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St. Cloud Apollo Swim Team Dives into History
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2017 2:30:55 PM

Here's a wonderful story about an up-and-coming team. The story was authored by a member of the St. Cloud Area School District's communications office.

By Carissa Hopkins-Hoel

When it comes to making strides in the classroom, St. Cloud Apollo English Learner instructor Alex Badger knows how to make it happen. As a first-year Apollo swim coach, she is similarly shaping this years girls team with one goal in mind: to reflect the strengths and diversity of Apollo High School.

Determined to break through barriers to accessibility and success, Badger obtained a van license so she could drive athletes who could not provide their own transportation to practices and meets. She encouraged members of the team to recruit new girls to join the team, even if they were not strong swimmers, and encouraged the teams idea of a sister mentor program where an older, more experienced swimmer is paired with a new, younger swimmer. And she hosted a free swim camp this summer where all the girls came together to learn and grow.

Some girls did not even know how to put their faces in the water, Badger said. One girl was blind. But we are looking to generate interest for all swimmers.

The end result is perhaps the most inclusive, supportive and LOUDEST girls swim team in the state of Minnesota.

Team co-captain Rachel Warner laughs with pride.

At a meet, we are always the loudest team. We will even cheer for other girls (from other teams) if no one is there cheering for them.

Suhan Mohamed and Nimo Gohe are seniors at Apollo and former students of Badgers. Knowing they loved swimming, Badger approached them early on about joining the team. Despite support from family and friends, however, the Muslim girls faced a potential barrier because of the swimwear.

Badger and Apollo athletics director Dave Langerud sprang into action to problem-solve how to make the sport accessible to them.

Badger researched swimwear options across the country to find acceptable suits for the girls. Mohameds swimwear is full-bodied and covers her wrist to ankle, her swim cap serving as her hijab. Nimo has a similar suit with a hijab hood that she pulls over her swim cap, as well as a small skirt.

Because the swimwear was not officially recognized by the Minnesota State High School League, Langerud helped Badger submit a waiver to the MSHSL. Once the waiver for their swimwear was granted, the girls were then able to compete.

Badger explains that the team not only embraced Mohamed and Nimo as teammates, but also went a step beyond in welcoming them.

The captains wanted to make sure that Suhan and Nimo felt included, comfortable and a part of the team, so . . . (they) dug through websites to find suits to match Suhan and Nimos.

We wanted to incorporate a part of their suits (into ours), said Warner, so we have black suits with some blue. (Pictured are Alex with Nimo and Suhan.)

At the first meet, Mohamed and Nimo came just to observe. Now, they couldnt be more excited to be on the team and in the water. Mohamed is working on freestyle for meets, but favors the breaststroke.

Freestyle is my favorite, said Nimo.

The girls were surprised to recently learn that they are the first Muslim girls in the state to become competitive high school swimmers.

Nimo explains her participation simply: I got interested in swimming because it is a good activity and it is fun.

Mohamed has advice for other girls. Have confidence in yourself. Be good to yourself.

Meanwhile, theres still a competitive season ahead.

Warner isnt sure how many meets they will win this year, but she is proud of how supportive and hardworking the team is.

Outlining a five-year plan for growth, Badger said. These girls have so much potential. They have drive, motivation and integrity. They make my job easy. I just get out of their way.

Making strides as the first girls swim team in the state to include Muslim students is a page for the history books. These girls are empowered to set high standards for future swim teams and support each other.

LOUDLY.



Football Official Kelly Banyai: I Like Being Part Of A Team Again
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/21/2017 10:53:38 AM

A few high school football players in Minnesota have been a little surprised in recent weeks after addressing an official as sir and then quickly realizing their mistake. Kelly Banyai has heard that honorific several times on the field, but it doesnt bother her one little bit.

Theyll call me sir and then they apologize and Im like, Thats OK. No big deal. It doesnt matter to me, said Banyai, who is one of a small number of females among 1,433 football officials registered with the MSHSL and is believed to be the only woman working varsity games in 2017.

Banyai, 39, is the mother of two children ages 10 and nine; her husband Matt is a St. Paul firefighter. They live in Prior Lake, where Kelly played high school basketball before continuing her basketball career at St. Marys University in Winona. She is in her second year as an MSHSL football official and her first year working varsity games. She is a back judge, positioned behind the defense.

You learn from everybody, she said. I like being part of a team again. Its really fun, its a good hobby. I cant scrapbook, Im not artsy, I hate shopping. I wish I would have done it when I was in my 20s and got an earlier start. Im telling my kids, Youre going to be a referee. It teaches you so much about handling situations.

She began thinking about officiating when her son began playing youth football. She was explaining some of the rules to him when she realized, I always watch and love football but never played or coached. I had a desire to be somewhat involved.

She went to the MSHSL website and filled out a form for people interested in officiating. She soon received a phone call from Tom Wollan, an experienced official with the Suburban Officials Association. Young MSHSL officials are paired with veterans, and Wollan became Banyais mentor.

Tom called me and he was so welcoming, she said. I didnt want to do any other sports. The plays are really quick, you keep moving, the parents arent right on top of you. Ive enjoyed it so much. Everyone in the Suburban Association has been so helpful.

Wollan was the referee (informally known as the white cap) and Banyai was the back judge for last Fridays Chaska-Chanhassen game. She was filling in for Gordy Hanson, a regular member of Wollans crew who was off to officiate a college game. Banyai is not part of a regular officiating crew but fills in for absent officials this season.

Gordy is about as good an official as there is in the state of Minnesota, said Wollan, a 16-year official who has worked in three state tournaments and one Prep Bowl. We wanted to get the best possible sub we could for our crew. It became an opportunity for someone who was not as experienced. Kelly took to it pretty nicely. This year we said, Why dont we have her on our games when Gordy is gone. Will she be on a full-time crew next year? Probably.

I think shes got good aptitude, and she certainly has a good attitude for it. You like people around you who say, Tell me what to do to be better. Ive known her since before the 2016 season and I would have no hesitation in taking her on our crew full-time if for some reason there was on opening.

Like a football player, Banyai has tried to gain as much experience as possible in order to improve her skills. She began her career last season by working lower-level games and flag football.

Ive tried to get as many snaps as I could, she said. I tell the crews, There are so many things Im horrible at.

She works in medical sales for Integra LifeSciences. She laughed when talking about officiating and sales: In reffing you need a thick skin, and being in sales it has to be the thickest.

Banyai has worked some big rivalry games this season. A week before the Chaska-Chanhassen game she was on the field when Mankato East and Mankato West squared off. She said shes so focused on her job that she rarely notices the fans.

I dont hear the crowd until I try to hear the crowd, she said.

Banyai spends time each week watching video of the teams she will see on Friday night. Thats a good way to train, especially for the back judge, she said. Where are my keys, what am I looking for?

Shes thrilled that she became an official and encourages others to do the same.

More people need to sign up to be refs, she said. Its a needed position. We have so much sports for youth in Minnesota and we need to be supportive of all parts of it.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:38:43 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

NINE-MAN
School Total Points Prv
1. Cromwell (4) (3-0) 62 2
2. Spring Grove (1) (3-0) 56 3
3. Houston (1) (3-0) 48 5
4. Stephen-Argyle (3-0) 46 4
5. Nevis (1) (3-0) 42 8
6. Ely (3-0) 22 9
7. Cleveland (2-1) 18 T6
8. Red Rock Central (3-0) 17 NR
9. Verndale (3-0) 15 NR
10. Sleepy Eye St. Marys (3-0) 11 NR
(tie)Grand Meadow (2-1) 11 T6
Others receiving votes: Rothsay 9, Wrenshall 6, Cook County 5, Floodwood 5, Bertha-Hewitt 4, Waubun 3, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 3, Hills-Beaver Creek 1, McGregor 1.



