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National Hall of Fame Preparations For Chisholm's McDonald
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/30/2014 3:43:24 PM

CHISHOLM – Bob McDonald was slowly walking across the basketball court inside tiny Roels Gymnasium, the home of Chisholm Bluestreaks basketball since 1921. McDonald, who retired at the close of the 2013-14 season after 59 years as a high school basketball coach, was being filmed as he walked and talked Tuesday morning.

He was asked about his memories, which have been shaped by his upbringing in Chisholm as well as his 53 years as coach of the Bluestreaks boys team. McDonald, 80, looked up into the balcony that surrounds the court on two sides as the memories flowed. He talked about all the people who came to the games many years ago, always sitting in the same places, always cheering for the Bluestreaks. Most of them are gone now, but the coach remembers.

“I can look up there and see their faces, even today,” he said.

The video crew was from the National Federation of State High School Associations. McDonald will be one of 12 inductees into the National High School Hall of Fame during the NFHS convention in Boston this summer, and interviewer Laura Allen and videographer Rick Waggener are traveling around the country to conduct interviews with all 12. During the Hall of Fame banquet, videos about each inductee will be shown.

Allen asked McDonald about his career highlights, his six children (who all became basketball coaches), what Chisholm has meant to him, etc. Allen and the coach sat on folding chairs on the gym floor for much of the interview time, with other segments being filmed as he walked across the court, stood in the balcony overlooking the court, and pointing to a photo of the 1950 Bluestreaks team (with McDonald sitting in the front row) in the gym lobby.

The camera also rolled as McDonald sat in his favorite booth at at the McDonald’s restaurant in Chisholm, which is where he and family and friends gathered after most home games.

The Hall of Fame banquet will be held July 2 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. The other inductees include former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, who scored more than 3,000 points during his three-year basketball career at Treadwell High School in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1987 to 1990; 13-year NFL player Ozzie Newsome, who was a three-sport standout (football, basketball, baseball) at Colbert County High School in Leighton, Alabama, in the early 1970s; and former major league baseball player Casey Blake, who was named the top male high school athlete in Iowa in 1992 at the conclusion of his four-sport, four-year career at Indianola High School.

Other inductees include Michael Devereaux, one of the greatest athletes in Wyoming history at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper (1979-81); Suzy Powell, one of the top discus throwers at all levels of competition beginning with her days at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, California, until her retirement in 2012; Sheryl Solberg from the North Dakota High School Activities Association; coaches from Arkansas, Ohio and Vermont; an official from Colorado; and a performing arts inductee from Missouri.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 429
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 10,556
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Lakeville South's Swiss Army Knife Among Stars At Elite Meet
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/26/2014 1:02:06 PM

Track and field is a sport for specialists. There are sprinters and distance runners, throwers and jumpers, hurdlers and pole vaulters. This makes Shaina Burns a remarkable athlete, because the Lakeville South senior is the Swiss army knife of track and field athletes.

Burns (pictured) was the individual star of Friday’s Hamline Elite Meet, winning the shot put and 100-meter hurdles and finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles and anchoring the Cougars’ 4x400 relay to a runner-up finish. Had she done the same at last year’s Class 2A state meet she would have accumulated 44 points … which would have given her a third-place finish in the team competition all by herself.

“She’s one of a kind,” Lakeville South coach Andy Hilliard said. “Where are you going to find that combination? It’s just a very unique skill set that she has, she trains hard and she puts a lot of time into it.”

Burns set one of 13 meet records Friday at the ninth annual Elite Meet, winning the 100 hurdles in 14.60 seconds. Also in the field was defending 2A state champ Rachel Schow of Rosemount and hurdlers who finished second, third and fifth at state in 2013.

In the shot put Burns set a personal best of 44 feet, 6 inches. Her second-place time in the 300 hurdles beat the meet record, as did first-place Schow. And in the 4x400, Burns and teammates Rachel Mickelson, Haley Lubow and Caraline Slattery finished a close second to Minnetonka.

