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March 26, 1960: Tiny Edgerton wins state basketball title

It's one of the most memorable achievements in the history of Minnesota high school basketball. More than a half-century ago, tiny Edgerton – population 900 – beat Austin 72-61 to capture the state title at Williams Arena. The Flying Dutchmen (27-0) showed great skill and heart during the one-class tournament, upsetting powerhouse Richfield in overtime in the semifinal before calmly dispatching Austin in the final.
 

The Tribune sports section was packed with coverage of Edgerton's remarkable run. On the front page, though, was this charming little story featuring two of the team’s “steady” fans:

Edgerton Wins Title, 72 to 61

 

Fans Coolly Watch Dutch Beat Austin

Saturday night was like a Buster Keaton silent movie for the fans from Edgerton.

They played it almost deadpan as their scrappy Flying Dutchmen coolly thumped Austin 72-61 in the finals of the state basketball tournament.

While a record 19,018 people packed smoky, hot Williams arena, stamping and screaming, the two girl friends from Edgerton quietly and nervously eyed their boy friends out on the court. Their calm reaction was typical of most of the folks from Edgerton.

“i’ve been nervous all day,” said Judy Roelofs, shyly showing her black onyx class ring, a present from her “steady,” guard Darrell Kreun.

“I saw him today, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him,” 16-year-old Judy sighed. “Fact is, I haven’t seen him to talk to since last Sunday.”

“Me, too,” said the tiny (5-foot, 1-inch) blonde whose steady boy friend is 6-foot 4-inch center Dean Veenhof.

“But my being tiny and Dean’s being tall is no problem,” blushed cheerleader Joyce Zwart, 15, her head just reaching over the raised court from the front-row seat.

The two girls and their boy friends double-date back in Edgerton.

“They drop us off first,” laughed Judy, who plays baritone in the band.

She tugged at her tie—“to get some air”—in the humid arena. “Dad does the knot for me.”

With her big horn at her feet, Judy nervously tweaked her nose, clapped and kept track of the score and fouls on a sheet of notebook paper.

Others in the band stood up to give a little yell when their team scored a bucket, but Judy just made a little mark with her pencil. 048

Over to the side, little Joyce smiled and turned red every time her boy friend got the ball, swooped up and dunked it in.

“I’ve been going with Dean about a month and two weeks,” she said.

She cupped her hands to her face and exchanged yells with the band as it swung into “Bleacher Boogie” and then the school song, “Wave the Flag.”

“we don’t play more than a couple of songs a night,” the girl with the clarinet behind Judy said in a matter-of-fact tone.

As the final seconds of the game ticked by, the crowd started stamping and rose to its feet.

But not the Edgerton band. They kept to their seats, waiting for the big trophies to be awarded.

“We’ll have to build a new trophy case,” smiled the clarinet player, Diane Kreun, a second cousin of Judy’s boy friend. “The one we’ve got isn’t big enough.”

Members of the team, and perhaps some of its followers, will attend church today at Riverside Reformed church, 102nd St. and Nicollet Av., Bloomington.

Because of its observance of the Sabbath, the team does not plan to return home until Monday, and there will be no celebrations in Edgerton until then.

Edgerton players hoisted their young coach -- Rich Olson, 23 -- after winning the state title. (Minneapolis Tribune photo by John Croft)
 

Follow-up: One of the double-dating couples, Darrell Kreun and Judy Roelofs, ended up getting married. I spoke with them by phone in February 2016, a little over a month after their 51st wedding anniversary. They live on a lake near Bigfork in northern Minnesota. He’s a retired high school basketball coach and teacher. She’s a retired piano teacher. They have three adult children and four grandchildren, all living in Minnesota.

What do Darrell and Judy remember about the moments after the title game against Austin?

"It was sort of anticlimactic,” said Darrell. “The big game was the Richfield game. … The Austin game was pretty easy, compared to the semifinals. We were pretty calm and collected. Never got too high or too low. We were a bit relieved."

“I don't [remember that game],” said Judy. “I remember the Richfield game. And I remember an interview with a Tribune reporter before the final game. He had heard I was dating one of the players.” That was news to her maternal grandfather. After reading the front page story, he told a relative: “I had to read the Tribune to know who my granddaughter was going with.”

May 11, 1958: Minnesota's glittery centennial, starring Judy Garland

Minnesota’s centennial brought out the stars back in 1958, led by Judy Garland, who fought through a case of laryngitis to entertain 20,000 people at the U’s old Memorial Stadium. Also baking in the sun on that hot Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis were Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Princess Astrid of Norway, Prince Bertil of Sweden, the prime ministers of Denmark and Finland, and ambassadors from West Germany, Iceland and Yugoslavia. Longtime columnist Barbara Flanagan, writing here as the Tribune’s “Women’s Editor,” captured all the color and emotion in a story that ran atop Page One the next morning.

 

A Gallant Dulles, a Jittery Judy Spark Our Centennial

 

By BARBARA FLANAGAN
Women’s Editor

Secretary of State Dulles doffed his hat to a jittery Judy Garland Sunday as the two put the topper on Minnesota's Centennial in Memorial stadium.

Grand Rapids-born Judy came on strong singing special material – “I thought it would never happen … I finally got here.”

Midway through the tune, she stopped the orchestra – 32 hand-picked members of the Minneapolis Symphony orchestra – and said:

“Can I start again? I missed the lyric. Isn’t this terrible? I was trying to be so good.”

More than 20,000 sun-drenched spectators applauded and Dulles tipped his homburg.

At the downbeat, Miss Garland lit into the song again and finished it with the phrase: “It’s hard to believe, but here … I … am.”

