John's Journal
A Tuesday Filled With State Tournaments6/13/2017
The busiest stretch of the spring season is underway with state tournaments in three sports at 10 sites taking place this week. Tuesday was the opening day of the golf and lacrosse state tournaments. Golf will end with second-round play Wednesday; lacrosse semifinal games will be played Thursday, with girls and boys championship games on Saturday. The state baseball tournaments will begin Thursday, with semifinals on Friday and championship games scheduled for Monday at Target Field.

Here is a summary of Tuesday’s activities…

Boys Lacrosse State Quarterfinals
At Chanhassen

Benilde-St. Margaret’s 17, Anoka 4
Wayzata 6, Eden Prairie 5
Mahtomedi 13, Prior Lake 12
Eagan 19, Lakeville North 8

Boys Lacrosse State Semifinals
Thursday at Minnetonka

3 p.m.: Benilde-St. Margaret’s vs. Wayzata
5 p.m.: Mahtomedi vs. Eagan

Girls Lacrosse State Quarterfinals
At Minnetonka

Blake 17, Cretin-Derham Hall 10
Prior Lake 16, Maple Grove 6
Farmington 10, Stillwater 9 (OT)
Eden Prairie 18, Blaine 5

Girls Lacrosse State Semifinals
Thursday at Chanhassen

3 p.m.: Blake vs. Prior Lake
5 p.m.: Farmington vs. Eden Prairie

Class 1A State Golf
Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan

Girls:
Springfield holds the day one lead with a team score of 342, followed by Fillmore Central at 348 and BOLD at 357. Callie Wersal of Springfield is the individual leader with a first-round 74, followed by Sophie Gray of Legacy Christian at 76, and Heidi Guttormson of Minneota and Emily Doeden of Park Christian at 78.

Boys: Mahnomen/Waubon leads the team race with a 14-stroke lead over second-place Sleepy Eye United. Mounds Park Academy holds third place, 15 shots behind the leader. On the individual side, Tommy Braaten of Blooming Prairie holds the lead with a first-round 68, followed by Matt Berning of Mounds Park Academy (72) and Ben Laffen of Sleepy Eye United (75)

Class 2A State Golf
Pebble Creek, Becker

Girls:
Lake City holds a five-shot lead over Detroit Lakes, 332-337, after the first 18 holes. Standing in third place is Visitation at 345. Minnewaska’s Ashlyn Guggisberg leads the individuals with a 73, followed by Anni Heck of Visitation at 75 and Lexi Geolat of Lake City at 76.

Boys: Blake holds a two-shot lead over Detroit Lakes in the team standings, with Holy Family one shot further back. Lincoln Cizek of Holy Family and Cecil Belisle of Red Wing share the individual lead at 68, with three players at 69: Jack Michel of Holy Family, Esten Stensrud of Minnewaska and Jacob Zosel of Morris.

Class 3A State Golf
Bunker Hills, Coon Rapids

Girls:
Edina opened a 16-point lead over Red Wing after the opening round, with Forest Lake 22 shots out of the lead and Buffalo one stroke behind Forest Lake. Edina’s Joanna Kim had the top individual score with a 73, followed by Megan Welch of Lakeville North at 74 and Sophia Yoemans of Red Wing at 75.

Boys: Minnetonka holds the lead at the tournament’s halfway point with a four-shot lead over Wayzata. St. Thomas Academy is in third place, six shots behind the leader. The individual leader is Caleb VanArragon of Blaine at 69, followed by Ben Frazzini of Wayzata, Jacob Pedersen of Minnetonka and Carson Haley of Mankato East at 71.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 764
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,698
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Females Rule Track And Field, In High School And Beyond6/11/2017
These are glory days for girls track and field in Minnesota. The 2017 season ended over the weekend with the best in our state competing at Hamline University in St. Paul to decide Class 1A and Class 2A state championships.

Meanwhile, on an even bigger stage, a trio of Minnesota high school girls track and field all-time record holders were making their mark at the NCAA Division I national championship in Eugene. Ore. Here’s a summary…

--Maggie Ewen, a junior at Arizona State from St. Francis, won the national championship in the hammer throw, placed second in the discus and sixth in the shot put. She holds MSHSL all-time records in the shot put and discus.

