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Wright to be inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame
Home Page Photo Minnesota cross country running and track and field pioneer Eugene “Lefty” Wright will be inducted on Saturday, July 2 into the hall of fame of the National Federation of High School Associations.

Wright, who passed away last fall at the age of 79, will be honored posthumously during a hall of fame ceremony that is held in conjunction with the NFHS Summer Meetings in Reno, NV.

For more than five decades, Wright played a major role in management of cross country meets, beginning in 1963 through 2014. He was a high school and collegiate track and field official for 38 years, beginning in 1963.

Wright was a major contributor to the Minnesota State High School League as a head starter (22 years), meet referee (22 years) and consultant for more than 40. As a League Clinician, he educated officials and meet managers on the mechanics of starting, how to run successful meets, the roles of referees and preventative officiating.

He also developed a procedure to minimize disqualifications of athletes participating in running and field events by creating a check-in/check-out process with clerks and head event judges. This process has now become standard procedure in the national federation’s rulebook.

A 1953 graduate of St. Louis Park High School, returned to begin coaching at his alma mater in 1958.

Implementing innovative training methods, Wright led the Orioles to track and field state championships in 1962, ’63, ’65 and ’66, and one cross country state championship in 1961. He also led St. Louis Park to numerous second- and third-place finishes.

Bob Wagner, who began running at St. Louis Park in 1961, said Wright had a favorite saying: “Every competitor wants to win, but only a few have the will to win. The will to win is as much the will to train as it is the will to compete.”

Wright became St. Louis Park’s athletic director in 1977 and was named Regional Athletic Director of the Year five times between 1977-93.

He is a member of the Minnesota Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame and the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Wright becomes the 13th Minnesotan to be inducted into the NFHS hall of fame.

The others: John Mayasich (inducted in 1986), Janet Karvonen (1987), Bronko Nagurski (1989), Willard Ikola (1992), Jerry Seeman (1992), Paul Giel (1998), Kevin McHale (2000), Dorothy McIntyre (2003), Terry Steinbach (2007), Barbara Seng (2008), Billy Bye (2010), Bob McDonald (2014).
      
Kimball's Knaus, New Prague capture 2016 state championships
Home Page Photo It took perfection to win the Minnesota State High School League’s Clay Target state championship and Kimball’s Jack Knaus was the only competitor to achieve it.

The seventh-grader, who entered the state tournament ranked 25th in Minnesota, hit 100 of 100 targets to capture the gold medal at the state tournament Saturday, June 25 at Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake.

In achieving a perfect score for the fourth time this season, Knaus edged four shooters that finished in a tie for runner-up honors. New Prague’s Ben Dietz, Wayzata’s Max Bunning, Bemidji’s Chase Todavich and Adam Wnuk of St. Michael-Albertville all recorded scores of 99.

Four more shooters finished in a tie for sixth with scores of 98 in the field of 100 top high school shooters.

New Prague won the team championship with a score of 480.
The Trojans, who finished seventh during the 2015 state meet, defeated St. Michael-Albertville, who was runner-up with a score of 471. Bemidji was third at 470.

New Prague team members are Ben Dietz, Woodrow Glazer, Parker Precht, Isaac Simon, Jordan Stocker and alternates Tyler Bisek and Kortney Novak. The Trojans are coached by Paul Dietz.

Here is the all-tournament team:

Kimball --- Jack Knauss.

New Prague --- Ben Dietz.

Wayzata --- Max Bunning.

Bemidji --- Chase Todavich.

St. Michael-Albertville --- Adam Wnuk.

Eastview (Apple Valley) --- Logan LeClair.

Rockford --- Logan Aarsvold.

Hastings --- Michael Woodward.
      


Eugene “Lefty” Wright Leaves A Lasting Legacy
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 6/29/2016 11:22:54 AM

One of the most well-known and influential track and cross-country figures in the nation will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on Saturday in Reno, Nev., capping the summer meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Minnesota's Eugene "Lefty" Wright was a longtime coach at St. Louis Park High School as well as a leading national figure in how track and cross-country events are contested. Wright and 11 others will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, including former college and NFL coach Steve Spurrier of Tennessee and Marlin Briscoe of Nebraska, the first African-American starting quarterback in modern NFL history.

