John's Journal
Tradition Continues As We Turn The Page On A New Toyota Camry 12/2/2015
In early December 2012 an exciting new partnership was formed. If you have seen the vehicle I have driven for the last three years or posed for a photo with that vehicle (as countless athletes, teams, coaches and fans have done), you know what I’m talking about.

I am a very proud driver of a Toyota Camry. On that December day three years ago the MSHSL took possession of a 2012 Camry that was decorated with MSHSL logos, Facebook and Twitter addresses and a couple giant cartoon caricatures of my head. The main color of that Camry was blue; I drove the Blue Beauty for three years and covered more than 70,000 miles traveling all over the state while attending events and telling stories about the great things associated with high school activities.

Toyota is a proud supporter of high school activities, and Maplewood Toyota has taken the lead in providing John’s Journal with a first-rate vehicle. Through a valuable partnership between the MSHSL, Maplewood Toyota and Twin Cities Toyota dealers, I have the great pleasure of traveling all over Minnesota in a very recognizable vehicle.

A new page was turned this week as the 2012 Camry was replaced by a 2016 Camry. This one is a distinctive and attractive red color and bears even larger caricatures of my already big head.

As with the 2012 Camry, Big Red will soon bear stickers representing teams that have won state championships. The 2012 model was covered with such stickers; the 2016 Camry does not yet have any stickers attached, but that will soon change. I already am in possession of a couple of stickers from teams that won state titles this fall, and I know that more will arrive in the mail.

To me, the John’s Journal Camry represents all of us. I am the driver, but I symbolically carry you with me; and “you” means everyone who is involved with high school athletics and activities. Every time I visit a school I try to park the car in front of a sign or main entrance and take a photo that pairs the Camry with the school. I have a collection of hundreds of those photos with the 2012 blue Camry, and I’m starting a new photo collection with the 2016 red Camry.

At regular-season events as well as state tournaments, the Camry is a focal point for photos that are posted by people on Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. I have taken many photographs of entire teams posing with the car; oftentimes athletes will pose with the Camry while I’m somewhere else, post the picture on Twitter and tag me. I love to see those.

A few people have snapped photos of the Camry while I’m behind the wheel. When such photos are snapped by a passenger, it’s all good. A couple of drivers, however, have pulled up alongside me on the highway to shoot a photo from behind the wheel (not smart).

When I drove the 2016 Camry off the lot at Maplewood Toyota on Tuesday, Big Red’s odometer reading was 81 miles. That number will go up and up as I continue to spend time on the roads of our great state, seeing old friends, making new friends and sharing the good news that comes from what you do.

John’s Journal is driven by Toyota. And it's a great ride.

*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 320
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 6,011
*Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Radio Legend Mike Morrissey Leaves Lasting Legacy 11/30/2015
Anyone who has listened to radio play-by-play of high school and small-college sports in southern Minnesota has surely heard the voice of Mike Morrissey. For decades he called the action on KDHL in Faribault.

Mike has died at age 75. I was proud to call Mike a good friend. We sat side-by-side at state basketball tournaments for years and I always enjoyed chatting on the air with Mike at halftime or between games. Mike broadcast state basketball tournaments games for 44 years before retiring in 2013. He also was the voice of St. Olaf College athletics and it's estimated that he did play-by-play for approximately 3,500 high school and college basketball games.

Here's an item I wrote about Mike during the 2013 boys state basketball tourney...

When the 2014 boys state basketball tournament is held, something will be very different along press row. Mike Morrissey of KDHL radio in Faribault has made play-by-play calls of every tournament but one since 1968. That’s 45 years, and that’s how legends are made. The 2013 tournament is his last one before retiring.

Mike is truly a legend. He has been the voice of St. Olaf College, a fixture in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and he is a member of Minnesota Coaches Halls of Fame in three sports (football, basketball and baseball).

Mike missed one tournament long ago when he took a radio job in Nebraska. He returned to Minnesota pretty quickly, however. “I was too far away from civilization,” he said.

Mike, 72, will be spending next winter in Florida. He has promised me that he will send me emails during the 2014 tournament, describing warm breezes and the umbrella in his drink.

Thank you, Mike, for being a gentleman, a true professional and a good friend.
Girls Basketball Rankings From Minnesota Basketball News11/25/2015
1. Hopkins
2. Minnetonka
3. Elk River
4. Eastview
5. Edina
6. Centennial
7. White Bear Lake
8. Shakopee
9. Park Center
10. Rochester Mayo
11. St. Michael-Albertville
12. Rochester John Marshall
13. Lakeville South
14. Anoka
15. Lakeville North
16. Osseo
17. Eden Prairie
18. Andover
19. Rosemount
20. Maple Grove

1. Orono
2. Winona
3. Bloomington Kennedy
4. Hutchinson
5. Thief River Falls
6. Marshall
7. Kasson-Mantorville
8. Alexandria
9. St. Paul Como Park
10. Mahtomedi
11. DeLaSalle
12. Hill-Murray
13. Totino-Grace
14. Holy Angels
15. Willmar
16. Waconia
17. Chisago Lakes Area
18. Simley
19. Grand Rapids
20. Fridley

1. Dover-Eyota
2. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
3. Sauk Centre
4. Annandale
5. Roseau
6. Pequot Lakes
7. New London-Spicer
8. Minnehaha
9. St. Croix Lutheran
10. Esko
11. Watertown-Mayer
12. Glencoe-Silver Lake
13. St. Peter
14. Minnewaska
15. Kenyon-Wanamingo
16. Pipestone
17. Pelican Rapids
18. Barnum
19. Norwood-Young America
20. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

1. Mountain Iron-Buhl
2. Maranatha Christian Academy
3. Lyle-Austin Pacelli
4. Browerville
5. Ada-Borup
6. Goodhue
7. Win-E-Mac
8. Mankato Loyola
9. Cromwell
10. Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity
11. Sleepy Eye
12. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross
13. Canby
14. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo
15. Fosston
16. Stephen-Argyle
17. Cherry
18. GHEC
19. Red Lake
20. Floodwood
Girls Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey11/24/2015
1 Hill-Murray (8)
2 Minnetonka (2)
3 Edina
4 Wayzata
5 Eden Prairie
6 Maple Grove
7 Elk River/Zimmerman
8 Blaine
9 Lakeville South
10 Cretin-Derham Hall
11 Chaska/Chanhassen
12 Dodge County
13 Roseau
14 Lakeville North
15 Buffalo
16 Centennial
17 Mounds View
18 White Bear Lake
19 Stillwater Area
20 Eagan

1 Blake (9)
2 Thief River Falls (1)
3 Breck
4 St. Paul United
5 Warroad
6 East Grand Forks
7 Proctor/Hermantown
8 Red Wing
9 New Prague
10 Orono
11 Alexandria
12 Mound Westonka
13 South St. Paul
14 Hutchinson
15 Hibbing/Chisholm
16 New Ulm
17 Mahtomedi
18 Northfield
19 Princeton
20 Owatonna
Boys Hockey Rankings From Let’s Play Hockey11/24/2015
1 Eden Prairie (8)
2 Lakeville North (2)
3 Grand Rapids
4 Hill-Murray
5 Wayzata
6 Edina
7 Duluth East
8 Blaine
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

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 Fergus Falls
13 Orono
14 Duluth Denfeld
15 Alexandria
16 New Prague
17 St. Paul Johnson
18 Warroad
19 Sartell-St. Stephen
20 Mankato West