Welcome to Harding High School Athletics & Activities

St. Paul, Minnesota

Gerald McLaughlin

Graduated from Harding in 1941

Gerald Mclaughlin was one of Harding’s “greatest athletes” - he was respected by his classmates, teammates, and also by his competition - members of the opposing teams. He was a three sport athlete, competing in football, basketball and baseball. Gerald was an all conference fullback and all conference basketball player and helped lead his teams to many victories. He was a member of the Harding 1940 City and Twin City football championship teams.

Gerald was very active during his days at Harding - not only was he a great athlete, but he was president of the Catholic Youth Council and very active in the student council. After graduating from Harding - he entered the College of St. Thomas - where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball as a freshman - continuing to be a three sport participant.

The was interrupted his college career - and he became a U S Marine December 8, 1941, and became active June of 1947 and places on active reserve - he was called back to duty in 1950 as 1st Lieutenant. In the Korean War he fought in the Battle of the Chosin Reservior and was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his heroic actions.

Gerald returned home in 1951 - had a long career with Webb Publishing - raised four children - and now has all very proud of his accomplishments. He also had a long career as a football and basketball official.

Sharon Shanley Haselman

Graduated from Harding in 1954

Sharon has lived on the east side of St. Paul all her life. She attended Van Buren grade school kindergarten through eighth grade, and Harding High School, graduating in 1954. She was a cheerleader for several years and head cheerleader her senior year. She had the particular distinction of being elected Girl Athlete of the YEar her sophomore year.

Sharon was also elected to All-City GAA. Girl’s basketball and softball were her favorite sports, and she played softball for the old Bluff Playground - won the city championship - 2 games in a row. She also played and refereed GAA girl’s basketball.

Sharon and her husband Jim continue to live on the East Side. They raised six children who attended Parkway Elementary School and all graduated from Harding. Sharon was the office secretary at Parkway for twenty years and was head secretary when she retired in 1996. Sharon was always taking care of special needs of young children - finding clothes, language translators, rides home, mending hurt feelings and bruises, and serving as a buffer in the principal’s office. Parkway just closed recently as an elementary school but Sharon was still distributing the last of the Donna Johnson Scholarship Fund she continued to serve even after her retirement. Sharon looks good on the wall!

Gerald (Jerry) Wick

Graduated from Harding in 1956

Jerry was a three sports athlete at Harding - participating in football, hockey, and track. He earned many honors - all conference in football, was a member of the 1955 city championship football team and had the opportunity to play against Minneapolis Henry in the Twin City game. He felt that being involved with sports taught him discipline, presented him with challenges, and provided him with coaches who were great mentors.

Jerry was not just an athlete - he was involved in many school activities - was a member of the Gopher Historians, secretary of the H Club, member of the Ethics Committee, Homecoming King, and was a gym leader.

After graduation Jerry started working for the CB & Q Railroad - which later became the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. In 1957 he joined the Army for two years and after serving, he returned to the railroad for a great career of 41 years. With the railroad he moved to several locations and ended his career as a superintendent between Seattle and Tacoma.

Jerry married his wife Mary in 1960 - raised three children - has two grandchildren and now resides in a small waterfront town - Gig Harbor - which is 40 miles south of Seattle. He has filled his retirement with many volunteer efforts and much travel. He still returns to Minnesota for some fishing and visiting each summer. If you check the Harding 1956 yearbook - you will note under his picture his many accomplishments at Harding - but you will also note he left Harding with a question, “How would the girls get along without me?”

Dan Schneider

Graduated from Harding in 1972

Dan was an outstanding swimmer at Harding and had made swimming a major part of his life and career. He was a two sport athlete at Harding - participating in both swimming and golf. He had success in swimming early in his career - qualifying for the state swim meet his sophomore year. Dan continued having great success his junior and senior years - qualifying for the state and doing very well in several events. He earned all conference honors and was awarded the Thomas A. Rosene Trophy by conference coaches as the St. Paul Swimmer of the Year. The school record holder in the 100 Free, 200 Medley Relay, and 400 Free Relay.

Dan was a three year member of the Harding H Club, active in the German Club and skied with the Harding Ski Club. He attended Hamline University and earned a degree in Health and Physical Education. At Hamline he continued his swimming career - was a conference champion in at least one event all four years - a conference record holder in multiple events, and a school record holder in six events. He earned NAIA All-American honors his sophomore, junior, and senior years. His highest finish in the Nationals meet was a 3rd place in the 200 Butterfly. Dan was elected captain and chosen MVP his senior year. He had a very fine college career.

