|Welcome to the Spring Edition of the Bulletin!
The Spring Edition of the Bulletin is hot off the presses, filled with news, features and information for the Minnesota State High School League's member schools.
Inside, see reflections on the completed 100-year anniversary celebration and what may be in store for the League's next 100 years. Also, Coordinator of Officials Jason Nickleby makes his writing debut, and don't forget to take the MSHSL's Quickie Quiz.
It's all here in the latest edition of the Bulletin.
|What your appearance says about you
By Dave Boland
You’re familiar with the cliché: “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.” Well, one of the reasons certain phrases become clichés is that they are absolutely true, so there’s no need to say it any other way.
During this past basketball season, I had the opportunity to see a lot of high school games. I had an extra motivation because my oldest grandson was captain of the Old Saybrook (Connecticut) High School varsity team and I wanted to watch him play. At his team’s home and away games, I saw plenty of officials who had a chance to make a good first impression on me but did not. Many were overweight and generally in such poor physical condition that they had difficulty running up and down the court and keeping up with the play, let alone getting in position to have the best possible angles to see plays and make proper rulings.
Physical conditioning is paramount to being a good official in most any sport, especially basketball. When an official is not in shape and looks so on the court, coaches, players, athletic directors and spectators form a negative impression about that official’s ability. It often prompts another cliché either from the bench or the stands: “How can you make a call from way out there?” It’s not an unwarranted complaint if the official is out of position because he or she can’t get to a better spot.
I sometimes ask myself: How can these officials be allowed to work varsity games? I wonder if standards in high school may be a bit lax. I can tell you from personal experience that the standards for physical conditioning are much higher at the college and professional levels. I am a college women’s basketball observer and in that role I see a fair number of UConn and Providence games. Rarely, if ever, have I had to make a comment about the physical condition of the officials I observe at those games.
I have also had the opportunity to talk with some NBA officials who have served on the faculty of my Stripes University camp – as well as with my son Matt, who is an NBA official – about the league’s physical standards and requirements. For one thing, NBA officials attend a preseason camp in late September. In addition to written exams and updates on new rules, they are subject to in-depth and very rigorous physical fitness tests. Those, if any, who do not pass the physical tests are asked to leave and can only return if and when they work themselves into good enough shape to meet the test criteria.
Look at most of today's pro basketball officials. They look athletic and they move athletically. That’s what the league wants.
Let me throw another cliché at you: “Perception is reality.” How you look on the court is just as important as what you do on the court. That may be a little unfair, but it’s true. Not everyone is born to be tall and svelte. Some who are on the short and stocky side may actually be in great shape and can run the court just as well as anyone else — maybe better. Sometimes, though, the official with the more athletic look gets more and better opportunities because of it, even though he or she may not be as good an official as others who don’t have that look. That’s not fair, but it’s life.
The bottom line is that, whatever the body type, an official can and should become and remain physically fit. An official can and should do whatever conditioning it takes to be able to hustle on the court and get in the best position for every play. When officials do, good things happen. Rulings are more accurate because they can see the play better. Plus, by being in position, officials diffuse a lot of potential complaints and arguments from coaches and others. A coach may not like a call that goes against his or her team, but if that coach sees that an official was right where he or she needed to be to make that call, the coach can usually accept it.
Finally, perhaps the best incentive to become and remain in great shape is that it can improve an official’s health, well-being, and longevity regardless of whether you officiate a sport. So, to quote an ad slogan that is so recognizable, it has become a cliché:
“Just do it.
Editor's note: Dave Boland, a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, is a veteran basketball officials and a 50-year IAABO member. He is also a member of the National Collegiate Soccer Hall of fame as an official. He co-founded Timing is Everything, an organization that supplies professionally trained table and game management to New England area colleges, and is Executive Commissioner of Stripes University, a high level school for strong-potential basketball referees.
|Indianapolis Colts draft Brainerd graduate Joe Haeg
By Mike Bialka, Brainerd Daily Dispatch
LAKE SHORE, Minn. — Joe Haeg was relaxing at his parent’s home in Lake Shore on Saturday afternoon, playing cards, when his cell phone rang.
The display on his phone read “Indianapolis.”
Haeg took the call and began to smile. On the line was Colts head coach Chuck Pagano who was calling to inform the Brainerd High School graduate that Indianapolis had selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, 155th overall.
“Actually they were probably one of the teams most interested in me,” Haeg said Saturday. “I had an official meeting with them at the (NFL) Combine. They were the only team that I actually did have a meeting with — I had unofficial meetings with a lot of teams. I had a great talk with Coach Pagano, their entire staff, the general manager, the owner. I definitely knew they were a team I wanted to play for.”
He is believed to be the third Brainerd native drafted by the NFL. Gene Bierhaus was drafted in 1943 by the Green Bay Packers. Jon Jelacic was drafted in 1958 by the Chicago Cardinals.
Haeg developed into a pro prospect with an All-American career at North Dakota State University. The Bison won four FCS national titles during his 4-year tenure as a starter — his first two years at left offensive tackle, his junior and senior years at right tackle.
