By John Papendick, email@example.com
1:11 AM EDT, May 10, 2013
One of South Dakota’s best is stepping away from the basketball court.
Long-time college and high school coach Jim Thorson announced earlier this week that he is resigning his job as men’s basketball coach at Mount Marty College in Yankton. The 67-year-old will stay at the school to take on other duties in the athletic department.
Thorson was 465-481 in 31 seasons as a college coach. His teams won 253 games in the last 18 seasons at Mount Marty, 137 games in eight seasons at South Dakota State (1985-93) and 75 games in five seasons at Yankton College (1979-84). He also had a couple of stints as a Jackrabbit assistant coach.
His Jackrabbits won two North Central Conference titles and one regional title. He is in the top 10 for all-time wins among NAIA coaches.
Thorson honed in his coaching skills in the high school ranks at Gettysburg (1970-75) and Webster (1976-77). The Willow Lake native has a trophy case full of coaching highlights over six decades:
Mount Marty athletic director Chuck Iverson told my friend Jeremy Hoeck of the Yankton Press and Dakotan that Thorson was “one of the finest fundamental coaches in the Midwest. We had some kids who didn’t even start in high school who became all-Americans in college.”
Friends and former St. Cloud State tennis teammates Elliot O’Neal and Michael Margolies have begun an 1,800-mile bicycle trip from Bemidji, Minn., to New Orleans.
Margolies is from Aberdeen; the standout tennis player was a former team captain for the Huskies. O’Neal is from Stevens Point, Wis.
They plan to bike through nine states, 13 national wildlife refuges and 29 national parks in about 30 days. They will camp along the way, carrying all their gear on their bikes.
You can follow their adventures at cleanerthanlance.com.
On May 6, 1954, Englishman Roger Bannister recorded the first sub-four minute mile, a feat many at the time believed was impossible. Since then, the sub-four minute mile has become more common, though it still stands as a benchmark of excellence in distance running.
These days, college athletes run the measured mile only during the indoor season. For most outdoor events, including the World Championships and the Olympics, tracksters run the 1,500 meters, which comes out to .93 of a mile.
Two months ago, at the Alex Wilson Invite in South Bend, Ind., University of Minnesota junior John Simons became the 397th American to run a four-minute mile. Simons, originally from Hartland, Wis., recorded a time of 3:59.32. The event included three other sub-four minute milers: Austin Mudd of Wisconsin (3:58.59), Mac Fleet, a great name for a runner, of Oregon (3:58.90), and Robert Denault of Villanova (3:59.39).
Prior to that meet, Simons's season best was 4:05.60. In the six weeks between that time and when he ran 3:59.32, Simons underwent a training regimen of both long distances and fast, focused workouts. He averaged eight or nine miles per day, though some days alone he ran 16 miles.
How do I know all this about John Simons and his sub-four minute mile?
He's enrolled in a section of Technical & Professional Writing that's taught by my son, Joe, at the University of Minnesota. John's final paper for the semester was a 10-page, single-spaced analytical report on training techniques for the goal of running a sub-four minute mile.
And yes, Simons got an A on the report.
(And yes, my son Joe wrote this part of my column.)
John Papendick is the managing news-sports editor for the American News: firstname.lastname@example.org.