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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WILLMAR - The Northwoods League made it official Wednesday afternoon at a news conference at the Holiday Inn Convention Center -- a summer collegiate baseball team will play 34 games at Bill Taunton Stadium starting in 2010. A contest will determine the new team's nickname. Willmar becomes the 15th team in the wood bat league, which plays a 68-game schedule, plus playoffs, from early June to the middle of August. Ryan Voz and Marc Jerzak, who have a combined 20 years of Northwoods experience, are co-owners and will handle day-to-day operations. Former administrators for the St.
Willmar Cardinals (3-3) at Rocori Spartans (3-3) Today, 7 p.m. ROCORI OVERVIEW: Like Willmar, the Spartans also are under a first-year coach -- Bob Rowe a former assistant at Minot College and St. Cloud State University. Also, similar to the Cardinals, Rocori operates out of a shotgun spread. Senior quarterback Derek Leiser threw for 279 yards and ran for 70 more in his first varsity start, a 35-14 win over St. Cloud Apollo in Week 1. He will use five or six different receivers. Spencer Schulte, a 6-2, 175-pound senior is the principle rusher.
WILLMAR -- This was the match Willmar had been building up for an entire month after losing in five games at Alexandria on Sept. 8. "We were so excited," said senior setter Jennie Mattison.
Ridgewater (1-1, 2-4) at Fond du Lac (1-1, 2-4) 1:30 pm. Today at Cloquet FOND DU LAC OVERVIEW: The third-year program has wins over Minnesota West (25-0) in Week 3 and Itasca (24-14, OT) in Week 5. Quarterback Rumea Carlton (900 yards, 9 INT, 7 TD) of Ft. Meade, Fla., leads an explosive offense, with wideout Branden Peterson (Apple Valley, Eastview) the leading receiver 19 catches for 412 yards and two TDs. Running back March Jones (Montgomery, Ala.) has rushed for 349 yards, the most in the North Division.
Robert Johnson is stout with muscular arms and a thick neck, but you need to lean in to hear him. His gentle voice and kind manner belies the rugged game he plays. The 6-foot-1 280-pound Twin Cities native plays defensive tackle for the Ridgewater Warriors. Since graduating in 2007 from Apple Valley High School, he's seen more adversity than most athletes deal with in a lifetime. He started college at Southwest Minnesota State intending to play Mustang football. But an old basketball injury hadn't completely healed and required surgery.
Willmar Cardinals (3-2) at Sauk Rapids Storm (4-1) Friday, 7 p.m. WILLMAR OVERVIEW: The Cardinals are in the rebound-mode for the second time this season. They struck back from the Brainerd loss by overtaking Little Falls in last 10 minutes. The Flyers, by the way, got a rare win Friday over St. Cloud Tech, 9-8, their first win at Clark Field in 18 years. The Cardinals lost to the Storm last year, 35-14 at Hodapp, but got the "W" last time on the Storm field (45-20 in 2007).
WILLMAR -- The Willmar boys were second to Moorhead and the Willmar girls finished in sixth place at the Optimist Cross Country Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Eagle Creek Golf Club. The Moorhead girls were also victorious in a field of 12 schools. The same rolling terrain of the Eagle Creek's back nine will be the site of the Central Lakes Conference meet on Oct. 20 and also the Section 2AA meet on Oct. 29. The Cardinal girls were led at Saturday's meet by Tara Rudie in 18th place. The Willmar boys, who are ranked No. 10 in Class AA, got a measure of their strength against the No.
Ridgewater (1-0, 2-3) at Minnesota West (0-0, 1-4) 1:30 p.m. today at Worthington MINNESOTA WEST: This meeting rates a toss-up with neither team showing an edge. The Bluejays beat Northland, which beat the Warriors. But in Week 1, Ridgewater beat Itasca, which dumped Minnesota West 24-14 last week. This is the Southern Division opener for the Blue Jays, who average 198 yards of offense while allowing 229 yards per game against the five teams in the North. Quarterback Chris Bible has thrown for 407 yards with five interceptions and two touchdowns.