Seven new members were inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association (MWCA) Dave Bartelma Hall of Fame on April 4th, 2009 at the Willmar Holiday Inn in Willmar, Minn.
The new inductees honored were: Ron Ankeny, James Baker, Ronald Cram, Ed Ferkingstad, Mike Houck, Dennis Koslowski, and Lynden Nelson. Many Hall of Fame members were in attendance.
The MWCA selected Lyle Freudenburg of Foley as State Head Coach of the Year. Selected as State Assistant Coach of the Year was Eastview’s Nick Fornicoia.
Freudenburg and Fornicoia, along with MWCA Mr. Minnesota of Wrestling selection Kevin Steinhaus of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg now represent Minnesota as The National Wrestling Coaches Association’s State award winners and may be selected for further honors at the Regional and National levels.
Three coaches were honored with Lifetime Achievement awards, given to coaches for their service to wrestling and long coaching careers. Honorees at this year’s induction ceremony were: Wayne Coulter of MACCRAY, Brad Novak of Becker, and Tony Olson of Mahnomen/Waubun.
- Ron Ankeny, Athlete – presenter Chuck Slocum
- James Baker, Contributor – presenter Reggie Sikkink
- Ronald Cram, Contributor – presenter Ron Ackerman
- Ed Ferkingstad, Coach – presenter Steve Buttell
- Mike Houck, Athlete – presenter Rudy Gomez
- Dennis Koslowski, Athlete – presenter Doug Dufty
- Lynden Nelson, Coach – presenter Wes Haglund
Ron Ankeny, Athlete
Ron started wrestling in seventh grade. By the ninth grade he was wrestling on the varsity team at 95 pounds and took third place in the regional wrestling tournament, losing to two-time state champion Jerry Beyers from Mankato. For the rest of his high school career, Ron won every dual meet and tournament match with the exception of one dual meet tie to a two-time state champion for Iowa and one loss by referee’s decision at the 1962 Mankato Invitational Tournament.
Ron graduated from Blue Earth High School in 1963, a three-time state wrestling champion at 103 pounds, 120 pounds, and 133 pounds.
Ron attended the University of Minnesota where he was a three-year letter winner and captain of the 1967 team. He compiled a 46-16 record for the Gophers, and placed third and fourth at the Big Ten Tournament. One of Ron’s finest moments in college was pinning Wayne Wells (undefeated and #1 rated wrestler) during the 1967 Minnesota/Oklahoma dual meet.
Ron was the assisting coach under Wally Johnson for the 1967-68 University of Minnesota wrestling team and was the head wrestling coach for North Hennepin Junior College the following year.
Ron graduated from the University of Minnesota in Architecture in 1969 and founded Ankeny Kell Architects, P.A. (AKA) in 1976. His architectural firm specialized in athletic facilities, recreation and community centers, and public building projects. The Phoenix Coyotes Training Facility in Scottsdale, Arizona; the University of Minnesota-Ritter Arena and Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis, MN; the Minnesota State University, Mankato – Student Athletic Facility in Mankato, MN; the University Center Rochester – Recreation Sports Center in Rochester, MN; and the Kennedy Center with the Alan and Gloria Rice Wrestling Center, Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN are only a few of AKA’s projects.
Ron retired from his architectural practice on January 1, 2008. He resides in St. Paul but spends much of his time at his cabin on the North Shore of Lake Superior and also at his home in the south of France. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children, Jeff and Nicole, daughter-in-law Maria, and grandson Devin.
Ron is grateful to have been involved in wrestling, in both the high school and collegiate levels, where he learned the value of hard work, self-discipline, and team camaraderie. Ron continues to support wrestling in Minnesota and enjoys his friends in the wrestling community.
James Baker, Contributor
James “Jim” Baker, a native of Rochester, Minnesota graduated from Lourdes High School in 1965. He received his B.S. Degree from Winona State University in 1970. Jim started his teaching career in Mora, Minnesota and it was there that he met Head Wrestling Coach, Jim Anderson (Fridley). Jim was asked to be the junior high wrestling coach even without any experience in wrestling. Thus, this started Jim’s admiration and compassion for the sport of wrestling and the people involved in the sport.
