John's Journal
Clear Boards, Ikola’s Hat, OT Thrillers: State Hockey Memories 3/6/2017
A fun exercise has been taking place on social media. If you follow me on Twitter (@MSHSLjohn) you may have seen this post on Sunday…

Your favorite memory of the #mshsl boys state hockey tournament...


I posted a similar message on the MSHSL Facebook page. And boy oh boy, how the memories began to flow. Tweets and Facebook replies came in a rush of so many great moments from the tournament’s 72-year history. One Twitter response summed up what was taking place: “I'm not sure but I think you have struck a chord with some high school hockey fans with your latest query!”

Indeed. The responses speak for themselves. Here’s a sample…

--Sitting with my friend Melissa in elementary school, logging the scoring of all the games. Walking to get ice cream or nachos between periods over by the main entrance (ramp) at the Civic Center. The bands! The days when the Pack made regular appearances. Roseau, Moorhead, Grand Rapids, Warroad and other all the northern teams! When John Marshall and Jefferson (I think) couldn't finish their game until the next morning. Apple Valley's five-OT win over East (even though replays show the Greyhounds scored) in the second Friday night semifinal. Sitting with my dad year after year as I got older. Okay, so that's more than one memory. I mean, really, ONE?

--1996. I was a member of the first ever hockey team from Litchfield Dassel-Cokato to go to state. We finished with fourth place. Amazing memories from that year!

--1964 when International Falls defeated Duluth East 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

--Spehar. 3 games, 3 hat tricks.

--Clear boards at Civic Center.

--Watching my son play in it.

--My Champlin Park classmates filling an entire section during the first tournament at the X in 2001! Elk River was too good.

--96' Apple Valley-Duluth East 5OT. Had a friend over for a sleepover in eighth grade, parents said go to bed after the game.

--Watching Mike Crowley and those Jefferson teams. They were men amongst boys.

--Hosting the trophy in the last game ever played at the Civic Center with childhood friends! We went back on ice after it emptied!!

--Sitting in a dorm room with a handful of buddies at Augsburg watching AV beat Duluth East in '96 in a 5-OT thriller.

--1970 Doug Long's many great saves in 5-OT win over Greenway at the old Met

--Watching Neal & Aaron Broten play against Rochester John Marshall in 1978. That entire tournament was awesome.

--Playing in the '88 tourney

--1987, I'm 13 playing hockey for Kennedy. Watching Kennedy beat Greenway in semis. I could've named every player on the team

--Ryan Kraft vs Cloquet in 1993 in the first round when I believe he scored 4 goals in a 6-5 win for the Spuds, spectacular!

--1990 championship game, Roseau vs GR. Two northern teams making a championship run made this northern MN kid a state tourney fan for life.

--The time my dad took the neighborhood kids to the Saturday afternoon session at the old Met.

--The year Joe Micheletti scored 7 goals in the tourney (early '70s) and became an overnight Minnesota celebrity.

--Watching the place erupt when we tied Edina in the '88 semifinal. I didn't even want to play my trumpet. Just take it in.

--Henry Boucha getting mobbed by Edina in the late 60's and of course the great Duluth East-Apple Valley game with Spehar

--Watching the boards come down for the last time at the Civic Center after we lost to east in 98 final. Also Roseau band any year!!

--Staying at the Radisson unsupervised at 16/17 years old. What were our parents thinking, that place was crazy fun!

--First game I went to as a kid - Roseau's Butsy Erickson (best name ever) and the Brotens beat Burnsville 9-8 for Consolation

--Rau's diving OT championship winner, Woodbury going to the X back to back in 07 & 08. Got to skip school two years in a row!

--Fav memory was Olimb playing almost the entire 2-OT game for Warroad vs. Edina semi 1988 they lost 2-1.

--Brad Shelstad shutout for Southwest in 1970. Also International Falls title in 72.

--"All right, you can go to bed after this game ends." -My mom at the start of the Apple Valley/Duluth East game in 1996.

--Columbia Heights beating Edina in 1983

--Bruce Plante talking about his "ulcer juices"

--Roseau over Edina in OT in 98 QF. Last year of the Civic Center and my first year attending. Entire arena erupted for Roseau!

--Sitting right behind Tom Hanks at the '82 semi between Edina and Jefferson. He was in awe of the spectacle

--Skipping science class because the teacher brought in a TV and put on the tourney.

--Watching the 2012 BSM team winning for #jabs

--Darby Hendrickson putting Richfield on the map in 1991.

--Experiencing it with the friends I grew up with in SSP in '94. Watching Al Stalock from the bench in '04 a close second!

--Being allowed to call in sick (my mom was a saint) and watch, with my notebook, jotting down all the scoring plays and penalties.

--Willard Ikola's hat.

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 499
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 8,757
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Wrestling State Championship Matchups Are Set3/4/2017
It's Championship Saturday at the state wresting tournament, and the gold-medal matchups are set at Xcel Energy Center.

The final session of the tournament will begin at 4 p.m. with third-place and fifth-place matches, followed by championship matches at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Here are the matchups...

Class 1A
106/ Ashton Clark/Park Rapids vs. Blake Legred/United South Central
113/ Jeron Matson/Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Dayne Morton/Sibley East
120/ Hunter Burnett/Pipestone vs. Tanner Schermerhorn/Frazee
126/ Michael Suda/Pipestone vs. Jake Nohre/West Central
132/ Tanner Reetz/Frazee vs. Tanner Pasvogel/Sibley East
138/ Lane Heim/St. Charles vs. Brenn Olson/GMLOS
145/ Jake Mandt/Chatfield vs. Maverick Jackson/Zumbrota-Mazeppa
152/ Tyler Ryan/Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Keaton Long/West Central
160/ Bailee O’Reilly/Goodhue vs. Dalton Wagner/Jackson County Central
170/ Alex Erpelding/Staples-Motley vs. Jeremiah Colon/Lake Crystal
182/ Caden Steffen/Zumbrota-Mazeppa vs. Brett Kapsner/Pierz
195/ Christopher Bain/GMLOS vs. Jacob Bennett/Zumbrota-Mazeppa
220/ Jarret Haglund/Zumbrota-Mazeppa vs. Reid Seelhammer/Dover-Eyota
285/ Trent Esping/Minneota vs. Bradey Berg/Barnesville

Class 2A
106/ Matthew Petersen/Byron vs. Jaxson Rohman/Fairmont
113/ Charlie Pickell/Mankato West vs. Jake Svihel/Totino-Grace
120/ Garrett Vos/Waconia vs. Justin Sampson/Waseca
126/ Jake Gliva/Simley vs. Jackson Stauffacher/Scott West
132/ Tucker Sjomeling/Delano vs. Payton Anderson/Fairmont
138/ Morgan Fuenffinger/Hibbing vs. Keaton Schorr/Kasson-Mantorville
145/ Tyler Wagener/Waconia vs. Peter Nelson/St. Cloud Apollo
152/ Anthony Jackson/Simley vs. Zach Glazier/Albert Lea
160/ Brady Berge/Kasson-Mantorville vs. Collin Steuber/Fairmont
170/ Solomon Neilsen/Luverne vs. Patrick Kennedy/Kasson-Mantorville
182/ Jared Florell/Totino-Grace vs. Bobby Striggow/Orono
195/ Daniel Kerkvliet/Simley vs. Saylor Schmit/Foley
220/ Noah Ryan/Kasson-Mantorville vs. Zachary Jakes, Mankato West
285/ Devin Reynolds/Cloquet-Esko-Carlton vs. Mitch Trigg/Foley

Class 3A
106/ Regan Schrempp/Apple Valley vs. Reid Ballantyne/Stillwater
113/ Aaron Cashman/Shakopee vs. Trayton Anderson/Farmington
120/ Patrick McKee/St. Michael-Albertville vs. Israel Navarro/Willmar
126/ Carson Manville/Shakopee vs. Cael Carlson/Willmar
132/ Brent Jones/Shakopee vs. Clay Carlson/Willmar
138/ Tyler Eischens/Anoka vs. Jakob Bergeland/Centennial
145/ Peyton Robb/Owatonna vs. Alex Lloyd/Shakopee
152/ Alex Crowe/Shakopee vs. Cade King/Owatonna
160/ Kenny O’Neil/Prior Lake vs. Wade Sullivan/Lakeville North
170/ Jake Allar/St. Michael-Albertville vs. Jalen Thul/Apple Valley
182/ Brandon Moen/Owatonna vs. Trey Rogers/Hastings
195/ Samuel Grove/Moorhead vs. Tyler Hugg/St. Cloud Tech
220/ Austin Rendler/Faribault vs. Cole Fibranz/Sartell-St. Stephen
285/ Gable Steveson/Apple Valley vs. Brandon Frankfurth/Anoka
Unsung Heroes Of High School Wrestling: Team Managers 3/4/2017
They fill water bottles. They take powdered Gatorade, add water and stir it in a big container. They keep stats, shoot video, clean wrestling mats and oh yeah they also sweat. A lot.

The job of student manager for a high school wrestling team is not for the faint-hearted. Wrestlers bleed and they spit and they sweat. Sometimes they sweat on purpose as they try to make weight. So imagine this: a school bus on a relatively warm and sunny day, traveling to a match with the heat turned all the way up so the wrestlers can get a good sweat going.

“On the bus rides, when they’re overweight the heat is just cranked,” said Halle Girtz, a ninth-grader at Pierz and a team manager. “They’ll be under blankets and coats, trying to sweat it out. And we have to sweat through it, too. It’s a lot to handle.”

Virtually every team competing in this weekend’s state wrestling tournament at Xcel Energy Center has student managers, the majority of them female. It can be a selfless job, but a quick survey of some of the managers at the tournament found them to be enthusiastic and happy to be part of the team. (Pictured here are the managers from Pipestone.)

“We take stats, we make sure the guys know where they need to be and know the bus times. Basically we’re their big sisters,” said Hannah Kranz, a junior from Sibley East.

Another Sibley East manager, ninth-grader Isabel Figueroa, said “Being able to be with the team, we’re basically like a family.”

The job can be time-consuming, especially for managers who attend every after-school practice, every dual match and every weekend tournament. That means they sometimes miss out on other school and community events.

“There is a lot of waiting around and long bus rides and waiting, waiting, waiting, and then you get to the match and then you wait again,” said Abby Lucken, a Pierz sophomore. “But I think in the end it’s all worth it just getting that experience.”

And it is quite an experience. Wrestlers who are trying to make weight can be difficult to be around. (Pictured are the Pierz managers.)

“I feel like we can’t be overly sensitive with them,” said Sibley East senior manager Kimberly Velazquez. “And you learn to grow a backbone, which helps in the real world. You’ve got to know how to stand up for yourself.”

The female managers tend to treat the wrestlers like they were their brothers. And that works both ways.

“The boys pick on the littlest things,” said Pipestone junior Chloe Lear. “Don’t listen to them. They all mean it in fun and they really do appreciate you more than they show.”

Girtz said, “The wrestlers treat you like you’re their sisters. Jordyn (Jansen) has a brother and I’m related to about half the team. It’s a really good experience.”

To which Jordyn, a Pierz junior, said, “It’s like your second family. The coaches treat you like you were their daughters.”

“It’s fun to be with the guys. They can be really weird but they’re just like our brothers,” said Sibley East senior Bernice Mendoza.

Through all the sweating and running and weight-cutting by the wrestlers, the managers sometimes step in with treats.

“I made brownies so after weigh-ins they can enjoy themselves,” Lucken said. “Two big pans.”

State Wrestling Recap

--Two individuals won their fourth state championships Saturday night:
2A 160: Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville.
3A 132: Brent Jones, Shakopee.

--Winning a third state title:
3A 285: Gable Steveson, Apple Valley. The top-ranked heavyweight in the nation pinned all four opponents at state, including a 10-second pin in the title match.

--In Class 3A, Shakopee had five wrestlers in the finals and all five were state champs: Aaron Cashman at 113, Carson Manville at 126, Jones at 132, Alex Lloyd at 145 and Alex Crowe at 152. St. Michael-Albertville had two winners: Patrick McKee at 120 and Jake Allar at 170.

