Mark down Sept. 18 on your calendar for the 13th Annual St. Croix Valley Athletic Hall of Fame, starting at 6 p.m. with a social hour followed by dinner and program. Tickets for the event go for $30 per copy.
This year’s slate includes Molly (Miller) Casey, Don Buege, Adam Berkhoel, George Hoeppner and Duane Mutschler. The banquet will be held at The Grand Ballroom in Stillwater.
In addition to the five inductees, a dozen individuals listed as past achievers will be recognized for their contributions.
Casey ’99 earned 14 letters in three sports, including track, swimming and gymnastics. She graduated from St. Ben’s in 2003 where she continued her track career. Molly was the MIAC 55-meter (8.54) and 100-meter (14.81) hurdles champion and holds CSB records in both events.
While she was a Ponies hurdles ace, Molly set the school record with a 14.67 effort in the 100-meter timber event and recorded a 47.37 in the 300 hurdles. After all was said and done, she qualified for state meets/tournaments on eight occasions while amassing all-state honors three times.
As a gymnast, she held the Stillwater floor exercise record until Danielle Sneden arrived in 2004. Molly was a versatile athlete who excelled as a record-setting hurdler so you know she is tough.
How about Berkhoel, a five-star goalie who led Denver University to an NCAA National Championship in 2004? For his outstanding performance he was named MVP of the Frozen Four.
For the Ponies, Berkhoel was a two-time all-conference selection as a member of the SAHS Class of 1999 and received All-Metro distinction that same year. Berkhoel played one season with the Twin Cities Vulcans before heading to the Mile High City.
During that historic 2004 season, Berkhoel received the Bill Masterson MVP award and the Athlete of the Year Award from the Pioneers. This led to him being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks to start a seven-year professional career.
Buege ’48 was a three-sport Stillwater athlete and earned all-conference honors in football, basketball and track. The nine-time letterwinner for the Ponies passed away in 2004.
After moving on to St. Cloud State University, Buege was an all-conference performer and captained the Huskies basketball team. His exploits on the floor were enough to earn induction into the SCSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. The fact that he was the Northern Intercollegiate Conference shot put and discus champion didn’t hurt his chances, either.
Coach Scott Christensen’s state champion boys’ cross country and track and field teams from last year will also be recognized at the banquet.
There will also be a dozen past achievers who will be recognized, including the late Jim McLaughlin of WAVN and Stillwater Gazette fame and the one-and-only Jim “Voice of the Valley” Ratte. The others include Howard Hanson, Joe O’Brien, Dorothy (Simonet) Kilty, Gerhard Riebe, Jim Doe, Bob Bliss, Kevin Meinke, Mary Blickenderfer, Dean Anderson and Dan Carlson.
Look for recaps of Mutschler and Hoeppner next week.
In the huddle
Stillwater senior-to-be Jenna Jahnke has been the driving force behind the emerging growth of the SAHS trap shooting team. That’s right, sports fans, trap shooting has arrived as the latest club sport at Stillwater High School and it’s growing fast. The Ponies practice
at the Hudson Rod and Gun Club and compare their scores with other high school teams across the state…. My hometown Petaluma, Calif., knocked Burnsville out of the American Legion Baseball World Series 3-1 in Shelby, N.C., on Sunday…. With the youth sports seasons coming on, care must be taken by parents to not become over-involved. Encouragement, support and guidance should be the key elements of parental involvement. It should be remembered that putting undo pressure and insisting that a youngster play a particular position or sport will generally lead to turn-off. Foster the love for competition — that’s what it is really about…. Former Ponies distance ace Captain Dave Ratte USN, gave a fine speech on the Veterans Memorial Cruise aboard the Andiamo on Monday night…. That was a great shindig at the reunion of that blockbuster SAHS Class of 1983 last Saturday at The Grand in Stillwater. Thirty years after graduation, they appear to be much wiser and a credit to our beloved high school. Organizers of the ’83 reunion should take a bow for the five-star event…. My NDSU spies tell me that former Ponies golf star Hailey Boner ’12 is going great guns for the Bison. She tied for sixth place in the Summit League Golf Tournament last spring with an average round of 80. Bison senior Amy Anderson took top honors for the third year in the conference and
finished her collegiate career as a 20-time tournament champion — surpassing Juli Inkster’s previous record of 17. I’d say Boner had a superb freshman year. Speaking of NDSU, former Bison linebacker Stuart Helgason will be inducted into the Minnesota Old-Timers Football Hall of Fame at its banquet on Sept. 17 at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Huddle starts at 5:30 p.m., with the delicious steak dinner (and desert) hitting the table at 6:45 p.m. Tickets for $30 are available from the sage Jerry Foley at 651-439-1379. I will again emcee the event. Helgason was a star all-conference linebacker at Alexander Ramsey who was captain for two North Dakota State University football teams that won national championships. Murray Warmath told him he was too small to play for the Gophers, but he led the Bison in total tackles both years. Helgason lives in Lake Elmo with his lovely wife Laurie and children Austin and Michaela. This year’s other inductees include Dick Hammond (Henry Sibley, Macalester), Warren Olson (Rush City, Hamline), Gene Pica (Johnson) and former long-time Gophers football trainer Jim Marshall. The Stillwater area is well represented as Helgason’s induction brings that total to nine. Other locals previously enshrined include moi (Petaluma, Calif., NDSU), Gary Gustafson (Windom, Gustavus Adolphus), Jerry Foley (Humboldt, Hamline), Tony Alleva (Humboldt, St. Thomas), Bob Nelson (SAHS, Nebraska, Bills Raiders), Rob McGarry (SAHS, Notre Dame), Bob Meslow (Chippewa Falls, St. Olaf) and Gene “Taco” Bealka — Distinguished Service Award (Humboldt, Hamline)…. Together we build courage, character and loyalty…. finis
Today’s rumination #630
If you saw yourself as others do, you wouldn’t believe your eyes.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org