As luck would have it, Jim was offered a teaching job in Albert Lea that included serving as a wrestling coach first with Paul Erhard and then as an assistant coach to Neil Skaar. During the many trips to the state wrestling tournament with the Albert Lea squad, Tournament Directors Pete Veldman and Don Myers needed help with tournament weigh-ins. Pete, being a former Albert Lea wrestler, asked the Albert Lea coaches if they would help. Jim, Neil, and Dave Frame were more than happy to help with this. Jim was then asked to run the weigh-in for the state tournament, getting volunteers to help with this endeavor.
After Albert Lea, Jim found himself in Lake City as Athletic Director and the step-father of a “fair country” wrestler in Jason Elsmore who was second, third, and fouth in his state tournament wrestling. In Lake City, Jim was fortunate to meet Reggie Sikkink who helped find many more volunteers who along with the “Hansen Brothers” of Albert Lea worked the weigh-ins and moved the mats at the State tournament.
Jim’s final stop was at Richfield High School as Athletic Director. There he hired Chad Olson (Farmington) as head wrestling coach, trying to resurrect that program. Chad has worked hard in doing so.
Jim served as Tournament Director for the Section 1 -A, -AA, and -AAA Individuals. He was also tournament manager at the State Tournament. This volunteerism has been over a thirty-five year duration. Jim was always looking for ways to make the tournaments better for wrestlers and coaches. Minnesota’s state tournament is one of the premier high school tournaments in the country, and this is due in part to Jim Baker.
Jim’s wife’s name is Janet, and they have two children Matt and Jason.
Ronald Cram, Contributor
Ron attended Minneapolis North High School, competing in wrestling (Ted Lange-coach) when he was a junior and senior (wrestling was not available for Ron in his sophomore year). Ron was an alternate to the state tournament his senior year.
After graduating from North in 1956, Ron was on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and later attended the University of Minnesota (night school) for five years.
Ron is married to Patricia and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October 2007.
Ron began officiating wrestling in 1959 and continued for thirty years. During this time he officiated both high school and college and was the assignment secretary for both the Metro and Gold Country Wrestling Officials Associations. Ron was encouraged by Alan Rice to learn officiating in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. He was encouraged by Jack Gause to help referee and coordinate AAU teams for the Regional National Championships in 1971 and 1972.
Ron and his brother Don helped organize the Roseville Wrestling Club in 1970. Ron also worked with Wally Johnson to establish the U.S. Wrestling Federation Minnesota Kids Program in 1973 and helped develop these wrestling tournaments on the local, state, regional, and national levels.
Ron has served as the Membership Chair on the Gopher Wrestling Booster Club with Ron Ackerman and Al Palmer, and has been following Gopher Wrestling at the NCAA Championships since 1974.
Today, Ron helps to evaluate officials at The Clash Wrestling Tournament and the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament.
Ron’s commitment and dedication to Minnesota Wrestling will long be remembered. He served as a contributor in many capacities – coach, official, and developer and coordinator of wrestling programs and tournaments.
Ron and Patricia have five kids – Richard, Wendy, Teri, Steve, and John.
Ed Ferkingstad, Coach
Ed was born in Cresco, Iowa and lived there until his parents moved to Lime Springs, Iowa when he was in elementary school. Because of the move he was unable to get involved in the wrestling program in Cresco. He graduated from high school in 1950. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. After spending from 1951-1954 in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Midway he attended Winona State University where he received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Education. He also received a M.S. in administration. Ed taught and was a secondary administrator in the Caledonia, MN system for thirty-four years.
In 1963 Ed started the wrestling program in Caledonia. In 1970 the team won a state title under the one class system. His coaching record was 58-24-4. The numbers do not do justice to the time and effort he put into the program.
In 1965 he started his own weekly radio show to promote the sport. He expected his athletes to exhibit acceptable behavior on and off the mat. He stressed physical conditioning, discipline and hard work. His former wrestlers will long remember him for being a father figure to them. He was fair, and conducted himself as a professional on and off the mat.
After retiring, Ed continued to be involved with wrestling as an official from 1973-1987. He was regarded as being fundamentally sound in his judgement and technique. He worked a number of district and regional tournaments. He is still active in the Caledonia Wrestling Club.
