Kenyon-Wanamingo Inducts Third Sports Hall of Fame Class
Eight individuals and two teams were inducted Saturday night into the Kenyon-Wanamingo High School Hall of Fame.
The inductions took place during a banquet at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School.
It was once again a first class affair with a delicious chicken meal catered by Area 57 of Wanamingo followed by a program filled with lots of great stories.
In fact the stories are so many there is no way I could share them all here.
One thing is for certain all the honorees were a little emotional about their selection.
K-W Activities Director Randy Hockinson told a nearly filled auditorium the Hall of Fame Committee did spend a lot of hours doing research before making their decision concerning the Class of 2017.
Other members of the committee are former Coach Steve Alger, current Coach Jen Nerison, High School Principal and Coach Matt Ryan, former athlete Todd Greseth and Hockinson.
Former Bemidji State University Women’s Basketball Coach Joan Campbell Anderson introduced Beth Buckingham Baalke a 1984 Kenyon High School graduate.
Anderson talked about all the high school gyms she saw Beth perform in not only in basketball but also volleyball and a few softball diamonds too.
The 1989 Bemidji State University graduate was selected for their Hall of Fame two years ago for her efforts there.
Anderson enjoyed particularly watching Beth get after it on defense and Beth said some of that came from her former high school coach Steve Alger and the pressure defense they played.
Beth was a 3 year letter winner in volleyball and basketball and a 5 year letterwinner in softball and there were many All-Conference selections and some conference and district championships.
At Bemidji State she was a 4 year letter winner and MVP of the 1985-86 team while leading her team to back to back North Sun Conference titles. Those teams were also NAIA District 13 Champions.
After college Beth did some basketball officiating in Northern California and coached high school volleyball, girls and boys basketball at four different high schools over a 21 year period until 2013.
Beth and her husband Trent have been married 28 years and live in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. They raised two daughters.
Former Kenyon High School and Kenyon-Wanamingo High School Athletic Director and long time Head Track and Field Coach and assistant basketball coach Jerry Berg moved to Kenyon in 1970 and retired in 2002. He was also a junior high football coach.
Berg was an English teacher in addition to his AD duties and has been inducted into the Region 1 and State A.D. Hall of Fame.
Jerry has also been active in his church and thanked legendary K-W coach Ralph Hagberg, his family and all the coaches who worked with him over the years.
Mikkel Haugen was a very fast running back and set track records for Kenyon-Wanamingo. He graduated in 2005 and then went to St. Thomas University where his football was cut short by injury.
Haugen recently had brain surgery and could not attend the Saturday night banquet but his older brother Anders accepted the award on his behalf.
Anders recalled a couple of specific Mikkel football plays in his memory while watching him and made it clear he was not only fast but could deliver some punishment also.
Mikkel played in the MSHSL All-Star football game in 2005 and holds a number of K-W football records.
- Most points in a season 82 and a career 144.
- Most touchdowns in a season 13 and a career 24.
- Most yards in a season 1,544 and a career 2,389
- Most kickoff return yards in a season 744
Mikkel held the school record in the 100 meter dash from 2004 to 2012.
At St. Thomas Mikkel was recognized as one of 22 collegiate players across the country named to the 2008 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for service work on the campus and in St. Paul.
He went to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and has a practice in St. Peter where he resides with his wife and two sons.
Jackie Holt graduated from Wanamingo High School in 1950 and lettered in basketball for 6 years, football 4 years and baseball 4 years.
His senior season he was All-Conference in each sport and was named the Outstanding Wanamingo Athlete his senior year.
Holt was a member of the 1947 and 1948 Conference Championship teams and played in the Sub-District Championship in 1948 against Kenyon.
Holt also played on the 1952 Cannon Falls Bear State Champion amateur baseball team.
After serving in the Air Force he worked at Honeywell as part of a team that worked on the Lunar Landing Module for NASA.
Ben Johnson was the first wrestler in the history of Kenyon-Wanamingo High School to win a state title.
The 1999 graduate was also involved in band and FFA and was inducted into the National Honor Society graduating with academic honors.
In wrestling Ben was a 5 year letter winner, 3 time State qualifier and won the 119 pound championship in 1996.
His career record was 126-30 and wrestlers didn’t get to wrestle as many matches as they do these days.
Ben went to Dunwoody Institute and took up electrical construction and maintenance and worked at Cedar Lake Electric in Faribault becoming a journeyman in 2004.
