|2015 MSHSL Hall of Fame Class
Former U.S. Olympians Neal Broten, Briana Scurry, Carrie Tollefson among Minnesota State High School League's 2015 Hall of Fame Class
Induction ceremony set for Oct. 25 at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel
Three former U.S. Olympians headline the Minnesota State High School League's 2015 Hall of Fame class. But before Neal Broten, Briana Scurry and Carrie Tollefson achieved success at the national and international levels, they left their marks in Minnesota State High School League athletic programs.
Broten was a prep hockey standout at Roseau High School before playing with Team USA in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Scurry was a soccer goalkeeper for Anoka High School before leading Team USA to gold medals in the Olympics and the World Cup. Tollefson was a five-time cross country state champion representing Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley. She was on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team as a middle distance runner, and two years later, won the U.S. National Cross Country Championship.
The others slated for induction during the League's 100-year anniversary celebration are: Bird Island-Lake Lillian three-sport standout Barry Wohler, Minnesota soccer icon and St. Paul Academy and Summit School coaching legend Buzz Lagos, Rosemount speech and debate coach Cortney Sylvester, St. Cloud Cathedral baseball coach Bob Karn, Rocori boys basketball coach Bob Brink, longtime St. Paul City Conference activities administrator Gerry Keenan, Willmar tennis coach and League contributor Hal Miller, 50-year officiating veteran Darrel "Bozo" Wincek of Crystal, and former one act play director and speech and debate coach, Mike Tillmann of Owatonna.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony for this outstanding group is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel (formerly Crowne Plaza). The event is open to the public.
For event tickets, contact the League office at 763-560-2262 or visit the League's website --- www.mshsl.org --- and click on the 2015 Hall of Fame Invitation link on the home page.
The League's Hall of Fame, sponsored by Wells Fargo, started in 1991. The 2015 class is the 21st group to be inducted. The inductees were chosen through a multi-level selection process that included League member schools and a panel of prep sports reporters and broadcasters. With this class, there now are 208 individuals in the hall.
Here is a look at the 2015 inductees of the Minnesota State High School League's Hall of Fame:
BOB BRINK, BASKETBALL COACH
A native of Plankinton, SD, Bob Brink spent 50 years as a high school boys basketball coach, 42 of them at Rocori High School in Cold Spring and eight in South Dakota. He retired in 2012 with a 936-327 record. His victories rank No. 2 all-time in Minnesota behind Chisholm's Bob McDonald, who finished his career with 1,012. Brink led the Spartans to 14 state tournament appearances, including a Class AA championship in 1988 and a runners-up finish in Class AAA in 1999. During his tenure, his teams won 22 conference championships, 14 section titles, and he was selected Coach of the Year nine times. Brink's entrance into the League's Hall of Fame is the third hall that bears his name.
NEAL BROTEN, ATHLETE
Neal Broten helped power Roseau to two consecutive berths in the boys' hockey state tournament in 1977 and '78. Those teams were a combined 46-0 prior to the state tournament. In 1977, the Rams lost in the consolation final, and in the next season, took third. Broten still holds the single-game state tournament record of assists in a period with four. At the University of Minnesota, he scored 21 goals, had 50 assists and led the Gophers to the 1979 NCAA hockey championship. He won the gold medal with the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and then was the inaugural Hobey Baker Award winner in 1981. Broten played 17 seasons in the National Hockey League. He is a member of the U.S. Hockey and the Roseau Athletic halls of fame, and he is the only player to have won the Hobey Baker Award, an Olympic gold medal and the Stanley Cup.
BOB KARN, BASEBALL COACH
Bob Karn is an icon at St. Cloud Cathedral High School and in Minnesota high school baseball. His amazing record of 736 wins and 9 state championships is more than any high school baseball coach in the state. In the spring of 2015, Karn completed his 45th season as head baseball coach and led the Crusaders to an undefeated season and a ninth state championship. St. Cloud Cathedral is on a 50-game winning streak in winning back-to-back Class AA championships. Karn is now in five halls of fame, and in July of 2015, he was selected the National High School Division III Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches' Association. A graduate of St. Cloud Cathedral, Karn has taught Literature and Writing at his alma mater for the past 46 years.
