Former Cardinal standout Hagemeyer now making a splash in collegiate pool

Scott Hagemeyer (WHS '03) helped Gustavus Adolphus win a fifth straight MIAC swimming and diving championship on Saturday. St. Olaf was a close second and St. John's a distant third.

Scott Hagemeyer (WHS '03) helped Gustavus Adolphus win a fifth straight MIAC swimming and diving championship on Saturday. St. Olaf was a close second and St. John's a distant third.

Hagemeyer is the conference 50-freestyle champion for a third straight year. His time of 20.88 was short of his 20.41 meet-record time as a freshman. He was the top qualifier in the 100 freestyle, but was touched out by Jacob Koch of St. Olaf in the final on Saturday, 45.76 to 45.88. He also was runner-up in the backstroke in 51.92.

The Gusties ended the three-day event with a record-setting win in the 400-freestyle relay. Hagemeyer anchored the foursome, which set a school record, a new MIAC meet and an overall record.

The quartet also qualified for the national meet with their winning time of 3:03.99.

The tall junior from Willmar also anchored the winning 200-year freestyle relay on Thursday. The time of 1:22.77 was also an automatic national qualifier. He also swam on the Gusties 400-yard medley relay which was second to St. Olaf.


Hagemeyers's teammates include Josh Waylander of Montevideo, who was third in the 200 backstroke in 1:56.53.

Hagemeyer lettered six years in swimming. He reached the state on two relays as a sophomore and four events as both a junior and senior. He was sixth in the 50 freestyle as a junior and fifth in the 100 freestyle.

As a senior he won both events at the Aquatics Center at the University of Minnesota - double gold in Class AA.

Scott's younger brother Ryan swam Stingrays and lettered as a seventh grader when Scott was a junior. But the next year Ryan elected basketball and presumably hasn't looked back. Like his older brother, he's tall and athletic, so he would have likely developed into a state-meet swimmer for coach Carl Shuldes.

Shuldes and the Cardinals are at the Section 2A meet in Hutchinson this Friday and Saturday. Last year's current sophomore Andrew Nicklawsky and current junior Matt Fuglestad qualified for state on both the 200- and 400-relay teams. But the other half of those relays - Eric Laingen and Kyle Eckhoff - are graduated and the replacements are still quite young on a team without seniors and only three juniors. Fuglestad also qualified out of sections in the butterfly last year. Another swimmer to watch is Steve Kluver, who placed second in the Central Lakes Conference backstroke.

On the fly

Laura Nielsen, who has played varsity since eighth grade, is approaching Lori Roufs (WHS '92) all-time scoring record at Willmar of 1,545 points. Nielsen has 1,529 points after scoring 16 against Rocori. The 6-2 post is also within 20 rebounds of reaching 1,000. The final two rounds of Section 8AAA are at Moorhead, 100 miles more distant than last year's site at Collegeville.

Two products of Willmar hockey, ex-Cardinal Lee Engstrom (WHS '01) and Tracy Engstrom (WHS '98), an ex-Gopher, were a brother-sister coaching combo at Eastview High School this winter. They were the assistant varsity coaches under Gary Hughes. The Lightning finished 8-15-3, exiting after losing to 5AA champion Holy Angels in the playoffs. Lee lettered here three years. Tracy played boys traveling hockey here until joining the Minnesota Thoroughbreds 19U, and then playing four seasons with the Minnesota Gophers.


Boys junior varsity hockey coach Dan Tollefson (WHS '88) said he enjoyed his first year coaching at the high school level. The team, which finished at .500, worked hard and played well together, he said.

Darren Solbrack, who played two years for the college here after graduating from Willmar in 2003, has played in 15 games for the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs basketball team, which is 12-12. The 6-7 forward is averaging three points and two rebounds as a spot player.

First-year Ridgewater College head coach Shawn Kopischke couldn't quite get the Warriors into the state tournament, but he did accomplish a rare feet: sweeping the Fergus Falls Spartans coached by Dave Retzlaff. Even No. 1 Minneapolis was unable to do that this year, losing at Fergus. Retzlaff, the dean of community college coaches in this state, is retiring after 38 season guiding Spartan basketball to a 615-355 record. The Spartans missed the state tournament only three times in 36 years and were the NJCAA Division III National champions in 1998 with a 29-0 record. Dave will stay on as athletic director. Son Jason, the assistant coach, becomes head coach.

In last week's column, I mistakenly put Nordic skier Philip Cleary in the wrong class. He's just a junior, though he's been the boys team leader the last two years and a varsity mainstay for three.

Kelsey Fehl is a junior infielder for the Minnesota State Moorhead Dragons fastpitch team that opens this weekend at St. Cloud State's Husky Dome Invite.

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