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:38:20 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 1A
School Total Points Prv
1. Rushford-Peterson (5) (3-0) 51 1
2. Wabasso (3-0) 46 2
3. Braham (3-0) 43 3
4. Minneota (3-0) 35 5
5. Goodhue (3-0) 31 7
6. BOLD (1) (3-0) 30 6
7. Murray County Central (3-0) 26 4
8. Ottertail Central (3-0) 20 NR
9. Ada-Borup (4-0) 15 9
10. Mayer Lutheran (3-0) 13 8
Others receiving votes: Upsala-Swanville 8, Red Lake County 6, Blooming Prairie 5, Randolph 1.



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:37:51 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Caledonia (6) (3-0) 67 1
2. Barnesville (3-0) 62 2
3. Minneapolis North (1) (3-0) 58 4
4. Hawley (3-0) 46 7
5. Redwood Valley (3-0) 36 NR
6. Triton (2-1) 29 8
7. Minnewaska (3-0) 28 NR
8. Pipestone (3-0) 25 NR
9. United North Central (3-0) 19 NR
10. Concordia Academy-Roseville (2-1) 5 NR
Others receiving votes: Maple River 4, Moose Lake-Willow River 3, Warroad 2, Pillager 1.



Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:37:23 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. St. Croix Lutheran (7) (3-0) 88 1
2. Rochester Lourdes (1) (3-0) 79 2
3. Pierz (1) (3-0) 76 3
4. Stewartville (3-0) 63 4
5. Holy Family Catholic (3-0) 42 8
6. Annandale (3-0) 41 10
7. Perham (3-0) 39 7
8. Breck (3-0) 24 NR
9. Sibley East (3-0) 20 NR
10. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (2-1) 11 NR
Others receiving votes: Fairmont 6, Glencoe-Silver Lake 2, Esko 1, Virginia 1, Providence Academy-Heritage Christian Academy-Maranatha 1, Spectrum 1.



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:36:55 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. Winona (8) (3-0) 89 1
2. Marshall (1) (3-0) 77 2
3. Benilde-St. Margarets (3-0) 71 3
4. Hutchinson (3-0) 61 4
5. Holy Angels (3-0) 58 5
6. Rocori (3-0) 49 6
7. Waseca (3-0) 34 9
8. South St. Paul (2-1) 17 10
9. Becker (2-1) 9 7
(tie) Cloquet (3-0) 9 NR
Others receiving votes: Kasson-Mantorville 7, Mound-Westonka 5, Zimmerman 4, North Branch 3, DeLaSalle 2.



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:36:19 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Elk River (7) (3-0) 88 1
2. Owatonna (2) (3-0) 80 2
3. Mankato West (3-0) 70 3
4. Apple Valley (3-0) 56 4
5. Robbinsdale Cooper (3-0) 47 8
(tie) Mahtomedi (3-0) 47 6
7. Irondale (3-0) 44 7
8. Chaska (3-0) 28 NR
9. Northfield (3-0) 10 NR
10. Moorhead (2-1) 6 NR
Others receiving votes: Alexandria 5, St. Cloud Tech 5, Brainerd 3, St. Thomas Academy 2, Andover 2, Osseo 2.



Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2017 5:35:52 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 20 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Eden Prairie (7) (3-0) 70 1
2. Minnetonka (3-0) 59 5
3. Edina (3-0) 56 4
4. St. Michael-Albertville (3-0) 52 6
5. Centennial (3-0) 36 8
(tie) Lakeville North (2-1) 36 7
7. Maple Grove (2-1) 25 2
8. Roseville (3-0) 20 10
9. Totino-Grace (2-1) 15 9
10. Champlin Park (2-1) 12 3
Others receiving votes: Cretin-Derham Hall 3, Prior Lake 1.



The Language Of Soccer Is Big In St. Paul
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2017 4:14:30 PM

During the second half of a boys soccer game between St. Paul City Conference rivals on Monday evening, Washington Technology coach Jason Hamilton yelled encouragement to one of his players. Nice work, Ku Thaw!

The game ended with Como Park winning 2-0 on goals by Abdulaziz Ahmed and Kher Lin Kyaw. If those names dont sound to you like typical Minnesota names, you havent seen these teams or many other St. Paul and Minneapolis public school teams compete.

The Como Park and Washington boys soccer teams are filled with sons of immigrant families. Como Park coach Jonah Fields said his team consists of 13 players whose background is Karen (a state in Myanmar), four Somali, one from Ghana, one American-born Latino and an exchange student from Spain.

Its a lot of fun, said Fields, who is in his fourth year as head coach and 11th year with the Cougars soccer program. In this community, the Karen have brought a ton of energy, not just to soccer but to our school district and throughout this part of St. Paul and these neighborhoods. Were lucky to have those hard-working people, like so many other immigrant groups who come here and bring their food and their music and their culture and their passion.

Many of Washingtons players are also Karen, said coach Jason Hamilton. Others have Nepali, Hmong and Latino backgrounds.

With such diversity, language issues and other challenges are possible. But both coaches said their players deserve praise for working together.

I like to give these boys the credit, Hamilton said. Its not challenging, because these guys are a phenomenal group to coach and work with. Theyre respectful, theyre hard-working, theyre dedicated and they work together. Its fun for me to be able to be a part of it.

Fields said, You have to meet them on their language terms. What you count on is the leadership of your players, the one who have more language skills, to share it. You get extra-dependent on your captains to share the message. They get it and they spread the word.

Como Park has been a dominant team in recent years. The Cougars have gone to state every year since 2012 and won the Class 1A state title in 2013.

Many of the Washington and Como Park players grew up together the schools are only two miles apart -- and their soccer rivalry is healthy as well as competitive. Mondays game was played with no yellow cards and no negative comments from players, coaches or fans. The game was scoreless at halftime.

Every time we play Washington, everybodys excited, said Como Park senior Law Htoo. We know some of these guys; we grew up in the same neighborhood and we go to different high schools. Its a pretty big thing for us to win this game. We stuck together even though it wasnt going well in the first half. In the second half we made some changes and everybody started cooperating.

Soccer is a highly popular sport at both schools. Hamilton said 120 boys attended tryouts for spots on the varsity and three sub-level teams. The Eagles have a young varsity, with about half the players in ninth or 10th grade.

Theyre growing up, getting better and competing, Hamilton said. And these guys (the team captains) are the leaders who are showing those young guys the way.

Fields said when he started coaching at Como Park 11 years ago, about half the players were not American-born.

Its gone maybe from 50 percent to about 20 percent (American-born), he said. This is something they excel at, this is their sport of choice. So its a source of pride at Como that we can compete with anybody in the state of Minnesota at the game of soccer.

After Mondays game had ended and handshakes and hugs had been exchanged between the teams, the players were greeted by families and friends on the sidelines. Everybody knows that the rivalry will continue on Oct. 4 at Como Park in the final game of the regular season.

