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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.

1938 --- Bruce Smith excelled in basketball, too
Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 8/26/2015 10:37:07 AM

Faribault’s Bruce Smith wasn’t just a great football player.

While known mostly for winning the Heisman Trophy, college football’s biggest individual prize, in 1941 while playing for the University of Minnesota, Smith also was a dominant force on the basketball court.

He led Faribault High School to the Region 1 championship in 1938 and the school’s sixth appearance in the boys basketball state tournament.
Faribault lost to eventual state champion, Thief River Falls, 37-29 in the quarterfinals. Smith led all scorers with 11 points. Faribault then lost, 33-24, to Virginia in the consolation semifinals.

Smith went on to lead the Gophers to back-to-back national football championships in 1940 and ’41. While he was primarily a halfback, he also played on the defensive side of the ball. No other University of Minnesota player has won the Heisman Trophy since. His jersey No. 54 is the first number to be retired by the Gophers.

He served in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot before playing in the National Football League from 1945-48 with the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams.

He died in 1967 at the age of 47 after a bout with cancer.

In other news that year:
• The MSHSL official handbook, for the first time, is published with a hard cover.
• The boys basketball state tournament was broadcast statewide via radio for the first time. Television broadcasts would start until 1955.
• Member school St. Paul Washington was in the middle of a three-year undefeated stretch in football. From 1937-39, Washington posted a 14-0-1 St. Paul City Conference record. The only blemish was a 6-6 tie with St. Paul Central. Washington went on to defeat Minneapolis North 25-0 in the annual Twin Cities Game.
• For the first time, the all-state boys basketball team had more than five players. Those honored were: Dick Burk, Minneapolis North; Dick Hallman, Minneapolis North; Nick Pepelnjak, Virginia; Loren Stadum, Thief River Falls; Ed Trumper, St. Paul Central; Jerome Goodman, Minneapolis North; Ray Lee, Thief River Falls; Clarence Martin, Crosby-Ironton.
• The boys basketball state tournament ended a six-year run at the Municipal Auditorium in Minneapolis. In 1939, the tournament shifted to the east side of the Mississippi River, to the St. Paul Auditorium.
• An insurance benefit claim for a chipped tooth was $2 and a broken nose was $5. The most expensive insurance benefit claim was for a broken leg. That was $75.
• The debate question for the school year: “The United States should establish an alliance with Great Britain.”
• Twenty-four schools played boys hockey and did so under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
• Roy Spilman of Fergus Falls was the boys golf state champion. The 36-hole tournament was played at the University of Minnesota.

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

More of the Countdown to 100
Around the MSHSL
Home Page Photo Minnesota remains in nation’s Top 10 for participation
By Tim Leighton
For the 26th consecutive year, the number of participants in high school sports increased nationally, this time topping more than 7.8 million, according to the annual survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The 7,807,047 student-athletes that participated in activities and fine arts nationally during the 2014-15 school year was an increase of 11,369 from the previous. Fifty-one member state associations, including the District of Columbia, participate in the annual participation survey.
And for the seventh consecutive year, Minnesota remains in the nation’s Top 10. Since the 2008-09 school year, Minnesota has had a stranglehold on 10th place.
During the 2014-15 school year, Minnesota had 235,243 participant in Minnesota State High School League activities. That was an increase from 232,909 in 2013-14. The high-water mark since 2008-09 was 238,363 set during the 2011-12 school year. The low mark was 224,220 in 2008-09.
Nationally, the traditional leaders led the way again in participation figures.
Texas had the nation’s top figure at 804,598 followed by California at 797,101. New York was a distant third at 389,475.
Among the top 10 boys’ sports, soccer had the largest gain nationally with 15,150 participants. Wrestling and 11-player football saw the steepest declines. Wrestling had 11,306 fewer participants nationally and football had a decrease of 9,617.
Six of the top 10 girls’ sports had increases, the largest from competitive spirit squads and cross country running. Track and field remains the most popular girls sport, but basketball was overtaken by volleyball for the No. 2 spot.

In other prep news:
  • Irondale’s second-year football coach Ben Fuller earned his first career victory after the Knights recorded a 21-19 victory over Waconia in Week 1. Fuller, a former longtime assistant coach at St. Paul Highland Park, was 0-9 in his first year with Irondale.
  • The Wells Fargo Challenge Cup has been awarded for the final time and they ended up in familiar places. The Blake School won the Class AA Challenge Cup for the fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall in the 12 years the award has been presented. Wayzata won the Class AAA crown for the third year in a row, and Minneota won the Class A title for the second time, but first since 2011.
    The traveling Challenge Cup is a statewide year-long competition among Minnesota high schools. Points are awarded to schools based on their success in section and state fine arts and athletic tournaments.
    The program is being discontinued so that the League and Wells Fargo can instead focus on programs that recognize students for community service and leadership.
  • Moose Lake-Willow River and Barnum have their own version of the Little Brown Jug, a traveling trophy since 1950 between the Carlton County towns. Moose Lake-Willow River retained the trophy with a 56-0 football victory on Monday night.
  • Elk River was off and running in its 51-28 victory over Brainerd on opening night. The Elks rushed for 558 yards on 72 attempts and scored on their first five possessions. Nicholas Rice led the way with 202 yards and three tourchdowns.
  • Former Eden Prairie football standouts and brothers Ryan and Taylor Grant are assistant coaches to their father, Mike. Ryan was an all-state quarterback and linebacker that played at Minnesota. Taylor was an all-state tight end before playing collegiately at North Dakota.
  • Dover-Eyota’s Madison Nelson has committed to play women’s basketball at the University of Denver.
  • Former Forest Lake activities director Joel Olson has now taken over those same duties at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.
  • It was a who’s-who of St. Paul City Conference sports legends that gathered at Mancini’s last week to salute John Vosejpka, who is retiring from the district. He created perhaps Minnesota’s best conference website with a historical link that is unmatched.
  • In his first game at the varsity level, Woodbury junior receiver Jeremiah Coddon caught a 25-yard pass and ground his way 10 additional yards for a touchdown as time expired to rally the Royals to a 23-21 victory over Eastview.
  • The volleyball season begins in earnest on Saturday with the Breakdown Sports Side Out Classic at Hopkins. Many top-ranked teams are in the field.
  • 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).
    A new voting window for coaches and players begins every Thursday. To get started, click the "Vote Now" button below.

    Top seeds on shaky ground in Top 100 tournament

    Life hasn't been so pleasant for the high seeds in the Minnesota State High School League's Top 100 tournament.
    The tournament, designed to determine the best player and coach in Minnesota history as the League celebrates its 100th anniversary, has created a handful of upsets, including the toppling of two top seeds on the coaches' side.

    There were four No. 1 seeds in each of the 25-coach regionals. Only two remain.
    In the Tiger Regional, legendary Woodbury girls basketball coach Dave Preller, a No. 16 seed, handily defeated Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant. Preller awaits the winner between Duluth East's Mike Randolph, a No. 9 seed, and former Winona Cotter boys basketball coach John Nett, a No. 25 seed.
    On the other side of that regional, former Staples wrestling coach Don Dravis, a No. 18 seed, defeated Hopkins boys basketball coach Ken Novak, Jr., in the second round earlier this month. Novak, who has led the Royals to six big-school state titles, was the No. 2 seed.
    Grant wasn't alone.
    In the Panther Regional, former Apple Valley coach Jim Jackson, the most successful and decorated wrestling coach in Minnesota history, was upset by former Park softball coach Charlie Whitbred, a No. 16 seed.
    Ironically, Jackson coached at Eden Prairie last school year, assisting Scot Davis with the Eagles' wrestling program. Jackson has taken over at Shakopee, which figures to make a run at Apple Valley's section championship reign of power this coming wrestling season.
    Whitbred awaits the winner between New Prague girls basketball coach Ron Gunderson and Rochester Mayo boys hockey Lorne Grosso.
    The other top seeds in the coaches tournament could breathe a little easier.
    Edina boys hockey coach Willard Ikola defeated Eagan volleyball Kathy Gillen-Melville in a second-round match and Chisholm boys basketball coach Bob McDonald defeated Duluth Central's Jim Hastings.

    In other upsets, Edgerton's Richie Olson, a No. 23 seed, defeated Rocori's Bob Brink, a No. 7 seed. Winona Cotter's Pat Bowlin, a No. 11 seed pulled a mild upset with a victory over No. 6 Marcus Onsum, who has built Robbinsdale-Hopkins-Mound Westonka into an adapted athletics dynasty.
    In the Cardinal Regional, longtime Edina boys swimming coach Art Downey, a No. 12 seed, defeated No. 5 Franz Boelter of Faribault Bethlehem Academy.

    The top seeds in the players' tournament are still alive in the tournament. But there have still been some eye-popping results.
    In the Murrae Freng Regional, No. 18 seed Paul Molitor, the Minnesota Twins' manager, defeated his first baseman, Joe Mauer, by a significant margin. Mauer was the No. 2 seed and an early tournament favorite to win the entire thing.
    Also in that regional, former St. Paul Harding football standout Ollie Bakken, the No. 21 seed, upended No. 5 Ron Johnson of New Prague.
    In an upset in the B.H. Hill Regional, former St. Paul Central girls basketball standout Angel Robinson, the No. 20 seed, defeated No. 4 Chris Weinke, a Cretin-Derham Hall graduate that went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
    University of Minnesota women's basketball player Carlie Wagner, a No. 21 seed, upset legendary Gopher football player, Clayton Tonnemaker in a second-round match.
    In one of the most fun matchups of the tournament, it became a Battle of Apple Valley for Carol Ann Shudlick and Trevor Laws. Shudlick, a former basketball standout and a No. 11 seed, defeated the No. 6-seeded Laws, a former defensive linemen with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Coaches' Brackets
    Eagle Regional Tiger RegionalPanther RegionalCardinal Regional

    Players' Brackets
    Dave Stead Regional Orv Bies RegionalMurrae Freng RegionalB.H. Hill Regional


    Fist Bumps And Lightning: The Life Of An Officiating Crew
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 8/26/2015 12:56:40 PM

    Before the team took the field, everyone exchanged fist bumps. It was going to be a long day on this first weekend of the Minnesota high school football season.

    This was a five-member team, men between the ages of 34 and 55. They wore striped shirts and black pants, with whistles hanging on lanyards around their necks. These officials, proud residents of the Iron Range, would work a nine-man game at 1 p.m. and an 11-man game at 7 p.m., both in St. Louis County.

    By the end of the night, their first two games of the season would be behind them. To be more precise, that was what everyone hoped.

    The crew members were referee (also known as “the white hat”) Jim Johnson, umpire Aaron Lamppa, head linesman Dave Troland, line judge Bill Novak and back judge Josh Lamppa. This is a veteran crew, averaging more than 23 years of officiating experience. The Lamppas, who are cousins, are the youngest of the five; Josh is in his 15th year and Aaron in his fifth. The other three have been working games for more than 30 years.

    This is also a celebrated crew, with Johnson, Novak, Troland and Josh Lamppa all having worked football state tournament games. Most of the members work other sports, including state tournament games in girls and boys basketball. Josh Lamppa owns another rare achievement: He was the head coach of the Nashwauk-Keewatin boys basketball team that finished second in the 2004 Class 1A state tournament.

    Josh Lamppa is a science teacher at Nashwauk-Keewatin. The others’ jobs include shipping, product management and operating heavy equipment in a taconite mine.

    Before Saturday’s first game, the crew shared fist bumps and walked onto the field at South Ridge High School, 21 miles north of Cloquet. They shook hands with the head coaches and introduced themselves.

    After South Ridge coach Brent Johnson heard “Hi, Dave Troland.” “Hi, I’m Josh Lamppa.” “I’m Aaron Lammpa” and “Bill Novak” he said laughed and to Novak, “I thought you were going to say Lamppa again.”

    The crew inspected the field, field markers and first-down chain before bringing the team captains from South Ridge and Kelliher/Northome to midfield for the coin flip. Johnson introduced himself to the captains and said, “Our other officials are Mr. Novak, Mr. Troland, Mr. Lamppa and Mr. Lamppa.” After the national anthem was played, there were more fist bumps before the five scattered to their spots for the kickoff.

    South Ridge athletic director Tony DeLeon set the game time for 1 p.m. once he had Johnson’s crew lined up. That’s how respected they are. Coaches and administrators all over the Iron Range feel the same way.

    “We’re very familiar with them,” said Virginia football coach Ed Cremers, who would see the crew Saturday evening. “Parts of that crew ref our basketball games, they’re umpires for our baseball games. We know them, plus they’re very personable. They’re good communicators. You can tell they’re here for kids.”

    The nine-man game went relatively smoothly for a season opener. Nine penalty flags were thrown and the teams combined for seven turnovers. On the strength of a 27-yard touchdown pass from Giizhik Wagner to Cal Roosdett in the second quarter, Kelliher/Northome won 8-0 in a game that lasted two hours, three minutes while clouds filled the ski and a strong wind blew from the south. The officials spent halftime inside an equipment shed, drinking from water bottles provided by DeLeon.

    As with all quality officiating crews, they worked together like a five-piece jazz band. The ball was snapped, a play was run, whistles were blown. Novak and Troland marked the spot and Aaron Lamppa placed the ball. Johnson, positioned behind the offense, blew his whistle to mark the start of the play clock and the five readied for the next play, all in perfect sync.

    Distance is often a factor in outstate Minnesota. The Kelliher/Northome Mustangs drove two and a half hours to South Ridge, including a short stint on a gravel road. After the nine-man game, the officials’ second assignment was 45 minutes to the north in Virginia, where the Blue Devils would host Hibbing.

    Working two games in one day is a rarity for football officials. Due to the high school season starting earlier than normal this year, Johnson’s group will officiate five games – half of their regular-season schedule -- before Labor Day. But Saturday’s doubleheader was their only one-day double dip.

    Leaving South Ridge, all five officials had time to go home, shower and rest briefly. They reassembled shortly after 5 p.m. to attend a benefit spaghetti dinner next door to Virginia’s Ewens Stadium. The dinner was held at the Miners Memorial Building, with proceeds helping Jay Mott, who was struck by lightning in June and severely injured (www.helpthemotts.com).

    After dinner they put on the stripes again and hit the field for their second game of the day. As predicted, bad mojo was percolating in the western sky.

    On the opening kickoff, Hibbing’s Jon Boggio caught the ball and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. Alec Hendrickson scored on a three-yard run and the score went to 20-0 on a 25-yard run by Trevor Erickson in the second quarter.

    And then, zap! A bolt of lightning was seen with 13 seconds left in the half and the officials cleared the field under MSHSL safety guidelines. Every time lightning is seen, no matter how far away from the field, play must be stopped for 30 minutes.

    The first bolt came at 8:04 p.m. The officials waited in the press box, where Virginia athletic director Kerry Bidle was looking at weather radar on his computer. There was some optimism that the weather would clear, but every time lightning cracked, the 30-minute clock restarted.

    There was food in the press box: crock pots, hot dogs, chips, cookies, water and soft drinks. The officials and members of the chain gang partook, but mostly everyone waited. Rain fell and wind blew, but those were manageable impediments. Lightning was not.

    Before a regular-season game starts, the home team is in charge of deciding whether to play or not. Once the action has begun, the officials make those calls. And when lightning keeps crackling and the clock keeps ticking, decisions must be made. Johnson went to the locker room area to meet with Cremers and Hibbing coach Dave Frisell.

    The other four officials waited in the press box, talking and joking but mostly waiting. The radar still showed promise, but the actual conditions greatly disputed what the computer screen displayed. Bidle had the officials complete paperwork that would result in each of them receiving payment of $75 for the evening’s work.

    Talk turned to the possibility of suspending the game and finishing it on Monday (MSHSL rules prohibit Sunday events). There were some minor issues with a Monday resumption. Two of the officials would not be available, but replacements could be found. Also, starting a game on Saturday and finishing it on Monday was not optimal for the teams, which both would play again four days later.

    As the sky continued to explode, the decision was made at 10:12 p.m. after a delay of two hours, six minutes. The teams would come back Monday and re-start the game at 5 p.m.

    The officials returned to their locker room, grabbed their bags and headed for the parking lot. All five were still wearing their stripes.

    Postscript: The game was indeed finished Monday, with Hibbing winning 34-7.

    --To see a photo gallery of the officials, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

    *Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 11
    *Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 1,150
    *Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

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