Thole: Spilseth wins K and G golf tournament

Jack “Ace” Anderson, left, and Tom Gag are each past winners of the K and G Cup, which began in 2007 at Stillwater Country Club.
Jack “Ace” Anderson, left, and Tom Gag are each past winners of the K and G Cup, which began in 2007 at Stillwater Country Club.

Dr. Paul Spilseth defeated Dave Hanson to win the 2013 K and G golf tournament finals at Stillwater Country Club on Aug. 22. Spilseth won the coveted title for the first time in its seven-year history.

Going into this year, JackAceAnderson sported the best overall record of 13-5 and had never lost a first-round match — until this year. His winning percentage of .722 tops the field of 44 golfers who have participated in the event.

Dr. Paul Spilseth
Dr. Paul Spilseth

Before I go any further, I should mention the past champions. Tom Rooker won the inaugural title in 2007, followed by Ace Anderson in 2008 and Steve Karr in 2009. DanArchieBrookman stepped into the winner’s circle in 2010, followed by Hanson a year later and Tom Gag last year in leading up to the good doctor’s victory last month.

The K and G Cup got its beginning in 2006 when Bob Karr and Gag discussed how they could increase the number of golfers on Thursday afternoons and how to interest them in staying for dinner afterwards.

After many iterations and with input from others, the K and G Cup invitational tournament was launched. It is a double-elimination, match-play tournament. Two trophies are awarded, the championship trophy and a consolation trophy that is contested by the losers in the first round.

Players pay a participation fee and match-ups are determined at a dinner held in the spring. Trophies are then awarded at the end of the year, along with payouts to the top finishers.

Frequent — some might say too frequent — communications are made throughout the season to keep everyone informed and to maintain interest into the fall.

Get this, sports fans, 16 players were invited to participate in the inaugural series back in 2007 and 15 of those hung around to participate in this year’s tournament. There are even 10 hopefuls on a waiting list hoping to be invited to play in 2014.

A typical Thursday now has 20-24 golfers who play and hang around for dinner.

It is quite a diverse group, with ages spanning the mid-40s to mid-70s. Participants have included a former mayor of Bayport, two former Stillwater councilmen, a plumber, a pipefitter, small business owners, a doctor, retired 3M executives, lawyers and bankers… and a partridge in a pear tree.

I couldn’t help but notice the names of several former Ponies who have displayed their skills in the K and G Cup competition. They include Joe Fogerty from the Class of 1961, Dr. Rick Schneider ’64, Dan Ridgway, Brookman ’70, Ward Simon ’74, Frank Raduenz ’78, Steve Karr ’88 and Rob Gag ’89. Don’t forget former Ponies hockey coach Wayne Orn.

A few of the above are hackers, but I won’t disclose their names. Next year’s event promises to be bigger and better as Spilseth’s rein may be short lived.

You don’t suppose K and G stands for Karr and Gag, do you?


Girls cross country alums still running strong

Six former Ponies girls are competing in cross country in the college ranks, including Kristen Mueller at St. Olaf, Cassie Pratt at UW-La Crosse, Annie Olson at UW-Stevens Point, Tayler Huston at St. Ben’s, Kate Sneden at St. Lawrence and Elise Buchman at Benedictine College.


Today’s Sports Trivia

Name the three Ponies football players from the 1996 team (12-1, state semifinalist) that went on to captain NCAA Division I college teams.


In the huddle

I was pleasantly surprised to see that former Ponies and Northwestern Wildcats football standout Brian Arnfelt made the practice squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Arnfelt, an undrafted free agent signed by the team last spring, used his time in Evanston wisely after earning a master’s degree in sports administration…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia: Defensive back Adam Runk at Iowa State, offensive tackle Paul Diercks at Montana State and Nate Dwyer at Kansas each served as captains for their college teams. Runk and Dwyer were all-state and Diercks was all-conference for the Ponies 12-1 conference and section champs. All three were junior starters on Stillwater’s 1995 state championship outfit that finished 14-0…. Former Ponies volleyball ace Adri Nora, who was doing exceptionally well at Baylor University after two seasons at the Waco, Texas school, has transferred to the U of Minnesota. Checking out some of the other ex-Ponies still playing the sport we find senior Kayla Zeno and freshman Bri Horwath at Northern Illinois. Other former Stillwater players on the college scene include Brooke Hunter at Macalester, Emily McDonough at Concordia-St. Paul, Mary Mikutowski at UM-Crookston and Kitty Tynen and UW-Superior. Bob Fisher is in his first year as Ponies head coach and has his team off to a 4-3 start after placing second in the Apple

Below, Stillwater receiver Jordan Phelps is wide open while camped under a 28-yard touchdown pass thrown by halfback Zach Knox in Friday’s 35-0 victory over Forest Lake at Pony Stadium.
Below, Stillwater receiver Jordan Phelps is wide open while camped under a 28-yard touchdown pass thrown by halfback Zach Knox in Friday’s 35-0 victory over Forest Lake at Pony Stadium.

Valley Tournament…. Upon the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless thousands who on the threshold of victory hesitated, and in doing so, they perished…. The Stillwater Ponies football team (2-0) crushed Forest Lake 35-zippo last Friday night. Junior tight end Matt Anderson caught a 12-yard pass from Trevor Tillett for the Ponies’ first touchdown in the opening quarter and he added an 18-yarder from Tillett for the team’s last touchdown in the third quarter. In between, lineman Peter Palecek (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) scored on a 3-yarder to become the largest player in school history ever to score a touchdown — that’s a fact that I will argue with anybody. Junior RB Zach Knox, who rushed for 15 yards in 112 carries, hit a very wide open Jordan Phelps with a 28-yard paydirt strike. In fact, Phelps was so wide open I was afraid he might drop it. Tomorrow night, the good guys will take on Cretin-Derham Hall (1-1) at the U of St. Thomas with kick-off at 7 p.m. The game will be telecast on ESPN2. The all-time series currently stands 6-6…. Since the Minnesota State High School League’s Challenge Cup was established in 2003-04, Eden Prairie has claimed the title six times, with Wayzata and Lakeville racking up two each…. Together we build courage, character and loyalty…. finis


Today’s rumination #633

A goal without a plan is a dream.

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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: [email protected]