by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Matt Clauer was eligible for one more season as a Minnesota Gophers high-jumper, but the 2007 ERHS graduate pondered several good reasons to close his college career a year early. And that’s what he did.
“I had a great time and I’m going to miss it,” said the 2007 ERHS graduate. “But I’ve got already got a job, with Best Buy – I’m in career development, in Richfield – and I’ll be getting married this summer, and I just bought a house. So I passed up my fifth year.”
Clauer, who got his degree in finance in four years, was one of four ex-Elks wearing University of Minnesota maroon and gold this year.
Tim Peterzen has made strides in golf and looks forward to two more seasons. Michelle Maciej endured a frustrating and painful first season of track (after a red-shirt year) due to shin splints. Dannie Skrove is a three-year starter in softball.
Clauer was upbeat about his third and final season competing (after one redshirt year).
“It ended really well for me,” said Clauer.
He matched his career high with a 6-10 3/4 high jump at the Big Ten Indoor to tie for eighth place and contribute 1/3 point to the Gophers championship. He tied for fifth in the Big Ten outdoor meet with 6-8 3/4 in heavy rain, putting four points in the coffers, as the Gophers a close second, two points behind Iowa.
Clauer did 6-10 3/4 three times in his career. That’s 2.10 meters in the metric system used in college, where the bar is raised by five centimeters.
“I really wanted to make seven feet,” said Clauer. “I attempted it nine times. I just about got it once.”
At ERHS, Clauer was an all-conference basketball post leading the NWSC in rebounding, and was state high-jump runner-up as a senior. His school-record 6-7 1/2 topped the list heading into the state meet, but he was upset by Chaska sophomore Derek Jerde 6-8 to 6-7.
This year, those two were teammates.
“Derek went to Kansas State one year but hated it, and came back here,” said Clauer. “He didn’t have a very good year because he cut his toe on a rake or something like that. But he turned out to be a real nice kid and I’m sure he’ll do well here.”
Peterzen making progress in golf
In college golf, there’s five slots for each tournament, and the Gophers have 13 guys fighting for them.
“We have like a mini-tournament to qualify,” said Peterzen. “If somebody played really well the previous week they’re exempt, but you play off for most of the spots.”
Counting fall and spring seasons, Peterzen, a sophomore, got into three of the 12 tournaments and averaged 76.0 strokes, which was fourth- best on the team although his top place was 53rd. He was in two events as a freshman and averaged 75.83.
“It’s going well,” said Peterzen, a business and marketing major. “I’ve got two years left. It was a struggle at first. I changed my swing, and my ball flight. My ball flight is higher now, You need that because the courses are longer and more firm.”
This summer, Peterzen has placed second in the Twin Cities Championship, shooting 74 at Bunker Hills and 69 at Keller to tie for first with Tim Hamm, who beat him in a playoff, and qualified for the State Amateur by shooting 73 at Wapikada. He will try qualify for the State Open next week.
Maciej hurting, but determined
Michelle Maciej, state triple-jump champion for the Elks two years ago, had one meet all year with the Gophers, while otherwise battling shin splints.
After one redshirt year, Maciej missed the indoor season, then had a very encouraging outdoor debut at Iowa City on April 23 where she placed third with 33-8 3/4 and popped one close to 38 feet but scratched.
“But then the shin splints came back and hurt more than ever,” said Maciej. “It’s really painful. I had shin splints in high school, too, but if I had known how painful they can be, I wouldn’t have complained then! It’s really frustrating.”
Maciej, a civil engineering major, suspects that the year-round training, including running up hills and all that, was a factor, as opposed to high school where she had dance team and breaks between seasons. Plus, shin splints are common with triple jumpers.
Her career-best is still the 38-1 3/4 she had at conference her senior year (the NWSC record) but Maciej is rehabbing diligently and determined to get back to that level and beyond, with three seasons left. “I am going to be back,” she vowed.
Skrove softball veteran at ‘U’
Dannie Skrove, former Elk shortstop, started in center field the last two years at the U, and moved to second base this year. The kinisiology major had her best year offensively with a .248 average, 13 RBI, 20 runs and a Big Ten-leading 16 sac bunts.
Her team had a coaching change this year as the coaches who recruited her were let go after a couple poor seasons. Skrove said the new staff headed by Jessica Allister has been good to work with, as the squad improved to 31-24 this year, 9-11 in the Big Ten.