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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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.
WILLMAR -- Emily Roelike made her last hit in the Ridgewater College gym count for something. The sophomore from Belgrade leaped high to drive a winner past a double block and down the line and finalize a 25-17, 17-25, 25-13, 25-15 triumph over Anoka-Ramsey for the Region 13A title Saturday. "Yes, I saw it all the way," she said of the clincher. The victory sent Ridgewater (30-4) to the NJCAA Division III tournament for a sixth straight year. The Lady Warriors have a championship, three runners-up and a third-place finish in the past five season. "It really hasn't hit me yet that we're go
MARSHALL -- Run, and then run some more. That's all Marshall did to erase Willmar from the Section 2AAAA playoffs late Saturday evening at Mattke Field. The No. 2-seeded Tigers (9-1) bolted to a 21-0 lead and then snuffed a comeback by the No.
Section 2AAAA Semifinals Willmar (6-3) at Marshall (8-1) Today, 8 p.m. at Southwest State University A LOOK AT WILLMAR: This is a chance for Willmar to win two games in the post-season for the first time since 1988, when the Cardinals defeated Buffalo, St. Cloud Apollo and Elk River to win the section title for a second straight year. Willmar's 21-7 win over Hutchinson (4-5) in the quarterfinals handed one of the state's elite program its first losing season since 1973. Willmar plays for the first time at the new Mattke Field, which has artificial turf.
WILLMAR -- The door slammed on the Willmar boys' string of six straight trips to the Class AA state meet when the Cardinals placed fifth of 14 schools at the Section 2AA cross-country meet on Thursday. "The boys are a way better team than the way we ran today," said coach Jerry Popp. Willmar's No. 1, 2 and 4 runners ran fifth, sixth and seventh on the team. Senior Muhumed Abdullahi finished 14th. He ran the 5k course on the Eagle Creek back nine in 17:28. Thomas Seifert, a freshman, was next in 25th and then Alex Johannes, a junior, in 30th. Buffalo replaces Willmar as the 2AA champion.
Shorty Schroeder's road to the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame began on a gravel road outside Danube and led through Decorah, Iowa, Appleton, Litchfield and finally Willmar. "We were farmers, the first place north of Danube," recalled the 75-year-old retired educator. "Basketball looked pretty good to an eighth-grader. We didn't have running water on the farm, but the school had hot showers." An enthusiastic new coach, Dick Brinkman, came to town in the late 1940s. The Lutheran minister, Bill Zahl, encouraged the farm and city kids to be active.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals allowed an early touchdown on a turnover, but rebounded quickly to overrun Hutchinson 21-7 in the Section 2AAAA quarterfinals Tuesday at Hodapp Field. All the scoring was in the first half as a 30-mph west wind buffeted Hodapp Field. The Cardinals (6-3) beat the Tigers for the first time in postseason since 1973. Willmar plays Marshall at Southwest Minnesota State at 8 p.m. Saturday. Senior running back Grant Schow, who came into the game with 866 yards, rushed for 169 yards in 32 carries.
HUTCHINSON TIGERS (4-4) at WILLMAR CARDINALS (5-3) Today at Hodapp Field, 7 p.m. A LOOK AT HUTCHINSON: Forget the seeding, Hutchinson is a program highly motivated to succeed in the postseason and seldom settles for anything less than the section final. On Wednesday, the Tigers lost to their McLeod County rival and Class AAA powerhouse Glencoe-Silver Lake, 37-7. Victories in a rare .500 regular season have come against Mound-Westonka (40-0), Annandale (30-26), Orono (27-24) and Litchfield (18-7). The Orono win on Oct.