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Radio Legend Mike Morrissey Leaves Lasting Legacy
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/30/2015 2:39:34 PM

Anyone who has listened to radio play-by-play of high school and small-college sports in southern Minnesota has surely heard the voice of Mike Morrissey. For decades he called the action on KDHL in Faribault.

Mike has died at age 75. I was proud to call Mike a good friend. We sat side-by-side at state basketball tournaments for years and I always enjoyed chatting on the air with Mike at halftime or between games. Mike broadcast state basketball tournaments games for 44 years before retiring in 2013. He also was the voice of St. Olaf College athletics and it's estimated that he did play-by-play for approximately 3,500 high school and college basketball games.

Here's an item I wrote about Mike during the 2013 boys state basketball tourney...

When the 2014 boys state basketball tournament is held, something will be very different along press row. Mike Morrissey of KDHL radio in Faribault has made play-by-play calls of every tournament but one since 1968. That’s 45 years, and that’s how legends are made. The 2013 tournament is his last one before retiring.

Mike is truly a legend. He has been the voice of St. Olaf College, a fixture in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and he is a member of Minnesota Coaches Halls of Fame in three sports (football, basketball and baseball).

Mike missed one tournament long ago when he took a radio job in Nebraska. He returned to Minnesota pretty quickly, however. “I was too far away from civilization,” he said.

Mike, 72, will be spending next winter in Florida. He has promised me that he will send me emails during the 2014 tournament, describing warm breezes and the umbrella in his drink.

Thank you, Mike, for being a gentleman, a true professional and a good friend.



Girls Basketball Rankings From Minnesota Basketball News
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/25/2015 10:50:48 PM

CLASS 4A
1. Hopkins
2. Minnetonka
3. Elk River
4. Eastview
5. Edina
6. Centennial
7. White Bear Lake
8. Shakopee
9. Park Center
10. Rochester Mayo
11. St. Michael-Albertville
12. Rochester John Marshall
13. Lakeville South
14. Anoka
15. Lakeville North
16. Osseo
17. Eden Prairie
18. Andover
19. Rosemount
20. Maple Grove

CLASS 3A
1. Orono
2. Winona
3. Bloomington Kennedy
4. Hutchinson
5. Thief River Falls
6. Marshall
7. Kasson-Mantorville
8. Alexandria
9. St. Paul Como Park
10. Mahtomedi
11. DeLaSalle
12. Hill-Murray
13. Totino-Grace
14. Holy Angels
15. Willmar
16. Waconia
17. Chisago Lakes Area
18. Simley
19. Grand Rapids
20. Fridley

CLASS 2A
1. Dover-Eyota
2. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
3. Sauk Centre
4. Annandale
5. Roseau
6. Pequot Lakes
7. New London-Spicer
8. Minnehaha
9. St. Croix Lutheran
10. Esko
11. Watertown-Mayer
12. Glencoe-Silver Lake
13. St. Peter
14. Minnewaska
15. Kenyon-Wanamingo
16. Pipestone
17. Pelican Rapids
18. Barnum
19. Norwood-Young America
20. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

CLASS 1A
1. Mountain Iron-Buhl
2. Maranatha Christian Academy
3. Lyle-Austin Pacelli
4. Browerville
5. Ada-Borup
6. Goodhue
7. Win-E-Mac
8. Mankato Loyola
9. Cromwell
10. Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity
11. Sleepy Eye
12. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross
13. Canby
14. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo
15. Fosston
16. Stephen-Argyle
17. Cherry
18. GHEC
19. Red Lake
20. Floodwood



Boys Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/24/2015 2:48:19 PM

CLASS 2A
1 Eden Prairie (8)
2 Lakeville North (2)
3 Grand Rapids
4 Hill-Murray
5 Wayzata
6 Edina
7 Duluth East
8 Blaine
9 Benilde-St. Margaret's
10 Bemidji
11 St. Thomas Academy
12 Minnetonka
13 Elk River/Zimmerman
14 Stillwater Area
15 Prior Lake
16 Holy Family Catholic
17 Farmington
18 Centennial
19 Bloomington Jefferson
20 Moorhead

CLASS 1A
1 Hermantown (8)
2 Breck
3 East Grand Forks (2)
4 St. Paul Academy
5 St. Cloud Apollo
6 Mahtomedi
7 Delano/Rockford
8 Luverne
9 St. Cloud Cathedral
10 Hibbing/Chisholm
11 Thief River Falls
12 Fergus Falls
13 Orono
14 Duluth Denfeld
15 Alexandria
16 New Prague
17 St. Paul Johnson
18 Warroad
19 Sartell-St. Stephen
20 Mankato West



Girls Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/24/2015 2:45:39 PM

CLASS 2A
1 Hill-Murray (8)
2 Minnetonka (2)
3 Edina
4 Wayzata
5 Eden Prairie
6 Maple Grove
7 Elk River/Zimmerman
8 Blaine
9 Lakeville South
10 Cretin-Derham Hall
11 Chaska/Chanhassen
12 Dodge County
13 Roseau
14 Lakeville North
15 Buffalo
16 Centennial
17 Mounds View
18 White Bear Lake
19 Stillwater Area
20 Eagan

CLASS 1A
1 Blake (9)
2 Thief River Falls (1)
3 Breck
4 St. Paul United
5 Warroad
6 East Grand Forks
7 Proctor/Hermantown
8 Red Wing
9 New Prague
10 Orono
11 Alexandria
12 Mound Westonka
13 South St. Paul
14 Hutchinson
15 Hibbing/Chisholm
16 New Ulm
17 Mahtomedi
18 Northfield
19 Princeton
20 Owatonna



Coming Together And Celebrating Special Moments
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/21/2015 7:39:42 PM

The 2015 fall season came to an end with two pretty spectacular sights. They were simple acts that said everything about sportsmanship as well as the spirit of high school activities, and they deserve to be mentioned here.