He was a 10-time All-American, was a finalist for the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year, was the College Sporting News Offensive Lineman of the Year (twice), was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team selection, and was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week five times.
In January, he was selected to play in the Senior Bowl but did not play in the game due to a shoulder injury. In February, according to nfl.com, Haeg turned in the top performance by an offensive tackle at the NFL Combine in broad jump, 3-cone drill and shuttle run.
Haeg was the third offensive lineman drafted in the first five rounds by the Colts. Their No. 1 pick was Alabama center Ryan Kelly before selecting offensive tackle Le’Raven Clark of Texas Tech in the third round.
“They struggled in (the offensive line) last season so we’ll see,” Haeg said. “I’m definitely excited. I can’t wait to get down there.”
The Colts’ offseason workout programs began April 18. Organized team activities are scheduled May 17-19, May 24-26 and May 31-June 3. Mandatory minicamp is June 7-9.
Haeg said he leaves Thursday for a rookie mini camp and will fly back May 9 to finish his finals at NDSU. He will graduate with a degree in civil engineering.
Haeg said it was difficult to continue his studies while working out for the draft.
“At times, I would say the first month or so, I would get behind a lot because I was constantly working out, 10 hours a day,” he said. “The last couple months it hasn’t been too crazy. I had a couple workouts every week with teams but I was able to catch up pretty decent. I’m excited to graduate on top of all this too.”
Depending on what day of the week and which draft source you consulted, Haeg was projected to be picked between the second and fourth rounds. He said waiting until the fifth wasn’t agonizing.
“It hasn’t been bad at all,” he said. “I’m just happy for the opportunities I’ve been given and I’ve tried to enjoy it as much as I can. I’m just very happy to find out where I’m going.
“A lot of it depended on how many tackles were taken before me. In the first round, I think there were five taken, Friday I think there were three so that played into it. When it comes down to it, I’m very happy with the Colts. They’re one of the teams I definitely wanted to get to. If it meant dropping back a round or two to get in the right situation, I’m all for that.”
Haeg believes his athleticism is one of his biggest attributes as he heads to the next level.
“(The Colts) run a lot of zone scheme plays that requires guys to be real athletic,” he said. “I think that’s something I bring to the table. On top of that, I can work on continuing to develop, getting stronger, making sure I’m coachable, block how they want me to block, get used to the speed of the game.”
His journey to become an NFL draft pick is nothing short of incredible. At BHS, he was an all-state tackle who played in state semifinal games his junior and senior years. Tipping the scales at about 235 pounds, he received no interest from Division I colleges. He did have an offer from the University of North Dakota but it was rescinded following a coaching change. So when NDSU invited him to be a preferred walk on, he accepted.
“Honestly it’s been a whirlwind,” Haeg said. “I would say there were definitely times where I would say ‘There’s no way I could do that.’ My goal was always to make myself better every day, not necessarily for individual goals.
“In high school, it was not like I wanted to get better so I could be an all-state player and be on (a college) scholarship. I just wanted to get better for my teammates. That’s the same idea I had throughout my entire career. I’ve always been a team guy. I’m just happy to have had the success that I’ve had.”
|You Go Girls: This Is A Golden Era In Track And Field
|Posted by John Millea(email@example.com)- Updated 5/2/2016 2:40:38 PM
|Is 2016 the best season in the history of Minnesota high school girls track and field? There is evidence to support that statement, and much of it was on display Friday evening at the Hamline Elite Meet.
The 11th annual Elite Meet – held in St. Paul at Hamline University’s Klas Field, the site of the MSHSL state championships June 10-11 – brought together a field of dominant female athletes. It included state champions in every individual footrace and most of the other events.
That’s right, at every distance from 100 meters to 3,200 meters, including hurdles races of 100 and 300 meters, at least one defending state champion was in the girls field for every race. The same held true for two of the four girls relay races and four of the six field events.
“Each year with the Elite Meet you can kind of pick out a particular event,” said Scott Stallman, who coached track and cross-country at Chaska High School for 36 years before retiring in 2011 and now works as a meet official as well as the stadium announcer at the Elite Meet and the MSHSL championships. “A year or so ago it was the boys 1,600 and it was going to be a premier event, it was a who’s who. But this year every event was like that. You just could go down the list.”
And here’s even more proof of the quality of female track and field athletes we’re seeing right now: The Elite Meet field included three girls who already own all-time state records. Those record holders are …
--Wayzata senior Ruby Stauber, whose time of 2:06.50 from last season is the state record in the 800 meters. She has signed with Louisiana State.
--Thief River Falls senior Meleah Biermaier, who set a state record of 42.13 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles at the 2015 state meet. She has signed with Minnesota.
--Rochester Century senior Andrianna Jacobs is a three-time state champ in the pole vault who set the state record of 13 feet, 7 ¼ inches last season and came into 2016 as the best female high school pole vaulter in the nation. She has signed with Nebraska.
Those three athletes won those events Friday at Hamline, and they have a lot of company among some of the most dominant female track and field athletes Minnesota has seen in a long time. Let’s run down the list …
--Chanhassen senior Jedah Caldwell, the defending state champion in the 100 and 200, won both events at the Elite Meet.
