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Congratulations To State Soccer Champions, Goodbye To The Dome
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/31/2013 1:07:59 PM

Read about Thursday's soccer state championship games, the last ones to be played in the Metrodome, by clicking here.

The Old Dutch Athlete of the Week: Lydia Sutton, Blake soccer
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/31/2013 9:55:33 AM

Lydia Sutton, a senior multi-sport athlete at Blake, has been instrumental in Blake’s soccer success this fall, leading the Bears to a No. 1 ranking in Class 1A and a berth in Thursday’s state championship game against Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

In the state quarterfinals against Sartell-St. Stephen, Lydia scored a goal before three minutes had been played and the Bears went on to a 3-0 victory. In Tuesday’s state semifinals against Totino-Grace she scored in the second minute in leading the Bears to a 2-0 victory. This is Lydia’s fifth state soccer tournament, and she has also played in five state lacrosse tournaments, with a sixth possible in the spring.

She has committed to the University of Southern California to play lacrosse. She holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship and was a member of the 2013 Canadian Olympic lacrosse team that won a silver medal at the World Cup this past summer.

When Lydia isn't playing she volunteers as a youth lacrosse coach, which she describes as a passion to give back to the sport and to help the sport grow.

Congratulations to Lydia Sutton for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!

More State Soccer, Looking Ahead To State Cross-Country
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/29/2013 1:25:47 PM

This is a very busy week, with state soccer and state cross-country while football and volleyball are playing section semifinals and finals. Get an update by clicking here

Soccer Title Matchups Are Set For 1A Boys, Girls; 2A Boys
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/28/2013 8:17:38 AM

Monday was packed with state soccer semifinals at the Metrodome. Read about the games by clicking here.

The search is on for the next Old Dutch Athlete of the Week!
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/27/2013 5:18:34 PM

We've been on a great run with this outstanding award. Who will be this week's winner? See all the details by clicking here.

Hawks On The Rise: Chaska’s Football Fortunes Have Changed
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/26/2013 8:38:00 PM

Until Saturday I had never been to a football game at Chaska High School. In fact, I don’t recall ever watching a Chaska football team play anywhere – home or road -- in all my years of covering high school sports in Minnesota.

And there was probably a simple reason for that: Chaska has not been known as a football power. This season, however, that has changed in a big way.

The Hawks defeated Northfield 28-0 Saturday in the Class 5A Section 2 playoff semifinals, and they will host Mankato West on Friday with the winner advancing to the state tournament. Chaska has played in the state football tourney exactly once, and that was in 1974 (the Hawks were the Class A runner-up).

That’s a pretty long dry spell, but the 2013 Hawks look like they are up to the task of creating more history. They are 9-0 and ranked second in 5A behind Owatonna. Fifth-ranked Mankato West, which beat Chanhassen 33-22 Saturday, has lost only once this season, a 24-21 Week 3 defeat against Owatonna in a game that ended with the Huskies kicking a field goal on the final play.

The ascension of Chaska to the upper ranks of Class 5A lends credence to something I’ve been saying all season: 5A is the most interesting and most balanced class in football this season. Eden Prairie is the head-and-shoulders favorite to win the Class 6A state title, but 5A is anybody’s guess with teams like Owatonna, Chaska, No. 3 Brainerd, No. 4 Rogers (all are unbeaten) and others in the mix.

Lambert Brown was hired as Chaska’s head coach four years ago. The 2000 graduate of White Bear Lake High School was an assistant at White Bear and the head coach at Fridley before going to Chaska. He took over a football program that had gone 5-4 in 2004 and 2005 and didn’t have another winning record until last season.

Brown's first two teams had records of 4-6 and 1-8 before the Hawks kicked it up a notch with a 6-4 finish a year ago. The players who were in ninth grade when he arrived are now seniors, and that’s part of the formula that is coming to fruition.

“I think we’ve always had great kids,” Brown (pictured) said after Saturday’s game. “There have been kids here who I’ve enjoyed coaching, that work hard. More than anything, I think you look at the kids who are seniors now, and our staff has had them since they were freshmen, and they believe in our philosophy.

“We’ve been preaching the same things and it takes a special group to say, ‘We’re going to buy in to what you’re doing, and we’re going to make this part of who we are, and it’s not just for show.’ And they have really done that and they’ve come together and they play hard.”