After Hamline Dan became a Health/Physical Education teacher at McGuire Middle School on Lakeville - he is in his 33rd year there. While teaching in Lakeville he also became the swimming coach and has had a very fine 33-year coaching career. His teams have been very successful - his dual meet record is 293-71 -2 with an 80% winning record. His teams have won 2 state championships, 2 true team state titles, 12 conference titles, and 15 section championships. He has coached and helped many of his swimmers become very successful - many becoming all Americans and state champions.

Dan has been recognized by his peers for his hard work and success - being selected as the Minnesota Swimming Coach of the Year four times and selected section coach of the year also several times. There have not been many swim coached in the state of Minnesota with as much success or a better record than Dan has accomplished.

Thomas Carl Sundberg

Graduated from Harding in 1972

Tom was an outstanding athlete at Harding, excelling in both football and hockey - he was “all state” in both sports. His football career included all kinds of awards and honors - captain, all conference, all state, television and radio back of the week, Fitzharris Memorial Award for leading the conference in scoring his junior and senior years and of course concluded his senior season being selected to the all state team.

Tom had a three year career on the Harding hockey team - he was the only sophomore on the varsity team his tenth grade year. Tom earned all kinds of honors and awards during his three years of hockey at Harding - he was co-captain his junior and senior years, he was all conference his junior and senior years, he led the league in scoring, scored nine points in one game, and he was selected to the all state team his junior and senior years.

He receive a hockey scholarship to the University of Minnesota where he played for the Gophers in 1972 and 73. After playing for the University he was drafted by the California Seals of the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA. He played professionally for four years in the Seals Organization. In 1978 he was picked up by the St. Louis Blues organization and wrapped up his career professionally in 1979.

Tom currently lives in Inver Grove Heights and still loves to get on the “pond” and play hockey - he has played in several community leagues.

Mike Conroy

Graduated from Harding in 1978

Mike had an outstanding athletic career at Harding - he competed in three sports - football, hockey, and baseball. His tenth grade year he started out on the “B” football team as a halfback and linebacker and had a fun/learning year. His sophomore year he was moved up to the varsity hockey team as a defenseman and lettered. He capped off his 10th grade year on the “B” baseball team as a pitcher and infielder.

His eleventh grade year was much the same - except he moved up to the varsity football team and baseball team and earned honors in both football and hockey and was all conference in baseball.

The senior year was an exceptional year for Mike - in football he was the line backer and the punter - plus being the team captain and being selected to the all conference team. In hockey his senior year he also was selected team captain and earned all conference honors. In baseball he went through his senior season as an undefeated pitcher and made it a perfect year by being selected for the all conference team - thus making him one of the athletes to be name to the a;; conference team in three sports.

Mike went on after Harding to Inver Hills Community College where he performed very well as a linebacker and continued to earn many honors for his play. He was all conference, all region, and selected to the all American team in 1979. After leaving Inver Hills he moved on to the University of Evansville. Indiana - where he completed his college career earning all conference honors in 1980 - ‘82.

Mike now resides in Farmington and has stayed in touch with many of his former Harding team mates. Mike earned a spot on the Harding wall - he looks good there!

Synthia Walfoort

Graduate from Harding in 1987

Synthia was “two year” star at Harding. She only attended Harding her junior and senior years - but definitely left her mark! she was a three sport athlete = competing in volleyball, basketball, and softball - and was outstanding in all three. She earned many honors and awards and helped make all three teams very competitive. The Harding softball team finished second in state tourney in 1986 and during her senior season, 1987, she earned all conference, all regional, and all state honors.

She was awarded a scholarship to continue her education and athletics at the University of North Dakota - to play both volleyball and softball. She had a very good collegiate career earning honors in both volleyball and softball. She graduated in 1992 with a double major in education.

Synthia has continued her athletic career by doing some softball coaching and working at various volleyball clinics - sharing her expertise. She has been employed by the St. Paul Schools for the last 17 years as a Special Education Teacher - teaching at Bridge View School - teaching students with multiple mental and physical challenges.

