. She pitched two seasons for the Blue Knights and was named team captain both years. She earned NJCAA Region 13 MVP in 2013 and also made the NJCAA All-Region 13 and All-Tournament teams.

“I really love the pressure of pitching,” Kendall said. “I enjoy the camaraderie of a team sport. We can generate hits through the entire lineup and everyone steps up when needed.”

Kendall Palfi 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyPitching

  • Games started: 19
  • Record: 14–5
  • Innings pitched: 121
  • Strikeouts: 117
  • ERA: 3.24


  • Games: 24
  • Average: .414
  • Runs: 17
  • Hits: 29
  • Doubles: 9
  • Triples: 1
  • HR: 3
  • RBI: 16
  • On base percentage: .500
  • Slugging percentage: .700

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Kendall Palfi was the backbone of our team. She is very positive player who led us with her arm and her bat.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

A 2011 graduate of Lakeville South High School, Kendall is making plans to transfer to the University of Arizona in the fall to pursue a B.A. in Communication and the chance to play NCAA softball for the Wildcats. In her free time, she enjoys working on Plymouth muscle cars, including a 1970 Superbird, a 1967 Barracuda and a 1968 GTX convertible.

For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Tom Cross
    Fastpitch Softball Head Coach