John's Journal
18 Years Later, A Family’s Hockey Dream Comes True 3/2/2016
Cole Heinemann has no memory of the day his father boldly predicted that Cole would play in the state hockey tournament. But then again, Cole was only about 45 minutes old at the time.

Wednesday – 18 years later almost to the day -- Cole and his Princeton teammates were on the ice at Xcel Energy Center, playing in the Class 1A state tourney.

As his father Doug said, “It is a cool story. It’s a funny story, but it’s true.”

It was 1998, and like every other year Doug was at the St. Paul Civic Center with some buddies, watching the state hockey tournament. His wife Jill was nine months pregnant, but she wasn’t rattled. Their son Cody had been born four years earlier and Jill was fine with Doug leaving home to watch hockey.

“I could tell I was going into labor but it was my second child and there wasn’t any panic,” Jill said.

But the panic arrived. After she went into labor, her sister drove her to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. Cell phones were relatively new at the time and Doug had a big bag phone that he kept in his car.

Between periods of a quarterfinal game between Roseau and Edina, Doug thought he better check in with Jill. Easier said than done.

“I got in line for the pay phones and the line was about 10 deep,” he said. “Finally I checked my voicemail and there were four messages. The first one said, ‘I’m having contractions.’ The second one said, ‘I’m going to the hospital.’ The third one was from Jill’s sister and she said, ‘We’re going.’ The fourth one said, ‘You better get here quick!’ ”

After he got off the phone, Doug was told by his friends that he was being paged in the arena; nurses at the hospital were also trying to track him down. He jumped in his car and raced to Coon Rapids. When he arrived, little Cole was wrapped in a blanket, waiting to meet his dad.

Jill remembers the scene.

“Doug grabbed him, the TV was on (showing the state tournament), he held him up to the TV and said, ‘You’re going to be there in about 16 years.’ ”

The Roseau-Edina game was still being played; Doug still remembers the score (“Roseau won 4-3 in overtime”).

In a family tradition, Doug took Cody and Cole to the state tournament every year when they were growing up. He has had season tickets to the Class 2A tournament since he was in middle school in the late 1970s. Cody is now a student at Bemidji State and joined the family Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Cole, a senior forward, had three of the unseeded Tigers’ 23 shots on goal in a 6-1 loss to third-seeded Thief River Falls. Like his teammates, he was disappointed with the outcome but thrilled at the opportunity to finally play in the state tournament; Princeton had not done so since 2003.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “Even though we lost I love every guy in the locker room who I connect with and I’m great friends with. I’ve been playing for 14 years, and this group of guys all stayed together in Princeton. I can’t ask for better teammates.”

Here’s another twist: Cole was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was eight years old. The tumor was removed and he returned to the ice in just a few weeks. He’ll take medication for the rest of his life, but that’s a small matter.

“He’s doing great, obviously,” Jill said. “We’re so lucky to have him and have him playing.”

Cole’s dad said, “He’s really a tough kid, very mentally tough. At one point we were thinking, ‘Geez, we might lose him.’ ” (Pictured are Doug with Cody and Cole.)

Doug’s prediction for Cole’s trip to state was off by a couple of years. The Tigers lost the section championship game two years ago, when he was 16.

“That was the moment we thought, ‘This was what you predicted,’ ” Jill said. “Two years later here we are, with his 18th birthday on Saturday. It’s so exciting.”

As Cole put it, “We knew my dad’s dream was going to come true.”

THIEF RIVER FALLS 6, PRINCETON 1

Ethan Johnson had a hat trick as the Prowlers (23-6) advanced to the semifinals by defeating the Tigers (21-8). Thief River Falls will meet Breck on Friday at 11 a.m.

BRECK 8, MANKATO WEST 0

William Blake and Chase Ellingson had hat tricks as the second-seeded Mustangs defeated the Scarlets. Blake’s three goals all came in the second period, and Breck held a 5-0 lead when that period ended. The Mustangs (25-3-1) had 35 shots on goal to 17 for the Scarlets (15-12-2).

HERMANTOWN 11, LITCHFIELD/DASSEL-COKATO 3

Cole Koepke scored four goals as the top-seeded Hawks (25-2-1) advanced to the semifinals. David Raisanen had two goals for the Dragons (20-9).

