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State Girls’ Dance Team Tournament
Home Page Photo All six teams return to defend 2015 titles

All six championship teams return to defend titles at the 2016 State Girls' Dance Team Tournament. Two teams are returning in search of their third consecutive titles: Benilde-St. Margaret's of St. Louis Park in Jazz (Class AA) and Aitkin in High Kick (Class A).
Four teams are seeking their second consecutive titles: Marshall School of Duluth in Class A Jazz; Maple Grove in Class AAA Jazz; and Sartell-St. Stephen in Class AA High Kick. Faribault, which includes students from Bethlehem Academy of Faribault, also returns. The Emerald Dance Team, which won the Class AAA High Kick title in 2015, will compete in Class AA this year.

The 20th Minnesota State High School League tournament for dance teams, which features squads from 46 schools, will be held at Target Center in Minneapolis. The Jazz dancers will compete on Friday, Feb. 12, and the High Kick competition is set for Saturday, Feb. 13.
The 2016 tournament will actually be the 42nd state competition for dance teams. Until 1997 the previous events were conducted by the Minnesota Association of Dancelines, later renamed the Minnesota Association of Dance Teams. The Minnesota State High School League added girls' dance team as a sponsored athletic activity in March 1996. Although sponsored by the League as an athletic activity, individual schools' girls' dance teams must meet stringent federal Title IX guidelines to be considered a sport.

High Kick Division
All three of the 2015 champions will try to defend their titles in the High Kick category: Aitkin in Class A and Sartell-St. Stephen in Class AA. Faribault, which won in Class AAA last year, will compete in Class AA this year. If Aitkin wins it would be the third consecutive crown for the All Starz. Of the 2015 finalists, 16 return to compete in the High Kick category.

Class A Qualifiers: (Section 1) St. Charles, Lake City, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa; (Section 2) Cannon Falls and Randolph; (Section 3) Montevideo, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, BOLD of Olivia, and Yellow Medicine East of Granite Falls; (Section 4) Frazee, Aitkin, and Crosby-Ironton.

Class AA Qualifiers: (Section 1) Faribault, which includes students from Bethlehem Academy of Faribault, Austin, and, South St. Paul; (Section 2) Totino-Grace of Fridley, Benilde-St. Margaret's of St. Louis Park, and Fridley; (Section 3) Mound Westonka, Hutchinson, and Delano; (Section 4) Sartell-St. Stephen, Rocori of Cold Spring, and St. Cloud Cathedral, which includes students from St. Cloud Christian School.

Class AAA Qualifiers: (Section 1) Eastview of Apple Valley, Lakeville South, Lakeville North; (Section 2) Wayzata, Chaska, and Maple Grove; (Section 3) Henry Sibley of Mendota Heights, Spring Lake Park, and Centennial of Circle Pines; (Section 4) Brainerd, which includes students from Pillager, Anoka, and St. Cloud Tech.

Jazz Division
Benilde St. Margaret’s of St. Louis Park is looking for its third consecutive Jazz title. The Knightettes won the past two years in Class AA. Marshall School of Duluth (Class A) and Maple Grove (Class AAA) also return in search of more gold. Overall, 15 finalists from 2015 return to compete in the 2016 tournament.

Class A Qualifiers: (Section 1) Dover-Eyota and Zumbrota-Mazeppa; (Section 2) Randolph and Cannon Falls; (Section 3) BOLD of Olivia, Yellow Medicine East of Granite Falls, Worthington, and Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd; (Section 4) Frazee, Aitkin, Marshall School, and Pelican Rapids.

Class AA Qualifiers: (Section 1) South St. Paul, Faribault, which includes students from Bethlehem Academy of Faribault, and Simley of Inver Grove Heights; (Section 2) Totino-Grace of Fridley, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and Duluth Denfeld; (Section 3) Mound Westonka, Marshall, and Rockford; (Section 4) Sartell-St. Stephen, Rocori of Cold Spring, and St. Cloud Cathedral, which includes students from St. Cloud Christian School.

