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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MINNEAPOLIS -- Willmar senior Bennet Woltjer finished second in the Class A diving event on Saturday afternoon at the Aquatic Center on the U of M campus. Woltjer finished less than two points behind first-place Tanner Nordlund of Sartell. Woltjer, who was sixth last year, trailed Nordlund by 40 points starting the last 3 dives. The pair also finished 1-2 in the same order in the Central Lakes Conference meet. Tommy Payne of Montevideo placed third in both the 50- and 100-freestyle race.
ST. PAUL -- White Bear Lake knocked the Willmar Cardinals from the Class AAA state wrestling meet early this afternoon 31-30 in the consolation semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center here. The Cardinals (20-7) won 8 of the 14 matches, including the first five weight classes and the last two, but the Bears (21-8) picked up enough bonus points in their six victories from 138- to 196-pounds for the one-point win. The Bears will face Little Falls in the consolation final at 5 p.m.
Does Willmar have a chance against the Eagles of Apple Valley? Realistically, what team in Minnesota, or the USA, can pick the Eagles' feathers? But, the Cardinals do have the opportunity to compete hard, wrestle smart and takes that fire into the second round. Squaring off with the Eagles (61-2 the past two seasons) is like running in a big-time marathon; you're not going to beat the Kenyans but you still can run your best race. Willmar took on the Eagles in 2005 in the same stage of the Class AAA Tournament. The outcome on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center was a 54-15 score. The No.
The Willmar Cardinals wrestling team, including its five senior starters - Alex Johannes, from left, Seth Pollock, Chad Milhausen, Shawn Johnson and Martin Cabrera - left today for the Class AAA State Wrestling Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Several dozen fans and a fire truck joined the wrestling team send-off at the high school, despite the winter's first snow day for the Willmar School District. The Card wrestling team opens tournament action in a team match against six-time defending champion Apple Valley at 9 a.m. Thursday
An estimated 3 inches of slop, followed by up to 4 inches of heavy wet snow has made plowing a bit difficult in areas of west central Minnesota this Leap Day morning. Here a city of Willmar plow makes its way down Eighth Street Southwest near Trott Avenue in Willmar early Wednesday morning.
ST. CLOUD -- The Fergus Falls Otters scored two empty net goals and slipped by Willmar 5-2 for the third time this season in boys hockey on Saturday. This Section 6A result ended the Cardinals' season at 10-18. The Otters twice nudged the Cards 5-4 in their Central Lakes' games. It's an all-Falls final as the No. 3 seeded Otters (14-11-1) will meet No. 1 Little Falls (18-9) in the Section 6A championship Thursday back at the Dave Torrey MAC-Arena. No. 7 Willmar, which lost in last year's section final to Alexandria (2-1), this year upset No.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Fire Department was called to the Holiday station on U.S. Highway 12 Friday afternoon in Willmar. A clerk in the store said gas began leaking from the western-most pump while a technician was working on it. Firefighters were seen working around several manhole covers, and sand was spread over the driveway apron and into the road to absorb the spill.
Swimmers and divers from 15 schools -- make that 19 counting four pairings -- hit the 8-lane pool at the high school and the adjoining diving well for the Section 3A meet Friday at 5 p.m. with Saturday's swim/dive finals at 3 p.m. It's a strong flotilla with Fergus Falls, Hutchinson, Bemidji and Alexandria in the mix. The Otters (appropriate nickname) won the Class A state meet in 2011. Hutch and Bemidji were top 12. Top seeds for the host team are Michael McLain and Nick Aaker in the 200 free and McLain in the 100 free. Ben Fuglestad has a shot in the 100 fly.
MOUND -- All season, Willmar has outmuscled, or at least outwrestled, foes at the lower weights to grasp large leads. At best, the upper weights were a stalemate.
MELROSE - Willmar freshman Stephanie Thompson finished first on balance beam (9.575) and junior Cassie Johnson fourth on vault (9.350) at the Section 6A meet on Saturday qualifying them for the Minnesota state gymnastics meet on Feb. 25 in St. Paul. Two-time state qualifier Abbey Weiler, senior from Willmar, placed fifth in both vault and floor missing state by one place each time. Melrose repeated as the team champion with a score of 147.525 and will return to state for the 19th time in the past 21 seasons. Alexandria placed runner-up (141.65) and Willmar third (140.525).