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'Old District 8' teams have banner year in 2006-07

WORTHINGTON -- Three columns ago, the "Blast-from-the-Past" featured several area high school athletic accomplishments from the spring of 1977 and set the table for the following week's account of the '77 Worthington Trojan girls' golf team that played in Minnesota's inaugeral state meet in that sport.

Two weeks ago, the tremendous success experienced by Southwestern Minnesota in the '06-07 school year was highlighted.

A couple of points of emphasis -- and omission -- from that feature would include the fact that a total of 19 area teams had top eight state finishes and that for the second time in four seasons, an area school claimed a pair of state team championships in the same spring.

So let's set the record straight on both of those facts.

The area had a total of six team championships, one runner-up finish, four third places, two fourths and a fifth for a grand total of 14 top five team performances.

There were also a pair of sixths, a seventh and two others that were among the final eight, making a total of 19 in the top eight.

In my previous account, I mentioned there were 18 top eights. So which one did I forget?

Murray County Central had a banner season in boys' track and field in the spring of 2007, capped by a sixth-place team finish at the State True Team Meet.

So, here is the complete summary of those top eight team finishes by school -- with an amazing 17 of them coming from schools from "old District 8."

That's right, paced by the combined dozen from the "Big Three" -- Pipestone Area, Luverne and Adrian --  "old District 8" had a banner year in high school athletics.

Pipestone Area had a total of five, including an incredible three state championships, along with a third and a fourth. The Arrows won state titles in a trio of girls' sports -- basketball, track and field (True Team) and softball, while finishing third in volleyball and earning a fourth in boys' baseball.

Luverne, which had also enjoyed a big year in '05-06, capped by a state championship in boys' track and field, claimed four top six finishes in '06-07. The Cardinals were state runner-ups in football, were third in girls' track and field (True Team), fourth in boys' basketball and sixth in girls' golf.

Adrian, which had an incredible calendar year in 2005 -- highlighted in a previous "Blast-from-the-Past" -- came through with a trio of top three state team finishes in the '06-07 school year. The Dragons repeated as state champions in girls' cross country and earned third-place trophies in both boys' cross country and wrestling.

Five other "old District 8" schools had a top eight state finish, including a pair of state basketball championships by Fulda and Ellsworth. The Raiders repeated as girls' state champions, while the Panthers -- playing in their third state title game in five years -- won the boys' championship in dramatic fashion.

As mentioned earlier, MCC earned a sixth in boys' True Team track and field, while both Edgerton (football) and Worthington (girls' basketball) were among the elite eight in their respective sports, each earning state tournament trips and playing exceptionally well in close defeats in the quarterfinals.

Jackson County Central, from "old District 7" came away with the area's other two state top eight team finishes. The Huskies, who have been perennial state entrants in many sports in the past decade, had a pair of boys' teams perform well at the state level, as the wrestlers finished fifth and the golfers claimed seventh.

Although five of the six state championships were claimed by girls' teams, area boys' teams had 10 of the 19 total top eight finishes.

Pipestone Area's three girls' championships, along with Adrian's and Fulda's account for the five titles, while girls also had a pair of thirds (PA - volleyball and Luverne - track), a sixth (Luverne - golf) and Worthington's final eight performance.

Ellsworth's basketball championship was the area boys' only title.

However, when you add in a pair from Luverne (second, football and fourth, basketball), Adrian's two thirds(cross country and wrestling), JCC's (fifth, wrestling and seventh, golf), Pipestone Area (fourth, baseball), MCC (sixth, boys' track) and Edgerton's state quarterfinal berth in football -- that gives the boys a total of 10 top eight team performances.

That was an impressive year at the state level from our area -- by both the girls and boys.

The other fact that I emphasized in the previous story was Pipestone Area's dual spring sport state championships by both the girls' track team and the softball team.

I pointed out how rare that was, reflecting all the way back to 1972 when St. James won state titles in both wrestling and boys' basketball. The fact that tiny Hancock (from the Morris area) won state basketball championships in both girls and boys in 1997 was also mentioned.

So what was not mentioned?

Three years ago -- in the spring of 2004 -- Jackson County Central did the same. That's right, the Huskies won state championships in both softball and baseball that year, adding more hardware to the bulging JCC trophy case.

The Huskies repeated their softball state championship in 2005 and have also won a pair of volleyball state titles, a football championship, a golf title and a couple of team wrestling championships -- along with many individual tiles -- as well as numerous gymnastics state championships and a state football title as the Jackson Bluejays before JCC was formed in 1997.

It looks like a future "Blast-from-the-Past" on more of that Jackson and JCC success may be an upcoming project.

Sibley shines in 1977

A total of 49 names were mentioned in that June 2 column about the spring of 1977, but the area's most impressive individual accomplishments were performed by a pair of Sibley athletes.

I need to research this more, but in that spring from 30 years ago, the Generals had a pair of Iowa individual state champions and also won a state team championship in boys' golf.

Vicky Dagel, who apparently had earlier won a state indoor championship in the shot put, impressively won the outdoor state title, as well, with an incredible distance of nearly 42 feet -- 41'11 1/2", to be exact.

Kevin Stachour, a junior that spring at SHS, gave the school a second individual championship and paced his teammates to the '77 team title by shooting a pair of sensational rounds of golf at Iowa City's Finkbine Country Club.

Stachour fired an opening round of 74 and shot a sizzling 72 on the second day, giving him a medalist totalof 146. He made four birdies on the final day, including three on the back nine to clinch his state title.

Sparked by Stachour's fine performance, the Generals won the team title with a combined low score of 622 -- 10 strokes better than the second place team. Helping Stachour secure the title were fellow Generals Doug Wilkie, Paul Juffer, Kirk Wilkie and Gene Nicolai. The Sibley coach was Bob Jassey.

Sophomore Barb Thomas, who as a freshman in 1976 had placed fourth in the state golf meet, won the District Championship in '77 at the wind-swept Emerald Hills course (near Milford) with an 18-hole total of 89 (43-46).

How did she do at the state meet? I aim to find that out. As I indicated, I want to research this more and write a future "Blast" about these Sibley athletes from that spring of '77.

Speaking of '77 and the feature that I did on the Trojans girls' golf team. Carol Barkaloo, a key member of that team, went on win the

women's club championship at the Worthington Country Club in 1978, duplicated what her father -- Chuck Barkaloo --had done in 1965 when he won the men's championship.

Those are among the interesting things that I find out after a finish one of these columns.

I also plan to return to my study of area amatuer baseball that I began two summers ago. Look for an upcoming feature on the 1962 Windom Pirates, sometime in July.