The first took place Friday evening at the girls state swimming and diving championships. After two days of competition, the team from Wayzata had captured its third consecutive team title. The top three teams walk onto the awards stand, receive their trophies and pose for photos. As the second-place team from Minnetonka left the podium, they were greeted by a human tunnel of swimmers and divers from Wayzata.

Many of the girls on those teams know each other through high school competition and swim clubs, so it probably wasn’t a surprise that the Wayzata athletes and coaches honored the Skippers by reaching up to hold hands, form a tunnel and cheer as the Skippers passed through. It was a way to honor friends and competitors in a very human and very fun manner.

One day later, after the final event of the fall MSHSL season, came another spectacular sight. North Suburban and Park Center had played to a scoreless tie at the end of regulation in the adapted soccer CI division state championship game. Midway through a 10-minute regulation period, Park Center’s Phillip Worzie scored a goal to give his team the state title.

As is done in all MSHSL tournaments, the all-tournament team was announced and trophies and medals were awarded individually to players, managers and coaches from both teams. That’s when something special happened.

The athletes from Park Center and North Suburban came together at the center of the court at Stillwater High School in one big huddle. They posed for photos together, then raised their hands in the air in the middle of the huddle and yelled these words together: “One! Two! Three! FRIENDS!”

That says everything you need to know about what high school activities are all about. It’s easy to get caught up in who beat who, who benefitted from an official’s call, who tried to find a shortcut in the rules, etc.

The fall season has been memorable for me as I traveled all over the state to document what takes place in our great state. There were quiet moments that I didn’t write or Tweet about; teammates embracing after a tough loss, grandparents sitting together on metal bleachers and shivering on cold nights in order to watch their grandkids compete, cheerleaders working as hard as the other athletes, volunteers taking tickets and working at concessions stands, smiling all the way.

From the heat of August practices to the warmth of swimming pools and gyms in November, this has been an autumn to remember.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 318
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,951
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Wayzata, Visitation Win Third Straight State Swim Crowns
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/20/2015 9:14:42 PM

The finishes were familiar Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center, where Wayzata in Class 2A and Visitation in Class 1A captured their third consecutive team titles in the girls swimming and diving championships.

In the 2A team race, the Trojans had a total of 315.5 points, followed in the top five by Minnetonka 256, Edina 246, Stillwater 160 and Lakeville South 137.5.

Wayzata started strong, winning the first three events and setting an all-time record in one and a Class 2A record in another.

The Trojans’ spree started with the 200 medley relay, where the team of Carly Quast, Madison Preiss, Alexis Schaaf and Colleen Donlin won in 1:41.57. That set an all-time record, breaking the previous mark of 1:41.96 set by Chanhassen in 2013.

Quast then won the 200 freestyle and Preiss finished first in the 200 individual medley. Preiss’ time of 2:01.00 was a 2A record, topping the 2:01.38 set by Abby Duncan of Champlin Park in 2010. Quast added a gold medal in the 100 backstroke later in the meet, and Preiss won her second gold in the 100 breatstroke.

Edina’s Rachel Wittmer was a double winner, repeating as champion in the 50 freestyle and also winning the 100 butterfly.

Minnetonka won the 200 freestyle relay after Edina was disqualified. The Hornets were the first team to touch the wall but their finish was wiped away by the DQ. Edina came back to win the final event, the 400 freestyle relay.

Other Class 2A state champions were …

1-meter diving: Michelle Schlossmacher Smith.

100 freestyle: Bella Smith, Andover.

500 freestyle: Kelly McCarthy, Edina.

CLASS 1A: VISITATION REPEATS AGAIN

Visitation won two relays and claimed first-place finishes in two individual events in rolling to its third consecutive Class 1A title. The Blazers had a team score of 312, followed in the top five by Breck 238, Albert Lea 194, Sartell-St. Stephen 160 and Orono 124.

The Visitation team of Lorelei Gaertner, Emily Conners, Emily Kishish and Abbie Dolan set an all-time record in the 200 freestyle relay. The Blazers’ time of 1:34.07 topped the previous state record of 1:34.80 set by Stillwater in 2008. Visitation also won the 400 freestyle relay; the team consisted of Grace Snyder, Meaghan Sexton, Sophie Kishish and Dolan.

Dolan, who broke the all-time, all-class record in the 200 freestyle in Thursday’s prelims, won that championship Friday. Her record is 1:47.72 and her time in the finals was 1:48.10. Dolan repeated as champion in the 100 freestyle, and the second-place finisher was Visitation teammate Emily Conners.

Breck’s Bre Thorne repeated as the champion of the 100 butterfly and also finished first in the 100 backstroke. The Mustangs’ Alyssa Phelps won the 200 individual medley.

Albert Lea’s Lindsey Horejsi set a Class 1A record in winning the 50 freestyle. Her time of 22.79 seconds bettered the previous Class 1A mark of 22.82 set by Mankato West’s Danielle Nack in 2012. She also finished first in the 100 breaststroke, winning in 58.66 seconds. One day earlier, she set a national high school record of 58.56 in the prelims.

Horesji and teammates Bailey Sandon, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen set a Class 1A record in the 200 medley relay. Their time of 1:43.61 bettered the mark of 1:44.73 set last year by the same quartet.

Other Class 1A state champions were…

200 individual medley: Allyssa Phelps of Breck.

1-meter diving: Mallary Dick, Big Lake.