Class AAA Qualifiers: (Section 1) Eastview of Apple Valley, Lakeville North, and Prior Lake; (Section 2) Maple Grove, Wayzata, and Edina; (Section 3) Mounds View, Henry Sibley of Mendota Heights, and Spring Lake Park; (Section 4) Blaine, which includes students from Legacy Christian Academy of Andover, Anoka, and St. Cloud Tech.

Judges observe the routines and award points on a 100-point scale. Judging criteria are subdivided into five categories. The four common categories of criteria are: 1) Execution; 2) Choreography; 3) Difficulty; and 4) Routine Effectiveness. The fourth category is unique for each type of dance. In the High Kick division the judges look for straight backs and legs, pointed feet, uniform height and place of kicks, level hips, foot placement, and arm connections. In the Jazz category judges are looking for rotation timing and completion, posture, difficulty of skills, and flexibility movements.
Point values in each of the judging criteria are awarded as follows: 10 for Superior; 9 for Excellent; 8 for Very Good; 7 for Good; 6 for Above Average; 5 for Average; 4 for Below Average; 3 for Marginal; 2 for Poor; and 1 for Very Poor. After the qualifying competition for each type of dance in each class, six finalists are announced and those teams compete again to determine the state champion.

Tournament Schedule
Friday, Feb. 12 — Jazz
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.Class A Qualifying Competition
1:15 p.m.Class A Finalists Announced
2:00-4:15 p.m. AA and Class AAA Qualifying Competition
4:30 p.m. Class AA Finalists Announced
4:45 p.m. Class AAA Finalists Announced
5:30 p.m. Class A Finals and Awards Presentations
7:15 p.m. Class AA and Class AAA Finals and Awards Presentations
Saturday, Feb. 13 — High Kick
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Class A Qualifying Competition
1:15 p.m. Class A Finalists Announced
2:00-4:15 p.m. Class AA and Class AAA Qualifying Competition
4:30 p.m. Class AA Finalists Announced
4:45 p.m. Class AAA Finalists Announced
5:30 p.m. Class A Finals and Awards Presentations
7:15 p.m. Class AA and Class AAA Finals and Awards Presentations

Tickets for the 2016 State Girls' Dance Team Tournament will be available at the Target Center box office beginning at 10 a.m. each day. Adult tickets cost $14 and student tickets cost $9.

Live Webcast
The entire tournament will be webcast live at Prep45.com for a cost of $6.97 per day or $10.97 for both days.
Advance News Release
State Girls’ Hockey Tournament
Home Page Photo Hill-Murray returns to defend Class AA title

Six of last year's 16 qualifiers are making return trips to the 2016 Girls' Hockey State Tournament, including the two-time defending Class AA champions from Hill-Murray of Maplewood. The Blake School, a perennial state tournament entrant, is back after a runner-up finish in Class A in 2015.
There are four teams making their first state tournament appearances: Northfield and Luverne in Class A, and Maple Grove and Sartell/Sauk Rapids in Class AA.

Hill-Murray earned the No. 1 seed in Class AA. The Pioneers are attempting to become the second consecutive big school to win three Class AA championships in a row. Minnetonka was the first to accomplish the feat from 2011-13. In 2013, Minnetonka defeated Hill-Murray in the big-school title game.
Edina is the No. 2 seed in Class AA followed by No. 3 Eden Prairie. Maple Grove earned the No. 4 seed and Lakeville South is No. 5.

The Blake School earned the No. 1 seed in the Class A field. The Bears, who lost to Thief River Falls in last year's small-school championship game, are trying to win their state-best sixth state championship. Warroad earned the No. 2 seed followed by St. Paul United at No. 3. Proctor/Hermantown is the No. 4 seed and New Prague is No. 5.

