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Great 8 to be enshrined in Fairmont Hall of Fame on Oct. 6

Dave Paschke

FAIRMONT — Take one glance at Dave Paschke’s overall coaching resume’ during his two decade-plus tenure in the Fairmont school district, and one could bestow the moniker of ‘CEO of research and development’ upon him.

Coincidentally, Paschke will be inducted as part of this year’s Fairmont Athletic Hall of Fame class on Saturday, Oct. 6, with four former student-athletes whom he mentored throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The former Fairmont track & field assistant coach and Cardinal girls basketball guru will be enshrined with Kate Bancks (2002), Kelly Kuderer Wood (1998), Amber Olinger Halverson (1996) and Joel Sagedahl (1991), along with former girls golf mentor Ron Kallheim, and former standouts Gary Highland (1967) and Joe Huss (1975) during the official 6 p.m. induction ceremony at the high school’s Performing Arts Center.

Paschke literally went the distance to train Sagedahl for success in cross country during the fall seasons, while elevating the field careers of Bancks (triple jump), Kuderer Wood (pole vault) and Olinger Halverson (high jump) to record-setting heights.

In addition to developing both vertical and horizontal jumpers and pole vaulters for 22 years for 2014 Hall of Fame selection and current Fairmont head track & field and cross country coach Bob Bonk’s legendary programs, Paschke helped build the foundation for the Cardinal girls basketball program from the junior varsity, B-squad and C-team sidelines for 15 seasons.

“I can’t say enough about what he (Paschke) meant to our track (& field) and cross country teams throughout his coaching career at Fairmont,” said Bonk. “I’m proud to have coached with him, and to be able to call him my friend.”

Paschke exited the coaching discipline near the turn of the 21st century after earning a masters degree in educational technology and a specialist degree in leadership and school administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato, and accepted an administrative job in the Fairmont school district that conflicted with his coaching schedule at the time.

Paschke currently works for the South Central Service Cooperative in Mankato as the managing director for the South Central Regional Area Telecommunications System that provides data/internet connectivity, network services and related professional development to schools and libraries throughout south-central Minnesota.

Dave Paschke and his wife, Kim, recently sold their home in Fairmont and moved to Lakeshore, MN.

While the Paschkes make their new home some 200 miles away, Bancks and her family are moving halfway around the world in “a couple of months.”

Bancks recently resigned her position as director of strategic partnerships and external affairs for PowerPlay NYC to nurture 3 1/2-month-old daughter, Plum, and make plans with her husband, Ragu Prabhakaran, for his new job and their upcoming transition to living in Sydney, Australia. Bancks and family currently live in Chelsea in Manhattan, N.Y.

Bancks became a household name in Fairmont prep sports lore in tennis, basketball and track & field from 1998-2002.

The multi-tasking Bancks maximized her two-year stint on the varsity tennis roster, combining court skills with Lisa Schaffer during the sectional individual tournament. Bancks and Schaffer captured bronze medals in the section’s doubles division in 2000 before the hard-hitting tandem lost a true-second challenge match to just miss a Class A state bid in 2001.

Bancks earned all-South Central Conference accolades twice during her three-year varsity basketball career that helped Patti Sjostrom Strukel build the Cardinals’ girls program into an eventual state qualifier in 2007.

Bancks, who currently ranks as the 19th-best career scorer in Fairmont girls hoops history with 573 points, then displayed her fastbreak and leaping skills during the spring as a member of the Bonk-Paschke track & field dynasty.

Bancks still holds the No. 9 all-time girls track & field scoring total (1,080.7 points), the school record — along with Jenny Fowler, Angie Hugoson and Blythe Bittman — in the 4×200-meter relay in 1:44.64, the No. 6 spot in the triple jump (34-7 3/4), and the 10th-best time (4:05.18) in the 4×400 relay — along with Fowler, Stacy Dekkers and Bittman.

While Bancks, who captured SCC individual championships in the triple jump (2001 and 2002) and the 400-meter dash (2001), was starting her track & field career, Kuderer Wood was capping off her prep days as a standout in the shot put and pole vault in 1998.

Kuderer Wood exited her track & field career with the fifth-best heave in the shot (38-6) set in 1997 en route to earning the Section 2 Meet’s gold medal in the event.

Kuderer Wood demonstrated her athleticism and versatility in the fall sports season by earning one varsity letter in cross country as an eighth-grader during her two-year stint in long-distance running, in addition to meriting three letters during her four-year volleyball career.

The rare Fairmont four-sport student-athlete, however, left an indelible mark in the world of high school gymnastics during an incredible five-year varsity span.

Kuderer Wood helped power the Cardinals to Class A state team appearances in 1994 and 1996, proved the team’s top all-arounder from 1995-98, and qualified for the state individual meet during each of her final four varsity campaigns. She earned a fifth-place medal with her 9.55-scored floor exercise routine during the 1998 Class A individual state competition to cap a stellar prep gymnastics career.

While Kuderer Wood impressed coaches, opponents and fans with her high-flying acrobatics in gymnastics, Olinger Halverson displayed her record-setting vertical leap by earning a trophy case full of medals in the high jump under Paschke’s tutelage in the early 1990s.

Olinger Halverson still shares the school’s indoor record in the high jump (5-5) with 2016 Fairmont Hall of Famer Lisa Jensen, while holding the No. 2 spot all-time in her field specialty in outdoor competition.

