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Once In A Lifetime Opportunity
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/29/2012 12:12:17 PM

(This article was written by one of the high school students who attended a Timberwolves game through the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.)

By Katie Halter
Red Rock Central High School Student SID

How many high school students can say they have interviewed an NBA player? That’s right, I’m betting close to zero. Well, on March 25, myself, Thomas Elness from Windom High School, Turner Blaufuss from Breckenridge High School, Nick Wagner from Ada-Borup and Luke Sleeper from the University of Minnesota all got the opportunity of a lifetime.

We are involved in an MSHSL program called Student Sports Information Directors. Through this program there have been many perks: Meeting various media personnel at the local level, getting into games free, and the best thing of all is writing about different sporting events we witnessed. I’m sure not all of us thought when we initially got involved in this program that we would ever go to a Timberwolves game and interview a player.

We started the first-ever Student Sports Information Day with the Timberwolves getting a tour of the team offices by Aaron Seehusen, the public relations senior coordinator for the Timberwolves and the coordinator of the student SID day.

We stopped at the boardroom where the team holds various meetings on multiple subjects. We were then joined by various media personnel. Star Tribune beat reporter Jerry Zgoda, Augsburg College sports information director Don Stoner, Fox Sports North television play-by-play man Tom Hanneman, Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski and KARE-11 sports anchor/reporter Dave Schwartz all shared the stories of their success and answered some of our questions.

When asked if they believe ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’, they all agreed that it’s a combination of both in this business. You have to know how to handle situations, meet deadlines, and work together; but on the other hand, who you know might impact how far you move up the job chain as well.

We finished our hour-long roundtable discussion and were treated with a tour of the Target Center. We walked around the court and eventually made it into the Timberwolves locker room, which is probably even smaller than my high school locker room! While in the locker room, Nikola Pekovic had just come in from his pre-game shoot around. The media immediately surrounded him, which showed me that you truly have to honor the time and relationships that media gets with players and coaches.

After our tour, it was time for one of the best pasta bars in the world. It was honestly the best pasta I’ve ever had. We enjoyed the company of each other and talked about our experiences being involved in the MSHSL SID program.

We found our seats in the fourth row of the press area. As we got situated, it hit me that we were sitting in the same area as some of the great media personnel in Minnesota.

As the game proceeded we received quarter notes, injury reports and next game previews. The Timberwolves went on to beat the Denver Nuggets 117-110.

After the game, Aaron asked if we would like to stick around and interview a player if they agreed. Of course, all of our immediate answers were YES!

It took about five minutes after the game to get the interview set up. Aaron told us that Anthony Tolliver had agreed to be interviewed by us. I’m not going to lie; I was very star-struck during this, as you can see from this picture. He was a very genuine and down-to-earth player, one that every little kid should look up to.

As our interview came to a close, so did our day. It was one of the best days any up-and-coming journalist could ask for. Thank you to John Millea for setting up this experience and to Aaron Seehusen and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves staff making this day possible. It truly was a day I will never forget.




Smithsonian Museum To Feature Apple Valley Girls Hockey
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/26/2012 11:20:20 PM

American history was made on March 25, 1995, when a team from Apple Valley High School was crowned the first girls state hockey championship team in the United States. The Eagles defeated South St. Paul 2-0 in that championship game.

Seventeen years have passed, and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., has chosen Apple Valley’s hockey history to be part of an exhibit called “Hometown Teams” and the Smithsonian program known as Museum on Main Street.

The exhibit is about the spirit, diversity and love of sports in towns across America. “Hometown Teams” will shine a spotlight on teams at the local, high school, college and amateur level, but also on some of the most iconic professional landmarks in America. The exhibition is divided into themes that will feature personal stories from players in audio and video presentations, historical photographs, archival footage, replicas and even objects donated by minor league, college and high school teams. There are six major thematic sections in the exhibit:

“Sports Everywhere”
“Fields of Glory”
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (fan experiences)
“Root, Root, Root for the Home Team” (stories from families and supporters)
“Playing the Game” (athlete stories)
and “Sports Explosion” (the future of sports).

