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Willmar notebook: Bison pick WIllmar's Rose

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Rose Jackson inks a National letter of Intent to enroll at Division I North Dakota State on Wednesday morning at Willmar High School. The document was soon faxed to the campus in Fargo.

We couldn’t resist the headline.

Rose Jackson could only groan: another pun on her delightful handle.

Wednesday morning, the 17-year-old Willmar senior signed a National Letter of Intent to attend North Dakota State University and compete for the Bison track and field team.

NDSU is getting not only a track star but a superior student. Rose is a straight A student considering a major in mathematics or engineering.

She also visited the University of Minnesota campus (“Too big”) and corresponded with Cornell in the Ivy League (“Too much paperwork”).

Her scholarship will cover room and board.

NDSU head coach Ryun Godfrey projects converting her to the indoor pentathlon (five events) and the outdoor heptathlon (seven events).

Between the back-to-back seasons, NCAA Division I track and field athletes are practicing and competing from November through May.

Rose will join other notable Minnesota athletes presently with Bison track: distance runners Heidi Peterson of Sartell and Greta Danielson of St. Cloud Cathedral, and sprinter Ashley Tingelstad of East Grand Forks and Lake Park-Audubon.

Jackson moved here from Detroit Lakes to start her sophomore year (her mother Linda manages the dental clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital.)

Rose won state Class AA medals in long jump, the 200 dash and relay as a tenth grader and medaled twice as a junior (100 and 200). She broke Beth Zimmer’s school-record long jump by 7 inches at True Team last spring with a burst of 18-5 ¾.

She also became a competitive swimmer here for coach Carl Shuldes, a sport that kept her conditioned for the track season “instead of just sitting around all fall.”

Track coach Jerry Popp commented Wednesday morning in a conference room off the central office where Rose signed the papers: “She’s very talented. And she’s a little stubborn. She likes to be good, though she talks like it doesn’t matter. Truly, she doesn’t like to get beat.”

To prepare for college, Popp will try to work the team star into various events like hurdles, the 400, 800 or high jump this spring. He must pick his spots because in the bigger meets the team can’t afford to sacrifice points given per certified value in sprints, long jump and relays.

“I’m excited,” Rose commented. “I can’t wait for track to start.”

If she were already in Fargo, she would be heading with the team this weekend to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Classic, the fifth indoor event of the season.

Water wizards

 This Cardinal swimming and diving team won’t be remembered for its talent or depth. There are a lot of new faces, some out for the first time.

The Willmar pool provides students a chance to know the rigors of training and the thrill of competition.

A fine thing about swimming is that at every dual meet everyone gets in the “game.”

As one parent wrote in the Senior Night Program, “No one’s a benchwarmer.”

Swimmers are above average when it comes to grade point average; at least one is led to believe from the seniors’  “Future Plans.”

Austin Dahlberg looks forward to a career in aviation, A.J. Derouin in engineering or architecture at Notre Dame, Chaz Fenske lists a career in law, business or the ministry, perhaps in that order; Class AAA regional nominee Connor Haugen is considering biochemistry or history at Bethel; and Tom Nilles-Melchert in biochemistry at St. John’s.

Kristof Jensen, who is yet to decide, is among the rarest combination of athletes — a football lineman in the fall and a diver in the winter.

Michael McLain would like to compete next fall for Gustavus Adolphus. His advice to underclassmen: “Always stay motivated and never be afraid to swim big.” Italics mine. Older teammates nicknamed him “Beast” in junior high because he worked so hard.

My favorite is Josh Kelly who plans to attend Ridgewater to pour a foundation for a major in mechanical engineering. He will play football for the Warriors while saving a ton on loans. His older sister Shantel followed the same route out of high school, playing basketball for the Warriors.

McLain, Derouin, Kelly and Haugen are returning state qualifiers. McLain has competed in three state meets and last year placed fifth in Class A in the 200 free and seventh in the 100.

The conference meet is at noon Saturday at Alexandria’s Discovery Middle School. Diving prelims are tonight.

Hoop heroes

Minnesota Basketball News, like Newsweek, is now only available online. The most recent digital issue listed top career scorer (boys), by year of graduation, beginning in 1943.

That year, Hal Haskins, who played at Morris and Alexandria, finished with 1, 123 points.

 Other locals from the area: Belview’s Jon Hagen (’57) 2,198; Danube’s Bob Bruggers (’62) 2,364; Appleton’s Bobby Beck (’92, Lac qui Parle Valley) 2,092; and Raymond’s Tim Piechowski (’84) 1,757.

 Foley’s Norm Grow (’58) held the all-time record of 2,852 career points until Joel McDonald of Chisholm (’91) scored 3,291. That was eclipsed by Isaiah Dahlman (’06) of Braham at 3,366, Cody Shilling (’08) of Ellsworth with 3, 428, and then Kevin Noreen (’10) of Transitions 4,096 (pending) and now Duluth Lakeview Christian’s Anders Broman, who could reach 5,000 points in a six-year career before going on to South Dakota State in the fall.

On the fly

n Hall-of-Famer Pete Stahnke (’83) is in his 10th season heading up the hockey program at Park Rapids. He said numbers are low right now but coming back up next year. He’d like to co-op with the Walker association but the PR parents resist, even though the varsity hockey program embraces Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School as well as high schools at Menahga and Nevis. Lee Smith (’84), Stahnke’s teammate on the Cardinal team that upset the Roosevelt Teddies in 1983 to reach the Region 5 semifinals at the old Met Center, has a big game tonight against Wayzata (17-4). Smith’s Eden Prairie Eagles are just 10-10-1 but building momentum for post-season. Smith coached EP to AA state titles in 2009 and 20011.

n Alexandra Lippert snuffed a season-high six shots and the Concordia Cobbers beat St. Mary’s at Winona on Sunday 64-54 for their eighth straight win. The MIAC leader (16-2, 17-4) has won 14 of 15. Lippert, a 6-foot-4 junior isn’t the only former CLC All-Conference starter for Concordia. Emily Thesing is a senior guard from Brainerd averaging 12.7 ppg. The Cobbers played at second-place St. Benedict of St. Joseph last night.

n Nordic: what a finale to the Nordic season: They compete in the section meet at Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley on Thursday, then get back on the bus Friday for the rescheduled Central Lakes Conference meet up near Fergus Falls at Spidel’s Resort. Cardinals coach Brad Haugen wasn’t in favor of the Friday meet. “We’re the only team in the conference whose section meet is the day before conference.”

n The MIAC Invitational at St. Thomas provides a warm-up to the conference meet. Gustavus Adolphus junior Alissa Tinklenberg placed first in the 400-IM and added four more individual second-place finishes. Bennet Woltjer, a Gusties’ freshman, took fourth on the one-meter board.

n Taylor Filipek is averaging 5 ppg and 3.4 rpg for Minnesota State, Moorhead. The transfer from Eastern Kentucky has started 15 games.

n Randy Hall of rural Willmar captured the South Atlantic

Regional Pickleball tournament men’s double championship in the 60-64 age

bracket.  Hall teamed up with Floridian Mike Welter to win the inaugural

tournament held last weekend in Naples, Fla.  The event attracted top players in all age divisions. Hall is a retired track coach at BOLD in Olivia.

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. 
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