“Oh man, it was a crazy day,” Burns said after the meet. “This is my last year at Hamline so there are mixed feelings. I was super excited but it was a little sentimental and sad at the same time. I started out really great; I PR’d in the shot put and won that, in the 100 hurdles I pulled out a win and a meet record. I was really excited about that one. I was a little tired by 300 hurdles and 4x4. I still ran decent times but I could have done better. It’s early in the season.”

Burns will continue her track career at Texas A&M. She will compete in the 400 hurdles as well as the heptathlon; she won the Intermediate division of the heptathlon at the USATF National Junior Olympics in 2012.


Friday’s meet at Hamline featured a couple of breakout stars who probably surprised even themselves. In the boys 1,600 meters, Farmington junior Justin Hyytinen outran Richfield senior Obsa Ali in a meet-record time of 14:04.05. Ali won the 3,200 at last year’s 2A state meet and last fall won the 2A state cross-country title. And Eagan senior Jacob Gourley won the 100, 200 and anchored the Wildcats’ winning 4x200 relay team.

Hyytenin said he had never before finished close to Ali on the track or in cross-country. But a winter dedicated to running is making a difference.

“It’s hard to believe, it almost seems like I’m in a dream,” he said. “I was always one of those guys who was like, ‘Wow, look at that kid.’ But two nights ago a college coach told me, ‘You’re one of those kids now.’ It’s kind of surreal.”

Gourley finished sixth in the 100 at last year’s state meet and didn’t qualify for state in the 200. He struggled with a stress fracture in his left shin last spring.

“I was feeling pretty good coming into today but I didn’t expect three titles at all,” he said. “Over the winter I kind of had a fire under my butt. Sixth place (at state) was definitely not what I imagined. But this year I definitely put in the most work I ever have, put in a bunch of rehab and obviously it’s paying off for me.”


--Sophomore Alexandria sisters Megan and Bethany Hasz (pictured) finished first and third in the 3,200, building a resume that includes first- (Bethany) and second-place (Megan) finishes at last fall’s 2A state cross-country championships.

“Knowing that we were the top in the state in cross-country, it’s really a nice boost of confidence,” Megan said Friday.

--Minnetonka's Mia Barton won the girls long and jump triple jump. Her winning distance in the long jump was 19-2 3/4; the state record is 19-5 1/4.

--The Minnetonka girls won the 4x400 (Rebecca Moore, Meghan Janssen, Lucille Hoelscher, Elizabeth Endy) and 4x800 relays ( Meaghan Borowski, Janssen, Hoelscher, Endy).

--Wayzata won the boys 4x100 (Keante' Johnson, Steele Berg, Anthony Clarke , Joseph Kolpin ) and 4x400 (Tyler Didier, Obinnaya Wamuo, Mitchell Walber, Michael Smith).

--Payton Otterdahl of Rosemount won the boys discus and shot put.

--Jordan Feder of Nevis won one for the Class 1A schools, topping the field in the high jump with a leap of 6-6. The runner-up was another 1A athlete, West Spier of Caledonia-Spring Grove. Another winner from Class 1A was Jon Tollefson of St. Croix Lutheran in the 110 hurdles.

--Hands down the best name at the Hamline Elite Meet: Farmington hurdler Nehemiah Rockett.

--To see a photo gallery from the Hamline Elite Meet, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 428
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 10,106
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

State Track Champions Abound At Friday’s Hamline Elite Meet
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/24/2014 11:38:41 AM

The Hamline Elite Meet has become one of the premier events of the high school track and field season. The ninth annual Elite Meet will be held Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul, beginning at 5:30 p.m. And as usual, many of Minnesota’s top athletes will compete.

Entries for the Elite Meet are based on performances so far this spring. The top nine submitted entries for each event are accepted and all races are finals (with the exception of the boys and girls 100 meters, in which 18 runners qualify and prelim races are held). As is always the case at the Elite Meet, the field includes a raft of defending state champions.

Friday’s field includes 21 athletes who were state champions last season. Eight of those champs won titles in the Class 2A girls state meet, five come from 1A girls, five from 1A boys and three from 2A boys.

Among the marquee events Friday will be the girls and boys 1,600 meters. The girls entrants include the top three from the 2013 Class 2A state meet: champion Jenna Truedson of Bemidji, runner-up Tess Misgen of Shakopee and third-place Rachel King of St. Michael-Albertville.

