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100 Years: Greatest Players
Home Page Photo Minnesota high school athletics has been a special playground for memorable moments. In the 100-year history of the MSHSL, many are etched in memory banks forever.

Few will forget the "rump shot'' by Blake Hoffarber of Hopkins during a boys basketball state tournament game. Or how about the miracle, unheard-of pass from Jordan Marshall to Micah Koehn that gave Totino-Grace a stunning Prep Bowl championship?

Hey, some are still exhausted from that five-overtime marathon between Duluth East and Apple Valley in the boys hockey state tournament.

Great moments, to be sure, but who is the best of the best in Minnesota high school athletics?

As we celebrate our centennial, we aim to find out, and we need your help.

After extensive research and consultation with Minnesota media and other sports figures, the MSHSL has selected the top 100 student-athletes of all time. The athletes have been divided into four 25-player tournament-style regions. The regions are named after current MSHSL executive Dave Stead and three former leaders who shared that same position.

The top seeds are Anoka's Billy Bye, Bronko Nagurski of International Falls, Winona's Paul Giel and Moose Lake's Annie Adamczak.

Round-by-round, your votes will determine which student-athletes advance. To refresh your memory, bios are available for the student-athletes by scrolling over their name.

Voting will take place Wednesday through Tuesday. Each Tuesday, we will announce the winners and update the brackets.

To kick off the fun, on April 29th we begin with the play-in rounds, the 8 vs 25 Matchups, with new matchups weekly.

Join us as we relive some of the greatest feats in Minnesota history as we try to determine who is the best of the best.

Enjoy the journey. Share your thoughts to @MSHSL100 or use #MSHSL100 on Twitter

The brackets can be found at www.mshsl.org/100Years
Dave Stead Regional Orv Bies Regional Murrae Freng Regional B.H. Hill Regional

The Minnesota State High School League is celebrating its 100th year of providing extra-curricular opportunities in athletics and fine arts.

The League is proud of its 100-year legacy, and in honor of the milestone in 2016, we share yearly snapshots taken along the way.

Please join us in a celebratory look at our heritage.

Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/27/2015 11:43:08 AM

• It was the end of a basketball era in Northfield.
In the final state tournament to be held at Carleton College, Red Wing defeated Madison 34-27. Red Wing finishes the season 19-0. In 1923, the state tournament head north to Minneapolis, ending an 11-year run in Northfield.
• H.C. Bell, the superintendent of Luverne and first president of the Minnesota State High School Athletic Association, voluntarily retires from his position. He led the group from its origins in 1916. A year later, the first MSHSAA handbook is dedicated to him.
• The MSHSAA voted to not support a state tournament for football. “Too many teams and a short season,’’ were among reasons provided by Theodore Utne, secretary-treasurer of the association.
• On Nov. 24, Rochester defeated Duluth Denfeld 14-0 to stake its claim as the unofficial state football champion. A crowd of about 2,500 attended the game at Mayo Field in Rochester.

Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/22/2015 11:53:15 AM

• According to an article in the Minneapolis Tribune on Nov. 13, “As the State High School Athletic Association will not undertake to state the elimination games for the state high school football championships, University of Minnesota authorities have announced that they will bring the two finalists, undefeated elevens in the northern and southern section of Minnesota, together at Northrop field Thanksgiving Day to settle this dispute.’’
• A state track and field meet was held at Northrop Field on the University of Minnesota campus. It was not sponsored by the Minnesota State High School Athletic Association. That would come a year later. Minneapolis West won the Class A title. That group had eight schools each from Minneapolis and St. Paul. Winona won the Class B championship, a group that consisted of 15 schools from outstate Minnesota.
• Nearly 200 high schools were playing girls basketball in Minnesota. One of those teams was from Osakis, pictured at right.
• Minneapolis Central finished the season 13-1 following a 19-15 victory over New Ulm in the boys basketball championship game. Central captain Martin Norton scored 17 of his team’s 19 points. More than 2,000 fans attended the championship game at Carleton College in Northfield.

Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/21/2015 8:13:40 AM

• About 2,000 fans from nearby Red Wing traveled the 38 miles to see the boys basketball team compete in the state tournament in Northfield. It would be the highest attended boys basketball state tournament in Northfield. The tournament would move three seasons later to the Twin Cities. Red Wing rewarded its fans with a 21-10 victory over Mankato in the championship game to finish the season 15-2.
• The Minneapolis Central basketball team plays in the National Interscholastic Tournament held at the University of Chicago rather than participating in the state tournament. The Pioneers finished third in the national tournament.
• Bemidji defeated Faribault 20-0 in the football state championship game at Northrop Field in Minneapolis. The game was not sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School Athletic Association.

