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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LITCHFIELD -- Count on the weather to do something mischievous during the 36-hole Willmar/Litchfield Invitational. But at least it wasn't brutal cold or a slashing rain. This time it was a 20-25 miles-per-hour wind barreling across the defenseless Litchfield Golf Course to challenge the 120 golfers on Friday. Closest to par in 58-degree sunshine was Nick Nielsen of first-day leader Bloomington Jefferson with a 5-over 75.
After three years on the Willmar Cardinal varsity and two with the Ridgewater College Warriors, Casey Sussenguth leaves town next fall to attend Southwest Minnesota State University. "I really wanted to play at the next level," said Sussenguth, who averaged 20.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists this season. "It's a great conference (the NSIC is Division II), and I know it will be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it." Sussenguth, who is 6-foot-8, pushed his own recruiting cart. Since the MCAC isn't highly recruited, he contacted Mustangs' coach Brad Bigler.
Admittedly, Scott Swansson lives in a state of extended boyhood. "I never grew up," he says. He's serious. "The other day I was thinking, 'I'm still eating school lunches.' I've been eating schools lunches since I was in first grade." That was the early 1960s. He graduated from Willmar High School in 1974 after playing in three state tournaments and two state championship games in just his senior year. Thirty-five years later, he's coaching three sports at Woodbury High School.
MINNEAPOLIS -- No. 1 at the start of the tournament and No. 1 at the end. The New London-Spicer Wildcats (32-2) capped a season as the top dog by overpowering Crosby-Ironton 62-52 in the Class AA championship game at Target Center on Saturday afternoon. It's the second state basketball title in three years for NLS and head coach Matt Cordes. NLS was ranked No. 1 for the final eight weeks of the regular season. The 2008 championship was also settled between the Wildcats and the Rangers. "This is wonderful," said senior Erik Tengwall, who was also on the varsity as a sophomore.
MINNEAPOLIS - The first baseball game at the new outdoor stadium on the edge of downtown Minneapolis drew 36,056 people, curious to see the nation's newest major league ballpark. On a mild late-in-March afternoon, the home-town fans saw much to delight the eye but little to cheer.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The New London-Spicer Wildcats shot down the high-flying Braham Bombers 76-67 to gain the Section AA championship game today at the Target Center. The top-ranked Wildcats (31-2) will face the same program they saw two years ago when the NLS boys won their first basketball title. The Crosby-Ironton Rangers (25-2), ranked sixth in the final poll, moved into the final with a 51-48 overtime win over No.
The Ridgewater College baseball team opened its outdoor Minnesota season on Monday at Dick Putz Field against the St. Cloud State junior varsity. The March 22 debut outdoors in Central Minnesota is likely the earliest ever for the Warriors. The Willmar fields are still drying. Ridgewater head coach Joel Barta and a member of the park and rec department checked out Swansson Orange and Baker Fields on Tuesday. Though Orange, north of Willmar Avenue, has a higher elevation, Baker Field is closer to being ready because it has better drainage.