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Shutdown Diary: Let’s Talk About Track In St. Charles
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 3/31/2020
Eric Klein was busy at school on Monday, helping distribute Chromebooks to students in St. Charles who are beginning distance-learning from home. The English teacher is usually busy, although he would be busier if the spring sports seasons were in full swing.

Klein, 30, the Saints' head boys track and field coach, also is working remotely with the athletes, providing optional workouts because spring teams and athletes across the state are unable to gather while school is not in normal session.

He's also providing an entertaining, informative outlet for athletes and coaches in St. Charles and beyond by hosting and producing a podcast called simply enough, "Let’s Talk About Track."

On each podcast – available at https://www.scsaintstrack.com/lets-talk-about-track or wherever you get podcasts – Klein talks with former St. Charles athletes, coaches from different schools and others. They discuss favorite memories and moments and provide inspiration.

Klein came up with the podcast idea when Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that all Minnesota schools would be closed because of Covid-19 virus.

“I knew we were going to give recommended workouts to kids, which would provide for the physical aspects of the sport, but we often forget about the team culture aspect of sports,” Klein said. “That’s often the reason the kids come out, anyway, it’s always a family. It’s our way of trying to keep the kids feeling that they’re a member of the team even when they can’t come to practice.”

Track and field has become a big thing in St. Charles. When Klein took over seven years ago, there 54 kids in grades seven through 12 out for track. The number this year is 117, which is 25 percent of the student body. Klein and girls head coach Samantha Storsveen are assisted by four paid assistants and nine volunteer coaches.

“The community around this program has really come out to support us,” said Klein, whose boys team won the Class A True Team state title last year.

So far he has recorded 25 interviews for his podcast. A recent show featured former St. Charles and Hamline University athlete Luke Hulshizer. The discussion ranged from Luke’s favorite memories of bus rides, practices and meets to lessons he learned from being a track and field participant.

They laughed when Luke mentioned a special relay baton that has been passed down from seniors to juniors each year. They also talked about the positive culture of the team.

“I just miss the culture,” said Luke. “There’s so much positivity when you’re out there.”

Klein, a graduate of United South Central High School in Wells and St. Olaf College, said, “It’s been so much fun to have these conversations, especially with our alumni. The feedback from alumni has been great, the discussions have reminded them how much they loved their time here. They’ve enjoyed getting to relive those days.”

Like all teachers and coaches, Klein wants students to have the best possible experience. It doesn’t matter if school is being held normally or not, and it doesn’t matter if athletes are allowed to gather or not.

“We keep talking about our kids and how they’ve got to have a purpose when they wake up in the morning,” Klein said. ‘The same is true for us, we need to remember that these days are weird for us, too. The podcast has been good for me, it’s given me something to work on.

“Our job is to figure out how to give kids a great experience, preserve our culture and continue to develop that culture. All our coaches are on the same page and we try to come up with creative ways to provide for our kids.”

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.

More of John's Journal
MSHSL Connect
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State Tournament Photographs
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Enjoy reliving the state tournament memories.


State Tournament Photo Galleries
Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis
Board Synopsis Image Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020

