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Looking Ahead To 2013, Remembering The Best of 2012
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/31/2012 7:11:09 PM

As we begin a new year and bid farewell to the year that has passed, I posed this question to MSHSL followers on Facebook and Twitter: "What are your favorite memories of high school activities in 2012? There were many great stories in the last 12 months, and we would love to hear what you will remember most from 2012..."

The replies are below. They came from dozens of people who are among the more than 11,000 people who follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mshsl) and Twitter (@MSHSLjohn).

I know the replies will bring back some great memories. Happy New Year!

--getting to experience playing at the state 1A with not only the fosston boys team but also our girls team its a weekend i will never forget! Go Hounds!

--Tigers getting state champs in football this year! Way to go Tigers!

--The Princeton Tigers finally making it to the Dome for the fitst time

--Jordan Hubmen football. Ending regular season 1-7, and making it to state.

--being smallest school in 3AAA football by 1 student and winning the state title for the first time ever in school history and being undefeated! BUC PRIDE!

--Seeing the Minneapolis Washburn Millers play in the state baseball tournament in St Cloud... Hoping for a return trip to state for them in 2013!

--NB Vikings Varsity football team

--roman breaking the scoring record for boys basketball.

--De La Salle at the buzzer vs. Washburn in AAA Boys Basketball Championship! Instant Classic!

-- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa winning state championship with a 33-0 record!

-- New Ulm Softball winning the AA softball state championship in extra innings against St. Anthony Village

--Winning state in football for the third year in a row and it being the fifth title in six years. And wat made it the best is we beet moose lake for the second year in a row and on a last second 24 yard feild goal #caledoniawarriors

--Winning state Cal Football

--Watching Anders Broman score 72 points in a game at Melrose! Broman and Scottie Stone meet up again this Feb. 9th in Duluth.

--Murray County Central boys golf finishing 4th at State in first year of existence!

--Lakeville North winning the state AAA Volleyball Championship!

--Perham XC - state and small school national champs!

--State titles for Eastview in Dance Team, Boys Lacrosse, Baseball and Boys Soccer.

--watching BSM win AA boys hockey title for #jabs with Besse's five goal performance

--Maria Haugers 4th straigtht CC State Championship and doing so in record fashion

--MSAD VB and FTB teams win Deaf National Champions!

--Lester prairie Holy Trinity football breaking the state rushing record against blooming prairie

--Sleepy Eye GBB making first state appearance in history coming in as the #7 seed in their sub-section.

--White Bear Lake beats Lakeville North 1-0 in OT, advances to 2A girls soccer state championship game.

--Reffing my first Section final and first state tournament game

--Two of Goodridge-Grygla's GBB seniors hitting 1,000 points in December.

--Cannon Falls Bombers winning section 1AA baseball tournament and qualifying for the State Tournament!!

--the 1-7 Jordan Hubmen making a playoff run and qualifying for the state tourney!

--twolves and twins student media days!

--Chan Boys Hockey knocking off Holy Angels as the 12-time defending Missota Conference Champion

--Student Media day at Target Field

--Seeing the players, coaches & managers from Austin & Edgerton '60 teams be honored at the 100th anniversary of state basketball.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 383
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,357
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Remembering Osseo High School Legend Harry Beier
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/20/2012 9:50:57 PM

I was a new member of the MSHSL staff when I met Harry Beier back in the spring of 2010. I was attending a baseball game at Osseo High School and Osseo athletic director Ray Kirch introduced me to Harry.

Earlier this week, I received this email from Ray: “In April of 2010 you did a John’s Journal piece on Harry Beier – a 1941 grad of OSH and a true Oriole AND Gopher fan. Harry passed away on Saturday.”

Harry was famous in Osseo, as a supporter of the Orioles as well as the Gophers. At that point, he had not missed a Gophers home football game since 1947. He was 90 years old when he died; his funeral was Thursday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Osseo.

Harry was honored on his 90th birthday in September with a gathering at the Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion.

Here’s what I wrote about Harry on April 16, 2010…

I love to tell people that I can spend a few minutes with any team in any sport at any high school in Minnesota and find a great story. Turns out all you have to do is sit in the bleachers and the same thing can happen.

I went to a baseball game at Osseo High School on Thursday afternoon. The Orioles played Champlin Park on a lovely sunny day. I went to the ballgame with a couple of future story possibilities in mind.

