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Erickson throwing in grandpa's circle: Hannah Smith to play for L. Warriors

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ary Erickson will end her high school sports career at the state track meet on Friday. She will compete in the discus throw, the Class AA division, on Friday morning at Hamline University.

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She takes after her late grandfather, Bob Erickson, who threw the plate for the Cardinals. Sixty years ago on May 18 at the District 20 meet, Bob Erickson threw the discus 121 feet, 3 inches. That was seven feet better than the school record, but according to the write-up in the paper the next day it would not be recognized since he only finished third.

Other standout cindermen -- before rubberized tracks, thinclads ran on cinders -- included Don Magnuson, Harlan Brogren, hurdlers Jerome Wolfe and Noel Paetznick, Richard Lindner in the 880, a miler also named Bob Erickson, vaulter Dwayne "Netty" Netland and dash men Dale Wallentine and Owen Wallin.

Bob married a Maynard girl, five years his junior. Evie, his widow, cherishes the medals Bob won in high school and is thrilled the synchrony with his grand daughter.

Bob was a Blomkest boy and a rural mail carrier for 33 years. He also was a partner in Erickson Plumbing, along with his brother Dick, a standout athlete who excelled in fast-pitch softball.

Bob died in an automobile accident 21 years ago near Atwater. He was a member of the school board at the time.

Ross Erickson, Mary's father, played football for the legendary Bill Hansen 24 years after Bob played on the 1949 team for Hansen. Both teams lost only once, the 1973 team in the state championship game.

Both Mary and her older sister, Sarah, now at Bethel University, were home school and members of the Cardinal swimming team. Mary is the only Cardinal to reach the state meet this spring. Last year she finished 10th, two inches out of a medal. This year she goes in four feet longer at 120-4 but no better than 14th in the seeding order. She will be throwing in the first flight at 9:45 a.m. on the first day.

Ridgewater College athletics is getting to be a more popular choice for Cardinal athletes who excelled at the high school.

Hannah Smith, who graduated this spring, says she will attend college here, and play both volleyball and basketball. She was Tribune All-Area in both sports; she took a long look at playing Division II volleyball, possibly at St. Cloud or Mankato.

Ridgewater offers the all-around athlete the opportunity to play two or even three sports without a lot of overlap.

Casey Sussenguth just finished two all-MIAC seasons for the Warriors basketball team and will play for Southwest Minnesota State at Marshall this coming season. He stayed home after his older brother, Sam, went to North Dakota State and older sister, Mary, went to Minnesota State Moorhead, in basketball and volleyball, respectively.

Hannah's older brother, Jordan, will be a sophomore at St. Cloud State where he set numerous baseball records in his first spring with the Huskies.

Hannah's impact will be immediate the first year on the basketball team; she can rebound, score, defend the other team's star and protect the ball.

As impressive as her talents are on the volleyball court - she graduated as Willmar's all-time assist leader and is a fierce spiker - Smith won't be as visible. Coach Joe Sussenguth has another stellar recruiting class coming in. The Lady Warriors have two national titles, two runner-up finishes and a third place last year. It's the region's top DIII program and among the top three every year nationally.

Also slated to come in this fall are hitters Karli Wendlandt of New London-Spicer, Aimee Johnson of Yellow Medicine East, both 5-9, and 6-2 middle hitter Miranda Kosboth of Montevideo. Also on the list are setter Molly Hurrie of Kimball and 6-2 middle hitter Brittany Van Drehle of Melrose.

Eight of nine freshman return from last year, plus Sussenguth expects four to five walk-ons.

n Miranda Roelofs, only an eight-grader, clocked 47.07 in the 300 hurdles at the Section 2AA track and field meet at St. Peter on June 4. That would break Amber Schackman's 2001 school-record of 47.77. Roelofs finished third and came close to qualifying by time standard in a very fast heat where the first- and second-place finishers each busted 46 seconds. The state standard in AA this season was 46.23.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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