ST. PAUL ACADEMY 4, ST. CLOUD CATHEDRAL 2

Devlin McCabe scored two goals, including the game-winner with 5:05 remaining in the third period, as the Spartans (24-5) defeated the Crusaders (20-8-1) to advance to Friday’s semifinals vs. Hermantown. Logan Neu scored both goals for Cathedral.

CLASS 2A TOURNAMENT

Class 2A quarterfinals will be played Thursday. Here’s the schedule

--Farmington (18-8-1) vs. #2 seed Stillwater (26-1-1), 11 a.m.

--Burnsville (16-10-2) vs. #3 seed Wayzata (19-8-1), 30 minutes after conclusion of 11 a.m. game

--Anoka (18-9) vs. #1 seed Eden Prairie (19-7-2), 6 p.m.

--#5 seed Bemidji (23-2-2) vs. #4 seed Grand Rapids (21-6-1), 30 minutes after conclusion of 6 p.m. game

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 538
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,574
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Eugene “Lefty” Wright Named To National High School Hall of Fame3/1/2016
Twelve individuals have been named to the 2016 class of the National High School Hall of Fame, and a Minnesotan is among them. Eugene “Lefty” Wright had a profound impact on track and field and cross-country – as a coach and official at the state and national levels – for more than 50 years before his death last year at the age of 79.

Wright was meet director of the MSHSL state cross-country championship for 46 years and was the lead official at the MSHSL state track and field meet for 22 years. He was the MSHSL rules clinician for both sports for 46 years and developed a procedure to minimize disqualifications by creating a form that was adopted in national rules. Wright coached track and field and cross-country at St. Louis Park High School from 1958 to 1969, winning four state track titles and one state cross-country championship.

Other National High School Hall of Fame inductees include Steve Spurrier, a three-sport standout at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, before a highly successful collegiate career as a player and coach, and Marlin Briscoe, an outstanding football and basketball player at Omaha (Nebraska) South High School who became the first African-American starting quarterback in the National Football League.

The National High School Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held July 2 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nevada, as the closing event of the 97th annual Summer Meeting of the National Federation of State High School Assocations.

Lefty was inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame in 2011. I wrote about him after his death in October, and here is that story…

The track and cross-country community lost a very special friend when MSHSL Hall of Fame member Eugene “Lefty” Wright died at 11:55 p.m. Monday. He was 79 years old and had been dealing with cancer for a lengthy period of time.

Lefty was a bridge from the 1950s to current times in athletics. As a young coach at St. Louis Park High School, he took his cross-country teams to Duluth for competitions via train from the Twin Cities and then a Duluth city bus to the golf course where racing was held. He later became Minnesota’s leading meet official for track and cross-country, creating innovative new methods to plan and hold competitions.

“He was a genius. He was an innovator,” said Scott Stallman, who was coached by Wright at St. Louis Park in the 1960s, became a teacher and coach and now works as a race official.

Wright graduated from St. Louis Park in 1953. He competed in track and hockey for the Orioles, playing in the 1953 state hockey tournament. After graduating from Macalester College in 1957 he returned to St. Louis Park as a teacher and assistant track and cross-country coach under Roy Griak. He worked at St. Louis Park as a teacher, coach and administrator until 1993.

He was an assistant under Griak for five years, becoming head coach in 1963 when Griak was hired at the University of Minnesota. Griak died earlier this year at 91 and a few weeks ago Lefty was named a charter member of the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame.

“He was a second father figure for me,” Wright said of Griak. “He taught me a lot about organization and about handling young athletes.”

Wright, who was inducted into the MSHSL Hall of Fame in 2011, worked as a meet official at 47 MSHSL cross-country state championships and 46 MSHSL state track meets, including 23 as a starter. He also worked as an official at numerous Big Ten and NCAA events.

Lefty and his wife Nancy, parents of two children, celebrated 57 years of marriage in August.

Dan Dornfeld, who was coached by Wright in high school and also became a teacher, coach and official, remembers a turning point in Lefty’s early career.

“There was an incident during his coaching time when one of his athletes was shorted in a race. He was one of the top runners in the state at that point but was put in lane one, which was a terrible lane on a sand track. It was really a disadvantage, and that became Lefty’s charge. He took on the mantra that we have to do things that are right for athletes. That’s when he really got involved in officiating.