The Hawks are not known for flashiness; they are more of a work-ethic team, with discipline, teamwork and preparation playing big roles in their success. They took advantage of five Northfield turnovers and field position in Saturday’s win; Kolby Seiffert ran for touchdowns of 5 and 56 yards in the first quarter, Justin Arnold threw to Brandon Thies for a 22-yard score in the third quarter and Matthew Witthus scored on a 4-yard run for the final points. The second and fourth touchdowns were set up by interceptions.

Speaking of flashiness, you should see Chaska’s uniforms. The Hawks could almost be mistaken for the Oregon Ducks. They have three different jerseys (a yellowish-gold that they wore Saturday, along with purple and white) as well as wings painted on their helmets and sprouting from their shoulders. It’s a great look, especially when it's in conjuction with a quality team.

“We’ve tried to keep our expectations pretty high, and we found that our kids have the ability to rise to those things,” Brown said. “A lot of the kids have had a lot of experience and they’ve gained a lot of knowledge of the game and how to play it. We kind of went into this hoping to keep this clicking, thinking if we could keep from having injuries and if we could get the guys to buy into our philoshophy we were going to do pretty well.

“I feel pretty dang lucky to be here, to be able to coach the kids I get to coach every day. Life is good.”

--To see a photo gallery from the Chaska-Northfield game, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.


*Schools/teams John has visited:105
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,516
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Congratulations To Girls Tennis Champs; Looking Ahead To Soccer
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/25/2013 3:08:48 PM

Friday was the day that girls tennis players and teams shoot for all season long. It was the day when state championships in singles and doubles were decided. Here are results from the championship matches …

--In an all-Breck Class 1A doubles final, Patricia Zhao and Sunny Tang beat Grace Zumwinkle and Kendall Kozikowski 7-5, 6-2.

--Kylie Boyer and Kate Rosenow of Rochester Mayo won the 2A doubles crown by defeating Helen Klass-Warch and Zoe Klass-Warch of St. Paul Central 6-2, 6-2

--Sonya Das of St. Paul Academy repeated as the 1A singles champion, beating Danielle Gannon of Holy Family Catholic 6-0, 6-1.

--In the 2A singles final, Edina's Caitlyn Merzbacher defeated defending state champion Summer Brills of Mounds View 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.

In team competition earlier this week…

--In Class 1A, Breck defeated Rochester Lourdes 6-1 in the title match. Staples-Motley finished third with a victory over St. James, and Foley defeated Providence Academy in the fifth-place match.

--In Class 2A, Edina won its 17th consecutive team title, defeating Minnetonka 5-2 in the championship match. Finishing third was Rochester Mayo with a victory over Prior Lake, and in the fifth-place match St. Cloud Tech defeated Mahtomedi.

Tournaments in other fall sports are also in full swing. Football, cross-country and volleyball section tournaments are ongoing, and the state soccer tournament quarterfinals concluded Friday night. Here’s how things look…

State Soccer Tournament

Wednesday’s games
Class 2A girls quarterfinals
At Park High School
Burnsville 3, Andover 0
Lakeville North 1, Mahtomedi 0
At St. Cloud State
Eden Prairie 2, Mounds View 1
Minnetonka 3, Elk River 0

Thursday’s games
Class 2A boys quarterfinals
At Chisago Lakes
Andover 2, Minneapolis Southwest 1
North St. Paul vs. Prairie Seeds Academy
At Park High School
Eastview 2, Owatonna 1, overtime
Edina vs. Elk River

Class 1A girls quarterfinals
At St. Cloud
Blake 3, Sartell 0
Totino-Grace 1, Hill-Murray 0
At St. Louis Park
Mankato West 5, La Crescent 2
Benilde-St. Margaret’s 1, Duluth Denfeld 0

Friday’s games
Class 1A boys quarterfinals
At St. Louis Park
St. Paul Como Park 2, Waseca 1
Sartell 1, Rochester Lourdes 1
At Chisago Lakes
Hill-Murray 1, Totino-Grace 0 (shootout)
Waconia 5, Hermantown 0

State Soccer Tournament Semifinals
At the Metrodome

Monday’s Games
Class 1A Girls
8 a.m./ Blake vs. Totino-Grace
10 a.m./ Benilde-St. Margaret’s vs. Mankato West

