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2024 Inductees

Dan Fick

Dan Fick's passion for sports and unparalleled work ethic defined his years at Forest Lake Area High School and he earned a reputation as one of the hardest workers on any team he played on. His love for hockey was evident every day, inspiring teammates and coaches alike with his commitment and dedication. In 2010, Dan served as captain of the boys hockey team, leading them to a conference championship with his unwavering work ethic and intensity.

Continuing his hockey journey at Harvard, Dan made significant contributions to the team's success, becoming a reliable defenseman playing regular minutes against other team’s top lines. After graduating, he pursued a career in professional hockey, playing in the ECHL, AHL and in Europe. Dan's determination and hard work were a shining example to his teammates both on the ice and in the training room.

Recently retired from professional hockey, Dan has transitioned into the biotechnology industry where he is helping to make cutting edge personalized cancer therapies more affordable and accessible to society. He is helping to invent, develop and implement novel devices and technologies that simplify and streamline cell therapy manufacturing. His legacy as a dedicated athlete and leader continues to inspire Forest Lake Area hockey players, serving as a reminder that hard work and determination can lead to success both on and off the ice.


C.J. Suess

CJ Suess's impact on Forest Lake Area High School athletics was profound. As a three-sport athlete in football, hockey, and baseball, he demonstrated exceptional talent and leadership until injuries forced him to focus solely on hockey. He continued to play and excel in hockey, was a leader and positive example for his teammates, playing a pivotal role in earning the program’s one and only conference championship in 2010. 

Continuing his hockey journey at Minnesota State Mankato, CJ emerged as one of their leading scorers and team Captain. Under his leadership, the team secured a conference championship and made an appearance in the NCAA playoffs.

Making history, CJ became the first and only Forest Lake player to reach the NHL and he continues to play professional hockey today with the San Jose Sharks organization. CJ's perseverance and success serve as inspiration for the next generation of Forest Lake athletes and hockey players.

With his dedication, leadership, and achievements, CJ Suess has left an enduring legacy in both Forest Lake and the broader hockey community.


Renee Holmquist (ne: Frericks)

Renee Holmquist started her Ranger career early,  as a five-year varsity starter for Forest Lake Girls Basketball. She's a member of the 1000 Career Points Club, boasting an impressive 1,291 points throughout her career. Renee's impact extends beyond scoring; she holds several records including Most Assists in a Single Game, Most Assists in a Career (370), and Most Steals in a Career (312). Her talent and leadership were recognized when she was named Forest Lake Area High School's Athena Award Winner in 2006.

Continuing her basketball journey at Bradley University, Renee made history by being part of the university's first team to make a post-season appearance, clinching a memorable victory against Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. She also set a Single Game Record for Most 3's in a Game at Bradley.

After graduating, Renee returned to Forest Lake, dedicating herself to education and coaching. As a math teacher at Forest Lake Area High School, she inspires students in the classroom and on the court. Renee has been a key figure in the girls basketball coaching staff for 13 of the last 14 seasons, guiding her team to three State Tournament appearances. In 2013, her coaching prowess was recognized when she was named Assistant Coach of the Year for Section 7AAAA.

Renee Holmquist's impact as both a player and coach continues to shape the Forest Lake community, inspiring future generations of athletes and scholars alike.


Paul Kendrick (Inducted for coaching, previously inducted as an athlete.)

Paul Kendrick, a Forest Lake Area High School alumi, is a true embodiment of dedication and excellence in coaching. As a three-sport athlete in football, hockey, and track and field during his high school years, Paul laid the foundation for a remarkable coaching career.

Returning to Forest Lake, Paul embarked on a teaching and coaching journey that spanned four decades. His coaching record is nothing short of impressive, including a Track and Field True Team State Championship and the development of more than 60 All-State individual or relay athletes. Paul's teams and athletes have made numerous appearances at state meets, a testament to his consistent, high-quality coaching.

In addition to his success in track and cross country, Paul has also coached boys and girls hockey and football, showcasing his versatility as a coach. He is widely respected throughout the state and has been a presenter at the State Track Coaches Annual Clinic.

Paul's coaching philosophy is characterized by enthusiasm, intention, and a focus on positive training. He is known for his research into best practices and his leadership style that brings out the best in his athletes.

After 34 years of teaching, Paul retired in 2018 but continues to contribute to the coaching community as an assistant track and field coach and substitute teacher. His dedication and passion for coaching have left an enduring legacy in Forest Lake athletics.


Bailey Norby

Bailey Norby's impact on Forest Lake Girls Basketball is unparalleled. As a five-year starter and team captain, she led her team to two section runner-up finishes in her junior and senior years.

Bailey's athletic abilities extended beyond the basketball court. She was a three-sport varsity athlete, excelling in tennis and track and field alongside basketball.

In basketball, Bailey's achievements are nothing short of remarkable. She holds several records for Forest Lake Girls Basketball, including a single-game record of Best Free Throw Percentage (100% - 10/10) in her 2012-2013 season. Her career records include Most Rebounds, most free throw attempts in a season, and most career points  at 1,934, a figure that makes her Forest Lake Area High School's All-Time Leading Scorer for both boys and girls.

Continuing her basketball journey, Bailey played Division 1 Basketball at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where her skills and leadership continued to shine.

Bailey Norby's accomplishments on the court, combined with her leadership and dedication, have left their mark on Forest Lake athletics, setting a standard of excellence for generations to come.


