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St. Vincent High School

Sports Memories


Prof. Michael Rustad


This is my second installment on St. Vincent High School. As I understand it, the High School flourished in the 1920s and early 1930s and closed around 1939. Joe Giffen, my friend Ralph's Dad, was a graduate. The school yearbooks I've looked at are available in the Kittson County Museum in Lake Bronson. There is a wonderful curator at the Museum who has copies of all of the Humboldt year books and even the Border Scoops. In the summer of 1999, I spend a wonderful day exploring the materials from Humboldt and St. Vincent. There is a display case with mannequin wearing a Humboldt cheerleading outfit as well as a Humboldt basketball player. The St. Vincent material in the museum is less detailed. I've vowed to get back and investigate further. I am certain that the archives have additional materials.

The yearbooks that I examined were from the St. Vincent High School were in the period 1927-30. There was a picture of the St. Vincent basketball team coached by Professor G.H. Good. The team members depicted were John Fitzpatraick, Harris Easter, Ralph Cameron, James Gooselaw, James Bernath, James Burns, Donald Hutchins, James Beilemeyer, George Sylvester, Fred Stranger, and Allen Smith. The team was depicted with a large Newfoundland dog who was the Mascot, named "Pal."

The starting lineup for St. Vincent had James Bernath at Center, Ralph Cameron at Right Forward, Left Forward James Gooselaw. Harris Easter and Fred Stranger were the starting guards. St. Vincent began their basketball season on November 23 with a game against Argyle. In those days, the boys would jump center after every basket. Argyle and St. Vincent played a surprisingly close game with a final score of 15 to 13. The sportswriter would always report the St. Vincent score first even when it was the losing score. He reported the score was 13 to 15 in favor of Argyle. Scores were very low by modern standards. The score at the half in the Argyle game was 11 to 4. In this story, the St. Vincent team is referred to as the Borderline Team.

The "Borderline Team" formed a new attack against Argyle's quintet which was the top team in the conference. St. Vincent's strategy was to give the ball to Jim "Ace" Gooselaw who was so fast that the Argyle guards found it impossible to check. Gooselaw "took the ball on short dribbles for three field goals. The Argyle team then proceeded to "set her quintet on the trail of Gooselaw and he failed to score more than three points in the second half. The writer notes that there was one objectionable aspect to the game. In the writer's view, St. Vincent could have been more aggressive. "The Borderline boys starated their aggression too late for the game ended with a score of 13 to 15 in favor of Argyle.


The same Annual reported that St. Vincent had a tennis team. The starting team members were Ralph Cameron, James Bernath, James Gooslaw, Donald Hutchins, Brooks Perry, and William MacKay.


St. Vincent's Track Team: The St. Vincent High School had the dominant track team of its era thanks to Jim Gooselaw. James Gooselaw, Fred Stranger, James Bernath, George Sylvester, and Ralph Cameron along with Brooks Perry fielded the track team. James Bernath was the shotputter of the team. James Gooselaw won virtually every event at every track meet. St. Vincent won the County Track Meet in the Spring of 1928 held at Hallock. On May 29, 1928, St. Vincent dominated the event winning the meet by a score of 86.5 to 39.5 for Hallock's team. James Gooselaw, the writer notes, was domainant winning "all honors and single-handedly beating Hallock. To be fair, Gooselaw actually scored only 33.5 and would have lost to Hallock on his own. He needed the help of his team members. The High Jump event that day was won by a leaper who crossed the bar at 5' 1" Anderson of Hallock won the baseball throw and Carlson the High Jumpt. Clow and Erickson tied for first in the pole vault.

St. Vincent entered a county-wide Track Meet held on May 11, 1928 with four other County Teams. These teams competed in all events and comprised the high schools of the area. Upper grade girls, Upper grade boys, High School girls, and High School boys were the divisions. The High School boys from St. Vincent dominated the meet and won a silver loving cup. This cup was in St. Vincent's trophy case for three successive years corresponding to James Gooselaw's career. The events for both boys and girls were: 100 yard dash, 220 Yard Dash, Discus throw, 12 pound Shot Put, Mile Realy, Half Mile Run, Javelin Thow, Running Borad Jump and the High Jump. In that meet, St. Vincent won first place in the first five events, second place in three other events, and fourth place in the ninth event. Jim Gooselaw, was the team's jewel in the crown. The writer notes how "Jim Gooselaw, the center around which the boys team revovles remains the same type of athlete that he has demosntrated himself to be in the last four years. This is now four years that Jim has competed in county events and has always taken more first place ratings than any other contesting team." "St. Vincent has much to be proud of in this athlete." George Sylvester, Roy Clow, Ralph Cameron, Harris Easter, Fred Stranger, Jim Bernath, Brooks Perry and Donald Huchins also "took active parts and did much in piling up the forty-nine points alloted to the High School team.

The younger boys in the Upper Grade team were led by two other Gooselaw boys, Manual and Louis. Manual was just about to enter high school and the writer commented on his athletic skills as well as his scholarly abilities. In those days, it was not preordained that everyone went to high school. The sports writer was hopeful that Manual would enter St. Vincent High. "Manual is an applicant for the High School Department and should be encouraged by the school and community to continue his education." "Manual attacks his school work in the same spirit that he doesathletics. Since this is true there is no question about his final goals. Nothing less can be said about Louis his younger brother.

The story mentions who Rose Gooselaw, Violet Clem, Mary Stranger anbd Mary Easter represented the upper grade girls. The High Shool girls team consisted of Mamie Cleem, Isabel Fitzpatrick, Lelia Davis, Fidessa Wilkie and Alberta Fitzpatrick. The writer notes that this team was noted for their effort, if not their results. "They always did their best but were outclassed by the two other competing teams." In these days decades before television, there were entertainment events involving performance. The Intermediate Girls entered a singing contest at the Track Meet and won second place. The writer commented about how the entire St. Vincent community offered their support to the team. "Notwithstanding the fact that St. Vincent is 22 miles from Hallock about 100 students and supporters were at the Track Meet. The students and faculty of St. Vincent Schools wish to thank all those who helped make it possible for them to compete successfully at Hallock.