GERRY KEENAN, ADMINISTRATOR
A lifelong St. Paul resident and employee of the St. Paul City School District, Gerry Keenan is in his sixth decade of service. A 1955 graduate of St. Paul Wilson High School, Keenan still serves as activities director at St. Paul Harding, a post he has held since 1996. He is the chair of the district's athletic administrative council. Under his leadership, he is credited with saving middle school athletics in St. Paul in the midst of a budget crunch. Keenan also serves as a member of the League's Athletic Directors' Advisory and Officials' Advisory committees and he has held leadership roles on Region committees and in other athletic associations. A longtime boys basketball coach at Mechanic Arts and Harding, Keenan began his teaching career in 1960 at Mechanic Arts. He has been at Harding since 1975. His many awards and recognitions include the State Award of Merit from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and induction in the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
MANUEL "BUZZ" LAGOS, SOCCER COACH
Regarded as Minnesota's top soccer ambassador, Buzz Lagos has coached and educated thousands in helping to pioneer the game of soccer in Minnesota. A longtime mathematics teacher at St. Paul Academy, Lagos amassed a 256-55-35 record while guiding the Spartans' boys' soccer team to eight state tournaments and four championships in 1986, '87, '91, and ‘94. St. Paul Academy also was runners-up four times and many of the players—Tony Sanneh and Lagos' son Manny, became first-division pro players. In the late eighties, Lagos founded and coached the Minnesota Thunder, a grassroots amateur soccer team that took the nation by storm in defeating top professional teams. With the Thunder, he compiled a 320-145-42 record, including a national title in 1999. With numerous state and national coaching awards, Lagos still teaches math and coaches soccer at Higher Ground Academy in St. Paul.
HAL MILLER, COACH & CONTRIBUTOR
Hal Miller began his education career in 1970, teaching elementary physical education in the Willmar school district. After a sabbatical to teach at Springfield College, he returned to Willmar in 1976 and remained until his retirement in 2004. His first coaching assignment in 1978 was an assistant coach on the varsity baseball team where he spent six seasons. He then became the head coach for the girls' tennis program. He coached the team for 28 seasons and compiled a 377-154 record, which included eight Central Lakes Conference titles and eight state tournament appearances. In 1988 he coached the boys' tennis team to a 174-119 record in 17 seasons, claiming one conference title and trips to the state tournament by several individual players. Miller also was an assistant coach for Willmar's girls and boys basketball teams. He helped lead each team to three state tournaments. For the past 29 years, Miller has served as the tournament manager for the girls' and boys' state tennis tournaments, and in June, the League presented him with the National Federation of High Schools Outstanding Service Award. A member of the Cardinal Pride Hall of Pride, Miller also manages the Section 2AA tennis tournaments and has served on the Tennis Advisory Committee and was the President of the Tennis Coaches Association for two terms.
BRIANA SCURRY, ATHLETE
Celebrated as Minnesota's greatest soccer player, the multi-talented Briana Scurry led Anoka High School to the state girls' soccer championship in 1989. In the shootout, she made a save and then scored the clinching goal. Her superb goalkeeping earned her All-American honors and Minnesota's High School Female Athlete of the Year award. In addition to soccer, Scurry ran track and played softball and basketball at Anoka. After a standout college career at the University of Massachusetts where she led her team to the semi-finals of the NCCA women's soccer championship and was named the Collegiate Goalkeeper of the Year, Scurry went on to play for the U.S. women's national soccer team in the Olympics and the World Cup. Her prowess helped the women's team win the 1999 World Cup and capture Olympic gold in 1996 and 2004. Scurry is considered by many to be one of the world's best-ever female soccer goalkeepers. She played in 173 international games, the most for any female soccer player in the world.
