Cardinal Pride Hall of Fame set to induct 8
Current group makes up one of largest, most talented, classes in Willmar hall's history
WILLMAR — The Cardinal Pride Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022 induction class has been unveiled and it's an impressive one.
Honorees include former coach and athletic director Bob Glaesman, who is credited with starting Willmar's hockey program.
Long-time football and track assistant coach Bob Bezdicek also is among the group of eight. He is credited with starting the Cardinal Conditioning strength and weight-training program.
Mary Wild was a trailblazer as a four-sport female athlete at Willmar in the 1970s.
Jill (Lewis) Becken was a team MVP in tennis and basketball and set or shared four school track records.
Brian Nelson led Willmar to the state hockey tournament and played on a Willmar American Legion Baseball team that took second in state, eventually getting drafted by the NHL's New York Rangers.
Leah (Klaassen) Rasmussen was a standout in basketball and softball who is one of the all-time basketball scoring and rebounding leaders at South Dakota State.
Danielle (Dahl) Mikkelson was a key part of two state tournament women's hockey teams and an all-state in volleyball who received a scholarship in that sport from North Dakota State.
And, Jordan Smith was a three-sport standout who played eight seasons of professional baseball in the Cleveland Guardians organization, where he is now a minor league manager.
This year's group will be a part homecoming festivities on Friday. They'll be on the radio on KLWM with Todd Bergeth at 10 a.m. on the Open Mic program.
There is a 2 p.m. induction ceremony at the WEAC that is open to the public.
And there's a hall of fame tent past the north end zone at Hodapp Field for inductees.
Willmar plays Delano in its homecoming football game. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
Glaseman was Willmar's athletic director from 1985-2000. But before that, he was a physical education instructor and coach in Broadhead and Janesville, Wisconsin. For 13 years in Willmar, he coached hockey, football, wrestling and track and field. He's credited with starting the high school hockey programs in Janesville and Willmar.
Glaesman was inducted into the Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and the St. Paul Central High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He also was named the Minnesota State High School League's Region 2AA Athletic Director of the Year in 1994.
Dezdicek had a 33-year teaching career in Willmar and spent 30 years as an assistant varsity football coach, including 13 seasons as defensive coordinator.
He was the Central Lakes Conference Assistant Football Coach of the Year in 2006.
He also spent 23 years as an assistant track coach, coaching multiple state meet entrants. He's credited with establishing the Cardinal Conditioning summer strength training program.
Mary Wild is a 1975 graduate who was a standout athlete in that era. In her junior year of 1973-74, she lettered in both golf and track and field, being named the track team's MVP. She qualified for the first state girls track meet in the shot put, earning a distance of 39 feet, 5 inches. She also was on Willmar's inaugural volleyball and girls basketball teams.
In her senior year, she was MVP of the volleyball and basketball teams and qualified again for the state track and field meet.
In 1975, she was the first female recipient of the West Central Tribune's Lefty Ranweiler Athlete of the Year Award.
She then attended St. Cloud State University, where she competed in basketball and track field. She qualified for nationals in the discus (best throw 132-3) and the javelin (117-1).
She then was a teacher and coach in Ellsworth, Wisconsin for 33 years. She coached JV basketball for five years, JV softball for 17 years and varsity volleyball for 20 years. In volleyball, Wild-led teams won four Middle Border Conference championships and six regional titles.
Jill (Lewis) Becken
The 1979 graduate won nine varsity letters, including four in girls tennis, three in track and two in basketball.
She played No. 1 singles for four straight years and was named team MVP her senior year. A team captain, she won the sub-regional individual title her senior year.
In basketball, she was team MVP her junior year, all-conference her senior year and a team captain.
In track, she held or shared four school records in the long jump, 880-yard run, a leg of the 880 relay and a leg of the 1,600-meter relay, earning all-conference her senior year and being a team captain.
She was named Willmar's outstanding senior athlete in 1979.
Nelson is a 1984 graduate who participated in the 1983 state hockey quarterfinals against Bloomington Kennedy at Met Center. He was a member of the Willmar American Legion Baseball team that finished second in the state. The squad represent Minnesota in the national Legion tournament in Kentucky.
Nelson was a first-team all-stater in hockey in 1984 and was a member of the USA Junior National team. The squad played against Finaldn in Lake Placid, New York.
Nelson was an eighth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 1984.
Leah (Klaassen) Rasmussen
The 1996 graduate played in the state girls basketball tournament in 1992 and '94 and made the state all-tournament and all-state team in '94.
She also was on a second-place state softball tournament team in 1994.
At South Dakota State, she is on the women's basketball team's all-time leaderboard with 1,466 points and 755 rebounds. She was an All-North Central Conference athlete at SDSU in 1997 and '98.
Danielle (Dahl) Mikkelson
The 2003 graduate was a 12-time letterwinner, including four times in volleyball, five times in hockey and three times in softball.
She won all-conference or honorable-mention honors seven times, including three times each in volleyball and hockey and once in softball.
In volleyball, she was captain her senior year and all-state honorable mention in 2001. She was a three-time team MVP who had school records with 1,153 ace hits, 359 ace hits in a seasons and 325 total ace blocks.
In hockey, she was a two-time captain and part of the Cardinals' first state tournament appearances in 2002 and '03. Willmar was third in '02 and fourth in '03. She also earned academic all-state honors.
She received a volleyball scholarship from North Dakota State.
The 2009 graduate was named to five all-state teams during his high school career, including two each in football and baseball and one in basketball.
He played in state high school all-state football and baseball games and earned a state all-tournament team honor in baskketball.
He was a 15-time all-conference and all-area performer, including five times in football, four times in basketball and six times in baseball.
He then went to St. Cloud state to continue his baseball career, where he was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Freshman Player of the Year and was named to seven NCAA Division II All-American teams, including being a regional MVP, NSIC Player of the Year and a two-time Golden Glove Award Winner.
While in college, he also was a Northwoods League All-Star while playing for the Willmar Stingers, winning a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. He led the Northwoods in hits, RBIs and triples and was second in batting average an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
He was a ninth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, playing eight seasons of pro ball, reaching the Triple-A level. He was a three-time minor league all-star. He's a current team manager in the Cleveland Guardians organizations.