We love to play this game, said Washingtons Doh Han. Its very challenging.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 1A Girls Swimming and Diving Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:30:20 PM

1. Hutchinson
2. Visitation
3. Blake
4. Sartell
5. Delano
6. Fairbault
7. Breck
8. Monticello
9. Hill-Murray
10. Detroit Lakes



Class 2A Girls Swimming and Diving Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:29:52 PM

1. Edina
2. Minnetonka
3. Wayzata
4. Eden Prairie
5. Rosemount
6. Stillwater
7. Prior Lake
8. Eagan
9. St. Michael Albertville
10. Chanhassen



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:29:20 PM

TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Mahtomedi
3 Hopkins
4 Rochester Mayo
5 Prior Lake
6 St. Cloud Tech
7 Wayzata
8 Minnetonka
9 Duluth East
tie 10 Roseville
tie 10 Brainerd

INDIVIDUALS
1 Sophie Reddy (12) Edina
2 Nicole Copeland (10) Edina
3 Meagan Brown (12) Elk River
4 Maddie Suk (11) Hopkins
5 Aili Hietala (9) Duluth East
6 Samantha Nichols (12) Eagan
7 Abbie Kelm (12) Bemidji
8 Lauren Ferg (11) Eagan
9 Ellen Puzak (11) Minneapolis Southwest
10 Grace Riermann (12) Mahtomedi



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:28:58 PM

TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Rochester Lourdes
3 Litchfield
4 Breck
5 Virginia
6 Jordan
7 Osakis
8 Holy Family Catholic
9 Mounds Park Academy
10 Lake City

INDIVIDUALS
1 Lainey Axell (12) Blake
2 Arlina Shen (10) Blake
3 Katie Mulvey (11) Trinity at River Ridge
4 Clare Palen (10) Rochester Lourdes
5 Cindy Li (12) Winona Cotter
6 Shanna Kinny (11) Litchfield
7 Sophie Lynch (12) Holy Catholic Family
8 Natalie Allison (11) Rochester Lourdes
9 Rachel Lindrud (12) Mounds Park Academy
10 Renata Hernandez (11) St. James



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:28:32 PM

1. Mayer Lutheran (13) - 195
2. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton - 170
3. Hayfield - 166
4. Bethlehem Academy - 145
5. Caledonia - 137
6. Wadena-Deer Creek - 129
7. Mabel-Canton - 128
8. Minneota - 108
9. Rush City - 74
10. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown - 59
Others Receiving Votes: Wabasha Kellogg - 24, Stephen-Argyle - 18, Underwood, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:28:14 PM

1. Maple Lake (13) - 195
2. Stewartville - 170
3. Marshall - 159
4. SW Christian - 136
5. Concordia Academy - 114
6. North Branch - 107
7. Kasson-Mantorville - 96
8. Hill-Murray - 92
9. Rocori - 62
10. St. Cloud Cathedral - 55
Others Receiving Votes: Roseau - 36, Norwood-Young America - 31, Kenyon-Wanamingo - 25, Jackson County Central - 25, Park Rapids - 15, Sauk Centre, Belle Plaine, Jordan, Holy Angels, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, Annandale



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/18/2017 2:27:53 PM

1. Lakeville North (9) - 149
2. Eagan (1) - 135
3. Champlin Park - 128
4. Stillwater - 116
5. Lakeville South - 104
6. Shakopee - 96
7. Prior Lake - 91
8. Hopkins - 83
9. Minnetonka - 45
10. East Ridge - 37
Others Receiving Votes: Maple Grove - 25, Eden Prairie - 21, Rosemount, Eastview, Moorhead



The Bobs And Brenda: Committed To Volleyball In Albany
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 3:56:20 PM

ALBANY Whenever high school volleyball is played, there are things you can count on. There will be two teams, a net, a ball and two officials positioned at either end of the net.

At Albany High School, three other people are just as reliable as the net, the ball and the court. They are lovingly known as The Bobs and Brenda, and they have worked at nearly every Huskies home volleyball competition for a combined total of 82 years.

Bob St. Marie and Bob Havard (pictured) are retired Albany teachers who serve as line judges, standing in rear corners on opposite ends of the court and waving red flags to signify whether the ball landed inside or outside the lines. Brenda Utsch, a pioneering athlete in the early days of girls sports in Albany, is the official scorekeeper.

They are legends in this Stearns County town, 22 miles west of St. Cloud on Interstate 94.

Brian Hines has been on the Huskies volleyball coaching staff for 20 years (16 as an assistant and now head coach) and he has never known anyone other than The Bobs and Brenda filling those roles.

The Bobs and Brenda have been so phenomenal and always reliable for us, he said. Talk about volunteerism at its highest; giving of themselves for a school district and a community. You cant ask for any more.

The three were in their usual spots Thursday night when Albany hosted Little Falls in a Granite Ridge Conference match. On a warm September night, the gym which is next door to the schools swimming pool was a somewhat sticky place. Towels were used frequently to wipe sweat from the court. But that didnt deter the line judges or the official scorekeeper, who did their jobs as they have always done as the Huskies recorded a 25-10, 25-17, 25-20 victory.

St. Marie has been in his volleyball role since 1987, and Havard and Utsch since 1991. Brenda, a three-sport athlete in the 1970s who is a member of the schools athletic Hall of Fame, also is the scorekeeper for home girls and boys basketball games and handles offensive statistics on game nights for the Huskies football team.

Asked what she enjoys the most, Utsch immediately replied, The kids!

Brenda (pictured) works as a volunteer and the Bobs are each paid $30 per match. But they are not in it for the money. The Bobs are former athletes and coaches; Havard graduated from high school in Salem, South Dakota, in 1960 and St. Marie from Mounds View in 1957. Havard was an industrial arts teacher and St. Marie taught math.

Its the best place in the house to watch the match, St. Marie said of standing in the corner of the volleyball court.

The three have rarely missed a match in all these years. Its not rare for officials to arrive at the school and ask, Where are the Bobs? Are the Bobs working tonight?

We talk a lot about Purple Pride in Albany and those three are Purple Pride, said Huskies athletics/activities director Scott Buntje. Its those type of people who really make high school athletics and high school events happen. We just couldnt be more fortunate than to have people like that in our community.

The three are sometimes reminded of their longevity.

Havard said, One parent asked me, How long have you been doing this? It must be a long time because I remember you doing this when I was in school.

For the record, The Bobs and Brenda have no plans to step aside.

Before Thursdays match, Havard put a hand on St. Maries shoulder and said with a smile, If he goes, Ill quit, too.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn




Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:13:26 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

NINE-MAN
School Total Points Prv
1. Waubun (4) (2-0) 70 2
2. Cromwell (1) (2-0) 62 3
3. Spring Grove (3) (2-0) 61 5
4. Stephen-Argyle (2-0) 56 4
5. Houston (2-0) 42 NR
6. Grand Meadow (1-1) 29 1
(tie) Cleveland (1-1) 29 7
8. Nevis (2-0) 28 T8
9. Ely (2-0) 25 6
10. Hills-Beaver Creek (2-0) 19 T8
Others receiving votes: Wrenshall 5, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 4, Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 3, Cook County 3, Cook-Orr 1, South Ridge 1, Red Rock Central 1, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 1.



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:12:30 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 1A
School Total Points Prv
1. Rushford-Peterson (6) (2-0) 64 T1
2. Wabasso (2-0) 58 T1
3. Braham (2-0) 55 3
4. Murray County Central (2-0) 38 4
5. Minneota (1) (2-0) 36 7
6. BOLD (2-0) 33 5
7. Goodhue (2-0) 32 9
8. Mayer Lutheran (2-0) 24 6
9. Ada-Borup/NCW (3-0) 16 NR
10. Blooming Prairie (2-0) 8 NR
Others receiving votes: Red Lake County 7, Ottertail Central 7, Randolph 3, Red Lake 3, Hillcrest Lutheran 1.



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:11:51 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Caledonia (8) (2-0) 80 1
2. Barnesville (2-0) 67 3
3. Pillager (2-0) 51 4
4. Minneapolis North (2-0) 50 T5
5. Maple River (2-0) 46 T5
6. Eden Valley-Watkins (2-0) 36 2
7. Hawley (2-0) 34 7
8. Triton (1-1) 21 9
9. Royalton (2-0) 17 8
10. Chatfield (2-0) 16 10
Others receiving votes: Lewiston-Altura 8, Concordia Academy-Roseville 4, Tracy-Milroy--Balaton 4, Pipestone 3, United North Central 2, Redwood Valley 1.



Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:11:21 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. St. Croix Lutheran (4) (2-0) 85 T1
2. Rochester Lourdes (4) (2-0) 79 T1
3. Pierz (1) (2-0) 77 3
4. Stewartville (2-0) 56 5
5. Jackson County Central (2-0) 54 4
6. Glencoe-Silver Lake (2-0) 45 T6
7. Perham (2-0) 25 NR
8. Holy Family Catholic (2-0) 19 NR
9. Fairmont (2-0) 16 NR
10. Annandale (2-0) 15 NR
Others receiving votes: Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 7, Breck 4, Norwood-Young America 4, Belle Plaine 3, Tri-City United 3, Brooklyn Center 1, Virginia 1, Sibley East 1.



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:10:51 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. Winona (4) (2-0) 82 1
2. Marshall (3) (2-0) 75 2
3. Benilde-St. Margaret's (2) (2-0) 73 4
4. Hutchinson (2-0) 58 5
5. Holy Angels (2-0) 54 8
6. Rocori (2-0) 50 6
7. Becker (2-0) 48 7
8. DeLaSalle (2-0) 17 NR
9. Waseca (2-0) 11 NR
10. South St. Paul (1-1) 8 3
Others receiving votes: Cloquet 7,



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:10:20 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Elk River (5) (2-0) 76 1
2. Owatonna (2) (2-0) 71 2
3. Mankato West (2-0) 61 3
4. Apple Valley (2-0) 51 4
5. Alexandria (2-0) 40 5
6. Mahtomedi (2-0) 32 6
7. Irondale (2-0) 31 T7
8. Robbinsdale Cooper (2-0) 29 10
9. St. Cloud Tech (1) (2-0) 27 9
10. Chanhassen (2-0) 17 T7
Others receiving votes: Chaska 3, Moorhead 1, Northfield 1.



Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/15/2017 11:09:51 AM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Eden Prairie (7) (2-0) 70 1
2. Maple Grove (2-0) 59 5
3. Champlin Park (2-0) 49 7
4. Edina (2-0) 45 6
5. Minnetonka (2-0) 42 T8
6. St. Michael-Albertville (2-0) 35 NR
7. Lakeville North (1-1) 30 2
8. Centennial (2-0) 26 NR
9. Totino-Grace (1-1) 13 T3
10. Roseville (2-0) 7 NR
Others receiving votes: Blaine 3, Prior Lake 2, Rosemount 2, Wayzata 2.



MSHSCA Hall Of Fame Class Announced
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/14/2017 10:07:49 AM

The Minnesota State High School Coaches Association is proud to announce its 2017 Hall of Fame inductees:

--Rick Ringeisen, Lakeville South, swimming, track and field

--Bruce Kugath, Shakopee, boys basketball

--Linda Gust, St. Louis Park, synchronized swimming

--Bud Bjornaraa, Burnsville, track and field

--Dan Schneider, Lakeville North, swimming

The Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Sheraton West Minneapolis. A social will began at 5 p.m. and the Banquet at 6:15 p.m. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased by contacting Jim Baker at 651-357-2937. Former athletes, assistant coaches and friends are invited to attend this celebration.



With Carter Kopet Healthy Again, Cleveland Rocks
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/13/2017 12:11:04 PM

CLEVELAND During a remarkable passing performance in Week 2 of the football season, Carter Kopet did the unimaginable. The Cleveland High School quarterback threw an interception. The planet did not shift on its axis.

Thats not anybodys fault but mine, the 6-foot-2 senior said to co-head coach Erik Hermanson on the sideline. And on the Clippers next possession, Kopet did what Kopet does: He threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to classmate Austin Plonsky, one of seven scoring passes by Kopet in the first half. After completing 14 of 19 passes for 254 yards in those first two quarters, he did not play in the second half as the Clippers defeated Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart 63-7 in nine-man football.

Kopet might be the most dynamic high school football player in Minnesota. During his junior season he broke the state record for career touchdown passes (which is extended with each new TD toss) and he needs 215 yards to become Minnesotas all-time leader in passing yards. Cleveland will play a home game against Madelia on Friday; Kopet will begin the game with 143 touchdown passes and 8,636 yards. Last season he threw for 54 touchdowns, one short of the single-season state record of 55.

He has been the Clippers starting quarterback since the first game of his ninth-grade season (as well as a starter on the basketball and baseball teams), and the football team has a record of 31-6 since then. They went 13-1 last year, losing to Grand Meadow in the Prep Bowl. Returning to U.S. Bank Stadium is the goal this season for everyone in the town of 700 northeast of Mankato.

Our expectations are pretty much to get to the state tournament, get to that championship game and take the next step we werent able to take last year, he said. We lost some key seniors but we have some good young kids coming up. Weve got the talent and the coaches; its going to be about the effort we put in and how things turn out at the end.

The fact that Kopet is even playing football this fall is somewhat surprising. He blew out his left knee coming down from a dunk in a basketball game in mid-January, destroying the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. He faced surgery and rehab and doctors told him he might not return to athletics for a year. That scenario the towns top athlete missing his senior football season and much of his senior basketball season for a team that also carries state tournament aspirations was a thunderbolt.

The whole town was pretty depressed, Hermanson said. It was in the middle of basketball season and everyone was thinking about the state basketball tournament. But right away he was into his rehab and he set a goal; he was going to be back the first day of practice. They told him, No, youll be back for the first game, maybe.

Rehabbing his knee was a test unlike any Kopet had faced previously. He drove to the Twin Cities twice a week to work with therapists, and spent at least three hours a day working at home.

I got to rehab and sleep, thats about all, he said. I used to think I was a super-hard worker, but when you go through something like that you find out how much harder you have to work. They told me it would be six to 12 months, and I was cleared in 5 months.

The 2017 football season began with a 52-51 overtime loss at Spring Grove. After the Lions who rallied from a three-touchdown deficit -- scored and kicked the extra point to open overtime, Cleveland scored and went for two. Kopet scrambled and was stopped about a foot short of the goal line.

It was kind of like, Hey, were not invincible, Kopet said. In all sports weve been pretty successful lately. When you start thinking like that it almost gets to the point of thinking you cant lose. Hopefully we learned from it. That bus ride home, the locker room, thats what was special about this team. They dont like to lose, and when it does happen its not a very fun night.

With shifts in section assignments this season, Cleveland moved from Section 2 to Section 1, which includes four-time defending state champion Grand Meadow and Spring Grove. Also in Section 1 is Houston, which ended Grand Meadows 51-game winning streak last week.

Its unfair to put all the hopes on one players shoulders, of course, but Kopet has plenty of help. Plonsky caught five passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns against Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, Cade Olson had two catches (both for touchdowns), and Danny McCabe and Bryce Novak each caught one touchdown pass from Kopet. Novak also returned an interception 40 yards for a TD.

Kopet plays defense at times, but his spot in the Clippers no-huddle, shotgun, quick-strike offense is his most important role.

When he was an eighth-grader we made sure to get him in key, real-game spots, where he had to play, Hermanson said. We had a senior quarterback and we made sure Carter got in because we knew he was going to be great.

Not even counting his skills, you can see how much of a leader he is, helping all the young guys all the time. Everybody looks up to him and respects him. Its like having another coach, and someone who is humble. Weve never seen him be cocky or arrogant. Hes the kid you dream about coaching.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



No. 1 vs. No. 2: A Great Day In The Pool
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:42:20 PM

HUTCHINSON The setup was intriguing: The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Class 1A girls swimming and diving rankings going head-to-head, stroke-to-stroke in a dual meet for the first time.

