John's Journal
More Indoor Soccer; Football And Cross-Country Ahead11/2/2010
Greetings again from the press box at the Metrodome, where the state soccer tournament continued Tuesday. The day’s most exciting game ended with Apple Valley defeating Lakeville North 2-1 in a Class 2A boys semifinal.

Apple Valley is the defending state champion and Tuesday the Eagles extended their state-record winning streak to 46 games. Apple Valley and Lakeville North were scoreless until the 67th minute, when Tom Obarski got a goal for the Eagles. Lakeville North answered with an unassisted goal by Torbjorn Morkeberg in the 71st minute for a 1-1 tie, and the game-winner came in the final minute of regulation when Dane Grundstrom scored for Apple Valley.

In the first 2A boys game Tuesday, Minneapolis Southwest defeated Stillwater 2-0. The Lakers will meet Apple Valley in Thursday’s title game.

Thursday’s championship slate looks like this: Prairie Seeds Academy and Mankato East will play for the 1A boys title at 10 a.m., Rogers and Mahtomedi for the 1A girls crown at 12:30, the 2A boys game between Apple Valley and Minneapolis Southwest will be at 3 p.m. and Eden Prairie and Wayzata will decide the 2A girls champion at 5:30 p.m. One third-place game will be held Thursday, with Lakeville North meeting Stillwater in 2A boys at 8 a.m.

To see lots of photos from Tuesday’s soccer action, check out the world-famous MSHSL Facebook page.

This is a busy week of prep sports, with football section finals being played Friday and Saturday and the state cross-country meet being held Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. I’m planning to watch South St. Paul play at St. Thomas Academy on Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams in Class 4A Section 3, and then bright and early Saturday morning I’ll be in Northfield for the annual running of the kids.

And if you haven’t already done so, get out and vote today.
Who Are Those Guys Standing In A Snowstorm? Officials!11/2/2010
This photo may appear to be a bunch of ice fishermen wearing matching outfits in an attempt to stay warm on a cold January evening. But they are Minnesota high school football officials, and they represent the passion and commitment of all the men and women who give back so our high school students can have the best possible experience.

This photo was taken a week ago, on Oct. 26, at a Nine-Man section football playoff game in Fergus Falls. The officials are referee Haakon P. Vaadeland, umpire Rod Erickson, linesman Jim Runyan, line judge Jerry Loud and back judge Dan Rehkamp from the Viking Land Officials Association.

The temperature was 34 degrees with wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph, a wind chill around 0 and up to four inches of snow on the field. Hillcrest Lutheran defeated Ashby in the game, and the commitment of the officials will be remembered for a long, long time.
A Full Day Of Soccer, More On Tuesday11/1/2010
We all remained cozy and dry Monday, since the Metrodome is the home of the state soccer tournament semifinals and finals. The Monday schedule consisted of six semifinal games inside the dome.

Tuesday's schedule is highlighted by Class 2A boys semifinal games, with Minneapolis Southwest meeting Stillwater and Apple Valley facing Lakeville North. Three third-place games also will be played Tuesday.

Here’s the roundup from Monday...

Class 2A girls semifinals
Wayzata 1, Stillwater 0
An early goal held up as Wayzata (16-2-3) defeated Stillwater (21-2) to reach Thursday’s title game against Eden Prairie. Taylor Wodnick scored on a header in the first half for Wayzata, and Megan Pyrz’s three saves kept Stillwater off the board.

Eden Prairie 2, Mounds View 0
Aliena Krausert scored at 24:22 and Taylor Uhl made it 2-0 at 63:58 as the Eagles (19-0-1) moved to the title game. Goalkeeper Kathleen Charley stopped two shots by Mounds View (14-6-2).

Class 1A girls semifinals
Mahtomedi 3, Blake 0
Junior forward Emily Sierakowski scored all three goals as the Zephyrs (19-0-4) defeated the Bears (18-2-2). Sharon Oldani made seven saves for Mahtomedi. In Thursday’s title game, the Zephyrs will meet Rogers.

Rogers 1, Chisago Lakes 0
A goal by Jessica Bianchi in the sixth minute put Rogers (23-0) ahead and the Royals held on for the rest of the game to defeat Chisago Lakes (16-6-1).

Class 1A boys semifinals
Mankato East 1, St. Cloud Cathedral
East’s Abdifatah Aden scored with an assist by Adam Osman with 3:17 remaining in regulation. East (18-0-2) goalkeeper Derrick Davis made four saves and Ben Kemper had two saves for Cathedral (17-5-1).

