FF track star Pontius continues to excel [UPDATED]Published 6:18am Monday, March 4, 2013 Updated 8:05pm Monday, March 4, 2013
Jon Pontius, Fergus Falls High School grad and renowned Otter track star who later starred at West Point, had a noteworthy year in 2012. He was inducted into the District 544 Athletic Hall of Fame and also the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame.
This is another noteworthy year for Pontius. In May he will note his 16th year in the military, the 20th if you count West Point.
“I was a military policeman for the first part of my career, and now I’m in the field of operations research,” said Pontius who replied to my e-mail a few days ago. “Essentially, my work is logic-based with numeric problem solving.”
The FFHS grad and Army officer is stationed in Washington, D.C. He applies his skills toward advising the Chief of the Army Reserve on forecasting budgetary requirements for running installations in future years.
“I’m up for promotion right now and should find out soon,” said Pontius. “I’ll change jobs into something similar this summer.”
Otter fans will always remember Pontius as a star Otter athlete and track and field standout in the early 1990s.
He earned his first letter in eighth grade as a high jumper. As a sophomore, he placed third in the state in the triple jump.
In his junior year Pontius was second in the high jump and triple jump and as a senior was the state champion in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
His high jump mark of 7-feet-one-half-inch remains one of the best all-time in the state of Minnesota. Pontius also enjoyed a stellar football career at FFHS as a tight end and a defensive end.
After high school Pontius broke the records in the high jump, decathlon and pentathlon at West Point. He became a NCAA Division I All-American in the decathlon in 1997.
Pontius was a two-event All-Armed Forces selection in track and field in 1998 and 2000 and was a five-event champion in the International Police and Fire Games in 2004.
His high school coaches, Terry Harrington and Greg “Fuzz” Noren, traveled to the East Coast to see Pontius perform as a track participant for West Point.
He continues to participate in sports and pursue fun and challenging activities. It’s great to see Pontius recognized along the Walk of Fame at the Kennedy School next to the FFHS Gold Gym.
Karvonen’s legacy lives on
March Madness is here. And every time the spotlight turns to the Minnesota state high school girls basketball tournament, old-timers return to the days of Janet Karvonen leading New York Mills to three consecutive state titles.
Karvonen became a pioneer for girls basketball in Minnesota. She scored more than 3,000 points in her high school career and led New York Mills to state championships in 1977, 1978, and 1979. Her team finished third in 1980.
New York Mills won its first of three state titles when there was a two-class system of high school basketball in Minnesota. The first girls basketball state tournament was held in Minnesota in 1974.
Karvonen earned a scholarship to play at Old Dominion Univeristy and finished her college career at Louisiana Tech. She was a renowned TV color commentator during the Minnesota state girls basketball tournaments.
Karvonen was named a high school first-team Parade All-America in 1980. She was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, the Minnesota High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006.
In recent years Karvonen, a resident of the Twin Cities, has operated a summer basketball camp for girls, ages 6 to 18. She and camp assistants stress correct basketball fundamentals and also focus on teaching life skills.