Synthia earned special recognition for her work at Bridge View by being named “Teacher of the Year” by the Arc Association of Minnesota. It takes “special” people to teach and work with our youth with special conditions - and Synthia has proved she is a special teacher!

Joe Knach

Taught and coach at Harding - 1969 to 2006

Joe began his career at Harding in 1969 as the first Speech Pathologist assigned to the Secondary Schools in St. Paul. He worked and helped many struggling students master speech difficulties and have the opportunity to be successful after graduation from high school - and on many occasions was called upon to help adults that needed some help with speech difficulties.

Joe’s career took him to many schools - but the bulk of his career and work was at Harding - and it was at Harding that he started his Tennis coaching career. He started coaching the girl’s tennis team at Harding in the fall of 1992 and he boy’s tennis team in the spring of 1993. He worked very hard to encourage our “kids” to be a part of the tennis program and spent many “extra” hours out of season and during summer break working with many of them to improve their skills. He coached many players that advanced in sectional and state tournament play and many of his teams were very competitive in the city conference.

One of his greatest accomplishment was to work with Sheldon Johnson (Harding tennis parent and state legislator) to convince the St. Paul School District to build our new tennis courts on the Harding campus. The “new” tennis courts have made it possible for the Harding tennis teams to grow and improve every year. The courts are being used day and night - and in all kinds of weather! Thanks to Joe’s efforts of obtaining the tennis courts we have a great facility for both our Physical Education classes and our tennis teams on campus.

Joe was recognized for his outstanding coaching by being selected as Coach of the Year for both boy’s and girl’s tennis in the St. Paul City Conference . It also should be mentioned here - that Joe also was willing worker - helper - for the Harding Athletic Program - he especially shined on the “grill” at the concession stand during football games at Bakken Stadium! Thanks Joe for your great work at Harding and for the St. Paul Schools!

The 1958 Harding Hockey Team

Coached by John Rossi

The 1958 hockey team was nominated by their class - as they held their 50th class reunion on October 1st of this year. They are still proud of “their” team’s accomplishments! If you could get a hold of a copy of the 1958 Harding yearbook - The Saga - you would observe the pride the school took on the accomplishments and excitement the ‘58 hockey team created.

From the yearbook - “The 1958 Harding hockey team was a hard-fighting, smooth-skating unit whose aggressiveness and pluck carried them to a Region 1 championship and runner-up spot in the state tournament. Highlights of the season were the 4-3 victory over Johnson in the Region 4 playoffs, the 3-2 victory over Murray in the opening round of the state tournament, and the 1-0 loss to Roseau for the state championship. The team was lead by the following outstanding players: Arnie Johnson, All-State goalie and Co-Captain; Jim Olszewski, All-State and All-City center and Co-Captain; Mike Mathis, All-State defenseman; Dugie McLellan, All-State wing; and Ricky Cardenas, All-City defenseman. Thirteen lettermen will be returning to form a great hockey squad next year.”

Rick Cardenas has offered this summary of the ‘58 team -”The state tournament team was interesting in the it came together. There were players on the team from all of the neighborhood playgrounds from around our side of the east side, from Bluff, Conway, Hazel Park, and Margaret. These diverse playground teams and individuals came together with a few city championships accomplished and they became a Harding team as the season moved on.

There were many good high school teams in St. Paul in those years. We had Murray, Monroe, Humboldt and of course our main east side rivals, Johnson High School - they all had some great players. Johnson had been rated one and two back and forth with Roseville High School as the best hockey team in the state. But we had a Johnson ro, our goalie, Arnie Johnson, and he’d been playing great at the end of the season. As history tells, we beat that Johnson team and went on to a disappointing loss to Murray High School, but got into the state tournament by beating Minneapolis Roosevelt at the old Minneapolis Arena.

As I’ve said, at the end of the season Arnie Johnson was playing good and John Rossi, our coach, finally had us working together and thinking we could be a good team and getting stronger and stronger with more coordinated team work. The excitement of being in that state tournament carried us a bit farther.”

Many on the East Side are still reminiscing about the now famous “Region Battle” between Harding ‘58 team and the Johnson team, in which Harding was victorious and upset Johnson 4-3 in a thriller! Then they redeemed themselves by knocking off Murray in the first round of the state tournament 3-2. They lost the state championship game to Roseau 1-0 - but all of the East Side and most of St. Paul were very proud of their accomplishments. The ‘58 team looks good on the wall!