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Wright to be inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame
Home Page Photo Minnesota cross country running and track and field pioneer Eugene “Lefty” Wright will be inducted on Saturday, July 2 into the hall of fame of the National Federation of High School Associations.

Wright, who passed away last fall at the age of 79, will be honored posthumously during a hall of fame ceremony that is held in conjunction with the NFHS Summer Meetings in Reno, NV.

For more than five decades, Wright played a major role in management of cross country meets, beginning in 1963 through 2014. He was a high school and collegiate track and field official for 38 years, beginning in 1963.

Wright was a major contributor to the Minnesota State High School League as a head starter (22 years), meet referee (22 years) and consultant for more than 40. As a League Clinician, he educated officials and meet managers on the mechanics of starting, how to run successful meets, the roles of referees and preventative officiating.

He also developed a procedure to minimize disqualifications of athletes participating in running and field events by creating a check-in/check-out process with clerks and head event judges. This process has now become standard procedure in the national federation’s rulebook.

A 1953 graduate of St. Louis Park High School, returned to begin coaching at his alma mater in 1958.

Implementing innovative training methods, Wright led the Orioles to track and field state championships in 1962, ’63, ’65 and ’66, and one cross country state championship in 1961. He also led St. Louis Park to numerous second- and third-place finishes.

Bob Wagner, who began running at St. Louis Park in 1961, said Wright had a favorite saying: “Every competitor wants to win, but only a few have the will to win. The will to win is as much the will to train as it is the will to compete.”

Wright became St. Louis Park’s athletic director in 1977 and was named Regional Athletic Director of the Year five times between 1977-93.

He is a member of the Minnesota Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame and the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Wright becomes the 13th Minnesotan to be inducted into the NFHS hall of fame.

The others: John Mayasich (inducted in 1986), Janet Karvonen (1987), Bronko Nagurski (1989), Willard Ikola (1992), Jerry Seeman (1992), Paul Giel (1998), Kevin McHale (2000), Dorothy McIntyre (2003), Terry Steinbach (2007), Barbara Seng (2008), Billy Bye (2010), Bob McDonald (2014).
Kimball's Knaus, New Prague capture 2016 state championships
Home Page Photo It took perfection to win the Minnesota State High School League’s Clay Target state championship and Kimball’s Jack Knaus was the only competitor to achieve it.

The seventh-grader, who entered the state tournament ranked 25th in Minnesota, hit 100 of 100 targets to capture the gold medal at the state tournament Saturday, June 25 at Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake.

In achieving a perfect score for the fourth time this season, Knaus edged four shooters that finished in a tie for runner-up honors. New Prague’s Ben Dietz, Wayzata’s Max Bunning, Bemidji’s Chase Todavich and Adam Wnuk of St. Michael-Albertville all recorded scores of 99.

Four more shooters finished in a tie for sixth with scores of 98 in the field of 100 top high school shooters.

New Prague won the team championship with a score of 480.
The Trojans, who finished seventh during the 2015 state meet, defeated St. Michael-Albertville, who was runner-up with a score of 471. Bemidji was third at 470.

New Prague team members are Ben Dietz, Woodrow Glazer, Parker Precht, Isaac Simon, Jordan Stocker and alternates Tyler Bisek and Kortney Novak. The Trojans are coached by Paul Dietz.

Here is the all-tournament team:

Kimball --- Jack Knauss.

New Prague --- Ben Dietz.

Wayzata --- Max Bunning.

Bemidji --- Chase Todavich.

St. Michael-Albertville --- Adam Wnuk.

Eastview (Apple Valley) --- Logan LeClair.

Rockford --- Logan Aarsvold.

Hastings --- Michael Woodward.

Looking Back: A Love Of Wrestling, An Official With Heart
Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 6/25/2016 8:35:00 PM

With the 2015-16 MSHSL year now at an end, let's take a look back at some of the stories from John's Journal. This story was posted on Dec. 21.

If you’ve ever thought about becoming an MSHSL official in any sport, I have one piece of advice for you: Watch Joe Steffenhagen officiate a wrestling match. He is an inspiration, working with young athletes and helping them learn about wrestling. Joe smiles a lot, too.

That’s probably the first thing you’ll notice about Joe. His smile. It lights up the mat. At some point you’ll notice something else about Joe. He moves with a slight limp and he doesn’t have full use of his right arm and hand.

None of that matters. What matters is that Steffenhagen is giving back to a sport he loves.

Joe has never let cerebral palsy get in his way. He grew up as an active kid, joining his friends in whatever sport was in season.

“I played basketball until eighth grade and then I got short,” he said, laughing. “I was a post player, as tall as I am now, 5-foot-5. I started wrestling in ninth grade.”

He also played football and baseball at Orono High School. But wrestling was his main sport. He loved everything about it and lettered for four years before graduating in 2002.

He’s in his second year as a registered MSHSL wrestling official. He officiates on the middle school and sub-varsity level as he improves his skills. His reasoning for becoming an official is pretty simple: “Jeez, I just like getting on the mat and being around it.”

Ronnie Schneider, one of the state’s top wrestling officials, teaches physical education at Roseville Area High School; Joe works there as a special education teacher’s aide. Schneider, a 25-year official who has worked 10 state tournaments, is also the assignment secretary for the Skyline Wrestling Officials Association.

