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Synchronized Swimming State Meet is May 25-26
Home Page Photo The annual Synchronized Swimming Invitational State Meet is this week at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. Wayzata is the 10-time defending team state champion in the event that is sponsored and organized by the coaches association.

The Minnesota State High School League has sanctioned Synchronized Swimming as an activity since 1986. There are three activities associations in the nation that sanction girls synchronized swimming: Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio. According to statistics provided by the National Federation of High School Associations, during the 2015-16 school year, there were 612 participants nationally among the three states, 432 of them from Minnesota.

Ohio is the only state to sanction boys synchronized swimming.

Here is a look at the state meet:

When: Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26

Where: Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center, University of Minnesota campus

The Schedule:

Thursday, May 25

8:30 a.m. --- Figures, Figure, Solo and Duet Routine Finals

1:00 p.m. --- Routines

Friday, May 26

8:15 a.m. --- Trio and Team Routine Finals

2017 Synchronized Swimming programs: The Blake School, Columbia Heights, Eden Prairie, Edina, Forest Lake, Hopkins, Richfield, St. Louis Park, Stillwater, Wayzata, Bloomington Jefferson, Grand Rapids/Greenway; Osseo, Prior Lake.

Did you know? Sally Callahan of St. Louis Park, a 2003 inductee of the Minnesota State High School League's Hall of Fame, was a pioneer in the development of synchronized swimming in Minnesota. She was Minnesota’s first head rules clinician, and also created the section and state format for the state meet.

Adapted Athletics
For more than 20 years, adapted athletics has provided thousands of students the opportunity to participate in Minnesota State High School League events. To see what the excitement is all about, check out this League-produced video for more information.


One Arm? That’s No Problem For Onamia’s Amazing Shan Donovan
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 5/22/2017 11:39:17 AM

ONAMIA – Shan Donovan was standing near the right-field foul line, playing catch with a teammate before the Onamia High School varsity baseball team hosted Pine City. After a couple of tosses, Shan (his name is pronounced “Shawn”) shouted, “Get a little closer. My arm’s not warmed up yet.”

As the boys got loose, Shan did what he does every day on the ballfield. He caught the ball in the glove on his right hand, flipped the glove off, grabbed the ball in mid-air with his bare hand and tossed it before leaning down to pick up the glove and re-start the process.

The fact that Shan does not have a left arm is no impediment for the Panthers’ sophomore starting catcher. He also plays football and basketball, sings in the school choir and acts in school plays. He is proficient with several musical instruments, including the tuba, trumpet and piano. And he does it all with one arm.

“If you tell him he can’t do it, he’s going to find a way to do it,” said Jason Runyan, Onamia’s head coach for baseball and boys basketball. “He lives the high school life. He’s involved in everything.”

Shan doesn’t know anything different. Born in China without a left arm, he was five years old when he was adopted by Cathy Donovan, a physican in Onamia.

Shortly after arriving in this small town a few miles south of Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota, Shan began getting involved in sports. First came karate and then taekwondo, followed by almost every other activity he could get his hand on.

“He just wants to be involved in everything and that’s how he got into sports,” said Cathy. When asked if Shan is so heavily involved in sports and other activites that he overextends himself, she laughed and said, “No. I get overextended, he doesn’t.”

Playing baseball presents specific challenges to Shan. He uses his teeth to tighten the Velcro strap on his batting glove. But like putting on shin guards and a chest protector, it’s second nature. Crouching behind home plate, he shakes off his mitt, flashes signals to the pitcher, puts the glove back on, catches the pitch and with one shake of his hand the glove flies off, he grabs the ball and throws it back to the mound. When a baserunner attempts to steal, Shan is lightning quick in getting the ball into his throwing hand and firing.

He is a switch-hitter who bats from the right side of the plate when the bases are empty; with runners on he moves to the left side and is likely to put down a bunt, using his speed to dash to first base.

“He has more power from the right side and he’s a lethal bunter from the left side,” Runyan said. “We ask a lot of him, in bunting situations especially. He’s very fast. He just works hard, that’s all there is to it.”

Runyan, who is in his first year at Onamia, admits he thought Shan was kidding when, shortly after Jason arrived in town, Shan told him, “I play catcher.”

“I thought it was a joke, honestly. I did. It wasn’t a joke, obviously. I put him back there at catcher and right away he was good, blocking every ball. What amazed me the most I guess was when the first kid stole, I didn’t know how it was going to go down. I’d seen a little in practice, but it was an instant flip of the glove and he throws.”

To perfect his catching/throwing motion, Shan watched online videos of people who had lost limbs but played baseball or softball anyway, many of them veterans.