Prairie Seeds Academy 4, St. Paul Academy & Summit School 0
Gerald Ben scored three goals and Carlos Boquin had one to carry the Lycans (18-0-1) into Thursday’s championship game against Mankato East. Prairie Seeds had 14 shots on goal to none for SPA. St. Paul Academy (15-5-1) goalkeeper Matt Fiedler stopped 10 shots.

To see a photo gallery from Monday's games, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.
A Perfect Day For Football in Southern Minnesota10/30/2010
Saturday was one of those days that you truly appreciate, especially if you’ve spent most of the previous four evenings wearing multiple layers of cold-weather clothing, subconsciously turning your body so the wind isn’t in full-frontal mode and feeling your ears crack.

My Saturday was spent in Jackson, which is only eight miles from the Iowa border. Our neighbors to the south are also in high school football playoff mode, only they will have games on Monday night. Is that weird or is it just me? ... me being a person who has witnessed football games this fall on Fridays, Thursdays, Wednesday and Saturdays.

The sun was bright Saturday, but the chill hadn’t entirely left us. It was what I would call a “mittens and sunglasses” kind of day. The Jackson County Central Huskies met the Windom Eagles in a Class 2A Section 3 semifinal game, and the outcome was not much of a surprise. Jackson led 21-0 after one quarter and rolled to a 42-0 victory.

Top-seeded Jackson County Central (9-1), ranked eighth in 2A, will now face Luverne (8-2) in the section championship game Friday night at Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall.

Fourth-seeded Windom Area (5-4) had opened the season with four victories before losing four in a row, including a 29-0 loss to JCC in the regular-season finale. Thus the “not much of a surprise” factor Saturday.

Jackson had defeated beat St. James 48-0 in Tuesday’s playoff opener and Windom got past Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 21-0.

I HAD DRIVEN through Jackson many times but Saturday was my first stop in town. The high school is surrounded by acres of spacious athletic facilities, some of the finest I have seen in the state. Wacker Field is a wonderful spot for baseball and Swearingen Field, home of the Huskies football team, is top-notch.

There is no track around the football field, so the fans are right on top of things. An old press box sits on one side of the field and a newer version is across the way. There are eight wooden light poles that carry 32 bulbs; I imagine it’s not the most well-lit field for night-time football, but Saturday’s viewing conditions were spectacular.

JCC owned this game from the get-go, thanks to several factors, including a pretty good wind, a Brazilian kicker and some fine play by the Huskies special teams.

After foreign-exchange student Marcelo Rinaldi booted the opening kickoff through the end zone (backed by the wind), a Windom punt was returned a long ways by Carson Nyborg. Two plays later, Tanner Menke threw to Nyborg for a 10-yard TD.

After Rinaldi’s second kickoff went through the uprights, a bad punt snap and upended punter set up JCC at the Windom 17, and Colton Ward scored on a 9-yard run. Windom’s third possession ended in a sack/caused fumble/recovered fumble by Tyler Schoer. Windom’s Drake Borsgard picked off a pass in the end zone to end the threat, but a 14-yard TD run by Nyborg made it 21-0 before the first quarter ended.

Menke, the Huskies’ sophomore QB, was injured in the second quarter and did not return. But another Tanner – senior Tanner Asa – took over the reins. It was an impressive performance by JCC, which showed a very strong running game out of the wishbone.

OTHER SIGHTS AND sounds from a splendid Saturday …

--The fullback in the Huskies’ wishbone is a load to tackle. Jordan Phibbs is a 5-foot-11, 230-pound senior who – no surprise here – placed third in the Class A state wrestling tournament last year as a heavyweight. Big, strong and scary.

--Best name of the season so far: Boog. No kidding. Boog Steiner is a senior kicker for the Huskies. C’mon Boog, is that your real name?

--We had a great presentation of the colors and national anthem. The guys from the Jackson VFW post marched out to a drum roll and the JCC band played a splendid anthem. And as should always be the case, everyone remained standing and hat-less until the colors had been retired. Wonderful pregame scene.

--Something Else I Learned Today: The JCC school song is the Minnesota Rouser. (That was my high school’s song, too.)

--It’s common at the big schools in the metro to see video cameras sitting atop telescoping poles that lift the cameras high into the sky while a fellow on the ground watches a video screen. In Jackson they used a boom truck – the kind that comes out for electrical work or tree-trimming – to hoist a guy with a camera in his hand. Makes a lot of sense.