The boys 1,600 field includes defending state champs Eli Krahn of Stillwater in 2A and Shane Streich of Waseca in 1A, as well as Obsa Ali of Richfield (state champ in the 3,200 and third-place finisher in the 1,600) and the second- and third-place 1A state finishers, Nick Golebiowski of St. Cloud Cathedral and Keeghan Hurley of Perham.

The girls 300 hurdles field includes state champs Rachel Schow of Rosemount (2A) and Taylor Grandgenett of Blue Earth (1A). Schow also is the defending 2A state champ in the 100 hurdles; also in that event Friday are the second- and third-place 2A state finishers, Michaela Preahchuk of Lakeville North and Alex Williams of Blaine.

The girls high jump field includes the top three finishers at state in 2A a year ago: Caraline Slattery of Lakeville South, Taylor Wiebke of Kasson-Mantorville and Morgan Pieri of Lakeville South.

The fields for these events also include defending state champions from both Class 1A and Class 2A …

--Girls pole vault/ Andy Jacobs of Rochester Century (2A) and Carolyn Nye of Blake (1A).

--Girls triple jump/ Piper Jensen of Minnetonka (2A) and Katie Heilman of Watertown-Mayer (1A).

Other athletes and events of note …

--Tyler Beehler of Foley is the defending 1A state champion in the 100 and 200.

--Jon Tollefson of St. Croix Lutheran is the defending 1A champ in the 100 and 300 hurdles.

--The top three state finishers in the 1A girls 100 are in Friday’s field: Vanessa Lane of Pequot Lakes, Haley Jensen of Martin County West and Claire Oberle of Holy Family Catholic.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 428
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 10,064
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Detroit Lakes Opens Girls Golf Season With A Bang
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/22/2014 10:42:54 AM

BRAINERD – The Legacy golf courses at Cragun’s Resort opened for the season on Saturday. Two days later, 14 high school girls teams gathered for the first big tournament of 2014, the Cardinal Invitational hosted by Staples-Motley.

Season opener or not, it appears that the team from Detroit Lakes is already in great shape. The Lakers are the two-time defending state champions in Class 2A, and they put on a show Monday in winning the team title by 37 shots. Detroit Lakes’ total was 305, followed in the top five by Alexandria 342, Minnewaska 354, Pequot Lakes 356 and Staples-Motley 366.

In the individual competition, Detroit Lakes sophomore Kate Smith finished first with a 2-under-par 70 and senior teammate Natalie Roth was second with a 72. The next players, finishing at 78, were Emily Israelson of Staples-Motley, Mandy Boyle of Moorhead and Amanda Bigger of Alexandria.

Smith and Roth are familiar names because they shared the individual title in last year’s 2A state meet at Ridges of Sand Creek in Jordan. The journey from Cragun’s on Monday to the 2014 state meet June 10-11 in Jordan will go quickly, and the Lakers are excited about pursuing a third consecutive state championship.

“The pressure’s definitely on,” said Smith, who hit every green Monday except the final three holes. “I feel it. You can’t just ignore it, you accept it and keep going.”

There is pressure to repeat as individual and state team champs, but there also is pressure within the team itself, pressure to compete with teammates for spots on the roster.

“It’s fun pressure,” Roth said. “We motivate each other so much. It’s a good competition and that’s what builds a strong team.”

Detroit Lakes’ two state titles have been earned on the backs of young players. Experience, however, is a strength this spring with four seniors on the squad.

“This team has been together for five seasons,” said Lakers coach Cali Harrier. “It’s kind of an emotional season for us, with four seniors. They’re good teammates and they also push each other. The six of them will be competing for the spots on the team, which prepares them.”

A few inches of snow fell at Cragun’s last week, but there were very few remnants of snow on the course Monday. Temperatures were in the upper 50s and the wind kicked up on occasion, but the picturesque course was in exceptional condition.

“The wind was a factor for a couple of shots,” Smith said. “It wasn’t just a one-club wind, it really affected your shots. Sometimes the wind is fun, it makes it a little more challenging. I just had a lot of fun today.”