This is the 22nd state tournament, but only the eighth year that the event has been seeded. It is the 10th consecutive year that eight teams will compete in both Class A and Class AA. Only four teams competed in the 1995 and 1996 state tournaments, and eight teams competed from 1997 through 2001.
This is also the 11th year that all championship rounds of the tournament will be played at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. All consolation games will be conducted at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

Class A Quarterfinals
Section 1A Northfield (19-9-0) vs. (No. 2 seed) Section 8A Warroad (23-3-1) — 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17
Section 6A Alexandria (18-7-1) vs. (No. 3) Section 4A St. Paul United (21-5-1) — 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17
Section 3A Luverne (20-6-0) vs. (No. 1) Section 5A The Blake School (23-2-2) — 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17
(No. 5) Section 2A New Prague (17-9-1) vs. (No. 4) Section 7A Proctor/Hermantown (19-7-1) — 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17

Class AA Quarterfinals
Section 3AA Eastview (18-6-4) vs. (No. 2 seed) Section 6AA Edina (19-7-1) — 11:00 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 18
Section 7AA Forest Lake (18-7-3) vs. (No. 3) Section 2AA Eden Prairie (19-7-2) — 1:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18
Section 8AA Sartell/Sauk Rapids (21-7-0) vs. (No. 1) Section 4AA Hill-Murray (28-0-1) — 6:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18
(No. 5) Section 1AA Lakeville South (20-5-2) vs. (No. 4) Section 5AA Maple Grove (20-5-2) — 8:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18

Consolation semifinals in Class A will be played at 10 a.m. and noon on Thursday, Feb. 18 at Ridder Arena. The consolation championship will be played at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Ridder Arena. In Class AA, the consolation semifinal games will be played at 10 a.m. and noon on Friday, Feb. 19 at Ridder Arena. The consolation championship will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, at Ridder Arena.

The Class A championship semifinals will take place at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The championship semifinal games for Class AA will be played at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

The Class A third-place game will be played at 9 a.m. on Saturday, February 20, at the Xcel Energy Center, and the Class AA third-place game will follow at 11 a.m. Both championship games will then be conducted in one session starting with the Class A game at 4 p.m. The Class AA title game will begin at 7 p.m.

Webcast and Television Coverage
All eight quarterfinal games will be webcast live on Prep45.com. There is a daily charge of $6.97 or a three-day rate of $14.97. The championship semifinals and championship games for both classes will be broadcast live on KSTC-TV, Channel 45, as well as on other broadcast and cable outlets throughout the state. Those televised games will also be streamed live by Prep45.com.

Tickets and Special Promotions
Tickets for the 2016 State Girls' Hockey Tournament will be available one hour before each afternoon or evening two-game session at the respective venues. Tickets cost $17.00 for adults and $11.00 for students for all championship sessions, and $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for students for all consolation sessions.

Advance News Release
Wakefield selected recipient of MSHSL's Outstanding Media Service Award
Home Page Photo
By Tim Leighton

Sports writing had always fascinated Wally Wakefield. He loved the idea of being able to watch a game and then paint a picture with his words for the readers that couldn’t attend.

At the age of 49, he was given his first assignment: Go out and cover a high school hockey game, write it up and return it to the editor, who had a sports reporter position available at the Lillie Suburban News in the eastern metro.

“I knew the hockey lingo,” Wakefield, 85, said Tuesday with a laugh. “He hired me on the spot.”

That was 1980 and it started a 36-year sports writing career that lasted until December when he retired for health reasons.

“I didn’t think I’d ever retired,” he said. “I wanted to work and write forever.”

Wakefield enjoyed a colorful and eventful work career where he juggled being an elementary school teacher in St. Paul, being a husband and a father of five and being a sports reporter in the communities of North St. Paul, Oakdale, Maplewood and Woodbury.

For his achievements and positive impact on the schools and communities he covered, Wakefield was selected the recipient of the 2016 Minnesota State High School League Outstanding Media Service Award.

Wakefield, a 1948 graduate of St. Paul Johnson High School who served in the Korean War, was selected by a nine-member committee. Other finalists for the second annual award were Joe Brown of the Red Wing Republican Eagle, Devon Krueger of KFIL radio in southeast Minnesota and Lee Larson of KKOJ radio in Jackson, Minn.

Wakefield was nominated by Tartan High School Activities Director Bryan Munter.