There were Osseo’s Windle twins, Tom and Sam. Tom, who throws and bats lefthanded, has signed to play baseball with the University of Minnesota. Sam, who throws and bats righthanded, has signed to play baseball with North Dakota State. Both twins play hockey, too.

There was speedy Champlin Park center fielder Brandon Marquardt, a running back and Mr. Football finalist who will play football at Minnesota State Mankato.

And then there was Harry Beier.

Osseo athletic/activities director Ray Kirch had sprung for hot dogs, and as we walked to the bleachers he said, “John, do you know Harry Beier?” I did not, so Ray introduced me to an older gentleman sitting in the first row. Ray had other things to attend to, but Harry and I chatted for the rest of the game.

Harry graduated from Osseo High School in 1941. Sixty-nine years ago, he played baseball on the same field the current Orioles use. He was a multi-sport athlete -- also playing football and basketball in high school – providing another link to current athletes like the Windle twins and Brandon Marquardt.

Harry was a pitcher who relied on a fastball. At the plate, he tried to hit the ball where it was pitched, spraying hits all over the field.

You could see the sparkle in his eye as we watched the kids from Osseo and Champlin Park play the game. There are people similar to Harry at almost every high school in America; alumni who have strong ties to their school and their community and love nothing more than remaining connected.

Champlin Park senior Tyler Ockuly pitched a two-hitter in the Rebels’ 11-2 victory, striking out the side in the fourth inning. When Osseo athletic trainer Lindsey Geesaman came onto the field to tend to an injured Champlin Park player, a mom sitting nearby said with an air of awe, “She’s at every game.” A young girl replied, “She is so cool.”

Harry and I took it all in as we chatted. He was drafted into the Army shortly after graduating from high school and spent two and a half years stationed in England. “I bought myself a bicycle and saw all the towns around the area,” he said.

One of his high school coaches always told the kids – remember, this was back in the 1930s and 1940s – that smoking was a bad idea. “I never did smoke, even in the service,” Harry said. “I saw that coach at reunions and thanked him for that.”

Harry, who was an employee of the University of Minnesota for 42 years, has seen every Gophers home football game since 1947. He knows almost everybody at the university, from President Robert Bruininks on down. He likesTCF Bank Stadium, but he liked the Metrodome, too.

Between innings, music was played on the P.A. system. The baseball field was well-manicured, the sunshine was warm and the breeze was sweet.

It was a perfect day to be at a high school event.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 386
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,383
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

‘Severe’ Back Pain Sidelines Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/19/2012 7:36:21 AM

Apple Valley basketball star Tyus Jones, one of the nation's top recruits, left Tuesday 's game against Hopkins with a back injury that kept him from practicing for a week and his status is uncertain. The good news for Apple Valley was that they defeated Hopkins with Jones watching from the bench. Read the details by clicking here.

Coaches Review The New Class 6A Football Format
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/18/2012 11:29:32 AM

After the first year of Class 6A football, coaches in 6A and 5A were surveyed on what they liked and what they didn't like about the new class, the playoff format and other topics. Read Brian Jerzak's story by clicking here.

A Night For Harvey: Fulda Raises Lots Of Money, Has Lots Of Fun
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/17/2012 2:19:41 PM

FULDA – You know it’s a fun night when this happens …

The Fulda girls basketball team holds an eight-point lead over Luverne as the home team calls a timeout with 62 seconds to play. Before talking to his team, Fulda coach Gregg Slaathaug needs to know the spot where the ball will be inbounded. He looks to one of the officials, who is standing on the opposite side of the court, holding the ball.

Slaathaug asks the official, “Is that the spot? Right there, by the bald guy?”

Indeed, a member of the local citizenry is sitting in the first row, the gymnasium lights reflecting off the top of his head. He smiles and raises his arms in a gesture that says, “Who? Me?” Yes. You.

And so it went on Saturday night in a little gym in Murray County, 18 miles north of Worthington. Six rows of bleachers on either side of the court, more fans sitting on the stage behind one basket. It was a girls-boys basketball doubleheader between Luverne and Fulda, but the meaning of the evening went much deeper; into the hearts and souls of folks from Fulda and the surrounding area who know and love a man named Harvey Carroll.

Harvey’s status as a fixture in this town of 1,300 people began to take root when he arrived as a teacher and coach in 1980. For the next 27 years, every youngster in Fulda knew Harvey. He taught sixth grade and was head or assistant coach of basketball, football and track teams. He helped run the elementary basketball program, had a hand in the Fulda summer recreation program and worked as a volleyball official for 10 years.

