Jim Sybilrud graduated from Waseca High School in 1969 and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Mankato State University in 1973.
Jim earned eight varsity letters, one in cross country, two in basketball and five in golf. At Mankato State, he participated in basketball and golf.
Jim, an outstanding guard in basketball, was a member of one of Waseca’s most successful teams ever, the 1969 basketball squad. The 1969 team, coached by Manny Beckmann, was ranked as the number one team in the state all year in an era when there was just one class in high school athletics. That team advanced to 21-0 before losing to Austin in the section tournament. Going undefeated in the regular season was the first time since 1918 when Waseca was state champion. Jim helped lead his team to two South Central Conference Championships. They set a new school record and conference record scoring 108 points one game and a District 4 record with 99 points. Waseca was billed as the tallest team in the state with three players going 6’ 5”, 6’ 8” and 6’ 9”. With Sybilrud at 5’ 8” as a junior, the sports writers in the state seemed to be having fun coming up with different names for him; “little Jim”, “midget size”, “tiny tyke”, “sparkplug”, and “mighty mite” to name a few. Sybilrud was not known as a scorer, although he hit in double figures many times, Syb was the playmaker and floor general. He was an outstanding ball handler and passer, especially good under pressure, always in control. You could count on him to get the ball up-court and hit the open man. Jim was the team leader in assists his junior and senior year. He was also a captain his junior and senior year. Sybilrud was selected to Sid Hartman’s WCCO radio Team of the Week All-State Award his senior year.
Jim was also an excellent golfer for the Bluejays earning five varsity letters and was captain of the golf team from his sophomore year to his senior. Jim was All-Conference and All-District in 1969.
At Mankato State, Jim lettered two years in basketball and four years in golf. In golf, he was voted as the most valuable player on the team in his freshman year and named captain his senior year. Jim made All-American in both his sophomore year and junior years, and his team won the North Central Title in both 1971 and 1972, with Jim being the medalist in 1971. He twice won the Outstanding College Athlete award. Jim also played in the NCAA golf tournament.
Jim holds the record for lowest 18 hole round at Waseca’s Lakeside Country Club with a 62. Jim won the Lakeside Country Club Championship in 1998 and has won countless individual tournaments around Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Jim was never one to toot his horn about any of his achievements. Not only was he a great athlete, an unselfish leader, he is very modest. But, he is very proud of his 12 hole in ones.
Jim worked many years for EFJohnson and Emerson’s in Waseca as a sales and marketing specialist. Jim and his wife Cheryl raised three children, Dustin, Skylar and Andy. They now live in Eden Prairie.