--Ruby Stauber, a Louisiana State freshman from Wayzata, advanced to the NCAA championship meet in the 800 meters. She set the Minnesota prep record in that event one year ago.

--Jedah Caldwell, a Chanhassen grad and freshman at Kansas, ran on the Jayhawks’ 4x100 relay team at the NCAA championships. Jedah holds Minnesota state records in the 100 and 200 meters, both set one year ago.

One all-time state record was broken at the MSHSL championships, and fittingly it was a group of four young ladies who did so. The North St. Paul quartet of Shaliciah Jones, Alexis Pratt, J’Anna Cager and Jebeh Cooke won the Class 2A 4x100 and 4x200 relays on Saturday; their 4x200 time of 1:39.20 set an all-time state record. The previous mark was 1:40.08, set by Hopkins in 2010.

There are 18 events in Minnesota high school track and field, and girls state records have been set in 11 events in the last three years.

All in all, it was a splendid weekend for Minnesota track and field, girls and boys. The two-day state championship meet was held under clear skies on a picture-perfect Friday and a warm, breezy Saturday. There were superstars in attendance, including Bloomington Kennedy senior Honour Finley, the state record holder in the 400 meters, who won that Class 2A event for the third year in a row and will be teammates with Caldwell at Kansas in the fall.

Another superstar who became a three-time state champion was Jenna Kes, a senior from Jordan. Jenna is a three-sport athlete, also competing in soccer and basketball. She placed fifth in the Class 1A triple jump as a ninth-grader before beginning her three-year reign in that event.

She was thrilled for several reasons Saturday, including wearing the triple jump gold medal for the third time. She set a personal best Saturday of 40 feet, 2 ¾ inches, which was more than a foot beyond her previous best. She also finished second in the 100 hurdles and long jump, giving her a total of eight medals from her high school career at state track.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” she said with a great big smile.

Asked about the factors that contributed to her track success, she didn’t say a word about herself. The only person she talked about was Brian Homan, who coaches the Jordan jumpers.

“That all goes to my coach,” said Jenna, who will be a collegiate track and field athlete at North Dakota State. “He just knows the right things to say at the right times to keep me focused, and having fun always. Having fun is really what it’s all about. I just can’t thank him enough.”

After participating in three sports throughout high school, Jenna called it “an amazing experience. My closest friends are also athletes. For me it was always, you go to practice, you work hard but also you get to spend an extra two hours a day with your friends. They keep everything fun and exciting. It’s an awesome experience.”

Aiming For a Record

North St. Paul senior Jake Kubiatowicz has been dreaming of setting a state record in the discus for a long, long time.

“That’s kind of been my goal ever since I found out about it when I was a little kid,” he said Saturday. The state record of 201 feet, 7 inches was set by Rochester Century’s Karl Erickson in 2001, and Jake appeared to be a serious threat to break it going into the state meet.

He threw 199-7 at the Section 4 championships, which is second to Erickson on the state’s all-time list.

With a large crowd on hand to watch the 2A boys discus competition Saturday, Jake’s first throw was 177-11, followed by 160-1. His final throw in the preliminaries sailed 194-6 and brought whoops from the fans. With three more throws coming up in the final round, Erickson’s 201-7 looked to be on shaky ground.

But it still stands. Jake threw 193-5, 190-2 and 194-4 in the finals. He was a little disappointed, he admitted. But …

“I really wanted to break that record ... But I’ve got too many other blessings in life; it’s just one record.”

Jake, who will become an Ivy League track and field athlete at the University of Pennsylvania this fall, also won the 2A discus title last season.

Other Class 2A Highlights

--Eden Prairie’s Denzel Brown won the 100 and 200 meters, taking the 200 for the second year in a row.

--St. Michael-Albertville’s Anna Keefer, who earlier this spring set a state record in the long jump, won that event at the state meet as well as the 100 and 200.

--Edina repeated as state champ in the girls 4x800 relay.

--Amanda Anderson of St. Francis won her second title in the girls discus.

--Armstrong’s Alexandrea Hurst repeated as girls shot put state champ.

--Allyson Weiss of East Ridge won her second title in the girls triple jump.

