Denfeld News

Aug. 29, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

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 team.

“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.

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