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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When Lonnie Booshu, an Eskimo by birth, went home for the holidays, it was a 15-hour-plus trip via Alaska Airlines. He's back now, in Willmar, admittedly a little homesick already. Booshu wrestles at 125 pounds for the Ridgewater College team. He graduated in a class of 46 from Nome Beltz Senior High School last spring. On Saturday, he went 3-1 at the Warrior Open for third place. In Alaska, he qualified for the state tournament every year starting with his freshman season. He was the 125-pound runner-up in 2009 and 2010. Wrestling is not a big sport in Alaska, said Booshu.
Rob Baumgarn, the head coach of the Ridgewater College football program, felt keenly the tragic death of two young men last week. Lukas "Luk" Neubarth, 18, of Brownton died last Thursday evening when his snowmobile plunged through thin ice near Nevis. The 2010 graduate of Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop had visited the Willmar campus in December. Baumgarn was quite sure Luk, a linebacker, would follow his older brothers to Ridgewater.
NEW LONDON -- The thing about the press is that you either break it or it breaks you. New London-Spicer ducked and weaved and passed their way through the vice-like Bloomington Kennedy full-court pressure just enough to win a riveting finale to the West Central Tribune WildCard Girls Basketball Tournament on Friday, 56-52. The Wildcats (7-1) built a 28-19 halftime margin up to a 41-22 advantage with 10:25 left. But the Eagles downshifted and suddenly found some traction off their press-and-trap to ignite their inside game, which had been ineffective most of the evening. The Eagles' impress
NEW LONDON -- Shantel Kelly scored eight straight points to start the second half, igniting Willmar's comeback win over short-handed Minnehaha Academy 51-46 in the third-place game of the West Central Tribune WildCard tournament on Thursday. Willmar finished 1-1 at the tournament after bowing to Bloomington Kennedy on Wednesday. The Cardinals (3-3) trailed 27-21 after playing a sloppy first half. "I knew we had to do something at half to get mentally prepared and get something done," said Kelly, a senior forward.
WILLMAR -- High school hockey in Texas? You bet your spurs. There are 22 indoor sheets in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Mansfield High School, 30 minutes southwest of Dallas, will play 30 games this winter, including three this week at the Willmar Bus Cup at the Civic Center. Wednesday night they enhanced their North Star immersion playing shinny hockey at the Lincoln Rink on the east side of Willmar.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals got just what they needed -- and what was expected -- out of their home invitational: three wins while piling up 19 goals. The Cardinals whipped Luverne 6-2 early Wednesday night at the Civic Center to conclude the three-day Willmar Bus event. The wins upped Willmar's record to 4-5, after a 1-5 start. "It's a good way to get back on track and score some goals," said senior Gabe Amon, who assisted on Grant Schow goals in the second and third periods. "We got a lot of people involved and different people scoring.
Winter's bite has made vagabonds of the Minnesota Vikings, but Willmar's Nordic ski team knows what it's like to wander in the white wilderness. The school has offered cross country skiing for boys and girls since 1998. Through the first 12 years, Willmar hosted only four home meets. The first was at Robbins Island on Jan. 13, 2001. In January of 2008, Willmar sponsored a small meet at Sibley State Park in the upper campground.
WILLMAR -- "Homecoming" for the Willmar Cardinals basketball team ended happily, but barely. Jeremy Schendel sank one of two free throws with two seconds left in the second half for the final margin as the Cardinals survived a late run by the Brainerd Warriors for their third straight Central Lakes Conference win, 74-73, on Thursday. After three road games, it was the team's first Willmar appearance.