--Bloomington Kennedy junior Honour Finley won the 400 at state last year and did the same at the Elite Meet.
--Alexandria senior Bethany Hasz won the Elite Meet 1,600, adding to a resume that includes state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 and two cross-country state championships. (Her twin sister Megan, who holds one cross-country state crown and state-meet medals in the 1,600 and 3,200, did not run Friday because of an injury.)
--Forest Lake senior Emma Benner (pictured above) won the Elite Meet title in the 3,200, outlasting two extremely young state champs. Finishing second was Winona Cotter seventh-grader Grace Ping (last fall’s Class 1A cross-country state champion); third was Breck eighth-grader Morgan Richter, the 2015 1A state champ in the 3,200.
--The girls 100-meter hurdles field Friday included two state champs and a state runner-up. The winner was East Ridge senior and defending 2A champ Karina Joiner. Staples-Motley junior Millie Klefsass (the 2015 1A state runner-up) was fifth and Biermaier was sixth.
--In the relays, defending state championship teams from St. Michael-Albertville (4x100) and Waconia (4x200) won Elite Meet titles. Pequot Lakes, the defending state champ in Class 1A, placed sixth in the 4x400.
--Along with Jacobs in the pole vault, other defending state champs in field events Friday were Eden Prairie senior Ashley Ramacher (high jump), Jordan junior Jenna Kess (1A champ in the triple jump) and Eastview senior Natalie Manders in the discus.
There are 18 events in Minnesota high school track and field, and 10 of the state records on the girls side were set from 2013 to 2015. (On the boys side, four state records were set during that time.) Two of the oldest girls records were broken last year: Stauber broke the 1984 record in the 800 set by Blooming Prairie’s Jeanne Kruckeberg and Biermaier broke the 1987 mark in the 300 hurdles set by Roseau’s Liesa Brateng in 1987.
“There’s no question” that this is the best era in Minnesota girls track and field history, said Stallman, who began his high school coaching career in 1975, three years after girls track became an MSHSL sport.
“I go back to the very beginning of girls track and this is by far the best era that I can remember,” he said. “There was a time, maybe in the mid ‘80s, where they looked pretty strong. But there’s been nothing like this, top to bottom.”
Kennedy’s Finley is following in the fast footsteps of one of the state’s top all-time sprinters, who also went to Kennedy. Vanessa Clarida, a 2004 graduate, was a ninth-grader in 2001 when she set state records in the 200 (23.93) and 400 (54.36). Those are currently the oldest girls state records on the books.
Pete Svien, who has been the girls track coach at Kennedy since 1998, coached Clarida back then and coaches Finley now. He wouldn’t be surprised if Finley breaks Clarida’s state record in the 400.
“I think the 400 is Honour’s sweet spot,” he said. “She’s got something special, that’s for sure. If I had to predict, I would say if we have a good day Vanessa’s record in the 400 will be gone by the end of the season.”
Weather can be a huge factor in record-setting track and field performances, and Friday’s conditions at Hamline were nearly perfect. Eleven meet records were established on an evening with temperatures in the upper 50s, clear skies and little wind.
Clarida set her state records on a hot day at the 2001 MSHSL track and field meet. If similar conditions are present at the 2016 meet on June 10-11, expect big things.
“If we get some heat,” Svien said, “that state meet is going to be a barn burner, that’s for sure.”
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 654
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 10,255
More of John's Journal
|You Go Girls: This Is A Golden Era In Track And Field.Check out John's Journal.John's Journal|
|This week's boys lacrosse rankings, provided by the boys lacrosse coaches association...1 Eden Prairie|
4 Lakeville North
6 Prior Lake
7 Bloomington Jefferson
12 East Ridge
13 Lakeville South
15 White Bear Lake
|This week's boys tennis rankings, courtesy of the coaches association...CLASS 1A|
3 St. Peter
8 St. Paul Academy
9 Mound Westonka
tie: 10 Rochester Lourdes
tie: 10 Litchfield
1 Ben Ingbar, Blake
2 Jack Barker, Blake
3 Zach Kantor, Foley
4 Joe Mairs, Blake
5 Ryan Ortega, Winona Cotter
6 Austin Wong, Breck
7 Zach Straw, East Grand Forks
8 Zeke Haugen, St. Peter
9 Scott Perunovich, Hibbing
10 Lewis White, BreckCLASS 2A
2 East Ridge
4 Rochester Century
5 Rochester Mayo
8 Mounds View
9 Lakeville South
10 Eden Prairie
1 Jackson Allen, Shakopee
2 Charlie Adkins, Maple Grove
3 Sebastian Vile, Rochester Mayo
4 Nick Beaty, Wayzata
5 Ben van der Sman, East Ridge
6 Anthony Rosa, Eden Prairie
7 Nikita Snezhko, Armstrong
8 Jake Trondson, Mounds View
9 Simon Guzan, Benilde-St. Margaret's
10 Chase Roseth, Lakeville South