CORTNEY SYLVESTER, FINE ARTS
A 1985 graduate of Barnesville High School, Cortney Sylvester was the first three-time Class A state champion in speech. He was also one of Minnesota's first four-time state medalists. Sylvester was a two-time participant at the National Forensic League and was a national runner-up. At Concordia (Moorhead), he was a national champion and a five-time national finalist. He then graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. In addition to his success as a litigating attorney, Sylvester has coached speech and debate at Rosemount High School for the past 23 years. His teams have qualified for the state tournament 22 of those 23 years. They won the state title in 2006 and have qualified for the national tournament 16 times. A longtime member of the Minnesota Debate Teachers Association, Sylvester served as president and remains on the board of directors. He holds numerous awards of distinction and is regularly selected by his peers to judge at state tournaments. He currently represents Minnesota on the National Federation of High School Association's Debate Topic Selection Committee.
MICHAEL TILLMANN, FINE ARTS
Any historical review of the League's forensic and theater programs would be intolerably incomplete without the detail of contributions made by Michael Tillmann. An iconic figure in speech, debate and one act play, Tillmann has been coaching and directing these activities since 1966 at three Minnesota high schools and one in Wisconsin. He directed several starred performances at the state one act play festival and had numerous state champions in speech. Throughout his career, Tillmann has served as an adjudicator for speech and one act play. He served on the League's Board of Directors from 1976-78 and represented the fine arts activities on district and region administrative committees. His contributions to the professional organizations that represent fine arts include president of the Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota, secretary of the Speech Association of Minnesota, and fine arts consultant for the League. Recognition of his achievements and contributions include the Ashland Teacher Achievement Award, CTAM's Outstanding Individual in the Field of Speech, and Owatonna Teacher of the Year.
CARRIE TOLLEFSON, ATHLETE
Born and raised in Dawson, Minnesota, Carrie Tollefson established a running legacy that may never be matched. In high school, she set a national record with five consecutive individual cross country state championships while running in a league of her own. She also won eight state championships in the 1600 and 3200 meter races during the track season. As a collegian at Villanova University, Tollefson won five NCAA championships and was a part of the 1999 national championship cross country team. In 1998, she was selected the NCAA indoor track athlete of the year. She also made history by becoming the first person in NCAA history to win both the 3K and the 5K titles. In her post collegiate career, Tollefson was a three-time national champion and after winning the 1500 meter trials in 2004, she represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, Greece. Tollefson hosts a weekly online show about running and fitness and is a global running ambassador. She also runs a distance running camp at St. Catherine University.
DARRELL "BOZO" WINCEK, OFFICIAL
A Minneapolis native, Bozo Wincek was a common figure at Minnesota State High School League events wearing pinstripes on the football field and basketball courts, as well as wearing his umpiring gear on the baseball and softball fields. Wincek officiated high school basketball for 50 years before retiring in 2010. A year later, he retired from officiating football after 45 years. He officiated in 25 state football tournaments, including seven championship games. Wincek also umpired baseball for 42 years and still umps fast-pitch softball. He was one of six officials that met in 1963 to help pioneer officiating education and servicing the League with officials. He helped found Gopher State Officials, an association of more than 400 officials. He has been the assignment secretary for Gopher State Officials for four decades. Wincek is a member of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and the USSSA Softball halls of fame.
BARRY WOHLER, ATHLETE
Barry Wohler of Bird Island-Lake Lillian is remembered as one of the most versatile athletes in Minnesota history. He is one of just three Minnesota prep athletes to be invited to all-star games in three different sports. Dave Winfield and Joe Mauer are the others. He quarterbacked state championship football teams in 1979 and ’80. He was also the playmaking guard that led Bird Island-Lake Lillian to back-to-back Class A basketball championships. Wohler had planned to play football for the Gophers, but instead played basketball and baseball at Minnesota. He was a part of the Gophers’ 1982 squad that won the Big Ten title and also helped the Gophers’ baseball team to Big Ten titles in 1982 and ’83. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing from 1983-88, and advancing to Triple AAA Albuquerque. Following his professional baseball career, Wohler coached boys’ basketball at several Minnesota colleges and high schools. He now teaches and coaches at Orono High School. He led the Spartans to the Class AAA boys’ basketball championship in 2011.
|100 Years: Top Coaches & Players
To help us celebrate the MSHSL's 100 Year Anniversary we are asking you to vote on the top athletes and coaches and narrow down our list to the best of the best. Each week we'll run two concurrent polls selecting a few matchups from our tournament style brackets ( www.mshsl.org/100Years).
