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Natural-born athlete

ANNE (SCHILLER) RIDDLE won every high jump event she took part in during her senior season in 1992. She moved on to win the Class 2A state high jump championship and also was the team's setter on the historical 1991 volleyball team, which went a DLHS all-time best 24-3.1 / 3
ANNE (SCHILLER) RIDDLE jumps in the 1992 Class 2A state meet.2 / 3
DR. ANNE (SCHILLER) RIDDLE won the Class 2A state high jump championship in 1992. She was also a standout in volleyball and basketball for the Lakers.3 / 3

When high school female athletics was just starting to hit its prime in the late 1980s to early 1990s, Detroit Lakes' Anne (Schiller) Riddle was well ahead of the curve.

Known as a natural athlete, Riddle excelled in three sports for the Lakers, including volleyball, basketball and track and field.

Her accomplishments are still recognized today, though she graduated in 1992.

For that, Riddle will be inducted into the second Laker Hall of Honor class this Saturday, during the banquet ceremony at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Natural talent wasn't the only facet Riddle had, as intelligence, along with a hard-work ethic propelled her above and beyond the normal athlete.

"She was one of the best female athletes I have seen," said longtime DL head girls' track coach Mike Labine, who also was the head girls' basketball coach during Riddle's time at DLHS. "She just had that natural athletic ability and if she set out to do something, she usually became one of the best doing it."

Riddle also broke through for the Laker track and field team, becoming the first female DL athlete to win a state championship in that sport.

From her sophomore through senior seasons, Riddle became a dominant high jumper, who repeatedly set DLHS marks in the event.

Riddle won the Class 2A state high jumping championship during her senior year in 1992. She left DLHS holding the high jumping record with a height of 5-8, which still stands today.

But becoming one of the best female athletes in DL's history didn't just happen.

Riddle's father, Dave Schiller, was a three-sport standout and played football at the University of Minnesota.

"I have a good bloodline in athletics," Riddle said. "My parents encouraged us to be in athletics, but also other extra-curricular (activities) such as music."

Riddle stayed busy throughout her childhood, participating in basketball, dance and figure skating.

By the time she reached junior high, her dominant three sports were volleyball, basketball and track.

The group she grew up with in volleyball peaked her senior year when the Lakers set an all-time win record of 24 wins and three losses.

Riddle was the quarterback of the team at setter, where she would feed her standout hitters, which included Jodi and Jeni Jost and Jill White.

"We started playing a lot together in Red River Junior Olympic volleyball during the summer," Riddle said. "I eventually moved from a hitter to a setter, which I liked."

The team gelled perfectly, as they scored an amazing 63-9 ratio in games won, which led to their school record 24 wins.

"Jeni and Jodi Jost were very good hitters and we had such good passing, with a lot of big blockers," Riddle said of that 1991-92 volleyball team. "We had a lot of quick sets with good tall hitters."

The Lakers unfortunately lost to Moorhead in the section semifinals, ending their historic season.

Basketball followed the same formula, with Riddle feeding the Jost forwards in the lane.

"Anne just made everyone around her a better player," said Labine, who coached Riddle in basketball. "But I think if anything, she was an incredible defender. She was just quick and athletic. If you were on the opposing team, you didn't want Anne defending you."

During her senior year, though, Riddle came upon a huge decision -- play the long basketball season with bone spurs in her elbow, or heal up and have a potentially memorable track season.

"I took the winter off to heal up and work a lot with weights," Riddle said.

For Labine, it was a bittersweet decision.

"As a basketball coach, I was bummed, but as a track coach, I was thrilled," Labine said. "I was conflicted, because we were a better team with Anne on it, but I also knew she could have a special season in track if she could rest up for it."

During her junior season in track, Riddle set the DLHS high jump record, just before she injured her ankle, basically wiping out her season.

She was coming off a sophomore track season where she qualified for state in the high jump and the 300 high hurdles.

After missing state her junior year due to her injury, she came out with a vengeance in her senior season.

She won every meet in the high jump, usually taking her first attempt when everyone else was already eliminated.

"She met the state standard in every meet," Labine said of her high jump performance.

Riddle also excelled in the 300 hurdles, and became the best leg in every relay she competed in.

"I came to DL when Anne was a freshman and Bob Gorden had done an excellent job coaching her in the high jump," Labine said. "She made the adjustments when she needed to, and I just stayed out of her way."

With the high jump being a "thinking kind" of event, Riddle went after it with fervor.

"I really enjoyed it, because it's a real technical event, which combines speed and power," Riddle said. "My goal my senior year was to make it back to state and do well there. It was unbelievable when I won it."

Riddle moved on to play volleyball at North Dakota State University and also took her pre-med at St. Benedict's.

She now practices medicine at Sanford Health in Detroit Lakes, where she still enjoys going to a Laker game or two.

Natural ability can only go so far, with a hard work ethic being vital to becoming elite.

That's exactly what Riddle did throughout her Laker playing days, and why she is entering the Hall of Honor as one of the best.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.