Somehow, Harvey also found time to work on a painting crew in the summers, battle weeds on the local golf course, make unannounced deliveries of sweet corn and squash to neighbors and do a thousand other things for the kids and adults in Fulda.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and taught and coached for two more years. Parkinson’s is a brain condition that is characterized by slowness of movement, stiffness, rigidity, loss of balance and coordination and difficulties with speech. Nowadays Harvey gets around with the aid of a walker.

As the girls game ended Saturday night, longtime football coach and current track coach Brad Holinka took the microphone and said, “Don’t run away right now, we’re going to do some things for Harvey.”

Hearing those words, the crowd stood as one and began applauding. Harvey, his wife Sharon and other family members and friends were in one corner of the gym, where a chair is placed for Harvey at every game. Written on a piece of paper taped to the chair was: “Reserved for Harvey Carroll.”

The people had no reservations in showing their love for Carroll. The applause went on and on and everyone remained standing as Holinka talked about what Harvey means to Fulda.

“Harvey Carroll has left a lasting impression,” he said. “Our community, all the coaches around the area, everybody knows Harvey.

“Harvey always started with the kids. And the kids started in elementary school, went from football to basketball to track, and then the little kids went to summer rec, and Harvey was there, too. This started in 1980 and went until 2007. That’s a lasting impression. Let’s give a big round of applause for Harvey Carroll.”

After the serenade died down, Holinka wrapped up the formal presentation with these words: “We are all very, very proud, Harvey, to have you as a friend and call you a friend. Everyone in here can attest to that. You truly are an inspiration to anyone you’ve ever been associated with. One more time, ladies and gentlemen.”

And the thunder of applause swept through the little gym once again. Many of the people wore T-shirts that carried the words “Support Cure Advocate; Parkinson’s Disease Awareness.”

The shirts were being sold in the school lobby, which was filled with items for a silent auction. The items included some real gems; footballs, jerseys, photos and other memorabilia autographed by the likes of Adrian Peterson, Joe Mauer, Mike Krzyzewski, Derek Jeter, Johnny Unitas, Kent Hrbek, Fred Hoiberg, George Brett, John Wooden, Rod Carew and on and on.

A raffle and meal was also held to raise funds, with all the money going to National Parkinsons Foundation Minnesota. Fulda boys basketball coach Colby Pack directed the efforts as a way to pay tribute to Harvey and fight the disease. Pack, Slaathaug and assistant boys basketball coach Steve Kellen sparked the idea while watching a volleyball match in early October, and everything came together quickly.

Pack said, “A lot of schools do Coaches vs. Cancer and we said, ‘Why not honor one of our former coaches who has Parkinson’s Disease?’ I’ve done these raffles before; I have a nephew with Down Syndrome and we’ve had auctions so I had a few connections. It’s one of those things where we probably sent 300 letters and 400 emails. It was time-consuming but well worth it.”

The meal was terrific: pulled pork sandwiches, chips and a delightful array of homemade desserts. Free-will donations were made by the hungry diners, and the total amount raised at the event will come to around $12,000.

Fans came to the gym on a wet, snowy night, hung their outerwear on coat racks and packed the place. They bought T-shirts, perused the auction items and wrote down their bids. A steady line moved through the cafeteria. After a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the previous day’s Connecticut school shooting, Fulda senior Mallory Pagel sang a wonderful national anthem.

As the boys teams warmed up, I sat in the bleachers and closed my eyes for a few seconds. The song “Some Nights” by the band Fun was playing on the sound system, accompanied by the squeaks of sneakers and the bouncing of a couple dozen basketballs.

Saturday night, a small-town gym, friends gathering to honor someone who has touched so many lives, teams competing. That’s a perfect combination.

--To see a photo gallery from the evening in Fulda, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 381
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,349
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

(Updated!) Another Coach McDonald Makes His Debut At Duluth East
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/11/2012 2:20:20 PM

(Update ... At the end of this story are these words: "Rhett and his wife Kayelyn are expecting their first child any day now. It’s going to be a boy." Ganon Xavier McDonald was born Friday morning; 9.7 pounds, 22.5 inches. Congratulations!)