“Anything he’s done for the sport has always been to make the event better for the athlete. He said, ‘Let’s make sure that the student-athlete has the advantage here.’ ”
Stallman said, “He was meticulous about every detail. In his coaching days there was never anything ruled out or taken as chance. Everything was coached to the finest detail, in terms of everything from how to run a cross-country or track meet to bookkeeping to all those kinds of things.”

In the days before electronic timing, cross-country runners were herded into a single chute after finishing to maintain their order of finish. Wright invented the “swing rope,” using a movable rope to create a second chute when the first one was filled with runners.

“Nobody had heard of that until Lefty came up with the idea,” Stallman said. “It’s little things like that that make the quality of a meet better.”

In cross-country, Wright invented a three-meter stick, which was simply three one-meter lengths of boards hinged together. It was used to measure the exact width of starting boxes as well as the distance between the starting line back to the second line; runners move up to the starting line when instructed by the starter.

He also improved the use of lane dividers at cross-country starting lines, color-coding them to specify whether they were for teams or individuals.

“That was part of his attention to detail,” Dornfeld said. “As a result, you saw that better things just happened. He managed things so well that it looks like there’s never any effort given. It’s smooth, effortless. That’s Lefty.

“The other part was that the man was always the calm one. I don’t think I ever saw him in a group meeting get frustrated at all. He would always maintain that calm, that coolness that you need. He was not a guy who gets rattled.

“What a legacy,” Dornfeld said. “He really has trained many, many people for how that works and what needs to happen.

“Everybody’s been trained the Wright way.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 530
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,532
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
State Wrestling Tournament Update2/27/2016
The semifinal matches have been completed in all three classes at Xcel Energy Center, setting the stage for tonight’s championship round. Here’s a primer…

--St. Michael-Albertville leads the tournament with five individuals advancing to the state championship round in Class 3A. Apple Valley and Willmar both have three in the finals.

--In 2A, Delano, Mankato West, Foley, Kasson-Mantorville, New Prague and Simley all have two in the finals. In 1A, Dover-Eyota and Frazee advanced three to the final round, while Aitkin, Minneota and Pipestone all advanced two.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES

CLASS 1A
106/ Jeron Matson, Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Dillon McGee, Walker-Hackensack
113/ Hunter Burnett, Pipestone vs. Jace Geving, Deer River
120/ Noah Bauer, Pine Island vs. Michael Suda, Pipestone
126/ Tanner Reetz, Frazee vs. Skylar Hieronimus, Adrian
132/ Thomas Stageberg, New London-Spicer vs. Ryan Killeen, Spectrum
138/ Ryan Keach, Dover-Eyota vs. Grant Jepson, Frazee
145/ Tom Tellers, United North Central vs. Bryce Bruner, Minneota
152/ Bailee O’Reilly, Goodhue vs. Jerod Novak, Aitkin
160/ Alex Erpelding, Staples-Motley vs. Noah Landrus, Aitkin
170/ Michael Otomo, Dover-Eyota vs. Derek Herman, United South Central
182/ Keegan Moore, Jackson County Central vs. Caden Steffen, Zumbrota-Mazeppa
195/ Jonah Lange, Frazee vs. Alex Goergen, Caledonia
220/ Manuel Garcia, BOLD vs. Karter VanHeuveln, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg
285/ Tanner Welsh, Dover-Eyota vs. Wyatt Fitterer, NRHEG

CLASS 2A
106/ Jake Svihel, Totino-Grace vs. Charlie Pickell, Mankato West
113/ Garrett Vos, Waconia vs. Hser Eh Pwae, Worthington
120/ Jake Gliva, Simley vs. Reed DeFrang, Plainview-Elgin-Millville
126/ Tucker Sjomeling, Delano vs. Jackson Stauffacher, Scott West
132/ Garrett Aldrich, Albert Lea vs. Morgan Fuenffinger, Hibbing
138/ Anthony Jackson, Simley, vs. Peter Nelson, St. Cloud Apollo
145/ Ryan Epps, Cannon Falls vs. Logan Axford, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
152/ Griffin Parriott, New Prague vs. Devin Fitzpatrick, Mahtomedi
160/ Solomon Nielsen, Luverne vs. Sam Baier, Redwood/River Valley
170/ Ryan Duffy, South St. Paul vs. Greg Kerkvleit, Simley
182/ Spencer Elwell, Foley vs. Aaron Berge, Kasson-Mantorville
195/ Noah Ryan, Kasson-Mantorville vs. Saylor Schmit, Foley
220/ Kevin Kneisl, Delano vs. Zachary Jakes, Mankato West
285/ James Huwe, Detroit Lakes vs. Logan Swanson, Mankato East