“He has been one of the biggest advocates and promoters of student-athletes in the Twin Cities-metro for as long as I can remember,” Munter said. “Whether it was outside in stadiums, diamonds, tennis courts and golf courses, or inside in gymnasiums, rinks or pools, Wally was always there with his notepad.

“Students, coaches and parents loved to read how Wally would tell the story of the contest they had been involved in. Our East Metro Sports scene misses him greatly.”

Wakefield spent 29 years as an elementary school teacher in the St. Paul Public Schools.

“Dealing with kids and working with them on a daily basis is one of the great joys of my life,” Wakefield said. “After school, I’d go cover the older kids in their activities. What a great time, a time full of so many wonderful memories. What is really rewarding is the appreciation that the students and coaches had for the stories I wrote.”

Wakefield will be honored on March 12 during the boys basketball state tournament at Target Center.

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.

1966 --- The MSHSL celebrates its 50th birthday
Posted by Tim Leighton (tleighton@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/9/2016 10:52:46 AM

Happy golden birthday to the MSHSL!

Outgoing Board of Control president G.T. Norswing, superintendent of New Richland, addressed the member schools at the celebratory milestone:

“The school year, 1965-66, was the Golden Anniversary of the Minnesota State High School League. From a small beginning in the sponsorship of a state basketball tournament at Carleton College in 1916, this organization has grown to a membership of 493 schools and the sponsorship of 13 athletic programs plus drama, debate and speech, and, for the past year, music activities.

“The League has enjoyed a steady growth in its endeavor to render service to the youth of our state. As the organization closes its first half-century of life, it can look back upon its accomplishments with much satisfaction.

“What has made the Minnesota State High School League a success? The answer is very simple. It has come about by the devotion of hundreds of school people throughout the state in their desire to give our high school boys and girls the best in the field of extra- and co-curricular activities. No organization could ask for better support from its constituents.

“There have been very few “storms” on this 50-year voyage. Major problems which have appeared from time to time have been solved through the exercise of sound judgment by the entire membership. The only guideline in arriving at the solution of problems, large and small, has been the welfare of the youth taking part in the League-sponsored activities. Mistakes in judgment may have been made in rare instances, but at no time has principle been sacrificed for expediency. If problems appearing in the second half century are solved in similar manner, there is a bright future for the League.

“Success should not father complacency. We cannot take the League for granted. All must be aware of the fact that a successful organization does not stand still and rest upon its laurels. It is the responsibility of each of the hundreds of individuals who are a democratic part of the League to foresee problems and bring about proper solutions before such problems could injure the League.

“What is the challenge for the next 50 years? The passing of years brings change. Change has been very rapid during the past few years and change will come faster as we get farther into the second half century of the League’s existence. To be fully aware of this fact is the challenge of all who are a part of the organization.

“The structure of the League must always be in harmony with change; changes in our society, and consequently, change in generally accepted educational philosophy. The maintenance of the status quo will not build success in a program as vital to so many people as the program of the League. We know that the progressive school people of this state will always look forward.

“The final year of the League’s first half-century has been successful. We would like to thank the executive secretary and his assistants for their splendid leadership. We would also like to thank all League officials at all levels for their cooperation as well as the Executive Committee of the State Coaches Association for their support. “

In other news of the day:

• North Branch won the boys golf championship with a score of 465, 10 strokes better than runner-up, Stillwater. North Branch’s Steve Johnson was the medalist with a two-round score of 146. Teammate Dennis Johnson was runner-up at 153.

• Blizzard conditions during the 1966 boys basketball state tournament created a traffic standstill in Minneapolis. Despite the weather, the games were played on schedule and in front of packed crowds. Total attendance was 85,963.

• Edina defeated Duluth East in overtime to capture the boys basketball championship.

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

More of the Countdown to 100

Here Come The Skiers (And You Can Listen On The Radio)
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 2/11/2016 3:59:32 PM

BIWABIK – Nordic skiing is a very unique sport. It requires snow, for one thing, and having a great place to ski isn’t always commonplace even in Minnesota. Athletes need skis, racing footwear, poles, a race suit and the ability to compete in conditions that can range from balmy to frigid, from no breeze at all to blizzard winds.

