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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MARSHALL -- Michael Busack scored 29 points as the Redwood Valley Cardinals held off Montevideo 48-46 Saturday afternoon in the Mustangs gym at Southwest Minnesota State for the 3AA-North championship. The defending section champs, now 26-1, advance to Thursday's final back in Marshall. Montevideo's Jake Douglas got off a shot to tied from the lane as time ran out but the ball caromed off. With Monte (18-9) up 44-42, Busack scored inside and then added a 3-point play for a 47-44 lead. Brett Bergeson made two free throws to close the gap to one, 47-46.
MANKATO -- No. 1 seed Mankato East disposed of Willmar in the Section 2AAA semifinal round on Saturday evening in the Cougars gymnasium 74-61. The Cardinal played from behind -- sometimes far behind -- the entire game losing to the Cougars in the same gym for the second year in a row to end the Willmar season. The Cardinals, who finish 18-9 and with the Central Lake Conference trophy in hand, fell behind by as many as 23 points in the first half but fought back to get inside 10 several times in the second half. A 3-pointer by Mo Mohamud at 7:09 cut the East lead to six points, 58-52.
Just 41 years ago in the 100-year history of Minnesota state tournament basketball, the Willmar Cardinals finished the regular season 18-0 and headed into a new playoff format that separated big from little. As I understand it, the decision to abandon the one-class structure was hugely controversial. Sid Hartman still complains as does Joe Soucheray, but what do they know, they're city kids. Back where I come from, kids grew up thinking four classes of boys basketball was the Universal Order.
Minnesota Gopher Kevin Steinhaus, a redshirt sophomore from Pennock and KMS High School, won his first Big-10 title Sunday after finishing as runnerup last year. Steinhaus is ranked No. 6 in the nation at 184 pounds and will be competing with 8 other Gophers at the NCAA Championships March 15-17 in St. Louis. Steinhaus shaded No. 7-ranked Josh Ihnen, a junior from Nebraska, 3-1 with a takedown in overtime. He went 4-0 in the meet and finished undefeated against Big 10 competition to earn first-team All-Big 10 honors. The Gophers finished second to defending Big 10 champ Penn State.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Bennet Woltjer hit his three dives on Saturday scoring big each time. The Willmar senior fell just short of overtaking Tanner Nordland for the state championship. Nordland, a Sartell senior, finished with 359.95 points to Woltjer's 11-dive score of 357.5. Woltjer had trailed the Central Lakes Conference champion by 20 points going into Saturday's final 3 dives at the U of M diving pool. Asked about near upset, Woltjer explained that his friendly rival was not at full strength fighting off pneumonia. Indeed, the Central Lakes' scoring on Feb.
One west central Minnesota wrestler brought home a state championship Saturday at the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. Paynesville's Dominick Platow won the Class A title at 285 pounds by pinning defending heavyweight champion Alex Yeager, of Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, in 5 minutes, 30 seconds. Three other Class A wrestlers and four Class AA wrestlers fell in state championship matches to claim second-place medals. In Class A, ACGC's Hayden Rouser and Larry Bomstad earned second-place finishes, as did KMS' Jordan Rothers.
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