500 freestyle: Kasey Milstroh, Foley.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 306
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,881
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



A National Swimming Record Falls … And Tears Flow
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/19/2015 4:35:12 PM

Lindsey Horejsi broke into tears when she finished her preliminary race in the 100-yard breaststroke during Thursday’s Class 1A state swimming meet. The senior from Albert Lea touched the pool wall at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center, turned to look at the scoreboard … and here came the tears.

The crowd roared at the announcement that Horejsi had set a national high school record. Her time of 58.56 seconds topped the previous mark of 58.75 set in 2009 by Kasey Carlson of Los Lamas High School in Walnut Creek, California. And Lindsey will take another crack at her fresh new record in Friday’s championship race.

“I just burst into tears,” said the future University of Minnesota swimmer (pictured). “It’s just an emotional roller coaster, and being my senior year I want to go out with a bang.”

She wasn’t exactly surprised at breaking the record. In fact, she had been aiming for that time.

“I had my sights on it for a long time,” she said. “I looked at it a lot. I had known that 58.75 probably for a good year, year and a half.”

How fast was she Thursday? Her time would have put her in fifth place at this year's NCAA Division I championships as well as first place at the Division II and Division III meets.

Lindsey is no stranger to first-place finishes. She came into this year’s state meet already owning five individual state titles and two relay state championships. In Friday’s final day of swimming, she will compete in finals of the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle and on the Tigers’ 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Her teammate Anna Andersen, the defending state champion in the 50 freestyle who has signed with Division I North Dakota, has known Horejsi since they were in day care together.

“We had happy tears for her,” after her national record, Andersen said. “I was standing with the coaches. She went out in 27.2 and we were all like, ‘C’mon!’ ’’

Andersen, who will compete Friday in the finals of the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay, is a workout partner with Horejsi.

“Definitely,” she said. “In practice I’m the little engine that could and she’s the little engine that did.”

OTHER RECORDS

--Visitation senior Abbie Dolan, who has signed with Notre Dame, broke the all-time state record in the 200 freestyle, topping the prelims in 1:47.72. The previous mark of 1:47.86 was set by Cretin-Derham Hall's Kiera Janzen in 2008.

--Visitation’s 200 freestyle relay team of Lorelei Gaertner, Emily Conners, Emily Kishish and Dolan set a Class 1A record of 1:35.12 in the prelims.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 306
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,837
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Boys Hockey Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/19/2015 11:36:17 AM

The first rankings of the MSHSL boys hockey season, provided by Let's Play Hockey...

CLASS 2A
1 Eden Prairie (7)
2 Edina (1)
3 Lakeville North (2)
4 Grand Rapids
5 Hill-Murray
6 Duluth East
7 Blaine
8 Wayzata
9 Benilde-St. Margaret's
10 Bemidji
11 St. Thomas Academy
12 Minnetonka
13 Elk River/Zimmerman
14 Stillwater Area
15 Prior Lake
16 Holy Family Catholic
17 Farmington
18 Centennial
19 Bloomington Jefferson
20 Moorhead

CLASS 1A
1 Hermantown (8)
2 Breck
3 East Grand Forks (2)
4 St. Paul Academy
5 St. Cloud Apollo
6 Mahtomedi
7 Delano/Rockford
8 Luverne
9 St. Cloud Cathedral
10 Hibbing/Chisholm
11 Thief River Falls
12 Orono
13 Fergus Falls
14 Duluth Denfeld
15 New Prague
16 Alexandria
17 St. Paul Johnson
18 Warroad
19 Sartell-St. Stephen
20 Mankato West



First Boys Basketball Rankings Of The Season
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/19/2015 10:55:59 AM

Here are the first rankings of the MSHSL boys basketball season, provided by Minnesota Basketball News...

CLASS 4A
1. Apple Valley ()
2. Hopkins ()
3. Maple Grove ()
4. Eden Prairie ()
5. Wayzata ()
6. Champlin Park ()
7. Tartan ()
8. Lakeville North ()
9. Rochester John Marshall ()
10. Shakopee ()

CLASS 3A
1. DeLaSalle ()
2. Marshall ()
3. Rocori ()
4. Mankato East ()
5. St. Paul Johnson ()
6. Mahtomedi ()
7. Northfield ()
8. Hermantown ()
9. Benilde-St. Margaret's ()
10. Minneapolis Henry ()

CLASS 2A
1. Melrose ()
2. Minnehaha Academy ()
3. St. Croix Lutheran ()
4. Braham ()
5. Caledonia ()
6. St. Paul Academy ()
7. Esko ()
8. Jackson County Central ()
9. Lake City ()
10. Albany ()

CLASS 1A
1. Minneapolis North ()
2. Central Minnesota Christian ()
3. Battle Lake ()
4. Spring Grove ()
5. Minnesota Transitions ()
6. Rushford-Peterson ()
7. Browerville ()
8. Heritage Christian ()
9. Springfield ()
10. Cass Lake-Bena ()



State Volleyball: Two First-Time Champions Are Crowned
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/14/2015 10:04:57 PM

State champions were crowned in all three classes Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, with history being made as two schools claimed their first volleyball titles.

--In Class 1A, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown defeated Gopher Conference rival Bethlehem Academy in a thrilling 3-2 match, with scores of 25-17, 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 15-13. Not only was it Waterville-Elysian-Morristown’s first state championship, it also was the Buccaneers’ first trip to the state tournament. Bethlehem Academy has been to state 12 times, winning titles in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

--In Class 2A Belle Plaine, at state for the fourth consecutive year, captured its first state title with a 3-0 victory over Concordia Academy-Roseville. The scores were 25-20, 26-24, 25-20. The Tigers lost only one set in three matches at state, previously beating Perham 3-0 and Stewartville 3-1. Concordia Academy-Roseville has been to state 12 times and won titles in 1984 and 1987.

