Thole: Stillwater thinclads dominate True Team sections

By GEORGE THOLE – Stillwater Gazette

It wasn’t a perfect day for Stillwater’s track and field forces, but it was darn close as the boys and girls pulled away from the others while hosting the Section 2AAA track meets last week.

Both squads benefitted from sweeps. First- and second-place sweeps are great, but 1-2-3 sweeps are one of life’s rare pleasures – it’s like a grand slam home run or a hole-in-one.

First of all, the Pony girls of coach Dawn Podolske racked up 717.5 points to hold off East Ridge with 669.5. The locals were fresh off winning the Filly Classic the previous week.

Anna Posbergh and Kelcie Kempenich had big days as the locals swept three events on the day. Brooke Hunter (16.1) led Shelby Litchy (16.8) in a 1-2 punch in the 100 hurdles. Posbergh took the long jump at 17-10 1/2 as Alicia Doerr (17-6 3/4) and Karina Ikuta (17-6) were next. The versatile Posbergh also led a 1-2-3 sweep in the pole vault with a 10-6 effort, followed by Alex Holmberg (10-0) and Doerr (9-0).

Kempenich won the 100 dash in 26.22 and the high jump at 4-10 while Rachel Amos (34-6) won the triple jump. Stillwater won the 4×100 with Lauren Olsen, Alex Crain, Bethany Adkins and Posbergh and the 4×400 with Fiona Montie, Natalie Phippen, Maria Morley and Kempenich passing the baton.

Coach Scott Christensen’s boys’ squad continued its recent surge by piling up 851.5 points with Woodbury next with a distant 699. Ponies distance runners again ruled as Wayde Hall led a sweep of the 800 with a 1:59.39 clicking and Sean Bjork (2:00.08) and Tom Linner (2:00.59) close behind.

Eric Colvin won the 3,200 in 9:36.49 and the locals blazed to victory in the 4×800 relay with Josh Choe, Evan Johnson, Zach Bigaouette and Hall getting it done. Nate Bird also came through with a winning 154-8 discus toss.

The Ponies advanced to True Team state for the 22nd time in 26 attempts and the girls are 21 for 26 in qualifying for this event.

Pony Stadium will be the site for True Team state track and field action tomorrow. Be there, as every athlete scores points and excitement abounds with every event. Don’t even be late.

Stippel shines for Michigan Tech

Former Ponies standout athlete Taylor Stippel had a fine junior season for the 21-6 Michigan Tech women’s basketball team. She came through when the Huskies needed a lift.

Stippel garnered two prestigious awards following the season. The first was the Most Improved Player award after having a standout second half of the season, including 49 percent from the floor – second best on the team. She scored a career-high 18 points against Lake Erie in the quarterfinals of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament and followed that up with a 14-point performance against Ashland in the semifinals.

Stippel has a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in liberal arts to earn the Scholastic Achievement Award from the Houghton, Mich., college.

Down Memory Lane with Jerry Foley

In today’s hectic, fast-paced society, scheduling and distances to athletic facilities often dictate the necessity of parents being more than casually involved in their children’s activities. They drive them to and from arenas, ballparks and soccer fields, and often remain to observe practices or games.

Once nonexistent, costs and athletic fees have soared during the past years. Over an extended period, this equates to parents having a substantial investment in both time and money in youth programs.

Care must be taken to parents to not become overly involved. Encouragement, support and guidance are the key elements of their involvement. It should be kept in mind that recreation, fun and enjoyment are the basic fundamentals of youth activities and amateur athletics.

Undue pressure and insisting that a youngster play a particular sport or a particular position will generally lead to failure and total turnoff. It is important to nurture and develop the love of competition and sport that will stimulate the young person and bring their talents to full bloom.

Today’s Sports

Trivia Question

Name the former Ponies football and track athlete who won the state 880 title in 1951?

In the huddle

Ponies track record holder Mary Ellen (Thomsen) Blichmann ’84, a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, lives in Lafayette, Ind., with her husband John, also an engineer, and daughters Nicole, 16, Dana, 15, and Julie, 13. Mary Ellen is a machine engineer at Caterpillar who still owns the SAHS school record in the discus with a 129-9 toss that she unleashed 28 years ago. She also competed in gymnastics for the Big Red…. Pitcher Hannah Heacox fashioned a two-hitter as the Ponies (13-7) defeated Roseville 5-donut in softball recently. She struck out 16 Raiders in the process…. Savanna Handevidt and Anne Boldt have been named to the All-Suburban East Conference basketball squad. Handevidt led the 10-16 Ponies with a 16.6 scoring average while recording 6.5 rebounds per game while Boldt averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 boards per game. Boldt was voted Most Valuable Player by her SAHS teammates and will play at Grinnell College (Iowa) next year. Handevidt will take her talents to Minnesota State-Moorhead…. Alyssa Van Klei is a recent grad of Minnesota State-Mankato and will be working on a master’s degree when she plays her final year of basketball for the Mavericks next year. Alyssa tore her ACL in a 78-74 loss to Wayne State (Neb.) in the NCAA Division II Regional finals. Her younger sister Kyli is a redshirt freshman at St. Cloud State…. If you haven’t seen "Bridesmaids" yet, you are missing out on one of life’s little treasures…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: Wally Kurth was a SHS football and track athlete who was the state 880 champion in 1951. He also officiated at Ponies track meets for several years…. Former Ponies defensive tackle and Big Red Hitter Dave Purcell ’98, who later played successfully at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, graduated from the Dental School at the University of Minnesota last Friday. Purcell was the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman for the 7-4 Ponies in 1997…. Coach Mike Parker’s Pony rawhiders (13-6) blasted Richfield 11-1 in five innings on Tuesday afternoon. Christian Abilla held the Spartans to two hits. The locals had 10 hits, with Mike Wicker going 3 for 3 with a pair of two-baggers. Abilla went 2 for 3 with Aaron Romportl, Zach Krenz, A.J. Johnson and Aaron Driscoll each recording a hit…. finis

Today’s rumination #567

Those who would choose friends over fortune know true wealth.