Check back for more weekly looks at the MSHSL's "100 years of memories."

More of the Countdown to 100
2015 ExCel Awards
Home Page Photo Minnesota State High School League Honors Students for Leadership, Community Service

Celebrating its 19th year of recognizing high school juniors, the Minnesota State High School League will honor the 2015 ExCEL Award recipients during ceremonies at the State Girls' State Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 21.
ExCEL—Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership—is a unique recognition award that is given annually to high school juniors who are leaders in their schools and who demonstrate a strong commitment to community service.
The 2015 ExCEL award recipients are engaged in life-changing projects that build stronger, healthier, and safer communities. They work voluntarily to end hunger, house the homeless, help the environment, and raise funds for medical research. Many of these student leaders are involved in 4-H and FFA outreach activities while others coach youth sports, teach Sunday school, assist seniors, visit shelters, and tutor at-risk kids.
"There are so many reasons to be proud of these young men and women," said Lisa Lissimore, the associate director who oversees the ExCEL program. "They live their life serving and lifting up others without expecting recognition or reward. They're service–centered and deserving of this award," Lissimore explained.
The ExCEL award program began in 1996. Award recipients are selected through a multi-level process that involves League member schools and an independent panel of judges from schools throughout Minnesota. More than 4,000 students have been recognized with this award program. Two-hundred and forty-nine students were nominated by their schools this year.
KSTC- TV, Channel 45, the League's broadcast partner, will recognize the 2015 ExCEL award recipients during its broadcast of the semi-finals of the State Girls' Basketball Tournament. Each student will also participate in an on-court award ceremony during the halftime of the Class AA girls' basketball championship game on Saturday, March 21.

Following is the list of the 2015 ExCEL Award winners:
Kennadie Anderson, MoraAlexis King, Nevis
Lucas Arndt, OwatonnaZachary Lutz, Crookston
Zachary Behnke, St. Paul Humboldt Kiefer Miller, Nevis
Laura Bestul, Eastview, Apple Valley Katie Moynihan, Apple Valley
Matthew Biegler, Underwood Bjorn Pearson, Cannon Falls
Ben Borash, Royalton Juliana Pederson, Westbrook-Walnut Grove
Rose Bruns, Edina Ella Perrault, Marshall School, Duluth
Erin Budin, Tri-City United, Montgomery Josie Schieffert, Sleepy eye
Emmy Buntrock, Dover-Eyota Emma Smith, Owatonna
Alyssa Dalen, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa SSara Stoneberg, Tracy Area
Anna Fasen, Monticello Keith Sullivan, Elk River
Adam Fenlason, Brandon-Evansville Kunal Thakur, East Ridge, Woodbury
Mariel Ferragamo, St. Peter Patrick Thofson, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial
Thomas Fischer, Marshall Natalie Timm, Springfield
Rishabh Gupta, Eastview, Apple Valley Payton Vold, Red Rock Central, Lamberton
Dan James, Edina Klarissa Walvatne, Battle Lake

Additional information about the 2015 ExCEL Award recipients may be obtained on the ExCEL page.

40 Years Of Optimism And Baseball In Pine Island
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 4/24/2015 12:21:36 PM

PINE ISLAND – Things were taking a bad turn Thursday for the Pine Island Panthers baseball team. Cannon Falls had just scored two runs with two outs in the top of the sixth inning and held a 2-1 lead.

As the Panthers ran into the dugout, coach Craig Anderson was a picture of optimism. He asked his guys, “How many 2-1 deficits have been overcome in the bottom of the sixth? Millions! Let’s stay positive!”

Throughout the game, a well-played Hiawatha Valley League affair that ended with the Bombers winning by that 2-1 margin, Anderson said nothing critical, nothing negative. That is part of his formula for success during a 40-year coaching career that has made him only the seventh baseball coach in Minnesota to win 500 games.

Anderson – a retired elementary teacher who works as Pine Island’s athletic director -- was honored in a brief ceremony before Thursday’s game. Principal Kevin Cardille presented the coach (pictured) with a modest trophy commemorating 500 victories, and well-respected former coaches Dale Welter of Chaska and Dale Massey of Rochester Mayo spoke about Anderson and how important he is to baseball in Minnesota.