--The 3A state championship went to Eagan, which won the first two sets, lost the next two and held on to defeat Prior Lake 3-2. The scores were 25-17, 25-18, 23-25, 23-15, 15-13. Eagan, which has no seniors on the roster, won the state title two years ago and was the state runner-up last year. Prior Lake was playing in the state tournament for the first time.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS

CLASS 1A/ Shania Glenz, Verndale; Gabbie Gervais, Sydney Lanoue, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; Jenay Fuglestad, Heritage Christian; Madi Strodtman, Payton Nutter, Mary Campbell, Bethlehem Academy; Kamryn Kendall, Kate Masberg, RaeAhna Harmon, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.

CLASS 2A/ Ellie Schwartz, Hill-Murray; Eleanor Holthaus, Rocori; Jenna Willenborg, Karissa Kime, Stewartville; Erin Fallert, Elisabeth Tramm, Concordia Academy-Roseville; Mariena Hayden, Dakotah Poitra, Kaylee Hentges, Danielle Taylor, Belle Plaine.

CLASS 3A/ Courtney Selbitschka, North Branch; Sydney Hilley, Champlin Park; Haley Kauth, Bre Maloney, Roseville; Brie Orr, Taylor Olstad, Ally Murphy, Eagan; Ella Francis, Ellie Veldman, CC McGraw, Prior Lake.



Game Plan For Victory: “Now It’s Our Turn To Carry Him”
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/14/2015 5:03:31 PM

The game plan for the Class 1A defending state champion Minneota Vikings on Saturday was pretty simple: Run the ball, eat the clock, score touchdowns … and keep Minneapolis North quarterback and future University of Minnesota player Tyler Johnson on the defensive side of the ball at safety.

When the Polars did possess the ball, Minneota’s defense needed to contain Johnson, who is as dynamic on his feet, as well as throwing the ball, as anyone in the state.

The Vikings’ offense has been powered for two seasons by senior Garrett Hennen, a 6-foot, 220-pound wrecking ball who came in with a school-record 2,056 rushing yards in 13 games. Hennen is also Minneota’s leading tackler, so his defensive headlights would be aimed at Johnson. (Hennen is the fellow wearing number 34 on the cover of the state football tournament program.)

The Hennen-centric plans went kablooey before seven minutes had been played. After Garrett assisted Hunter Gillund in tackling Johnson, he grabbed his left knee. And that was it for him in the Prep Bowl. He was helped to the bench, examined and tried to put weight on the leg. The tire was flat, Garrett was given crutches, ice was strapped to his knee, his shoulder pads came off and now what?

Observing all this from the Minneota sideline was a gentleman named Byron Higgin. Byron is the publisher, editor, reporter, photographer, sportswriter, sales staff and Mr. Everything for the Minneota Mascot newspaper. As with small-town newspaper and radio coverage all over the state, Byron’s stories and photos document history in Minneota, including the exploits of the Vikings teams.

After Hennen left the game, Minneota assistant coach Matt Buysse walked up to Byron and said: “He’s been carrying us for two years. Now it’s our turn to carry him.”

There. That was the answer to “now what?” It was time to pick each other up. As Garrett’s cousin Kyle Hennen said after the Vikings’ 35-18 victory, “We came together strong as a team.”

There’s a lesson in this. A lesson in staying calm. Stepping up. Hanging in there. Coming together. Strong.

Minneota is no stranger to high-level football. The Vikings have now played in three consecutive Prep Bowls; they were a state runner-up in 2013 and won it all last season. They also won state championships in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 2009. Some of the boys from those teams in the 1980s are now watching their sons wear blue and gold. They went 14-0 this season.

Minneapolis North is a newer entrant to postseason runs. The Polars lost to Dawson-Boyd in the state semifinals last year and put together a masterful 12-0 season before facing Minneota.

Johnson was Johnson on Saturday, running 17 times for 186 yards and touchdowns of 64 and eight yards. He completed 11 of 23 passes for 109 yards with two interceptions. Tyler hit Isaac Johnson on a picturesque 34-yard hookup in the first quarter, and Tyler’s 64-yard magic show put the Polars ahead 12-7.

The Hennen boys – senior Kyle and sophomore Isaac (Garrett’s brother) – along with senior Bryce Bruner, sophomore Alex Pohlen and a stellar offensive line, never pushed the panic button on offense. Minneota had scoring drives that lasted eight minutes, 10 minutes and 11 minutes; goal achieved.

Bruner carried the ball 17 times for 107 yards and a touchdown, Isaac Hennen ran 24 times for 103 yards and three scores, and Pohlen completed nine of 12 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown to Kyle Hennen.

It was an emotional end to a memorable season for the Vikings. Coach Chad Johnston worked to compose himself before meeting the media. He sat with Kyle and Isaac Hennen in the interview room, talking about the great athleticism of Tyler Johnson and how they prepared for him

It turns out that one of the younger members of the coaching staff played the role of Johnson in practice all week; a guy who could run and change gears and cut and skedaddle all over the field. Guy by the name of Matt Buysse.

CLASS 3A: PIERZ 36, JACKSON COUNTRY CENTRAL 8

Noah Boser scored three touchdowns and Aaron Weber passed for two as the Pioneers completed a 13-0 season. Pierz scored on a 75-yard pass from Weber to Michael Meyer before the Huskies (10-3) took an 8-7 lead on a 37-yard hookup from Easton Bahr to Ryan Salzwedel. Pierz did all the scoring after that.