The focus on Apple Valley High School will revolve around the girls hockey team. Minnesota was the first state in the U.S. to sanction girls ice hockey as a high school varsity sport.

Smithsonian staff members will be at Apple Valley High School during the first week of May to conduct interviews with current and former players and coaches.

A note to MSHSL staff from Pete Buesgens, Apple Valley assistant principal and athletics director, included these words: “Thank you to the MSHSL for having the foresight to be an advocate and supporter of women’s athletics and for being at the forefront in the United States! I cannot even begin to imagine the number of young women impacted in such a positive way because of the skills and lessons taught through sport.”



Reporting from Phoenix: A State Record Falls In Minnesota
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/22/2012 2:57:12 AM

PHOENIX – There was some major news on the high school track scene in Minnesota on Saturday, and I’m writing about it while sitting in a hotel room in the Valley of the Sun. This is how news travels these days … distance doesn’t really matter much.

The backstory is that my wife and I are spending a long weekend in the Phoenix area. One of our children is a doctoral student in the school of music at Arizona State University, and we are here to watch him perform with the Scottsdale Arts Orchestra in two concerts over the weekend. And coincidentally, the person who broke a Minnesota state track record Saturday has signed a letter of intent with Arizona State.

His name is Thomas Anderson and he is a senior at Andover. He set a state record in the shot put Saturday during the 12-team Pony Relays at Stillwater. And again, there is a tie-in.

I was at the Stillwater track on a spring day in 2003 when Mounds View’s Nate Englin set a new state shot put record at the same Pony Relays. On that Saturday nine years ago, Englin threw the shot 65 feet, 6 inches to set a state mark.

In the same circle Saturday, Anderson threw 65-8, topping Englin’s record by two inches. Andover coach Mike Bobbe told me in an email that after the big throw, the competition was stopped and the throw was measured again to ensure sure there were no twists in the measuring tape.

Anderson’s previous career best was 65-4 ½, coming last season when he won the Class 2A state championship.

Anderson has a career best in the discus throw of 177-3. The state record in that event is 201-7, set by Rochester Century’s Karl Erickson in 2001.

Anderson’s parents, Colin and Lynne Anderson, are both Olympians. Lynne, a former American discus record holder and an Olympian in the event in 1976 and 1980, is a throws coach at the University of Minnesota. Colin, a 1980 Olympian in the shot put, is an assistant coach at Andover.

After Thomas Anderson signed his letter of intent with Arizona State, Sun Devils head track coach Greg Kraft said, “Thomas Anderson is really exciting. (ASU throws) coach (David) Dumble is able to bring in the top-rated shot putter in the country and continue a great tradition here at Arizona State. The fact that his parents are both Olympians speaks well for the work that he’s put in in his career.”

On the heels of his new record, Anderson will be one of the marquee performers next Friday evening in the Hamline Elite Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. The Elite Meet brings together the best track and field athletes in the state, regardless of class.

It’s now nearly 1 a.m. in Arizona and 3 a.m. in Minnesota. So I’ll close with this message: John’s Journal never takes a day off.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 501
*Miles John has driven: 7,130

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn



Faster, Farther: Girls Track Record Holders Strive For More
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/18/2012 1:59:14 PM

The state track record book is a document that lists 36 events – 18 for girls, 18 for boys – and the all-time bests cover a span of 39 years. The oldest record is in the boys high jump, where Rochester John Marshall’s Rod Raver cleared 7 feet, 1 inch way back in 1973 (Chaska’s Jon Markuson tied that record in 1993).

Raver’s mark is the only current record that was set in the 1970s. Six marks were set in the 1980s, including the oldest on the girls side: Blooming Prairie’s Jeanne Kruckeberg set the 800-meter record of 2:08.24 in 1984. Two records were set in the 1990s and 28 have been established since 2000.

