The Kenyon-Wanamingo Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet was held Saturday night has part of Homecoming weekend.

Inspirational and humorous presenters and recipients shared stories of love and humility in the auditorium at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School following a delicious meal catered by Area 57 Cafe of Wanamingo.

Matt Ryan, Committee member, Principal and former Head Wrestling Coach at K-W Matt Ryan filled in for inductee Randy Hockinson as the open and close speaker for the evening saying it was one of his favorite events.

Ryan took the time to thank Hockinson for his idea to have the K-W Athletic Hall of Fame saying Hock spent numerous behind the scenes hours getting the board put together to develop rules and such.

History was made with the first induction of a non-athlete or coach.  There have been boosters and supporters selected previously but they were former athletes and in some cases coaches.

Bev Sviggum the matriarch of the Sviggum family tree of athletes was inducted because she has been a huge supporter of Kenyon Viking and then Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights teams through her children and grandchildren.

Sviggum was a Cannon Falls High School graduate and moved to Sogn Valley after marrying nearly 70 years ago.  Sons Steve, Jim and Dick were three sport athletes and so were daughters Beth and Missy.

Bev went to many of her sons games they officiated to show support.

Missy told me while attending St. Olaf College in Northfield Bev even attended a intramural broomball game she had that took place at 1 in the morning due to arena ice time availability.

Her presenter was grandson Hans Sviggum who started by saying Bev was 4 feet 11 inches tall and maybe 85 pounds dripping wet and she's "slower than the dial up internet at the old Kenyon-Wanamingo High School."

He went on to quote First Samuel Chapter 15 verse 7 from the Holy Bible which says "The Lord does not look at the things that people look at. People look at the outward appearance.  The Lord looks at the heart." He added,  "Beverly Sviggum has a hall of fame heart."

Hans speculated his Grandma had seen more athletic events than, "Anybody else in the history of Kenyon or Kenyon-Wanamingo athletic events."

In addition to cheering on these teams she baked many dozens of cookies and pies to help feed all the team members resulting in many calling her "Grandma Sviggum."

I have also personally been the recipient of some this great cookie and pie baking.

Hans said nobody kept track but it's probably a conservative estimate to say Bev attended over 10,000 games where her children and grandchildren were involved.

Hans stated he agreed with the program which said, "Her Hall of Fame selection is truly a recognition for all the hundreds of parents and grandparents who support, watch, and cheer on our K-W student athletes."

You could barely see the top of her hair behind the speaking podium which drew laughter from the crowd before saying, "First I'd like to thank the hall of fame committee for selecting a fan to be part of the Hall of Fame."

"Yes I attended a lot of games and baked a lot of cookies."

Bev shared memories of two specific games for different reasons.

During a basketball game at halftime a referee approached her in the stands. "Before he got there I said whatever it is I didn't do it.  Yes you did. I saw you sleeping." he said, adding, "I was going to call an official time out to wake you up.  We were up by over 20 points in the first half and the excitement just wasn't there."

The other example was a baseball game to go to state with two outs in the bottom of the final inning when a, "Routine fly ball went to second base where the player, someone I know very well, did not make the catch and the runner ended up at third base. They did record the final out but there was a lot of stress for the fans."

Sviggum said, "You can pick your type of ball. Real exciting or not so exciting.  You can always sleep."  I'm honored to be selected into the Hall of Fame. Thank You."

She received a standing ovation from the crowd.

1977 Kenyon Viking Rick Canton was the next inductee with his daughter Laura doing the presentation honors.

Rick went on to be a Head Coach in basketball and volleyball at Pine Island High School where he coached his son and daughters. He compiled 353 wins there.

Laura said he was very competitive and it was a great experience to play for him.

Over the last several years he has been an assistant for the highly successful St. Thomas and now St. Benedict women's basketball teams.

Rick said after receiving the letter telling him about his selection "A flood of emotions came over me. To be recognized by my hometown means so much."

He thanked family and the community for their support during his high school years and after.

Rick noted his biggest supporters were his parents, both deceased but he knew they were, "both looking down with smiles right now.

"They were always in the stands with programs and pens in their hands.  My Mom kept track of points and my Dad, turnovers.  We're stilling going through boxes of programs from the 1970's so Jim Sviggum I know how many turnovers you had against Lake City in 1970."

Sarah Shanley talked about her late father Dave Mauseth, K-W head wrestling coach for 26 seasons.  After his passing the Kenyon-Wanamingo Invitational was renamed the Dave Mauseth Wrestling Invitational and his the Dave Mauseth State Tournament Club was established to honor past and future state tournament entrants.

He was a business teacher when he wasn't coaching.