CLASS 3A/
106/ Aaron Cashman, Mound-Westonka vs. Patrick McKee, St. Michael-Albertville
113/ Victor Gliva, Farmington, vs. Cael Carlson, Willmar
120/ Rylee Molitor, Sartell-St. Stephen vs. Peyton Robb, Owatonna
126/ Brent Jones, Shakopee vs. Tyler Eischens, Anoka
132/ Jakob Bergeland, Centennial vs. Adam Hedin, Rosemount
138/ Mitchell McKee, St. Michael-Albertville vs. Tyler Shilson, Centennial
145/ Alex Lloyd, Shakopee, vs. Wade Sullivan, Lakeville North
152/ Jake Allar, St. Michael-Albertville vs. Brock Morgan, Apple Valley
160/ Colten Carlson, Willmar vs. Justin Burg, Tartan
170/ Mark Hall, Apple Valley vs. Austin Eichmann, Hastings
182/ Lucas Jeske, St. Michael-Albertville vs Taylor Venz, Farmington
195/ Brandon Moen, Owatonna vs. Samuel Grove, Moorhead
220/ Gable Steveson, Apple Valley vs. Evan Foster, St. Michael-Albertville
285/ Andrew Piehl, Rogers vs. Brady Reigstad, Willmar

They Might As Well Rename The Arena: “Mark Hall” 2/27/2016
There were no surprises for Mark Hall this week. For the sixth year in a row, the Apple Valley wrestler joined his coaches and teammates for a brief winter stay in downtown St. Paul. Each day during the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center, Hall packed a lunch-bucket cooler with his usual nutritional supplies – sandwiches (ham and cheese is a favorite), Gatorade or water, fruit snacks – and went to work.

The routine has been the same since 2011, when a seventh-grade Hall recorded state championship No. 1 with a four-match sweep of the Class 3A 130-pound field. Hall is now a senior and title No. 6 came Saturday night when he beat Austin Eichmann of Hastings via technical fall to capture the crown at 170 pounds. He is the first Minnesota wrestler to win six titles.

After his match ended and the referee raised his arm, Hall (pictured) hugged his coaches and then jumped a barrier and joined his family in the stands. There were hugs all around. After he met with a media scrum in a back corridor, he came back into the arena and was immediately mobbed by fans wanting autographs and selfies. He was very gracious, accommodating as many people as possible.

Words like “historic” and “legendary” are certainly applicable to what Hall has accomplished. But for Hall, being part of a championship team is just as important as being a championship solo act. And along with his six individual titles, he leaves high school wrestling as part of six consecutive championship teams, too.

That team-first attitude even extends to the individual tournament. Hall spends more time looking at the competition his teammates will face than worrying about who he will meet.

“I look at my teammates’ brackets more and kind of help them in how they’re going to approach their matches and how they’re going to navigate their bracket,” he said. “Not so much mine. I’ll look at mine once or twice before the tournament. But after that it’s just kind of whoever steps out.”

Hall finished this season with a record of 45-0. His career record is 275-4, with three losses in seventh grade and one in ninth grade. That ninth-grade defeat was an overtime loss to Brian Murphy of Glenbard North (Illinois) at the Cheesehead Invitational in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. Murphy is now a junior on the wrestling team at the University of Michigan.

Hall’s first big statement at state came when he was a seventh-grader, meeting Forest Lake junior Ben Morgan in the semifinals at 130. Morgan (who finished his career as a two-time state champ and now wrestles at the University of Minnesota) held a 5-0 lead before the newcomer battled back and pulled out an 8-6, four-overtime, epic win.