Now imagine all those outstanding athletes, spanning all those years, and ponder the odds of two state record holders competing at the same place at the same time. It happened at last year’s state meet and it happened Tuesday. That’s because the two newest records were set in 2010 and 2011, and the holders of those records won’t finish their high school careers until 2013.

Jessica January of Richfield and Maggie Ewen of St. Francis, who have barely reached the halfway point of their high school years, competed at Tuesday’s Heidi Kunz Invitational at Mahtomedi. The two juniors won their events, which is no surprise to anyone.

January set the state record in the 100-meter hurdles when she was a freshman, and one of her goals is to break her record of 14.33 seconds. Ewen set a new state mark of 166 feet, 8 inches in the discus last season. January easily won the hurdles Tuesday with a time of 15.38 and Ewen threw the discus 159-5 while also winning the shot put.

Ewen (right) won the Class 2A discus state championship as a freshman and won both the discus and shot put as a sophomore. January also holds three state title titles, winning the 100 and 300 hurdles as a freshman and the 100 hurdles as a sophomore.

Their goals are similar: Beat their own records.

“Definitely,” January said. “I’ve just got to keep working at it.”

Ewen said, “My goals are just to throw an inch farther than my best.”

Faster, farther. That sums up January and Ewen. One runs and jumps and the other spins and throws. They told me Tuesday that they have never met, but it was clear that they have great respect for each other. Both of them wore souvenir state tourney pullovers at Mahtomedi; January wore a grey basketball pullover and Ewen was in a black pullover from state track.

January is also a talented basketball player and plans to play that sport in college. In fact, she is splitting her spring sports time between track and AAU basketball; after running the 100 hurdles and the 4x200 relay Tuesday, she left the track meet for basketball practice.

She plans to concentrate on the 100 hurdles this spring while possibly also running the 300 hurdles. She has ranked among the state's best in the long jump but said she isn’t competing in any jumping events this year.

January (left) competed at state as a seventh-grader and was a state runner-up in the 100 hurdles as an eighth-grader. Ewen’s first trip to state came when she was in eighth grade; she placed third in the discus. Now in their fourth year as varsity track athletes, the duo knows how important all that experience is.

“I think it helps a lot,” January said. “I don’t think it would be the difference between winning and losing, but definitely the nerves and just being comfortable with the environment, it helps you stay relaxed.”

Tuesday’s meet was a bit on the chilly side, but Ewen said she prefers competing when the weather is colder rather than warmer.

“I really like the cold,” she said, smiling. “I’m not sure why, but I like it more when it’s colder instead of hot.”

Ewen has the state’s best performances this spring in her two events, with season-bests of 162-1 in the discus and 48-6 in the shot put (the state record in that event is 52-4 ¾, set by Lakeville’s Liz Podominick in 2003).

January’s 15.38 in the 100 hurdles Tuesday was her best so far this season. Farmington junior Nadia Lorencz has the fastest reported time in the state in 2012, running a 15.21.

January is starting to think about college, listing Stanford, DePaul and Miami as her top three choices. Ewen has not yet settled on a list of possible colleges.

When I told Ewen that January would play basketball in college, Maggie said, “That’s a lot of track talent.”

She was talking about Jessica, but that statement stands for herself as well.

--To see a photo gallery of Ewen and January, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 501
*Miles John has driven: 7,130

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn



Rainy Days And Mondays...
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/16/2012 10:32:07 AM

It's another cold, wet day in Minnesota, and we all know what that means for spring sports.

That's correct ... lots of outdoor activities today have been/will be postponed or cancelled. We've got a growing list of changes posted on the MSHSL Facebook page and I'm re-Tweeting every change I see on Twitter. It's easy to follow me on Twitter; I'm @MSHSLjohn

Have a great day and stay dry!



Location Change For All-Star Football Game
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/16/2012 8:02:40 AM

Here's a press release from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association ...

A location change for the 39th annual Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game is being announced by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA). The 2012 All-Star Football Game will be held on Saturday June 30 at Husky Stadium on the campus St. Cloud State University, instead of at TCF Bank Stadium, as was previously scheduled and announced by the MFCA. The kick-off will be at 1:00 PM, making this the first afternoon All-Star Football Game since 2004.

Reason for the location change:

The NCAA passed legislation in September 2011 that prohibits All-Star games and other similar events from being held on the campuses of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS - Division I) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS - Division IAA) schools.

The specific NCAA bylaw is (13.11.1.10) is re-printed below:

13.11.1.10 Non-scholastic Practice or Competition -- Football. An institution [including any institutional department (e.g., athletics, recreational/intramural)] shall not host, sponsor or conduct a non-scholastic football practice or competition (e.g., seven-on-seven events) in which football prospective student-athletes participate on its campus or at an off-campus facility regularly used by the institution for practice and/or competition by any of the institution's sport programs.

The MFCA and the University of Minnesota attempted to get a waiver from the NCAA, but the waiver was not granted. The University of Minnesota Athletic Department officially notified the MFCA of the decision on April 2. With the above NCAA bylaw in place, the University of Minnesota is not permitted to host the 2012 Minnesota All Star Football game at TCF Bank Stadium.

It should be noted that the above NCAA bylaw will also impact high school all-star football games in other states where FBS or FCS facilities have been used (Michigan and North Dakota have announced location changes for their respective All-Star Football games).

NCAA bylaw 13.11.1.10 does not impact NCAA Division II or Division III campuses or facilities. This allows the MFCA to return the All-Star Football Game to Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University, an NCAA Division II school, where the game was successfully held from 2005 to 2010.

In a statement to the MFCA Executive Committee and conference representatives, All-Star Game Director Dave Fritze said this about Husky Stadium: “prior to last year’s game at TCF Bank Stadium, the past several All-Star Games were at St. Cloud’s beautiful stadium. It is an excellent, fan friendly facility. The location is very convenient as it is only minutes from our new practice site at St. John’s University.”

The MFCA looks forward to a successful 2012 Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game at St. Cloud State University.

Note: because of the location change to St. Cloud State University, the second annual All-Star Football Media Day will not be held in 2012. The Media Day event had been scheduled for Wednesday June 27 at TCF Bank Stadium.



Burnsville Baseball: Miraculous Memories And A New Season
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/12/2012 2:24:13 PM

At 8:04 p.m. last June 21, rain was falling at Target Field during the bottom of the final inning of the final game of the high school baseball season. That’s when lightning struck … lightning in the form of a two-run, two-out, bases-loaded single by Burnsville junior Bo Hellquist. The game-winning hit capped a six-run rally that gave the Blaze the Class 3A state championship with an improbable 6-5 victory over Maple Grove.

“I think everybody knew we could do it, even though we were down five runs,” Hellquist told me before Burnsville’s home opener Wednesday afternoon. “We hadn’t really been hitting the ball, things weren’t going our way, we’re weren’t getting the bounces, but faith in each other and faith in ourselves helped us pull it off.”

The comeback was miraculous. Maple Grove had scored five runs in the fifth inning and led 5-0 when Hellquist opened the bottom of the seventh with a single. When his turn to bat came around again later in the inning, the score was 5-4. Then came the hit that will be long remembered.

Ten months after that game, Blaze coach Mick Scholl is still trying to catch up with all the emails and letters of congratulations.

“I’ve had over 300 emails from all over the United States and around the world,” he said. “I heard from people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, I had letters from people who graduated back in 1964 and ’65. Winning a state championship really meant a lot to this community.”

The state title was Burnsville’s first in baseball; the Blaze had finished as the 3A runner-up a year earlier. But in the What Have You Done For Me Lately Department, a new season has begun. It is no surprise, however, that the Blaze are No. 1 in the first rankings of the season, released this week by the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association. They return a solid group of veterans, forged by last year’s run to the championship.

There is one missing piece, though, and it’s a big piece. Righthanded senior pitcher Adam Lambrecht, whose 9-0 record last year (with 54 strikeouts in 48 innings) included victories in the state semifinals as well as the state championship game, is on the sideline all season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last fall.

