Grads from '56, '60 to be inducted
into Kingsland athletic Hall of Fame
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 5:13 AM
This year, the Kingsland Athletic Booster Club (KABC) is inducting Robert W. Larson, Spring Valley Class of 1960, and James W. Sheldon, Class of 1956, into the KABC Hall of Fame during an April 6 ceremony, which will be accompanied by a meal and silent and live auctions.
"It is always exciting to meet the hall of fame inductees," said KABC member Stacey Rath, anticipating the upcoming induction at the Spring Valley Community Center. "Each one has a story about their athletic careers. They have history here. They have or had a life here in the Spring Valley-Wykoff community. Each one is proud of what they did for their school."
Larson attended Spring Valley High School from 1957 to 1960, then went on to Winona State University in 1960, graduating in 1964. During his high school athletic career, he was All-State in track in 1959, captain of the basketball and football teams his senior year, and earned 14 letters in four years in football, basketball, baseball and track.
His 100-yard dash record was 10.1 seconds, and his 220-yard dash record, 22.4 seconds. He competed in the 1959 state track tournament, was track district champion his sophomore, junior and senior years.
Larson's football records included a 6.7 yards per carry average, as well as the team being named conference football champion his junior and senior years.
His basketball career included participating in the conference championship his junior year, and in his baseball career, playing on the conference championship in 1959.
He was named Spring Valley High School Male Athlete of the year in 1960.
Now a retired teacher after 33 years, he has been a member of MEA, REA, NEW, the Sierra Club, the Lions Club, the Arbor Day Society, the W Club at Winona State University, and the Nature Conservancy. He has been an intramural coach at Stewartville and Rochester public schools. He married Paula Silker, and he and his late wife have two children, Tim and Keli.
Sheldon, now of Palm Harbor, Fla., a student at Spring Valley High School from 1952 to 1956, was a member of the 1955 championship track team, which won the final District 1 track meet and also set three individual district records, including in long jump, low hurdles and the pole vault. He was a member of the first place 880-yard relay team.
His freshman year, he lettered in football, basketball and track, was a member of the first track team initiated by coach Charlie Reps, and set a long jump record at the District 1 finals in Decorah.
His sophomore year, he also lettered in football, basketball and track, was the second-highest team scorer in basketball, earned second place in broad jump at the District 1 track finals, and was a member of the second place 880-yard relay team at the District 1 finals.
His junior year, he lettered in football, basketball and track once more, and was a member of Spring Valley's conference's first undefeated football team in 31 years, the first team that went all-conference in football.
He lettered in all three sports once again in his senior year, was a member of Spring Valley's District 1 championship basketball team as a leading scorer, was named to the Minneapolis Tribune's All-State football team, and was one of six Minnesota high school football players selected for the 1956 National All-American Prep Football Honor Roll announced by Prep Football Magazine and was selected to play in the North-South All-Star game at Parade Stadium.
In 1957, after graduating from Spring Valley High School, he played football on the U.S. Army base team at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., with members of several semi-pro teams around the western United States. In 1958, he lettered as a freshman member of the conference champion Luther College football team in Decorah. The next year, he suffered a compound fracture of the lower leg during a Luther College football game, which ended his athletic career. He graduated from Luther College in 1961, proceeding to Mankato State University where he obtained his bachelor's degree in education. He retired from his career in education -- which included 27 years in international schools -- in 2004. James and his wife, Barbara, have two children, Terryl Rae and Jill.
Rath explained that the induction is a way to honor athletes who have contributed significantly to Spring Valley or Wykoff's sports histories, and that KABC also works to promote present athletes' successes through numerous fundraising campaigns throughout the year, including charitable gambling and the biannual KABC auction, now in its sixth year.
"We help the community by generating money through gambling, and we donate funds back into the schools and community. A percentage of what we generate gets donated to the communities where gambling is conducted," she said. The generosity of the community is vital to KABC's mission, as funds most recently disbursed to Kingsland teams were garnered through KABC's bingo at Tootie's Little Rock Saloon, and "auction items are donated by local businesses and individuals. We have prints, Twins tickets, gift certificates, an autographed Vikings picture and autographed Kingsland balls. The rest, you will have to come see for yourself and bid on."
She elaborated, "The funds KABC raises help the school, the community and the student athletes. The programs can use the money raised to purchase needed equipment. The school budget does not usually allow for the equipment that can benefit a program, so this is where KABC can help out - the monies raised go directly to benefit our student athletes. This year's auction money will support the Spring Valley Park and Rec Department by purchasing safer football helmets for our youth football program. John Fenske came to KABC looking for funds, and we agreed this would benefit young athletes in hopes to keep them out for the sport and grow our team numbers at the high school level. We are also purchasing new scoreboards for the high school gym in partnership with four local businesses - Essig Agency, Security State Bank, Fowler's BP, and Valley Home Improvement. The high school scoreboards will then be moved over to the Wykoff gym, which will also benefit all programs."
In the past, KABC has purchased bleachers, portable scoreboards, upgraded the Charlie Reps football field sign and "purchased various equipment requested by the athletic department."
"With funds that have been raised, we have financially assisted with building a baseball field, concession stand, trophy case, repainting the gym, buying signage in the gym, gym floor murals, equipment for the grounds, scoreboards on the baseball field, weight room equipment, programs for home athletic events, and so much more," she continued. "We also pay athletic scholarship fees for student athletes that are unable to pay. The school has a criteria they follow to qualify students for these funds. I feel it's one of the best ways our money is used. We never want an athlete to be unable to participate because they can't afford it."
Rath invited everyone to come out to the auction to support the athletes and school. You don't have to have an athlete to attend the festivities or be a member of KABC. The organization has about 90 members, but Rath said it is always looking for more.
The Kingsland Athletic Booster Club's hall of fame induction, spring auction and dinner is slated for Saturday, April 6, at the Spring Valley Community Center. Social hour begins at 5 p.m., dinner catered by the Gateway Inn of Wykoff is at 6 p.m., the induction at 6:45 p.m., and the live auction at 7:30 p.m. A bar set up by Old Tyme Saloon will be available. Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased at Kuehn Motors in Spring Valley, Edina Realty, Kruegel's Gas, or at any Kingsland home athletic event.