Staples-Motley coach and tournament director Glen Hasselberg said, “A week ago, the likelihood of this event happening was not very good.”

But the tournament went off without a hitch. After a short awards ceremony in the clubhouse, there was a wonderful display of sportsmanship and appreciation. As they walked to the parking lot for the drive home, every player and every coach shook Hasselberg’s hand and offered their thanks for a great event.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 420
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 10,000
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

New Ulm Hosts One Of Minnesota’s Great Athletic Traditions
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/14/2014 2:24:10 PM

For 60 years, senior athletes from New Ulm’s three high schools have been honored at a grand gathering every spring. The event is a banquet hosted by the New Ulm Club, a civic group dedicated to serving and supporting the athletic programs at New Ulm High School, New Ulm Cathedral and Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

The New Ulm Club is unique in that its membership is limited to 30 members. The longest-serving member in club history is Red Wyczawski, who has been on board for 42 years. I’ve known Red for many years, and during last year’s state softball tournament he invited me to speak at the 2014 Athletic Appreciation Banquet (as it is formally known).

The event was held earlier this month, and it was a real treat for me. Previous speakers include Jesse Owens, Dan Devine, Mick Tingelhoff, Paul Giel, Dick Beardsley, Janet Karvonen, Dave Stead, John Gagliardi and many other well-known names.

Senior athletes who have earned at least one varsity letter, along with their families, are invited to the banquet, which is held in the gymnasium at Martin Luther College. Everyone enjoyed a splendid dinner, all the senior athletes were recognized, and the evening culminated with one female and one male from each school honored with plaques as their school’s outstanding senior athletes.

Framed photos of the winners from each year since 1955 were positioned for everyone to see during the banquet. When the 61st banquet is held next year, a photo of the 2014 winners will join the list.

Named this year’s outstanding athletes (pictured) were Russ Hoffman and Karlee Pfaff from Cathedral, Chad Lease and Nicole Moldstad from Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Judd David and Ellie Schneider from New Ulm High. Those six multi-sport athletes have combined to earn 46 letters in football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer and hockey.

The banquet is a great way to honor New Ulm’s senior athletes, and it is unique in that three schools come together to celebrate. There is no other event like it in Minnesota, and maybe in the nation.

Congratulations to the New Ulm Club on its commitment to high school athletics!

*Schools/teams John has visited: 406
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,626
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Rochester Lourdes Coach Myron Glass Announces His Retirement
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/11/2014 2:04:32 PM

Myron Glass, who has been a member of the coaching staff at Rochester Lourdes for 41 years, has announced his retirement. Myron coached cross-country and girls basketball, winning state championships in both sports and creating one of the greatest traditions in Minnesota high school sports.

I wrote about Myron in January, when he was uncertain if he would retire. Here is that story ...


If numbers help define Myron Glass, don't look at the number of girls basketball state championship teams he has coached at Rochester Lourdes High School. Or the number of teams he has taken to state tournaments. Or the state titles his teams have captured in cross-country and track.

Those numbers are indeed impressive. Under Glass the Eagles have won eight basketball titles, which is a state record he shares with Faith Johnson Patterson, formerly of Minneapolis North and currently at DeLaSalle. And Glass has coached 15 teams to state tourneys, which is the most in girls basketball history.

The numbers that really count, however, are the numbers of girls he has mentored, taught, coached and led since his career as a teacher and coach began at Lourdes in 1968. He has been the Eagles' girls basketball coach since 1983.

"He's given his life to this school," said Lourdes athletic director Marv Peters. "That's the easiest way to say it."

Glass is one of the pioneers of girls athletics in Minnesota. He helped start girls programs at Lourdes, building models for many other schools in southeastern Minnesota and around the state.

"Look at how far the young ladies have come," Glass said. "That's something that myself and others can be really proud of. Once we ran a couple meets and got more teams doing it, it just took off."

Glass may or may not retire after this season -- more on that in a moment -- but no matter when he steps down he will leave big shoes to fill. He ranks second all-time in Minnesota girls basketball victories; his 713-134 mark stands behind only New London-Spicer coach Mike Dreier's record of 799-145.