Among the 99 boys Nordic teams and 100 girls Nordic teams in Minnesota, the Ely Timberwolves have something on their side that no other team can contemplate: Ely has a hometown broadcaster who calls skiing play-by-play on the radio.

Tom Coombe (pictured) is a human Swiss army knife. He’s the editor of the Ely Echo newspaper, sports director of WELY Radio in Ely and since August he has been the athletic director at Ely High School. He has coached American Legion baseball in Ely since 1994 and has been an assistant baseball coach at the high school.

His radio duties include play-by-play of Ely High School and Vermilion Community College sports, and at Thursday’s MSHSL state Nordic ski championships Coombe was in his usual position, broadcasting the action from a spot near the finish line at Giants Ridge.

He also called last week’s Section 7 ski meet, where Ely finished first among girls and boys.

Coombe has been broadcasting from the state meet since 2004, and nobody is aware of any other radio stations that carry skiing live.

“It’s a challenge, no question about it,” Coombe said.

Nordic skiing is unlike more traditional “stick and ball” sports. The skiers leave the start line, disappear into the hills and woods and later reappear. Plus, there are two races at sections and state; freestyle races for girls and boys, followed by classical pursuit races. The finishing order of the freestyle races (which use a staggered start) are used to set the starting times for the classical races, with the highest freestyle finishers starting ahead of the rest of the pack.

Yes, it can be just a bit confusing.

“The first races, with staggered starts, I’ll generally do live updates,” Coombe said. “I’ll come back on the air for a few minutes when the Ely kids are on the course and when they’re coming back through the finish line. I’m pretty good at math so I try to figure out times in my head, I try to do approximations.

“Generally by the time the second race begins I have results from the first race and that helps fill some airtime. The second part, in the pursuit and a true order of finish, comes close to a traditional sports broadcast. They come in boom boom boom boom and it can be hard to keep track.”

WELY – also known as “End of the Road Radio” – can be heard on the internet, and Coombe gets more feedback from web listeners all the time.

“Our internet stream has picked up through the years,” he said. “I’ve had fans of other teams outside Section 7 listen; parents and grandparents have listened.”

Coombe first did state ski play-by-play when colleagues at the radio station had kids on the Ely ski team. He had little background in skiing, but gave it a whirl.

“It’s kind of evolved through the years. The first time we did it, people at the station who had kids involved in the ski program thought it would be a neat idea to do skiing. I was skeptical at first, and I hope nobody has a recording of those first couple of meets. I really had to learn on the fly how to broadcast something like this.”


One of the busiest multi-taskers at the Nordic meet was Mesabi East junior Anna Johnson (pictured). Before the day’s races began, she joined the rest of her school’s choir members to sing the national anthem inside the timing building near the finish line. After the last note was sung, she sprinted out of the building to put on her skis.

Anna had reason to rush, because she was the 13th of 160 skiers to leave the start line in the girls 5K freestyle race. As she left the timing building, one of her fellow choir members yelled, “Go Anna!” Another singer said to the group, “Let’s go cheer on Anna!”


Margie Freed of Eastview finished ahead of the pack in the girls freestyle race and maintained her lead through the classical pursuit event to claim the individual state. Erin Moening of St. Paul Highland Park was second, followed by Anja Maijala of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

The girls team champion was Armstrong, followed by Wayzata, Stillwater, Duluth East and Burnsville in the top five.

The boys champion claimed his second state title in three years. Bloomington Jefferson’s Zak Ketterson won the championship as a sophomore and missed last year’s postseason because he was skiing at an international competition in Romania. Finishing second was Patrick Acton of Eagan and Xavier Mansfield of Spring Lake Park was third.

Minneapolis Southwest won the boys team title, followed in the top five by Stillwater, Wayzata, Forest Lake and Ely.

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 416
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,173
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

More of John's Journal
Girls' Hockey Seeding Results - Class A    Class AA    

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2016 ExCEL Award Recipients 
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