“Having Adam Lambrecht going down, that put a hole in our lineup. That one hurt us,” said Scholl (pictured here). “He’s the kind of kid you hand the ball to and you know you’re going to get the best. Our Achilles heel this year, I guess, will be pitching but it gives other kids some opportunities to step up.”

Lambrecht was pitching in a fall league when his elbow blew. He had surgery to replace a ligament in November and is on track to begin his collegiate career at North Dakota State next spring. Despite being unable to play, he remains a big part of the Burnsville team, helping other pitchers, working on conditioning and doing whatever he can for his teammates.

“He’s 100 percent part of the team,” Scholl said. “He said he wanted to help out and he’s been here every day.”

Lambrecht said, “So far everybody’s been really supportive and made me feel like part of the team, and I’m really happy about that. I love this team. I’m here to support and cheer for the guys.”

Burnsville took a 3-0 record into a Thursday game at Edina. After spending spring break in the Phoenix area – where they spent eight hours a day practicing – the Blaze have defeated Eagan, Duluth East and Lakeville North. The lessons that were so valuable a year ago – never quit, always stay together – are already a valuable tool for the 2012 Blaze.

“Coach talks about that all the time, being humble and not taking anything for granted,” Hillquist said. “We know we’re the team that everybody wants to get and we put a target on the back of our shirt like we did last year. Last year the target represented just getting to Target Field, and this year it’s a target on our back. We can’t take anything for granted, we’ve got to work hard and never give up.”

No matter how this season ends, the members of the 2011 team will always treasure their memories from Target Field. The 5-0 deficit … the six-run seventh … Hellquist’s winning single … the celebratory dogpile in the rain.

“When you break it down and think of all the individual aspects of it, it just becomes so unreal,” Hellquist said. “Not many teams put up six runs in an inning, let alone in the state championship game. With all the different aspects all coming together, it’s just amazing that we did it.

“I watch the final at-bat and I still get chills when you see everybody jumping on top of each other.”

--To see a photo gallery of the Burnsville baseball team, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 495
*Miles John has driven: 7,088

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn



A Day With The Wolves I’ll Never Forget
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/9/2012 9:48:52 AM

(This article was written by one of the high school students who attended a Timberwolves game through the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.)

By Turner Blaufuss
Breckenridge High School Student SID

Wow. What an experience. If I told you I was lucky enough to meet some of my favorite sportswriters, get an amazing seat to watch Kevin Love light up the Denver Nuggets and interview Anthony Tolliver in the same day, you’d expect me to finish my story with “Yeah. And then I woke up.”

Thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves public relation senior coordinator Aaron Seehusen, John Millea and the Minnesota State High School League, it wasn’t a dream, but a dream come true.

On March 25, I was lucky enough to attend the first MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors day with the Timberwolves. I had always wondered what it would be like to be a sportswriter covering a professional team and I once made a promise to myself I’d work my way there to find out. After getting a taste of what I hope is my future, I’m that much more determined to make my dream a reality.

We jumped right into the good stuff at the beginning of our day by meeting with some long-time idols of mine. My fellow Student SIDs Thomas Elness, Katelynn Halter and Nick Wagner and Luke Sleeper from the University of Minnesota were given loads of advice from an incredible group of men. The all-star cast included Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski, KARE 11 sports reporter/anchor Dave Schwartz, Timberwolves public relations senior coordinator Aaron Seehusen, Augsburg College SID Don Stoner, Timberwolves play-by-play announcer Tom Hanneman and my personal favorite Jerry Zgoda, who is the Timberwolves beat writer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune (my dream job).

They all stressed that hard work gets you anywhere you want to be, and nothing is more important to an individual’s success. It was incredible listening to them talk about their profession with such passion. It made me realize how perfect a job in sports will fit me and hopefully I can follow in their footsteps with the same love for my career.

After that we switched gears and Aaron took us for a tour. The Wolves’ locker room was my favorite and seeing reporters talk to the players and coach Rick Adelman gave me a great feel for the relationship you develop with athletes and coaches as a writer. Our next step was the dining room, where we hit up the pasta bar. It. Was. Amazing.