Mauseth was born and raised in Owatonna where he was a standout wrestler and went on to qualify for the NCAA Tournament while at Mankato State University where he met his wife Pam.  He also assisted coaching football, softball and golf.

"I grew up going to wrestling tournaments.  My brothers wrestled and my Mom had to deal with all of this.  It was not easy to be a coaches' family.  But it was really great because he loved wrestling."

Randy Hockinson's son Jacob introduced his "favorite coach."

Hock has many call him thanked the committee for the honor and wondered how he was able to receive the incredible distinction.

"I'm honored, thrilled, humbled, grateful and joyful to be here for this great recognition."

Hock also has directed plays over the years.  He started teaching at Wanamingo High School in 1987 and taught at K-W through 2017.  He is the current Activities Director.  A position he has held since 2012.

Randy coached baseball for 29 years and was recently honored to be a 2023 inductee of the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame after a career with 318 wins.

His Knights went to the State Tournament in 2007 and 2012.

Hock also was head football coach for 8 years, has been an assistant for 24 years, was assistant basketball 14 years and directed plays for Junior HIgh 8 years, HIgh School 22 years.

"I've dedicated my adult life to this school.  I love all of it."  He said coaching and directing plays and sharing stories are his passion.

After thanking co-workers and his wife and family for their support Hock concluded with an emotional, "This is one of the greatest moments of my life."

Drew Lexvold was introduced by his Father and Coach Wayne and is currently an assistant coach for the Goodhue wrestling program.  He lives in Wanamingo and works for Knobelsdorff Enterprises in Goodhue.

The two-time Minnesota State Wrestling Champion was a member of the first K-W team to make it to state.  They placed 5th and two years later second at the big show.

Drew wrestled one season at the University of Minnesota transferred to Minnesota State Mankato for the next 3 years.  He was 24-3 for the Gophers. 31-18 at Mankato.

Drew said competing as a team and individually were the best memories for him because the stands were packed with more K-W fans.

He said instead of sharing stories he wanted to thank all of his coaches throughout his junior and senior high school years.

He thanked is Mom and sisters for doing the farm chores so he could attend various tournaments.  His brothers for their friendship since high school because during school it was "constantly a fight."

He ended his Thank yous with his Father whom he called Wayne.  Drew said many people ask why he calls his Dad, Wayne.  "When I was growing up he wasn't just my Father.  He was a coach, a boss and a mentor.  When I was a little kid it worked better instead of saying Dad my match is up soon to say Wayne my match is up soon."

Beth Hiner Baribeau was presented by her brother Kirk Hiner.  She graduated from Kenyon High School in 1982 a three sport athlete.  All-Conference in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior seasons.

Beth started by thanking the committee and saying, "What a incredible honor this is.  There have been a long list of both Kenyon and Wanamingo.  To be a part of that is pretty humbling."

"I feel proud to have been a Kenyon Viking and fortunate to be a University of Minnesota Gopher."

She received a scholarship to play at the U of M and was a four year letter winner, 3 year starter and captain her junior and senior seasons.

Beth majored in Child Psychology and Dental Hygiene and currently works in the dental field.  She and husband Robb have 2 children and reside in New Prague.

The honored team was the 1973 Kenyon Vikings Football Team with Kirk Hiner and Jon Held doing the honors of telling about their accomplishments.

Their Head Coach Ralph Hagberg was on stage with them.  They noted Coach Haberg was starting his 14th season in Kenyon.

In the first five games Kenyon amassed 1,797 yards compared to 872 for their opponents.  Scoring favored the Vikings 148 to 48.

Defending HVL Champion Lake City came to Kenyon in early October for a showdown.  The Tigers were Champions the previous season and expected to repeat.  Held told the crowd he was told the crowd that night was the largest ever at Picha Field.

Kenyon won the game 18-13.  The last game of the season was at Stewartville where the Tigers led late in the 4th quarter and Held kicked a 22 yard field goal with 20 seconds left to give them the victory and the conference title.

New Prague was their playoff opponent and ranked tops in the state while the Vikings were #2 in the Class B rankings.  The Trojans won 12-0 and went on to win the state title that year in Class B.

Hiner and Held both said the team was like a family.

The Kenyon-Wanamingo High School Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that relies on donations to fund it's activities.  It provides plaques from Tatge Jewelry to the inductees, certificates for all the team members and plaques for display in the commons area of the school.

K-W Commons Area HOF Class Plaques. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
K-W Commons Area HOF Class Plaques. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Mailings, printings and other activities are also completed.

It's always a delight to hear the stories from everyone.  The heartfelt thank yous to the community for it's support also.

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