“Boy, I really messed that up,” she said. “But I really meant every word of it. This is a great honor and I’m really just terrified.

“This place is so damn big.”

Sitting behind the singer along with Dulles and Mrs. Dulles were such VIPs as Princess Astrid of Norway, Prince Bertil of Sweden, Gen. and Mrs. Lauris Norstad, plus prime ministers, ambassadors and state officials.

Wearing a black, glitter-trimmed knit chemise with long sleeves and white Buster Brown collar and cuffs, Miss Garland stepped from a sickbed to sing. She has had laryngitis.

 
  Secretary of State John Foster Dulles sat next to Isabelle Norstad, the wife of Gen. Lauris Norstad, a Minneapolis native who was commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.

She often seemed as nervous about turning her back on the dignitaries and would turn to sing to them occasionally.

Buster Davis, Hollywood, Calif., her conductor, steered into the next tune – the famous “You Made Me Love You,” and Judy seemed to calm down.

After it, he said: “Need a hankie, honey?” She did and dabbed at her nose with a paper tissue handed up from the orchestra pit.

Next came such hits as “Rockabye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody” and “The Trolley Song.”

During “For Me and My Gal,” she urged the crowd to sing along. Norstad tried it and Gov. Freeman seemed to know the words.

Yugoslavia’s Ambassador Mates sat on the edge of his chair, grinning and bobbing his head to the music.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Hansen tapped his toe in time to it. Prince Bertil clapped vigorously after every number.

Then Judy asked for a glass of water.

Congressman Walter Judd, a doctor, leaped to his feet from a seat in the back row and rushed into the audience. He came back with a glass of orange-colored liquid.

“What’s this?” asked Judy. “Orange juice, I think,” said Judd. “Are you sure?” said Judy, and sipped it. “You’re right.”

She handed it back to Judd with a thank you and “Boy, it’s hot.”

Turning to Davis, she said, “Where are we?” “Rainbow, darling,” he said. And the orchestra began to play her most famous melody, “Over the Rainbow.”

Miss Garland sang it like new and ended up a little misty-eyed. The crowd applauded and she bowed off.

Off stage, she said: “I’ve never been so scared in my life. I’m afraid I just wasn’t good.”

ASSURED that she was, Miss Garland said, “Now, don’t kid me. Was it okay?” Then she cheerfully signed autographs for youngsters who clambered down to greet her.

Miss Garland appeared just before Dulles made his speech. The secretary and Mrs. Dulles came on stage about 4 p.m. to a rousing welcome.

By that time the people in the stands and the personalities on stage were mighty hot. The sun beat down throughout the afternoon from a cloudless sky.

IT FORCED Prince Bertil – a man who prides himself on not wearing a hat – to borrow an old felt topper from a Centennial official.

Women on stage, including Princess Astrid, were given paper Japanese parasols to shield them.

The princess seemed cheerful in spite of the bright sky. She teased photographers in the pit by holding the parasol in front of her face. Then she’d smile and remove it.

Cedric Adams, Minneapolis Star and Minneapolis Sunday Tribune columnist, was master of ceremonies for the rededication program.

HE INTRODUCED Gov. Freeman, who introduced the special guests.

Those who brought special messages to Minnesota on its 100th birthday included Princess Astrid, Prince Bertil, Danish Prime Minister Hansen, Finland’s Prime Minister Kuuskoski, Yugoslavia’s Ambassador Mates, Iceland’s Ambassador Thors and German Ambassador Grewe.

Bertil said: “Scandinavia as well as Minnesota will continue to change. But the roots we have in common will remain. The ideals we regard as fundamental – friendship, honesty, justice – are timeless. What we need is a rededication to the basic principles of the pioneers and this Centennial is a good opportunity.

“In my native language, may I say, “ja, ma Du leva, Minnesota,” (Surely you will prosper).

Princess Astrid paid tribute to Norwegian pioneers in Minnesota and added: “The compassion and aid you rendered to us in Norway during our darkest hour of World War II will never be forgotten. I, now, bring my father, the king’s, sincere and warm greetings to the people of Minnesota.”

SPEAKING for the Centennial commission was its chairman, Rep. Peter Popovich.

One of the most dramatic moments in the program came when actor Walter Abel – born in St. Paul and reared in Heron Lake, Minn. – read “Giant in the Wooded Earth,” by Herbert Krause, professor of English at Augustana college, Sioux Falls, S.D.

His moving words were accompanied by the symphony conducted by Gerard Samuel.

ANOTHER musical moment came from the Apollo club which sang “They Called It Minnesota,” the Centennial prize-winner by tunesmiths Sid Lippman and Sylvia Dee.

Other distinguished Minnesotans honored yesterday included Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, president, Associated Universities, Inc.; Dr. Paul Klopsteg, associate director for research, National Science Foundation; Carroll M. Shanks, president, Prudential Insurance Co., and Gen. Norstad, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The original caption for this photo by Jack Gillis of the Minneapolis Star:

Here’s Judy in a black knit chemise as she sang to the crowd. She was accompanied by 32 members of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. In addition to special material, the Grand Rapids-born actress sang such hits as “Rockabye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody,” “The Trolley Song” and “For Me and My Gal.”

Judy Garland and other VIPs sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a commemorative dinner the night before the big show at Memorial Stadium. Front row, from left: Lt. Gov. Karl Rolvaag, Garland and Robert Snook, a centennial organizer. Back row, from left: Judge Luther Youngdahl, Mrs. James L. Morrill and University of Minnesota President James L. Morrill, and Eleanor Pillsbury.

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