Thursday’s loss put Anderson’s career record at 502-365. Number 500 came in a victory over Byron on April 2. But wins and losses are secondary to Anderson’s main mission in coaching.

“We want to win but we have a bigger message,” he said. “And that’s, ‘Hey, come play hard, represent your community and your family with dignity.’ And if you do those things, then it’s a win no matter how the result comes out. Today I thought the kids gave a great account of themselves. We played a quality ballclub, we have a lot of respect for Cannon and the Bombers were just one run better than us today.”

Midway through the game, Pine Island right fielder Matt Huus (who wears No. 3) made a splendid running catch of a hard-hit ball. In the dugout, Anderson hollered, “Throw strikes, make plays! All right! Way to get a jump, three!”

After the game, I asked team captains Matt Kukson, Tucker Hanson and D.J. Titus this question: What’s the most negative thing your coach has ever said?

The question caught them off guard. They began giggling, then full-out laughing. Message? The thought of Anderson being negative was laughable.

“I think he’s found that by saying anything negative it doesn’t help the team at all, so he doesn’t say anything negative,” Hanson said. “The only way to help the team out, even in a bad time, is to keep a positive attitude and he definitely does that.”

Anderson is so highly respected by his peers that beginning this year, an annual award bearing his name will be given by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association. It’s called the Craig Anderson Ethics in Coaching Award, described like this: “The coach who is selected will be someone who displays class, integrity, character, and respect for the game, the players, the spectators, and the officials. Someone who is a great model for student-athletes and fellow coaches, who teaches not only the game, but also life’s core lessons.”

That’s the essence of Anderson. Ask Cannon Falls coach Bucky Lindow, who faced Anderson’s team in his first game as a high school coach in 1988 at Dover-Eyota. Between high school and Babe Ruth baseball games, Lindow said he has coached against Anderson 120 times.

“He’s been a true mentor for me,” Lindow said. “The first game I ever coached as a high school coach, he was the other guy and beat us 10-0. But more important is the way he treats people. He’s the guy who’s going to congratulate you if you do something. He’s just classy. That’s truly what he is. And through the state coaches association, he’s been on the leadership team for a long, long time and he just makes a positive impact. He’s a great ambassador for high school baseball. I really appreciate all that I’ve learned from him.”

Anderson is No. 3 on the career victory list among active coaches. On top of the all-time and active list is Bob Karn of St. Cloud Cathedral (715-277). Next is Lowell Scearcy of Brainerd (709-287 and also still coaching), followed by retired New Ulm coach Jim Senske (707-171). Three other retired coaches have between 509 and 535 wins (Dick Seltz, Austin; Bob Mullen, Bagley; Darwin Busselman, Prior Lake).

Anderson, 61, credits his family as a main reason for his 40 years and 500 wins.

“I want to salute my wife. Sue,” he said. “We’ve been together for over 40 years. Nobody stays in coaching for 40 years unless you’ve got a No. 1 assistant, and that’s my bride. I love her and she’s been a great support system. Our two daughters were always at the ballpark, and now it’s the grandkids. That’s pretty special.”

Anderson’s older brother Dave, who retired from teaching and coaching baseball in Byron in 2006, works as Pine Island’s official scorer and public-address announcer. Dave compiled a record of 206-195 in 18 years coaching the Bears.

The Anderson boys – five brothers in all – grew up playing baseball in their hometown of Mabel. Craig and Dave played at Winona State before beginning their careers as educators and coaches.

“Believe it or not, my earliest recollection of being alive was coming out in the front yard, having mom and dad watch me hit, with my brothers pitching to me,” Craig said. “Apparently I was doing OK because I remember feeling good about myself.”

And for four decades he has taught the game he loves, along with life lessons that go far beyond baseball.

“I’m just taking it a year at a time and I’m planning on coming back next year if the good lord allows me to and my health is good,” he said. “It’s a rebirth every year, being able to come out and work with these guys. You can see they’re good kids. They’re good ballplayers, but better yet they’re good people.”

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 502
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 9,890

More of John's Journal

League News
MSHSL Behavior Expectations 
Bd of Director's Mtg Synopsis April 2015 
April Board Agenda 
March Board Workshop Agenda 
MSHSL hires two new staff members 
2015 Representative Assembly Item 
2015 ExCEL Winners Announced 
Show Older News Items

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