ERHS Sports Hall of Fame announces 10 new members

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Ten new Elk River High School Sports Hall of Fame members have been announced by activities director Mike Cunningham. The group  will be introduced at the homecoming game Sept. 28.

Richard Belanger (1962)

Richard Belanger garnered 14 letters and nine all-conference awards in football (quarterback, safety), basketball (point guard), baseball (pitcher, shortstop), and track (jumps, relays). Highlights included a no-hitter against Ogilvie in baseball, and beating big neighbor Anoka in basketball to reach district finals for the first time since 1939  (they lost to Cambridge). He played town-team baseball 15 years and basketball seven years, along with fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball. He coached youth basketball for 34 years, mostly with the girls, and had two national runner-up AAU teams. He served 14 months in Vietnam with an Army combat engineering division as an electrician and worked many years for Federal Cartridge including stints in management and ballistics. Richard and wife Betty’s daughter, Sara, and son, Terry, were Elk athletes. Sara, a basketball star, preceded Richard into the ERHS Hall of Fame.

Jim Berg (1965)

Jim Berg earned 16 letters in football, hockey, baseball and track, and made all-conference in all four. He was a goalie on hockey teams that played outdoors in the Handke pit, wearing football jerseys and long underwear. He was a halfback, kick returner and linebacker on four winning football teams, second baseman in baseball and half-miler in track. After  two years of football at Bemidji State, he joined the Army in 1968, serving in Vietnam as a helicopter door gunner, earning two Air Medals. He worked for Kraus-Anderson Construction for 38 years, with concrete crews and as a purchasing agent. He and wife, Rose, have a son, daughter and four grandchildren. He lived in his native Dayton until retiring to Boy River (near Leech Lake) seven years ago. He’s the Legion post commander there.

Gary Dreissig (1964)

Gary Dreissig was an all-conference pick and co-captain in football (quarterback) and basketball (point guard) and held the hurdles records in track when he graduated. He says his top ERHS memory is the football team upsetting arch rival Princeton and tying them for the conference title. He was a double-digit scorer in basketball from 10th-grade on but had to deal with two knee surgeries. The St. Cloud State graduate taught PE/health at Rush City and was head basketball coach 30 years, highlighted by a state trip in 1989, three conference titles, and coaching two sons (Eric and Brett) who combined for about 1,800 points. He was also an assistant in basketball, football and baseball, and in retirement is boys basketball assistant at North Branch. Gary and wife, Paulette, have two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Kim (Knudson) Waters (1993)

Kim  Knudson was an all-conference four times each in swimming and Nordic ski and went to swim for the University of Missouri. As a swimmer, she won six section titles, made all-state four times, and all-Midwest Region (six states) three times. She held five school records and three conference records when she graduated, with her school IM and medley relay marks standing until 2008. At Missouri she placed top-16 in the Big Eight in 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 IM three years (missing her final year with injuries). Married to Dr. Scott Waters with a son and daughter, she lives in Elk River and works as an independent distributor for Advocare, and owns Health Promotion Doctor, LLC. She has a Ph.D in health promotion and has addressed national and international conferences on health topics.

Gary Kroells (1989)

Gary Kroells was a state wrestling champion for the Elks at 145 pounds in 1989,  and a twice national champion (Division III) for Augsburg at 158 pounds in 1992 and 1993, when he was named Outstanding Wrestler at nationals. Midwest Sports Channel named him D-III Athlete of the Year. For ERHS, he was 30-1 as a senior and 26-5 as a junior, placing fourth in the state. He was a three-year starter in football (running back, defensive back). A criminal justice and sociology major, Kroells is a sergeant, supervising the  patrol division serving Maple Grove and Independence.  He lives in Delano and coaches youth wrestling. With wife, Amy, (also from Elk River) he has two boys. His sister-in-law Stacy Brown is also an ERHS Hall of Famer.

