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Esko Sports Hall of Fame to induct 5

Five new members of the Esko Sports Alliance Hall of Fame will be honored in a noon luncheon Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Dry Dock restaurant on Midway Road.

Hall of Fame chairman Davis Helberg said the new inductees are:

• Mel Koivisto, 1951 Esko graduate and four-year starter in basketball who set school records for career and single-season scoring, later was four-year starting guard at the University of Minnesota Nebraska and then became highly successful coach at Proctor High School;

• Mike Antilla, Class of 1968, an All-State football player who still holds school record for most points in a basketball game (45) and also was outstanding baseball player, then played football and baseball at UMD before dying in an auto accident at age 20;

• The 1975 football team, after being denied entry into postseason playoffs the previous year by a fraction of a point in a state rating system, became Esko's first state champion in any sport by overpowering two previously unbeaten playoff opponents 32-0 and 62-0;

• Julian Bertogliat, athletic director who guided growth and development of 26 boys and girls teams for more than 25 years until retiring in 2000, has served since then as State High School League Region 7 representative and was elected to Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2010; and

• Nikki Flynn (now Flynn-Gregg), 1996 graduate who started every Esko softball game for six years, was Duluth News Tribune Area Player of Year in 1996, then started for four years as shortstop at North Dakota State University, where she led the Bison to a national championship and set many still-existing NDSU and national records.

They were voted in by a community-wide selection committee following public nominations.

In addition to the Feb. 10 awards luncheon, the inductees will be recognized Feb. 9 following an Esko girls basketball game against Cook County and prior to a boys game, also against Cook County.

This is the second year of the Sports Alliance Hall of Fame. A year ago, nine charter members were installed.

The Feb. 10 awards luncheon is open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but it would be helpful. Contact Russ Davidson at or Athletic Director Chad Stoskopf at by Feb. 7.