If the new boys basketball coach at Duluth East had a name like Smith or Johnson or Hanson or Jones, his hiring would probably not make a giant splash. But when the name is McDonald, people notice.

Rhett McDonald is 25 years old and in his first season as the coach of the Duluth East Greyhounds. He is a third-generation coach in Minnesota’s first family of basketball. Rhett’s grandfather is Bob McDonald, who is in his 57th season as a coach and 52nd at Chisholm. Bob is the state’s career victories leader with 984 as the season began.

Rhett McDonald was coached by his father, Mike, at Cambridge-Isanti High School, where Rhett was named all-state honorable mention and played in the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association all-star series. In college at Minnesota-Duluth, he was a four-year letterwinner and team captain as a senior.

Here’s the rundown on Bob McDonald’s other children and their coaching jobs:

Paul coaches the men’s basketball team at Vermilion Community College in Ely, Tom is the boys coach at Ely High School and Joel coaches the boys team at Hibbing High School. Bob McDonald’s daughters, Sue and Judy, are former coaches.

With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that Rhett (pictured) became a coach.

“I can remember being in first grade and really wanting to be a basketball coach and a teacher. Honestly, I’ve never thought about doing anything else,” Rhett said at Saturday’s Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Minnetonka High School, where Duluth East lost to Prior Lake 85-56.

Mike McDonald is not surpised at all that his son became a coach.

“I think from the time he was probably three or four years old and going on scouting trips with me, until he got older and was working out himself, I think that was his only career choice,” Mike said.

Rhett McDonald was an assistant coach at Owatonna last season. The East job became available when the contract of coach Chuck Tolo was not renewed after last season. The Greyhounds have played in 13 state tournaments, including the last two.

Rhett applied for the job, not knowing what would happen. Or as he put it, “Honestly, I threw my name in the hat and did not expect too much back.” He was interviewed and offered the job. He also teaches special education at East.

“Duluth East has always been my dream job,” he said. “As a kid I remember going up and watching Duluth East teams. For some reason I always liked East basketball. I just attached to them, even though they were in our section and kind of our rival. I guess Duluth was where I wanted to end up, and East was the high school I wanted to be at.”

Rhett was the first player from Cambridge-Isanti to play Division II college basketball since Mike McDonald took over as coach.

“I knew he wanted to be a head coach and he had a good experience at Owatonna with a quality team and a quality staff,” Mike said. “From the beginning I always thought he was beyond his years, maturity-wise. And his basketball IQ has always been high. I’m proud of him.”

After opening with losses to Eastview and Prior Lake, Rhett McDonald got career victory No. 1 when the Greyhounds won at Grand Rapids 65-43 on Tuesday night. McDonald is learning quickly that being a head coach means a lot more than directing players in practices and games.

“Even though I am the son of a coach, I’ve found out that there’s so much more that goes on that you don’t appreciate as a player or even as an assistant coach,” he said. “There’s a lot of planning, more stress, that you have to worry about from a head coach’s standpoint. It’s something I was aware of but I wasn’t ready.

“Inheriting a team that had a coach who was there for quite some time, the other difficulty was trying new things that we do and for them to buy into our philosophy. That hasn’t been a struggle, but it just takes time. This could be a three-year process, which we understand from a coaching standpoint. For me, I thought this might happen quicker, and it isn’t.”

Rhett’s team played his grandfather’s team in a preseason scrimmage at Esko, and “We were simply a little bit more athletic than they were,” Rhett said. “My grandpa still has a ton of energy, so he was up yelling.”

Bob McDonald called his grandson “a good well-balanced, mentally capable person. He’s a good boy. I don’t say much about any of my grandkids; they do their own thing. They’ve got their own furrow to plow. But he’s a very capable kid because he’s got sensibility. And he’s in a good school system there.”

Rhett said, “My grandpa continues to be an influence on my life, on the floor and off the floor. On the floor, we talk about building blocks, playing hard, playing with class. It’s something we’re trying to achieve at Duluth East. That is a big part of our concept within the program. A lot of the things we do offensively and defensively are things that are not totally his style; in the future we’d like to play at a fast pace, like his teams. He told me over the summer that I better have a pressing team. At this point we can’t do that, but I will continue to listen to him.

“I talk to my grandpa probably once a month, and there is at least one good thing from each conversation that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Rhett said he learned about work ethic from watching his father, who has been the coach at Cambridge-Isanti since 1987. Rhett recalls his dad breaking down film until 2 o’clock in the morning, all part of the grind of the basketball season.

“My dad has always been encouraging me and pushing me to become a better player, person and now coach,” Rhett said. “Every basketball season, he loses about 15 pounds because of the stress. Those things showed me how much work it takes to be a decent coach no matter where you’re at. That’s something I keep telling myself, that this will someday all come together. I’ll continue to do the same things he did, and before you know it things will work out.”

No one is looking too far down the road, but father and son will go head-to-head when Cambridge-Isanti plays at Duluth East on Feb. 23. Adding to the family storyline, Rhett’s brother Kyle is a sophomore starter on the Cambridge-Isanti team.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” Rhett said. “I would like to think that I know a lot about them, and I bet my dad knows my plans, as well. We’ll see when that comes. I’m looking forward to it. That’s just a special situation.”

Rhett’s older sister Kailee is a senior on the Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team. His cousin Bryce Tesdahl played at Crosby-Ironton and Bemidji State and is now a graduate assistant coach at Minnesota-Duluth. It’s all part of the family business, which shows no signs of ending.

Mike McDonald said Kyle also wants to become a coach, and the fourth generation of Coach McDonalds may not be far off.

Rhett and his wife Kayelyn are expecting their first child any day now. It’s going to be a boy.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 377
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,033
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Sad News From New Prague: Longtime Teacher/Coach Dies Suddenly
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/10/2012 10:19:01 AM

Matt Shetka, middle school social studies teacher and 3-sport coach for New Prague Area Schools, passed away suddenly Saturday (December 9) from an apparent heart attack at the young age of 54. Matt was the head coach of the New Prague High School gymnastics and girls’ golf teams, and was a middle school volleyball coach. He taught in the New Prague Area School District for 33 years. (Shetka is the coach on the right in this photo.)

Matt’s success as a head varsity coach is legendary – he has led teams in two different sports to five state titles. His gymnastics teams have won three state championships (1984, 2001 & 2003), and the girls’ golf team has won two state championships (2010 & 2012) – most recently last spring. The gymnastics team has finished state runner-up seven times. The New Prague gymnastics team was state runner-up last year and is currently one of the favorites to win state this year.

Matt is survived by his wife Meg, who is an elementary teacher in the New Prague School District, and four adult sons.

A Day In The TV Booth At The Prep Bowl
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/9/2012 7:21:35 PM

What is it like for a high school student to be on the inside of KSTC Channel 45's coverage of the Prep Bowl? Read about it by clicking here.

Easing Back In? Not For Apple Valley Wrestling Team
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/8/2012 2:12:41 PM

This is a transition year for the nationally recognized Apple Valley wrestling program, with former assistant Dalen Wasmund taking over as the new head coach. Read Brian Jerzak's profile of the program by clicking here.

Born Without A Right Hand, Doing Things The Right Way
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/7/2012 12:55:03 PM

Caitlin Tate gets things done on the ice, just like every other talented hockey player in the world. The senior starting goaltender at Park High School in Cottage Grove is described by Wolfpack goalie coach Mike Moline as “very technically, fundamentally sound. She’s a very, very, very good goalie.”

Tate is quick on her skates, she uses her stick to efficiently sweep away pucks and has a great glove hand … even though there is no hand inside the glove.

Caitlin, 18, was born without a right hand. But there she is, on the ice wearing Wolfpack green and white, skating with her friends, catching pucks without a hand. She wears a prosthetic that slips onto her arm and fits inside a specially made glove. The prosthetic is the work of the wizards at Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis and the glove was provided by Vaughn, a maker of goalie gear. She is unable to close the glove around a puck, but she is very adept at quickly bringing the puck into her midsection and covering it up.

For fans who know nothing about Tate, she is the same as every other goalie. And that’s how Caitlin likes it.

“Off the ice, everybody is unique in their own way but I’m clearly different,” she said. “I don’t have a problem with it. God made me that way and I’m not complaining. On the ice I’m the same as everybody else and no one expects anything different from me. That’s what I really enjoy.”

She is a remarkable young person, smiling, happy and supportive of others while never feeling sorry for herself. As Park head coach Steve Morse said, “I’ve never had a kid quite like her, in more ways than one.”

