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 -- The Willmar Cardinals dropped their third straight game Tuesday night, but the outlook might not be all that bad, said Sam Esboldt after the 76-65 loss to St. Cloud Tech. "This is as strong as the conference has been in a while," said the senior forward, who scored a career-high 26 points. "This will just strengthen us for later. Hopefully, it will help us go deep in the playoffs." The Cardinals fell to 8-7 in the Central Lakes and 15-8 overall with three conference games left. Tech stayed in the conference race at 13-2.
ST. PETER -- Willmar squeezed by Hutchinson 5-4, in overtime, on Dec. 10. Indications point to another tight, tense tilt when the squads meet this evening in St. Peter to decide the Section 2A champion. No. 3-seed Hutchinson (11-15) ousted No. 2 Mankato West (17-9) 4-3 on Saturday in Mankato. Hutchinson has nine players back from last year's section championship team. Players to watch for the Tigers include Sara Carlson and Fallon Macemon, who rank fourth and sixth, respectively, on the Tigers' all-time points leaderboard. Carlson had a hat trick in the semifinals. No.
WILLMAR -- All's well that ends well, or maybe not quite. The Ridgewater Lady Warriors overtook Riverland with a superlative second-half effort to end the season with a 73-67 win, their second straight. But a 4-8 record in the South Division isn't enough to get them into the MCAC state tournament for a second year in a row. "I feel bad for our (three) sophomores," said coach Carrie Ogdahl.
Disa Daucsavage, then Disa Hillstrom, came to Willmar in 2000 as a classroom teacher and second-generation running coach. She has presided over the most successful decade in the cross-county program's history, including six conference titles and consecutive boys state championships, with co-coach Jerry Popp, in 2005 and '06. She has resigned her coaching post and began maternity leave from her first-grade classroom at Kennedy this week. "We're expecting four babies in the next four weeks," said Daucsavage. "The doctor was surprised I was able to work this long.
NEW LONDON -- After two postponements due to inclement weather, New London-Spicer showed why it's ranked No. 1 in Class AA boys basketball, topping No. 2 Morris/Chokio-Alberta, 89-68, in a non-conference game on Saturday. The Wildcats (20-1) exploded to a 48-29 halftime lead and handed the Tigers (17-1) their first loss of the season before a crowd approaching 1,300. "This was intense and a lot of fun," said NLS forward Justin Zylstra, who scored 16 points.
WILLMAR -- It's on to St. Peter for the Willmar Cardinals girls hockey team after ousting Mankato East/Loyola from the Section 2A Tournament picture 5-2 on Saturday. "This was the last of our 11 goals that we put on the sheet at the beginning of the season," explained Meckenzie Dahle, one of five seniors celebrating after their final game at home. "Just now we added a 12th goal -- to get to state." Willmar (12-11-2) meets No. 3 Hutchinson at Gustavus Adolphus College at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the championship. Hutchinson upset No. 2 Mankato West 4-3 on Saturday. The state tournament is Feb.
NEW LONDON - A mid-February showdown of Class AA's top two teams left no doubt New London-Spicer is fully deserving of its No. 1 spot in the boys poll. The Wildcats (20-1) blitzed No. 2 Morris/Chokio-Alberta 89-68 in front of over 1,200 fans in the NLS gym on Saturday evening. The Wildcats jumped out 8-2 and were never in danger. They dominated in the paint and the guards sliced inside for acrobatic lay-ins or last moment dish-offs to the open big man. Center Aaron Johnson with 22 points and 11 rebounds led five Cats in double figures.