Class 1A Boys
Noon/ St. Paul Como Park vs. Sartell-St. Stephen
2 p.m./ Waconia vs. Hill-Murray

Class 2A Boys
4 p.m./ Andover vs. North St. Paul
6 p.m./ Edina vs. Eastview

Tuesday’s Games
Class 2A Girls
Noon/ Burnsville vs. Lakeville North
2 p.m./ Eden Prairie vs. Minnetonka

State Championship Games
Thursday at the Metrodome
10 a.m./ Class 1A girls
12:30 p.m./ Class 1A boys
3 p.m./ Class 2A girls
5:30 p.m./ Class 2A boys


*Schools/teams John has visited:103
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,448
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Congrats to Barnesville's Michael Strand, Old Dutch athlete of the week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/24/2013 7:36:03 AM

The senior running back had an outstanding game for the undefeated Trojans against West Central Area. He carried the ball six times for 212 yards and five touchdowns, and caught a pass for 32 yards and another touchdown … all in the first half. In the second half Michael returned a punt for a touchdown, his eighth punt return for a TD of his career, which is one shy of the state record.

Michael finished the regular season with 70 carries for 1,215 yards (an average of more than 17 yards per carry) and 23 rushing touchdowns. He has a total of 30 touchdowns this season, which is even more impressive considering he has carried the ball only five times in the second half all season. He has helped Barnesville compile a 9-0 record this season, and the Trojans have not lost a regular-season game in five years. Michael has been a football letter winner since eighth grade.

He is number one in his class with a 3.998 GPA. He also is involved in basketball, track, baseball and is the president of the local philanthropy and youth group through the John Barry Foundation. Michael is involved in choir and is active in his church.

Congratulations to Michael Strand for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!

Girls Tennis And Girls Soccer Take State Tournament Stage
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/23/2013 6:41:23 PM

Wednesday was a big day for state tournament action, with team champions crowned in girls tennis and state quarterfinals beginning in soccer with four Class 2A girls games. The rest of the week will continue to be action-packed, with singles and doubles competition Thursday and Friday in the state tennis tournament, more state soccer quarterfinals those same days, and section football tournament games on Friday and Saturday. Cross-country and volleyball section competitions are also underway, making this one of the busiest weeks of the year.

In the Class 1A girls tennis tourney, Breck defeated Rochester Lourdes 6-1 in the title match. Staples-Motley finished third with a victory over St. James, and Foley defeated Providence Academy in the fifth-place match.

In Class 2A tennis, Edina won its 17th consecutive team title, defeating Minnetonka 5-2 in the championship match. Finishing third was Rochester Mayo with a victory over Prior Lake, and in the fifth-place match St. Cloud Tech defeated Mahtomedi.

The state soccer tourney opened Wednesday with two quarterfinal games at Park High School and two games at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium. At Park, top-seeded Burnsville beat Andover 3-0 and No. 4 seed Lakeville North beat Mahtomedi 1-0.

And at St. Cloud State, the other half of the Class 2A girls state soccer bracket was played. In those quarterfinals, Eden Prairie beat No. 2 seed Mounds View 2-1 and No. 3 seed Minnetonka beat Elk River 3-0.

Thursday will be the busiest day of the state soccer quarterfinals, with four Class 2A boys games on tap and four games involving Class 1A girls.

The 2A boys games at Chisago Lakes will be between Minneapolis Southwest and Andover, and North St. Paul and Prairie Seed. At Park High School, it will be Edina vs. Elk River and Eastview vs. Owatonna.

In 1A girls Thursday, it will be Blake vs. Sartell and Totino-Grace vs. Hill-Murray at St. Cloud State, along with Benilde-St. Margaret’s vs. Duluth Denfeld and La Crescent vs. Mankato West at St. Louis Park.

The state soccer quarterfinals will conclude Friday evening with Class 1A boys games at St. Louis Park and Chisago Lakes. At St. Louis Park it will be St. Paul Como Park vs. Waseca and Sartell vs. Rochester Lourdes. At Chisago Lakes it will be Waconia vs. Hermantown and Hill-Murray vs. Totino-Grace.

The first round of the Class 6A football section playoffs will be held Friday, and the rest of the classes will play their section semifinals on Saturday.


*Schools/teams John has visited: 99
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,268
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

A Great Season, A Trip To State For United South Central
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/22/2013 8:04:27 PM

A terrific season by the United South Central girls tennis team has culminated with a berth in the state team tournament. Read about the Rebels by clicking here.

