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Blast ideas abound as summer moves on; answers revealed to quiz questions

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Blast ideas abound as summer moves on; answers revealed to quiz questions
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHNGTON -- It has been an interesting two weeks since I wrote my last "blast" which featured an 18-point quiz.

While not many readers -- just three -- actually took the time to fully respond, I did receive lots of favorable comments about the column and did get a bunch of verbal answers to some of the questions.


Later in this week's "blast," I will reveal all 18 answers and also divulge the name of the person who had the most right answers.

But first, a brief look at what's to come -- concerning featured stories -- in the upcoming "blasts."

One story that needs to be told is the tale of the 1974 Lakefield fast-pitch softball team.

I ran into Mike Schaefer, a 1973 Okabena High School graduate, in his hometown on the Fourth of July. Mike now lives with his family in Minnetonka -- and some of the talk was about how the Skippers rallied to win the Class AAAA boys' basketball state championship with a dramatic comeback over Henry Sibley in the finals.

But Mike also had to tell me about how that '74 Lakefield team that he played for won five games one Sunday -- through the loser's bracket -- and claimed the three-state regional championship in Grand Forks, N.D.

Helping Lakefield win the title were a pair of local draftees -- pitcher Chuck Engler from Heron Lake and shortstop Greg Rossow from Windom.

Yes, Greg Rossow was the answer to No. 18 in the quiz -- who has had the most "ink" in this column? Now, he has been mentioned again -- and will get some more ink when I finish researching the story.

Another topic that I will feature will be the 1956 Adrian amateur team that played in the state tournament -- the town's first state entrant, according to team member Francis Lonneman, who was just two years out of St. Adrian's High School that summer when "Don't Be Cruel" by Elvis Presley was topping the nation's rock charts.

The "flip side" of that record was doing quite well, too. What was the name of that song?

Anyway, I ran into Francis at the Wilmont vs. Adrian amateur game that I covered last week and became fascinated with a new story to research and develop into a future "Blast-from-the-Past" story.

I also ran into Jackson native Chuck Vos, who used to live in Windom, but now is a Slayton resident.

Chuck said that he really likes my "blast" and told me a few things about the 1958 Jackson Bluejays that won the District 7 boys' basketball championship.

That tale will have to wait until next winter.

Speaking of 1958, Windom's Dave Fjeld has had a series of interesting items in his weekly Cottonwood County Citizen column about the 1958 Windom High School mile relay team that ran in the state track meet.

Not only did the Eagles have a good mile relay team that spring, but they also had a state champion hurdler and finished high in the team standings of the state meet.

But that story will have to wait until next spring -- when it's 51 years old.

This past spring, I intended to do a story about the 1978 Slayton Wildcats that won the Class A team championship in boys' track. That too, will need to wait until the spring of 2009.

A story that I am going to do this summer is a follow up to one that I did last summer.

I need to call Junior Severson and Jim Dibble to recall the story of the 1966 Westbrook amateur baseball team that advanced to the state tournament, giving the town two such trips in three years.

I did a story on the '64 team last summer.

So, there are just a few of the ideas that I have been given for upcoming "blasts."

"Blast" answers revealed

Now for the answers to the quiz that ran in the July 3 issue:

The first "blast" was written in October of 2004.

Worthington and Windom played on a Monday night for the 1971 Southwest Conference football championship. Windom won at home, 20-14.

Brewster defeated Welcome, 28-18, in the 1977 Monday night "classic" at Brewster before a huge crowd.

Bunge's Brigade was the Windom boys' fan club or "rat pack" that rooted for Coach Hildegard Bunge's Eagle volleyball team in the middle 1970s.

Harold Henning, Dominick Damm and Pete Johnson were the top three runners for the HLOL (Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield) boys' cross country teams that finished second at the state meet in both 1992 and 1993.

The most common first name in the 1960 Edgerton starting five was Dean. The fabled five were Dean Verdoes, Bob Wiarda, Dean Veenhof, Darrell Kreun and Le Roy Graphenteeen.

