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Somerset graduate Aaron Joppru killed in motorcycle accident (funeral information added)

Aaron Joppru is shown preparing for an attempt in the WIAA Division 2 state pole vault event at La Crosse in 2014. Joppru won the state championship in that event.

Aaron Joppru, a member of the Somerset High School Class of 2014, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sunday in Seattle, Wash.

Joppru was living in Seattle, where he was stationed in the Coast Guard.

Funeral arrangements are being planned at Johnson Funeral Home in Thief River Falls, Minn. Aaron Joppru ‘s funeral is Sunday at Johnson Funeral Home with a 1 p.m. visitation and 2 p.m. service. 

Joppru was a highly successful two-sport at Somerset, excelling in track and soccer.

Joppru won the Division 2 state pole vault championship in the opening day of the 2014 WIAA State Track Championships at Veterans Stadium in La Crosse.

Joppru won the state championship when he was the only Division 2 vaulter to clear the bar at the 14-foot, 9-inch mark. Joppru then attempted to set a state record, having the bar raised to 15-2, but he was unable to clear that height.

It was one of the best team performances at the state track meet in Somerset history, with Joppru and Max Praschak both winning state tiles.

After the 2014 state track meet Somerset coach Terry Otradovec said the state championship is a result of Joppru’s dedication and focus.

“He’s probably one of our hardest working kids. That leadership and work ethic will be missed,” Otradovec said.

Joppru had to overcome the elements as well as his opponents to win the state title.

The Spartans thought it would take a vault of 14-6 to win, but Cason Cleveland of Edgerton also cleared that height. Just as calmly, Joppru then cleared 14-9, while Cleveland wasn’t able to, giving Joppru the state title.

Moments after the vaulters completed their warmups, rain swept across the La Crosse area. After a two-hour wait, the event was started indoors, at the indoor track complex in Mitchell Hall. While many of the competitors looked nervous, Joppru’s composure may have been what set him apart. He coolly chatted with his competitors, projecting a sense of calm control.

“That was probably the most relaxed I’ve seen him all year,” Otradovec said. “He had the goal (of winning a state title) in place since last year when he was knocked out in sectionals.”

In soccer, Joppru was a two-time All-Middle Border Conference selection. He was named to the second team as a junior as to the first team as a senior, when he was one of the key components in the Spartans’ Middle Border Conference championship team. Joppru was in goal when the Somerset boys soccer team earned the first shutout in program history in a 6-0 win over Hayward.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for more than 30 years.

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