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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MONTEVIDEO -- Through five innings the score might be framed as Alex Erickson 1, Madison 0. The Morris Legion pitcher was working on a whitewash facing Madison Lac qui Parle Post 158 and his home run to lead off the bottom of the first was the only run on the scoreboard. But the Madison bats would come to life starting in the sixth inning, igniting a 4-1 win in the opening game of the District 7, Division II Final Four on Tuesday evening. After giving up that first-pitch home run, Joey Schreck and his error-free Madison teammates slammed the door.
WILLMAR -- Jordan Smith is not the only member of the first Willmar Stingers team in 2010 to go pro this year. A half-dozen others are also starting their climb up the minor-league ladder this summer. First, here's the latest on Smith, a local boy, drafted by the Cleveland Indians. He had just finished his second record-breaking season at St. Cloud State when he was picked in the ninth round of the first-year player draft in June. Through Friday, the third baseman for the Mahoning Scrappers (Niles, Ohio) is hitting .337 with 30 hits and 20 RBI, all team bests.
Bob Lehman passed away on July 3. Bob coached the Cardinal track team for 30 years and the short-lived boys gymnastics program in the 1960s. He also started a competitive mathematics team during his 39 years as an educator. That was only a part of the Iowa native's contributions to the community. He was a doer, active in Boys Scouts, the Historical Society, and church, civic and military groups. In his 80s, I remember Bob sitting at the end of the basketball bleachers with Doc McCarthy and Ed Leschke.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Stingers, whose history dates back to, say, spring of 2010, put on a show for Central Minnesota Christian School, which got its start in 1911. The Stingers scored six times in the first two innings to start them on the way to a 7-3 win over Duluth. CMCS students, alumni and friends of the Prinsburg K-12 school took up a big share of the 1,000 seats at Bill Taunton Stadium Tuesday night. The school sponsored 500 free posters of the team and the entire evening celebrated the school's 100th anniversary. The Stingers had to be celebrating a little bit, also, with a 6-0 l
SPICER -- Former Clara City three-sport athlete Gretchen Amundson, 32, of St. Cloud made it two women's titles in a row fronting 127 females running the 37th Green Lake 12-miler on Sunday morning. The men's champions was Phil Richert, 24, of St. Paul who completed the circle run from Saulsbury Beach in 1:07.23. Incredibly, that was 1/100th of a second faster than the winning time a year ago and the fastest time in 13 years. He also won in 2006.
This column noted last August the induction of D.N. Tallman into the MGA-PGA Hall of Fame. The summer issue of the Minnesota Golf Association's Minnesota Golfer features a cover story on "Forgotten Champion, David Tallman, Minnesota's Most Unknown Golf Legend." Engineer, town-site developer along the Great Northern Railroad, and champion of the underdog, D.N. Tallman went from great wealth to welfare before he died here in 1958.
NEW LONDON -- Against all odds, Tom Gjerde did the nearly impossible. The 64-year-old retired mail carrier, made two holes-in-one in one round -- in fact, just four holes apart. It happened Tuesday morning on a perfect summer day while playing his usual round at the Little Crow Country Club on the south side of New London. Playing the Oaks, which is the club's southwest nine-hole layout, Gjerde aced No. 3 going out and No. 8 heading back to the clubhouse. In an interview the same afternoon, Gjerde, a 17-handicapper, said he used a 4-iron over the water on No.
WILLMAR -- Once again, the MIAC dominated the high finishes at the 17th annual Foot Lake 4, sponsored by Rice Hospital. Ex-runners for the Bethel College Royals took three of four top places overall and Katie Eggers of Gustavus Adolphus claimed her second straight top prize in the women's race. Dan Greeno, 23, running a blistering 5:04 pace in his first FL4, reached the finish at Second Street Southwest and Becker Avenue in 20:16. He trumped ex-Minnesota Gopher Ben Kampt by 17 seconds. Next came Bethel graduates Tyler Hinrichs (21:18) of St.
WILLMAR -- Ian Hansen won the Men's Open singles and his little brother, Jess, 13, was the A Singles champion at the Cardinal Classic Tennis Tournament that concluded a three-day run on Sunday at the high school courts. All things considered, the trip from Dawson was well worth it. Father Tom Hansen, a dentist, and his oldest son, Dutch, a second-year medical student at UM-Duluth, reached the Men's Doubles semifinals while Ian and Jack, the next to youngest, got to the Men's Open finals. Ian, who will be a senior at St.
WILLMAR -- Andy Jacobson became only the third player in the 80-year history of the Lakeland Tournament to win as many as four championships on Sunday. Jacobson led from start to finish, winning the 54-hole, two-day event by seven strokes over runners-up Bart Bradford and Jon Hanner, 211 to 218. Jacobson tidied up his second tournament victory this month on his hometown course by shooting a four-under 32 on the back 9 Sunday at Eagle Creek. The 211 total is four strokes off the tournament's 54-hole low score of 207, set by New London native Aaron Barber a year ago. Barber, who also won in