Gayne Maloney (1945)

Gayne Maloney was captain of Elk football (quarterback), basketball (guard) and baseball (pitcher, third base) in 1944–45, and made all-district in football and basketball. Now 85, one  highlight he remembers in particular was a football win over a much-bigger Milaca team when he kept rolling right and throwing back against the grain to end Mel Weber for multiple touchdowns. The Fridley resident worked for Honeywell for 38 years as a supervisor for assembly departments of 45 to 85 people.  He and his late wife, Fran, had two sons and two daughters. Remarried to Joan Dominic, his extended family includes now three step-children, 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His son Mark has three kids in Elk sports. Maloney spent 2 1/2 years in the Army and served in post-war Berlin.

Anya (Miller) Jaeger (2004)

Anya  Miller, inducted at age 26, led Elk girls’ hockey to the 2004 state championship, and a year later helped the Gophers capture the NCAA championship, as a dominating defenseman and scoring threat. A Ms. Hockey finalist, Miller scored the overtime goal in the  state championship, 3-2 win over North St. Paul. Four times all-conference, and three times all-metro and all-state, she is the Elks’ sixth-leading career scorer (tops among defensemen) with 49 goals and 63 assists. She helped the Gophers win 115 games in four years, notching 22 goals and 78 assists in 148 games, making all-WCHA second team as a senior. Her Gophers beat Harvard 4-3 in the 2005 national finals and were runner-up to Wisconsin her sophomore year. She played for one Team USA for a European tournament in Sweden. Married to ERHS classmate Don Jaeger, she teaches at Twin Lakes Elementary.

Sarah Mismash (1997)

Sarah Mismash is Elk River’s all-time best female sprinter. The 1997 graduate still holds the school records in the 100 dash (12.37), the 200 dash (25.36) and the 400 dash (57.76) along with the record for points in a season (253.5). She was team MVP four times. In state meets, she collected seven medals, most notably her junior year when she placed second in the 200 and fourth in the 400 with her school record times. She took fourth in the 400 and fifth in the 200 as a senior. Her other medals came in relays including second place in the 4-by-100 her sophomore year. Her only other sport was cross country to stay in shape. Mismash then ran for Augustana College, where she was one of the captains her last year, and helped set a 4-by-400 record (3:48.25) that still stands, competing at nationals in that event. She is currently a life science teacher and track coach at Camden Hills Regional High School in Maine.

Tom Ostby (1967)

Tom Ostby was ERHS’s first 1,000-point scorer in basketball, while his baseball career included two straight no-hitters with the Elks and another in his college debut for Gustavus. The 1967 graduate was a four-year letterman and two-time all-conference pick in basketball and baseball. The 5-foot-11 guard scored 1,094 points and helped them win conference his last year. He played on four conference champ baseball teams. His no-hitters came against Delano and Ogilvie his senior year. Ostby was an all-MIAC pick for Gustavus as a freshman. He played there two years, then transferred to the U of Minnesota. He works in sales for Acme Ochs Brick and Stone, and lives in Arden Hills. He and wife, Loann, have two sons.

Rollie Ring-Jarvi (coach)

Rollie Ring-Jarvi coached Elk skiers and tracksters to a batch of championships and compiled prodigious achievements himself as an endurance athlete. He is also a Hall of Famer for Two Harbors (track, football, basketball) and Minnesota Nordic Ski Coaches Association. He lettered in track for the Gophers. Ring-Jarvi coached Nordic ski for 29 seasons between 1977 and 2007. His girls in 1994 captured ERHS’s first state team championship. He had 10 conference and 10 section titles with girls, and 14 conference and 13 section titles with boys, plus two individual state champs and one three-man relay state champ. He coached boys track 1977-86 with four conference titles and one region crown His sports involvement extends far beyond coaching. He bicycled coast-to-coast twice (1982 and 2006), did seven MN Border to Border 500 Mile Triathlons, canoed a 1,000-mile race in Alaska and 412 miles across Finland, skied across Finland, and ran three 100-mile races and a double marathon (52.4 miles) along with regular Boston, Grandma’s and Twin Cities marathons.

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