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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MINNEAPOLIS -- Litchfield is sending eight swimmers to the Class A state meet which opens todayday with diving preliminaries at the University of Minnesota's Aquatics Center. Dragons' freshman Mar-issa Warren will swim in four events, including a No. 1 seed in the 100 butterfly. Willmar got one qualifier through the section meet at Hutchinson. Cassie Yoakum, a senior, will compete in the backstroke. She is seeded 25th out of 28 entries in a time of 1:04.06. Class A preliminaries begin at noon Friday.
Girls Hockey COACH Jason Mayer, 1st year ASSISTANT COACHES Mandi Samuelson (varsity), Veronica Collins (head JV), Glenn Leitch (goalies) 2009-10 SEASON REVIEW Overall: 12-12-2 Central Lakes Conference: 2-8-2, 6th place Section 2A: beat Mankato East 5-2; lost to Hutchinson 5-1 in section final Key Dates Season/Home: 7 p.m. today North Wright County Central Lakes Opener: Nov. 19, Fergus Falls at Willmar Cardinal Classic: Nov. 26-27 (Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato, Austin, Morris/Benson Area) Holiday Tournament: Dec. 27-29 at Austin Section 2A: Feb.
WILLMAR -- When it comes to football, it appears the Willmar Cardinals are up a creek and headed from a little falls to a grand rapids. A Minnesota State High School League committee is recommending that Grand Rapids High School be placed in the Central Lakes Conference for football beginning in the fall of 2012. The Raiders would be the 10th team, replacing Little Falls, which leaves in all sports at the end of this school year to join the new Granite Ridge Conference. Since 2006 the CLC has scheduled independents Moorhead and Bemidji in football, though not as conference members.
Wrestling COACH Tom Beyer, 4th year ASSISTANT COACH Lee Hiltner LAST SEASON MCAC: 1st place (4-0) MCAC/Region Tournament: 1st place. NJCAA Division III: 5th place KEY DATES Opens/Invites: Rochester, Nov. 5; Dakota Wesleyan, Nov. 13; Augsburg Open, Nov. 20; Ridgewater Open, Jan. 8; Minn. West Open, Jan. 15; North Country Open, Collegeville, Feb. 5 Home opener: Dec. 10, 4 p.m., Ridgewater Duals Region XIII Qualifier: Feb. 12, Itasca CC (Grand Rapids) NJCAA Division III: Feb.
Coach Joe Sussenguth has taken each of his four previous Ridgewater teams to the national event, never finishing less than third. His 2006 team won the Division III championship and reached the final before losing the next two years. Last year's team fell in the semifinals but came back to win the third-place match. The former coach at Minneota, a Class A powerhouse, said coming close has been "tough to swallow" since the program's expectations are so high each year. "Our goal each season doesn't change.
ST. CLOUD -- Albany has looked like a one-man team this season, so New London-Spicer geared up to stop 165-pound senior Bryan Schlangen, who entered the Section 6AAA final with over 1,300 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns. But the Wildcats got the wrong guy. Senior quarterback Luke Evans ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and his only pass completion was for a 60-yard score as the No. 1-ranked Huskies shelved the No.
It's been a while since I've seen a football team take a loss as hard as Saturday night in Marshall. An angry and sobbing Tom Hagert, a 1,000-yard rusher, comes to mind 22 years ago on a frosty night in November at Hodapp Field, after the Cardinals had lost to Burnsville in the state quarterfinals. This Willmar team had their sights set on the section final. The Marshall Tigers had other thoughts and knocked the local freight off the tracks, 27-18, on the artificial turf of the Regional Sports Complex. The 2010 Cardinals had 17 senior starters.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College winter athletics have been training for a month. Wrestling coach Tom Beyer has 10 sophomores and 13 freshmen in the mat room. Some will travel to Saturday's Rochester Open. Travis Peralta is a returning All-America among four returning national qualifiers. The basketball teams open Nov. 11-12 with two games each at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Lady Warriors' coach Carrie Ogdahl has an experience team with excellent height, but will have just eight players to start. Three players off the national-tournament-bound volleyball team will join up Nov.