By the way, Delaware journalist Tom Tomashek and former Edgerton coach Ken Keilty are writing a book about the 1960 Edgerton legend.

Tomashek, a native of Hutchinson, has already authored "Town Ball" -- the story of amateur baseball in Minnesota before 1960.

Tomashek will be in Edgerton for the Dutch Festival this weekend. Keilty, a top-notch baseball player, was Edgerton's basketball coach from '55-59 -- leaving for Minneapolis the year before the Dutchmen claimed their undefeated state title under rookie coach Rich Olson.

I can't wait to read this book. Tomashek says that it is ahead of schedule and may be ready for sale by November -- just in time for basketball season.

Back to the answers.

Kent Borchard scored 30 points in the 1963 District 7 championship game, leading Jackson to a dramatic overtime victory over Windom. Borchard went on to play baseball at Stanford.

Windom edged Westbrook for the 1966 District 7 boys' championship in a classic game between two very good teams. Windom went on to claim the consolation trophy at the state tournament.

Marvin Wood coached the Milan Indians to the 1954 Indiana (one class) State Basketball championship. Known as the "Milan Miracle," the story inspired the famous 1985 film "Hoosiers" But as my "blast" in January of 2005 pointed out -- there were some major differences between the two stories. The last second shot scenario -- Bobby Plump for Milan and Jimmy Chitwood for Hickory -- is very similar.

Worthington defeated Mankato West in a triple overtime thriller to earn the Trojan girls a trip to the 1997 state tournament.

Keith Place, Dale Kazemba and Bill Brandt were the three leading scorers and rebounders for the 1972 Sioux Valley Warriors that were rolling through the Southern Star when "American Pie" was playing on all the area radio stations. Kazemba and Brandt graduated, but Place returned to lead Sioux Valley to another District 7 championship game in 1973.

The "thumbodies" were the 1977 Heron Lake Falcon girls' basketball team that won the Region 2 title and finished third at the state tournament. Betty Burns, Cathy Garoutte, Terri Rasche, Mary Hay and Karen Carlson were the starting five for that team that finished 22-1.

Some members of the Windom High School baseball dynasty of the middle 1980s -- were first and second graders a decade earlier when I was a noon-hour playground supervisor at Highland Elementary. Those kids, including my wife's nephew Jeff Schmidt, loved to play a game with a football -- where two lines faced each other and attempted to kick the ball over the head's of the other line.

That concept apparently led to future high school baseball success.

Karmel Honius, Marti Sturm, Diane Oolman and Julie Kramer were members of Fulda's state championship 4 x 800 meter relay team in 1985.

Honius is now Karmel Holinka and will be Fulda's new head volleyball coach this fall.

Darwin Gonnerman was the dominating athlete at the 1965 Trojan Relays. The Adrian weight man, broad jumper and sprinter was also a Dragon football star who became a running back for South Dakota State. He played a couple of seasons of professional football in the Canadian Football League.

Bob Gebhardt was from Lamberton and pitched for the University of Iowa. But in the summer of 1964, he was leading Westbrook to the state amateur tournament.

Chuck Gageby, from Ward, S.D., had pitched in the New York Yankee farm system. He was Pipestone's First Night League ace in the '60s and his duels with Gebhardt -- who later became the Twins' general manager -- were classics.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, "town team" baseball was at its peak. Many really small towns had "big" baseball teams, including Iona. The small Murray County community recruited hard and built a nice field with lights so the team could join the First Night League.

And, of course, I have already answered the last question -- Greg Rossow has been featured once and mentioned in several other "blasts," including this one.

Now for the top three finishers in the quiz contest:

Third place goes to Rossow -- he knew a few others besides his own. Second place was taken by Edgerton's Mike Drooger -- a regular reader with an average memory.

The winner was fellow sports reporter Joel Alvstad from the Citizen in Windom. Joel had a majority of the questions correct, proving that he does read as well as write!

Now, finally, the answer to this column's hidden question:

"Hound Dog" was on the "flip side" of "Don't Be Cruel" in the summer of '56.

What was the famous re-election campaign slogan that summer?