Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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Red Ahl got out of the Army in 1956 and moved from Bird Island to Willmar. He started racing stock cars at the half-mile track at the fairgrounds in Willmar. He raced in jalopies and late models through 1976. There was something about Red that made him one of the most popular drivers in the region. "Well, he won a lot," said his pitman Charlie Nelson with a chuckle. "And he was always nice. He'd always stay and sign autographs." He worked at his uncle's body shop and was a north-sider, the neighborhood surgically attached to the racetrack. Kids worshiped the smiling, lean red head.
Former Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg athlete Kevin Steinhaus of rural Pennock is spending the summer in the pews of an oversized van and in gymnasiums from coast to coast. The Minnesota Gophers wrestling captain was at the middle school in Willmar on Wednesday morning after spending the previous evening at Grove City at Spencer Lund's West Central Minnesota Wrestling Camp. His summer résumé reads like the refrain from the trucker's song "I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere." In May, he was in pre-fire Fort Collins, Colorado, attending the God-Life-Sports camp.
A testimonial regarding the teaching method of the 1990 Boys Golf Class AA Champion, Aaron Jacobson, a 1991 Willmar graduate, that appears on the Rush Creek Golf Club website: "I took the $225 clinic that Aaron hosted a month ago. My game has improved more than any other help I have ever received. My iron game is so much better I can hardly believe it. I will definitely recommend Aaron any time I can." - Marv Silverman Aaron is the Director of Instruction at Rush Creek, a highly-regarded public course in the northwest metro.
WILLMAR -- To be clear, Traci Grussing never retired from coaching. Even when she left Central Minnesota Christian School in 2006 after taking the Bluejays to nine state tournaments in 10 years, she continued to coach Junior Olympic volleyball teams based in Willmar and Bloomington. Also, in 2010, she was back on the Bluejays bench as co-head coach to take some of the pressure off former player Lindsey (VanderWell) Taatjes, a first-year coach with work obligations and expecting late in the fall season. This fall Grussing returns to high-school coaching full time heading up the Willmar Cardi
WILLMAR -- This was Rick Freiburg's weekend. Leading the 82nd Lakeland Tournament from the start, the 51-year-old Monticello native didn't crumble when 4-time champion Andy Jacobson pulled into a late tie and forced a playoff on the near 90-degree afternoon. Instead, it was Jacobson who proved vulnerable in a playoff. Freiburg won his first Lakeland with a par on No. 11, a short par 4. Jacobson, who made up two strokes with 3 holes to go in regulation, 3-putted from the back edge. That hurt but added "I was just happy to get back in it and force a playoff.
The Green Lake Road Race comes up, oddly, on July 1, this Sunday. The fireworks won't be until Wednesday evening. The Spicer Slow-pitch tournament is this weekend but the 3-on-3 Hoops by the Lake is not until July 7. Area police and firefighters square off this Friday evening at the Green Lake Diamonds in the annual Guns and Hoses softball game. The 38th annual Green Lake Road Race starts at 7 a.m. Sunday at the beach.
WILLMAR -- One never knows who will show up race day. Saturday morning in downtown Willmar, it was 2011 NCAA Division III Cross-Country champion Ben Sathre of Chaska. The 22-year-old spring graduate of the University of St. Thomas won the 18th-annual Foot Lake 4-mile run, hosted by Rice Memorial Hospital. His time of 20:10 (a 5:03.3 per mile average) put him more than two minutes up on another former MIAC runner, Austin Hinrichs, 23, the Clara City native who ran for Bethel College. Hinrichs, third last year, finished the circuit around lower Foot Lake in 22:26.
INDEPENDENCE -- Andy Jacobson won his sixth straight match in three long days to claim the title of the 34th Minnesota Golf Association Players' Championship at Windsong Farm. The 32-year-old Willmar insurance agent defeated Tim Hamm of Rush Creek (Maple Grove) 4 and 3. "It was by far my biggest win," Jacobson said on his drive home Wednesday night. "I had never won a state tournament. That was big." Jacobson, whose home course is Eagle Creek Golf Club, parred the 499-yard, par 4 hole while Hamm bogeyed on No. 15. Jacobson, the tourney's No.
She's only completed her second year on campus, but 2010 Cardinal graduate Alissa Tinklenberg has been voted the Female Student/Athlete of the Year at Gustavus Adolphus College. A six-year varsity swimmer at Willmar, Alissa had a solid freshman year on the St. Peter campus with a first- and second-place finish at the MIAC Championships. But it hardly forecasted the huge strokes she'd make as a sophomore. Right away, in early November, she helped the Gusties' 200 free relay set a Lund pool record (1:38.11).
MAPLE PLAIN -- Andy Jacobson won his sixth straight match in three long days to claim the title of the 34th MGA Players' Championship at Windsong Farm. The 32-year-old Willmar insurance agent defeated Tim Hamm of Rush Creek (Maple Grove) 4 and 3. Jacobson, whose home course is Eagle Creek Golf Club, parred the 499-yard par 4 hole while Hamm bogeyed. Jacobson never trailed and was two up at the turn after getting a birdie on No.