Thats what happened Saturday at Jerry Carlson Pool, and Jerry Carlson himself (retired Hutchinson coach) was on hand at Jerry Carlson Pool to watch the action and listen to a full house of screaming swim fans.

This is the first time weve ever swam against them in a dual meet, said current Hutch coach Rory Fairbanks. The only time we ever see them is True Team state or at the (MSHSL) state meet. We talked about this last year at True Team. We both agreed to get the kids racing early in the season.

The we is Fairbanks and Visitation coach Luke Linscheid. The Visitation Blazers are regularly the team to beat in 1A swimming and diving: They have won the last four MSHSL state championships. Last season they totaled 261 points to win the 1A title, followed by Breck with 211 and third-place Hutchinson with 192.

Saturdays dual was only the third competition of the season for each team, and it was filled with seasoned swimmers. Blazers junior Maria Mattaini is the defending state champion in the 500 freestyle (she did not swim Saturday). Hutchinson sophomore Lexi Kucera placed second in the 100 and 200 freestyle races at state last year and ninth-grader Hailey Farrell was the state runner-up behind Mattaini in the 500 free.

It was no surprise when the defending state champs got rolling early. The Blazers finished first in the 200 medley relay (Kali Fischer, Elinor Glass, Meaghan Sexton, Frances Holmstadt), 200 freestyle (Sophie Kishish) and 200 individual medley (Fischer) before the Tigersharks Grace Hanson won the 50 free. After the Blazers Bella Mascia won the one-meter diving competition, Visitation led 45-33 with five events down and seven to go.

And down the stretch came Hutch. In succession, Madison Witte won the 100 butterfly, Kucera won the 100 free, Farrell won the 500 free, and the quartet of Hanson, Mikayla Witte, Bella Thovson and Kucera won the 200 free relay. Fischer got one for Visitation in the 100 breaststroke and Hutch closed it out with wins in the 100 breaststroke (Jaiden Mezera) and 400 free relay (Hanson, Kamryn Brecht, Farrell and Kucera).

Final tally: Hutchinson 91, Visitation 87.

There were handshakes and hugs between the athletes afterwards, and they shared a meal as well as social media accounts afterwards.

Obviously theyre awesome competition and we wanted to test ourselves against them, Linscheid said. Our girls swam fantastic today, and they probably wouldnt do that if they werent pushed so hard by Hutch.

The season now continues, with a singular goal for each team: Becoming stronger, faster and well-prepared for mid-November and the state championship meet.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn




Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:21:54 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Mayer Lutheran (9) - 149
2. Hayfield (1) - 139
3. Caledonia - 132
4. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton - 113
5. Bethlehem Academy - 104
6. Mabel-Canton - 94
7. Wadena-Deer Creek - 91
8. Minneota - 64
9. Rush City - 53
10. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown - 50
Others Receiving Votes: Stephen-Argyle - 20, Underwood - 19, Onamia - 16, Windom - 6



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:21:30 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Maple Lake (13) - 195
2. Stewartville - 180
3. SW Christian - 159
4. Marshall - 155
5. Kasson-Montorville - 128
6. North Branch - 119
7. Concordia Academy - 100
8. Hill-Murray - 64
9. Roseau - 46
10. Rocori - 45
Others Receiving Votes: Sauk Centre - 40, Jackson County Central - 27, Totino-Grace - 26, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta - 22, Park Rapids - 21, Kenyon-Wanamingo - 16, St. Cloud Cathedral - 8, Jordan - 7, Holy Angels - 7



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:20:52 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Eagan (9) - 135
2. Lakeville North - 126
3. Champlin Park - 115
4. Stillwater - 91
5. Prior Lake - 90
6. Hopkins - 86
7. Shakopee - 78
8. Lakeville South - 73
9. East Ridge - 54
10. Minnetonka - 49
Others Receiving Votes: Moorhead - 18, Eden Prairie - 13, Rosemount - 10, Elk River - 7



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:19:56 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Mahtomedi
3 Hopkins
4 Rochester Mayo
5 Prior Lake
6 St. Cloud Tech
7 Wayzata
8 Duluth East
9 Minnetonka
tie 10 Roseville
tie 10 Elk River

INDIVIDUALS
1 Sophie Reddy (12) Edina
2 Nicole Copeland (10) Edina
3 Meagan Brown (12) Elk River
4 Maddie Suk (11) Hopkins
5 Aili Hietala (9) Duluth East
6 Samantha Nichols (12) Eagan
7 Lauren Ferg (11) Eagan
8 Abbie Kelm (12) Bemidji
9 Ellen Puzak (11) Minneapolis Southwest
10 Grace Riermann (12) Mahtomedi



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:19:18 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Rochester Lourdes
3 Litchfield
4 Breck
5 Virginia
6 Jordan
7 Osakis
8 Holy Family Catholic
9 Mounds Park Academy
10 Lake City

INDIVIDUALS
1 Lainey Axell (12) Blake
2 Arlina Shen (10) Blake
3 Katie Mulvey (11) Trinity at River Ridge
4 Clare Palen (10) Rochester Lourdes
5 Cindy Li (12) Winona Cotter
6 Sophie Lynch (12) Holy Catholic Family
7 Shanna Kinny (11) Litchfield
8 Natalie Allison (11) Rochester Lourdes
9 Sophia Martin (11) Breck
10 Emma Barnd (12) United South Central



Class 2A Girls Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:15:56 PM

From the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Wayzata
4 Marshall
5 Mpls. Washburn
6 St Michael Albertville
7 Willmar
8 Eden Prairie
9 Farmington
10 Forest Lake
11 Red Wing
12 Rosemount
Honorable Mention: Roseville, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, East Ridge

INDIVIDUALS
1 Sophie Whicher, 12, Minnetonka
2 Emily Covert, 11, Mpls Washburn
3 Anna Fenske, 9, Farmington
4 Emily Kompelien, 12, Edina
5 Emma Atkinson, 10, Wayzata
6 Caroline Sasson, 10, Wayzata
8 Maria Rickman, 12, Edina
9 Liesl Paulsen 10 Eden Prairie
10 Brianne Brewster, 11, Lakeville South
11 Elizabeth Halbmaier, 12, Minnetonka
12 Ingrid Bulceag-Ara, 10, Sartell
Honorable Mention: Rhynn Paulsen, 10, Wayzata; Emelia Arnone, 9, Wayzata; Ali Weimer, 8, STMA; Regan Duffy, 11, Forest Lake



Class 2A Boys Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:15:23 PM

From the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Wayzata
2 Edina
3 Stillwater
4 Minnetonka
5 Minneapolis Washburn
6 Eden Prairie
7 Mounds View
8 White Bear Lake
9 Rosemount
10 Sartell
11 Chanhassen
12 Red Wing
Also receiving votes: Maple Grove

INDIVIDUALS
1 Grant Price, Wayzata
2 Khalid Hussein, Wayzata
3 Addison Stansbury, Stillwater
4 Max Manley, Edina
5 Acer Iverson, Roseville
6 Joseph Minor, Washburn
7 Isaac Basten, Buffalo
8 Luke Labatte, Rosemount
9 Mitchell Tollander, Wayzata
10 Owen Gage, Edina
11 Blake Buysse, Wayzata
12 Adam Wilkinson, Minnetonka
Also receiving votes: Tom Breuckman, Andover; Caleb Haugland, Washburn



Class 1A Girls Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:13:51 PM

From the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS:
1. Fairmont
2. Perham
3. Annandale
4. Luverne
5. Stewartville
6. Minnehaha Academy
7. Maple Lake
8. Lac Qui Parle Valley/DB
9. Lake City
10 Belle Plaine
11. Lanesboro Filmore Central
12. Canby/Minneota