A new voting window for coaches and players begins every Thursday. To get started, click the "Vote Now" button below.
Welcome to the Round of 32.
The Minnesota State High School League's quest to determine the top athlete and the top coach in its 100-year history is now whittled to 32 in each tournament of the Top 100 competition.
The journey to find the top athlete and the top coach in MSHSL history began in early May with the top 100 candidates staking their claim to the title. More than two-thirds of the field has been eliminated after nearly 130,000 votes have been cast in the online competition.
"This tournament has been amazingly fun," said Tim Leighton, the League's Communications Coordinator. "We started with an incredible field and the voters have had their chance to weigh in. This tournament has been a wonderful way to pair our treasured past with the present as we celebrate our 100 years."
It's been a rocky road for the top seeds in the early rounds of the tournament. Three that did survive are on the voting docket now through Monday.
Billy Bye, the top seed in the Dave Stead Regional, is facing No. 8 Bob McNamara. Both are all-around sports legends.
In the Orv Bies Regional, top-seeded Bronko Nagurski is facing No. 8 "Leapin" Leonard Jones.
In the coaches tournament, top-seeded Bob McDonald of Chisholm is facing No. 8 Brian Cosgriff. Cosgriff, arguably the top girls' basketball coach in the game right now, made a late charge in the past week to defeat No. 9 Lowell Scearcy of Brainerd.
In the other coaches' tournament matchup, Woodbury's Dave Preller, a No. 16 seed, is facing off against No. 9 Mike Randolph of Duluth East. Preller defeated top-seeded Mike Grant of Eden Prairie to advance and Randolph defeated No. 25 John Nett.
Former Apple Valley wrestling coach Jim Jackson, the top seed in the Panther Regional in the coaches tournament, was upended by No. 16 Charlie Whitbred, the former coach at Park.
Edina's Willard Ikola, the top seed in the Cardinal Regional, remains alive in the coaches tournament and faces No. 8 Bill Demaray next week.
Moose Lake's Annie Adamczak, one of the pioneers in girls' sports in Minnesota, was a top seed and figured to advance deep into the tournament, but she was upended by No. 17 Whitney Taney, the former girls tennis star at Edina, last week.
Taney now advances to face No. 8 Mark Hall of Apple Valley next week in a dandy matchup of high school standouts past and present.
For more fun and to check out the brackets for upcoming matchups, go to www.mshsl.org and click on the "Top 100" tab.
|MSHSL 'Thank a Ref' Campaign
MSHSL Campaign to Recognize the Contributions of Sports Officials
All Minnesota State High School League member schools are encouraged to participate in the League's "Thank A Ref" campaign.
A kind word of thanks toward officials for all they do is the sole purpose of this endeavor.
Without officials, our games and contests cannot be held. Officials play an integral part in the events enjoyed by high school students, parents and the entire community. While officials are paid for their service, they put in a lot of time in preparation, travel and expenses. They perform an important job at a relatively low level of pay.
Officiating at the high school level is an avocation, not a vocation.
More than 6,000 individuals have chosen to serve as registered officials with the Minnesota State High School League. Many are registered in more than one sport. Officials work hard to be registered, educated and prepared for the season. Officials often travel an hour or more to work the contests, and spend time away from their families.
Officials enjoy being able to continue their involvement in the sports that they love. Many enjoy the opportunity to give back as a way of showing their appreciation for the positive experiences they had as a student-athlete. Officials truly receive great satisfaction from a job well done. Managing a game effectively and making sure the contests are fair, safe and fun for players, coaches and fans is a great reward.