The game tipped off and the atmosphere was incredible. We were four rows up in the press seats, which was a view I could definitely get used to. The Timberwolves and Love are definitely worth the price of admission. The game was free for us, but you know what I mean. The Timberwolves put on a show for the MSHSL crew, scoring a season-high 68 first-half points on their way to a 117-100 victory. It was hard not to cheer while being unbiased media.

After the game Aaron approached us and I initially thought he was going to thank us for coming, but he said something that made my heart skip a beat. “Would you guys want to interview Anthony Tolliver?” All of us were a little slow to respond because we were a bit surprised. It was an amazing first interview with a professional athlete and it couldn’t have been with a nicer player. Thank you, Mr. Tolliver. You are way taller in person.

I would like to thank Aaron and John for organizing the day. It was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. Meeting Jerry Zgoda and other sports writers I’ve always adored, attending a Timberwolves game, interviewing a real professional athlete all in one day? If I could have gotten K-Love’s autograph for my sociology teacher it would’ve been perfect, but that’s part of being media and not a fan. I’m happy and proud to be an MSHSL Student SID.



A Little Bit Of Everything At Board Of Directors Meeting
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/5/2012 2:52:32 PM

The April meeting of the MSHSL board of directors was an action-packed affair Thursday morning, with some proposed changes approved and others rejected. The topics ranged from the basketball postseason to seeding at state tournaments to hockey scrimmages to swimming to cross-country to golf and more. Here’s a summary of what happened…

--State Basketball Seeding/ The boys and girls basketball advisory committees recommended that teams be seeded No. 1 through No. 8 at state tournaments for all classes of boys and 3A and 4A in girls; the current format for those classes has teams seeded 1 through 4 and their opponents determined by a blind draw. The 20-member board tabled the proposal, wanting more information before making any decisions. The board was told that at least half of the state’s region committees opposed the change, and the board also was informed that making the change for basketball would mean doing the same for other state tournaments that are seeded. The possibility of seeding 1 through 5 was mentioned, and the board will discuss this issue in the future.

--New Format For 4A State Basketball/ The basketball advisory committees also proposed that boys and girls 4A basketball use a new system for the postseason, with 64 teams forming an NCAA-style tournament. The board rejected the proposal on a near-unanimous voice vote.

Board members’ concerns included travel and who would be on committees that would seed the 64 teams. Board vice president Mark Fredericksen, principal at Waconia High School, said, “I’m really concerned about the philosophical change. I think this changes our whole model. If our goal is to create competitive balance it’s hard to limit it to one class and one sport. I don’t know that the model is necessarily broken in basketball.”

Board member Mike Manning, activities director at Rosemount High School and a former basketball coach, said, “I think every other sport will be at our door and I’m not ready to do this for every sport. As much as I think this is a good idea for basketball, I’m not in favor.”

And board member Chris Laird, activities director and boys soccer coach at Heritage Christian Academy, asked, “If the rationale is to make it as competitive as you can, wouldn’t that apply to 3A, 2A and 1A?”

--Hockey Scrimmages/ Hockey coaches asked for a change in rules regarding scrimmages, but the board voted against the change. Currently, each team is allowed three calendar days to hold three days of scrimmages or two days of scrimmages and one jamboree day. The proposal asked for unlimited scrimmages during the first two weeks after practice begins, and a limit of two scrimmages following the third Monday of the season.

--Baseball/Softball/ The board approved a request from baseball and softball coaches to use a double-elimination format for the final eight teams in section tournaments. Currently, the final four teams use double-elimination. This change will take effect in the 2013 season. The board also approved a policy change for game-ending procedures at the state softball and baseball tournaments, allowing games to be suspended rather than ended due to bad weather or other circumstances.

--Also, the board approved a change from four sections to six in Class A boys swimming and approved a format change in section qualifiers for the state cross-country meet. Currently, the top 10 individuals from each section go to state, regardless of team qualifiers. Under the change, the top eight individuals not on state-qualifying teams will go to state.