“It’s one of those sports that’s pretty complicated because most everybody sees it as a two-arm sport,” he said. “You definitely have to use two arms; catch with one and throw with the other.”

Shan has been fitted with a prosthetic arm. He doesn’t use it, calling it “annoying.” His desire to try new things is a testament to his positive attitude.

“I don’t find really anything challenging, unless there’s absolutely ones where you definitely need two arms to do,” he said. “Most (amusement park) rides, they tell me I can’t ride them because you need to hold on with two hands. But that’s not really a problem. The one I really have an issue with is making friendship bracelets. I’m not a big fan of it and I don’t do it much.”

When his school schedule included a pottery class, he wasn’t thrilled about attempting to create pottery with one hand. In the end, though, he enjoyed the class and discovered he was a talented potter.

Playing mostly junior varsity basketball last winter, Shan didn’t do a lot of scoring but Runyan called him one of the leaders on the JV and the best defensive player. Shan’s basketball practice were sometimes limited because he had to rush off to other activities.

Runyan said, “There were three of four practices where he would come up and say, ‘Hey coach, I’ve got to go practice for the musical’ or ‘I’ve got to go practice with the jazz band.’ I thought, ‘You’re doing it all. You’re livin’ it, man.’ ”

While Shan realizes he is an inspiring figure, he doesn’t outwardly try to portray himself that way. He’s just a high school kid doing what busy high school kids do.

“I go to a camp where a lot of people look up to me,” he said. “I inspire people without realizing that I’m inspiring them. I’m not really trying to do that.”

His mom recalled when Shan helped a group of elementary students work on basketball skills. The kids, most of them righthanded, were less than excited about trying to shoot with their left hand.

“One or two of them were complaining, so Shan gave them a pep talk,” Cathy said.

Shan’s grandparents, George and Shirley Donovan, watched the Onamia-Pine City game in lawn chairs along with their daughter Cathy and the family dog, Flash. (Everybody, including Flash, nibbled on peanuts.)

Shirley talked about seeing a magazine photo of an amputee climbing Mount Everest and asking Shan, “Did you see this?”

To which Shan’s mom quickly interjected, “Don’t give him any ideas.”

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

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 655
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,147
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

More of John's Journal

The True Purpose of Sports

Sports are a valued part of our culture. We value sports because we believe the students who are involved acquire something through their participation. But have we ever looked closely at how they benefit? What do the students who participate in our programs actually get and what is the purpose of education-based sports.

In a recent message to his school community, Charlie Campbell, the Athletic Administrator at Brainerd High School stated,

"The high school sports experience is squeezed between two models that challenge school communities on the purpose of education-based programs. It's easy to be confused. On one end of the continuum, the media, through their constant focus on professional and 'big-time' collegiate sports, continually tells us that sports, and the athletes that participate in them have value if they win and only if they win. The end of each season brings about the firing and hiring of coaches, and players are traded, demoted, or drafted in hopes of winning more games. And, of course, in this entertainment-based system of sport there is one primary objective and that is to make money. On the other end of the continuum, well-intentioned youth, traveling and club programs are creating teams for 8, 9, and 10-year old children and trying to 'win' myriad weekend tournaments, creating all-star teams, vying for national championships and generally reinforcing the notion that if you're good (at age 8, 9, or 10) you have value.

For Athletics to be education-based, whereby we are developing better people and not just better athletes, we must be intentional—we must be awake and understand the purpose. Purpose must resonate with us in our human condition. If you Google 'purpose' the first hit (after the definitions) is Rick Warren's best-selling book, The Purpose Drive Life. Wikipedia says that as of 2007, over 30 million copies have been sold and that Purpose Driven Life is the 2nd most translated book after The Bible. It seems purpose is something we are all searching for. Webster would say Purpose is, 'The reason for which something is done, or for which something exists.' To put it more simply, it is the WHY."

The great call of a coach is to be awake—mindful of what students in our programs are really getting. Our main role as a coach in education-based athletics is the human development of every student on our team. Winning is the by-product of something bigger, an awareness in us that transforms a game of throwing a ball through a hoop into an opportunity to create caring, empathetic, responsible members of society. When coaches are awake, they take the student's learning of physical skills and Xs and Os to the next level. They concurrently teach them the WHYs, the lasting values acquired through the learning of those same physical skills. For this to happen, coaches must understand their purpose and WHY they coach. Campbell states,

"Though most coaches are fiercely competitive, and they work tirelessly to help young athletes win and find success, when you ask them about their purpose, you will hear them talk about instilling discipline, developing mental and physical toughness, teaching students to dream big, demanding accountability, creating a positive family culture where every student belongs, cooperation, passion, the necessity of intense preparation, sportsmanship and perseverance. And so this is our platform in education-based athletics; to teach core values and qualities that transcend the outcome on the scoreboard and contribute to the well-being and human growth and development of the student-athletes we serve."

