The St. Croix Valley Athletic Hall of Fame welcomed four new members and paid tribute to several others on Wednesday during its annual banquet at The Grand Ballroom in Stillwater. Former Stillwater basketball coaches Duane Mutschler (boys) and George Hoeppner (girls) were joined by the late Don Buege, Sr. and Molly (Miller) Casey in this year’s class.
Mutschler began coaching in Stillwater starting in 1972 and compiled a 370-232 record with seven conference championships and six region/section championships. He was named State Coach of the Year after leading the Ponies to a 23-4 state runner-up season in 1997.
Hoeppner was Stillwater’s first-ever girls’ basketball coach (not including G.A.A. basketball) in 1974 and he guided the Ponies for 18 seasons — compiling a 254-139 record (.646 winning percentage) with four conference championships and two state tournament appearances (1984 and 1988). He also started the softball program at Stillwater and coached baseball in Stillwater at various levels for three decades,
Casey was a three-sport standout for the Ponies before graduating in 1999. The current Minnetonka resident earned 14 letters while competing in swimming and diving, track and field, and gymnastics before embarking on a stellar track career at the College of St. Benedict, where she graduated in 2003. Casey was an eight-time state qualifier for the Ponies — netting all-state honors three times — and contributed to two state-qualifying teams. She still holds the Stillwater school record in the 100 hurdles at 14.67 and is a past school record holder in the floor exercise for the gymnastics team.
Buege, a 1948 Stillwater graduate who passed away in 2010, is a member of the St. Cloud State University Athletic Hall of Fame and lettered for the Ponies in track four times, basketball three and football twice. He was the captain and leading scorer for Stillwater’s 1948 conference championship team, earning all-conference honors in the process.
Adam Berkhoel was originally scheduled to be inducted, but that has been deferred because he was unable to attend the banquet, which was efficiently emceed by Mike Tompkins.
Honored as part of this year’s festivities were individuals whose accomplishments and contributions to Stillwater High School sports took place from the early 1900s into the 1970s. This year’s Legends and Past Achievers class members — which are included every five years — included Howard Hanson, Joe O’Brien and Dorothy (Simonet) Kilty from the 1940s; Gerhard “Get” Riebe and Jim Doe from 1950-1960; Robert Bliss, Kevin Meinke, Mary Blickenderfer, Dean Anderson and Daniel Carlson from the 1970s. Also honored among this group were former Stillwater Gazette sports columnist Jim McLaughlin and the “Voice of the Valley” Jim Ratte.
Stillwater’s state championship boys’ cross country (2012) and boys’ track and field (2013) teams, which are both coached by Scott Christensen, were also recognized at the banquet.
St. Croix Valley Athletic Hall of Fame
2000 — Stanley Hubbard, Tom Juhl, Neil Junker, Bob Nelson, Dr. Andrea Saterbak and Gregg Thompson.
2001 — Bill Barnett, Kevin Brochman, Jody Eder-Zdechlik, George Thole and Bev Vanstrum.
2002 — Dick Beberg, Sarah Howard, Dick Olsen and Wes Windmiller. Past achievers: Dr. Wally Bunc, Waldron Douglas, Johnny Ertle, Dick Farmer, James Junker, John Junker, Lawrence “Shoe” Junker, Bob Kolliner, Jim Olsen, Earl “Babe” Orff, Rob Ries and George Wohlers, Jr.
2003 — Chris Engler, John “Jack” Junker, Kelli Ritzer-Thomas, Marta Wilson Christmann and Leonard “Len” McGuire.
2004 — Jerry Foley, Robert “Rob” McGarry, Lindsay Brown and Frank Stewart. Teams: 1914 boys basketball, 1943 football, 1960 boys tennis, 2003 boys cross country, and 2003 girls swimming and diving.
2005 — Don Anderson, Heather Larkin, Jim Lammers, Jim Podratz and Gary Marlow. Teams: 2004-05 boys basketball, and 2004-05 gymnastics.
2006 — Bob Roy, Mike Quinlan, Daren Danielson, Bill O’Brien, Sr., and Harry “Bud” Barnholdt. Teams: 2005 girls swimming and diving, 2005 adapted soccer and 2005 football.
2007 — Mark Campbell, Greg Fouks, Jeff Nelson and Stan Demoski. Teams: 2006-07 girls hockey, 2006 boys soccer, 1954-59 and 1966 boys golf.
2008 — William Palmer, Carolyn (Frisk) Capriglione and Kris Scholz. Teams: 2007-08 Girls Nordic skiing and 2008 baseball.
2009 — Allie Blomquist, James Buege, Aaron Runk, Adam Runk and Luke Watson. Teams: 2009 boys golf and 2009 girls golf.
2010 — Alena Martens, Michael Stratton, Nate Dwyer and Kurt Gunning. Teams: 2009 boys cross country and 2009 volleyball.
2011 — Andy Berg, Sean Graham, Terry Larson, Dr. Robert Meisterling, Stacey (Schoenrock) Sheetz and Cally Stewart. Teams: 2010 girls soccer and 2011 boys track and field.
2012 — Don Campbell, Glenn Harris, Kevin Klancher, Walt Kress, Tanya Schuh Modelli, Jill (Junker) Stimson, the 1975 Stillwater football team and the 1978-85, 1988 and 1991 Stillwater synchronized swim teams. Teams: 2011 boys cross country and 2012 softball.
2013 — Donald Buege, Sr., Molly (Miller) Casey, George Hoeppner and Duane Mutschler. Teams: 2012 boys cross country and 2013 boys track and field.
Legends and Past Achievers
2002 — Dr. Wally Bunce, Waldron Douglas, Johnny Ertle, Dick Farmer, James Junker, John Junker, Lawrence “Shoe” Junker, Bob Kolliner, Jim Olsen, Earl “Babe” Orff, Rob Ries and George Wohlers, Jr.
2008 — Gerald (String) Groth, Walt Kurth, Dan Corcoran, Bob McGarry, Bruce Bergen, Joe Brochman, Jack Delahunt, Connie Knoche, Marion (Bemis) Johnson, Howard Harvieux, Howard Jiran and the 1920-1921 girls basketball team.
2013 — Dean Anderson, Mary Blickenderfer, Robert Bliss, Daniel Carlson, Jim Doe, Howard Hanson, Dorothy (Simonet) Kilty, Jim McLaughlin, Kevin Meinke, Joe O’Brien, Jim Ratte and Gerhard “Get” Riebe.