IN OTHER NEWS FROM THE BOARD ROOM…

--A survey concerning golf showed little support for adding a fall state tournament (and retaining the spring tournament) for teams that would like to play golf in the fall.

--The board watched a video replay of Perham students Emily Peterson and Joe Alfs singing the national anthem during the boys state basketball tournament. As I wrote after their performance, “We have heard some excellent performances during the tournaments, but Perham students Emily Peterson and Joe Alfs topped them all with a wonderful duet before Friday night’s games. They mixed in a bit of “America the Beautiful” with the anthem, and then got high fives from Perham coach Dave Cresap as they exited the court.”

--The board honored Andover junior cross-country runner Josh Ripley with the Spirit of Sport Award, one of eight such awards given across the country. In an act that received national acclaim last September, Josh stopped running during the Applejack Invitational in Lakeville and helped an injured runner. Lakeville South’s Mark Paulauskas had been spiked and was on the ground, holding his ankle and bleeding profusely. Josh picked him up and carried him a half-mile down the course, where he handed him off to a Lakeville South coach. Once assured that Paulauskas was in good hands and medical help was on its way, Ripley made his way back to the race, finishing 211th out of 261 runners.

Josh, who was nominated by the MSHSL for the national Spirit of Sport award, was named the winner in Section 5, which includes Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 490
*Miles John has driven: 7,043

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn



Previewing Thursday’s Board of Directors Meeting
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/4/2012 11:25:45 AM

The MSHSL board of directors will meet at MSHSL World Headquarters in Brooklyn Center on Thursday morning, with some interesting items on the agenda.

Several advisory committee recommendations will be discussed, with major changes possible. Advisory committees, made up of representatives from specific sports and other activities, frequently pass along recommendations to the MSHSL board.

Two recommendations revolve around basketball...

--One recommendation asks the board to seed all eight teams in all four classes of the boys state basketball tournament and also seed teams one through eight for 3A and 4A girls state basketball. Currently, teams are seeded 1-4 in all four classes of boys state basketball and 3A and 4A in girls state basketball.

--Another recommendation asks the board to make a change to the section playoff structure for girls and boys basketball in Class 4A only. This is the so-called “NCAA 64-team tournament” that has been discussed and publicized in recent months. The proposed change reads: “In Class AAAA basketball only, eight sections are identified by Region Secretaries and an appointed basketball committee will assign and seed teams to each site based on geographic and competitive balance.”

The advisory committee’s rationale for the proposed change are…

1. Increase the fan interest in high school basketball playoffs. Improve and create more of a tournament atmosphere in the entire playoff system from Section Quarterfinals through the State Tournament Finals.

2. Maintain geographical integrity with respect to location of cities/communities in Minnesota, while keeping travel costs and out of school time similar or less.

3. Create a playoff system that provides more equity to all schools in their opportunity to qualify for the MSHSL State Tournament by removing geography as the sole reason for Section assignment.

4. Provide an opportunity to showcase Minnesota athletes and athletics by incorporating a “Selection Sunday” type show and atmosphere.

5. Enhance playoff tournament atmosphere by copying a format that we know already works (NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball). Bringing all of the teams to one site will provide for larger crowds with interest in potential next round opponent, enhancing the excitement for semifinal games. The enhanced tournament atmosphere will alse create the possibility of increased revenue for the administrative regions.

The hockey advisory committee will recommend a change in scrimmage policies. Currently, each team is allowed three calendar days to hold three days of scrimmages or two days of scrimmages and one jamboree day. The change would allow for unlimited scrimmages during the first two weeks after practice begins, and a limit of two scrimmages following the third Monday of the season. A rationale is that scrimmages are important for team selection and season preparation.

Softball and baseball advisory committees have asked for a change in the section tournament double-elimination policy. Currently, a double-elimination format is used in section tournaments for the final four teams only. The proposal asks that the final eight teams in each section play under a double-elimination format.

