2003 Litchfield graduate and former NFL tight end John Carlson Jr. will be the featured speaker at Litchfield High School’s Senior Athletic Banquet Wednesday at the LHS gymnasium.
The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. and features a buffet-style dinner, music from the Litchfield High School Music Department, awards and athlete recognition.
Senior boys and girls programs across all Litchfield athletic will be honored. Dragon athletes will have the opportunity to win the student athlete award and the scholar athlete award, among other honors.
Nominees for Athlete of the Year are: Kal Jackman (football, wrestling, track and field), Griffin Kinny (cross country, basketball, tennis), Dylan Madsen (football, wrestling, track and field), Jack Osterberg (football, basketball, tennis), Matthew Wedin (football, hockey, tennis), Rebecca Schmidt (swimming and diving, hockey, track and field), Jasmin Estrada (volleyball, hockey, softball) and Madison Larson (volleyball, hockey, softball).
Scholar Athlete of the Year nominees are: Riley DeWolf (football, baseball), Jordan Green (basketball, tennis), Zach Kaizer (football, tennis), John Kiehn (football, baseball), Noah Parenteau (football, track and field), Kal Jackman (football, wrestling, track and field), Jack Osterberg (football, basketball, tennis), Matthew Wedin (football, hockey, tennis), Abby Alsleben (tennis, golf), Kristen Jones (hockey, softball), Kassie King (volleyball, track and field) and Rebecca Schmidt (swimming and diving, hockey, track and field).
One community member will also receive the Distinguished Service Award. Previous recipients of the award are Maynard Watkins, Mike Sundin, Dr. Cecil Leitch, John Klug, Stan Roeser, Jerry Davis, Dick Pursley, Lefty Hoien, Bob Everts, Dave Solbrack, Bob Hermann, Dee Klimstra, Al Nelson, Ray Evans, Keith Johnson, Greg Larson, Don Pietsch, John Streed, Dick Penk, Steve Norman, Leon Holt, Don Lovett, Chris Bates, Bill Ness, Randy Quitney, Joe Langemo, Arly Wendlandt, Jim Musburger, Greg Mathews and John Carlson Sr.
Below is John Carlson Jr.’s short autobiography provided to LHS.
John Carlson Jr. graduated from Litchfield High School. As a football player, he was All-State Minnesota in his senior year. He played in the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. As a basketball player, Carlson was voted to the preseason McDonald’s All-American list.
He led the Litchfield Dragons to three state basketball titles during his freshman, junior and senior years. Carlson was also a state-participant tennis player. His father, John Sr., is the former basketball and assistant football coach and current tennis coach for the Litchfield Dragons.
Carlson played college football at Notre Dame, where he was a two-year starter at tight end. He was named captain his senior season. He recorded 100 receptions, 1,093 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns in his career.
Carlson was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round (38th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.
On March 14, 2012, Carlson signed with the Minnesota Vikings and on March 7, 2014, Carlson signed a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. On May 5, 2015, Carlson announced his retirement from the NFL.
Carlson currently resides in Chandler, Arizona, with his wife Danielle and four children, William, Katelyn, Johnny, and Tommy.