• The meeting was called to order by Board President Bonnie Spohn Schmaltz.
• The reflection was shared by board member Walt Hautala.
• An amended meeting agenda was approved. The amended agenda added Action Item 9F (the formation of a task force focused on a review of MSHSL Bylaw 111) and Discussion Item 10D (a discussion on Bylaw 110).
• The meeting minutes from the board meeting on Dec. 5, 2019 were approved.
Waseca principal Jeanne Swanson, activities director Joe Hedervare, and hockey players Jacklynn Jevning and Ben Moseley spoke to the board about jerseys honoring Officer Arik Matson. The group thanked the board for its support and shared the best way to honor Officer Matson was to honor the rules of the national federation. The board received a commemorative jersey from Waseca and joined in honoring and supporting Officer Matson.
• St. James activities director Les Zellman, Jordan activities director Joe Perkl and Mounds View tennis coach Scott Sundstrom spoke in support of a three-class tournament for girls tennis.
Executive Director’s Report
• Executive Director Erich Martens shared the 100th edition of High School Today magazine that includes articles from League staff and Pine Island activities director Lisa Myran-Schutte.
• Yielded the floor to League staff for updates on the Debate state tournament and the One Act Play Festival.
• Along with League staff, shared technology updates on League infrastructure: phone system, upgrading devices, working with a managed IT company and looking at third-party providers to enhance technology programs in efficient ways.
• Shared that Underwood principal John Hamann was recognized by the MASSP with a distinguished service award.
• Region 6AA Secretary Nancy Manderfeld will receive recognition during the National Girls and Women in Sports Day for her longtime work in supporting opportunities for all in activities and athletics.
• Thanked representatives of the Twin Cities Dunkers that met with activities directors from the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to share information on writing grants. The Dunkers have a long history of supporting League activities in these districts.
• The League was a participant in the MSBA Conference with an informational booth and hosting two information sessions.
• The Principal Advisory Committee is in the middle of its second year as a committee and continues to explore ways to be a part of the League’s board decision-making processes.
Executive Committee Report
• Approved waivers for opposing teams to add one additional game in their schedule if it is against one of these teams: Gentry Academy (girls hockey); New Prague (boys and girls lacrosse); and New Century Academy (girls softball).
• Accepted a notice of retirement from Associate Director Craig Perry, effective Aug. 8, 2020.
• Discussed strategies in the ongoing practice of hosting Area Meetings throughout Minnesota.
• The Executive Committee report was approved.
Action Items
• 9A: Activity Advisory Proposals
6A Football
--- The board denied a recommendation from the football advisory committee that Class 6A and the Metro Football District should consist of 32 teams.
Girls Tennis --- The activity advisory proposal to approve a recommendation to have a third class of girls tennis did not receive a motion for approval, and therefore, was denied.
9B: MSHSL Member Fees
The Board of Directors approved a $40 increase in membership fees and activity registration fees; and a $1 student enrollment fee per school, using the MSHSL enrollment data, effective with the 2020-2021 school year.
9C: Golf Rules and Policies
The board approved a motion that allows cellphone usage for live scoring from green to tee on the iWannamaker app, a verbal warning for groups out of position, clarification to coaching on the greens and bunkers, and increased approved coaches for teams with three or more individual qualifiers.
9D: Music Rules and Policies
The board approved a recommendation by the Music Advisory Committee for an update to guidelines, rules and policies. Among the updates: The addition of a tenth category in Large Group called Chamber Percussion; the addition of ninth-graders as eligible for Large Group events if they are a member of a Grade 9-12 ensemble. The approved guidelines are effective with the 2020-21 school year.
9E: Basketball Replay Policy
The board approved changes to basketball instant replay protocol during the state tournaments. This will create consistency with the procedures for review used in football and hockey.
9F: Formation of a task force to examine Bylaw 111
Approved a recommendation of the Executive Committee to create a task force to examine Bylaw 111. This group will review policies and procedures as they relate to transfer and residence, and, will consist of a wide variety of constituents.
Discussion Items
• 10A: MnIAAA Listening Session Topics

The Board of Directors has been invited by the leadership of the MnIAAA to hold Listening Sessions during their state conference on Wednesday, March 25 in St. Cloud. The League and MnIAAA have determined five discussion topics for the sessions.
10B: Co-Op Ad Hoc Committee
An update was provided on the work of the Co-Op Ad Hoc Committee, including its purpose and processes.
10C: Principals Advisory Committee
Executive Director Martens shared that the Principals Advisory Committee formally approved its affirmation of wanting to be part of the board of directors and its processes. The committee is seeking involvement in the activity advisory process.
10D: Board Review of Bylaw 110
The board and League staff will work collaboratively to amend both language in the bylaw and supporting policies to reflect the standard applied within this bylaw. This will be an Action Item at the board meeting in April.
Committee Reports
Eligibility Committee

• The board approved the minutes of the Eligibility Committee.
Audit/Finance Committee
• The financial statements for November 2019 and December 2019 were approved.
Marketing and Communications Committee
• League staff shared an update on the creation and implementation of a link to purchase photos of state tournament events. The link is expected to debut with the Dance Team state tournament. Photos will be uploaded approximately 10 days following each state tournament event.
• League staff continues to work to renew the Wells Fargo sponsorship.
Education and Leadership Committee
• The committee recommended a motion to suspend the Continuing Education Requirement, with the exception of the concussion module, until July 1, 2021. The concussion module, by Minnesota Statute, must be completed prior to having access to the rules interpretation meeting beginning in the fall of 2020. The remaining requirements must be completed prior to coaching in the 2021-22 school year. A motion was made and approved.
• The deadline to submit Letters of Intent regarding 2020-21 positions of the Board President, Vice President and Treasurer is April 1, 2020.
• The board members were reminded of the InSideOut Educational Leadership Forum on Monday, Feb. 10 at the Minneapolis Marriott West from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• The next board of directors meeting is Thursday, April 2, 2020.

