• Mille Lacs area residents may have noticed a familiar face on the front page of the Sunday, July 28 issue of the StarTribune. In a feature story on a study being conducted by the state DNR having to do with water temperature and its effect on certain freshwater fish, research scientist Beth Holbrook was pictured and quoted while retrieving samples of distressed fish from mid-Minnesota lakes.
Holbrook is a 1996 graduate of Onamia High who excelled in the classroom as well as in several sports for the Panthers and was recently one of 12 initial inductees into Onamia school’s sports Hall of Fame.
Beth went on to play basketball for a very competitive NCAA Division III St. Benedict College team and subsequently majored in biology and minored in history at St. Bens. She earned a master’s degree in biology at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and has a doctorate in water resources from the University of Minnesota.
• Speaking of locals doing well: a former Onamia High band director and Dave Thompson, an OHS band and sports alum from the graduating class of 1973, recently exchanged pleasantries after not seeing each other for over 40 years. Among the avocations Dave said he is most proud of these days is the outstanding pig roasts and bouja (sometimes spelled booya) fests he produces for various occasions in the Twin Cities area.
He claims he uses a bouja recipe he inherited from the Onamia American Legion Club of the 1960s and 70s. “I haven’t found any bouja recipe better than that old Legion brew,” Thompson said. “I just quadruple the recipe to make 200 gallons for my events, and I use measurement of bushels and pecks that I learned in third grade while attending Cove school in Onamia.”
Dave has a bouja feed scheduled for Oct. 11 at Palmer Lake VFW in Brooklyn Park if any Onamia locals wish to attend and bring back memories of the tastes of yesteryear.
• In the category “Never Ever Going to See This Again,” consider what took place at Izatys Resort on July 30. During a morning round of men’s golf league, the foursome of Bob Statz, Bob Gunderson, Bill McClellan and Dick LeBrun teed it up on the short par-4, fourth hole at the Black Brook Course at the resort. McClellen clearly drove the green and his ball was seen heading for the flag. LeBrun followed, also driving the green.
When the foursome arrived at the green, they saw McClellen’s ball mark but did not see his ball until Statz suggested looking in the hole. Sure enough, McClellen’s ball was in the bottom of the cup, and fist pumps were immediately prevalent among the foursome. McClellen had scored a double-eagle, hole-in-one on a par-four hole, or what is sometimes referred to in golf as an albatross.
A minute later, LeBrun sank his 25-foot eagle putt for a two. Chances are a twosome will never, ever record a one and a two on that hole in the same round.
• Speaking of golf feats maybe never to be repeated at Izatys, Dave Stueven and Dave Lundahl, playing in separate foursomes in a morning old farts league on Aug. 1, each recorded three birdies and one eagle in their rounds. That is some fine scoring on a tough course.
• If local fans are looking forward to the upcoming fall high school sports scene, here are a few pointers as to what to expect.
Isle football, competing in the 9-man class, has turned in steady play throughout the past three years, compiling an overall recored of 10-17. The Huskies will return this fall without 10 graduating seniors from last year’s squad, but they will be returning their starting quarterback, Teagen Haggberg who is a junior this season.
Onamia football, also a 9-man team, has taken its lumps during the recent past, not having won a game since Sept. 25, 2015. The Panthers, like some other high schools in the Great River Conference, have had trouble getting enough senior-high boys to field a quality team of late.
Onamia volleyball may have surprised even themselves last year, winning 10 matches with a team that had no seniors and just two juniors, one of whom was playing the sport for the first time at the varsity level.
After many of the underclassmen played in leagues this summer, the 2019 Panthers are looking to compete at a higher level than last season and continue the tradition of better than average production in that sport. The Panthers are just three seasons away from a conference championship where they were 11-0, and they have averaged 13 wins during the past three falls.
Isle volleyball will be under the direction of their third-year coach Riley Mooney, who is a very driven leader and will be expecting to improve on last season’s 7-20 overall record. The Huskies have averaged just five wins and 20 losses through the past three seasons. But numbers are up in the sport at IHS, and many of the girls who will taking the floor this fall honed their skills playing in summer camps.
Girls cross-country, a combined sport featuring athletes from Onamia and Isle High, will again be under the direction of long-time head coach Jeff Walz. As with any year, the success at the varsity level will depend on how many quality runners show up in August. “Toward the end of last season, I was able to field a complete team of mostly upperclassmen runners, so I’m hoping to find a solid group again this year. But we shall see what the turnout will be,” Walz said.
• Graduates and faculty of the Onamia class of 1969 are reminded that they will be hosting a 50th class reunion at the Wahkon Inn on Sept. 14 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Just show up and order meals off the menu, and plan on reuniting with your friends from the past. An invitation to this reunion is also offered to those of other OHS classes.