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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MAYVILLE, N.D. -- Two All-Americans for the national champion Ridgewater College volleyball team have signed to play at Mayville State (N.D.) College next fall. Outside hitter Hannah Smith of Willmar and setter Molly Hurrle of Kimball each signed a letter of intent on Jan. 13. Both women were key players on Ridgewater's back-to-back national championship teams.
Yes, Senor Smoke, boyhood dreams can come true! Ask T.J. Phillips. He was a Minnesota Twin for a week. He wore an authentic uniform with his name on the back. A catcher for the Cardinals and Post 167 22 years ago, Phillips hit and played the field with Twins' legends and retired journeymen at the spring training complex in Fort Myers this month. "It was the coolest thing I ever did in my life," he said over the phone. You could hear his smile. He was one of 30 or so camp rookies. Seventy other men were returnees.
By Rand Middleton email@example.com WILLMAR -- Every other year the Edina Hornets boys basketball team on their journey west stops at the "World's Biggest Ball of Twine" in Darwin before invading the Cardinals gymnasium. The Hornets finished their prairie adventure with an 80-68 road victory on Saturday evening. They enjoyed the Willmar gym -- shooting 50 percent from the floor, including 9 of 20 three-point tries, and dropping 17 of 20 at the free-throw line. It was the 11th straight win for Pat Dorsey's Hornets and gives them a 6-1 edge in the series dating to 2006, the Willmar na
Minnesota Hockey, Inc. proposes moving Willmar traveling youth hockey out of its home district and sending it south. The governing body will discuss district realignment on Sunday during its quarterly meeting at the Marriot West in St. Louis Park. District 5 has been Willmar's hockey home forever. The 10-program district extends from Hutchinson to St. Cloud to Buffalo and includes familiar high-school rivals like Sauk Rapids, River Lakes, and Sartell. The proposal is to push Willmar, Hutchinson and Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato down to District 4.
Jack Unger, one year out of high school, was competing in his first triathlon individually in mid-August last year. Unger had competed in four or five Green Lake Triathlons as a swimmer on a relay. This time he was gung-ho to do the Sprint course individually. He came out of the water in the top 15, made a speedy transition to his road bike in the Saulsbury Beach parking lot and began the 12-mile clockwise loop of the lake.
The Willmar Cardinals boys basketball team has zipped to a 5-1 start, but they face a tough nut tonight on the road at Brainerd. The Warriors are 4-3 after losing to Owatonna 69-61 and North St. Paul 76-71 at the Owatonna holiday tournament, an AAAA field. Meantime, Willmar won its own invite against AA competition. This early it's a little hard to be sure how good this Willmar team is. There's plenty of hustle and ball movement making them a fun team to watch.
While the snowless winter has its conveniences, it's been hard on cross-country skiers. Cardinal Nordic coach Brad Haugen is trying to keep 50 boys and girls -- 12 of them first time skiers -- motivated. Without snow, the team runs, roller blades, hill bounds and works on core conditioning. The team has traveled to practice at Andes Tower Hill and the Elm Creek Park Reserve in the northwest metro. They've also managed two meets, one at St.
Bennet Woltjer scored 231.90 on the 1-meter board Tuesday night in a dual meet. That's 3 points short of his career-best. The Willmar Cardinal senior has an eye on the school record board and the 272.1 score posted by Darren Melin in 1985. He's come a long way in six years. He began as a raw seventh-grader with no background in the sport.
Nothing will change the reality that their 20-year-old son is gone but Mike and Darla Reynolds are hoping for an answer. Stephen, 20, died at home a week ago Tuesday. There was early speculation that a hockey injury had led to his death. An autopsy in Anoka the day he died did not provide an answer, his father Mike Reynolds told me Wednesday. Nothing was noted wrong with the heart or lungs, no evidence of blood clots. In the Sunday league game, Steve told his dad that he was hit with a puck just below the visor, but it was only a "little bruise" by the right cheekbone.
All are sad to learn of the death of Stephen Reynolds at home on Tuesday. He was only 20. He lettered twice in Cardinal hockey before graduating in 2010. It's unknown at this time what led to his unexpected death. An unconfirmed report said the Ridgewater College student had a headache and had remained at home. He was apparently fit and healthy.