CLASS 5A: ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE 28, ST. THOMAS ACADEMY 21
br>The Knights (12-1) broke away from a 14-14 with touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to win the first state football championship in school history. Mitchell Kartes scored on two one-yard runs; the first score tied it 14-14 and the second gave the Knights a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. St. Thomas Academy finished with a 12-2 record.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 266
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,793
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Father And Sons: A Family Celebration For Grand Meadow
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/13/2015 8:27:58 PM

Celebrating a perfect season and Grand Meadow’s third consecutive Nine-Man football state championship, Superlarks coach Gary Sloan briefly became emotional after his team defeated Underwood 34-20 Friday in the opening game of Prep Bowl XXXIV at the University of Minnesota.

He choked up a bit as he talked about his twin sons Tyler and Trevor, who had just completed their senior season. The coach’s feelings, however, also centered on the rest of the seniors, boys who have grown up with each other and each other’s families.

“When you’re in a small town like Grand Meadow it’s not just seeing the kids at the football field,” Sloan said. “These kids have grown up coming to my house, coming to my sons’ birthday parties, and my kids going to their place for birthday parties. And it does make it extra special to me personally.”

The football family ties in Grand Meadow include senior quarterback Michael Stejskal, who completed 12 of 19 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns Friday. His father Deke and uncle Anthony are two of the three assistant coaches along with Aaron Myhre.

Trevor Sloan is a 6-foot-3, 192-pound lineman and team captain who had five tackles against Underwood. Tyler is a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder who is listed as a kicker on the roster. In truth, Tyler’s playing career ended in the third game of his sophomore season when he suffered his third concussion.

Unable to play, Tyler transformed into a de facto member of the coaching staff. He became a master at breaking down film of opponents and playing quarterback on the scout team in practice. This season he took over the scouting reports, too. His dad prepared the scouting report before the season opener against Lanesboro, but Tyler did that job for the rest of the season, including before the Prep Bowl.

“Tyler is such a big part of our team,” Gary Sloan said. “He watches more film than I do, and I’m serious. On the sidelines he’s making suggestions to me all the time and I’m doing what he says.”

The postgame celebration was pretty special for the Sloans. Gary’s other child, sophomore daughter Allison, was on the field. When the state championship trophy was presented to the Superlarks, it went right to Tyler. He carried it with pride, posing for photos with the rest of the team and reaching up into the stands for handshakes.

“For me personally, this one means a lot,” said a proud father.

CLASS 2A: CALEDONIA 40, PIPESTONE 0

The Warriors captured their sixth state title since 2007 and first since 2012. A 26-point second quarter, which included two short touchdown runs by Sam Stemper, gave Caledonia a 33-point lead at halftime. Owen King threw four touchdown passes, two each to Alex Goergen and Colton Lampert. Stemper rushed 20 times for 172 yards and King completed 13 of 20 passes for 207 yards.

CLASS 4A: BECKER 35, SOUTH ST. PAUL 14

The Bulldogs repeated as state champions, scoring 14 points in each of the first two quarters against the Packers. Becker’s Andrew Stanger threw for a touchdown and ran for one, and Gabe Dertinger had two rushing scores. South St. Paul quarterback Dan Pietruszewski ran 1 yard for a touchdown and threw 11 yards to Austin Brandecker for a score. Coach Dwight Lundeen’s career record is 342-145-3; he has been the Bulldogs coach since he started the program 47 years ago.

CLASS 6A: OSSEO 14, EAST RIDGE 13

Prince Kruah scored the tying touchdown on a 4-yard run with 24 seconds to play and the extra point gave the Orioles their first football state title. Osseo scored on the game’s opening drive as Malik Gaillard threw to Damario Armstrong for a 51-yard touchdown. East Ridge led 10-7 at halftime after Grant Ryerse kicked a 36-yard field goal and Otumus Payemanu hit Sam Schiller for a 23-yard score. A 41-yard field goal by Ryerse put the Raptors in front 13-7 midway through the third quarter. Osseo’s winning drive covered 71 yards in 16 plays. Kruah ran 43 times for 189 yards.

STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT

Saturday’s championship matches are set for Xcel Energy Center. In Class 3A it will be Prior Lake vs. Eagan, in 2A it will be Belle Plaine vs. Concordia Academy-Roseville, and in 1A it will be Bethlehem Academy vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.

In Friday’s semifinals…

--Class 3A/ Prior Lake defeated Roseville 3-0 and Eagan beat Champlin Park 3-1.

--Class 2A/ Belle Plaine beat Stewartville 3-1 and Concordia Academy-Roseville beat Rocori 3-0.

--Class 1A/ Bethlehem Academy beat Heritage Christian 3-1 and Waterville-Elysian-Morristown beat Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 3-1.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 266
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,753
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Prep Bowl XXXIV Schedule
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/12/2015 7:14:06 PM

At the University of Minnesota

Friday, Nov. 13
10 a.m.: 9-Man/ Underwood (13-0) vs. Grand Meadow (13-0)
1 p.m.: Class 2A/ Pipestone (13-0) vs. Caledonia (13-0)
4 p.m.: Class 4A/ South St. Paul (11-1) vs. Becker (12-0)
7 p.m.: Class 6A/ Osseo (9-3) vs. East Ridge (11-1)

Saturday, Nov. 14
10 a.m.: Class 1A/ Minneapolis North (12-0) vs. Minneota (13-0)
1 p.m.: Class 3A/ Jackson County Central (10-2) vs. Pierz (12-0)
4 p.m.: Class 5A/ St. Thomas Academy (11-1) vs. St. Michael-Albertville (11-1)



For Sebeka, The First Time Is The Third First Time
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/12/2015 5:12:27 PM

Sebeka’s trip to the Class 1A state volleyball tournament added an extra exclamation point to a fall season that has been spectacular for the town of 693 souls that’s located between Brainerd and Detroit Lakes.