Zach Riedeman

During his time at Forest Lake Area High School, Zach Riedeman left a mark both on and off the court. His achievements stand as a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication.

As a student-athlete, Zach led teams to conference and section championships, as well as an academic state championship, showcasing his prowess in both academics and athletics. In 2010, he was honored as the Metro Athlete of the Year by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Zach's impact was felt on the basketball court as well, where he became the high school's all-time leading scorer with an impressive career total of 1,446 points, a record that stood until this past season, by Owen Waldoch.

Following graduation, Zach continued his basketball career at the University of St. Thomas, where his winning mentality and skill contributed to the team's success. He played a key role in securing four consecutive conference championships and a national championship.

Zach's legacy extends beyond statistics and championships. He was a player known for his heart, intelligence, and athletic ability, qualities that continue to inspire Forest Lake basketball players today. His impact as a complete athlete is still felt, serving as a shining example of what dedication and hard work can achieve.


Kristi Robinson (ne: Buerkle)

Kristi Robinson's impact on Forest Lake athletics is nothing short of remarkable. From the moment she stepped onto the scene as a varsity athlete in 7th grade, she demonstrated exceptional talent and leadership. Competing in cross country and track and field, Kristi's dedication and skill made her a source of pride for Forest Lake. Kristi also helped build the nordic skiing program, which continues to be one of the most highly-regarded and competitive programs in the state. 

A natural leader, Kristi's influence only grew with time. She earned accolades such as the Athena Award and was and was recognized with All-Conference and All-State awards. She is a school record holder in the 200 Meter and 400 Meter events. 

After graduating, Kristi continued to shine at the NCAA Division II level for Bemidji State University. There, she garnered multiple years of recognition as an All-American and NSIC Conference Champion. Her crowning achievement came as the national runner-up in the 400 meter event.

Kristi embodies what it means to be a Ranger.  Her dedication, leadership, and athletic achievements will forever be part of the history of Forest Lake Area High School athletics.


Joey Ryan

Joey Ryan's journey is a testament to his versatility and talent, both in the world of music and on the basketball court. As the member and principal songwriter for Joey Ryan and The Inks, he has left an indelible mark on the music scene with four successful albums. His work garnered critical acclaim, with two of his records ranked #2 and #10 of 2009 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  In addition to his work with Joey Ryan and The Inks, Joey has contributed to the success of Farewell Milwaukee, a band that has achieved widespread recognition, secured song placements on major network TV, and opened for numerous major recording acts.

Joey's talents extend beyond music. During his high school years, he was a standout athlete in basketball, serving as captain and earning All-Conference honors in 2002 and 2003 with an SEC Championship in 2003. Joey's individual achievements on the court are equally impressive, including being a 1000-point scorer, ranking 2nd all-time in free throw percentage (85%), and 4th all-time in 3-point field goal percentage (44%).

After high school, Joey continued his academic and athletic pursuits at Augustana College. There, he was a three-year starter and two-year captain on the basketball team. He earned Honorable Mention All-Conference in the North Central Conference and was a consistent presence on the Dean's List. Joey's dedication to his craft, whether in music or athletics, has been evident throughout his career. His ability to excel in multiple domains speaks to his exceptional talent and work ethic. Whether on stage or on the court, Joey Ryan continues to inspire with his passion and skill.


Ryan Sudo

Ryan Sudo's journey from high school performer to United States diplomat is a testament to his ability to connect people through his talents. A 2013 graduate of Forest Lake Area High School, Ryan was a prominent figure in the performing arts and speech team. His dedication to both earned him recognition and set the stage for his future career.

During high school, Ryan's involvement in every musical and play showcased his versatility and talent, culminating in a Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Award for Outstanding Featured Actor. Additionally, he made his mark on the speech team, qualifying for the state competition three times and placing in the top six twice. As team captain in 2013, Ryan led his team to a Section 7AA Championship.

Continuing his passion for the arts at Georgetown University, Ryan performed in several plays and achieved success as a two-time semifinalist in the Intercollegiate Competition for A Capella.

Now, as a diplomat in the United States Foreign Service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, Ryan utilizes his skills to bridge cultural gaps. He is a member of the U.S. Embassy Choir, where he collaborates with both Chinese staff members and members of the American diplomatic community, using music as a means of cultural connection.

Though his profession lies in diplomacy, Ryan continues to hold the performing arts close to his heart. He leverages his talents to create cross-cultural connections wherever possible, embodying the belief that the arts have the power to unite people across borders.


Jill Whitney-Birckelbaw

During her years at Forest Lake Area High School, Jill Whitney-Birkelbaw showcased her talents in both arts and athletics. She was a successful gymnast for the high school team and also excelled as a performer and competitor in theater, band, and dramatic speaking.

After graduating in 1986, Jill pursued her passion for education and the arts at Bethel University, earning a teaching degree in English Language Arts.

Jill spent 13 years as a teacher and theater director at North Branch High School, where she left an indelible mark on her students. Her leadership as the One-Act Play director in Forest Lake in 2008 and 2009 led to a section championship and a state competition appearance.

In 2011, Jill founded the Arts Garden in Hugo, where she served as executive director. This hub for arts education and community events has become a cherished asset to the community.

Jill's dedication to the arts extends to her own performances and creations. She continues to share her vocal talents, currently performing with Jill and the Jammers. As a prolific mixed media artist, Jill regularly displays her work in various shows throughout the year.

From her early successes at Forest Lake Area High School to her ongoing contributions to the community, Jill remains dedicated to fostering in others a love for visual and performing arts.