2020 ExCEL Award Recipients
ExCEL Award Image
The Minnesota State High School League and Wells Fargo will recognize the 2020 ExCEL Award recipients during the halftime of the Class 2A girls’ basketball championship game on Saturday, March 14. ExCEL—Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership—is a unique recognition award that’s presented annually since 1996 to high school juniors that are active in League-sponsored activities, are leaders in their schools and demonstrate a strong commitment to community service.
“These student leaders are making a difference in the community they call home,” said League Associate Director Lisa Lissimore, who oversees the program. “Their approach to volunteerism inspires others to make service a central part of their lives.”
Among the 2020 ExCEL award recipients:
• St. Paul Central’s Georgia-Rae Plathe, who met with lawmakers in Washington, D.D., to advocate for protection of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
• Jack McNamee of Nevis, who is a coach of a Special Olympics basketball, track and swimming teams
• Rochester Mayo’s Annie Wu, who is an accomplished violinist selected to perform with the Rochester Symphony
• Orono’s Hadley Stephenson, who volunteers as a board member for Letters of Love, an organization whose members spread joy to children receiving care in Minnesota hospitals by writing anonymous letters of kindness.
“Wells Fargo is proud to sponsor the ExCEL program,” said Laurie Nordquist, Wells Fargo Minnesota CEO. “We congratulate this year’s award winners for demonstrating excellence in community, education and leadership.”
Awards recipients are selected through a multi-level process that involves League member schools and an independent panel of judges from schools throughout Minnesota. The recipients will be recognized on Saturday, March 14 during halftime of the Class AA girls basketball championship game at Williams Arena.
Here are the 2020 ExCEL Award recipients:
• Kaylee Arndt, Fillmore Central
• Faith Balstad, Fosston
• Halle Bemmels, Le Sueur-Henderson
• Kaitlyn Bot, Lakeview
• Maggie Bruns, Blooming Prairie
• Jackson Burdorf, Sibley East
• Cole Christopher, Jackson County Central
• McKenna Coughlin, Ely
• Gracia Elias, Adrian
• Daniel Erlandson, Breckenridge
• Mya Hanson, St. James
• Gavyn Jensen-Scheider, North Branch
• Lauren Johnson, Belle Plaine
• Morgan Kisgen, Hancock
• Aubrey Kosters, Alexandria
• LaRae Kram, Morris Area
• Zya Lueders, Kimball Area
• Maxwell Kurken-Tvrdik, Melrose
• Logan McGee, Lakeville North
• Jack McNamee, Nevis
• Torii Nienow, Staples-Motley
• Jeremy O’Connor, Fillmore Central
• Georgia Rae-Plathe, St. Paul Central
• Jack Richards, Lake Crystall-Wellcome Memorial
• Allison Rients, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
• Eli Schlangen, Two Harbors
• Landon Schomer, Pierz
• Tyler Smith, Norwood-Young America
• Hank Stechmann, Edina
• Hadley Stephenson, Orono
• Cade Sundgaard, Apple Valley
• Sierra Thomson, Mora
• Sophia Tobin, Elk River
• Adam Tonsfeldt, Barnesville
• Jenna Vasek, Fisher
• Annie Wu, Rochester Mayo
2019-20, 2020-21 Section Assignments
Competitive Section Assignments Image Below this message, you will find a link to the Competitive Section Assignments for 2019-20 & 2020-21 school years. The link will take you to a landing page where you will find the following:

Competitive Sections – There are 3 menus at the top that are universal to both the list and the map; 1. Activities, 2. Year, and 3. Schools. To view the section assignments for 2019-20 & 2020-21, make sure the year drop down menu in the middle says “2019-2020, 2020-2021”. You will need to click on the ‘+’ sign to expand any of the lists below to view all the schools within a section.
1. The Activities menu will allow you to see a list of all schools that are registered in that activity
2. The school menu will allow you to see where that school is listed in the activity you have selected.
3. If you leave the school the same and change activities to “Activities”. You will see a list of all the activities that the school is registered for and what section they are in.
4. You can drill down even more if you want to look at a section or class in an activity be using the controls just underneath the drop-down menus.

Section Map – The same menus and control listed above are also available on the map.
1. Select an activity first and make sure 2019-2020, 2020-2021 is selected in the year menu.
2. You can find a school by selecting it in the “School” Menu. It will show on the map with all the locations of the schools in that section. The school you selected shows larger than others.
3. Note that the school locations have a number on them. This identifies the classification not the section.
4. Section locations are hosted on the side of the maps. The number indicates how many are in each section and is located above the number of the section
5. You can drill down even more if you want to look at a certain section in a class by using the controls below the menus at the top.
6. One additional control on the map is the “Show Coop Teams”. By selecting this you will see additional schools that are in a coop but not the Host School. You will also notice gray arrows starting with the host school and pointing to each additional school in the coop.

Competitive Section Assignments
League News
MSHSL Behavior Expectations
Board Workshop April 2, 2020
Board Exec Comm Wksp 4-1-20
MSHSL State Tournament Photos for Sale
Position Opening: Associate Director
February 2020 Board & Committee Agendas
2020 ExCEL Winners
Show Older News Items
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2019-20 AED Order Information
2019-20 Online Rules Meeting Deadlines
2019-20, 2020-21 Activity Classification
2019-20, 2020-21 Classification Method
2019-20, 2020-21 School Enrollment-Alpha
2019-20, 2020-21 School Enrollments
2019-20, 2020-21 Section Assignments
Advisory Recommendation Forms
Concussion Insurance Program Guide
Uniform Modification-Special Recognition
Weather Conditions and Competition

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