John's Journal
Four Days, Two State Tournaments, One Talented Athlete6/14/2017
BECKER -- Wabasha-Kellogg’s Liam Blaschko brought all his essential equipment to the Class 1A state golf tournament, which was held here Tuesday and Wednesday at Pebble Creek Golf Course. Liam brought his clubs, his shoes, his balls and tees … and his baseball gear, too.

This is a very big week for the senior, who is playing in two state tournaments. After wrapping up the golf tournament Wednesday, he headed to Jordan to meet his baseball teammates. The Falcons will face Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A tournament on Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan.

If they win Thursday they will play in the state semifinals Friday in Jordan for the chance to play in the state championship game Monday at Target Field. If they lose Thursday, they will play in the consolation bracket Friday in Chaska.

All in all, Liam (pictured) is experiencing a real rarity.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” he said of his two rounds at state golf. He shot an 84 Tuesday and an 83 Wednesday, finishing in a tie for 23rd in the 88-player field.

Liam is the Falcons’ top pitcher with an 8-2 record and 98 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings. He also plays catcher and his batting average of .313 ranks No. 4 on the team behind Cooper Holtorf (.442), Jackson Gosse (.377) and Chase Holtorf (.333).

“He’s really taken it in a relaxed fashion,” Falcons golf coach Donny Killeen said of Liam’s golf season. “He said baseball’s a little more stressful for him. When he’s pitching there are eight other guys out there. Here, he said, ‘It’s me. If I mess up it’s my own fault.’ ”

Liam’s brother Fletcher played at the state golf tournament three times, placing sixth as a senior in 2013. The last time Wabasha-Kellogg qualified for the state baseball tournament was when Liam was in eighth grade.

Liam left home Monday for the state golf tournament. The Falcons’ baseball team departed for Jordan on Wednesday morning and Liam met them later in the day. After finishing on the golf course each day, he played catch with his father Chris and Killeen.

“There is stress in baseball,” he said. “In golf you just go out and have fun.”

Liam’s playing partners Wednesday were Springfield freshman Mason Kretsch, Heritage Christian junior Ian Johnson and Minneota freshman Nolan Boerboom. None of them knew Liam would be playing in another state tournament a day later; he didn’t mention it.

Wabasha-Kellogg allows athletes to play two sports simultaneously, but they must designate their top sport. Liam chose baseball, which meant he was on hand for baseball practices and games while working on his golf game when he found time.

As his sister Rowan put it, seeing her little brother at the state golf tournament was “the icing on the cake.”

In the midst of a very busy spring, Liam also performed in the school musical, “The Music Man.”

He has simple advice for others who might be considering a similar path: “Don’t be afraid to fill your schedule.”

State Golf Results

Boys

Class 1A:
Mahnomen/Waubun won the team title and Blooming Prairie's Tommy Braaten captured the individual championship.

Class 2A: Blake won the team crown and Red Wing's Cecil Belisle won the individual championship.

Class 3A: The team title went to Wayzata, as did the individual crown to the Trojans’ Van Holmgren.

Girls

Class 1A:
BOLD (pictured) won the team state championship and Springfield's Callie Wersal captured the individual championship.

Class 2A: Detroit Lakes took home the team title and Anni Heck of Visitation repeated as individual champ.

Class 3A: The team title went to Edina, and the individual title was shared by Edina's Joanna Kim and Red Wing's Sophia Yeomans.

Tournament Tidbits

--The Springfield girls golf team -- which placed third in Class 1A -- is coached by Dillon Schultz, who was the 2009 Class 1A boys champion for Springfield/Comfrey.

--After a snapping turtle was spotted during the golf tournament in Becker, one of the course marshalls made the following statement on his walkie-talkie. “She can move her ball from there because of the Dangerous Animal rule.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 780
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,843
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
A Very Busy Tuesday Is Underway6/13/2017
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, and baseball will begin Thursday.

Here’s what’s happening today (updates to come)…

Boys lacrosse state quarterfinals at Chanhassen
Benilde-St. Margaret’s 17, Anoka 4
Wayzata vs. Eden Prairie
Prior Lake vs. Mahtomedi
Lakeville North vs. Eagan

Girls lacrosse state quarterfinals at Minnetonka
Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Blake
Maple Grove vs. Prior Lake
Stillwater vs. Farmington
Blaine vs. Eden Prairie

Class 1A State Golf
Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan

Class 2A State Golf
Pebble Creek, Becker

Class 3A State Golf
Bunker Hills, Coon Rapids

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
A Very Busy Tuesday6/13/2017
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, and baseball will begin Thursday.

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

Girls Lacrosse State Quarterfinals
At Minnetonka

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

Class 1A State Golf
Ridges at Sand Creek, Jordan

Girls:


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:


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:


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
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