Home      Administration

Shutdown Diary: Softball Memories, And Hoping For More
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 4/2/2020
With Minnesota schools closed and MSHSL spring sports and activities in a holding pattern, I have asked coaches, students, officials, administrators and others to share their thoughts/plans/ideas/fears about our current situation. I am periodically posting the notes I receive. If you'd like to contribute, emails are welcome at jmillea@mshsl.org

My name is Mya and I am a senior at North Branch High School and play softball for coach Kathy Crudo. I would just like to start out by saying I completely understand the situation and am in no way downplaying the severity of this virus.

My thoughts? I want to play. I have been playing softball for as long as I have been able to walk. Granted, I don’t know how much making dirt angels at "shortstop” in t-ball counts (we have pictures of it somewhere) but it’s the thought that counts, right?

After the inheritance of my dad’s competitive spirit kicked in, my love for the game began. Receiving the message that our season was going to even be postponed made me cry in the middle of U.S. History. The last time I cried in front of anybody was my last game of high school volleyball. Sitting through my friends’ football and basketball senior nights always would led me to thinking about mine for softball. Which underclassmen would write my send-off letter and what crazy memories would they talk about? The thought of not being able to walk across the field on senior night, or parents night, or even getting the chance to play for a trip to state makes me physically sick to my stomach.

Seniors want the chance to represent their school and community one last time. We want the chance to cry on senior night and cry after we’ve won our section and are going to state. We want the pep-fest at school and the police escort out of town on our way to North Mankato. We want to feel our community, which has been nothing but supportive, rally behind us after a big win. We want to cry with our favorite teachers on teacher appreciation night, because they also helped shaped us into the athletes we are today. We want to make our coaches proud after we make an “ESPN play” (as we like to call them). We want all the time and effort our coaches have put into us the past three years to mean something. We want our after-school workouts and captain’s practices to prove hard work pays off. We want to play.

My biggest fear is not getting a season. Not getting a chance to experience everything I have looked forward to for so long. The athletes don’t care if our season begins in May and ends in June. It’s the season that matters. It’s the chance to make the memories. It’s the chance to be able to tell my kids about that one day at practice when our coach spent probably a little too long trying to teach us how to juggle. Little moments count, too. There is absolutely no guarantee that we would make it to state, or even past the first round of sections. There are no guarantees in any sports. That’s why the little moments matter, too. It’s getting to play catch with my best friend who’s doubled as my throwing partner for our senior season. It’s putting eye black on while on the bus and accidentally messing up really bad because we hit a bump. It’s the big moments but it’s also the little ones that I fear having to miss out on.

So for now, our plan is to pray. And make our dads play a lot of catch.

Now that I’ve written you a short book, I just have a few things left to say. I understand that this situation may get to the point where it is completely even out of the MSHSL’s hands. However, if this decision does fall into their hands, I want them to please let us play. Let us have our big moments and our little ones. Let us be able to talk about this season with our kids one day. Please let us play.

Thank you for your time. Stay safe and healthy.

Mya Schmeling
North Branch softball player

More of John's Journal
MSHSL Connect
MSHSL Connect Image Check out the newest edition of MSHSL Connect.
March Connect February Connect January Connect December Connect
State Tournament Photographs
State Tournament Photographs Image The Minnesota State High School League now offers the opportunity for member schools, participants, fans and media organizations to purchase photographs of state tournament events. To view the galleries of League events, follow the link below.

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
Popular Links:
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

Copyright 1994-2020 Minnesota State High School League
2100 Freeway Boulevard Brooklyn Center, MN 55430-1735    |    (763) 560-2262     |     FAX (763) 569-0499