The more than 500 member schools of the Minnesota State High School League extend their appreciation and thanks to all game officials. Without them, the games are just recess. Coaches, participants and fans are encouraged to show their appreciation by demonstrating respect for them and the difficult job they do.
Minnesota high schools are in need of more officials at all levels.
If you are interested in finding out more, contact your local high school or go to the MSHSL's website at www.mshsl.org and click on the "Become An Official" icon near the bottom of the page. Submit that form, someone from the League office will contact you and you can be on your way to becoming an official.
Go ahead: get off the bench, get back in the game and give back by becoming a high school official.
|Around the MSHSL
By Tim Leighton
Nope, it isn’t necessary to do a double-take when you look at your calendars. It is indeed playoff time for Minnesota State High School League fall activities.
Girls tennis kicks things off this week with section playoffs beginning in the team tournaments. Next week, it switches over to the individual competition. Soccer and football section playoffs begin next week with their quarterfinals.
The postseason spree of sports won’t conclude until Nov. 21 when championship games of the adapted soccer state tournament are played.
Football ends its regular season this week and the schools in the Super 32 of Class 6A will be seeded on Saturday morning. Pairings from the other sections will be posted as received at www.mshsl.org
There are some intriguing regular-season finales this week in football.
Top-ranked Eden Prairie (7-0), the four-time defending big-school champion, plays host to Wayzata (6-1).
If conference alignments were still around, this would be for the Lake Conference championship. Likewise, the South Suburban Conference title would be up for grabs when No. 2 Lakeville North (7-0) plays at Rosemount (6-1).
Both of those matchups illustrate tremendous rivalries.
In other news around the League:
• Entering the final regular season game, Bemidji’s Logan Hatfield, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior running back, leads Minnesota in rushing with 1,636 yards. In a Week 5 loss to Alexandria, he rushed for 394 yards on 41 carries and scored four touchdowns. That 394-yard performance in the fifth-best in Minnesota prep history. A week later, he had 358 yards on 42 carries in a victory at Rocori. He has 17 touchdowns this season and 42 for his career.
• Garrett Heath was equally fast on land and snow during his high school career at Winona High School. The 2004 graduate is the only Minnesota prep athlete to win championships in Nordic Skiing, cross country running and track and field. He won two state championships in cross country running, four in track and field and then five in Nordic Skiing. He was honored for his accomplishments by being inducted into Winona High School’s hall of fame. He moved on and was an 8-time All-American at Stanford University.
• Former Tartan boys basketball standout Jake Sullivan, who led the Titans to the Class AAAA championship in 2000, is on a quest to build a sports mission complex in the African nation of Chad. He is hopeful the complex will give young people a chance to experience sports. Sullivan, who played collegiately at Iowa State, runs Acts 2 Collective, a non-profit organization.
• Centennial senior Tara Chapman has committed to swim at the University of Minnesota next season.
• Eastview snapped Eagan’s 32-game winning streak in girls soccer last week. The last team to beat Eagan before the streak? Eastview, in the 2013 playoffs.
• Red Wing’s Hunter Connelly, the defending Class A champion in the 100 backstroke, has committed to swim with the Gophers.
• Former Tartan wrestling coach Dan Recchio has taken the same post at Lakeville North.
• Tom Aney has been selected the new girls hockey coach at Rochester Century, replacing Dan Maidl.
• Jay Jensen and Bay Shock have been selected as co-coaches of the Park girls golf team.
• The Park High School hall of fame class for 2015: Jummy Alowonle Barlass (Class of 2001); Katie Hirte Fellows (1998); Greg Juba (coach, teacher); Richard Perkins (1970); Richard Pribnow (1954), and the 1990 girls soccer state championship team. They will be honored Nov. 21 at River Oaks Golf Course.
• Class AA true-team section champions in girls swimming: Lakeville North (1AA); Minnetonka (2AA); Rosemount (3AA); Stillwater (4AA); Wayzata (5AA); Edina (6AA); Centennial (7AA) and Maple Grove (8AA).
|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.
|1943 --- Robbinsdale was Minnesota's first wrestling dynasty
|Posted by Tim Leighton (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Updated 10/7/2015 4:36:38 PM
| Robbinsdale High School was Minnesota’s wrestling hotbed in the 1940s.
