Cindy Harthun was a Fergus Falls High School senior in 1974 when the Otter girls basketball team played so well that attendance at the gymnasium next to Roosevelt Park increased by leaps and bounds.

Coincidentally is the fact that 1974 was the first year of a girls state basketball tournament in Minnesota.

Twelve years later, in 1986, Otter girls basketball star Linda Knutson became the first basketball player at FFHS to score 1,000 points, which she reached on Jan. 10, 1986, against St Cloud Tech.

That same year Knutson participated in the Minnesota All-Star Game and was named Outstate Team Game MVP.

The hard work of Harthun, Knutson and other Otter girls basketball players in the 1970s and 1980s led to outstanding Otter girls seasons in the 1990s and in the 19 years after the turn of the century.

Highlights include five Otter girls basketball teams advancing to the state tournament.

Today, at 2 p.m. at the Fergus Falls VFW, Harthun and Knutson will be among six people inducted into the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame, open to the public.

Harthun, married to Larry Waasdorp, worked as a certified abstracter in the state of North Dakota and had various roles while employed at AgCountry Farm Credit Services for over 30 years, which included director of lending services.

Today Cindy and Larry share their time between Moorhead and San Tan Valley, Arizona.

Knutson is married to Jim Brophy, an outstanding Fergus Falls Otter athlete in his own right.

Linda became co-founder of International Technology Engineering and Consulting and was awarded a patent in food science. She has won high praise as a business consultant, entrepreneur and Orono youth sports coach near the Twin Cities.

Arneson praises coaches who impacted his life

Justin Arneson has many memories of being an all-around athlete for the high school Otters and college Spartans, along with his minor league years in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Arneson is another person who will be inducted this afternoon into the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2002, his rookie season in the minor leagues, Arneson batted .344 with a Twins team that participated in the Gulf Coast League. Later, he had a hit in one spring training game with the parent team, the Twins, at their stadium in Ft. Myers, Florida.

One of his baseball mentors was Harley Oyloe, a 1986 charter member of the Chamber Sports Hall of Fame.

“Harley shared with me much of his valuable knowledge from his years as an outstanding baseball player and coach,” Arneson said. “He also was a great motivator who helped me improve my baseball skills.”

Arneson also praises other coaches who impacted his life over the years.

From West Battle Lake to a walk on the moon

In the summer of 1973, West Battle Lake summer resident Harrison (Jack) Schmitt walked along the shores of West Battle Lake and looked at the moon where he had walked six months previously, in December of 1972.

It was a journey of more than 238,000 miles.

This summer Schmitt is taking part in the 50th anniversary remembrance of the first U.S. landing on the moon in July 1969.

He appeared Sunday, July 14, on the “CBS News Sunday Morning” show hosted by Jane Pauley.

CBS reporter Tracy Smith interviewed Schmitt, a geologist who collected rock samples while on the lunar surface in 1972.

She also interviewed some of the seamstresses who fashioned protective wear that would mean life or death for Schmitt and the other 11 astronauts who walked on the moon during six lunar missions from 1969 to 1972.

Jack Schmitt’s late father grew up in southern Minnesota and purchased property at West Battle Lake. The future astronaut grew up in New Mexico and the family has maintained the lake cabin over the years.

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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