Three fall sports teams made it to state this year, the first time in history for each. The football and cross-country teams are cooperative squads with Menagha under the banner of United North Central.

The football team went 9-3 and reached the Class 2A state semifinals before losing to Pipestone, which will meet Caledonia in Friday’s state championship game.

In cross-country, the United North Central girls team placed 13th at last Saturday’s Class 1A state championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

And in volleyball, unseeded Sebeka fell to second-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 3-0 in Thursday’s Class 1A state quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center. The Trojans will meet Ada-Borup in Friday’s consolation bracket.

FOR ADA-BORUP SENIOR Morgan Miller, playing in a state tournament is nothing new. She and her Cougars teammates lost to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in Thursday’s Class 1A quarterfinals. Morgan, who also is on the Ada-Borup basketball and track teams, has now played in nine state tournaments.

In fact, she has been to every state tournament in her three sports since her freshman basketball season; three in hoops, three in track and now two in volleyball.

The Fargo Forum’s Chris Murphy wrote about Morgan on Thursday. Ada-Borup volleyball and track coach Ruth Hayden told him, “That is amazing. Not many can tell their kids that story.”

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

--In Class 3A, the top four seeds all advanced to Friday’s semifinals. Top seed Prior Lake defeated Hopkins 3-0, second-seeded Roseville held off fifth-seeded Moorhead 3-1, second-seeded Eagan defeated Rochester Mayo 3-1 and third-seeded Champlin Park beat North Branch 3-0. The semifinal matchups will be Prior Lake vs. Roseville and Eagan vs. Champlin Park.

--The high seeds also advanced in Class 1A. No. 1 seed and defending champion Bethlehem defeated Cook County 3-0, second-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton beat Sebeka 3-0, No. 3 seed Waterville-Elysian-Morristown beat Ada-Borup 3-0 and fourth seed Heritage Christian Academy of Maple Grove beat Verndale 3-1. In Friday’s semifinals it will be Bethlehem Academy vs. Heritage Christian and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown.

--In the Class 2A quarterfinals, top seed Belle Plaine beat Perham 3-0, second-seeded Concordia Academy-Roseville beat Hermantown 3-0, No. 3 seed Rocori beat Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 3-2 (in the day’s only match that went to a fifth set) and fourth seed Stewartville beat Hill-Murray 3-1. Friday’s semifinal matchups are Belle Plaine vs. Stewartville and Concordia vs. Rocori.

Championship matches in all three classes will be played Saturday.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 258
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,705
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



State Volleyball Update: Class 3A Semifinals Are Set
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/12/2015 1:46:40 PM

The Class 3A quarterfinals were the first order of business Thursday during the state volleyball tournament at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. The top four seeds in 3A all advanced to Friday's semifinals; the quarterfinals in Class 1A and 2A followed.

Here is a Class 3A quarterfinal recap...

Prior Lake 3, Hopkins 0/ The top-seeded Lakers, at state for the first time in history, played the part of the team to beat with their victory over the Royals. Prior Lake (27-4) rarely trailed, falling behind the Royals (17-14) 1-0 in the first set and 3-2 in the third set. Ella Francis had 11 kills and 13 digs for Prior Lake and Ellie Veldman had 37 assists. For Hopkins, Jasmyn Martin had 12 kills, Tara Lee had 21 assists and Lauren Ortiz had 11 digs.

Roseville 3, Moorhead 1/ Fifth-seeded Moorhead (26-5) won the first set before the fourth-seeded Raiders (24-6) rallied to take the next three and advance to Friday’s semifinals against Prior Lake. Roseville’s Alivia Garbe had 24 kills and 16 digs, Bre Maloney had 41 assists and 12 digs, Sara Hain had 13 kills and Haley Kauth had 17 digs. Moorhead’s Kenna Taylor had 24 kills and 13 digs, Britta Hanson had 25 assists, and Kortney Carney had 19 assists and 13 digs.

Champlin Park 3, North Branch 0: The third-seeded Rebels (28-4), who finished fifth at state last year, reached the semifinals with their victory over the Vikings 24-6). Sydney Hilley and Jenae Alderson had nine kills each for Champlin Park, Izzy Ashburn had 11 assists, and Alderson and Kaitlyn Weimerskirsch each had six digs. For North Branch, Morgan Coleman had 14 assists, Cianna Selbitschka had four kills and seven digs, and Courtney Selbitschka had four kills and six digs.

Eagan 3, Rochester Mayo 1: The second-seeded Wildcats (26-4) had to battle against the Spartans (27-3) in advancing to face Champlin Park in the semifinals. Brie Orr had 17 kills, 23 assists and 15 digs for Eagan, Kennedi Orr had 16 assists and Ally Murphy had 12 kills. For Mayo, Kate Holtan had 15 kills and 19 digs, Anna Winter had 13 kills and Lexie Lang had 39 assists.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 258
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,705
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



An Early Hockey Challenge Is Something To Build On
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/10/2015 11:31:39 PM

The high school hockey season is a long one. Girls teams began practicing on Oct. 26 and the season will culminate with the 2016 state championship games on Feb. 20. In between are 17 weeks of practices, games and lessons.

Those games at the end of the season will be played under the brightest lights and heaviest glare of attention. But the games played early on are just as vital, setting the tone for what is to come.

