Aug. 29, 2010
Rider remembered as star athlete
By Kevin Pates
Janis Rider, who died Monday while on vacation
in Hawaii with her niece and nephew, was a star athlete at Denfeld
High School in the early 1980s and went on to set state records
while a student at Macalester College in St. Paul.
She earned a law degree and was a lawyer for the
Minnesota Legislature at the time of her death.
Suzy (Thompson) Peterson of Carlton attended West
Junior High and Denfeld High School with Rider, then named Janis
Raatz, and remembered her as a good athlete and friend. Both were
members of Denfeld’s Class of 1984 and played on the basketball
“She was a hard worker who encouraged her
teammates and had a big heart,” Peterson, 44, said Wednesday.
“She would do anything for anyone. She was smart and quiet,
and never bragged. It was important to her to help others.”
Janis Raatz Rider was a forward on Denfeld’s
basketball team and played volleyball. She played both sports at
Macalester College and was a shot put thrower in track and field
and took up the javelin throw. She ranks No. 7 in career scoring
at Macalester with 1,060 points and is No. 3 in rebounds with 721.
In 1988, as a senior at the NCAA Division III
outdoor track and field championships, Rider won the women’s
javelin title with a throw of 158 feet, 1 inch, and placed fourth
in the shot put. She was a four-time All-American and earned 12
all-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors.
She was inducted into the Macalester Athletic
Hall of Fame in 2000. At the time of her death, she had been an
assistant women’s track coach at the school since 1999, working
with javelin throwers.
“Janis was a strong, aggressive forward
and a smart player,” former Denfeld girls basketball coach
Dick Swanson said.
A memorial service for Janis Rider, 44, will be
10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Macalester College Field House in
St. Paul, relatives said.