--In Class 2A, Simley had three champions: Jake Gliva at 126, Anthony Jackson at 152 and Daniel Kerkvliet at 195. Kasson-Mantorville crowned three winners: Keaton Schorr at 138, Berge at 160 and Patrick Kennedy at 170. Waconia had two champs: Garrett Vos at 120 and Tyler Wagener at 145.

--In Class 1A, Kenyon-Wanamingo had champions in Jeron Matson at 113 and Tyler Ryan at 152. Pipestone also had dual winners in Hunter Burnett at 120 and Michael Suda at 126.

--Total attendance for the tournament was 56,541, an increase of 2,647 over last year's tournament.

State Wrestling Champions

106 1A/ Blake Legred/United South Central
106 2A/ Matthew Petersen/Byron
106 3A/ Reid Ballantyne/Stillwater

113 1A/ Jeron Matson/Kenyon-Wanamingo
113 2A/ Charlie Pickell/Mankato West
113 3A/ Aaron Cashman/Shakopee

120 1A/ Hunter Burnett/Pipestone
120 2A/ Garrett Vos/Waconia
120 3A/ Patrick McKee/St. Michael-Albertville

126 1A/ Michael Suda/Pipestone
126 2A/ Jake Gliva/Simley
126 3A/ Carson Manville/Shakopee

132 1A/ Tanner Pasvogel/Sibley East
132 2A/ Tucker Sjomeling/Delano
132 3A/ Brent Jones/Shakopee

138 1A/ Lane Heim/St. Charles
138 2A/ Keaton Schorr/Kasson-Mantorville
138 3A/ Tyler Eischens/Anoka

145 1A/ Jake Mandt/Chatfield
145 2A/ Tyler Wagener/Waconia
145 3A/ Alex Lloyd/Shakopee

152 1A/ Tyler Ryan/Kenyon-Wanamingo
152 2A/ Anthony Jackson/Simley
152 3A/ Alex Crowe/Shakopee

160 1A/ Bailee O’Reilly/Goodhue
160 2A/ Brady Berge/Kasson-Mantorville
160 3A/ Kenny O’Neil/Prior Lake

170 1A/ Alex Erpelding/Staples-Motley
170 2A/ Patrick Kennedy/Kasson-Mantorville
170 3A/ Jake Allar/St. Michael-Albertville

182 1A/ Caden Steffen/Zumbrota-Mazeppa
182 2A/ Jared Florell/Totino-Grace
182 3A/ Brandon Moen/Owatonna

195 1A/ Christopher Bain/GMLOS
195 2A/ Daniel Kerkvliet/Simley
195 3A/ Samuel Grove/Moorhead

220 1A/ Reid Seelhammer/Dover-Eyota
220 2A/ Noah Ryan/Kasson-Mantorville
220 3A/ Cole Fibranz/Sartell-St. Stephen

285 1A/ Trent Esping/Minneota
285 2A/ Mitch Trigg/Foley
285 3A/ Gable Steveson/Apple Valley

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 499
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 8,757
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Linked In Wrestling History: Females At State 3/3/2017
Elissa Reinsma and Emily Shilson do not have a lot in common. Elissa is a small-town girl who attended a tiny high school in rural Minnesota. Emily lives in the Twin Cities and her school is a great big one.

But as of Friday afternoon, they became forever linked in the world of Minnesota high school wrestling. Elissa wrestled for Fulda/Murray County Central at the state tournament in 2009 and 2011, while Emily did the same for Centennial High School on Friday.

There are specific similarities. Reinsma first went to state as a sophomore, which is Shilson’s current grade. Elissa wrestled at 103 pounds and Emily competes at 106 pounds. Elissa did not win a match in her two trips to state in Class 2A, and Emily’s first appearance Friday ended with a 7-4 loss to Sartell-St. Stephen junior Patrick Hesse in the first round in Class 3A. Later in the day, Hesse lost to Regan Schrempp of Apple Valley in the quarterfinals, ending any hope for Emily (pictured here on the right) to compete in the consolation bracket.

“I was extremely nervous and it was so exciting,” Reinsma told me during a phone conversation Friday. “I just wanted to live in that moment forever. It was the best feeling.”

Ellisa, 24, played softball in college, for one year at Augustana in South Dakota before transferring to Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. She graduated last year with a degree in sports management and would like to work as a high school athletic director; she was an intern in the activities office at Marshall High School. She’s living in Fulda (her hometown) and working as a substitute teacher.

It’s not rare for someone to recognize Elissa for her wrestling history.

“It’s been six years and I kind of think maybe people have forgotten,” she said. “But I’ll go somewhere and people will say, ‘Hey, you’re the girl wrestler.’ ”

Emily did not want to be interviewed after losing in the first round Friday, which is something Elissa can relate to.

“I didn’t like it, either,” Reinsma said. “I guess I didn’t like the spotlight on me.”

Emily’s father, Chad, who is an assistant wrestling coach at Centennial, said, “In wrestling, we tell our kids that when it comes down to the individual side of the sport, you have to be very selfish. You have to be able to control your own little environment.”

Once on the mat, Shilson and Hesse had to wait briefly while the two-man officiating crew took a quick bathroom break. Emily got some final instructions from her father while she bounced back and forth like a boxer. After the loss, father hugged daughter in a corridor off the arena floor. He kissed her on the head.

“Leading up to this I told her, ‘This is another match. You go on the mat and you wrestle like you wrestle every other day.’ I’ve been coaching at the state tournament for a long time; it was coaching my daughter at the state tournament. I wasn’t coaching the second girl or the first girl in Triple-A. I tried to de-emphasize that as much as possible. Let everyone else emphasize it, we’re going to de-emphasize it, try to keep everything away from her so she can focus on her.”

Reinsma grew up with three brothers who wrestled, so the sport was a natural fit. The story is similar in the Shilson household. Emily’s brother Tyler is a senior who will wrestle next season at the University of Wisconsin. He advanced through two rounds Friday with victories in the Class 3A 145-pound division.

Emily has wrestled in national and international events for female wrestlers and her goal is to compete in the Olympics.

“2020, 2024, 2028, that’s what she’s focusing on,” Chad said. “And that’s a long time, but there’s a lot of training that has to be done and four years will go very quick.”

Friday’s defeat was a setback, but there is a lot of wrestling in Emily’s future.

“She doesn’t like to lose, whether it’s this match or any other match,” her dad said. “It could be a match in the wrestling room at practice. She doesn’t want to lose. She just goes after it. She attacks everything. Schoolwork, athletics, everything.

“She’ll come back tougher, though. I can guarantee it. She has never had a setback where she doesn’t all of a sudden come back exponentially stronger, tougher, faster, quicker, better. It’s never happened and I don’t expect it to happen this time.”

State Tournament Update

There are 28 past state champions in the field. All of them advanced with two victories Friday and will wrestle in the semifinals on Saturday morning. The winners of those matches will compete for state titles Saturday evening.

Among the returning champions are three wrestlers going for their fourth championships: Garrett Aldrich of Albert Lea at 145 in 2A, Brady Berge of Kasson-Mantorville at 160 in 2A and Brent Jones of Shakopee at 132 in 3A.

Wrestlers shooting for their third titles are Peyton Robb of Owatonna at 145 in 3A and Gable Steveson of Apple Valley at 285 in 3A.

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 499
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 8,707
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
State Wrestling Update3/2/2017
The state wrestling tournament is underway at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul with team competition.

Class 3A Quarterfinals
Anoka 48, Stillwater 13
St. Michael-albertville 34, Willmar 27
Hastings 36, Owatonna 29
Apple Valley 73, Minnetonka 3

Class 2A Quarterfinals
Simley 47, Grand Rapids 16
Scott West 50, Totino-Grace 11
Foley 32, Perham 23
Kasson-Mantorville 64, Worthington 3

Class 1A Quarterfinals
Pierz 44, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 19
West Central/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville 30, Pipestone 29
Frazee 33, Sibley East 25
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 31, Kenyon-Wanamingo 23