Here is what the NFHS wrote about Wright...

The late Eugene “Lefty” Wright had a profound impact on track and field and cross country – as a coach and official and at the state and national levels – for more than 50 years before his death last year at the age of 79. Wright was meet director of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) cross-country championship for 46 years and was the lead official at the MSHSL state track and field meet for 22 years. He was the MSHSL rules clinician for both sports for 46 years and developed a procedure to minimize disqualifications by creating a form that was adopted in official NFHS rules. Wright coached track and field and cross country at St. Louis Park High School in suburban Minneapolis from 1958 to 1969 and won four state track titles and one state cross country championship.

Here is a story I wrote about Lefty after his death in October...

The track and cross-country community lost a very special friend when MSHSL Hall of Fame member Eugene “Lefty” Wright died at 11:55 p.m. Monday. He was 79 years old and had been dealing with cancer for a lengthy period of time.

Lefty was a bridge from the 1950s to current times in athletics. As a young coach at St. Louis Park High School, he took his cross-country teams to Duluth for competitions via train from the Twin Cities and then a Duluth city bus to the golf course where racing was held. He later became Minnesota’s leading meet official for track and cross-country, creating innovative new methods to plan and hold competitions.

“He was a genius. He was an innovator,” said Scott Stallman, who was coached by Wright at St. Louis Park in the 1960s, became a teacher and coach and now works as a race official.

--In this photo from last spring, Lefty is pictured with several of his former athletes at St. Louis Park High School. All the individuals shown are still involved with track and field as coaches or officials. (Front, left to right) Steve Williams, Dan Dornfeld, Scott Stallman. (Center) R.E. “Lefty” Wright. (Back, left to right) Tom Bracher, Bill Terriquez, Jack Mayeron, Bruce Mortenson.--

Wright graduated from St. Louis Park in 1953. He competed in track and hockey for the Orioles, playing in the 1953 state hockey tournament. After graduating from Macalester College in 1957 he returned to St. Louis Park as a teacher and assistant track and cross-country coach under Roy Griak. He worked at St. Louis Park as a teacher, coach and administrator until 1993.

He was an assistant under Griak for five years, becoming head coach in 1963 when Griak was hired at the University of Minnesota. Griak died earlier this year at 91 and a few weeks ago Lefty was named a charter member of the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame.

“He was a second father figure for me,” Wright said of Griak. “He taught me a lot about organization and about handling young athletes.”

Wright, who was inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame in 2011, worked as a meet official at 47 MSHSL cross-country state championships and 46 MSHSL state track meets, including 23 as a starter. He also worked as an official at numerous Big Ten and NCAA events.

Lefty and his wife Nancy, parents of two children, celebrated 57 years of marriage in August.

Dan Dornfeld, who was coached by Wright in high school and also became a teacher, coach and official, remembers a turning point in Lefty’s early career.

“There was an incident during his coaching time when one of his athletes was shorted in a race. He was one of the top runners in the state at that point but was put in lane one, which was a terrible lane on a sand track. It was really a disadvantage, and that became Lefty’s charge. He took on the mantra that we have to do things that are right for athletes. That’s when he really got involved in officiating.

“Anything he’s done for the sport has always been to make the event better for the athlete. He said, ‘Let’s make sure that the student-athlete has the advantage here.’ ”

Stallman said, “He was meticulous about every detail. In his coaching days there was never anything ruled out or taken as chance. Everything was coached to the finest detail, in terms of everything from how to run a cross-country or track meet to bookkeeping to all those kinds of things.”

In the days before electronic timing, cross-country runners were herded into a single chute after finishing to maintain their order of finish. Wright invented the “swing rope,” using a movable rope to create a second chute when the first one was filled with runners.