Schneider recognized Joe’s love for wrestling, as well as his deep knowledge of the sport, and encouraged him to become an official.

“His knowledge of wrestling was amazing to me,” Schneider said. “He understood the technique, the calls, everything. I’m like, ‘Joe, why aren’t you reffing?’ We’re always looking for guys to do middle school and other events. He said, ‘I don’t think I can.’

“He can move and he’s got just a little limp. His right hand was the problem. I’m like, ‘Joe, let’s figure it out.’ We need officials. The only guys we can pick from are guys who know wrestling. And he knows it.”

Since Joe has trouble signaling points with his right hand, he does so with his left hand for both wrestlers. Officials wear red and green wristbands, with wrestlers wearing matching colors on an ankle. When one wrestler scores, the officials’ hand with the corresponding wristband is used to signal points.

Joe’s right hand is the “green” hand. To signal points for green, he covers his red wristband with his green wristband and puts up the corresponding number of fingers on his red hand. It’s an easy system to understand.

“Before we start I’ll go up to whoever is doing the scoring and tell them how I’m going to do things,” Joe said. “It works out. And for any ref, a good scorekeeper can help you.”

During a recent match involving St. Paul middle school wrestlers at St. Paul Washington Technology Magnet School, Steffenhagen displayed a combination of patience, hustle and understanding. After making a call, he sometimes took a moment to explain it to the wrestlers. He helped kids with their headgear, took extra time in getting them in correct position before the whistle and raised the hand of every winner.

Joe is becoming more comfortable with every competition. He’s hoping to be able to work a varsity match before the end of the season. Schneider sometimes watches him officiate, and he is always ready with tips for improvement.

“Ronnie is what got me going,” Joe said. “He does the scheduling and we work at the same high school. I thought, ‘that’s an easy in.’ He’s been a mentor-type person for me.”

When he began officiating, Steffenhagen said he had concerns about being able to do it. Those issues are long gone now.

“I was more worried about how I would do it. Now I’m not worried about it all. I got that off my shoulders. Now I just want to learn how to be a better official.

“I was just thinking today, ‘Wow, I’m having more fun this year.’ And that’s what the hope is: To get better every year.”

Joe is hoping to work in an off-the-mat job at the state tournament in February, all in the hopes of learning more and more.

“We are hurting for officials, we can use more and it shouldn’t matter who you are,” Schneider said. “If you have the desire and the ability, we need you to officiate.”

More of John's Journal
Spring at a Glance:
Boys' Tennis: June 7-10
   AA: Baseline Tennis Center   Brackets
   A: Read-Sweatt Tennis Center  Brackets
Girls' Softball: June 9-10 Caswell Park, N. Mankato
   Section Brackets   State Brackets
Track & Field: June 10-11 Hamline, St. Paul    Results
Golf: June 14-15 Various Sites
Lacrosse: June 14,16,18 Minnetonka & Chanhassen
   Section: Girls   Boys   State: Girls   Boys
Baseball: June 16,17,20 Various Sites
   Section Brackets   State Brackets
Clay Target: June 25 Mpls Gun Club, Prior Lake

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John Millea
2h ago
Definitely. A big stick tap to all you People of Twitter. twitter.com/DonLokken/stat

John Millea
2h ago
THANK YOU to the media from all over Minnesota for your energy and dedication in telling the stories of high school activities.

John Millea
7h ago
THANK YOU to all the dedicated officials in all sports and activities all over Minnesota who make the games possible!

Tim Leighton
9h ago
MSHSL news reminder: Eugene "Lefty" Wright to be inducted into @NFHS_Org Hall of Fame this week. See more at mshsl.org

John Millea
10h ago
THANK YOU to parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and others who support your kids the right way, with positivity!

John Millea
12h ago
THANK YOU to all the administrators and support-staff professionals who make high school activities possible!

John Millea
1d ago
Yes! twitter.com/extempgod/stat

John Millea
1d ago
THANK YOU to all the dedicated coaches around Minnesota who provide world-class commitment to the youth of our state!

John Millea
1d ago
Thanks. (But there's nothing hard about it when you love what you do!) twitter.com/BringBackClem/

John Millea
1d ago
THANK YOU to all the student-athletes around Minnesota who created so many lifetime memories during the 2015-16 school year!

John Millea
2d ago
Waaaaaaay too soon... twitter.com/rgrammond/stat

MSHSL 2d ago
With the 2015-16 MSHSL year now at an end, feel free to check out all of MN Prep Photo's fantastic photo galleries from state tournaments, available for purchase.

John Millea
2d ago
With the 2015-16 year at an end, check out photo galleries from state tournaments, available for purchase.

MSHSL 2d ago
Teams and individuals from all over Minnesota gathered Saturday at Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake to compete in the MSHSL clay target shooting state championships. New Prague claimed the team title and the individual champion was Jack Knaus of Kimball. Congratulations to all the competitors, coaches and tournament staff on a great day!

John Millea
2d ago
Top 10 individuals in clay target shooting: champ is Jack Knaus (left) of Kimball. claytargetscoring.com/tournament/all

John Millea
2d ago
LIVE on : Clay Target awards ceremony periscope.tv/w/aj2gKTF6dktO

John Millea
2d ago
Awaiting awards ceremony at clay target shooting championships.

John Millea
2d ago
New Prague wins team title at clay target state championships. St. Michael-Alberville second, Bemidji third. Individuals up now.


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