Thole: Ladies make history at alumni golf tourney

The popular Stillwater Area High School Alumni Golf Tournament was held last month at Stillwater Country Club. Joe “Dode” Simonet launched the ceremonial opening tee shot to start the event, which drew 144 players and was won by recent graduates Cassie Deeg, Hailey Boner, Alex Zeuli and Abby Thiets.

By GEORGE THOLE — Stillwater Gazette

Title IX was passed in 1972, paving the way for the so-called weaker sex to show some muscle. Keeping that in mind, a female foursome walked away with top honors for the first time in the 16-year history of the annual SAHS Alumni Golf Tournament at Stillwater Country Club.

Golfers representing eight decades took part in the event, which raised $3,500 for the coffers of the SAHS athletic department. Recent Ponies stars Cassie Deeg ’12, Hailey Boner ’12, Alex Zeuli ’12 and Abby Thiets ’11 claimed the coveted title trophy — an honor they have become used to with their recent back-to-back state runner-up finishes.

They donated the $100 cash prize to their alma mater.

Determining second place wasn’t as easy as the competition was so close the officials had to consult the scorecards through 10 holes before confirming Dave Junker ’80, Lee Valsvik ’78, Mike Ritzer and Kevin Milbrandt as the runner-ups.

Joe “Dode” Simonet ’41 hit the ceremonial opening tee shot in front of 144 alumni golfers. The 89-years young Simonet was a player-coach when he cavorted for the Ponies.

Craig “Legs” Anderson ’89 won closest to the pin on No. 8 and Mark Brine ’79 was the closest on No. 13. Teri Kindseth ’82 was the closest to the pin among women playing No. 8. The long drive winner was Shelly Fritz ’82 for the women and Milbrandt for the men.

The SAHS lacrosse team passed out hot dogs and the boys’ golf team took care of par-3 betting and registration. Organizer Bill O’Brien ’80 says: “Anyone wanting to put in a foursome for next year can email me at [email protected] The tournament is always held the first Monday after the 4th of July.”


Ratte to head U of M

NROTC program

Capt. Dave Ratte ’80 will begin his twilight tour for the U.S. Navy in September. The former SAHS 4.0 grade point average student and 1984 distinguished graduate of the Naval Academy will command the NROTC detachment at the University of Minnesota.

His new title will be Professor of Naval Science and we’re happy to see his return to the St. Croix Valley. Ratte served as Capt. of the submarine Minneapolis-St. Paul, commanded 17 ballistic attack force base in the state of Washington and also served at the Pentagon — he has a multitude of accomplishments too lengthy to list here.

Ratte was an all-conference and state track participant in the 1,500 meters for the Ponies his senior season. Dave and his lovely wife, Karen, are planning to settle in Stillwater after his retirement — at least that is what I’m hoping for.


Today’s Sports

Trivia Question

Name the former Ponies baseball and football standout who went on to star in the former at the U.S. Air Force Academy?


In the Huddle

Former Ponies star defensive lineman Brian Arnfelt is set for his final season as a starting defensive tackle for the Northwestern Wildcats. Arnfelt graduated from the Evanston, Ill., University in June with a bachelor’s degree in sports

Stillwater graduate Brian Arnfelt is gearing up for his senior football season at Northwestern University.

administration. Brian received the Northwestern Scholastic Achievement Award for excellence in academics and football. The Lake Elmo native was also a recipient of a Big Ten Scholarship Award. Arnfelt and the Wildcats will take on our beloved Minnesota Gophers on Oct. 13 at TCF Stadium at 11 a.m. Arnfelt wears No. 91…. Former all-conference linebacker Mark Kubacki of the 2006 Ponies (8-4, section champs) got a chance to coach sophomore football candidate Riley Van Klei at the Sports International Kevin Williams Football Camp at the University of St. Thomas this summer. Kubacki, who played briefly at the U of North Dakota until getting injured, will coach linebackers this fall for the

Former Ponies football player and coach Mark Kubacki, left, worked with Stillwater sophomore Riley Van Klei, right, at the Sports International Kevin Williams Football Camp earlier this summer.

Tommies. Van Klei was selected to the camp’s Golden Elite squad for the second year in a row…. Congratulations to swimming ace Summer Olson and distance runner Tom Linner for receiving the 2011-12 Kolliner Awards. Olson was a three-time MVP for the synchronized swim team and a star speed swimmer who was also voted MVP last fall. It’s also been a great year for Linner, who previously received the Ern Peaslee Award and the Jim McLaughlin Scholarship Award…. Tim Kilty and Ken Schad tied for the inaugural Kolliner Award in 1951. The award went co-ed in 1977 with Mark Miller and Mary Blickendorfer. Sarah Christenson was the first female to get the award in 1976…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: Lt. Col. Glenn Harris was a standout all-conference captain in football and all-state in baseball. Harris played a major role in the Ponies (20-5) state baseball title in 1991 and set records while collecting several honors for his MVP play at the AFA. The Ponies (10-3, section grid champs, state semifinalists) were also blessed by Harris’ leadership…. After 50 years of married bliss, Karen Thole and I will renew our vows tomorrow night at the Washington County Fair. Weather permitting. If you think we’re going to stand out there in the rain you’re crazy — this isn’t football…. Don’t tread on me, because I’m aging…. finis


Today’s rumination #577

You cannot shake hands with clenched fists.

• • • •

George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: [email protected]