Glass coached girls and boys cross-country at Lourdes for 40 years, winning four state championships with the boys team and two with the girls. His girls track teams also won two state championships. Lourdes owns a total of 42 state team championships and Glass was the head coach for 16 of them.

"I am perplexed about replacing him," Peters said. "It's going to be tough.''

Glass is waffling just a bit on retiring. He had originally talked about ending his coaching career after the 2012-13 season, but Peters convinced him to stay on while Lourdes departed its downtown location after 71 years and moved into a sparkling new campus in northwest Rochester. Now, in the midst of the 2013-14 season, Glass won't absolutely, positively confirm that he will retire at season's end. But it appears that he will.

He laughed when I asked him about retiring, saying that is the likely scenario "unless Marv talks me out of it, like he did last year."

Little has changed over the years. Glass still wears a wristwatch calculator, befitting a math teacher; he also taught social studies before retiring from teaching several years ago. He also still prepares some of the most detailed scouting reports of any high school coach in any sport. He puts together seven- or eight-page packets for each of his players to study before every game.

Glass has coached young athletes who grew up and had children, and then he coached the second generation. As he put it,"You have kids who you held as a baby, because you coached and taught their parents, then you're coaching them when they're 16, 17 years old."

Martha Macken, a Lourdes player in the 1980s, wishes Glass would stick around long enough to coach her fifth-grade daughter, Sydney Elliott, and hand her some of those famous scouting reports.

"The thing about Mr. Glass is he knows the team that you're playing. We know their offense and their defense before we play them. He's very prepared," said Macken, who made one of the biggest baskets in Lourdes history, a buzzer-beater that lifted the Eagles past Wheaton 33-31 in the 1987 state title game.

"Mr. Glass has really created a foundation here, and a legacy," Macken said. "He's built these programs. When I grew up we didn't have all the leagues and everything that they currently have, and it's due to him. He put in a lot of time and effort. He's a fixture at the school."

At both the old school and the new school, Glass is the person who opens the gym doors in the morning and locks up the place at night. He sweeps the floor, he mends uniforms, he runs summer basketball camps, he even runs the clock for ninth-grade girls basketball games.

"He's here every weekend," Peters said. "Every Saturday, and he comes in on Sunday. The thing about Myron is that there are so many layers, but every layer connects back to the school. It's been his vocation.

"I think he's one of the gentlest, kindest guys around. He really makes it all about the kids. He deflects so much; he deflects praise, he deflects congratulations. He deflects all those things, he's so old-school."

Glass' success as a coach is remarkable because he didn't play the game. He was cut from the basketball team at Minneapolis South and worked his way through St. Cloud State as a non-athlete, working at a gas station in Minneapolis during summers, weekends and holidays. After graduating, he interviewed for teaching jobs at Albany, at a Minneapolis junior high and Lourdes. The first offer came from Lourdes and he happily accepted.

Now 46 years later, as a lifelong bachelor in his late 60s, he is pondering a transition to a post-coaching lifestyle.

"That's the hard part about deciding on retirement," he said. "What do you do? Being a single guy you don't have that 'honey do' list that the married guys have. The mind is no problem, it's the body that as you get older has a little trouble keeping up. I'm probably looking forward to a knee replacement and stuff like that."

When Glass retired as a classroom teacher, he began working as a scheduling coordinator at Lourdes. As any administrator knows, putting together schedules for classes, teachers, students and classrooms can be a tedious, difficult process. And that's right up the coach's alley.

"He's just been a whiz at that because of his math skills," Peters said. "Even if basketball comes to an end, I really hope we can keep him on as our scheduler and helping in the guidance department."

Glass has not only taught and coached generations of athletes at Lourdes, he also has had a major impact on other coaches at Lourdes and southeastern Minnesota.

"I'm sure he stole or figured out everything he did, and now he's the most copied coach around," Peters said. "Everybody in this area who's successful does what he does. It's unbelievable. That's the best form of flattery."