--Pregame concession choice: Pork sandwich with pickles and barbecue sauce. Fine football fare.

--The local Pizza Ranch sponsored a cool little deal called the “Sack Attack.” Whenever the Huskies recorded a sack, a name was drawn and the winner received a free buffet lunch at the Pizza Ranch. Where do I sign up?

--As Rinaldi kept booting kickoffs through the end zone, a gaggle of little kids gathered in that area to scramble for the football as it came bounding out of the field of play.

--The halftime show featured the JCC cheerleaders and the school mascot, Hammer the Husky, dancing to MC Hammer’s 1990 classic, “Can’t Touch This.” Very solid entertainment.

To see lots of photos from the game, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 116
*Miles John has driven: 4,540

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
A Great Story Of Sportsmanship10/29/2010
Our world of school sports and activities is filled with great competitions and memorable finishes. But nothing is more important than sportsmanship and respect for our fellow competitors, and there was a wonderful display of this at a section cross-country meet on Thursday in Willmar.

The name to remember is Trevor Jahn from Orono High School. As the emails below attest, what Trevor did will be remembered much longer than the race results. I will let two emails tell the story …

I am honored to be forwarding an email that I received today regarding one of our cross-country runners from Orono. What a moment for this person and our school.

I arrived to school today tired, feeling terrible our soccer team lost in the State Quarterfinals and we had no runners qualify for state. Paula sent me an email that has changed my day.

Our runner, Trevor Jahn, has defined the true meaning of athletics. At the Section 2AA meet Thursday, Trevor was so determined to qualify for state and has been working for that goal for five years. Knowing toward the finish line that he may not finish in the top 10, a runner from Hutchinson fell and kind of went off the course. Trevor stopped and helped this runner. They finished the race together. Looking at Trevor's finish position he probably finished 20-plus spots worse than where he should have finished.

I have known TJ since sixth grade and have seen this young man lead his life as a person of character. Trevor has never once put his own goals above the team's goals. As a leader in our school, Trevor has always helped the underdog and has supported what is right. Trevor truly believes that anyone else would have done the same thing. My response is then why didn't the others that passed you stop?

These are the stories and moments we need to focus on. Twenty years from now nobody will remember who qualified for state. They will remember the great act of character and sportsmanship that Trevor demonstrated.

John, this would be a great story for your journal and hope there is a way the MSHSL can use the story to promote the true essence of athletics.

Proud to be a Spartan!
Bucky Mieras
Activities Director
Orono High School


Hello!
I am sending you a photo of a wonderful moment that I witnessed today at the Section CC meet in Willmar. A CC runner from Hutchinson High School fell as he was approaching the finish line. A runner from Orono HS who was also approaching the finish line stopped and helped the runner from Hutchinson up and then proceeded to assist him in starting to run again, to finish the race.

You should be very proud of this student-athlete from Orono HS.....such character and sportsmanship he showed today! It made me think of an "Athlete's Prayer" I once heard at a HS Sports Banquet:

"God, let me play well but fairly.
Help me to learn something that matters
once the game is over.
Let competition make me strong but never hostile.
Always let me help my opponent up.
Never catch me rejoicing in the adversity of others.
If I know victory, allow me to be happy; if I am denied, keep me from envy.
Remind me that sports are just games.
If through athletics I set an example,
let it be a good one."

I don't know who this young man from Orono HS is...but he certainly set a very good example today!! In a world where sports tends to be very "me" oriented, it was refreshing to see such a wonderful act of sportsmanship!

I wish I would have taken a photo of him helping the Hutchinson runner up, but I was so in awe of the whole situation that I almost forgot that I had my camera in my hand!
Please be sure to let this young man know that his act of sportsmanship did not go unnoticed!!

Sincerely,
Paula Traphagen-Bossert
Mankato


There is a postscript to the story. Hutchinson Leader sports editor Eric Kraushar shot video of the race, which can be viewed by going to myprepsplus.mn (under Videos, look for "Hutch CC - Section 2AA Meet")

At about the 5:30 mark of the video you will see Hutchinson runner Isaiah Barlow lose his balance coming down a hill and fall. That’s when Trevor stops and helps Isaiah.

Eric wrote that he spoke to Trevor as well as Trevor’s mother after the race. Trevor’s mom said, “It's the proudest I've ever been of my son.”

Well done, Trevor. You are an inspiration to us all.