INDIVIDUALS:
1. Grace Ping Cotter
2. Tierney Wolfgram Math&Science Acad.
3. Lauren Ping Cotter
4. Morgan Gehl Murray County Cent.
5. Kira Sweeney Staples-Motley
6. Marissa Whitehead Martin County West
7. Makenna Thurston Lake Cyrstral WM/N
8. Katherine Geist Crookston
9. Ava Hill Mesabi East
10 Kayla Christopherson Austin Pacelli
11. Grace Mallack Howard Lake/Waverly/W
12. Kristin Kalhoff Albany



Class 1A Boys Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/11/2017 7:13:08 PM

From the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1. Perham
2. Mankato Loyola/Cleveland
3. Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop
4. Greenway/NK
5. Lac Qui Parle Valley/DB
6. Mora
7 Minnehaha Academy
8. Annandale
9. LaCrescent
10. RAACHE
11. St. James
12 Jordan

INDIVIDUALS:
1. Declan Dahlberg Mound Park Acad.
2. Matt Steiger LaCrescent
3. Keiser Freetley Lac Qui Parle Valley
4. Geno Uhrbom Greenway/NK
5. Jake Paron North Shore
6. Owen Keiser Jordan
7 Ethan Olson Moose Lake/WR
8. Jacob Bright West Central Area
9. Lucas Pierson St. James
10. Nick Meyer Wabasha-Kellogg
11. Emmett Anderson Staples-Motley
12 Nathan Runck Mountain Lake Area



Thinking Back To Sixteen Years Ago This Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2017 12:01:19 PM

Ill always remember where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I had an appointment to speak to a class at Bloomington Jefferson High School, and I turned on the radio at home as I was getting dressed for the day.

There was talk of something bad happening in New York City. I turned on the TV in the kitchen and saw a big black smoldering hole in the side of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A plane had apparently struck the building, but nobody knew anything more than that. Before long another aircraft blasted into the other twin tower.

I drove to Bloomington Jefferson, arriving a few minutes early. I listened to the radio in the car for as long as I could and then walked into the school and was escorted to the room where the Sports Literature class was meeting. There were televisions in the classrooms, but because of construction work in the school none of the TVs were working. I told the class everything I had learned from listening to the radio, and then we were all in blackout mode.

After the class period ended, I drove to the Star Tribune building in downtown Minneapolis. Like everyone else in the newsroom, I watched the scenes on television. The Pentagon was on fire a plane had apparently gone down in Pennsylvania.

Fast-forward a few years and I was back at Jefferson, writing about a memorial stone that had been installed at the school in honor of former Jaguars quarterback Tom Burnett, who died when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. I also wrote about former Blake linebacker Gordy Aamoth, who died in one of the twin towers on Sept. 11. The stadium at Blake now bears his name and a twisted beam from the World Trade Center is on display at the stadium.

In the Sept. 14, 2001, edition of the Star Tribune, I wrote a column under the headline High school sports can help the healing. I had spoken with people at Colorados Columbine High School as well as Osceolo High School in Wisconsin, where a traffic accident had claimed twin brothers a few weeks before Sept. 11. That column seemed to resonate with readers at the time, and to this day people occasionally will mention it to me. I have heard from a few people who say they saved that column, and they read it every day as Sept. 11 comes around. That is equally touching and humbling.

Here is that column as it appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sept. 14, 2001

High School Sports Can Help The Healing

In the horrible wake of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, all after-school activities were canceled Tuesday in the Jefferson County (Colo.) School District. This didn't surprise Ed Woytek, the athletic director at Columbine High School.

The day's events hit Columbine hard, especially the senior class. They were freshmen on April 20, 1999, when two students shot and killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

"Our coaches and all of us are on kind of a fine line, especially with what happened here previously," Woytek said.

Columbine still is recovering from that day. Recovery also is an ongoing process in Osceola, Wis., where twin brothers Eric and Aaron Kipp, 18, died in a car accident on the way to football practice 30 days ago.

With thousands of innocent people presumed to have perished this week, what do you say? How do you heal? Maybe it's best to listen to the kids. That's among the lessons learned at Columbine and Osceola.

"Pretty much all of them are saying to us, 'We need to be a family,'" Woytek said. "Because that's what happened a few years ago; they got with family. And that's where we need to be, that's where our American people need to be, is with family."

After the Kipp brothers died, football practices were stopped for a short period. But soon, everyone wanted to return -- or try to return -- to some sense of normalcy.

"Very soon, the kids were ready to go back," said Osceola coach/principal Mike McMartin. "They said, 'Coach, I need to keep busy.' And they were right. When we jumped back into it, although they weren't the best practices in the world, there was almost a big sigh of relief that they could start moving forward and take with us all the good things that the boys had shared with us for so many years, instead of thinking about the bad."

Activities went on as scheduled Tuesday in Osceola, the day of the attacks.

"We just really felt during that time it was massively important that we show to the kids, 'Hey, we're going on. We're not going to let these people defeat us or take us off our feet here. We're going to move forward and be proud,'" McMartin said.

At Columbine and Osceola, tragedy struck a specific community of people. This week, tragedy struck us all.

The Columbine Rebels take a 1-1 record into tonight's game at Dakota Ridge. Osceola is 3-0 and the homecoming opponent for rival St. Croix Falls. The games go on, as do our lives.

"Everybody keeps saying we'll never get back to normal, just like our nation will never get back to normal," Woytek said. "But hopefully we're going to get as close to normal as we can."

So if sporting events are part of your normal routine, stick with it. If you haven't been to a high school game in years, tonight would be a wonderful time to go. Get away from the television, escape the headlines. Find a seat in the bleachers and take a break, however temporary, from all that's gone so wretchedly wrong in this world.

Watch the team captains shake hands before the coin flip. Hold your hand over your heart during the national anthem as the flag flutters at half-staff. Bow your head during the moment of silence to honor this week's victims. Get on your feet for the opening kickoff. Watch our young people -- players, cheerleaders, fans -- as they smile, holler and laugh together during this evening that is tradition both athletic and social. Buy popcorn, listen to the band, cheer first downs, simply celebrate.

Maybe administrators at every school can find a recording of God Bless America, and across our states -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond -- we'll sing together when the game ends. Just like a family.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 5:00:56 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Grand Meadow (5) (1-0)
2. Waubun (1-0)
3. Cromwell (1-0)
4. Stephen-Argyle (1-0)
5. Spring Grove (1-0)
6. Ely (1-0)
7. Cleveland (1-0)
8. Hills-Beaver Creek (1-0)
(tie) Nevis (1-0)
10. Hillcrest Lutheran (0-1)



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 5:00:00 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Rushford-Peterson (2) (1-0)
(tie) Wabasso (1) (1-0)
3. Braham (1-0)
4. Murray County Central (1-0)
5. BOLD (1-0)
6. Mayer Lutheran (1-0)
7. Minneota (1) (1-0)
8. Fillmore Central (1-0)
9. Goodhue (1-0)
10. Red Lake County (2-0)
Others receiving votes: Browerville 8, Ottertail Central 7, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 6, Ada-Borup 5, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 3, Hinckley-Finlayson 3, Blooming Prairie 2, Dawson-Boyd 2, Deer River 1, Randolph 1, United South Central 1.



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 4:59:19 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Caledonia (6) (1-0)
2. Eden Valley-Watkins (1-0)
3. Barnesville (1-0)
4. Pillager(1-0)
5. Maple River (1-0)
(tie) Minneapolis North (1-0)
7. Hawley (1-0)
8. Royalton (1-0)
9. Triton (1-0)
10. Chatfield (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 5, West Central/Ashby 3, Concordia Academy-Roseville 2, Holdingford 2, LeSueur-Henderson 2, Spectrum 1, Osakis 1, Windom 1, United North Central 1, Lewiston-Altura 1.



Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 4:57:59 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Rochester Lourdes (5)
(tie) St. Croix Lutheran (2)
3. Pierz (1) (1-0)
4. Jackson County Central (1-0)
5. Stewartville (1-0)
6. Glencoe-Silver Lake (1-0)
(tie) Tri-City United (1-0)
8. Pequot Lakes (1-0)
9. Litchfield (1-0)
10. Proctor (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Virginia 15, Watertown-Mayer 7, Annandale 6, Fairmont 5, Two Harbors 5, Jordan 4, Breck 4, Brooklyn Center 3, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 3, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 3, Perham 2, Mora 1.



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 4:57:16 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Winona (3) (1-0)
2. Marshall (2) (1-0)
3. South St. Paul (1-0)
4. Benilde-St. Margaret's (3) (1-0)
5. Hutchinson (1-0)
6. Rocori (1-0)
7. Becker (1-0)
8. Holy Angels (1-0)
9. Hermantown (1) (1-0)
10. Orono (1-0)
Others receiving votes: St. Paul Academy-Minnehaha Academy-Blake 14, St. Paul Academy-Mounds Park 14, Fridley 13, DeLaSalle 12, Cloquet 10, Waseca 10, SMB-Wolfpack 10, Grand Rapids 6, Zimmerman 5, Detroit Lakes 2, St. Anthony 2, Kasson-Mantorville 1, Duluth Denfeld 1.<



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 4:56:29 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Elk River (7) (1-0)
2. Owatonna (1) (1-0)
3. Mankato West (1-0)
4. Apple Valley (1-0)
5. Alexandria (1-0)
6. Mahtomedi (1-0)
7. Irondale (1-0)
(tie) Chanhassen (1-0)
9. St. Cloud Tech (1-0)
10. Robbinsdale Cooper (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Park (Cottage Grove) 11, Bemidji 9, Andover 6, Cambridge-Isanti 5, Chaska 3, St. Thomas Academy 3, New Prague 2, Northfield 2, Moorhead 1.



Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 4:55:37 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Sept. 6 as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters. First-place votes in parenthesis followed by overall record.

1. Eden Prairie (5) (1-0)
2. Lakeville North (1) (1-0)
3. Totino-Grace (1) (1-0)
(tie) Blaine (1-0)
5. Maple Grove (1-0)
6. Edina (1-0)
7. Champlin Park (1-0)
8. Minnetonka (1-0)
(tie) Prior Lake (1-0)
10. Wayzata (1-0)
Others receiving votes: St. Michael-Albertville 8, Cretin-Derham Hall 3.



Class 1A Girls Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 1:58:43 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS Section Preseason Rank
1 Annandale 5 1
2 Perham 8 2
3 Fairmont 2 3
4 Stewartville 1 4
5 HowardLk-Waverly-Winsted 5 5
6 Minnehaha Academy 4 6
7 Luverne Area 3 7
8 Lac Qui Parle Valley-DB 3 --
9 Lake City 1 10
10 Lanesboro/FillmoreCntrl 1 8
11 Belle Plaine 2 12
12 Cotter 1 --
-- Pelican Rapids 8 9
-- Eden Valley-Watkins/K 6 11

INDIVIDUALS
1 Grace Ping, 8 Cotter 1 1
2 Tierney Wolfgram, 9 Math & Science Academ 4 2
3 Lauren Ping, 7 Cotter 1 --
4 Madeline Kelly, 10 Providence Academy 5 3
5 Morgan Gehl, 9 Murray County Central 3 7
6 Kira Sweeney, 9 Staples-Motley 6 5
7 Kayla Christophers, 11 Austin Pacelli 1 6
8 Marissa Whitehead, 9 Martin County West/Ma 2 4
9 Makenna Thurston, 11 Lcwm/Nicollet 2 8
10 Grace Mallack Howard Lake/Waverly/W 5 --
11 Katherine Geist, 10 Crookston 8 11
12 Ava Hill, 10 Mesabi East 7 --
-- Annika Aho, 11 United North Central 8 9
-- Kailee Malone, 10 Stewartville 1 10
-- Kristine Kalthoff, 9 Albany 6 12



Class 1A Boys Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 1:58:02 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS Section Preseason Rank
1 Perham 8 1
2 Mankato Loyola/Cleveland 2 2
3 G-F-W 2 3
4 Minnehaha Acad. 4 5
5 Greenwy/Nashwak-Keewatin 7 7
6 Lac Qui Parle Valley-DB 3 8
7 Annandale 5 9
8 Mora 5 10
9 RAACHE 1 --
10 LaCrescent 1 6
11 Jordan 2 4
12 Moose Lake/Willow River 7 --
-- St. Cloud Cathedral 5 11
-- PlainviewElginMillville 1 12

INDIVIDUALS
1 Declan Dahlberg, 12 Mounds Park Academy 4 1
2 Matt Steiger, 12 La Crescent 1 2
3 Keiser Freetly, 12 Lac Qui Parle Valley 3 5
4 Owen Keiser, 12 Jordan 2 4
5 Jake Paron, 12 North Shore 7 11
6 Geno Uhrbom, 9 GreenwyNashwakKeewatn 7 7
7 Ethan Olson, 12 Moose Lake / Willow R 7 3
8 Jebadiah Merkle, 12 Southwest Christian 4 6
9 Jacob Bright, 10 West Central Area 6 9
10 Nick Meyer, 12 Wabasha-Kellogg 1 8
11 Reid Pierzinski, 12 Pequot Lakes 8 10
12 Nathan Runck Mountain Lake Area 3 --
-- Christian Sterton, 11 Ada-Borup/Ncw 8 12



Class 2A Girls Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 1:57:27 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS Section Preseason Rank
1 Edina 6 1
2 Minnetonka 6 2
3 Wayzata 6 4
4 Willmar 8 3
5 Marshall 2 7
6 Eden Prairie 6 12
7 Mpls Washburn 6 10
8 Farmington 1 11
9 Forest Lake 7 9
10 Red Wing 1 --
11 Rosemount 3 --
12 Roseville 4 --
-- Shakopee 2 5
-- Lakeville South 1 6
-- Monticello 8 8

INDIVIDUALS 1 Sophie Whicher, 12 Minnetonka 6 3
2 Emily Covert, 11 Minneapolis Washburn 6 4
3 Anna Fenske, 9 Farmington 1 1
4 Emily Kompelien, 12 Edina 6 5
5 Emma Atkinson, 10 Wayzata 6 --
6 Caroline Sasson, 10 Wayzata 6 --
7 Annalise Davis, 11 St. Michael-Albertvil 5 7
8 Maria Rickman, 11 Edina 6 8
9 Lauren Peterson, 11 Farmington 1 2
10 Malakai Holloway, 12 Eden Prairie 6 --
11 Brianne Brewster, 10 Lakeville South 1 --
12 Elizabeth Halbmaier, 12 Minnetonka 6 11
-- Regan Duffy, 11 Forest Lake 7 6
-- Leah Hansen, 11 Willmar 8 9
-- Alyson Welch, 12 Rochester Century 1 10
-- Morgan Richter, 10 Edina 6 12



Class 2A Boys Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 1:56:50 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Cross-Country Coaches Association.