Other Class 1A Highlights

-- Tierney Wolfgram,an eighth-grader from Math and Science Academy in Woodbury, won the 3,200 on Friday and the 1,600 on Saturday, adding those to the state cross-country state title she won in November.

-- Minneapolis North’s T’Nia Riley swept the girls 100 and 200.

-- Reid Pierzinski of Pequot Lakes won the boys 110 and 300 hurdles races.

--Samuel Moore of Bertha-Hewitt swept the boys shot put and discus.

--Millie Klefsaas of Staples-Motley repeated as girls pole vault champion.

--Mara Quam of Kenyon-Wanamingo won her second title in the girls long jump.

Team Scoring

Class 1A boys

1. Plainview-Elgin-Millville 58
2. Pequot Lakes 42
3. Pipestone 40
4. Ottertail Central 35
5. Esko 33

Class 1A girls
1. Minneapolis Edison 48
2. Pequot Lakes 41.50
3. Belle Plaine 40
4. Byron 38
5. Jordan 35

Class 2A boys
1. East Ridge 51
2. Lakeville South 44
3. Wayzata 43
4. (tie) Mounds View 42, Hopkins 42

Class 2A girls
1. St. Michael-Albertville 54
2. Farmington 48
3. North St. Paul 43
4. Mounds View 36
5. Armstrong 33

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 748
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,648
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
State Softball Tournament6/9/2017
Championship games
1A/ New York Mills 8, Edgerton/Southwest MN Christian 8-4
2A/ Zumbrota-Mazeppa 4, Maple Lake 1
3A/ Winona 9, Hermantown 2
4A/ Farmington 1, Anoka 0 (10 innings)

Third-place games
1A/ Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 15, Hayfield 2
2A/ Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 9, Esko 2
3A/ Totino-Grace 8, Mankato West 1
4A/ Chanhassen 1, Woodbury 0

Fifth-place games
1A/ Kimball 9, Pillager 3
2A/ Pipestone 12, Albany 0
3A/ Waconia 4, Thief River Falls 2
4A/ Buffalo 6, Maple Grove 4
Boys State Tennis Championships6/9/2017
Class 1A

Doubles/ Ben Ingbar and Christopher Hall of Blake won the title by defeating Breck’s Matthew Metz and Thomas Metz 6-4, 6-4.

Singles/ Blake junior Jack Barker defeated freshman teammate Joe Mairs 6-4, 6-2 in the championship match.

Class 2A

Doubles/ The championship went to Rochester Century’s Nick Aney and Varun Iyer with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Chase Roseth and Hunter Roseth of Lakeville South.

Singles/ Ben Van der sman of East Ridge defeated Sebastian Vile of Rochester Mayo 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the title match.
The Moments – And The Lessons – That Last A Lifetime 6/9/2017
NORTH MANKATO – In every state tournament, there are moments. And then there are Moments, split-second instances that become lifetime memories for all who were there to witness it.

One of those moments took place at 4:03 p.m. Friday at Caswell Park. A scoreless softball game to decide the Class 4A state championship ended on a walk-off home run by Farmington junior Emma Frost with two out in the 10th inning. That gave the Tigers the championship – Farmington folks said it was the first team state title in school history -- with a 1-0 victory over Anoka.

Emma will surely remember it forever, as will her teammates and coaches and parents and siblings and grandparents and other fans. And how about Farmington senior pitcher Maddie Muelken (profiled yesterday in John’s Journal), leading her team while undergoing cancer treatments? Amazing.

Friday’s defeat was a tough pill to swallow for the kids from Anoka, who had a grand season and came oh-so-close to being state champs. Take it from someone who played on a high school football team that came up just short in a state championship game: You never forget the fun, the good times, the positive memories.

Which brings us to a coach named Andrew Fleischman. His team from Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian finished second in Class 1A softball, falling to New York Mills 8-4 Friday. (Pictured are the New York Mills captains receiving the first-place trophy.) The Flying Dutchmen continued an amazing run in softball, where they were state champs last season and finished third and fourth the two years before that. That’s four big-time trophies for the five seniors on the team: Jaidyn Henstra, Jordyn Smidt, Jenny Nelson, Liz Buckridge and Mallory Zeinstra.

