Former Staples-Motley activities director, coach and teacher Norm Card was inducted into the Grand Rapids High School Athletic Hall of Fame over the weekend.
The 2015 class was introduced at halftime of the Grand Rapids football game on Friday, October 9, followed by a social at the Grand Rapids Eagles Club. The induction and banquet were held Saturday, October 10.
Six others join Card as the newest members of the Grand Rapids Hall of Fame, including: Dusty Rychart, John Nalan, Paul Bauer, Sandi Petersen, Todd Rohloff and Tom Hanna.
2015 INDUCTEE BIOS:
Norman ‘Snookie’ Card
Norman Card graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1959 and earned 10 varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball. He was a three-sport captain and earned both MVP and All-Iron Range Conference in each sport.
After high school, Card attended Itasca Junior College where he played football, basketball, and track. He continued his education at Moorhead State University where he played baseball. At MSU he won the NIC batting title.
Card earned his master’s degree from Bemidji State University and taught elementary school in Staples, Minn. During his 16 years of teaching, he also coached football, wrestling, and baseball. While he was an assistant wrestling coach, the Staples team won six consecutive state championships.
In the course of his 10 years as activities director for Staples-Motley High School, he had 45 teams in state tournaments in various sports. He was a member of the Minnesota State High School League committee that developed a football playoff system.
Dusty Rychart, a 1997 Grand Rapids High School graduate, lettered in basketball for three years. He captained the 1996-97 basketball team his senior year that was the first to make it to the state tournament (7AAAA) since 1925. Rychart was selected to the Iron Range All-Conference team as well as the All-Tri State team during the 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97 seasons. Along with these awards, Rychart earned the All-Tri State Player of the Year Award for the 1996-97 season and was selected All-State First Team in 1996-97.
Rychart attended the University of Minnesota from 1997-2002 where he “walked-on” as a basketball player.
He would later earn a scholarship, continuing his tradition of hard work and perseverance that would prove to be his trademark as an athlete wherever he played. Rychart was a member of the U of M basketball team that won the 1998 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship. He also earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Team twice during the 2000-01 and 2001-2002 seasons. Upon graduation, Rychart was the U of M’s top 15 all-time scorer, the top 10 rebounder and in the top 10 for free throw percentage.
After attending the U of M, Rychart went on to a 13-year pro basketball career playing on teams in leagues in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia from 2002-2013. He earned multiple individual and team awards during his pro-playing career. These accomplishments include a league MVP award in 2007 (Australian CBA), MVP for Brisbane Capitals in 2013-14 season, an All-Tournament team (Asian Championships) selection in 2004, Australian All NBL Team (2002-2010), as well as being on the Brisbane team that won the Australian National Basketball league championship in 2007.
John Nalan graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1983 with high honors. He was a five-year letter winner in gymnastics and in two appearances at the Minnesota State Gymnastics Tournament, earned 11 medals. This accomplishment set a school record for most state tournament medals by an individual or coach. Nalan earned the following medals: Second – parallel bars, team 1982; third – all-around, parallel bars, team 1981; fourth – floor exercise, vault (twice) and; fifth – all-around and high bar (twice). For his efforts Nalan was awarded placement on the National High School All-American Team by the National Gymnastics Coaches Association.
Nalan continued his gymnastics career at the United States Military Academy at West Point after earning appointment for academic, civic, and athletic excellence. He was a four-year starter and letter-winner for West Point. In 1987 he won the Eastern Athletic Conference championship on vault, one of only 50 Knights in history to record such a title. Nalan continued his military career with commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army serving in Nuremberg, Germany with the First Armored Division Artillery with the German-American Joint Combat Team on the Czechoslovakian border.
Nalan was also an outstanding member of the Grand Rapids wrestling team. He was a five-time letter winner with two state tournament appearances and two times an individual region finalist.
Post-military, Nalan served as girls’ gymnastics coach at Eau Claire North High School in Wisconsin and wrestling coach at Deer River High School. He has also served for 20 years as a high school wrestling and soccer official in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Paul Bauer was the head coach for girls’ and boys’ Nordic Skiing from 1989 to 1998 and also the head coach for girls’ and boys’ cross country from 1990 to 2002. He was the assistant girls’ track coach in the distance events from 2000 to 2001.