Also in baseball and softball, game-ending procedures in state tournament games will be discussed and possibly changed to allow games to be suspended (instead of ended) and resumed later if certain conditions are met.

The board of directors also will discuss and possibly vote on two items that could be forwarded to the MSHSL Representative Assembly, which will meet May 14. One item concerns a request to allow alpine and Nordic ski coaches to work with their skiers for three weeks after the state ski meet. The other item concerns student violations of MSHSL bylaws, stating that students who deny violations, then participate in events and are later found guily of the violation will forfeit any honors won as individuals.

Discussion items for the board will include a survey that was sent to golf coaches, asking if the season should be changed for those who wish to play golf in the fall. The board also will discuss sportsmanship and student/school behavior.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. I will post instant updates on Twitter, keep the news flowing on Facebook and summarize the meeting here on John’s Journal.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 490
*Miles John has driven: 7,043

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn



A Remarkable Memory: MSHSL Day With The Timberwolves
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/2/2012 10:35:18 AM

(This article was written by one of the high school students who attended a Timberwolves game through the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.)

By Nick Wagner
Ada-Borup High School Student SID

Try to remember one of the best days of your life.

Got it? Good.

Now think of everything that took place throughout the day: what did you do, who did you meet, where were you at and how did it happen?

Doesn't it feel good to know you have a significant day in your life that you enjoyed? I personally don't have to scrounge through my 17 years of living to find an out-of-this-world experience, because one just happened Sunday, March 25th with the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

I was privileged enough to be invited to the MSHSL's first-ever media day in conjunction with the Student Sports Information Directors program for a Timberwolves game. Also receiving the honor were three others from the program: Turner Blaufuss, Thomas Elness and Katie Halter, along with University of Minnesota journalism student Luke Sleeper.

The Timberwolves organization immersed each of us with experiences like none other, as Timberwolves public relations senior coordinator Aaron Seehusen used every resource available to make the day possible.

We met with Twin Cities media professionals for an hour, hearing Star Tribune beat reporter Jerry Zgoda, Augsburg College sports information director Don Stoner, Fox Sports North TV play-by-play man Tom Hanneman, Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski and KARE-11 sports anchor/reporter Dave Schwartz talk about their careers and other various topics.

Following our meeting, we were treated to a tour of Target Center's insides before filling our own with a lunch in the media room.

After finishing the pasta and cookie, I split from the group to join NBA photographers David Sherman and Jordan Johnson to experience first-hand what it's like to be a NBA photographer.

It's nonstop, and it's awesome.

From pre-game focusing of remote cameras to uploading images onto the internet during the game to chasing Crunch (the Timberwolves mascot) while he speeds on his Segway to avoiding a 7-foot-6 player's fall at the baseline… all of it while you're set on one thing -- capturing the image everyone wants. The photography position also comes with an overlooked perk: you get paid to sit sideline at sporting events day after day.

The Timberwolves capped off the day with a convincing win over the Denver Nuggets, but there still was icing left for an already triple-stacked cake.

Our group met with Timberwolves power forward Anthony Tolliver, and you might as well forget the stereotypical view on professional players, because Tolliver was simply a down-to-earth, humble man during the interview. He was terrific.

The same can be said about the entire day, and the man behind it all.

John Millea started the MSHSL SID program in the fall of 2010 when he was hired by the high school league as a media specialist. His program is unique, as the online news source run by students he directs is the first of its kind in the nation.

His passion for the business seems to bear no limits, as does his caring way for others like the four of us. His 20-year career at the Star Tribune established relationships among media professionals and organizations. He uses the "who you know” of his profession to benefit others unceasingly, with a special focus on members of the program he started from scratch.

John not only is a trailblazer in the journalism world but in the lives of the high school kids in his program like Turner, Thomas, Katie and myself.

Partaking in the MSHSL SID media day with the Minnesota Timberwolves is a day I will never forget, and my biggest thanks are rightfully owed to John.

Life’s best days come few and far between, but I am sure you will be able to recall a distinguished day in your life upon participating in the SID program.

All you have to do is join, and let the fun begin.



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