Caitlin is the youngest of Dirk and Julie Tate’s three children and their only daughter. Her brothers Alex and Dan also played hockey, and that had an impact on what she wanted to do. As a youngster she skated as a forward. But when she watched Dan (a 2006 Park graduate) play between the pipes for the Wolfpack boys team, she was hooked on switching positions. That happened when she was 9 years old.

“He made these sick saves and everyone would cheer,” Caitlin said. “I was like, ‘I want to do that! I want to be the one that everyone’s cheering for!’ It runs in the family, for sure.”

Until this season Caitlin was a backup to Allie Morse, who graduated from Park last spring and now plays hockey at Providence College. Morse was an all-conference and all-state player and a finalist for the 2012 Minnesota Goalie of the Year award.

“I wanted to be like her,” said Tate, who is a team captain this season along with Mary Turitto and Anna Keys. “I wanted to do what she was doing. I definitely looked at her as an idol. It definitely was big shoes to fill. I was really nervous, coming after such a great goalie like Allie.”

Park took a 2-4-1 record into a Saturday night game against Suburban East Conference opponent Roseville. The Wolfpack had lost twice in overtime, including a game at Mounds View. But the postgame scene after the Mounds View game was something Caitlin will remember much longer than what transpired on the ice.

An article about Caitlin in USA Hockey Magazine had caught the eye of a 6-year-old boy who also has been missing a hand since birth. Moline had been contacted by the boy’s mother and invited them to meet Caitlin after the game. The child, fascinated by the story and photos of Tate playing hockey, had been sleeping with the magazine. He wanted to be a goaltender, just like Caitlin.

“He came out to our game when we played Mounds View and I got to meet him,” Tate said. “That was really cool. Something like that, inspiring him, makes me so happy. That’s part of the reason why I keep doing this. I hope to be that symbol; ‘Don’t give up. If you put your mind to it, you can do it.’ ”

Life has not always been easy for Tate. She remembers being on the playground in elementary school, wishing she could climb the monkey bars like her friends. Her brother Dan helped her learn to tie her shoelaces with one hand.

“I’ve had a really good support system,” Caitlin said. “Dan said, ‘You don’t have to be different from other people, you can still do the same things.’ All the things he did helped give me confidence. I had two older brothers looking out for me.”

Julie Tate said she can remember only one instance when her daughter openly expressed frustration at having just one hand.

“In middle school she was upset maybe once,” Julie said. “She had heard some kids talking about her or something, and that was the only time she had ever told me she felt different and wished that she wasn’t.

“She was born this way and it’s all she knows. We never tried to treat her any different.”

Moline, who has been working with Tate for eight years, learned early on that Caitlin wanted no special treatment. The first time they were together at a goalie clinic, Moline looked at the little girl with one hand and thought to himself, “How in the world are we going to do this?”

One of the first drills involved pushing nets across the ice to build up strength, and then skating backwards while pulling the nets. When Moline told Caitlin she didn’t have to take part, he learned a quick lesson.

“That was a big mistake for me because she said, ‘Mike, I can do this.’ Ever since then, I’ve never shied away from anything with her. I’ll shoot pucks at her as hard as I can.”

Caitlin faces issues in places like the weight room, where conditioning without a right hand can be problematic.

“It’s a challenge for her to do some things in the weight room,” Morse said. “She makes the decisions on what she can do and what she’s not comfortable with.”

Moline said, “She inspires me every day. It’s going to be so hard at the (season-ending) banquet; I’m already an emotional guy as it is. I love the kid like my own. If I ever had another daughter I’d hope she would be just like Caitlin.”

Caitlin is a very busy teenager, with a life that revolves around hockey, friends, a retail job at the Mall of America and school. Her current classes are College Writing, International Baccalaureate English, French, Physics and a college prep program. In college she wants to major in acting or performing arts and minor in journalism or broadcasting. She has applied to several universities in California.

“I always have dreamed of being on the red carpet someday and winning an Oscar,” she said with her usual smile. “I’ve done acting classes and I absolutely love it. I don’t have a problem being in front of people, public speaking. It comes natural for me.”

Julie Tate, while already worrying about Caitlin being so far from home after high school, knows that her daughter is a special person.

“She was born without two hands but she was also born with great character. She’s always been so impressive. We’ve always been so proud of her.”

*Schools/teams John has visited: 368
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,981
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Board Approves Basketball Changes, Clay Target Partnership
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/6/2012 1:07:08 PM

During a meeting Thursday that was filled with big decisions, the MSHSL board of directors approved changes to state basketball tournaments and approved a partnership with the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. The board also made decisions that affect cooperative sponsorships and nine-man football.

Due to a facilities conflict with Target Center, the board approved changes in the girls and boys state basketball tournaments that will take effect in 2014 and extend through at least 2018. The new National Collegiate Hockey Conference will hold its annual postseason tournament at Target Center beginning in 2014, meaning Target Center is not available for one of the weeks that was the traditional time for one of the basketball tournaments.

Here is what the future will hold …

--The state tournaments will continue to be eight-team events.

--In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the boys state basketball tournament will be played one week before the girls state tournament.

--The boys will use Williams Arena and Target Center as their tournament sites. The girls will primarily utilize Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena, although some girls quarterfinals will be played at Target Center.

--In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the girls will play a Tuesday-through-Saturday tournament schedule. During those same years the boys will play the usual Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule.

By a 9-8 vote, the board approved a motion to become a presenting partner of Minnesota State High School Clay Target League state tournament. The Clay Target League has held competitions involving students on school-sponsored club teams.

As the vote shows, board members were split on the proposal. Rosemount High School athletic director Mike Manning said, “I’ll be honest, I’d like to keep this at an arm’s length. I worry about guns in parking lots, I worry about guns at home…I just worry about the potential negatives. I would like this to stay at an arm’s length and not become a Minnesota State High School League tournament.”

Board member Roz Peterson, a school board member from Lakeville, said, “Just being afraid of firearms isn’t teaching our kids respect for them. Hunting and fishing and things of that nature are the culture of Minnesota, and proper training in how to use a firearm and how to handle it would probably be a better lesson than learning it on the street. … I don’t think it gives a negative stigma to the Minnesota State High School League to sponsor this.”

In other actions…

--The board approved a change in the timetable for cooperative team sponsorships. The move means that applications for coops be submitted to the MSHSL no later than 30 days prior to the start of the season. Previously, applications were due no later than the first day of practice for that sport season.

--An MSHSL football committee recommended that the the enrollment cutoff for nine-man football be dropped from 165 students to 150, beginning with the 2013 season. The board approved the change but moved the effective date to the 2015 season.

--Athletic directors Les Zellmann of St. James, Bruce Remme of Marshall and Rob Norman of Blue Earth, citing scheduling issues, asked the board to reconsider using section football during the regular season. There was discussion but no action was taken.

--An award presentation was made to Roger Cersine in recognition of his years of service as MSHSL state rules interpreter for boys and girls swimming. Roger, who retired earlier this year, began officiating swim meets in 1967.

--Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, made a presentation about the new Vikings stadium project. Plans call for ground to be broken in late 2013, with the Vikings (as well as the MSHSL) using TCF Bank Stadium in 2015 and the new stadium opening in 2016.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 368
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,981
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Board Of Directors Meeting Is Underway
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/6/2012 10:56:47 AM

The December meeting of the MSHSL board of directors is taking place this morning. The agenda is filled with interesting topics and the meeting could be lengthy.

I'm posting instant updates on Twitter (follow @MSHSLjohn) and after the meeting has ended I will post a recap right here.

State Basketball, Clay Target League On Board Of Directors Agenda
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/5/2012 2:37:20 PM

The 20-member MSHSL board of directors will hold its December meeting on Thursday morning at MSHSL headquarters in Brooklyn Center with a full agenda. The action item that will probably receive the most attention from high school sports fans is a possible change in the structure of the girls and boys state basketball tournaments.

Because the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference will hold its annual postseason tournament at Target Center beginning in 2014, there is a scheduling conflict with the high school basketball tournaments. Currently, Target Center is the main site for the basketball tournaments, but Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota – where some quarterfinal games are currently played – may become the site of some or all of the state quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games. Mariucci Arena, the Gophers men’s hockey arena, also could be the site of some basketball games.

Along with possible venue changes, the sequence and structure of the state basketball tournaments also could change. Under one scenario, the boys state tournament would be played first, followed by the girls state tournament one week later. Another possibility is that Class 1A and 2A state tournaments for both girls and boys would be held one week, with Class 3A and 4A girls and boys tournaments played a week later. Another possibility is that four teams would advance to state in each class (instead of the current eight teams) with all semifinals and finals continuing to be played at Target Center.

No changes will be made for the 2013 state basketball tournaments. The girls tourney will be held at Williams Arena and Target Center March 13-16, with the boys tourney at the same sites March 20-23.

