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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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.
Central Lakes (3-0, 8-0) at Ridgewater (1-2, 2-6) 1:30 p.m. today at Hodapp Field CENTRAL LAKES OVERVIEW: The Raiders bumped Vermilion last week 35-6 to clinch the top seed from the South, since they already have the tiebreaker with their 28-21 win over Rochester in Week 5 at Brainerd. The No. 1-ranked team in the MCAC boasts a high-powered offense, netting 385 yards per game. Quarterback Dominique Corder, a sophomore from Indianapolis, has thrown for 16 touchdowns. Tyler Erickson, a 6-foot-3 receiver out of St. Cloud Apollo, has 28 catches and six scores.
Retired coaches whistle another tune when they become referees. "I never missed a call when I was coaching," quips junior college hall of fame volleyball coach Val Swanson with a straight face. "Me neither," confirmed Mary Hanson. "Now I understand why officials miss things; I can understand their complaints," adds the Willmar Cardinals head coach from 1989 to 2008. The ex-coaches can be seen officiating at high-school matches in the area, including being paired in matches at New London and Kerkhoven this fall. "Up there (on the stand), I sometimes second guess myself," said Swanson.
A year ago in the final round, the Willmar Cardinals got pounded at Hutchinson in the section semifinals. It was a bit like the junior varsity against the varsity. The final was 48-14. The teams will meet again, this time in the quarterfinals and this time at Hodapp Field. Hutchinson was senior-heavy last year, just as the Cardinals are this year. Hutch-inson's loss to Glencoe-Silver Lake on Wednesday dropped it to No. 6, opposite No. 3 Willmar. This will be the fourth time in five years the teams have met in post-season.