Case in point was Tuesday night’s game between Blake and Hill-Murray at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. This was a match between heavyweights: Hill-Murray, playing its season opener, is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A and owns the last two state championships. Blake, playing its second game after beating Cretin-Derham Hall 4-1 on Saturday, is ranked No. 1 in Class 1A and won state championships in 2013 and 2014 before falling to Thief River Falls in last season’s title game.

The verdict Tuesday was straightforward. Hill-Murray scored power-play goals in the first and second periods and added an even-strength goal before giving up one to Blake with 14 seconds remaining in the third. The final was Pioneers 3, Bears 1 and both teams came away with lessons that can be carried forward.

“It’s kind of a typical first game of the year,” said Hill-Murray coach Bill Schafhauser. “It’s a little frazzled at times but there’s something to be said for learning how to win and it doesn’t have to be fancy sometimes.”

Both teams are loaded with high-end talent. Jac Kaasa had a goal and an assist for Hill-Murray, and Laura Anderson and Kate Smith also scored. Carly Bullock scored the late goal for the Bears.

Bullock will play college hockey at Princeton along with teammate Sylvie Wallin. Blake’s Lucy Burton will play at Yale, as will a teammate who has not yet made that news public.

Mekenzie Steffen, who had an assist for the Pioneers, will play at Wisconsin and fellow defender Kenzie Prater will play at Quinnipiac.

The shots-on-goal in the game were dead even at 23 apiece and both coaches came away impressed with the competition.

“I saw Hill-Murray play a very disciplined game,” said Blake coach Shawn Reid. “They are tough, they’re great defensively, they block tons of shots, it’s hard to generate any offense. And the couple times we did generate offense, they had a great goalie (senior Mari Johnson).”

Schafhauser said of the Bears, “They have great skill. Over the last couple of years they’ve beaten us in overtime in some really good games. It could have easily gone that way again. We had some really good goaltending. It’s a good start.”

Afterwards, the coaches talked to their teams about this fact: it’s a long season, one game is just one game, and there is much to learn.

“That’s exactly what we said,” Reid said. “We don’t need to overreact to this. It’s one game against a very good team and what we need to do is find lessons in that. What can we learn and how can we improve?”

Schafhauser said of his players, “They never gave up. It was frustrating at times. I know a lot of them understand the level that they’re used to and it just doesn’t happen overnight. That’s when you kind of lean on your seniors. We have kind of a new experience this year with nine seniors; we’ve never had that many. And we had some young kids today who were a little overwhelmed. But they’re good players and it’s just going to take a little bit of time.”

Time? Oh, there’s plenty of time.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 234
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,665
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Hasz Sisters Finish 1-2 One More Time; Seventh-Grader Makes History
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/7/2015 3:24:06 PM

NORTHFIELD -- The third time was a charm for the Hasz sisters from Alexandria. Then again, the first and second times were pretty charming, too.

The 18-year-old senior twins capped their high school cross-country careers by finishing first and second Saturday in the Class 2A state meet; Bethany was first and Megan second. Last year the finish was Megan first and Bethany second, and two years ago it was Bethany first and Megan second.

“Megan could have just as easily won,” Bethany said Saturday. “It could have gone either way.”

Bethany’s winning time Saturday over 5,000 meters was 17 minutes, 32.2 seconds. Megan finished in 17:38.9 and Claire Boersma, a junior from Marshall, placed third in 17:51.1. (They are pictured here, left to right: Bethany, Megan and Claire.)

Saturday’s race, the Hasz sisters’ fifth time at the state meet, capped an illustrious autumn career that will continue on the track in the spring before they begin college at the University of Minnesota. They first went to state in 2011, when they were eighth-graders. Megan placed fourth and Bethany was fifth. As freshmen, Bethany was third and Megan sixth.

In track, Bethany won the Class 2A 1,600- and 3,200-meter state titles last spring. As sophomores the twins placed second (Megan) and third (Bethany) in the 1,600 and third (Bethany) and fourth (Megan) in the 3,200.

Megan did not run at the state track meet last spring due to a stress fracture in her left tibia. The injury resurfaced this fall after she raced in the season’s first meet, and she sat out until later in the campaign. Bethany and Megan finished 1-2 in the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8 meets, and the Alexandria team qualified for state for the first time since 2011.

“We’re just sad that it’s our senior year, “Bethany said. “We’re going to miss our coaches and our team. It’s weird that this is our last state cross-country meet.”

Boersma was all smiles after crossing the finish line behind the twins.

“This feels amazing,” she said. “It feels like a dream. Once we finished I was kind of star struck around (the Hasz sisters). They’re so amazing, they’re like celebrities. People joked around, ‘Oh, are you going to beat the Hasz sisters?’ But that wasn’t really a goal of mine this year. I was just trying to finish right behind them.”

In the team competition, Edina won the title with 68 points, followed by Marshall (76) and Willmar (119).

IN THE CLASS 1A GIRLS RACE, Winona Cotter’s Grace Ping made history by becoming the youngest state champion in history. She is a seventh-grader who turned 12 in July. No seventh-grader -- male or female, Class 1A or 2A -- had ever won a state cross-country title before Saturday.

Her time of 17:52.0 was 50 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Breck eighth-grader Morgan Richter (18:42.7). Placing third was Watertown-Mayer senior Hannah Truniger in 18:46.7.

Ping, who won the Section 1 championship with a margin of two minutes, two seconds, came into Saturday’s race as the top-ranked runner in Class 1A. Before Saturday, her watershed victory had come in September at the Roy Griak Invitational. The field in that race consisted of 419 girls from 49 teams in 10 states. The Griak was her first 5K as part of a high school team, although she has been running 5K since she was eight.