The three-time all-South Central Conference high jump champion (1993-95) qualified for state in the event four times by placing second in 1993, 1994 and 1996, and clearing the state standard in 1995.

Olinger Halverson earned a bronze medal in the high jump at the 1994 Class A state meet, while garnering fifth-place state medals in both 1993 and 1996.

The 1997 NCAA Division III All-American high jumper, who placed second at nationals for the University of Wisconsin-Stout, also utilized her unique jumping skills to earn all-conference honors during both her junior and senior basketball seasons at Fairmont High School.

In fact, the two-time varsity basketball letterwinner earned the Cardinals’ most valuable player award during the 1996-97 season.

While the current human resources generalist at WSB & Associates Inc. in the Twin Cities topped Fairmont in scoring and rebounding from her post position during the winter hoops seasons in the 1990s, Sagedahl supplied solid passing, defense and scoring as a valuable backcourt reserve on the Cardinals’ third-place state basketball team in 1990.

Sagedahl and the Fairmont cagers reached the 1991 sectional championship game during his senior season, only to lose to Westbrook-Walnut Grove by a narrow margin at MSU-Mankato.

While the Cardinals’ guard displayed a steady shot from the hardwood court in the winter, Sagedahl’s shot-making skills with a tennis racket in the spring proved impeccible.

Sagedahl played integral roles in engineering the Cardinal netters to third-place showings at the Class AA state team meets during both his junior and senior seasons. He finished fourth at state in singles competition in 1990 before teaming with Chris Scott to qualify for state doubles play in 1991.

Sagedahl etched his name in Fairmont’s rich athletics history by joining former teammate/classmate and 2008 Fairmont Hall of Fame member Cory Kallheim as rare state qualifiers in five consecutive prep sports seasons on the strength of his long-distance skills.

Sagedahl played a key role in helping power the Cardinals’ cross country team to the 1989 Class AA state championship and runner-up state honors in 1990.

Sagedahl, who currently ranks 17th all-time in career cross country points (574.2) at Fairmont, also holds a couple of Fairmont Summer Run age division records for his road-racing skills and stamina during the past 3 years.

While Sagedahl is a family practice physician at Northwest Family Physicians in Plymouth, numerous girls golf opponents considered Ron Kallheim as the swing doctor after guiding Fairmont to 20 South Central Conference team crowns during a 26-year span.

Kallheim’s tutelage produced 11 conference medalists during the Cardinals’ league gold-medal years of 1988-2003 and 2010-13, along with 11 individual state golf qualifiers and 10 all-state academic players.

Kallheim powered Fairmont to nine state team tournament appearances, placing fourth in Class A in 1990 before generating three straight sixth-place showings from 1991-93. His golf lineups also netted fifth place in the Class AA state meet in 1997, sixth in 2001 and third in 2002. The Cardinals also finished eighth in Class AA during the recent three-class system in both 2012 and 2013.

The 2011-12 Minnesota State High School Coaches Association’s Class AA girls golf coach of the year and MSHSCA’s 25-year coaches award winner in 2014 becomes a rarity in joining his son, Cory, and daughter, Tracy, as members of the Fairmont Athletic Hall of Fame. Both Cory and Tracy were enshrined in 2008.

While Kallheim earned his rightful spot among the school’s athletic elite through coaching, Highland gained the 24th annual Hall of Fame class as an athlete, although he also would qualify in the special contributor category from his days as the voice of the Fairmont Cardinals’ football team in the early 2000s.

Ironically, Highland moved back to his home town in 2002 and wanted a way to get reconnected with the community. He and the late Randy Quiring rotated roles as announcer and spotter at home football games during a 7-year span.

Highland got his first taste of the gridiron as a player by earning three varsity letters under Fairmont Hall of Fame founder Tom Mahoney’s tutelage in the mid-1960s.

The former Cardinals’ receiver and defensive back started for two seasons on both sides of the line of scrimmage, including serving as the team’s co-captain with legendary Hall of Famer Mike Daly during his senior season of 1966. The two-way standout starter topped Fairmont’s statistical charts in both receiving and interceptions during both his junior and senior campaigns.

While Highland, a one-year letterwinner in track & field, was hurdling would-be tacklers en route to returning a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns during his junior football season, Huss was hurdling his way to state medals on the tarred surface in both 1974 and 1975.

Huss captured third place in the high hurdles during the 1975 state track & field meet to complement a fifth-place showing in the low hurdles that spring.

The two-time all-state and all-South Central Conference hurdler also utilized his stellar speed by playing wide receiver for Tom Mahoney’s powerhouse football teams in 1973 and 1974.

Huss displayed his versatility and athleticism by playing for the two-time co-ed volleyball intramural champions while earning his accounting degree at MSU-Mankato.

Huss transformed his bachelor’s degree into a 39-year career with Frontier Communications, where he serves as director of capital management. His cost-saving efforts in the accounting field for his company have earned him a pair of CEO Awards in his industry.

All eight of this year’s inductees will be recognized during halftime of Fairmont’s Homecoming football game on Friday, Oct. 5, at Mahoney Field.

The biennial event’s social hour will begin at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, in the Fairmont High School commons, with the meal being served at 5 p.m., followed by the formal program at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

Tickets cost $10 per person, and can be purchased at the Fairmont Sentinel newspaper office from sports editor Charlie Sorrells, in addition to the Fairmont High School activities office and HyVee in Fairmont.

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