A Veteran Official Can’t Wait To Get Back In The Game
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/21/2013 2:21:54 PM

Jim Mylander can’t wait to get back to officiating high school football, basketball and baseball games. His 15-year MSHSL officiating career has been put on hold while he deals with cancer, but he will be back. Read about Jim by clicking here.

Who Will Be The Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week?
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/19/2013 10:04:40 PM

In partnership with Old Dutch and WCCO-AM 830, the MSHSL is proud to sponsor the Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week award. The Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week honors high school athletes for their contributions as athletes, students and community members.

Honored athletes are recognized on WCCO-AM 830 every Thursday evening during the "Sports To The Max" show with Mike Max and every Friday morning during "The WCCO Morning News With Dave Lee." Winners of the award will not only be honored live on-air at WCCO-AM 830 and online by the MSHSL, but they will also receive a commemorative plaque for this recognized achievement.

Old Dutch is the proud to recognize the Quality that lives within each of these honored athletes.

Athletes can be nominated by emailing MSHSL media specialist John Millea at jmillea@mshsl.org

Nominations should include the following ...
--Student's name, school and grade.
--Athletic accomplishments during the past week. Please offer detailed statistics.
--Information about the student's academics and/or community involvement.
--A photo of the student.

The Rogers Royals Get A Big Win In Year Number 10
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/17/2013 12:42:39 PM

Marking 10 years since the school opened and the football team played for the first time, Rogers defeated St. Michael-Albertville in the final game of the regular season Wednesday. Read about the Mississippi 8 Conference game between unbeaten teams by clicking here

Congrats to Lourdes' Kane Carstens, Old Dutch Athlete of the Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/17/2013 11:31:30 AM

Read about the latest award winner by clicking here.

Southland’s Riley Schmitz: Heart, Desire Make Up For Limited Vision
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/15/2013 4:07:04 PM

ADAMS – The football practice fields at Southland High School in this southern Minnesota town are as picturesque as they come. Two grass fields are framed by a regiment of small trees to the south, and on the north is a freshly harvested cornfield. Beyond that is a farm where silos rise into the sky and cattle graze.

Riley Schmitz can’t see the farm, the silos or the livestock. Even though he has been practicing on these fields since he was a fifth-grade football player, clear vision for the Rebels senior extends no farther than the end of his arms. Those are two remarkable facts: Riley is a football player who is legally blind.

“His heart, his desire is tremendous,” said Southland coach Shawn Kennedy. “He is absolutely so passionate about football.”

Here’s another remarkable fact, one that speaks volumes about Riley’s love of the game and desire to be part of the team: He never plays in the games. He saw action in games as a center and nose guard (positions that allowed him to see the ball snapped) through eighth grade, but the dangers of a blind player in a high school game have kept him on the sidelines. That decision was made by school officials, and his mother Angie agrees.

“Now that they don’t let him play, I feel better,” she said. “I hated it when he played, but I also liked it.”

She liked it because she knew that’s what her son wanted. Riley takes part in some half-speed contact drills during practice, but not when the team scrimmages at full bore. Nonetheless, he is an inspiration to everyone who knows him.

“He definitely makes you think about being grateful for what you have and he’s definitely motivation out here,” said senior wide receiver Alex Ruechel. “You see him come out to practice every day and he knows he’s not going to play. But he comes out here, does everything we do 110 percent and never complains. He’s a role model to everybody. To be doing what he’s doing is amazing.”

Riley was born with a condition called Leber optic atrophy. It’s very rare and most people who have it are totally blind by Riley’s age. His eyesight was impaired from birth and Angie said it was difficult for Riley to realize that his vision was not like everyone else’s.

“It took him a long time. I remember when he accepted it and realized it, that was hard for him. He was in fifth grade.”

As the team huddled at the end of Monday’s practice, Kennedy talked to the players about Riley and the importance of what he demonstrates by joining them on the football team, as well as the school’s wrestling squad.

“That’s a special young man,” the coach said. “He shows us all that it doesn’t matter what cards you are dealt.”

After practice, Riley said the equation works both ways: The team supports him and he’s happy to provide motivation.

“My teammates are very supportive, and I think I motivate them by being out here every day and make them want to be better,” he said. “I really enjoy being part of it.”