A Selfless Act, A Hack Saw, And A Lesson For All
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/7/2014 12:24:49 PM

This is one of those wonderful stories that goes beyond what happens in the athletic arena. I received an email from Ryan Giles, the girls basketball coach at Lac qui Parle Valley High School in Madison, who wanted to share a story about the selflessness of one of the players. There’s no need for me to put any spin on it, because Ryan’s email tells the story so well …

On Tuesday night the Lac qui Parle Valley basketball team held their year-end awards banquet. The team honored statistical leaders, all-conference players and West Central Tribune all-area players as well as the team’s individual awards. One of the awards was the MVP, which was given to junior guard and captain Alaysia Freetly.

Alaysia humbly walked to the front of all her teammates, the other players in our program and their parents and accepted the award with a firm handshake from head coach Ryan Giles. (On a side note, the firm handshake is something that is taught and practiced). Alaysia was chosen for the award by the coaching staff based on stats, leadership both on and off the court, her solid grades, and her involvement with our youth basketball program.

The banquet ended around 7:30 p.m. and just 12 hours later, Alaysia walked into coach Giles' classroom with the MVP plaque in hand. She wanted to talk. She demanded that coach Giles, who is an Industrial Technology teacher, take the MVP plaque back and cut it into thirds as she felt junior post Kaitlin Connor and eighth-grade point guard Kelsea Lund were just as deserving as she is. (Pictured here, left to right, are Kelsea, Alaysia and Kaitlin.) She went on to say that in some games they picked it up when she was struggling. She said she didn't sleep well thinking about it, talked with her parents and knew that cutting the plaque in thirds was the right thing to do because they deserve it!

Coach Giles put his skills to work, measured the six-inch wide plaque into thirds and used a hack saw to cut through the wood, team picture, plastic cover and engraved brass plate. A program meeting was called after school, where all girls from seventh through 12th grade gathered in coach Giles' classroom. Alaysia addressed the team and told them why the meeting was called. She explained, with the cut-up plaque in hand, that she felt Kaitlin and Kelsea were just as deserving as she is. She handed each of them a third of the plaque.

Emotions filled the room, tears of joy ran down the faces of both young and old players, others started cheering for the moment and everyone concluded with clapping for Alaysia and hugging her. The Lac qui Parle Valley girls basketball team found out that Alaysia was the MVP: the Most Valuable Person!

Alaysia has had a stellar high school career with her senior year coming up next! She also competes on our cross-country team and track and field team. In cross-country she is a four-time individual state qualifier and earned All-State honors last season as well as being the No. 1 runner for the LqPV/Dawson-Boyd team that placed second in Class 1A. On the basketball court Freetly has been a starter for two seasons, earning all-conference last year in the West Central and with the school moving to the Camden Conference she repeated as all-conference. She was also named to the West Central Tribune all-area team. Alaysia is closing in on 1,000 points for her career, which isn’t too bad for basketball being her third-best sport, stat-wise. In the spring, Alaysia is a among our state’s beat Class 1A milers. She qualified for the state meet the past two seasons and finished fifth last year representing LqPV/DB track and field team.

Academically, Alaysia takes all the rigorous courses that LqPV has to offer. Her GPA is 3.82. She is a member of our National Honor Society, youth coach for the cross-country, basketball and track and field elementary programs. Outside of school she is involved in her church youth group and recently was asked by the Minnesota Design Team to sit in on meetings to give a youth perspective on how to make a better Appleton, her hometown community!

I hope you are touched by this story as much as it has touched myself, the girls basketball team at LqPV, our school body and school community that serves many towns. Alaysia has heard from fellow competitors and coaches who have congratulated her on what she did. As her basketball coach and track coach I am so proud of her selfless act that demonstrates her true character. I've been fortunate to be part of a few conference, sub-section, section championships and a couple state championships, but what Alaysia did is what I'm most proud of.

Ryan Giles
Laq Qui Parle Valley High School
Industrial Technology Teacher
Head Girls Basketball Coach
Head Girls Track & Field Coach

Student Media Members Go Inside The Timberwolves
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/4/2014 3:06:56 PM

By Nick Kelly
Lakeville North High School
MSHSL Student Media member

For high school basketball players, being able to play at Target Center is often a surreal moment. For Student Media correspondents like myself, being a member of the professional media at Target Center is just as a defining of an experience.