In 1996 his first wife (Shirley) passed away. They had three children, Tim, Brenda and Kris. The family was an avid supporter of wrestling. In 1999, Ed married Barbara Fruechte who has a daughter Kathy and a son Rob. Ed currently spends time golfing, traveling, enjoying family and retirement.
Mike Houck, Athlete
Mike attended Robbinsdale High School, graduating from there in 1978. During his tenure there he was a two-time state entrant and part of the 1978 state championship team.
After high school Mike competed for Maranatha Baptist Bible College, winning two National Christian College Titles, and earning three All-American honors. Mike’s legendary wrestling status did not come to pass until his post college years, however.
Mike is considered a pioneer of Greco-Roman wrestling in the Minnesota Wrestling Club era, along with the likes of Pat Marcy, Brian Gust, Gary Pelcl, the Kozlowski twins, Gary Alexander, the Thompson brothers, Brad Rheingans, coaches Al Rice, and also Jack Gause. Mike was an AAU National Champion in 1981.
He made U.S. history in 1985, when he became the first American Greco-Roman wrestler to win a gold medal at the World Championships in Kolbatn, Norway. He was a three-time World Team member, and a two-time Olympic Trials runner-up.
After retiring from competition in 1990 Mike served as the U.S.A. Greco-Roman coach through 1995. He saw a pair of his athletes earn medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.
Mike was the founder and coach for the U.S. Olympic Training Center Greco-Roman Resident Athlete Program, which was started in 1993. Under his tenure the U.S. finished in the top ten in the world four-out-of-five years, won the Greco-Roman competition in the Pan Am Games for the first time ever, and brought home six World or Olympic medals – capped by Dennis Hall’s World championship.
Mike was named Sportsman of the Year for 1985 by the United States Olympic Committee and was nominated for the prestigious Sullivan Award. Mike has been teaching (Industrial Tech) and coaching in the Chaska Public School system since 1999. He is currently the co-head wrestling coach there.
Mike is married to Bonnie and their have a daughter, Jessica and son in law, Rudy.
Dennis Koslowski, Athlete
Dennis attended high school in Doland, South Dakota, graduating from there in 1978.
He attended the University of Minnesota-Morris, where he was a two-time NCAA Division III National Champion. He was also a three-time All-NIC Conference football player. He began the transition to Greco-Roman wrestling soon after graduating in 1982. One year later Koslowski would win the first of his seven USA Wrestling Greco-Roman titles.
Dennis graduated from Northwestern in 1986 with a degree in Chiropractics. In 1987 at the World Championships in France, Dennis earned a silver medal at 220 pounds. He was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, and an Olympic silver medalist in Barecelona, Spain, becoming the first American ever to medal twice at the Olympic level.
Today Dennis owns Koslowski Chiropractic Inc., and he is the Minnesota Viking’s official team chiropractor.
Dennis will always be remembered for his fierce competitive style, and for his willingness to share his knowledge with other athletes.
Dennis resides in Minnetonka with his wife Sylvie.
Lynden Nelson, Coach
Lyndon attended Glenwood High School, graduating from there in 1956. He compiled a 45-10 record during his three years of high school wrestling.
He attended the University of Minnesota-Morris where he played football and wrestled on their first ever college wrestling team. He was a part of a five year undefeated West Lake Conference Dual meet run. Two separated shoulders ended his wrestling career. Lynden graduated from there in 1965 with a B.A. in Education.
Lynden began teaching and coaching in Kerkhoven and later Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. In his twenty-five years of coaching he compiled a record of 254-53-3. He was named the Coach of the Year in the 212 Conference in 1987 and 1988. He was voted Region 3A coach of the year in 1987, losing in the region finals to a very solid Canby team.
Lynden coached numerous state entrants and state place winners. He also was instrumental in developing the local AAU wrestling program, and he coached youth wrestling for twenty years.
The quality of Lynden’s teams year-in and year-out helped to raise the level of competitiveness in the area. He had teams that defeated Paynesville, which at the time was one of the best in the state. Even after retirement he encouraged and promoted wrestling constantly. He served as an official weigh-in person at the state tournament from 1988 to 1997.
Lynden and his wife Sharon have three kids: Michael, Stacy, and Kelsey.