The Orioles were Minnesota’s first wrestling dynasty, winning state titles each season from 1940 through 1946. Robbinsdale would win its final state wrestling crown in 1961.
Without a doubt, the biggest name in the wrestling room during that era was Verne Gagne.
As a senior, he won the heavyweight championship during the state tournament in 1943. The previous season, he was the state champion at 165 pounds.
Gagne, also a standout football player, went on to the University of Minnesota where played football and wrestled. Gagne was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1947 but chose to be a wrestler. He made the 1948 U.S. Olympic team that competed in London as an alternate.
He became a professional wrestler in 1949, and for the next three decades, was a success on and off the mat. His son, Greg, was also a Robbinsdale graduate (1969) and wrestled professionally.
Verne Gagne passed away earlier this year on April 25 at the age of 89.
Robbinsdale ranks fourth all-time in Minnesota prep wrestling history with 50 individual champions.
In other news of the day:
• O.E. Smith retires from his post as executive secretary of the Minnesota State High School League, a job he held for 18 ½ years. The growth of the League in the early days is largely attributed to his works.
• “A Creed for American Boys” by Frank Leahy provided guidelines for strong, healthy living. It reads:
I will build a strong, healthy, tough, enduring body.
I will work hard, day by day, because I know that is the only way strong muscles are developed.
I will keep my body clean, because I know cleanliness is essential to good health.
I will get plenty of sleep because I know an alert mind and quick muscles depend on proper rest.
I will eat plenty of nourishing food because I realize the importance of building sound bone, muscle and nerve fiber.
I will develop my full strength and stature so that I may be worthy of a place on the varsity teams of my school and college.
I will be fair and helpful to others who have not had the advantages I have had.
I will defend those who are not as strong as I am and contribute my part to those who are stronger than I am.
I will always put the success of my team and my teammates ahead of my own.
I will keep my head up, win or lose, in the full realization that my own best effort, enthusiastically given to the utmost of my strength makes every day a victory day for me.
I will make this creed my creed. I will follow it faithfully working and right living. I will become the man America expects me to be.
• The City of Minneapolis has a banner year at the state tournaments. Minneapolis North won titles in track and field and Class C gymnastics, Minneapolis West had the singles and doubles champions in tennis, Minneapolis Roosevelt won the Class D and Class B gymnastics crowns.
• Closing in on the first year of sanctioning a boys hockey state tournament, there are 27 programs playing the game in 1943.
• St. Paul Washington wins the boys basketball state crown with a 53-33 victory over Alexandria. Alexandria center Hal Haskins scored 57 points during the three-game tournament to establish a record. He battled foul trouble in the championship game.
• The Board of Control authorizes the League executive secretary H.R. Peterson to purchase five basketballs for the 1944 state tournament.
• Duluth Central won the slalom competition and the cross country event en route to winning the overall skiing state championship held at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
• Ely’s Melvin Ivonen set a Minnesota record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 4 seconds.
Check back for more weekly looks at the MSHSL's "100 years of memories."
More of the Countdown to 100
|Becker’s Alex Meidt: There’s Football In Those Genes
|Posted by John Millea(email@example.com)- Updated 10/9/2015 12:54:35 AM
|BECKER – One way to look at Becker football player Alex Meidt is numerically. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior is a two-legged stick of dynamite who caught touchdown passes of 71, 26 and 37 yards from quarterback Andrew Stanger on Thursday in the Bulldogs’ 42-6 victory over Albany in the regular-season finale.
For the season Meidt has 24 receptions for 566 yards and 10 touchdowns, usually playing very little in the second half for the unbeaten and defending Class 4A state champion Bulldogs.
