Seven inducted into Flyers Hall of Fame

The Little Falls Flyers Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was inducted during a ceremony held Jan. 25. Pictured are inductees (from left): Carrie Sandman, Jason Dobis, Tony Kerick, Jack Zehren (son of Vern Zehren, accepting on Vern’s behalf), Dwight Ballou, David Sorensen and Jeff Bigalke.

The Little Falls Flyers Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was inducted during a ceremony held Jan. 25. Pictured are inductees (from left): Carrie Sandman, Jason Dobis, Tony Kerick, Jack Zehren (son of Vern Zehren, accepting on Vern’s behalf), Dwight Ballou, David Sorensen and Jeff Bigalke.

Seven members were inducted into the Little Falls Flyers Hall of Fame Class of 2014, Jan. 25, including Jeff Bigalke, Carrie Sandman, Jason Dobis, Tony Kerick, Vern Zehren, Dwight Ballou and David Sorensen.

Bigalke has been helping Flyers athletic teams for 48 years and active in Little Falls sports since seventh grade. He began sitting on the bench when Don Sorensen was head basketball and head baseball coach, about 1,300 games.

Sandman is a 1991 graduate of Little Falls and earned six varsity letters during her career between track and field and volleyball.

She competed in the state track meet all four years of high school, qualifying in nine events, including all six possible sprint events. One of her career highlights came in 1989, when with the fastest split, she broke four records with the 4×400 relay: high school, Class AA, state meet and state all-time best. Sandman went on to earn All-American honors at Jamestown College.

Dobis played football, basketball and baseball, helping Little Falls to state tournament appearances in 1992 and 1993, all while maintaining an “A” average in school.

As a senior he earned a spot on the USA Junior Olympics National baseball team, helping his team win a silver medal. He went on to win a Big Ten championship with the University of Minnesota and be drafted by the Oakland Athletics.

Kerick was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball, highlighted by a state baseball title as a senior during a 15-0 season, where he won 14 of the team’s games, including three at state. He pitched four no-hitters and averaged double figures in strikeouts, all without a loss.

Kerick received a scholarship offer from the University of Minnesota but decided to sign a pro contract with the Baltimore Orioles in 1958, where a shoulder injury ended his career.

Zehren began his coaching career at Little Falls in 1950 and served as athletic director from 1967 – 1980. Among his accomplishments were the planning and development of expanded athletic facilities still used today, as well as introducing competitive athletic programs for girls that moved beyond a limited club system.

During his tenure, Little Falls won state championships in boys basketball in 1975, baseball in 1979 and girls basketball in 1980.

Ballou began his varsity wrestling career in eighth grade and went on to a record of 132-21-1, holding the all-time school wins record until 2007.

He placed sixth in the state as a junior and was state champion his senior year at 135 pounds, while also being part of the Flyers’ 2001 team that went to state.

He went on to earn All-American honors during his two years at Itasca Community College and again at Moorhead State. He has spent the past 11 years as a wrestling coach in Little Falls.

Sorensen, a 1987 graduate, earned 10 athletic letters in football, basketball and baseball, earning All-Central Lakes Conference honors twice in both basketball and football and three times in baseball.

During his junior year, he was the quarterback of Little Falls’ 1985 state semifinalist team. As a senior he was an all-state selection in baseball, in which he continued his career at Minnesota State-Mankato, earning three letters and being named to the All-North Central Region team his final year.

  • tmac

    Congratulations to all.
    You are all well deserving.

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