During practice, Riley cracked jokes with his teammates. He took part in calisthenics before the workout and wind sprints afterwards … even though his running style is a bit gangly and slow.

Before every season, the Rebels go through a team-building exercise in which each player is asked to talk about something the others don’t know about him. Prior to this season, Riley was the last team member to speak.

“If anybody could pull the old ‘feel bad for me’ card, it would be him,” Kennedy said. “But he said, ‘As you guys know, I’d like to improve my running form, get faster and quicker.’ I had tears in my eyes, as did everybody else who was there.

“Riley is a total class act and the ultimate team player. He plays for the love of the game.”

Riley, who joined the wrestling team a couple of years ago, said he will probably compete at 152 pounds during the upcoming season. Wrestling with impaired vision is a bit easier than playing football, and wrestlers from other schools often don’t even realize that Riley does not have perfect vision.

Over the summer, some of the Southland wrestlers attended a camp at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. “When we’d tell people he was blind they were like, ‘No, he’s not.’ They didn’t believe us,” said senior Luke Stephens.

If he wasn’t out for the football team this fall, Riley said he would probably spend his after-school hours lifting weights and preparing for the wrestling season.

“I like football better as a sport but I like being able to participate in wrestling,” he said.

He plays football, he wrestles, he runs, he rides his bike around town and the surrounding area; there isn’t much he can’t do.

“He has strong determination,” Angie said. “It’s crazy to me. Being part of the team is very important to him.”

Ruechel said, “He’s a great kid and a good friend. It’s a cool experience to have him on the football team.”

Riley is looking at colleges in the hopes of studying kinesiology and finding a career related to sports, possibly as a personal trainer.

Don’t bet against him.

--To see photos from football practice at Southland, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.


*Schools/teams John has visited: 79
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,057
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John onTwitter: @MSHSLjohn

Nominate Your Favorite Athlete For Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/12/2013 8:45:32 PM

Nominations are open for this weekly honor, and you can find all the details by clicking here

Blazin’ Kane And Other Memories From A Football Friday
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/12/2013 3:03:51 PM

KASSON – A few minutes before kickoff between Rochester Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville on K-M’s spectacular football field Friday night, I was standing between the west end zone and a bank of bleachers, directly in front of the KoMets band. Suddenly, I heard a young voice yelling from the stands, “John! John! I found it!”

This was puzzling at first. Who are you and what have you found? But as I scanned the faces I saw a trumpet player wearing a big grin. Brianna Griffin is also a member of the KoMets girls soccer team. The team had wrapped up practice shortly after I arrived at the field, and I had Tweeted a team photo. Brianna had found the photo on Twitter and wanted to let me know.

That’s just one snapshot from a memorable evening and a memorable autumn of football. With one game remaining in the regular season – most of the Week 8 contests will be played Wednesday night – and the postseason nearly at hand, my trip to Kasson was right in line with my other joyous football journeys in 2012. Oh, the places I’ve been and the teams I’ve seen: Cannon Falls, Blue Earth, Hutchinson, Becker, Jackson County Central, St. Louis Park, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, BOLD, Mankato West, Owatonna, Northfield, Farmington, Two Harbors, Esko.

Friday’s game was a big one in the new Southern Football Alliance Red Division.
Lourdes came in with a record of 5-1 and the No. 2 ranking in Class 3A behind Belle Plaine; Kasson-Mantorville was 6-0 and No. 3 in 4A behind Hutchinson and South St. Paul.

The human stars of Friday’s game – three-year-old KMTelecom Stadium is in its own right a star and a showplace – were a senior and a ninth-grader. Lourdes senior tailback Kane Carstens came into the game with a season total of 372 yards. He put that number to shame in the Eagles’ 36-20 victory over the KoMets: 26 carries, a school-record 312 yards and five touchdowns. His TDs came on runs of 30, 6, 85, 62 and 35 yards, which adds up to 218 yards on those carries alone.

“We knew this was going to be an intense game and we all came out flying,” said Carstens, who did everything short of defeating gravity Friday. His lead blocker was his identical twin brother McKay Carstens, and these boys know how to motor. At the 2012 Class 1A state track meet, the Lourdes foursome of Brian Williamson, Adam Wade, Kane and McKay Carstens sprinted their way to a state championship. The relay team didn’t require any blocking, but on Friday the quick-footed Lourdes offensive line did a bang-up job against a large defensive line from Kasson-Mantorville.