But numbers don’t tell the entire story. Meidt has the kind of pedigree that thoroughbred owners drool over. His dad, Chris, is one of the all-time great players in Minnesota high school history, leading Minneota to state championships in 1986 and 1987. Chris still ranks first or second all-time in the state in several passing categories.
Chris’ coach in Minneota was his father, Gerhard, who also coached in Rothsay and Big Lake, had a high school record of 236-79 over 32 years and is in the Minnesota football coaches Hall of Fame. (Pictured are Gerhard, Alex and Chris.)
Alex’s other grandfather is also a Hall of Fame coach, Grady Rostberg of Hutchinson. He coached the Tigers for 34 years, his career record was 277-89-1 and his teams won state titles in 1983, 1984 and 1998. Alex’s uncle Andy Rostberg quarterbacked Hutchinson to two of those championships and followed Grady’s footsteps, taking over as head coach in 1999. Andy’s teams won state titles in 2012 and 2013.
So between Alex Meidt’s dad, uncle and grandfathers, it’s safe to say football is in the young man’s blood.
Chris was an assistant coach at Becker back in 1993 and 1994 before embarking on a coaching journey that took him to Bethel (his alma mater) as an assistant, St. Olaf as the head coach and a stint with the Washington Redskins as an offensive assistant. He left coaching to work for Walmart as a regional manager in Cedarburg, Wis., and two years ago moved back to Becker. He is chief operating officer of North Risk Partners in St. Cloud.
Alex joined the Becker football team a year ago, with Chris returning as an assistant to head coach Dwight Lundeen; he’s the only head coach the Bulldogs have had since the football program began 46 years ago. Lundeen (337-145-3) ranks third all-time in coaching victories behind Brainerd’s Ron Stolski (365-163-5) and Verndale’s Mike Mahlen (360-118-3).
“When I left the NFL and took that job with Walmart, I was able to be with (Alex) in seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade and 10th grade in Cedarburg,” Chris said. “Then to be able to move here and part of the deal is pretty special. I told Dwight when we moved that we were going to try to win two (state titles) in a row. I said I’ll come back, Alex is a great player and I’ll give you everything I’ve got for a two-year run here.”
Things have worked out pretty well. The Bulldogs lost a one-point game to Class 6A Minnetonka in last year’s opener and have won 20 games in a row since then. Alex Meidt wasn't the only spark plug that ignited for Becker against Albany; Tyler Thorson returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown, Beau Pauly returned a fumble 32 yards for a score and Gabe Dertinger ran 35 yards for another touchdown.
Going to Becker “was probably the best move ever,” Alex said. “These two years have been amazing. My teammates and coaches have just been great, phenomenal.”
Chris Meidt met his wife, Allison, when she was teaching and coaching in Becker. They also have two daughters, Madeline, 20, and Alex’s twin, Eveline.
Lundeen said, “Chris and I have been friends for a long, long time. I hired a nice young lady to coach basketball and she somehow gave into his proposal and married him. He lived in the community and we became really good friends. Then he coached with me here and coached my sons, which drew us even closer.
“We visited them a number of times and Chris said, ‘I might be looking at getting out and moving Alex back to Minnesota.’ I said, ‘You know where he should be.’ He does a great job wherever he’s at and we’re really blessed to have him on our staff.”
Alex has exceptional speed, runs great routes and is almost impossible to cover one on one. On his touchdown receptions Friday, he was in single coverage and Stanger – seeing the defense -- checked out of the play at the line of scrimmage each time and heaved the long ball to Meidt.
“He’s just a great kid, very coachable, works hard, is fast,” Lundeen said of Alex Meidt. “When they put nobody in the middle, it’s really hard to cover a quick kid with double moves and speed one on one. He’s grown up with football; he’s only played our offense for two years but knows it really well.”
Alex is a rarity in Becker: a star football player who didn’t grow up watching the Bulldogs. Hundreds of such youngsters took the field at halftime Friday as the community celebrated youth football.
“We’ve got them down to kindergarten,” Lundeen said, joking only slightly when he added, “We know who our quarterback’s going to be for the next 15 years.”
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 104
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 3,381
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
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