On March 23, Minnesota State High School League Media Specialist John Millea provided myself, along with three other aspiring journalists, the opportunity to be a part of the media for the Timberwolves game against the Phoenix Suns. (Pictured inside the Timberwolves locker room are JoNathan Chartrand, Chisago Lakes; Nick Kelly, Lakeville North; Matt Hoffman Lakeville North; Nathan Jones, Jackson County Central.)

Once everyone had arrived in the main lobby, John led us to the Timberwolves main office where vice president of communications Brad Ruiter greeted us. At this point, we parted with our families as they were given tickets to the game and we were given media passes.

We were led to a conference room, where we had a question-and-answer session with Star Tribune Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda and the radio voice of the Timberwolves, Alan Horton. Throughout our brief time together, the overall message was that as journalists, the earnings may not be the same as doctors or lawyers, but as Jerry Zgoda said, “It doesn’t feel like work.”

Afterwards, we made our way down to the Timberwolves locker room and not only stood outside it for Coach Rick Adelman’s pregame press conference, but we were allowed to look inside the locker room, as well.

Enjoying a fantastic pregame meal that all media members are provided with, we headed to our seats with full stomachs, ready to watch the Wolves from row five of the press seating area in the corner of the basketball court.

Holding a large lead in the first half, the Timberwolves suffered any extremely devastating 127-120 loss to the Suns. As we sat in on Coach Adelman’s 90-second postgame press conference, the frustration was clear in the coach’s voice. The disappointment of the team was best seen from star forward Kevin Love as he sat in his locker crouched over with his head down, as we observed the postgame locker room scene.

Our incredible experience ended with a photo of us four high school journalists in front of the press conference podium, beaming with smiles that would last a long time after that Sunday afternoon game in which we lived the life of a professional media member.

Football Decisions Among Actions Taken By MSHSL Board
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/3/2014 2:05:09 PM

As the latest storm of the century sweeps across Minnesota, further delaying all manner of spring sports from actually being held outdoors, a definite sign of the times was issued from the MSHSL board of directors meeting Thursday morning.

One of the board members is Shelly Hotzler, who is the softball coach at Jackson County Central. The Huskies are believed to have hosted the only official softball game that has been played in Minnesota this season, defeating Mountain Lake Area 8-0 on Monday. They were scheduled to play at Martin County West in Sherburn on Thursday, but a Twitter message from Coach Hotzler – issued from the board table during the board meeting -- made pretty clear what was happening:

“Game has been postponed to a later date and no practice today. Get caught up on homework!!”

So there you go. Spring activities remain on hold while we wait for the weather to cooperate.

Now, about Thursday’s board meeting. It was preceded by a workshop/listening session in which five activities directors spoke about the plan for district football scheduling that is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Two of them, Dave Schroeder of Maple Lake and Tom Bauman of Buffalo, asked the board members to delay the start of district football until 2016.

“We’re all for district football, but give us time to put it together,” Schroeder told the board.

Three other activities directors spoke in favor of maintaining the 2015 implementation. They were Bob Madison of Mounds View, Les Zellmann of St. James and Jaime Sherwood of Wayzata.

“Delaying one more year is not serving (students) like we are called to do,” Sherwood said.

The board took no action on district football. Members may choose to make changes to the plan, but there was no discussion of that Thursday.

--On another football topic, the board rejected a recommendation from the Football Advisory Committee to change the Class 6A playoff format. Currently, the 32 6A teams face teams from their own section in the first round, then play crossover games with another of the four sections in the second round, with the winners moving to the state quarterfinals.

The proposal that was rejected Thursday included these changes: coaches in each eight-team section would seed their teams one through eight; one of six random brackets would be used, placing the 32 teams into one bracket according to where they were seeded in their section; brackets would consist of eight four-team subgroups; four of those subgroups woud have teams seeded 1, 4, 5 and 8, four other subgroups would have teams seeded 2, 3, 6 and 7. The top two seeds from each section could only meet in the Prep Bowl, two No. 1 section seeds could not meet before the state semifinals and the first two rounds of the playoffs would always involve teams from different sections.