During that time, the girls’ nordic skiing individuals went to the Minnesota State High School State (MSHSL) championships in 1995, 1996, and 1997. The boys’ nordic skiing teams went to the MSHSL championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
The cross country girls’ team competed in the MSHSL championships from 1996 to 2002 placing ninth, seventh, third second, state champions in 2000, third and third respectively. Individual girls and boys went to state competition from 1992 to 2002. The entire team, both girls and boys, were named section all-conference from 1998 to 2002. Individual girl and boy athletes were named all-state from 1998 to 2002.
Bauer was section coach of the year in cross country in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 and the state coach of the year in 2000. He was honored by the High School Coaches Association in 1999 and 2001.
The girls’ 4x800 relay team broke the state record in 2001.
During his time as head coach, the team numbers in cross country went from 15 members to 120 members and in nordic skiing, the number increased from 12 members to 80 members. He took three buses of participants in cross country to the meets in 1998 to 1999.
Bauer’s philosophy in coaching was to improve from where you start athletically. Everyone is a winner because everyone can set and accomplish goals.
Sandi Petersen graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1984, earning varsity letters in alpine skiing in grades seven through 12 and captained the team for three years. She competed in the MSHSL alpine meet for six straight years. Peterson placed 15th in the state meet in seventh grade and took fourth place in 10th grade. She was the MSHSL champion in girls’ alpine skiing in 1983 and 1984. She also was named KARE-11 TV prep Athlete of the Week during her senior year.
Peterson’s love for downhill skiing began when she was three years old, and she began racing competitively at age nine. She trained year-round on the slopes of Sugar Hills, Spirit Mountain, Buck Hill and Afton Alps. Peterson competed in Junior Olympics and in the Central United States Ski Association (C.U.S.S.A.). She won the Minnesota Cup for the C.U.S.S.A. in 1983, 1984, and 1985. She also raced in the United States National Alpine Championships. Peterson received numerous medals, trophies, and other accolades during her many years of alpine skiing.
After high school, Peterson attended Itasca Community College and The College of St. Scholastica, where she earned a bachelors of science degree in management and played fast-pitch softball. She has remained active in other sports, such as slow-pitch softball, hockey, and broomball and played in state, national, and world tournaments.
Peterson is a carpenter and builds bridges for a Twin Cities area company.
Todd Rohloff graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1992. He lettered in both football and hockey. In hockey, he played on the Section 7 championship team that went on to place fourth in the state tournament.
In football his senior year, he was named all-conference and named to the All-Tri-State Area Team, described by his coach as a “one man wrecking crew” playing at his defensive tackle position.
Recruited by colleges to play football, Rohloff choose instead, to pursue a future in hockey. He was drafted by the St. Paul Vulcans of the United States Hockey League to play Junior A Hockey. He was a captain of the Vulcans and named to the league all-star team. This earned him a scholarship to Miami University of Ohio, a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, where he became a four-year starter. He was the team leader in plus/minus points and was named team defensive player of the year in both his junior and senior years, being the league runner-up in both categories. He was a unanimous choice for team captain his senior year.
Rohloff played professional hockey for eight years in the AHL and IHL, serving as captain of the Portland Pirates. He also played 75 games in the NHL with the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Bluejackets. In addition, Rohloff was named to and played for Team USA in the 2002 world championships held in Sweden.
Rohloff had been an assistant coach of high school hockey in Bismarck, N.D., where his teams were state runner-ups and consolation champions in successive years. He has since returned to Grand Rapids and is currently coaching youth hockey.
Tom Hanna was a three-sport athlete, graduating from Grand Rapids High School in 1961. In football he started on varsity for three years and earned all-conference honors as a senior. He was named to the Bernie Bierman/WCCO All-State team of the week when he scored four touchdowns and intercepted a pass in one game.
On the basketball court, Hanna was All-Conference his senior year and went on to play for Itasca Junior College. Tom ran varsity track as a seventh grader, and in the years ahead, turned in first-place performances in the 100-yard high hurdles, 180-yard low hurdles, high jump and long jump.
After his athletic career Hanna coached for 25 years in Grand Rapids at the middle school, junior varsity, assistant, and varsity levels. He coached successful teams in all three sports that he played. Tom coached several track and field state champions as the head girls’ varsity track and field coach. He also was the head girls’ varsity basketball coach and guided the first Grand Rapids team to the Minnesota State High School Tournament. While Tom made a powerful impact on student-athletes over the years, one of his most rewarding accomplishments remains having coached his four children: Tom, Kim, Lisa and Kasey.