40 years later, Moose Lake's Triple Crown teams stand alone
No school has been able to accomplish what the Lakers did during the 1981-1982 school year, winning championships in volleyball, girls basketball and softball.
MOOSE LAKE — Merely a decade after the passage of the landmark Title IX legislation in 1972, a small group of female athletes in the city of Moose Lake embarked on a year-long run of unprecedented success in capturing consecutive state championships in volleyball, basketball and softball — all without suffering a single loss (79-0) across all three seasons.
The achievement, now dubbed the “Triple Crown,” saw a core of four athletes in Annie Adamczak-Glavan, Laureen (Fink) Carlson, Kris Jones and Dianne Berg emerge as the backbone of the three teams.
Now, 40 years later, the achievement has returned to the spotlight as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while paying homage to the historic Moose Lake Lakers teams that accomplished a feat that has yet to be duplicated, and in all likelihood never will.
Local pride in Moose Lake sports was at a fever-pitch when the fall season rolled around in September 1981.
The Lakers were the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions after winning their second state title in volleyball in 1980 — five years after capturing the second-ever Minnesota State High School League-sanctioned state volleyball championship at the Class A level in 1975.
A common thread binding the two teams was the name Adamczak, as Adamczak-Glavan’s older sister, Mary, was a member of the ‘75 team before Adamczak-Glavan followed in her footsteps years later.
The three-sport star had no experience competing in organized sports until eighth grade when she played volleyball on the school’s B-team. One of 12 kids in her family, Adamczak-Glavan’s parents put priorities on academics and household responsibilities, not athletics.
“Back then, it wasn’t important that you played organized sports for school. It was more important that you worked on the farm, did your chores, got good grades and got home," Adamczak-Glavan said.
By the time she reached ninth grade, Adamczak-Glavan began what would become a four-year run of 10 state tournament appearances in volleyball, basketball and softball with the Lakers.
Alongside Adamczak-Glavan were three teammates who formed the core of the teams over that span: Berg, Jones and Carlson. The quartet entered the 1981-1982 season with sky-high expectations after winning state championships in both volleyball and softball their junior year.
They knew they had something special brewing in the years leading up to the Triple Crown run — an innate feeling made possible by growing up and competing in a small town.
“Small towns have the advantage of having the athletes know each other from the time that they’re very young all the way through,” Berg said. “And so I think there was always this sense that it was cool to be an athlete. We wanted to be athletes and our friendship group was proud of that.”
Carlson, who made a total of 13 trips to the state tournament through her participation in volleyball, basketball, track and field and softball, marvels at the fact such a small town was able to produce such stellar athletes in one graduating class.
“The teamwork aspect of what went into winning and the extraordinary luck that went along with having a really great group of athletes in a small town like Moose Lake (is what sticks out to me),” Carlson said. “It’s just not common to find five or six great athletes in a school at the same time.”
A gifted collection of players was far from the only thing the volleyball team had going for it, as the club was led by future Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Kathy Fredrickson.
Fredrickson was a pioneer in the sport of volleyball and ahead of her time when it came to X’s and O’s. For her contributions to female athletics, Fredrickson was given the Breaking Barriers Award by the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership (MCWAL) in 2001.
The Lakers cruised to lopsided victories in all of their matches through the regular season, District 25 and Region 7 play before reaching the state tournament for a second straight year.
Along the way, Moose Lake traveled for tournaments in Apple Valley and Columbia Heights, where the group was anxious to prove it could compete against anybody, including big-city powerhouses like Robbinsdale-Armstrong, who won its first of five consecutive state titles in 1980 at the Class AA level.
“My memory of it is that we're like this small town, we barely have equipment, we all look like ragamuffins, we’ve got balls that will barely bounce, (and) we come into these huge schools with all the resources and these gyms that are beautiful, and then we just killed them," Berg said. "It was really fun."
Moose Lake breezed through the state’s best Class A competitors, beginning with a quarterfinals drubbing of Waconia (18-7, 18-3), before beating Spring Valley (18-10, 18-4) and Bricelyn (18-3, 18-6) to capture its third state championship.
Just like the boys
The winter season that followed offered little opportunity for community excitement to diminish. Led by a starting five of Adamczak-Glavan, Jones, Berg, Carlson and Julie Johnson — who all averaged double figures in scoring — the Moose Lake girls basketball team was once again the top-dog in Class A and was at the top of the rankings throughout the season.
The Lakers were coached by Robert “Bob” Youso, whose legendary career at Moose Lake spanned 32 years as a teacher, athletic director and coach of the football, golf, track and field and girls basketball programs. Youso was inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Youso’s experience coaching young female athletes was limited then. His old-school style, while challenging at times, brought out the best in the team.
“He coached us like he did the boys. I mean that’s what he knew. He didn’t do us any favors,” Carlson said. “We got out there and ran killers. We practiced hard, and I think that was one of the driving reasons for our success, especially in basketball.”
