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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Watching the Ridgewater College softball team this spring has been a treat -- even in damp cold. Part of the pleasure is the play of sophomores Emily Roelike and Brandi Bodin. They hit first and second, respectively, in the Lady Warriors' batting order. For opposing pitchers, it is an often lethal one-two punch. Roelike runs the bases like a cheetah and Bodin can fly, too. She may be a catcher but she's 9-for-9 in steal attempts. Both players hit for power. In the field, each is superb. Roelike has great range and a laser arm.
WILLMAR -- No surprises here, other than the sunny day at Eagle Creek Golf Club. The virtually unbeatable Minnewaska Lakers won the Willmar Girls Golf Invitational by 25 strokes over runner-up Alexandria under a blue sky with the mercury near 60 -- a rare accommodating day in April for athletic pursuits. Junior Sam Falk led the state champion Lakers, shooting a 75. That was eight strokes better than her teammate Brianna Janu and BOLD's Chloe Altmann. Falk needed only 28 putts to get around.
Scott Wierschem is a proud man. He sits straight and tall. There is defiance, yet sadness in his eyes. When he walks, he uses a cane. His speech is halting. One needs to listen closely. Scott's body began to go haywire while in his mid-40s. The muscles that allowed him to be a football standout were deserting him. He's now 51 saddled with a disease without a name.
WILLMAR -- This is what we've come to expect living in Minnesota. Cold rains that turn to sleet and bitter winds that call for gloves and stocking caps in mid-April. But the Willmar/Litchfield Boys Golf Invitational has always slogged ahead, like the proverbial mail carrier. Until this year. The two-day, 20-team meet was called off on Wednesday, two days before teeing off at the Willmar Golf Club for the first of two days. "This spring does seem to be one of the toughest I can remember," commented Willmar head golf coach Dave Ellwood.
Andrea Krause took a roundabout route to Ridgewater College. The 2010 graduate of Bloomington Kennedy first went a little east to Rosemount to attend Dakota County Technical College. She planned to pitch for the BlueKnight softball team, which announced plans to transition to NJCAA Division II. Unlike Division III, that meant scholarship money. Krause could live at home, get a big chunk of her tuition discounted and play the sport she'd excelled in since seventh grade. Todd Thorstad, the Lady Warriors' coach, had tried to recruit her.
Like tulips exploding from beneath the melting snow, the Ridgewater Warriors' baseball team is ready to blossom. In a rearranged schedule, the Warriors are slated for eight games -- four doubleheaders -- today through Sunday. None are at the Warriors' home field, which needs more time to dry out from the heavy winter, but a twin bill is scheduled for the Green Lake Diamond at Spicer on Saturday. "We've been up there helping move some snow," said head coach Joel Barta. "It looks like it will be okay." The Warriors play the St.
For a self-confessed athletic wallflower, Fernando Alvarado has managed to make his mark in high school sports. In April, he ends six years on the Cardinal Pride Board of Directors -- the last four as president. Cardinal Pride formed in 1999 to support extra-curricular sports in the Willmar schools. The current dues-paying membership lists 80 families or individuals. "I've got no regrets," said Alvarado on the eve of giving up the gavel. "We completed a number of projects and got the endowment fund rolling.
MINNEAPOLIS - A magic carpet ride for the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys basketball team ended Saturday afternoon -- one day short of perfection. The Jaguars met their match in the Class A championship game at Target Center. The No. 8-ranked Springfield Tigers, largely overlooked in this tournament field, sprang past the Jaguars in the second half to win the first-place trophy, 70-58. BBE came in 32-0, but the No.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Lights, cameras ... and action! The MACCRAY Wolverines will take Target Center stage on TV today at noon after a 61-52 quarterfinal win over Maranatha Christian Academy on Thursday in the Class A quarterfinals at Williams Arena. The Wolverines will meet a nearby, but still unfamiliar foe. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa sailed into the semifinal round with a 16-point win over Goodhue in the first of four small-school games on the Golden Gophers' floor on Thursday afternoon. "We saw them for the first time today," said MACCRAY's Seth Hinrichs.
Brace yourself. That's what Robert Brau had to do. Like many teenagers he did the teeth with wires thing. He's also doing the steel bar through the rib cage. Brau is a senior swimmer with five letters who just completed his final season with the Cardinals by swimming at the state meet in the consolation heat of the 400-freestyle relay. This was 10 months after surgery to insert a thin bar to separate his heart from his sternum. Robert was born with a deformity of the chest wall, sometimes called funnel chest, but known in medical literature as Pectus Excavatum. It's not rare.