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Les Knutson: Fun Run signals coming of fall

Les Knutson

Daily Globe sports columnist 

WORTHINGTON — Without question, tonight’s (July 30) 32nd annual YMCA Fun Run at Olson Park signals the soon ending of summer and beginning of fall.

Although many hot (and humid) afternoons may still linger, the days continue to get shorter and the nights are cooler. Friday, the calendar turns to August.

As always, it seems that summer just flies by.

Today’s Fun Run is special because the long-time organizer of the event, Wayne Klumper of rural Worthington, has recovered from his serious motorcycle accident (June 25, 2013) and will jog the 5K (3.1 miles) distance with his wife and training partner, Dea.

Wayne is one of the kindest, caring guys I have ever met. His story is well-told by Beth Ricker’s front page article in Monday’s Daily Globe.

For years, the family-oriented Fun Run has been an annual summer activity for the Klumper’s, their kids — Dan, Tresse and Joe — and several growing grandchildren, who started out by running with their parents in the half-mile run, which is the opening event at 5:30 p.m.

The one-mile run follows, with the feature 5K run completing the evening. All races start and finish at Olson Park.

Slater, Hohn will be missed this fall Speaking of running, another high school cross country season is quickly approaching and two premier girl runners — Adrian’s Nicole Slater and Luverne’s Makayla Hohn — will no longer be running at the front of the pack. Both girls graduated this spring after stellar careers in both cross country and track.

Slater won so many races — often by a long ways — in her senior year, which is somewhat of a rare thing as it’s not uncommon for girls to reach their running peak earlier, as eighth-graders or freshmen.

Hohn, too, continued to get better — despite enduring a leg injury — and was a great leader for the Cardinals. I will never forget her amazing anchor leg for Luverne’s winning 4x800-meter relay at the Section 3A track and field meet at Benson her junior year in 2013.

I visited several times with Makayla’s father after meets and met Nicole’s dad at this year’s section track meet at Redwood Falls. Both men were proud, but reserved in their appreciation of their daughter’s accomplishments — which were impressive.

With strong work ethics, I anticipate that both Slater and Hohn will likely run in college. But, for sure, their absence from the high school scene will be noticed this fall.

Five Gophers named to 1964 NCAA baseball all-tournament team In my last column, I mentioned the names — again — of Jim Pollock, Bill Davis, Dewey Markus, Ron Wojciak and Dave Hoffman. Who were they?

They were the five Minnesota Gophers who were named to the 1964 NCAA baseball all-tournament team after the Gophers, coached by long-time legend Dick Siebert won the collegiate World Series with a 5-1 victory over Missouri in the finals at Omaha.

Siebert’s teams liked to win in presidential election years, having claimed previous NCAA titles in both 1956 and 1960. In 1964, Pollock was the pitching ace, Davis played first base, Markus was the second baseman, Wojciak was the catcher and Hoffman patrolled center field.

Davis, from Richfield, played against Edgerton in the 1960 state tournament basketball semifinals. He was a premier center for the Spartans and was surrounded by talented athletes, including Bob Sadek who became a Gophers’ quarterback while Davis played baseball. But, yet — somehow, someway — Edgerton prevailed and defeated Richfield in an overtime thriller, 63-60. What’s amazing about that game is that both Dean Veenhof and Dean Verdoes — Edgerton’s two tallest guys — fouled out, while Davis played the whole game. Still, the Flying Dutchmen won and then made history the next night with their 72-61 championship win over Austin.

Peters set 1947 pole vault record, Woelfle was a multi-event star While researching through the sporting events of 1964, I came across an interesting item.

Adrian’s Randy Rust set a new District 8 record in the pole vault when he cleared the bar at 11-11¾ which bettered the 17-year record of 11-7 held by Worthington’s Dale Peters, set back in 1947.

I am guessing that this is the same Dale Peters who later became the long-time sheriff of Nobles County and often sits with us on the end balcony during Trojan basketball games.

Dale, who also enjoys going to bullhead feeds in the winter, must have been quite an athlete in his day. As was teammate Don Woelfle, who according to a 1965 Brace’s Bits (sports editor Corky Brace’s column), had an absolutely amazing all-around day at the 1947 District 8 track meet — before athletes were limited to competing in just four events.

More on Peters and Woelfle in an upcoming blast.