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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MORRIS -- So far, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa could hardly ask for anything more. There's a conference title, a sub-section title and now the first ever section championship trophy after whipping Norman County East 66-39 behind crushing defense Friday in the 6A trophy game. Oh, yes - the Jaguars are headed to the Class A state tournament at 30-0. BBE will play Goodhue (24-7), the Section 1A champion, at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Eagles (22-7) scored 24 points below their season average. "They're a tremendous team," said NCE coach Mike Sather.
MARSHALL -- The MACCRAY Wolverines ended a 12-year drought for Section 3A-North teams Thursday when they knocked off Hills-Beaver Creek 70-61 in the section championship game. The last 3A-North team to reach state was Central Minnesota Christian of Prinsburg in 1998. "It's about time," chuckled winning coach Gary Nelson in the post-game celebration on the court at Southwest Minnesota State.
You might refer to Steve Crow in this town as "Mr. Youth Swimming." For 26 years he's coached competitive swimming for kids starting as young as five years old. He's stepping down this month. No particular reason, he said. "It just seems right after 41 years (around the pool)." The Stingrays swim club offers stroke and stamina training at the high-school pool with the option of entering meets about once a month. Most events that the club attends are in the Twin Cities or occasionally at Hutchinson. If not for for the travel, the club could go to a meet every weekend.
MARSHALL -- The MACCRAY Wolverines have wedged their way back to the boys Section 3A championship, but they won't be facing five-time defending champion Ellsworth. Instead, the Wolverines (25-3) will face upstart Hills-Beaver Creek (23-6), which ousted Ellsowrth in the 3A-South final earlier Saturday, 76-62. The 3A-North title game followed form as MACCRAY whipped Camden Conference rival Dawson-Boyd 74-59 at Southwest Minnesota State. The Blackjacks finished 19-6 with half of those losses coming against MACCRAY. MACCRAY's Seth Hinrichs, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, scored 27 points and nabb
MARSHALL -- The MACCRAY Wolverines moved to within one win of the state tournament by defeating Dawson-Boyd 74-49 on Saturday afternoon in the Section 3A-North championship game at Southwest Minnesota State University. Seth Hinrichs poured in 27 points and yanked down 17 rebounds for the Wolverines (25-3). In the 3A-South final, Hills-Beaver Creek ended Ellsworth's run of five straight 3A championships. The Patriots (23-6) overcame 34 points by the Panthers' Casey Schilling to win 76-62.
MARSHALL -- For the Yellow Medicine East Sting, the season ended one win short of state. Still, on Friday night, they were where they wanted to be. "This was our goal," said Emily Baker on the basketball court at Southwest Minnesota State University after the Jackson County Central Huskies had claimed the Section 3AA championship trophy with a 57-41 win. "We wanted to win the conference and we did that, and we wanted to get to the section final." The Huskies (26-2) were just too much for the Sting.
Dave Aus, whose Blaine Bengals played here in early December winning 6-4, takes the school from the Metro's north suburbs back to the boys Class AA state tournament a sixth straight year. Lee Smith's Eden Prairie Eagles got bumped out of sections by Minnetonka last year after winning the Class AA state championship game in 2009. The Eagles this season are the No. 1 seed. Smith played on a line with Brian Nelson, who went on to Minnesota-Duluth on scholarship in 1984.
MORRIS -- The last two years Hancock exited the Section 6A-West girls basketball tournament at the hands of Parkers Prairie. Last year was the more painful, losing on a Panther free throw in the final moments at the sub-section final. "We called this 'Unfinished Business,' '' said Owls' junior center Kendra Schmidgall. The business plan worked as the Owls squeaked out a 40-37 win over the Panthers at the University of Minnesota-Morris on Tuesday night. Hancock senior guard Ilissa Koehl made two big plays in the last 2:10 to spark an eight-point run that provided a 40-34 lead with 35 second
ST. PAUL -- Three area wrestlers, each a senior, won championships Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center. It was the first title for each. Jacob Braaten of Minnewaska Area won the Class A 112-pound title, Alex Steffel of BOLD was the 152-pound Class A champion, and Willmar's Nathanial Swoyer earned the title in the Class AAA 189-pound weight class. After Braaten's arm was raised in victory signifying his championship, he ran and jumped into the arms of the Minnewaska Area assistant coach -- his dad. In 1981 at the old St.