The discussion by board members seemed to hinge on this question: How important is it to have the "best" teams play for a state title? Members seemed to feel that high school is not the same as college athletics, and the experience for all teams is more important than the playoff outcome.

--The board approved 10 proposed bylaw changes, but further action is required before they would take affect. The proposed changes will go to the MSHSL’s representative assembly, which will meet May 12. That 48-member group has the final say on bylaw changes.

Many of the bylaw proposals would add, adjust or change language, mainly as clarification. Two of the proposals go further …

*Transfer students would be ineligible for varsity competition at their new school for 15 calendar days. Students would be allowed to return to their former school during those 15 days without loss of eligibility. This proposal would allow families to reconsider a school move that does not work to the benefit of the student.

*Limits on summer football workouts. Minnesota has the most liberal rules in the country in regard to what is allowed during the summer in regard to football practice. The proposal does not restrict the number of days that football coaches can have contact with players, but it does require additional safety and protection for student-athletes by limiting full pads and full contact until after an acclimatization period, limiting the length of workouts and prescribing rest periods.

--A decision to have Academic Decathlon come under the MSHSL’s umbrella of programs was tabled until the board’s June meeting.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 403
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,368
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

Waiting For Spring; MSHSL Board Meeting On Tap
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/2/2014 2:13:39 PM

Remember the spring of 2012? It was fantastic, with warm weather and dry ground overtaking our state in early March and everyone enjoying a wonderful outdoor season. Remember the spring of 2013? Well, the spring of 2014 so far is shaping up as a repeat of 2013, when cold, wet weather lingered on and on and athletic schedules were red-lined, ripped up and nearly everything was postponed or downright cancelled.

The forecast this week is certainly not promising, with rain, snow and possibly locusts, icebergs and zombies terrorizing Minnesota before all is said and done. So what do we do at times like this? We stay indoors and attempt to throw baseballs and softballs, hit golf balls, flex tennis and lacrosse muscles, etc.

My first spring event of the year was a quadrangular track meet Tuesday at St. Michael-Albertville. This was an indoor meet, thankfully … the sun was shining bright but the cold wind was a-blowin’. St. Michael-Albertville has an indoor fieldhouse that is an absolute showplace, with five running lanes, areas for pole vaulting, high jumping, shot putting and long/triple jumping. On the upper level of the fieldhouse is another track, which community members were using Tuesday for walking, jogging and running.

The track teams involved were girls and boys squads from Rogers, St. Francis, Chisago Lakes and St. Michael-Albertville. There were lots of heats and flights, allowing a large number of athletes to compete.

In other indoor MSHSL news, the board of directors will meet Thursday morning at MSHSL World Headquarters in Brooklyn Center. The agenda is light on headline-making possibilities, but the board will make some important decisions and discuss some important points.

Before the official meeting begins, the board will hear information regarding district football, the new format that will begin in the 2015 season. No action on district football will be taken at Thursday’s meeting; the format has already been approved and the members will simply receive an update on the process.

There are four action items on the agenda. Two are schedule-related; the board is expected to approve its meeting dates through the 2014-15 school year as well as dates for state tournaments through 2016-17.

The third action item on the agenda involves several proposed amendments to MSHSL bylaws. If the board votes in favor of any amendments, they must also be approved by the MSHSL representative assembly, which is composed of 48 members from around the state. If any proposed amendments are approved by the board, the representative assembly will meet on May 12 to vote on them.

The proposed amended bylaws would: 1) clarify the amateur status bylaw; 2) add clarifying language to the chemical eligibility bylaw; 3) clarify language regarding the summer no-contact period; 4) clarify language regarding deadlines for applying for cooperative sponsorships.

The agenda includes three discussion items: 1) a proposed transgender policy; 2) MSHSL membership requirements pertaining to home schools; 3) MSHSL staffing.

I’ll be live Tweeting from the board of directors meeting. You can follow me on Twitter; I’m @MSHSLjohn

In the meantime, let’s hope for nice weather.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 403
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 9,368
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

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