“He’s a great back and he’s got great speed,” Lourdes coach Mike Kesler said of Kane. “He’s been close a lot this year, but he’s kind of been bottled up. His brother’s lead blocking for him, so how neat is that? Those guys get through and they’re not going to catch them.”

The freshman star for the KoMets was quarterback Brady Berge, who also knows how it feels to be a state champion in another sport. As a seventh-grader, Brady won a Class 2A state wrestling title at 106 pounds. Last season he placed third at state at 132.

Berge, who is listed at 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, scored all three touchdowns for the KoMets on Friday with runs of 19, 2 and 3 yards. He finished with 35 carries for 205 yards and completed 10 of 21 passes for 95 yards. Senior Collin Ripley began the season at quarterback for K-M but was injured in the second game. That’s when Berge was promoted; Ripley now plays on defense.

All those rushing attempts and contact by the Eagles’ speedy defense had to take a toll on Berge. Early in the third quarter, Brady rolled left and was tackled on the Lourdes sideline. He stayed on the ground as athletic trainers from both teams tended to him. Shortly after K-M coach Broc Threinen reached the scene, Brady was up and walking … and talking.

“By the time I got over there, he was already saying, ‘I’m good coach, I’m good coach, I’m good coach,’ ” Threinen said. “He’s just an absolute competitor. On our walk off, the first thing he said was, ‘I think if I run it, we’re good to go.’ I was like, ‘I don’t even know if you’re good to play yet’ and he was already talking about the next play. He’s just an unbelievable kid and a competitor, no doubt.”

Lourdes has now defeated the KoMets five years in a row, and they will not meet again in 2013 since they are in different classes. A year ago, Lourdes beat Kasson-Mantorville 36-28 in Week 7 and the Eagles played all the way to the 3A Prep Bowl before losing to Blue Earth Area. Kasson-Mantorville rebounded from that defeat a year ago and reached the 4A state quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champ Hutchinson.

“The same type of thing happened last year, and then we got on a pretty good run and played some good football towards the end of the year,” said Threinen, who was promoted from assistant coach this season after the retirement of 24-year time head coach Ivan Kroulik.

Lourdes will close the regular season against Cannon Falls on Wednesday in Rochester and Kasson-Mantorville will play at Byron.

A few other tidbits from Friday’s game …

--This all-points-bulletin Tweet was issued around mid-day Friday from someone at Kasson-Mantorville: “Want to be one of our smoke guys tonight?” This had nothing to do with tobacco or meat, but with the KoMets’ pregame ceremony. As is often seen at college or NFL games, the KoMets run onto the field before home games accompanied by white smoke. I posed this pregame question to K-M activities director Kyle Huneke: “Where are the smoke machines?” He chuckled a bit and informed me of an ingenous method for creating “smoke” … they use fire extinguishers. Beautiful.

--Kasson-Mantorville might have the most experienced concession-stand crew in the state if not the nation. Some of the folks working the stand have been doing so since 1978.

--I had the pleasure of sitting next to and chatting with the crew from a website (kometsathletics.com) that is the voice of the KoMets. Kent Harffman does a great play-by-play job and Chad Reiss is a wonderful analyst. I was down on the field before kickoff when Kent leaned out of the pressbox window and hollered, “Hey John! We’re ordering pizza, what kind do you like?” Kent interviewed me at halftime and we talked about the great things that occur during high school activities. And great things always happen at Kasson-Mantorville.

--To see a photo gallery from the game between Rochester Lourdes and Kasson-Mantorville, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.


*Schools/teams John has visited: 78
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 3,837
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John onTwitter: @MSHSLjohn

Congrats To Marshall's Megan Vogl, Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/9/2013 3:26:20 PM

Megan Vogl is a senior member of the boys soccer team at Marshall (which does not have a girls soccer team) and she also is a team captain. She is a great contributor for the Tigers and holds her own with any boy on any team.

Megan was instrumental as the Tigers defeated Southwest Minnesota Christian 3-2 in the final regular-season game. Megan scored two goals for her team and finished the season as the Tigers’ second-leading scorer.