The board of directors is expected to vote on a request that the MSHSL become a presenting partner of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League state tournament each spring. The Clay Target League currently holds competitions involving students on school-sponsored club teams.

The discussion portion of the agenda includes information on summer practices and section football. Schools in the South Central and Southwest conferences have requested that the board consider having schools play football teams in their section during the regular season as a way to alleviate scheduling problems.

The board meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. I will post instant updates from the board table on Twitter. Stay in touch by following @MSHSLjohn

*Schools/teams John has visited: 368
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,981
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Announcing A New Partnership with Twin Cities Toyota Dealers
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/3/2012 5:27:55 PM

It’s a big day for John’s Journal as we formally announce an exciting new partnership with Twin Cities Toyota Dealers. Whenever you see me driving around the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota, I will be hard to miss. Thanks to Twin Cities Toyota Dealers, I am now behind the wheel of a 2012 Toyota Camry SE Limited Edition.

It’s not just any car, either. As you can see in the photo, it’s quite noticeable, with a caricature of me on both front doors, plus several MSHSL logos and Facebook and Twitter links all over the vehicle.

It’s a real head-turner and it provides a great ride. I am really looking forward to visiting schools and events all around Minnesota in the Toyota Camry.

The car is part of an MSHSL sponsorship agreement with Twin Cities Toyota Dealers. They have provided the car free of charge to the MSHSL in exchange for sponsorship benefits that include advertising in all state tournament programs, identification on the MSHSL website, digital and electronic signage at state tournaments and more.

Toyota supports high school activities through a broad range of programs, including Drive for Education, which enhances academic and extracurricular programs through grants to qualifying schools.

This partnership between Twin Cities Totoya Dealers and the MSHSL is very special, and we cannot thank Twin Cities Toyota Dealers enough for their commitment to high school activities.

--To see more photos, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

John’s Journal … Driven by Toyota.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 366
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 4,931
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

Happy Trails To Retiring Minneapolis Administrator John Washington
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 12/1/2012 7:58:03 PM

John Washington is now officially retired. A late-afternoon gathering was held in his honor last week at Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters, where John was the district athletic director for 14 years. Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson stood alongside John in front of a large group of co-workers and other friends and said, “He has led this work with pride. He’s had a stellar reputation with our community. I want to thank you for your leadership and for the work that you’ve done.”

Dave Wicker, who worked with Washington at Patrick Henry High School and the district office, said, “John is a wonderful learner, teacher, mentor and leader. John’s strengths include his calm demeanor and his ability to help others grow.”

I knew a lot about John, having known him for years. I knew he was a former teacher and coach at Henry. I knew of his stellar work with the athletic departments in all the Minneapolis high schools.

But I did not know this: John Washington was a driver’s education instructor. That fact alone makes him a hero. John is a lover of Western movies, and his background guiding new drivers puts him on par with John Wayne.

John, a 1963 graduate of Minneapolis North, was first hired by the Minneapolis school district in 1969 as a teacher at Henry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Mayville State in North Dakota and later picked up a master’s degree from St. Thomas. He coached baseball and basketball at Henry, worked as an assistant principal, served on numerous MSHSL committees and boards and was a member of the Police Athletic League.

During the retirement party, Wicker talked about John’s final job evaluation.

“John was decribed as a champion for athletics who is remarkable at managing a diverse group of people,” Wicker said. “John fulfills his responsibilities with integrity, grace, honesty and with a strong work ethic. And we all know that John stands for everything that’s good in life. That’s what makes us so happy to work with such a fine person.”

John has always wanted to learn how to ride a horse, so folks pitched in to buy him riding lessons. During that presentation, a cowboy hat was placed on his head.

“First of all, thanks to everyone for being here today, this is really overwhelming,” he said. “And thank you to my wife, Anna Mae, who’s been there to let me go to all those games at night all these years.

“I really enjoy what I’ve done. I don’t know how many people can say they did one job for so long and really enjoyed what they did. I really have enjoyed my time here at Minneapolis Public Schools and it’s something that I will always cherish. All the building athletic directors who are here, they work hard and they need all the support we can give them. Any time they come to you, help them out when you can. Just remember one thing: you’re here for the kids. As long as we remember that, your job will be easy.”

Happy trails, John.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 348
*Miles John has driven: 4,877
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

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

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