“In seventh grade I was kind of the new guy,” Hall said. “People knew who I was but they didn’t quite know the potential. I think I knew my potential very well. In the semis I was down 5-0 and not a lot of people in the stands probably knew I could win. My parents, my coach and myself were probably the only people who truly believed.”

The latest display of Hall’s prowess in big matches came in Thursday’s team championship dual between Apple Valley and St. Michael-Albertville.
Hall is ranked No. 1 nationally among high school wrestlers at 170 pounds. Against St. Michael-Albertville he moved up to 182 and pinned the nation’s 10th-ranked wrestler at that weight, senior and defending state champion Lucas Jeske, in the first period. Apple Valley won the dual 31-26, and Hall scoring six points rather than three was big.

On Monday he will be back in school, where his current classes include Physics, Criminology, Psychology, American Literature and Composition, and Pre-Calculus. He will attend Penn State, wrestle for the Nittany Lions (coach Cael Sanderson was at Xcel Center on Saturday) and major in education, with the goal of becoming a math or physical education teacher, and a possible long-term goal of working as an athletic director.

His future wrestling goals include, oh, NCAA championships and Olympic gold medals.

Expect him to be successful.

CHAMPIONS AGAIN AND AGAIN

Several wrestlers returned to the top spot on the podium Saturday. Among them were …

--Senior Griffin Parriott of New Prague recorded his third state championship in resounding fashion, pinning Devin Fitzpatrick of Mahtomedi in 10 seconds in 2A at 152 pounds..

--Albert Lea junior Garrett Aldrich notched his third state title with a 10-7 decision over Morgan Fuenffinger of Hibbing in 2A 132. Aldrich could be a four-time gold medalist.

--Shakopee junior Brent Jones recorded his third title, winning at 126 in 3A with a 7-3 decision over Tyler Esischens of Anoka.

--Jackson County Central senior Keegan Moore became a three-time champ with a major decision over Caden Steffen of Zumbrota-Mazeppa in 1A at 182.

--St. Michael-Albertville senior Mitchell McKee wrapped up his high school career with a third championship, winning in 3A at 138 with a tech fall over Tyler Shilson of Centennial.

--Two state champions squared off in the 3A championship match at 120 pounds, where sophomore Peyton Robb of Owatonna outlasted junior Rylee Molitor of Sartell-St. Stephen with a 3-1 decision.

--Kasson-Mantorville junior Brady Berge (a three-time champion featured in a previous edition of John’s Journal) suffered a leg injury in the semifinals at 2A 160. He defaulted to Luverne junior Solomon Nielsen, who lost to Redwood/River Valley senior Sam Baier 5-2 in the title match.

Winning their second state championships were senior Manuel Garcia of BOLD at 1A 220 and sophomore Gable Stevenson of Apple Valley at 3A 220.

--Total attendance for the three-day tournament was 56, 381.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 530
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,532
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Kasson-Mantorville’s Berge Takes Short View In Drive For Five 2/26/2016
This is Mark Hall’s world and every other Minnesota wrestler is just living in it. Or so goes the attention – and who could argue with it? -- paid to the Apple Valley senior who is on track to become the first six-time state champion in history Saturday evening at Xcel Energy Center.

There are, however, others who are on the cusp of history as the 78th state wrestling tournament moves into Championship Saturday. Yes, by any measure Hall is worthy of mountains of newsprint and miles of video, but let’s not forget the other high-achieving individuals displaying their talents this week.

Among them is Kasson-Mantorville junior Brady Berge, who already owns three state championships, could win No. 4 Saturday and be on track to rack up No. 5 a year from now.

That’s rare air, because only six wrestlers have been five-time champs. Not that Berge is giving it much thought right now.

“My coach (Jamie Heidt) does a real good job,” said Berge (pictured), whose big brother Broc was a two-time state champion and now wrestles at the University of Minnesota. “Ever since I stepped into the room he’s preached that you have to take it one match at a time. I follow that. I look at every match like it’s a state championship match. I hear it quite a bit but I block it out, too. I’m not worried about that right now.”

If not for a quarterfinal loss and third-place finish at state as an eighth-grader, Berge would be joining Hall on the six-title track. His Class 2A championships came as a seventh-grader at 106 pounds, a freshman at 145 and a sophomore at 152.

He’s top-seeded at 160 this week and on Friday he won by a technical fall in the first round and a fall in the quarterfinals. He will meet fourth-seeded Luverne junior Solomon Nielsen in Saturday’s semifinals. In the other half of the bracket are second-seeded Connor Hoff, a senior from Litchfield, and third-seeded Sam Baier, a senior from Redwood/River Valley.

Berge’s loss in eighth grade took the steam out of the “six-time champion” talk, but that’s OK with him.

“I haven’t heard it as much as after I won it in seventh grade,” he said. “You hear it quite a bit, but every time I hear it all I think about is winning the next match. I’m not worried about my senior year yet, I’ve still got a match ahead of me right now.”

A MEMORABLE WEEKEND FOR MINNETONKA

In the buzz of Thursday’s team competition, it might have been easy to miss what Minnetonka accomplished this season. Of the 24 teams that qualified for state, the Skippers were the only one making the trip for the first time. (Minnetonka won a state title in 1974, but that was when only individuals went to state.)

Not only did Minnetonka get to state, they also recorded a victory. After losing to St. Michael-Albertville 55-15 in the quarterfinals, they beat Centennial 34-32 in the consolation bracket. Hastings beat the Skippers 44-33 in the fifth-place match.

”That showed all the guys on our team that we do belong here and we want to keep coming back,” said coach Josh Frie, who is in his fourth year as head coach after three as an assistant.

“What’s helped us out the most is our youth program,” he said. “We’ve got about 60 guys in that right now, it’s going strong, and it has for a few years now. We’re starting to see that with our young guys coming through.”

The Skippers won the Section 6 title with postseason victories over Edina, Mound/Westonka and Chaska/Chanhassen. They finished the season with an 18-6 record.

Four Minnetonka individuals qualified for state: freshman Jake Finken at 113, sophomore Boyd Mumbuwa at 120, senior Logan Foote at 182 and junior Aaron Moore at 285. Mumbuwa and Moore won twice Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

“Interest is high right now,” Frie said. “A lot of people came down to watch and the new guys on the team this year are telling their buddies, ‘You’ve got to get out here.’ ”

HALL MAKES A (FASHION) STATEMENT

Hall won twice by fall Friday and will meet Minneapolis South senior Sam Truen in Saturday’s Class 3A semifinals at 170 pounds. Hall also showed some love for his future college coach by wearing a warm-up t-shirt bearing the words “Cael Knows Wrestling.”

That’s head coach Cael Sanderson of Penn State, where Hall will wrestle collegiately.

--Albert Lea junior Garrett Aldrich (pictured) advanced to the semifinals in 2A at 132 and remained on track to win his third state title. With another season to go, he could become a four-time gold medalist

--The same is true for Shakopee junior Brent Jones, a two-time winner who needs to win twice Saturday in 3A at 126 to capture his third title and will be back for another year.

--Jackson County Central senior Keegan Moore, who owns two state titles, won with two pins Friday in 1A at 182, the first in 41 seconds and the second in 2:13.

--St. Michael-Albertville senior Mitchell McKee recorded two victories in 3A at 138 and remains on track for his third title.

--Apple Valley sophomore Gable Steveson, the defending champion in 3A at 220 pounds, is on track to become a four-time gold medalist.

--In the only division where two defending state champions could meet, top-seeded junior Rylee Molitor of Sartell-St. Stephen and third-seeded sophomore Peyton Robb of Owatonna advanced in 3A at 120. In the semifinals, Molitor will meet fourth-seeded sophomore Mumbuwa of Minnetonka and Robb will face second-seeded sophomore Zach Smith of Prior Lake.

--St. Michael-Albertville advanced six wrestlers to the 3A semifinals. Shakopee, Willmar and Hastings have four, while Anoka, Apple Valley, Owatonna and Prior Lake have three.

--In 2A, Kasson-Mantorville has five in the semifinals, followed by Totino-Grace, Scott West and South St. Paul with three.

--The Class 1A semifinals will be led by Kenyon-Wanamingo and Minneota with four wrestlers. Dover-Eyota, Caledonia, Pierz and Frazee all have three.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 530
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 8,490
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn