|District Football 2015-16, 2016-17
League adopts District Football scheduling plan for 2015 and beyond
Minnesota State High School League schools should no longer have a reason to travel far out of state to find football opponents or play less than an eight-game regular season football schedule. The League Board of Directors today unanimously adopted a plan that places all member schools with football programs into Districts. The members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts, and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.
For several years League staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular season football schedule. A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and Board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the Board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked hard to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.
"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."
The recommendation approved by the Board of Directors included:
Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
Bylaws to guide the work of each district
Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.
The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.
Districts will have initial meetings in the near future to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process. The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1, 2014.
"We are indebted to the members of the District Football Placement Committee for their diligence and hard work in this process," Merkle told the Board, "They put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and their focus was always on doing what was best for our member schools and their students."
To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click on the link below.
|On “Play For Nat” Night, Communities Come Together In Fun, Support
|Posted by John Millea(firstname.lastname@example.org)- Updated 9/15/2014 2:19:38 PM
|KENYON – The message was simple: “Play For Nat.”
Nat is Natalie Hildebrandt, a sophomore volleyball player at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School. She was recently given a clean bill of health after two years of a knock-down, drag-out fight with cancer. Natalie’s hair is growing back, she has returned to playing volleyball and Thursday night was a celebration that will be remembered forever by those who packed the gym.
There were smiles. And a tailgate party. And a silent auction. And smiles. C-squad, JV and varsity volleyball between the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights and the Cannon Falls Bombers. And smiles. Money was raised, including a “Dash for Cash” through the stands by head volleyball coaches Jen Nerision of K-W and Melissa Huseth of Cannon Falls – who are sisters – between the first and second sets of the varsity match. Ribbons were sold as another way to raise funds. There was a tug-of-war between the football teams from the two schools. Oh, and did I mention the smiles?
“It’s overwhelming,” Natalie told me. “It’s nice to see everybody come out and put this together.”
This was a team effort by lots of people; the Twitter hashtag was #TEAMNAT and that’s how I found out about the evening. Folks from Kenyon-Wanamingo began sending me Tweets about #TEAMNAT night, and making the decision to be there was mighty easy for me. All the money raised went to help Natalie’s family with medical expenses.
Natalie has been through more than anyone should have to face. She was diagnosed in March 2012 and went through chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer returned earlier this year, and she spent about a month and a half of the summer hospitalized in Rochester, where she underwent more rounds of intense chemo and a stem-cell transplant.
All the way through, she has been supported not only by her parents, Kevin and Renee, and her big sister Sarah, but by classmates, teammates and many others. After Natalie learned last March that the disease had returned, more than a dozen boys in town shaved their heads in support and several girls donated hair to Locks of Love.
“It’s very overwhelming,” said Renee, a second-grade teacher at Kenyon-Wanamingo. “To see the support and the love that all the people and all the kids have showed Natalie, we appreciate that so much. It’s just been unbelievable.”
“Play For Nat” was a culmination, a celebration, a turn for everyone to share in the Hildebrandt’s happiness.
Some of the biggest cheers of the night came when Natalie entered the JV volleyball game and served three consecutive points before returning to the bench. Players from both schools wore green socks and green Team Nat t-shirts as warmup tops; many of the fans also wore the same green shirts.
This clearly was not a typical high school athletic event. The purpose of supporting Natalie and her family was the focus, not the final score. Sportsmanship was strong but the effort of the athletes never wavered; whether on the volleyball court or when the Kenyon-Wanamingo and Cannon Falls football teams grabbed opposite ends of a thick rope and tugged on that sucker.
The most frenetic activity of the evening was the Dash for Cash. Nerision and Huseth (who has coached Natalie in offseason volleyball), carried plastic pails, ran up bleacher steps, leaped over seats and people as the fans cheered, all in an attempt to gather as much cash as possible before a timer expired. Wads of bills were squashed together and jammed into the pails.
When the volleyball match resumed, Nerision was not only the Knights’ head coach but head cheerleader, as well. When her sister called a timeout, Jen leapt to her feet and screamed, high-fiving each player as they came to the bench.
This went way beyond winning and losing. This went to the heart of everything that matters most in high school sports: working hard, supporting each other, learning, growing.
“I think it has definitely raised the school spirit around here,” Nerision said of all the support for Natalie. “It brings everybody together, it brings communities together, and that is pretty darn special.”
--To see a photo gallery from “Play For Nat,” go to the MSHSL Facebook page.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 28
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 2,066
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