TEAMS Section Preseason Rank
1 Wayzata 6 1
2 Edina 6 4
3 Stillwater 4 2
4 Minneapolis Washburn 6 6
5 Eden Prairie 6 --
6 Mounds View 5 3
7 Minnetonka 6 7
8 White Bear Lake 4 11
9 Rosemount 3 9
10 Sartell-St. Stephen 8 5
11 Chanhassen 2 8
12 Red Wing 1 10
-- Bemidji 8 12

INDIVIDUALS
1 Grant Price, 11 Wayzata 6 4
2 Khalid Hussein, 12 Wayzata 6 1
3 Addison Stansbury, 11 Stillwater 4 --
4 Max Manley, 11 Edina 6 5
5 Joseph Minor, 12 Minneapolis Washburn 6 2
6 Acer Iverson, 11 Roseville 4 3
7 Benjamin Olson, 12 Blaine 5 6
8 Luke Labatte, 11 Rosemount 3 7
9 Isaac Basten, 11 Buffalo 2 8
10 Owen Gage, 12 Edina 6 --
11 Mitchell Tollander Wayzata 6 --
12 Blake Buysse, 12 Wayzata 6 10
-- Trenton Allen, 12 Eagan 3 9
-- Myles Fleming, 12 Henry Sibley 3 11
-- Andrew Brandt, 11 Wayzata 6 12



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 10:59:15 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Mayer Lutheran (14) - 210
2. Hayfield - 189
3. Caledonia - 182
4. Bethlehem Academy - 151
5. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton - 144
6. Mabel-Canton - 142
7. Wadena-Deer Creek - 130
8. Rush City - 92
9. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown - 80
10. Underwood - 65
Others Receiving Votes: Minneota - 50, Onamia - 9, Carlton - 7, Badger/Greenbush-Middle River - 7, Carlton - 7, Windom - 6, Sacred Heart - 6



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 10:58:49 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Maple Lake (15) - 225
2. Stewartville - 207
3. Kasson-Mantorville - 194
4. SW Christian - 175
5. Marshall - 158
6. North Branch - 147
7. Concordia Academy - 116
8. Roseau - 87
9. Sauk Centre - 82
10. Totino-Grace - 51
Others Receiving Votes: Rocori - 35, Park Rapids - 20, Hill-Murray - 20, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta - 13, Annandale - 10, Jordan - 8, Kenyon-Wanamingo - 8, Holy Angels - 7, Jackson County Central - 6, Perham - 6



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 10:58:19 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

1. Eagan (12) - 180
2. Lakeville North - 166
3. Champlin Park - 142
4. Prior Lake - 136
5. Hopkins - 120
6. East Ridge - 110
7. Stillwater - 106
8. Shakopee - 91
9. Minnetonka - 72
10. Moorhead - 46
Others Receiving Votes: Eden Prairie - 28, Elk River - 20, Lakeville South - 15, Blaine - 14, Rosemount - 8, Waconia - 6



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 10:57:34 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Rochester Lourdes
3 Litchfield
4 Breck
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Jordan
8 Osakis
9 Holy Family Catholic
10 Blue Earth Area

INDIVIDUALS
1 Lainey Axell (12) Blake
2 Arlina Shen (10) Blake
3 Katie Mulvey (11) Trinity at River Ridge
4 Clare Palen (10) Rochester Lourdes
5 Cindy Li (12) Winona Cotter
6 Sophie Lynch (12) Holy Catholic Family
7 Shanna Kinny (11) Litchfield
8 Natalie Allison (11) Rochester Lourdes
9 Sophia Martin (11) Breck
10 Emma Barnd (12) United South Central



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/6/2017 10:57:04 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Mahtomedi
3 Hopkins
4 Rochester Mayo
5 Prior Lake
6 St. Cloud Tech
7 Wayzata
8 Duluth East
9 Minnetonka
10 Eastview

INDIVIDUALS
1 Sophie Reddy (12) Edina
2 Nicole Copeland (10) Edina
3 Meagan Brown (12) Elk River
4 Maddie Suk (11) Hopkins
5 Aili Hietala (9) Duluth East
6 Samantha Nichols (12) Eagan
7 Lauren Ferg (11) Eagan
8 Abbie Kelm (12) Bemidji
9 Ellen Puzak (11) Minneapolis Southwest
10 Grace Riermann (12) Mahtomedi



Welcome Home: After A Year On The Road, Braham Is Back
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/3/2017 4:49:29 PM

BRAHAM The key component of the word Homecoming is, of course, Home. Now imagine that your football team has to play its Homecoming game on the road. There is no such thing as Roadcoming. Now imagine that your football team has to play an entire season on the road. Thats almost unimaginable.

That, however, is what the Braham Bombers endured last season. Froyen Field, their home turf, underwent total reconstruction a year ago and the Bombers became road warriors, playing every game on someone elses field. And yet they managed to maintain what has become another local tradition: advancing to the state playoffs.

The Bombers finished 8-3 last year, reaching the Class 1A state tournament for the fourth year in a row and five of the last six. They played in the state semifinals in 2014 and 2015.

They opened the 2017 season with a 55-0 victory over Chisholm on Thursday evening. And this time, they were at home where they belonged. The new Froyen Field is an absolute showplace, with new grass, a new track, new lights, new bleachers, new press box, new everything. It was a night to remember.

I think theres one word that sums it up pretty well, and thats incredible, said senior Zach Zierden. It was such a great feeling getting back on our actual home field, playing with our team in front of our fans.

Last season the Bombers played two neutral-site games (at Pine City and Rush City) and the rest of the regular season consisted of six true road games. The Homecoming game? It was played 27 miles from home at Hinckley-Finlayson, where the home team (Hinckley-Finlayson) won the road teams Homecoming game.

The group that it was most difficult for was last years seniors, because they knew that their last home game was as a junior, said coach Shawn Kuhnke, who also is the high school principal and activities director. For the rest of us, it was hard going on the road every week but we knew that we had this (new field) coming. We were able to persevere and battle.

The Bombers looked right at home against Chisholm, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter on a 40-yard pass from Hunter Giffrow to Josh Zimpel, a 66-yard run by Ryan Roslin and a 6-yard pass from Giffrow to Zach Carlson. The rest of the scoring came in the second quarter and the second half was played under running time by agreement of both head coaches and the officials.

Everything was new for everybody, including the officials. As the first half ended and the officials walked off the field, they werent sure where to spend halftime. One of them asked his crewmates, Where do we go?

The Braham school band, under the direction of Bryan Johnson, was out in full force, sitting in the brand-new bleachers and pumping out the tunes. Even though school had not started, the musicians had already held three rehearsals and one group dinner.

Tickets were purchased, burgers were grilled and free Bomber Rally Rags were distributed as community members arrived early to celebrate a special evening. When the home team took the short walk from the school to the field just before kickoff, the players held hands and heard cheers.

It was hard not having a home game last year and having to go on the bus every week, Giffrow said. You kind of got used to it but you missed playing on your home field.

Running back Grant Wilsey said about last season, We didnt feel the power of the community. We have such a great community in Braham, and they were so supportive with all our away games. But now that were actually here you can really feel it. They are amazing. Our fans are so good and theyre so supportive.

Prior to Thursday, the most recent home game had been on Oct. 17, 2015, when the Bombers defeated Blackduck in the first round of the Section 7 tournament. That was followed by postseason games at Minnesota-Duluth, Bemidji and St. Cloud State.

So since that win over Blackduck, the Bombers had played 14 consecutive games on the road. And now theyre back where they belong. Home.
They had only practiced on their new field twice; once during the final week of preseason workouts and again the day before the game.

I think we just kept getting more and more excited, Zierden said. As more and more of it came together, we were like, This is going to be really cool. We cant wait for this. That feeling just kept growing and growing in excitement.

After Thursdays game, players, families and friends didnt want to leave their new home. Bombers young and old posed for photos, shared hugs and laughs and lingered until well after the lights were finally shut off.

This is so big for the town, for the community, Kuhnke said. Weve had so much support from the word go. Back when this thing passed two years ago with overwhelming support, this is the night that so many of us have been waiting for. It couldnt have been a nicer night. Its fun to have a home game again.

Welcome home, Bombers.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



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