She is a role model when it comes to work ethic on and off the field. She is well respected by her teachers, has a GPA of 3.6 and has completed college-level courses. She was selected last year as Marshall’s female representative for the MSHSL ExCEL award, which recognizes juniors who are active in school, show good leadership and are involved within the community. Megan also is a member of the Marshall Tiger Activities Leadership Academy, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, referees youth soccer and is a volunteer assistant hockey coach for young players.

Congratulations to Megan Vogl for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!

Northfield's Lace For The Cure A Huge Success
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/7/2013 10:50:41 AM

Sportsmanship and selflessness were in abundance last week when Northfield High School held its annual "Lace For The Cure" soccer games. The Raiders met the girls and boys team from Chaska, and here is a follow-up note from Northfield girls coach Troy Cohrs to Chaska High School...

From: Troy Cohrs
Northfield High School

An open letter to Chaska High School:

Greetings. I am writing this letter to say thank you to all the Chaska High School coaches, administrators and athletes who helped make our fundraiser for breast cancer awareness a success in so many ways.

I am the girl’s varsity soccer coach and a few years ago my team accepted my challenge to make our team about something other than sports. I had an idea to raise money to fight breast cancer and my girls took the suggestion and ran with it. We eventually settled on what would come to be called “LACE FOR THE CURE.”

Each year we invite the school competing against us on the day designated as the “LACE FOR THE CURE” game to join us in our efforts. We try to make it simple for these schools. We extended the invitation to Pat Prindle and Chaska boys and girls soccer teams. The result was unexpected and overwhelming. Not only did Chaska participate in the usual sense and purchase shoe laces, they also got off the bus wearing pink t-shirts that said Chaska supports Lace for the Cure. I have to admit my girls were taken aback by the gesture, as was I. It was yet another reminder that what we are doing matters and to see that type of camaraderie during the evening was moving. The other result, the one I had not looked for, was the positive sense of cooperation that was achieved. I think I can honestly say that in the soccer game that kicked off our event, the atmosphere created by both teams and the fans was such that it would not have mattered who won the game. My girls still talk about the night only in terms of the good that was achieved and the feeling of being united for one cause. To know that the Chaska teams took the extra time to most likely purchase and design t-shirts speaks directly to their character. I was proud to share the field with them. We took an amazing photo of all four teams together in their shirts, and as my AD has said, it was hard to see where one school’s team ended and the others’ began.

Please accept my sincere thank you. Chaska’s cooperation was amazing. I know it took coaches, athletes, parents, secretaries, the AD and administration to make this work and I cannot say thank you often enough. Together you helped make it possible for us to raise $4,000 in just over one week. These proceeds will all go to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Perhaps more important than the money raised was the real learning that took place over the course of the event and inside two school districts. This partnership was powerful for all involved. Thank you again for all you contributed.

Troy Cohrs
Girls soccer coach
Northfield High School

Nominate Your Favorite Athlete For Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/6/2013 11:51:01 AM

Nominations are open for this weekly honor, and you can find all the details by clicking here

Dassel-Cokato's Luke Nelson Returns To His Teammates
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/5/2013 7:45:23 PM

Here's an emotional update about injured Dassel-Cokato football player Luke Nelson, posted on his CaringBridge site after Luke returned to his football teammates for the first time since suffering a serious head injury ...

Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200,,,,

That's kind of what it felt like. Luke got and 8 hour pass from the hospital tonight to attend the last home football game at DC. Greg and I drove him home, where we met Isaac. And, Isaac and Brett brought Luke out at 6:00 to meet the team on the field. Four weeks later, Luke stood on the field again with his team.

As Greg and I drove into the parking lot and saw the stadium, tears filled my eyes. As we sat in the stands and looked at Luke stanidng on the sidelines wearing his 43 sweatshirt standing to the National Anthem and greeting the seniors as they were introduced, tears filled our eyes. As people greeted us with hugs, tears filled our eyes.

As good as it was to see him there, to see friends, and to be back to normal, if only for a short time,it brought back many emotions. And, as much as he enjoyed seeing everyone, he was very tired. But, he made it through the whole game. I have to admit, my mind wasn't on the game. I was wondering how Luke was doing the whole time, but he was determined to make it.

It wasn't easy for Luke to drive back to the hospital after the game, but we are almost there...almost done with this leg of the journey.