Berg echoed Carlson’s thoughts.
“I think there was this perception that somehow you needed to deviate (coaching style) to coach female athletes from male athletes … I don’t think we were any less able to take his rough kind of style because we also knew that even though he was kind of rough and ‘ra ra ra,’ that he really — in a way that was appropriate for a coach — he really loved us all and wanted the best for us,” Berg said.
The Lakers steamrolled their way through their regular and postseason season competition with an unblemished record, before marching into the state tournament for a fourth straight season. Throughout their dominant run, excitement from the community continued to grow as they passed each milestone.
“It was just like the Hoosiers movie where everybody gets in their car and drives to the game. There was a caravan after we won the regional final,” Adamczak-Glavan remembered. ”High school sports was what you lived and died for, and people in our area didn’t have the time or the money to go down to the Twin Cities to watch pro sports, so high school consumed you.”
State tournament games at the time were played at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington and were televised across the state beginning in 1979.
Under the bright lights of the Met Center, the Lakers began their quest for their first state title with a quarterfinals victory over Lester Prairie in a 67-47 final.
The Rebels took on New York Mills in the semifinals where they proved too strong for the Eagles in a 60-44 win — setting up a matchup with East Chain (now Granada-Huntley-East Chain) in the finals.
Adamczak-Glavan, after seeing her team fall short the year before in a loss to Heron Lake-Okabena, willed the team to its first state basketball title with a 24-point, 17 rebound performance in a 52-49 win.
Moose Lake’s championship win over East Chain was the first game in the state tournament’s short history to require overtime.
Shortly after the triumph, Adamczak-Glavan was named the fifth Miss Basketball as the state’s best player.
The final leg of the Lakers’ Triple Crown season saw the softball team repeat as state champions after compiling a perfect 22-0 record. Between the 1981 and 1982 seasons, Moose Lake went 41-0, and closed out the season at the top of Class A with back-to-back championship victories over Albany.
On the mound, Adamczak-Glavan was a force to be reckoned with as her one-hit, 12 strikeout performance in a 1982 state tournament game against Morris remains on the state record book.
During the 1981 season, she accumulated a 16-0 record in the circle, complete with a jaw-dropping 0.005 earned run average.
The Ms. Softball award had not yet been established in Minnesota at the time, but Adamczak-Glavan and Berg would have likely been front-runners in 1982. Both went on to be inducted into the inaugural Minnesota Softball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame class of 1992, along with their coach Kristine Lyons, who was inducted the same year.
Life after the Triple Crown
The Triple Crown season was only the beginning of an extended career in the world of sports for many of Moose Lake's stars. Berg and Adamczak-Glavan both went on to compete in volleyball at the Division I level at the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska, respectively.
Adamczak-Glavan was named an All-American for the Cornhuskers in 1985, while Berg was the first volleyball player to be inducted into the Tigers’ Hall of Fame in 2007.
After closing out her playing career in the now-defunct Major League Volleyball (MLV) for the Minnesota Monarchs as an outside hitter, Adamczak-Glavan started coaching, and is now the director of the Club 43 Junior Olympic volleyball program in the Twin Cities, where she serves as coach of the U-15 team.
Adamczak-Glavan has been on a media tour over the last month after being selected as one of 11 Title IX honorees in the state of Minnesota.
Reflecting on the changes in female athletics over the years, Adamczak-Glavan said she emphasizes above all else the importance of enjoying the game.
“If it’s not fun, you shouldn’t be playing. You should just stop. If your body hurts and you get up every day and don’t want to go to practice and you’re crying after games, stop. There’s more to life than that. And that’s a lesson I preach to all of my kids,” Adamczak-Glavan said.
“I’m a product of three sports who would give my right arm to go back and play right now. But that was me. That was my mission ... my purpose. But not every kid today wants that. There’s too many more things to do out there,” she went on to say.
After Berg’s Division I volleyball career came to an end, she continued to play sports in graduate school through intramural and pick-up games of basketball. Her focused has shifted to the next great athlete in the family, who will play at the Division III level at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
“Now my focus is actually on hockey because my daughter is a really, really high-end hockey player,” Berg said. “I had to kind of switch all of my interests from sports (because) I'd never (been) into hockey, and it’s been awesome.”
Jones coached girls basketball at Richfield and Wayzata high schools. After retiring in 2010, she received the Breaking Barriers Award from the MCWAL in 2018.
Carlson played one season of softball with St. Cloud State University after high school before leaving the team to focus on academics. Now, she remains active as a Filipino Martial Arts instructor, in addition to taking on coaching roles at different points in time.
Despite the 40 years that separate the athletes from their unprecedented run, Carlson, Adamczak-Glavan and Berg all said the connections they built with one another stand above all else in their memories of that fateful season.
“The time that we got to spend together in practice and at games was just some of the highest quality time that I’ve probably ever had,” Carlson said.