Ben works part-time as an electrician for Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault and farms full-time with his wife Meredith and parents, Steven and Theresa.
IN 2015 Ben and his wife were featured in Ag Star Today for being a successful young farm family.
Ben and his wife have three children. He is involved with the Goodhue County Pork Producers, was elected a director for Community Co-op in Faribault and has served on the Gol Lutheran Church Council.
I remember Doug Augustin and I called his State Title match and it was a thriller.
John Kunz began teaching in Wanamingo in 1957 and was originally the football and track coach and Athletic Director. He became head baseball coach in 1962 and coached baseball for the next 23 years.
Coach Kunz’s Wanamingo baseball teams went to the State Tournament in 1977 and 1979.
In 1982 the baseball field in Wanamingo was dedicated in his name and became John Kunz Memorial Field.
His grandson and Triton High School baseball coach Michael Ellingson was presenter and John’s daughters accepted the award on the family’s behalf.
Dick Werdahl was a three sport athlete at Kenyon High School from 1949 to 1951 and excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He earned 9 letters in those three school years.
The 1949 Kenyon High School team was 6-2 in the Hiawatha Valley Conference and Dick led the team in scoring while playing running back, receiver and doing the punting duties.
The 1950 team was 8-0 and averaged 29 points per game while yielding just 8 points per contest.
Dick was Co-Captain of that unbeaten team.
His 1949-50 basketball team set a school record for scoring with a 49.3 average (times have changed a bit) and Dick averaged 14.1 points.
The Vikings won the East Sub-District 4 title.
Dick averaged 17 points per game in the 1950-51 season and the team went 15-3 advancing to the District 4 championship before losing to Owatonna.
Dick averaged 20 points per game in the tournament.
He went to St. Olaf College in Northfield and earned 12 letters in football, basketball and baseball.
The 1953 football team went undefeated.
In 1988 Dick was inducted into the St. Olaf Athletic Hall of Fame.
He coached at Fertile and New Ulm High School for 33 years.
Dick and his wife Donna now reside in Dundas.
Brian Flom was a 1986 graduate of Kenyon High School and was a 3 year letter winner on the basketball team.
He was All-Conference all three years and still holds the career scoring record for boys with 1,354 points.
His senior season Brian averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots per game.
In college at South Dakota State University he lettered four years where he was the 6th man for three years and started his senior season.
In 1988 his team made it to the NCAA Division 2 Sweet Sixteen.
Brian also lettered three years in baseball in high school.
Brian and his wife Kari farm in the Kenyon area and their daughters Brittney and Megan were members of state tournament teams in basketball and volleyball for Kenyon-Wanamingo.
The 1953 Kenyon Vikings football team went undefeated in the Hiawatha Valley Conference and outscored their opponents 226-18.
Five members of that team were named All-Conference. Captain and back Bob Lieb, back Arvid Boyum, back Chuck Elliott, guard Bob Anderson and tackle Duane Kvittem.
There was no state tournament back then. The state champion was determined by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune and they ranked Kenyon 16th in the state.
Of course there were no multiple classes either.
The 1979-80 Kenyon boys basketball team placed third at the 1980 Class A State Tournament.
At the State Tournament they defeated Morris 55-47 then fell to Lake of the Woods 49-43 before Scott Nelson hit the 30 foot shot heard around Southeastern Minnesota at the buzzer in a 39-38 win over Marshall University High.
Marshall was ranked number one all year.
The team finished the season with a record of 23-3.
One of the members of that team was a foreign exchange student from Australia and he returned for the induction Saturday night.
The Head Coach of that team was Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame member Rich Decker.
His assistants were Jerry Wieme and Jerry Berg.
Nelson read the names of each of the players of that team and Coach Decker gave each a hug while handing them their certificates.
Coach Decker was the presenter for the team and was presented with a blazer like the one he wore coaching the Vikings.
Berg and Steve Alger presented him with the jacket .
Decker told the crowd he and his family enjoyed their 11 years living in Kenyon and he enjoyed his 9 years teaching and coaching in the community.
Rich coached two years at Faribault Bethlehem Academy after Kenyon, before going to Rochester Lourdes.
For the past several years he has been the Rochester Mayo girls basketball coach.
Decker said it was no surprise to him many Kenyon-Wanamingo teams had tasted success and State Tournaments over the years because of the community support and great families in the area.