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.
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WILLMAR -- It was just the early-February matchup that each team needed. Montevideo got to see a physical team deploying a troublesome press; Willmar needed something to stir its competitive juices after several less than energetic outings. The Class AAA Cardinals (11-5) eclipsed the Class AA Thunder Hawks (14-2) by a 65-60 score in front of an estimated 800 fans, the largest home crowd this winter.
WILLMAR -- Brainerd got the best of Willmar again in boys hockey Thursday at the Civic Center. Mitch McLain's goal midway through the third period ended a 1-1 tie and spoiled Willmar's hopes of a Central Lakes title. While it was about as good as Willmar has played the Warriors in the 10 years since its last head-to-head victory, on Jan.
Retooled after reaching the Class AAA state tournament last March, the Willmar Cardinals girls basketball team staggered to a 3-4 start this winter. But since a 57-42 home loss Jan. 4 to Alexandria, the team has gone 6-1. "The girls felt badly about the slow start, but I think it had a lot to do with the health of the team," said head coach Brad Atchison this week. Kayli Gimse and Lucinda Sweazey both were coming off summer knee surgery and missing out on their fall sport. Their conditioning trailed the rest of the team. "I take part of the blame, too.
To play a sport in high school is a blessing. When injury interferes, faith is tested. The highs and lows of wins and losses come and go, but the aftermath of a physical setback lasts much longer. This is how four varsity athletes at Willmar have met crippling knee injuries head on and battled their way back to the competitive arena. Becca Freese: The left wing for the girls hockey team scored two goals Friday in a Cardinal victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek.