John's Journal
Coming Together And Celebrating Special Moments 11/21/2015
The 2015 fall season came to an end with two pretty spectacular sights. They were simple acts that said everything about sportsmanship as well as the spirit of high school activities, and they deserve to be mentioned here.

The first took place Friday evening at the girls state swimming and diving championships. After two days of competition, the team from Wayzata had captured its third consecutive team title. The top three teams walk onto the awards stand, receive their trophies and pose for photos. As the second-place team from Minnetonka left the podium, they were greeted by a human tunnel of swimmers and divers from Wayzata.

Many of the girls on those teams know each other through high school competition and swim clubs, so it probably wasn’t a surprise that the Wayzata athletes and coaches honored the Skippers by reaching up to hold hands, form a tunnel and cheer as the Skippers passed through. It was a way to honor friends and competitors in a very human and very fun manner.

One day later, after the final event of the fall MSHSL season, came another spectacular sight. North Suburban and Park Center had played to a scoreless tie at the end of regulation in the adapted soccer CI division state championship game. Midway through a 10-minute regulation period, Park Center’s Phillip Worzie scored a goal to give his team the state title.

As is done in all MSHSL tournaments, the all-tournament team was announced and trophies and medals were awarded individually to players, managers and coaches from both teams. That’s when something special happened.

The athletes from Park Center and North Suburban came together at the center of the court at Stillwater High School in one big huddle. They posed for photos together, then raised their hands in the air in the middle of the huddle and yelled these words together: “One! Two! Three! FRIENDS!”

That says everything you need to know about what high school activities are all about. It’s easy to get caught up in who beat who, who benefitted from an official’s call, who tried to find a shortcut in the rules, etc.

The fall season has been memorable for me as I traveled all over the state to document what takes place in our great state. There were quiet moments that I didn’t write or Tweet about; teammates embracing after a tough loss, grandparents sitting together on metal bleachers and shivering on cold nights in order to watch their grandkids compete, cheerleaders working as hard as the other athletes, volunteers taking tickets and working at concessions stands, smiling all the way.

From the heat of August practices to the warmth of swimming pools and gyms in November, this has been an autumn to remember.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 318
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,951
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Wayzata, Visitation Win Third Straight State Swim Crowns11/20/2015
The finishes were familiar Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center, where Wayzata in Class 2A and Visitation in Class 1A captured their third consecutive team titles in the girls swimming and diving championships.

In the 2A team race, the Trojans had a total of 315.5 points, followed in the top five by Minnetonka 256, Edina 246, Stillwater 160 and Lakeville South 137.5.

Wayzata started strong, winning the first three events and setting an all-time record in one and a Class 2A record in another.

The Trojans’ spree started with the 200 medley relay, where the team of Carly Quast, Madison Preiss, Alexis Schaaf and Colleen Donlin won in 1:41.57. That set an all-time record, breaking the previous mark of 1:41.96 set by Chanhassen in 2013.

Quast then won the 200 freestyle and Preiss finished first in the 200 individual medley. Preiss’ time of 2:01.00 was a 2A record, topping the 2:01.38 set by Abby Duncan of Champlin Park in 2010. Quast added a gold medal in the 100 backstroke later in the meet, and Preiss won her second gold in the 100 breatstroke.

Edina’s Rachel Wittmer was a double winner, repeating as champion in the 50 freestyle and also winning the 100 butterfly.

Minnetonka won the 200 freestyle relay after Edina was disqualified. The Hornets were the first team to touch the wall but their finish was wiped away by the DQ. Edina came back to win the final event, the 400 freestyle relay.

Other Class 2A state champions were …

1-meter diving: Michelle Schlossmacher Smith.

100 freestyle: Bella Smith, Andover.

500 freestyle: Kelly McCarthy, Edina.

CLASS 1A: VISITATION REPEATS AGAIN

Visitation won two relays and claimed first-place finishes in two individual events in rolling to its third consecutive Class 1A title. The Blazers had a team score of 312, followed in the top five by Breck 238, Albert Lea 194, Sartell-St. Stephen 160 and Orono 124.

The Visitation team of Lorelei Gaertner, Emily Conners, Emily Kishish and Abbie Dolan set an all-time record in the 200 freestyle relay. The Blazers’ time of 1:34.07 topped the previous state record of 1:34.80 set by Stillwater in 2008. Visitation also won the 400 freestyle relay; the team consisted of Grace Snyder, Meaghan Sexton, Sophie Kishish and Dolan.

Dolan, who broke the all-time, all-class record in the 200 freestyle in Thursday’s prelims, won that championship Friday. Her record is 1:47.72 and her time in the finals was 1:48.10. Dolan repeated as champion in the 100 freestyle, and the second-place finisher was Visitation teammate Emily Conners.

Breck’s Bre Thorne repeated as the champion of the 100 butterfly and also finished first in the 100 backstroke. The Mustangs’ Alyssa Phelps won the 200 individual medley.

Albert Lea’s Lindsey Horejsi set a Class 1A record in winning the 50 freestyle. Her time of 22.79 seconds bettered the previous Class 1A mark of 22.82 set by Mankato West’s Danielle Nack in 2012. She also finished first in the 100 breaststroke, winning in 58.66 seconds. One day earlier, she set a national high school record of 58.56 in the prelims.

Horesji and teammates Bailey Sandon, Ahnika Jensen and Anna Andersen set a Class 1A record in the 200 medley relay. Their time of 1:43.61 bettered the mark of 1:44.73 set last year by the same quartet.

Other Class 1A state champions were…

200 individual medley: Allyssa Phelps of Breck.

1-meter diving: Mallary Dick, Big Lake.

500 freestyle: Kasey Milstroh, Foley.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 306
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,881
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
First Boys Basketball Rankings Of The Season 11/19/2015
Here are the first rankings of the MSHSL boys basketball season, provided by Minnesota Basketball News...

CLASS 4A
1. Apple Valley ()
2. Hopkins ()
3. Maple Grove ()
4. Eden Prairie ()
5. Wayzata ()
6. Champlin Park ()
7. Tartan ()
8. Lakeville North ()
9. Rochester John Marshall ()
10. Shakopee ()

CLASS 3A
1. DeLaSalle ()
2. Marshall ()
3. Rocori ()
4. Mankato East ()
5. St. Paul Johnson ()
6. Mahtomedi ()
7. Northfield ()
8. Hermantown ()
9. Benilde-St. Margaret's ()
10. Minneapolis Henry ()

CLASS 2A
1. Melrose ()
2. Minnehaha Academy ()
3. St. Croix Lutheran ()
4. Braham ()
5. Caledonia ()
6. St. Paul Academy ()
7. Esko ()
8. Jackson County Central ()
9. Lake City ()
10. Albany ()

CLASS 1A
1. Minneapolis North ()
2. Central Minnesota Christian ()
3. Battle Lake ()
4. Spring Grove ()
5. Minnesota Transitions ()
6. Rushford-Peterson ()
7. Browerville ()
8. Heritage Christian ()
9. Springfield ()
10. Cass Lake-Bena ()
Boys Hockey Rankings11/19/2015
The first rankings of the MSHSL boys hockey season, provided by Let's Play Hockey...

CLASS 2A
1 Eden Prairie (7)
2 Edina (1)
3 Lakeville North (2)
4 Grand Rapids
5 Hill-Murray
6 Duluth East
7 Blaine
8 Wayzata
9 Benilde-St. Margaret's
10 Bemidji
11 St. Thomas Academy
12 Minnetonka
13 Elk River/Zimmerman
14 Stillwater Area
15 Prior Lake
16 Holy Family Catholic
17 Farmington
18 Centennial
19 Bloomington Jefferson
20 Moorhead

CLASS 1A
1 Hermantown (8)
2 Breck
3 East Grand Forks (2)
4 St. Paul Academy
5 St. Cloud Apollo
6 Mahtomedi
7 Delano/Rockford
8 Luverne
9 St. Cloud Cathedral
10 Hibbing/Chisholm
11 Thief River Falls
12 Orono
13 Fergus Falls
14 Duluth Denfeld
15 New Prague
16 Alexandria
17 St. Paul Johnson
18 Warroad
19 Sartell-St. Stephen
20 Mankato West
A National Swimming Record Falls … And Tears Flow11/19/2015
Lindsey Horejsi broke into tears when she finished her preliminary race in the 100-yard breaststroke during Thursday’s Class 1A state swimming meet. The senior from Albert Lea touched the pool wall at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center, turned to look at the scoreboard … and here came the tears.

The crowd roared at the announcement that Horejsi had set a national high school record. Her time of 58.56 seconds topped the previous mark of 58.75 set in 2009 by Kasey Carlson of Los Lamas High School in Walnut Creek, California. And Lindsey will take another crack at her fresh new record in Friday’s championship race.

“I just burst into tears,” said the future University of Minnesota swimmer (pictured). “It’s just an emotional roller coaster, and being my senior year I want to go out with a bang.”

She wasn’t exactly surprised at breaking the record. In fact, she had been aiming for that time.

“I had my sights on it for a long time,” she said. “I looked at it a lot. I had known that 58.75 probably for a good year, year and a half.”

How fast was she Thursday? Her time would have put her in fifth place at this year's NCAA Division I championships as well as first place at the Division II and Division III meets.

Lindsey is no stranger to first-place finishes. She came into this year’s state meet already owning five individual state titles and two relay state championships. In Friday’s final day of swimming, she will compete in finals of the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle and on the Tigers’ 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Her teammate Anna Andersen, the defending state champion in the 50 freestyle who has signed with Division I North Dakota, has known Horejsi since they were in day care together.

“We had happy tears for her,” after her national record, Andersen said. “I was standing with the coaches. She went out in 27.2 and we were all like, ‘C’mon!’ ’’

Andersen, who will compete Friday in the finals of the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay, is a workout partner with Horejsi.

“Definitely,” she said. “In practice I’m the little engine that could and she’s the little engine that did.”

OTHER RECORDS

--Visitation senior Abbie Dolan, who has signed with Notre Dame, broke the all-time state record in the 200 freestyle, topping the prelims in 1:47.72. The previous mark of 1:47.86 was set by Cretin-Derham Hall's Kiera Janzen in 2008.

--Visitation’s 200 freestyle relay team of Lorelei Gaertner, Emily Conners, Emily Kishish and Dolan set a Class 1A record of 1:35.12 in the prelims.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 306
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 5,837
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn