John's Journal
Class 4A Baseball Rankings4/19/2017
The Associated Press polls for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

CLASS 4A
1. Minnetonka
2. Champlin Park
3. Forest Lake
4. Wayzata
5. Burnsville
6. Centennial
7. Stillwater Area
8. Lakeville North
9. Edina
10. Maple Grove
11. Eden Prairie
12. Woodbury
13. Osseo
14. Blaine
15. Cretin-Derham Hall
16. Eastview
17. Chanhassen
18. Chaska
19. St. Michael-Albertville
20. Anoka
Also receiving votes: Shakopee, Duluth East, Totino-Grace, East Ridge, Prior Lake, Hill-Murray, Grand Rapids, Buffalo, Park Cottage Grove, Andover, Apple Valley, Tartan, Hopkins, St. Francis
Class 3A Baseball Rankings4/19/2017
The Associated Press polls for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

CLASS 3A
1. Northfield
2. New Ulm
3. Mahtomedi
4. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
5. Little Falls
6. Marshall
7. Waconia
8. St. Cloud Tech
9. Bemidji
10. Henry Sibley
11. Winona
12. Fridley
13. Delano
14. Rocori
15. Hibbing
16. Mankato West
17. Holy Angels
18. South St. Paul
19. Worthington
20. Chisago Lakes Area
Also receiving votes: Sauk Rapids-Rice, Alexandria, Hutchinson, Albany, St. Thomas Academy, Orono, Sartell-St. Stephen, Kasson-Mantorville, Jordan, Duluth Denfeld, Albert Lea, Mound Westonka
Class 2A Baseball Rankings4/19/2017
The Associated Press polls for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

CLASS 2A
1. Belle Plaine
2. Minnehaha Academy
3. New Life Academy of Woodbury
4. St. Cloud Cathedral
5. Holy Family Catholic
6. Jackson County Central
7. Pierz
8. Rochester Lourdes
9. New London-Spicer
10. Fairmont
11. Paynesville Area
12. Maple Lake
13. Aitkin
14. Pine Island
15. St. Charles
16. Glencoe-Silver Lake
17. Cannon Falls
18. Kenyon-Wanamingo
19. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton
20. Caledonia
Also receiving votes: Pipestone Area, Foley, Annandale, Proctor, Luverne, Pequot Lakes, Norwood Young America, Sauk Centre, Mora, Lake City, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Frazee, Maple River
Class 1A Baseball Rankings4/19/2017
The Associated Press polls for Minnesota baseball, provided by Let's Play Baseball newspaper.

CLASS 1A
1. Springfield
2. Parkers Prairie
3. Legacy Christian Academy
4. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley
5. BOLD
6. Deer River
7. Hinckley-Finlayson
8. Heritage Christian Academy
9. Randolph
10. Mankato Loyola
11. New York Mills
12. New Ulm Cathedral
13. Adrian
14. Red Lake County
15. Wabasha/Kellogg
16. Wabasso
17. Minneota
18. Ely
19. Fosston
20. Cherry
Also receiving votes: Cleveland, South Ridge, Canby, Hill City/Northland, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Murray County Central, Menahga, Mayer Lutheran, Lyle/Austin Pacelli, Sleepy Eye, Norman County, Ortonville, Hayfield, PACT Charter School, United South Central
St. Clair’s Mitchell Weber: Winning With Either Hand4/17/2017
Mitchell Weber is not Superman, but the well-decorated junior from St. Clair High School has certainly accomplished some super things.

He was the Class 1A state champion in the discus as a freshman and finished second in the shot put. In his sophomore season last year he swept both throwing events at state and ran a leg on the Cyclones’ fifth-place 4x200-meter relay team.

This season began in a weird way for Mitchell, who stands 6-foot-6, weighs around 230 pounds and also plays football and basketball. His basketball season ended early when he suffered a broken left wrist – his throwing wrist -- in a snowmobile accident.

“I rolled over on top of the wrist,” he said. “Right away I knew it was broken. There was a huge hump on it. I knew it was definitely broken.”

The wrist was encased in a cast as Weber waited for track and field season to begin. And this is where the superhero theme begins: In the first three meets of the season, all indoors, the left-handed Weber threw the shot with his right hand. And he finished first in two of those three meets.

Did he even consider not competing?

“That definitely was not going to happen,” he said. “I was definitely going to compete whether it was with my right hand or whatever it was going to be. I just thought I could give it a try and do it for the first couple meets. It ended up not being too bad, but I’ve got to get back to it with my left hand.”

He was speaking after he had finished competing in the Chuck Halliday Invitational at Norwood-Young America. It was a pretty typical day for Weber: he finished second in the discus and won the shot put, long jump and joined senior Caleb Hall, junior Jack Thompson and sophomore Noah Schruin in winning the 4x200 relay.

That’s right. He runs, he jumps, he throws. And he wins.

The cast was removed from his wrist nearly a month ago and now he’s working on building up strength and focusing on technique.

“It’s definitely a struggle to get back to it, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve got to fix a lot of form and I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

His winning distance in the shot put at Norwood-Young America was 48 feet, 11 inches, which ranks as the fourth-best among Class 1A athletes this spring. His best discus attempt was 143-2; winner Frank Turek, a senior from LeSueur-Henderson, threw 147-3.

The all-time state records are 65-8 in the shot put and 201-7 in the discus. With nearly two full track and field seasons remaining, Weber is aware of those records and nearly offered a guarantee that he would break both.

“Those are definitely the records that I’m looking for. They will be beaten by the time I get done,” he said before restating: “They should be.”

Weber threw 59 feet in the shot and 174-0 in the discus in sweeping those events at the state meet last year. He said his goals this season are to hit around 63 feet in the shot and 195 to 200 in the discus.

He grew up watching his sister Katelyn compete in the throwing events at a championship level. She won both events at state as a senior in 2014 and also won the shot put as a junior. She now is on the track and field team at the University of North Dakota.

“I’ve been around it for I don’t know how many years and I still go to her meets,” Mitchell said.

He has made no college decision and is unsure which sport he would like to compete in after high school. He’s certainly hearing from lots of colleges.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet,” he said. “Right now I’m leaning towards track; it’s either going to be track or basketball.”

The Halliday Invitational was held on a chilly, overcast day and Weber kept his head warm in a noticeable way. He wore a woolly winter hat that was black with a monkey face on top and monkey ears on the sides.

It had a lot to do with staying warm but more to do with being someone who doesn’t always conform.

“I’m not usually the kid who wants to be like everybody else,” Mitchell said with a smile. “I always like being that kid who’s a lot different.”

He’s had unique headgear each year in high school: a dinosaur in ninth grade and a Minion in 10th grade.

“I just like to be different, that’s for sure,” he said.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 590
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 10,045
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn