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Deep in the recesses of Minnesota State High School League headquarters in Brooklyn Center, the unmistakable sounds are hard at work: Computers are whirring, audio is synching, video is edited and voiceovers are rehearsed.

It's the annual rite of summer, participating in webinars and the production of online rules meetings for thousands of MSHSL registered officials.

"It's, by far, the busiest, most hectic time of the summer," said Amy Doherty, MSHSL Program Specialist.

This week, MSHSL staff members have participated in National Federation of High School Association webinars on football, soccer, volleyball, swimming and gymnastics. Those national webinars are the launching pad for state associations in the educating of their sports officials.

"We could cut and paste the federation's online meeting and call it a day, if we wanted," said Jason Nickleby, the MSHSL's Coordinator of Officials. "But that's never been the mantra of the Minnesota State High School League."

In June, the League received fall sports power-point presentations from the NFHS highlighting rules changes, points of emphasis and other news.

Using those webinars as a foundation, Doherty massages the production with a Minnesota emphasis. Photographs of Minnesota state competitions, displays of sportsmanship and visuals of the joys of participation are new accents to the online rules meetings that officials will view.

After Doherty, Nickleby and Kevin Merkle, the MSHSL Associate Director that oversees officiating, complete the many details of the online rules meetings presentations productions, it isn't quite ready for launching.

Before final presentation to the officials, rules coordinators of the various sports will converge on League headquarters to view the online rules meeting and edits will ensue.

"Before it becomes the online rules meeting, it goes through many layers of input," Doherty said. "Many sets of eyes see this before it goes live."

An online rules meetings format for League officials is beginning its eighth year. It replaced the former requirement of physically attending a rules interpretation meeting.

"Some of our officials still prefer the in-person rules meetings, but we save a lot of time, money to our schools and officials, and the energies of a lot of people by doing them online," Merkle said. "The other benefit is the consistency we get. Everyone receives the same message throughout the state of Minnesota. Overall, we are pleased with the process and we need to continue to update and do things to the best of our abilities so that we can help Minnesota officials be the best they can be."

Said Nickleby: "It's really enlightening for someone that is new to see how this all comes together. I am appreciative of the process now that I am engaged in it. I had a sense of how much work goes into delivering this top-shelf product, but now I really know."

Tim Leighton
Communications Coordinator, MSHSL

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100 Years: Top Coaches & Players
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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.

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


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.

1935 --- Keep yourself fit
Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 7/22/2015 4:10:27 PM

As student activities continued to grow in the mid-1930s, The Journal of the National Educational Association weighed in on the benefits of staying fit.
“Determine to keep yourself as fit and strong as possible. If your body is weak or diseased, a stream of distracting and painful impressions will flow into your mind and distort your emotional life. You will be less than yourself and each new weakness will open the way for others.
Build strength by action. Few of us use even 10 percent of our real physical or mental energy. Study yourself. Know what foods, rest and exercise are best for you and hold to them. Avoid infection and contagion.
Man is passing swiftly today from an active out-of-door life which required little thought of physical fitness to a sedentary in-door life which must be offset by exercise, fresh air, and a variety of interests. Perhaps shorter working hours will give mankind more time for sea, forest and mountain. These are the sources of vigor and strength.’’
In other noteworthy events:
• Austin wins the boys basketball state championship
• The Sportsmanship Award winner at the boys basketball state tournament was Minneapolis Edison
• A written proposal by the St. Paul Junior Commerce Association is received by the MSHSL’s Board of Control to hold the boys basketball state tournament in St. Paul. It was placed on file. Two months later, the Representative Assembly voted to renew the contract with the Minneapolis Auditorium for three years to continue hosting the event.
• Postseason football was given favorable consideration by the Representative Assembly, but nothing formal was developed. Postseason football was still many years away from becoming a reality.
• Ten geographical regions for boys basketball was discussed by the Representative Assembly, but ultimately, dismissed.
• An estimated 7,500 boys played football this school year.
• Elk River scored a state-best 209 points in seven football games during the fall of 1934.
• The Gilbert football team wasn’t scored upon all season.

1934 --- Iron Range strikes basketball gold
Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 7/16/2015 1:43:21 PM

• There was a long-held belief that the Iron Range, located in northern Minnesota, was home to just great hockey programs.

“Hold on a second!’’ howled the basketball players.

They were right. The Iron Range established an early tradition of fielding formidable boys’ basketball teams.

Virginia won the first basketball championship for an Iron Range school in 1916, the fourth season of a state tournament. Seven years later, Aurora captured the state title with a 17-2 record in 1923.

In 1924, Two Harbors was the third representative from Section 7 to win a state championship following a 21-12 victory over Minneapolis South.

Some will argue that Two Harbors, along with Duluth, aren’t considered part of the Iron Range. While neither are mining towns, both are historical ports and crucial to the mining industry.

Ten years later, in 1934, the Iron Rangers struck gold again at the boys basketball state tournament. Iron Range squads were fan favorites for the up-tempo style they played.

In 1934, Chisholm coach Harvey Roels and his “point-a-minute’’ strategy claimed the state title with a 29-27 victory over St. Paul Mechanic Arts. Guard Pete Burich hit a late jumper to give the Bluestreaks a 29-26 advantage.

Chisholm then had to turn up the pressure on defense, thwarting three scoring opportunities by Mechanic Arts.

Pete Burich and Gordon Burich, a forward, were selected to the all-state team.

From 1916-51, six championships were won by schools from the Iron Range. Only the Big Nine Conference, located in southern Minnesota, had more with seven.

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

More of the Countdown to 100

Flashback: The Jarvis Johnson Story
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 7/12/2015 8:50:37 PM

ESPN's SportsCenter broadcasts on Sunday included a lengthy feature story about Jarvis Johnson, who was part of four Class 3A boys basketball state championship teams at DeLaSalle. When he was in eighth grade, Jarvis collapsed at basketball practice and was in fact not alive for several minutes. You can find the TV story by going to ESPN.go.com and clicking on the men's college basketball page.

I wrote about Jarvis back in December, and this seems like a good time to resurrect that story. Here it is ...

Jarvis Johnson, a senior at DeLaSalle, is a well-known name in the boys basketball world. He hopes to lead the Islanders to a fourth consecutive Class 3A state championship this season before continuing his career at the University of Minnesota.

That’s pretty good for a kid who died four years ago.

It was December 2010. He collapsed at basketball practice as an eighth-grader and was clinically dead for between seven and 12 minutes. The story of how he came back to life is amazing, and the fact that he is one of the top athletes in Minnesota – with a surgically inserted defibrilattor keeping watch on his heart -- adds another incredible layer to the story of a young man who is a walking miracle.

I visited Jarvis during his lunch break at school, and he told me the story of what he said was just a regular day…

“I went to practice, stretched out a little bit, I was getting loose going up and down the court and I just collapsed,” he said. He began foaming from the mouth. There was no pulse. Doctors later confirmed it was a heart attack; what 14-year-old kid gets taken down by a heart attack?

Calls were made to 911 and Jarvis’ parents. When his father arrived, paramedics were working on Jarvis but they were not optimistic. Just recently, Jarvis’ dad told his son what took place.

“The ambulance people were saying, ‘Sir, he’s been dead for so long he’s not going to make it,’ ” Jarvis said. “My dad told them he wanted to speak with me for one more minute, and he started talking to me. Then they said I had a pulse. They asked him to keep talking to me.”

Johnson was transported to North Memorial Medical Center, where he was placed into a medically induced coma. He regained consciousness four or five days later and remained hospitalized for two weeks.

“The process was tough,” he said. “That doesn’t happen very often to a 14-year-old.”

No kidding.

The fact that Johnson is a top basketball player is just part of his story today. DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson said Jarvis has become a team leader as well as an inspiration to those who around him.

“What I appreciate most about Jarvis is his attitude and his love of the game,” Thorson said. “I also have a lot of respect for the maturing that’s happened. He’s really been a leader for us in terms of his effort, not only in basketball but in all the other areas that go into being a student-athlete. I can’t tell you proud I am of him and how proud I am of the development that’s taken place.

“He is coming into that role of being a senior leader in a way that I’m just thrilled about. Whether it’s how he communicates in practice, what sort of role modeling he does as a student, how he carries himself. It means something to be an Islander, and he understands that.”

Johnson’s final list of colleges was Minnesota, Wisconsin, Baylor, Nevada-Las Vegas and Wichita State. He said the decision to become a Gopher was an easy one after he made his official visit to the campus that’s only about two miles from DeLaSalle.

“I got a chance to interact with some of the players, went to a class. As soon as I left I felt that the was place for me to be. Just getting to know coach (Richard) Pitino since he’s been here, that’s been excellent. He’s been totally honest throughout the whole recruitment.”

Thorson and the college coaches who recruited Johnson are well aware of his heart history. Jarvis knows that if he feels tired he needs to take himself out of the game; but that hasn’t happened much in recent years.

He also was recruited by Iowa State. The NBA career of Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg was ended by a heart ailment, and Hoiberg has a pacemaker implanted in his chest.

“He and I did have conversations about it,” Johnson said. “It was kind of an interesting topic between me and coach Hoiberg.”

In the immediate aftermath of Johnson’s heart attack, doctors told him he would probably never play basketball again. That was crushing.

“That was probably the most devastating news a kid can hear at 14 years old,” he said. “After that we prayed, I took things slowly, and a few months later we went back for another checkup. The doctor asked me if I really wanted to play again. He said I could play but be cautious, take my time and ask to come out when I felt tired. By the end of the year I almost felt back to being myself.”

Before Johnson was cleared by his doctors, one of them suggested that he take up golf or ping-pong. That didn’t sit too well.

“I was pretty upset after that,” he said, smiling. “I’m not good at either one.”

The 6-foot-1 guard is quick, strong and athletic. He has helped the Islanders win those three state titles and they are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A this season. DeLaSalle has produced a long list of college players; Reid Travis graduated last spring and is now in the starting lineup at Stanford. Johnson is the next in that storied line from the Catholic school that sits on Nicollet Island in the middle of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

“Jarvis is one of those high school athletes who younger kids look to,” Thorson said. “With all the notoriety that happens now with recruiting, and with his decisions, some of that you don’ really ask for, you get it whether you want it or not. But Jarvis does a marvelous job of that, in terms of interacting with those young people.”

Johnson doesn’t mind talking about his health history and doesn’t shy away from questions. He doesn’t think about it all the time, but when he’s falling asleep he sometimes feels the defibrillator.

“I really don’t notice it much, it’s the kind of thing you kind of forget about,” he said. “The only time I really can feel it is sometimes when I’m going to sleep, when everything’s quiet.

“I think about it a lot of times when I’m going to sleep. It’s just like, ‘What if I didn’t have a heart attack, would I be the same person I am today?’ I think about that pretty often.

“I think it would be different. It would definitely be different.”

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