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 -- Bob Malmgren, whose best sport at Willmar High School was hockey, has made a mark on baseball. Malmgren's suggestion for a nickname for the Northwoods League franchise, coming to Willmar in June, was selected from hundreds of entries. The Willmar Stingers logo features a slugging bee behind the "Stingers" nickname in script and "Willmar" in a block font below.
It's easy to name a lot of coaches who migrated across the Red River to coach in Minnesota. Occasionally, the flow is reversed. Jay Kocka, who played for the Willmar Cardinals basketball team in the mid-1990s, now has his own team up in North Dakota. On December 11, he begins his fifth season as head coach of the Maple Valley Raiders. With a young but experienced team, the future looks bright. "In the preseason coach's power poll, we are ranked 30th out of 115 schools," said Kocka, a graduate of nearby Valley City State University.
Boys Basketball COACH Steve Grove, 9th year ASSISTANT COACHES Dale Becker (varsity assistant and JV), Matt Williams (sophomores), Dustin Carlson (freshmen A), Mike Buer (freshmen B) 2008-09 SEASON Record: 12-6 in Central Lakes Conference (3rd place), 17-11 overall; Section 2AAA, beat Hutchinson 87-80, lost to Mankato West 55-38 OPENERS/INVITATIONAL Season/home: Friday vs. Hastings, 7:30 p.m. Central Lakes Conference: Dec. 15, Fergus Falls Holiday Tournament: Dec. 26-28, Bremer Bank Classic at Willmar; first-round -- New London-Spicer vs. Fond du Lac Ojibwe, Willmar vs.
COACH Dan Tollefson, 3rd season ASSISTANT COACHES Reed Larson (varsity assistant), Jason Bruhn (varsity assistant), Ross Dahl (head junior varsity), Tom Wodash (JV assistant) LAST SEASON 11-14 overall, 5-11 Central Lakes Conference, sixth place ... Section 3A: beat Marshall 6-2; lost to Hutchinson 5-1 KEY DATES Season/home: 7 p.m. today vs. Morris/Benson Area at Willmar Civic Center (no JV game) Central Lakes Conference opener: Dec. 8 vs. River Lakes, at Willmar Holiday tournament: Dec. 28-30 at River Lakes Invite, Paynesville Section 6A quarterfinals: Feb.
MINNEAPOLIS - To appreciate the enormity of New London-Spicer's 28-22 victory over Glencoe-Silver Lake during the 28th addition of Prep Bowl consider: n Coming in to the championship, the Panthers, ranked No. 1 all year in Class AAA, were 23-0 in post-season games since losing at the 2005 state tournament. n The GSL defense had allowed five touchdowns in 13 games and only one field goal in their two state tournament wins. n Glencoe-Silver Lake has been a dynasty in the young century: five Class AAA championships and eight straight state tournament appearances.
It's nearly December and a mass liftoff of Cardinal winter sports. Boys hockey starts Tuesday and then gymnastics, skiing, wrestling and girls basketball all on Thursday. But wait, there's more. Boys basketball, at home, vs. Hastings comes up next Friday. Girls hockey will have in four games by next week, while the swimmers and divers commence Dec. 10. The team to watch? How about boys basketball? The Cardinals are always solid hardcourt entertainment, but how often do you have a Division I recruit to watch each night. Ok, it hasn't been that long.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The New London-Spicer football team is right where they planned all along -- in the state championship game. "We've been dreaming about this since seventh grade when a bunch of us would come down here to watch the games in the Dome," said senior running back Jake Essler. The Wildcats reserved a date with three-time defending champion Glencoe-Silver Lake in the Prep Bowl XVIII Class AAA title game with unexpected ease after a 34-14 victory over previously undefeated Kasson-Mantorville Saturday on Mall of America Field. The Wildcats (13-0) led 20-0 at halftime while allowing th
MINNEAPOLIS - A school renown for its state tournament basketball teams has projected itself into the state football championship game. New London-Spicer (13-0) frolicked to a 34-0 lead and went on to defeat Kasson-Mantorville 34-14 in the Class AAA semifinal-round at the Metro Dome on Saturday. The Wildcats, whose only other state trip was a year ago when they lost in the semifinals, will play three-time defending state champion Glencoe-Silver Lake (13-0) at noon Saturday back in downtown Minneapolis. Quarterback Jayme Moten threw for two touchdowns - to Jake Essler and Luke Peterson - and
In March, Lee Smith (WHS 1984) and David Aus (WHS '87) faced off in the Class AA boys hockey semifinals with Smith's Eden Prairie Eagles prevailing over the Blaine Bengals on the way to winning the championship. The girls hockey season began for Willmar last night with Chad Akerson (WHS '98) up against North Wright County. coached by Tim Hanson ('92). It's Akerson's seventh season coaching high school, but first as the helmsman.