Thole: Stillwater class reunions are on the move

The Stillwater Class of 1983 helped make the inaugural Prep Bowl a rousing success for the locals with a 34-27 victory over Owatonna at the Metrodome in the fall of 1982.

The Stillwater Class of 1983 helped make the inaugural Prep Bowl a rousing success for the locals with a 34-27 victory over Owatonna at the Metrodome in the fall of 1982.

I’ve often said that if it wasn’t for women we wouldn’t have salads, birthdays, anniversaries or class reunions. This isn’t always the case, but it does apply 97 percent of the time.

The Stillwater Class of 1983 and Class of 1988 are celebrating their 30- and 25-year reunions on the same day — Saturday, Aug. 17 — with the former heading to Stillwater’s Grand Ballroom and the Andiamo for an evening cocktail cruise as the destination for the latter.

That bunch from 1983 was special for me because they won the state football title in Prep Bowl I that was played in the first year at the Metrodome. Stillwater’s Conco provided the team with turf shoes and the fun was about to begin.

The all-day extravaganza planned by the MSHSL featured more than 43,000 fans, 2,363 persons in the massed band — which included 374 flutes, 332 trumpets, 73 tubas, 21 marching bands, 14 choirs and six dance lines. All of this for only 10 bucks, what a deal!

The Ponies (11-1) snapped Owatonna’s 19-game win streak while earning a 34-27 victory in the large-school game. Matt Brine and Bryan Boucher were captains that year. There were several outstanding Ponies teams 30 years ago, but football is obviously stuck in my memory.

Check out The Grand from 6 p.m.-midnight, plus golf and other stuff on www.stillwaterponies83.com.

Not to be outdone, the Class of 1988 that also featured a solid bunch of outstanding athletes and teams will be celebrating 25 years after breaking out of SHS. All of the sports were good back then, but my friend Carolyn Frisk was leading the girls’ basketball team (20-7) to the state tournament. She not only starred, but remains the only Ponies player to receive Minnesota’s Ms. Basketball Award.

The cost to join the fun is $30 in advance ($45 at the door) for a 2 1/2-hour boat ride, with check-in at 8 p.m. Additional information and registration is available on the Stillwater High School Class of ’88 Facebook page. There is also an email with too many characters for me to mess with so I won’t. Send your check to Class of 1988, 11259 30th St., Lake Elmo, MN 55042.

The boat leaves at 8:30 p.m., and returns at 11 p.m. Speaking of which, I missed the boat once and almost drowned swimming after it.

Register today and be eligible to win many prizes before the event.

In case I left something out or you are still clueless, call Kiersten (Thole) Jaeger at 651-222-5332 or email ktjaeger@yahoo.com. I’ll bet that Chris Shaffer of WCCO TV will be at the reunion, but I’m not so sure about President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

 

Post #5725 places third

The Lake Elmo VFW baseball team extended its record to 16-8 while placing third at the Eagan Tournament last week. The good guys handled Spring Lake Park 13-8 in the opener and followed with a 7-5 victory over New Prague in 10 innings.

Aiden Zurn pitched the final five innings for the win and also delivered a two-run single in the 10th to down New Prague. Next up for Lake Elmo was an 8-7 loss to Minnetonka.

All 16 players on the team reached base at least once for the locals and 14 of them had at least one hit in the 14-11 third-place win over Eagan. Hunter Glasrud finished 7 for 13 in the tourney, with a triple and five ribeyes.

 

In the huddle

Television contracts are what make some sports thrive over others, take the apparent demise of boxing as one example. With guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, boxing had the highest rating at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal , but amateur boxing — including the Olympics — is rarely seen on the tube these days. In fact, we don’t see big fights of any kind without shelling out around $60 to see it on pay-per-view. Sponsors don’t like the sport because it could end in one round, and often does. If you are not in a major TV market, you are doomed. Promoters like Don King and Bob Arum did not help…. “Coaching the Veer Offense”, formerly “From Veer to Eternity — Coaching a Football Dynasty” penned by the sage Jerry Foley and moi is still selling after it was first published in 2004. The book has moved through two editions and there’s also a digital version. The book, which is being offered in England, Germany, Norway and Ireland, is distributed by Coaches Choice in Monterey, Calif. If interested, I can find a copy or two in my man cave…. Maria Morley has been named the Most Valuable Athlete by the Section 4AA champion Stillwater girls’ track and field team. Morley received all-state recognition, along with Brooke Hunter, Shelby Litchy, Fiona Montie, Natalie Phippen, Cecelia Peterson, Larissa Colvin and Hannah Anderson. Skyler Adkins and Rachel Amos joined the aforementioned Ponies on the all-conference squad. Next year’s edition of coach Dawn Podolske’s thinclads will be captained by Adkins, Haley Beech, Amos and Bria Eder-Zdechlik. The Ponies have captured eight section titles in the past two lustrums…. The Stillwater Country Club placed second to Hazeltine National in a 17-team Twin Cities Senior League competition hosted by the locals on Thursday, June 27. Stillwater’s Joe Eichten and Dick Blooston of Edina were medalists with a 74 on the

MSHSL associate director Lisa Lissimore, a former Grand View University basketball star shown with George Thole at the recent MSHSL Hall of Fame Banquet, played for former Stillwater Junior High School assistant principal Steve Studer as a prep at St. Paul Central.

MSHSL associate director Lisa Lissimore, a former Grand View University basketball star shown with George Thole at the recent MSHSL Hall of Fame Banquet, played for former Stillwater Junior High School assistant principal Steve Studer as a prep at St. Paul Central.

par-72 course. Eichten was an all-conference defensive back on the Ponies’ 1975 state champion football team…. One of the perks of my recent induction into the MSHSL Hall of Fame was that I had the opportunity to visit with former St. Paul Central basketball star Lisa Lissimore, a long-time associate director of the Minnesota State High School League. I remember back to the day that she led the Minutemaids to the girls’ basketball state title in 1976. Former Stillwater Junior High School assistant principal Steve Studer coached that team. Lissimore later played at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, where her team locked horns with the UW-River Falls Lady Falcons coached by Dennis Bloom — yes, the same guy who later coached the Stillwater cagers and was the athletics director before becoming the director of operations for ISD 834. Neither person shed any light on which the better team was. I can safely say that Lissimore is a credit to the MSHSL and a charming lady…. Mariah Smith has been selected MVP by the SAHS synchronized swim team. She joins Katie Koenning and Skyler Olson on the all-conference squad. The latter pair were also selected co-captains for next year…. Together we build character, courage and loyalty…. finis

 

Today’s rumination #626

Adversity causes some to break — and others to break records.

• • • •

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: georgethole@gmail.com

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