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 -- Willmar's prospects aren't as bright as some years for advancing individuals to state. The Cardinals will be swimming and diving in their home pool Thursday at the Section 3A preliminaries starting at 5 p.m. Swimmers and divers from 10 schools, including Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield and Montevideo, will compete. The two-stage meet continues on Saturday in Willmar with diving prelims at 11 a.m. and the finals in all events at 3 p.m. "We'll need a good day," said coach Carl Shuldes, commenting on Willmar's chances for gaining state slots.
Michael Dunham, who quarterbacked the Willmar Cardinals for the better part of three seasons, is 3-0 as a starter at Concordia College. The Cobbers improved to 3-4 in the MIAC and 5-4 overall by beating Carleton 31-19 in Northfield Saturday. Dunham threw for 162 yards and ran for 45 more, though three sacks made it a net 32. His 20-yard keeper capped the scoring in the fourth quarter. The 6-2, 190-pound sophomore has an impressive quarterback efficiency of 129.19.
COACH Bob Knutson, 4th season Asst. coaches Matt Gustafson, Rick Houske LAST SEASON MCAC: 8-4, 3rd place South Division MCAC state tournament: 2-1, consolation champion Overall record: 18-11 KEY DATES Opener: today, 8 p.m., home, Central Lakes South Division opener: Jan. 6, 2010, home, Anoka-Ramsey MCAC State Tournament: Feb.
COACH Carrie Ogdahl, 15th season LAST SEASON MCAC: 5-7, 4th place South Division Overall record: 11-14 KEY DATES Opener: Today, 6 p.m., home, Central Lakes South Division opener: Jan. 6, 2010, home, Anoka-Ramsey MCAC State Tournament: Feb.
NORTHFIELD - A strategy productive in conference and section race may not work in the state meet. Willmar found that out Saturday at the state Class AA Boys Cross Country Meet at St. Olaf College. The Cardinals, at best, had hoped to finish ninth in the 16-team field. They left the start line near the back of the 160-runner mass intending to work their way up, but they ended up in 13th place, one place better than their finish a year ago. "It's crazy out there," said Willmar's C.J. Seifert, who was running in his first state meet. "There are people everywhere.
ST. CLOUD - The New London-Spicer Wildcats are back in state. For the second time, they did it by beating the renowned Albany Huskies, who have been to state 18 times. This time it was a thrilling 20-18 victory in the Section 6AAA final on Friday. "It feels better because it was so close," said NLS senior John Nething when asked to compare the consecutive titles.
NORTHFIELD -- The Willmar boys are back at the state cross country meet for the sixth straight year, while the New London-Spicer girls return for the first time since 2002. The state meet is Saturday at St. Olaf College beginning with the Class AA boys at 10 a.m. The Wildcats, the Section 6A runners-up, are back at state for the 12th time overall. NLS won consecutive Class A state titles from 2000-2002. Willmar, the Section 2AA champions, are in elite company with its run of six straight appearances.
If a yardstick is needed, the trip to Hutchinson was it. When it comes to playing power football, the Cardinals have a long way to go. There were earlier indications -- one-sided games at home vs. Brainerd and Sartell. Those are the kind of teams that Willmar just can't match up with physically. Against bigger, stronger opponents, the game plan has about as much chance as a match in a hurricane. The kids know it. The coaches know it. If Willmar is going to compete for a spot in the section final each year, it's going to take a lot more sweat equity.
HUTCHINSON -- To no one's surprise, Hutch-inson manhandled the Willmar Cardinals on Saturday afternoon in Section 2AAAA football. It was just that the Tigers made it look so darn easy. The Tigers' senior tailback, Jaeden Scott, covered 70 yards in two rushes on the game's first possession for the first of his five touchdowns in a 48-14 rout. "Obviously, we didn't show up today," said defensive end Patrick Schueller, one of eight seniors who played their final game. "We worked hard all year.