Consciously creating a game plan is necessary to transform a student's experience from only Xs and Os to value-filled WHYs. Asking the right questions, creating awareness, and providing experiences with greater depth are key to lasting success. When this happens, success will no longer be measured only by the outcome on the scoreboard or the acquisition of a new physical skill. Instead, the true measurement of success will be seen in the students who learn the valuable life lessons participation in education-based athletics provides.      

League News
MSHSL Behavior Expectations 
Representative Assembly Agenda: 5-15-17 
Executive Committee Agenda: May 15, 2017 
Representative Assembly: Amendments 
April Board Meeting Synopsis 
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John Millea
13h ago
Well done.

John Millea
14h ago
Rosemount High School football coach Jeff Erdmann is running for Congress. Here's his first campaign video...youtube.com/watch?v=uvWl2f

John Millea
2d ago
No. 1 teams in this week's baseball rankings
1A/ Parkers Prairie
2A/ Belle Plaine
3A/ St. Cloud Tech
4A/ Stillwater

John Millea
2d ago
Wayzata HS assistant girls swimming and diving coach Heather Arseth has been named the new head coach for the Trojans.

John Millea
4d ago
New Prague news: Matt Anderson named head girls soccer coach, boys basketball coach Bryce Tesdahl named assistant activities director

Amy Doherty
4d ago
Great explanation John! Includes Gracious Professionalism, More than Robots, more. It's at 9:00 here: cbsloc.al/2qJKVrf

Amy Doherty
4d ago
Looking at Saturday pics from MNPrepphoto.com. Was this happening all day and how did I miss it? I'm a fan. @KMRobotics2017

MSHSL 4d ago
Onamia's inspiring Shan Donovan.

John Millea
4d ago
One Arm? That’s No Problem For Onamia’s Amazing Shan Donovan. Check out John's Journal. mshsl.org/mshsl/johnsjou

MSHSL 4d ago
The fact that Shan Donovan does not have a left arm is no impediment for Onamia High School's sophomore starting catcher. He also plays football and basketball, sings in the school choir and acts in school plays. He is proficient with several musical instruments, including the tuba, trumpet and piano. And he does it all with one arm."If you tell him he can't do it, he's going to find a way to do it," said Jason Runyan, Onamia's head coach for baseball and boys basketball. "He lives the high school life. He's involved in everything."Read about Shan on John's Journal: John's Journal

John Millea
4d ago
Coming soon to John's Journal: The incredible story of this remarkable baseball player.

John Millea
5d ago
The final boys tennis rankings of the season have been posted on the Facebook page.facebook.com/mshsl.org/

MSHSL 5d ago
The final boys tennis rankings of the season, provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.CLASS 1A
1 Blake
2 Rochester Lourdes
3 Breck
4 St. Paul Academy
5 Mound Westonka
6 Litchfield
7 Holy Family Catholic
8 St. James
9 Virginia
10 Hibbing

1 Ben Ingbar, Blake
2 Jack Barker, Blake
3 Joe Mairs, Blake
4 Karthik Papisetty, Breck
5 Thomas Metz, Breck
6 Mathew Metz, Breck
7 Peter Erickson, Rochester Lourdes
8 Justin Bobo, Rochester Lourdes
9 Ryan Ortega, Winona Cotter
10 Jose Williamson, MinnehahaCLASS 2A
1 Minnetonka
2 East Ridge
3 Lakeville South
4 Edina
5 Mounds View
6 Rochester Mayo
7 Rochester Century
8 Wayzata
9 Eastview
tie 10 Orono
tie 10 Minneapolis Washburn

1 Ben van der Sman, East Ridge
2 Sebastian Vile, Rochester Mayo
3 Nikita Snezhko, Armstrong
4 Conner Olsen, Orono
5 Maxim Zagrebelny, Eagan
6 Gavin Young, Eastview
7 Varun Iyer, Rochester Century
8 Chase Roseth, Lakeville South
9 Nick Aney, Rochester Century
10 Carter Mason, Eden Prairie

John Millea
5d ago
I'll be talking clay targets, adapted bowling and robotics on 50,000 watts of raw AM power with @SteveThomsonMN on @wccoradio at 4:15

John Millea
5d ago
This is tremendous. Congrats to our friends in Colorado!

Amy Doherty
5d ago
Love it. There aren't many activities that bring kids together from around the state like this does! What a fun day.

John Millea
6d ago
Well done.

John Millea
6d ago
Adapted Bowling and Robotics, two of the many activities that are possible because of the importance of education in our great state.


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