“Nobody had heard of that until Lefty came up with the idea,” Stallman said. “It’s little things like that that make the quality of a meet better.”

In cross-country, Wright invented a three-meter stick, which was simply three one-meter lengths of boards hinged together. It was used to measure the exact width of starting boxes as well as the distance between the starting line back to the second line; runners move up to the starting line when instructed by the starter.

He also improved the use of lane dividers at cross-country starting lines, color-coding them to specify whether they were for teams or individuals.

“That was part of his attention to detail,” Dornfeld said. “As a result, you saw that better things just happened. He managed things so well that it looks like there’s never any effort given. It’s smooth, effortless. That’s Lefty.

“The other part was that the man was always the calm one. I don’t think I ever saw him in a group meeting get frustrated at all. He would always maintain that calm, that coolness that you need. He was not a guy who gets rattled.”

At the Edina Invitational track meet last spring, Lefty posed for the above photo with his former athletes.

“What a legacy,” Dornfeld said. “He really has trained many, many people for how that works and what needs to happen.

“Everybody’s been trained the Wright way.”





More of John's Journal
Spring at a Glance:
Boys' Tennis: June 7-10
   AA: Baseline Tennis Center   Brackets
   A: Read-Sweatt Tennis Center  Brackets
Girls' Softball: June 9-10 Caswell Park, N. Mankato
   Section Brackets   State Brackets
Track & Field: June 10-11 Hamline, St. Paul    Results
Golf: June 14-15 Various Sites
   Scores
Lacrosse: June 14,16,18 Minnetonka & Chanhassen
   Section: Girls   Boys   State: Girls   Boys
Baseball: June 16,17,20 Various Sites
   Section Brackets   State Brackets
Clay Target: June 25 Mpls Gun Club, Prior Lake

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MSHSL Behavior Expectations 
2016 Why We Play Conference - Register Now 
2017-2018 District Football Lists & Maps 
June Board Meeting Synopsis 
June Board Agenda 
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MSHSL 2h ago
The late, great Lefty Wright to be inducted into National High School Hall of Fame.Check out John's Journal. John's Journal

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
2h ago
Late, great Lefty Wright to be inducted into National High School Hall of Fame. Check out John's Journal.
mshsl.org/mshsl/johnsjou

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
2h ago
Former Coon Rapids coach Jessica Christopherson has been named girls head hockey coach at Wayzata High School.

Tim Leighton
@MSHSLTim
3h ago
Wayzata High School hires Jessica Christopherson as girls hockey head coach. She previously coached at Coon Rapids. @WayzataTrojans

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
I'm changing planes in Salt Lake City, taking the red eye into Reno. But you could probably already sense the excitement that this creates.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
15h ago
Wayzata HS swim coach is Rio-bound. Nice. twitter.com/BlountStrib/st

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
18h ago
Uh oh...

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
18h ago
twitter.com/hlrule/status/

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
18h ago
It's a dog-eat-dog world out here. twitter.com/TarvisGrygla/s

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
18h ago
Hate to brag but I scored a coveted middle seat...

Tim Leighton
@MSHSLTim
19h ago
Ready to go here at the NFHS Summer Meeting. @NFHS_Org

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
19h ago
This is fantastic. @MSHSL_Coaches twitter.com/sallyjenx/stat

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
19h ago
Thanks a ton. And keep up the great work! twitter.com/KROXRADIO/stat

Tim Leighton
@MSHSLTim
19h ago
Look who will be honored this week during NFHS Hall of Fame induction.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
19h ago
That's Wayzata High School boys swimming coach David Plummer, swimming for a spot at the Olympics. twitter.com/BlountStrib/st

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
1d ago
Flying @Delta to Reno today for @NFHS_Org convention, hoping to score some autographs from these total pros.

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
1d ago
And thanks to people like @TwinsPrez who appreciate and support high school activities in a big way. twitter.com/TwinsPrez/stat

John Millea
@MSHSLjohn
1d ago
THANK YOU fans for your enthusiastic, positive support of high school activities all around our great state!



 


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