Ping’s victory Saturday gives her the possibility of becoming the first six-time state cross-country champion. The only five-time state champion is Carrie Tollefson of Dawson-Boyd, who won five titles from 1990 through 1994 and went on to become an NCAA all-American at Villanova and an Olympian.

Perham won the 1A girls team championship with a score of 74, followed by Annandale (99) and Trinity School at River Ridge (118).

BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP RACES

Wayzata senior Jaret Carpenter carried the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A into Saturday’s race and finished that way, too. His time of 18:26.5 was less than two seconds better than runner-up Micah Mather (15:28.2), a senior from St. Paul Highland Park. Stillwater senior Eli Krahn was third in 15:32.3.

Hopkins claimed the 2A boys team title with a score of 34, followed by Minneapolis Washburn (67) and Stillwater (87).

In Class 1A, La Crescent junior Zack Emery won the state title with a time of 16:07.8. Mora junior Michael Schwinghamer was second in 16:11.1 and Lake City junior Carl Kozlowski was third in 16:17.4.

Mora won the team title for the second year in a row with a score of 43, followed by Perham (94) and Annandale (166).

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 232
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,607
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Anoka Boys, Eagan Girls Repeat; Benilde And Orono Are Champs
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/5/2015 10:01:34 AM

ST. CLOUD – Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University has been the home of boys and girls soccer state semifinal and championship games for two years now, and Thursday’s slate of four title games wrapped up a strong run of play before the tournament returns indoors next year.

The Metrodome was the site of the games for years and Husky Stadium was selected to host until the new Vikings stadium opens in 2016. The elements are part of the game in outdoor soccer, and Thursday’s conditions were windy and cool, although not unbearable for players or fans.

Here are Thursday's results…

CLASS 1A GIRLS: Benilde-St. Margaret’s 4, Orono 2

Defense was the season-long theme for the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights, who allowed only nine goals in 22 games. The Red Knights previously won state titles in 2012 and 2013.

Orono, the defending state champions, trailed early with a credited to Benilde’s Aleksa Tataryn. The Spartans’ Claire Bash made it 1-1 with 18 minutes to go in the first half. Tataryn gave the Red Knights (20-1-1) a 2-1 lead with less than 23 minutes remaining in regulation, followed quickly by goals from Amanda Cassidy and Madison Stoks that gave Benilde-St. Margaret’s a 4-1 lead. Carla Goehring of Orono (19-3) made it 4-2 with 12:30 left.

CLASS 1A BOYS: Orono 2, Breck 1 (overtime)

Alex Kill scored on a header four minutes into overtime to give the Spartans (22-1) their first state title. Breck (14-5-4) took an early lead on a goal credited to Eric Smits with under 22 minutes left in the half and Orono answered quickly with a goal by Guyvens Mohs. That made it 1-1 and the score was unchanged through the rest of regulation time.

CLASS 2A GIRLS/ Eagan 1, Eden Prairie 0

The teams played to a scoreless tie through 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods before Eagan won a shootout with three goals to Eden Prairie’s two. The state title was the second in a row for Eagan (19-2-1). Eden Prairie finished with a record of 15-4-3.

CLASS 2A BOYS/ Anoka 2, East Ridge 1

Nathan Casas scored for East Ridge midway through the first half. Early in the second half, after a hand-ball call, Anoka’s Donnie Guimont scored on a penalty kick to make it 1-1 and Blake Doyea scored five minutes later to put Anoka (17-3-2) in front to stay over the Raptors (15-3-3). It was Anoka's second state title in a row.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS

Class 1A girls/ Ashlee Olson, Dover-Eyota; Desi Krueger, St. Peter; Brooke Innes, Holy Angels; Megan Cook, Sartell-St. Stephen; Hannah Sandin, McKenzie Eckert, Princeton; Finna Maixner, Mara Yapello, Michelle Austin, Mahtomedi; Lily McKown, Claire Bash, Carly Goehring, Orono; Aleksa Tataryn, Sophie Roux, Julia Stelljes, Lauren Gustafson, Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

Class 1A boys/ Esteban Bedoya, Rochester Lourdes; Ryan Yang, St. Paul Como Park; Sijilfredo Gonzalez, Hermantown; Travis Forst, Sartell-St. Stephen; Abdiwahab Abdullahi, Fabian Macias, Faribault; Charles Roberts, Amanuel Bird, Grant Dumler, St. Thomas Academy; Hudson Haecker, Garrett Opperman, Avi Eller, Breck; Spencer Overturf, Guyvens Mohs, Pierce Laing, Alex Kill, Orono.

Class 2A girls/ Mikayla Iaquinto, Centennial; Morgan Turner, Wayzata; Emily Brown, Blaine; Kate Heimer, Rogers; Emily Boyer, Rachel Boyer, Mounds View; Hannah Cade, Temi Carda, Lauren Witte, Lakeville North; Lindsay Eliasen, Kara Bean, Meghan Verkinderen, Eden Prairie; Jade King, Taylor Kenealy, Kate Woodcock, Emma Brechlin, Eagan.

Class 2A boys/ Jonathan Loera, Rochester Mayo; Avery Weaver, Minnetonka; Chad Miller, Eagan; Sam Moses, Park Center; Mohamud Aden, Khalid Gelani, St. Cloud Tech; Juan Louis, Mitchell Taylor, Hassan Adan, Minneapolis Washburn; Keelan Spencer, Jarrod Ronquillo, Ashwin Kolla, East Ridge; Connor Schaaf, Blake Neumann, Jake Peterson, Michael Talbot, Anoka.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 166
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,487
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



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