“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Fleischman said. “Our seniors are a great group of girls. They were great leaders. There’s nothing to hang your head about to have a career where you’re consolation champions, third place, second place and first place.

“What’s more important, though, is that they’re great teammates, great young ladies, great people to be around, and that goes for all our girls. We talk a lot about whether things are good or bad, you don’t measure the strength of a team through scoreboards. I’m really, really proud of them.”

Read those words again: Whether things are good or bad, you don’t measure the strength of a team through scoreboards. A few days ago I mentioned such a philosophy in this space, writing, “Lots of teams and individuals will pose with trophies and medals, wearing the biggest smiles of their lives. Those are wonderful moments for sure, but the simple joys of competing, learning, sharing and growing are what’s most important.”

Andrew (pictured) is in a unique position. He coaches teams in three different sports, involving kids from three different schools. In the fall he’s the head coach of the Edgerton/Ellsworth football team; in the winter he’s the head coach of the Edgerton girls basketball team; and in the spring he leads the Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian softball team.

Southwest Minnesota Christian is located in Edgerton, a town of slightly more than 1,000 people in southwest Minnesota. Ellsworth is 30 miles south.

Girls from Edgerton High School and Southwest Christian High School are rivals during basketball season and teammates during softball season; boys from Edgerton and Ellsworth are teammates in football and opponents in basketball.

Fleischman, a history teacher at Edgerton, laughed about keeping everything and everybody straight.

“Oh, I’ve got to work with names and pronounciations,” he said. “I’ve got like 42 Jadens and things like that.

“It’s just fun. I get to work with lots of different kids. And what they all have in common is they’re all great kids, they all work hard and they all buy into being great teammates and great community members.”

He was smiling after Friday’s defeat, expressing nothing but positives about the Eagles of New York Mills and his own team. It was the essence of class, dignity and doing what’s best for kids. Like all great coaches around our state, Andrew Fleischman knows what’s important.

“Sometimes you work hard and you do everything you can to prepare yourself, and when the moment comes it doesn’t go your way,” he said. “We can dwell on that or we can dwell on the fact that New York Mills has a very good team. We played hard, played up to our ability, gave it a good run at the end and ultimately came up just a bit short.”

Andrew is the father of three daughters, so expect to see the family name on his team’s rosters in the future; the girls will be in ninth grade, fifth grade and second grade when the 2017-18 school year begins.

The coach of fall, winter and spring teams doesn’t see much change during the summer. His plans for the day after the state softball tournament? Helping coach one of his daughter’s youth softball teams at a tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.

You just know everyone will have a great time.

State Softball Tournament

Championship games

1A/ New York Mills 8, Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian 8-4
2A/ Zumbrota-Mazeppa 4, Maple Lake 1
3A/ Winona 9, Hermantown 2
4A/ Farmington 1, Anoka 0 (10 innings)

Third-place games
1A/ Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 15, Hayfield 2
2A/ Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 9, Esko 2
3A/ Totino-Grace 8, Mankato West 1
4A/ Chanhassen 1, Woodbury 0

Fifth-place games
1A/ Kimball 9, Pillager 3
2A/ Pipestone 12, Albany 0
3A/ Waconia 4, Thief River Falls 2
4A/ Buffalo 6, Maple Grove 4

Boys State Tennis

Class 1A


--Doubles/ Ben Ingbar and Christopher Hall of Blake won the title by defeating Breck’s Matthew Metz and Thomas Metz 6-4, 6-4.

--Singles/ Blake junior Jack Barker defeated freshman teammate Joe Mairs 6-4, 6-2 in the championship match.

Class 2A

--Doubles/ The championship went to Rochester Century’s Nick Aney and Varun Iyer with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Chase Roseth and Hunter Roseth of Lakeville South.

--Singles/ Ben Van der sman of East Ridge defeated Sebastian Vile of Rochester Mayo 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the title match.

State Track Day One Highlights

--Osseo eighth-grader Nyalaam Jok won the Class 2A girls high jump, clearing 5-8 (the state record is 5-11).

--St. Michael-Albertville senior and state record holder Anna Keefer captured her second Class 2A long jump title, going 18 feet, 10 ½ inches.

Most of the events Friday were preliminaries. The meet will conclude Saturday.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 718
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,606
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn