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State Adapted Softball Tournament
Home Page Photo Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka seeks seventh consecutive PI title;
South Washington County seeks second consecutive CI title

The five-time defending champion Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound .Westonka Robins return as the No. 2 seed in the North PI Division with a record of 7-4. Anoka-Hennepin (11-0) is the top seed in the North Division and Rochester (11-2) is the top seed in the South Division
The South Washington County Thunderbolts, the defending champions in the CI Division, are the No. 2 seed in the South Division this year. Their season record is 8-2. The Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee Southern Stars, with a record of 11-0, are the top seed in the South Division. The Mustangs of Anoka-Hennepin earned the top seed in the North Division and enter the tournament with a record of 12-2.
The Minnesota State High School League’s 21st annual State Adapted Softball Tournament will be played Friday and Saturday, May 29 and 30, at Coon Rapids High School.

CI Division Quarterfinals - Friday, May 29th
(No. 1 Seed-North Division) Anoka-Hennepin (12-2) vs. (No. 4 Seed-South Division) Dakota United (7-3-1) - 4:00pm Gym B
(No. 2 Seed-South Division) South Washington County (8-2) vs. (No. 3 Seed-North Division) Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville (8-5)- 5:30pm Gym C
(No. 2 Seed-North Division) Osseo (12-1) vs. (No. 3 Seed-South Division) Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville (8-4) - 7:00pm Gym B
(No. 1 Seed-South Division) Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee (11-0) vs. (No. 4 Seed-North Division) North Suburban (9-4) - 7:00pm Gym A

PI Division Quarterfinals - Friday, May 29th
(No. 1 Seed-North Division) Anoka-Hennepin (11-0) vs. (No. 4 Seed-South Division) Osseo (2-7) - 4:00pm Gym A
(No. 2 Seed-South Division) Dakota United (11-1) vs. (No. 3 Seed-North Division) Wayzata/Minnetonka (5-5) - 4:00pm Gym C
(No. 2 Seed-North Division) Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka (7-4) vs. (No. 3 Seed-South Division) South Suburban (6-7) - 5:30pm Gym B
(No. 1 Seed-South Division) Rochester (11-2) vs. (No. 4 Seed-North Division) Mounds View/Irondale/Roseville (3-7) - 5:30pm Gym A

All games in both divisions will be played at Coon Rapids High School. PI Division consolation semifinal games will be played at 9 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the consolation championship at noon. PI Division championship semifinal games are set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the third-place game at 1:30 p.m. and the championship game at 1:45 p.m. CI Division consolation semifinal games will be played at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the consolation championship game at 1:45 p.m. CI Division championship semifinal games are set for noon Saturday, followed by the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. and the championship game at 4 p.m.

Special Rules
As one can imagine and as the name of the activity implies, some rules have been adapted to accommodate the athletes with disabilities. For example, a gymnasium is the arena of play and the ball used is a 12-inch Whiffle® ball. The bat used is a hollow, plastic bat no more than 42 inches long and no more than 2-3/4 inches in diameter. Fielder’s gloves are optional.
Teams consist of a minimum of seven and maximum of 10 players. In the PI Divisions, fielders, except pitchers, need only touch a fly ball above waist level to record an out. Balls caught on the fly off the walls are not outs. However, balls caught on the fly off the ceiling or ceiling structures are an out.
A game consists of seven innings — although a 5-run rule is enforced for each half-inning except for a trailing team in the seventh. Batters unable to swing a bat in the PI Division are allowed to have their own pitcher attempt to hit their teammate’s bat with a pitch. The pitcher has seven attempts to do so before an out is called. Players, if desired, can use batting tees, but no more than five players on a team may use a tee.
Athletes with varying abilities compete coeducationally and one team often represents multiple school districts. Sixteen teams competed in the CI Division in 2015 and 11 competed in PI.

The Minnesota Association for Adapted Athletics was organized for PI students. Indoor floor hockey competition began in 1975. The CI Division was added in 1990. The MAAA modeled its program after that of the Minnesota State High School League for non-disabled athletes. The League’s Representative Assembly in November 1992 approved sponsorship of adapted athletic activities and the following year state tournaments were held for indoor soccer, floor hockey, and softball. A fourth activity and the first allowing for individual competition, bowling, began with the 1999-2000 school year.
Advance News Release CI Brackets PI Brackets
The 2015 Why We Play Conference

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from and network with coaches and administrators from across the state to share best practices and strategies on coaching the heart and mind of today’s athletes. Individual sessions will center on intentionally educating students through purpose-based coaching.

School Implementation Teams
The Athletic Administrator will assemble a team of coaches and influencers in the school community to effectively implement WHY WE PLAY. Attendees will be guided through a process which will enable them to develop a school specific action plan and establish accountability and WWP implementation strategies to support and sustain change. The shift in culture from a win-at-all-cost mentality to a human development mindset will positively impact the culture of sports within the school community and ultimately impact the intentional growth of students.

New and Newer ADs
Attendees will acquire a better understanding of who the League is how we operate, emphasizing; member school responsibilities, coaches education, professional development, the role of the athletic administrator in the school community, and MSHSL rules, policies, bylaws and case studies. There will be an overview of certifying student eligibility, conducting eligibility investigations, and applying participation penalties and suspensions.

MN Head Coaches Course
Attendees who wish to become a Head Coach in MN but do not hold a MN Coaching License will begin the process by attending the MN Head Coaches Course being held in conjunction with the WHY WE PLAY conference. Attendees will be invited to attend the keynote session and then will breakout to their assigned classrooms for the remainder of the day.

Click the image above to get registered.      
100 Years: Top Coaches & Players
Home Page Photo
To help us celebrate the MSHSL's 100 Year Anniversary we are asking you to vote on the top athletes and coaches and narrow down our list to the best of the best. Each week we'll run two concurrent polls selecting a few matchups from our tournament style brackets ( www.mshsl.org/100Years).
Voting for Coaches will be open Monday through Thursday and voting for Players will be Thursday through Monday. To get started, click the "Vote Now" button below.

Great teams, successful programs, and lasting championship legacies all have a common denominator: Strong leadership at the top.

Minnesota high school sports are littered with successful coaches who have created championship memories and positive impacts that have spanned decades and generations.

In honor of the Minnesota State High School League's 100-year anniversary, we set out to find out who is the state's best high school coach of all time. To do that, we need your help.

Through extensive research, the top 100 coaches in a variety of MSHSL activities were determined. It was an arduous task paring the list to just 100, but those are the rules!

The communications department conducted a draft where coaches were seeded and placed in one of four regions. The regions are named after the MSHSL's most common mascots.

Eagle Regional Tiger RegionalPanther RegionalCardinal Regional

With four weeks of voting elapsed in the Minnesota State High School League's Top 100 players tournament, four upsets stand out.

In the Murrae Freng Regional, No. 21-seed Ollie Bakken, the former St. Paul Harding and University of Minnesota football standout, upended No. 12 Verne Gagne. Gagne, who passed away on April 27, was a football standout and professional wrestling icon. Bakken moves on to face No. 5 Ron Johnson in the second round.

Over in the Dave Stead Regional, Duluth's Kara Wheeler, the No. 20 seed, upset No. 13 Von Shepherd of St. Paul Central in the opening round. Wheeler, a standout distance runner, advances to take on No. 4 Terry Steinbach, a New Ulm baseball legend.

Northfield gymnast Bailey DuPay, Minnesota's first-ever Class AA three-time all-around gymnastics champion and the No. 19 seed, recorded a victory over No. 14 Jena Kluegel, a former Mahtomedi soccer standout.

In other first-round matches in the four regionals, No. 8 Bob McNamara defeated No. 25 Nikki Klingsporn, No. 8 Krissy Wendell topped No. 25 Louis Ayeni, No. 17 Whitney Taney edged No. 16 Jerry Kindall, Non. 12 Bob Blakeley defeated No. 21 Katie Class, and No. 8 Leonard Jones recorded a victory over No. 25 Kristen Schmidt. In another No. 16 vs. No. 17 matchup, South St. Paul's Doug Woog defeated Bloomington Jefferson's Ahn Nguyen.

Keeping voting and enjoy the journey to determine the top student-athlete of all time in Minnesota!

Dave Stead Regional Orv Bies RegionalMurrae Freng RegionalB.H. Hill Regional


By Tim Leighton

Paul Pranghofer is used to the stares.
If he was a youngster, he too, would wonder about encountering someone that was born with no arms and one leg significantly shorter than the other.
"Instead of people looking at me and then shying away, I'd rather have them ask me questions," said Pranghofer, 61. "It is a personal rule of mine to talk to people about it, to educate them. My disability bothered me greatly when I was younger, but as you age, you gain wisdom. I embrace it now. I want people to feel comfortable around me."
The Minneapolis native doesn't get the stares when he is officiating high school adapted athletics. He might get stare-downs from coaches, he jokes, but he certainly has been a common sight for the past 32 years in Minnesota gymnasiums.
The Minnesota State High School League is the only state association that governs adapted athletics. During the school year, soccer is played in the fall, floor hockey in the winter, and bowling and softball in the spring. State championships are played in two divisions, one for students with cognitive impairments and the other for physical impairments.
The MSHSL has sponsored state tournaments in adapted athletics since 1993. Pranghofer began his officiating career in 1984 with the Minnesota Association for Adapted Athletics League, which later gave way to governance by the MSHSL.

"Paul is one of our most well-known and most recognizable officials," Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka coach Marcus Onsum said. "Even if people don't agree with some of his calls, or his interpretations of our adapted rules, everyone respects him for what he has done for adapted athletics in Minnesota and for what he represents."
In the 21 years that the MSHSL has sponsored adapted athletics, Pranghofer has worked in every floor hockey and softball state tournament. He has worked in all but three soccer state tournaments. He specifically works in the PI division.
Just as the sports have been adapted, so too, has Pranghofer's officiating.
In the absence of arms to signal stoppages in play, he vocalizes and uses a whistle that is nestled on his left side. Pranghofer has two fingers that are just below his left shoulder socket. There, the whistle fits snugly during play. In everyday life, it is where he holds a pen or pencil.
He didn't begin using a wheelchair for his officiating and everyday life until about 30 years ago. He did so, in part, to save his legs from the wear and tear, and to ensure mobility in his senior years. In his younger days, he was able to walk daily a distance of about 1.5 miles before feeling fatigued. Now that distance is about 200 yards.
In floor hockey, his favorite sport to officiate, he used to use his left foot to drop the puck for a faceoff. That became a painful problem, though, when players would whack his unguarded foot with their hockey sticks during the faceoff. He now wears a shoe on that foot, instead opting to drop the puck with the right foot, on his shorter leg.
"My first five years of officiating was a learning process," Pranghofer said. "When I first started, I wanted to be perfect, to call the perfect game, game in and game out. You can't think that way. You've got to manage the game. Different things happen in a game and you have to adapt. Sometimes that means letting some of the ticky-tack things go."
Pranghofer said his officiating style is more mellow and less excitable than in his early days. He said when a coach or player challenged a call in his early years of officiating, he had a tendency to become offensive in return.
"I got in their faces a bit," he said. "I've learned over the years that that isn't the way conflicts are solved. I stay calm now and diffuse the situation. It's best to be calm about things when you are an official. ‘'
In his 32-year officiating career, he said he has had to eject just three participants --- one coach and two competitors.
Pranghofer developed his love of officiating from Ed Prohofsky, his physical education teacher at Marshall University High School in Minneapolis. Prohofsky is one of the pioneers in the development and acceptance of adapted athletics in Minnesota.
In their physical education classes, Prohofsky encouraged students to go beyond just watching sporting events. Learn the rules, he preached. Watch the games from an official's perspective, he encouraged.
"He was my mentor; my love of sports is because of Ed," said Pranghofer, a 1972 graduate.
Growing up in south Minneapolis, Pranghofer said mainstreaming of special-needs students wasn't happening in the school districts. There were no organized sports available, either, for kids with disabilities.
They had to make up their own games. He said about a dozen neighborhood kids would gather for boot hockey games in the alleys in the winter months. In the summer, it was kickball and their own version of baseball. Pranghofer was the fulltime pitcher, using his left foot to lob a rubber ball to the batter. In the fall, it was tackle football.
"We were tough guys," he says with a laugh. "We didn't play touch football."
After high school graduation, he was awarded a scholarship from Control Data to become a software engineer. While he built his own computer business, his love of sports continued, as did his grassroots work with developing sports for disabled adults.
His advocacy for being active in life and for adapted athletics continues today.
Onsum grew up in the community where Pranghofer lives now and was amazed.
He saw him riding through the neighborhood on a modified bicycle, operating a snowblower and lawn mower and hanging Christmas lights. Onsum said his parents told him, "If he can do those sorts of things, there's no reason you can't help out around here and do them, too."
Said Onsum: "Paul is one of the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever met."
"Paul has been an exceptional role model in the entire MSHSL community," said MSHSL Assistant Director Rich Matter, who oversees the adapted athletics program. "His dedication and love for our high school sports programs is unwavering. I know Paul would say he has benefitted tremendously from his involvement with our programs, but I would say it is our programs that have benefitted from Paul's involvement."
Pranghofer says he will return for at least another school year of officiating.
"I don't believe in sitting on the sideline in life," he said. "I want to be involved. I want to continue to be a positive influence to these young people."

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

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

Please join us in a celebratory look at our heritage.

1929 --- The MSHSL is born
Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 5/28/2015 3:50:03 PM

Here is a statement from G.V. Kinney, the first president of the MSHSL, to the member schools via the 1929 handbook:
The recent consolidation of the state organizations lately in control of declamation, debate and athletics, creating the Minnesota State High School League, is evidence of the fact that we are seeking economy and increased efficiency through centralization of responsibility.
The two effective means by which these objectives may be reached are the full-time executive secretary and the representative assembly, the latter replacing the unwieldy general spring meetings.
It is very necessary that each district carefully select its official delegate to the assembly and instruct him with reference to the needs of his district in all three major activities. For this reason, it is unadvisable to intrust (entrust) the responsibility incumbent upon such a delegate to other than a superintendent or principal who, as such, presumably will not neglect the interests of his district in any of the activities for which the League has been created in favor of only one or two of them.
The success of our merger will depend pretty largely upon how impartially the affairs of all activities are conducted by the representative assembly, the board of control, and the executive secretary.

Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 5/27/2015 1:02:06 PM

• O.E. Smith of Anoka is hired as the first full-time employee of the Minnesota State High School Athletic Association. His salary as executive secretary is $350 per month.
• In the Commercial Division of the Debate Declamation state tournament, Albert Ruud of Virginia won the advanced typewriting competition with 74.6 words per minute. Owatonna’s Regina Wies won the beginner’s division with 60.1 words per minute. Florence Wright of Park Rapids won the shorthand division with 500 words in five minutes.
• The boys basketball state tournament is held at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse.
• Moorhead rallied to record a 29-18 victory over Minneapolis Edison in the boys basketball state championship game. The Spuds erased an 8-1 deficit after the first quarter with a 10-point outburst in the second quarter to pull to within 12-11 at the half. Reserve Robert Freeman scored nine points for Moorhead.
• Moorhead represented Minnesota in the national tournament, but made a quick exit after a 25-11 loss to Tulsa.
• Item No. 1 on the 1928-29 Athletic Calendar: Read rules to high schools students before Sept. 15.
• Schools that didn’t pay the annual $2 MSHSAA membership fee by Oct. 15 were ineligible to win a district championship.
• The Western Passenger Association offered reduced railroad fare for fans to attend the boys basketball state tournament.
• Vera Maki and Fanny Wilson of Biwabik had won an event and placed second in another to lead Biwabik to the girls swimming state championship. Wilson earned a meet-high 9.5 points. Biwabik finished with 27 points and Eveleth was runner-up with 15.

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

More of the Countdown to 100

Holdingford’s Nathan Brinker: The Best Of All Time
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 5/27/2015 10:16:53 PM

Ask people around the central Minnesota town of Holdingford about the best male athlete in school history, and the answer is almost certain to be Nathan Brinker from the class of 2015. The tougher question, however, is this: What was Brinker’s greatest athletic moment?

Some will flash a big grin and talk about his performance in last fall’s Class 2A Prep Bowl, when he never left the field, played half a dozen different positions and threw a pass for only the second time in his career … which was caught for a touchdown and the go-ahead points in the second overtime of the Huskers’ 20-18 win over BOLD.

Others in Holdingford will mention the Class 1A state wrestling championship Brinker captured last winter, capping his state tournament run with a pin in the title match at 195 pounds. He is only the second wrestler in Holdingford history to win a state championship.

And some may talk about what Brinker has done this spring in two sports; he led the Holdingford baseball team with a .500 batting average and on Wednesday he qualified for the Class 1A state track meet in the shot put as well as with three buddies in the 4x100 relay.

Not a bad senior year, huh?

“You can tell with Nathan; he’ll do whatever it takes,” said Huskers football coach Luke Mitchell. “He’s a real standup, solid kid. He comes from a great family and he’s had a great upbringing.”

At 6 feet, 3 inches and 215 pounds, Brinker is a farm boy with a rare mixture of strength, quickness and speed. He will play NCAA Division III football at St. John’s University, a short drive from Holdingford. And long after he graduates from high school, he will be remembered and cited as an example for younger students in town.

“He has nothing to look back on with regret,” said Jason Bruns, Holdingford’s athletic director, baseball coach and an assistant football coach. “If everybody had his work ethic, it would really be fun. He’s a natural athlete and a lot of things come easy for him. But he still put the time in, too.”

At the Class 1A True Team state track meet in mid-May, Brinker finished second in the shot put, sixth in the 100-meter dash and was a member of the winning 4x100 relay team as Holdingford captured the team title.

He added another state championship away from athletics. He was part of a four-person Holdingford team that won a state FFA championship in Agricultural Mechanics and will represent Minnesota at a national competition in Kentucky.

As a junior, Brinker placed second at the state wrestling tournament, then battled asthma in capturing the state title in February. He had never been on the track team until this spring. In the first track meet of his career, he won the shot put. He’s tough and committed.

Football is his favorite sport but he wanted to give track a try as a senior. Working out as a shot and discus thrower, as well as a sprinter, took a back seat during the baseball season, however. Baseball came to a close Tuesday night with a loss to top-ranked and defending Class 2A state champion St. Cloud Cathedral in a section tournament game, but the upside is that Brinker will have time to devote all his efforts to track for the first time as he prepares for the state meet June 5-6 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

“I’ve been going to baseball practice, and then I’d go to track if the coaches were still there,” he said. “That was usually four times a week and sometimes on weekends. Now I can actually come out and practice.”

Brinker had the best shot put effort of his short career during Wednesday’s Class 1A Section 5 championships at St. John’s. His winning throw of 52 feet, 7 ½ inches is the third-best reported distance among Class 1A boys this spring. His best previous mark was 48-4.

“I knew it would be good, but not that good,” he said of Wednesday’s big toss.

Brinker began making an impression as a ninth-grader, seeing some varsity playing time on the football team. He was a running back that year, became an offensive lineman as a sophomore and then returned to running back. He will play linebacker at St. John’s.

“He always had the body but he was a raw talent,” Mitchell said. “He was always a physical kid. Nathan brings something that a lot of kids don’t with his combination of size and speed.”

Around Holdingford, the legend of Nathan Brinker will only grow in years to come.

“His name will come up in every sport, that’s for sure,” said Bruns, a 1990 Holdingford graduate. “I can’t think of anybody like him from our school. He’s probably the best I’ve seen.”

Mitchell, who is an elementary teacher, said there is no question about that.

“The kids go nuts over him. He’s a celebrity. After he won the wrestling title I told him, ‘Nathan, you are going to be remembered around here for a long time.’ ”

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 555
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 10,691
*Follow John on Twitter. He’s @MSHSLjohn

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