Luke had an ultrasound today before we left to check on the blood clot. We should hear results of that tomorrow. Also, we should hear results of blood work that was done today. Luke has been taken off of three of his medications. He has started the oral antibiotic tonight and continues to take shots in the stomach for his blood thinner. Tonight he sleeps in the hospital bed with no IV in his arm, no wires, no tubes of any kind. We won't hear the hum or alarm of any machine during the night. Only the rain drops hitting the window. Our lungs full of the fresh air of the evening.

I am proud to be part of this community. Proud that I live among such caring and loving people. Grateful for the love shown to Luke and our family. You are truly inspiring. You have hurt with us, loved us, prayed for us, supported us, laughed with us. And, the most amazing thing is, this community reaches beyond Dassel and Cokato. I read messages from all over.

Hopefully our stay at the hospital will be a short one. It was good to be home for a while. Good to be among friends.

Sleep well tonight, friends. We are almost there.

A Change In Prep Bowl Schedule For 2014; No Decision On 2015
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/3/2013 2:19:29 PM

The MSHSL board of directors on Thursday approved the timing of the Prep Bowl for the 2014 season, which will be the first year of an anticipated two-year stretch in which the football state championship games will be played at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

TCF Bank Stadium will be used for those two years after the Metrodome is torn down and construction progresses on a new stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The MSHSL has to work around the university’s own football schedule, so the 2014 Prep Bowl will be played Nov. 21-22, which is the Friday-Saturday prior to Thanksgiving instead of the traditional Thanksgiving weekend games.

In another change – also because of the availability of TCF Bank Stadium – state semifinal football games will not be played at the same site as the Prep Bowl. In 2014 and 2015 those games will be played at various sites, much as the current state quarterfinals are held.

There is more uncertainty about the 2015 Prep Bowl schedule, as well as the entire 2015 football season. That’s because TCF Bank Stadium will only be available for the Prep Bowl two weekends before Thanksgiving. That raises questions such as: should the regular season start two weeks earlier? Should the playoffs be shortened? Should the regular season be seven games instead of eight? Should the Prep Bowl games be played at indoor stadiums in Fargo or Grand Forks, North Dakota?

The board made no decisions about the 2015 football season at Thursday’s meeting. More information will be gathered before such decisions will be made.

In other items from the board meeting …

--The girls and boys state soccer semifinals and finals are expected to be played at St. Cloud State's Husky Stadium in 2014 and 2015. Dates are being finalized and the board is expected to approve tournament schedules at its December meeting.

--The board heard a proposal from the softball advisory committee to add a fourth class in softball and a proposal from the baseball advisory committee to enlarge postseason rosters from 18 to 20 players. The board is expected to vote on both proposals in December.

--Chanhassen High School principal Tim Dorway, a former journalism advisor and current board member of the National Scholastic Press Association, spoke to the board about a proposed partnership between the MSHSL and the Minnesota High School Press Association. This was a discussion item and a vote is expected in December.

--The board honored Tom Johnson for his service as soccer coordinator and rules clinician and Laura Berg Olson for her service as dance team rules coordinator.

MSHSL Board Of Directors Agenda: Football, Soccer And More
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/2/2013 2:25:18 PM

The MSHSL board of directors, which meets six times a year, will gather Thursday at MSHSL headquarters in Brooklyn Center for its October meeting. The agenda includes a wide variety of topics, but football and soccer are likely to garner the post-meeting headlines. Read a preview of the meeting by clicking here.

Congrats To Winona Cotter's Maura Michener, Old Dutch Athlete Of The Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/2/2013 9:19:38 AM

Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week: Maura Michener, soccer, Winona Cotter

The junior is a team captain for the Ramblers and she has been a varsity starter since eighth grade. Maura scored seven of her team’s nine goals in back-to-back victories over Lake City and Caledonia in Hiawatha Valley League play. Through the season’s first 12 games she scored 17 goals.

The Ramblers have several international students on the girls soccer team and Maura has been instrumental in helping them become part of the team, on the field and off. She also helps with a summer soccer program for kids age 5 through 12, is a member of the marching band, pep band, jazz band, track and field team, church choir, church youth group, Irish dance and works part time at Hy-Vee.

Maura also is an honor student who takes Advanced Placement classes, a blood donor, she has twice donated hair to Locks of Love, performs in school plays and musicals and plans to go to Japan as an exchange student next summer.

Congratulations to Maura Michener for being this week's Old Dutch High School Athlete of the week!

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