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The way it was — MSHSL 80 years ago

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sports Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The Eleventh Annual Official Handbook of the Minnesota State High School League for the 1932-33 school year listed 10 essential rules of a “True Sportsman:”

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Among them —

1. Will consider all athletic opponents as guest and treat them with all the courtesy due friends and guests. 2. Will accept all decisions of officials without question. 3. Will never hiss or boo a player or official. 8. Will love the game for its own sake and not for what winning will bring. 10. Will “win without boasting and lose without excuses.”

How quaint.

Still, 80 years later, high school sports yet clings to such maxims, though No. 2 at times gets a little shaky.

Yes, children, there were well-governed interscholastic activities 80 years ago. In fact, the first state basketball tournament was held a 100 years ago, though it would be another six years before the high school league formally organized to bring a formal structure to district, region and state tournaments.

Monte’s big year

In 1919, Chisholm was the first “Sportsmanship Winner,” an award encouraging “a friendly cooperative spirit among the student bodies and the competing athletic teams.” Redwood Falls won in 1930 and the Rochester basketball team in 1933.

That year Montevideo belted Balaton 48-29 for the Region III hoops title and slipped by Rochester in the state quarterfinals 23-19 at the Municipal Auditorium in Minneapolis. Minneapolis North whipped Monte 29-22 in the semifinals but would lose to Red Wing 16-13 for the state championship. (Montevideo, the state tournament financial statement reveals, received $63.90 in transportation reimbursement plus meals and lodging at the Curtis Hotel.)

This was a big year for Montevideo. The ‘32 football team went 9-0, one of 15 undefeated schools that also included Dawson at 4-0-2 among 206 schools fielding a team.

Schools could designate up to three players for individual recognition. For example, Granite Falls: Al Barber, Rueben Felaka, Keith Van Grevelen; Litchfield: Albin Berg, Carroll McGraw, Alfred Anderson; Willmar: Arnold Hoefs, Earl Birkeland, Raynold Peterson; Olivia: Wilbur Wiersma, Gordon Donnelly, Charles Brown.

In the spring, Monte placed second to Minneapolis Edison at the state track meet held at the U of M on May 26 due to the singular efforts of three-sport athlete Kenneth Dollarhide: first in javelin (170-8), first in the 220 low hurdles (26.1) and second in the 120 high hurdles.

Old District 20

Many area teams played in District 20 of Region 5 which stretched from Murdock to Willmar to Litchfield and Dassel to Minneapolis, which alone listed 8 high schools in District 17. It also included the towns and villages rimming the Twin Cities like Hopkins, Eden Prairie and Wayzata, Bloomington and Carver. There was no Edina yet but today the school leads the MSHSL with 115 state team champions not counting 23 more by either Edina West or East in their short but productive existence.

District 11 of Region III had 17 schools including Bellingham, Boyd, Clinton, Correll, Holloway, Odessa, plus still standing Montevideo, Dawson and Granite Falls. District 12 counted the U.S. 212 ribbon from Norwood-Young America to Granite Falls, plus Hutchinson and Silver Lake on Highway 7 among its 14 schools.

Page 10 reveals that the Region III reps included Montevideo Supt. C.A. Pederson while Supt. A.M. Wisness of Willmar was a Region V delegate to the state assembly on athletics and fine arts.

State trophies were awarded at the Declamatory Contest March 22, 1933 at the Y.W.C.A. in Minneapolis for oratory, drama and humor. A team from Mankato won the State Championship in Debate, symbolized by the Minneapolis Journal Cup first awarded in 1902 to LeSueur.

Ski jumping to golf

State competitions were held in girls swimming at Virginia (won by the host team) and ski jumping at Duluth with a cross-country ski run to be added in ’34.

The State Golf Meet, at an unnamed location, featured 50 individuals playing 36 holes. Robert Nichols of Willmar shot 183 to place 40th in 1933, about the time the town’s new golf course opened on the north side of Willmar Lake.

The 115-page little booklet, the size of a Readers Digest, had a price of 10 cents and was “Compiled by the Sectary O.E. Smith” of Anoka.

This year’s high school Yearbook is 404 pages and reports championship results (with photos) of 14 boys and 14 girls athletic competitions, plus danceline and robotics (classified as an activity), four adaptive sports, debate and drama.

Note: Retired Willmar insurance agent Kevin Quinn shared the Handbook with the Tribune. Still in splendid condition, it had come to him through his late father-in-law John Adkins, an athlete at Breckenridge High School in the early thirties who went on to play football at Moorhead Teachers College before a career with the Great Northern RR.

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Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
(320) 214-4334
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