John's Journal
Austin’s Fadness, Northfield's DuPay Win All-Around Titles2/23/2013
One year after finishing third in the Class 1A gymnastics all-around competition, Sela Fadness of Austin took home the gold Saturday. And in 2A, Northfield's Bailey DuPay won the all-around after a 9.9 performance in floor exercise. Read Luke Sleeper's story by clicking here.
Winning Big While Honoring Those Who Are Gone 2/22/2013
At two very different venues in the Twin Cities, Friday was a day to remember and honor two coaches who are no longer with us. Their friendship, their guidance and their ethics have left lasting impressions on their teams, who wore great big smiles on Friday while also shedding a few quiet tears.

At Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul, the girls hockey team from Blake wore the initials BRS on their helmets and a patch that read “Brano” on their jerseys. It was their way of honoring Branislav Robert Stankovsky, 56, who was the Bears coach for 14 years before passing away last April from complications related to several strokes.

And at the Sports Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus, a common sight was a t-shirt worn by folks from New Prague. On the back of the shirts were the words “New Prague Gymnastics/In memory of Matt Shetka.”

Shetka, 54, coached the Trojans to five state titles and taught in the school district for 33 years. He passed away in December of an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow. He also was the Trojans’ longtime girls golf coach, and his teams won two state championships in that sport.

The loss of Stankovsky and Shetka hit their schools hard. Blake senior forward Dani Cameranesi said she thinks about Brano every day.

“Every time I pick up my jersey and see that patch, I think about him,” she said after the Bears defeated Red Wing 6-3 in the Class 1A semifinals.

“His entire family has been here for us through the entire tournament and the entire season, in fact. It’s also a lot of credit to the coaching staff this year. They have big shoes to fill and they’re doing a great job. We as teammates want to do it for each other, also. “

Stankovsky had a record of 290-74-19 in his 14 years at Blake and his teams won state titles in 2003, 2007 and 2009. He was not a teacher; he owned a company called Creative Health Care Management. But hockey was certainly in his DNA; he was drafted by the Pittsburg Penguins in 1975.

The New Prague gymnastics team captured the Class 1A team title Friday with a narrow margin over second-place defending champion Melrose. Athletes, coaches and fans all shed tears during the competition, the team’s first without Shetka in more than three decades.

For Blake and New Prague, the loss of their coaches helped bring teammates even closer together and unite them in their athletic efforts.

A banner taped to the wall outside the South St. Paul hockey locker room at Xcel Energy Center expressed sentiments that seemed appropriate Friday. The sign read:
“Believe in your coaches. Believe in your team. Believe in your line mates. Believe in yourself.”

Believe in your coaches. Even when they’re no longer with you.


--Hill-Murray 2, Eden Prairie 1: The Eagles led after the opening period on a goal by Charly Dahlquist before Hill-Murray’s Kenzie Prater scored on a power play in the second period and Sarah Bobrowski scored the game-winner in the third period.

--Minnetonka 4, Lakeville North 3 (6 OT): The longest game in the history of the state tournament finally ended after 1 a.m. when Amy Petersen scored the game-winner. The teams combined for 115 shots on goal.


--Blake 6, Red Wing 3: Karlie Lund had a hat trick and Cameranesi had two goals and two assists as the Bears, who scored on two of three power plays, moved into the state championship game.

--Warroad 4, South St. Paul 1:Kayla Gardner had two goals and an assist, and Lisa Marvin had a goal and two assists to lead the Warriors. They will meet Blake in the championship game at noon Saturday.


--Eagan 3, Forest Lake 2: The winning Wildcats put 52 shots on net and Megan Wolfe scored two goals. Rachel Wall added a goal and assist for Eagan.

--North Wright County 3, Irondale 0: Dani Sibley had a goal and assist for North Wright County, which will meet Eagan in the fifth-place game at noon Saturday at Ridder Arena.


9 a.m. at Xcel Energy Center: Red Wing vs. South St. Paul in 1A third-place game.

10 a.m. at Ridder Arena: Mound Westonka vs. Hibbing/Chisholm in 1A fifth-place game

Noon at Xcel Energy Center: Blake vs. Warroad in 1A championship game

Noon at Ridder Arena: Eagan vs. North Wright County in 2A fifth-place game

4 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center: Eden Prairie vs. Lakeville North in 2A third-place game

7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center: Hill-Murray vs. Minnetonka in 2A championship game

*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 9 for the tournament, 9 for the winter state tournaments
*Schools/teams John has visited: 464
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 7,089
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
New Prague, Roseville Capture Team Gymnastics Titles2/22/2013
On an emotional day, the New Prague gymnastics team put on a strong performance and captured the Class 1A team title. In Class 2A, Roseville rallied to earn the championshop. Read Luke Sleeper's story by clicking here.
A Winter To Remember: From Mount Kilimanjaro to Xcel Energy Center 2/21/2013
One of the officials working at the girls state hockey tournament took a break from the hockey season to take the trip of a lifetime, mixing charity work, mountain climbing and a safari. Read about it by clicking here.
The Toughest Bluejacket: ‘I’d Do Anything To Play’2/21/2013
Katie Dye isn’t the biggest hockey player in Minnesota. She’s not the strongest or the fastest, either. But she just may be the toughest.

The senior captain is in her third year as the first-line center for the Hibbing/Chisholm Bluejackets, and she is the team’s second-leading scorer. The Bluejackets lost to South St. Paul 3-0 in Wednesday evening’s Class 1A state quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center, then beat New Ulm 2-1 in Thursday’s consolation bracket at Ridder Arena.

The big game for Katie, however, the one that people will be talking about for a long time, came last week in the Section 7 championship. The Bluejackets defeated Proctor/Hermantown 4-2 in Cloquet, and the fact that Katie was even in the arena – and not the hospital -- is astounding.

At 6 o'clock that morning, she knew it was going to be a bad day.

“I was just puking and puking,” she told me. “I went to school for a little bit, and my mom took me to the hospital around noon. I was just drained really bad and nauseous like crazy.”

She couldn’t keep anything down – not even water – so she began receiving intravenous fluids. After three IV bags had been emptied, she knew what she needed to do.

“I wanted to play, I’d do anything to play,” she said. “I perked up a little but I was still not 100 percent by any means. I went to the rink and just tried to get my adrenaline going and take over. … We had been looking forward to this game since last season when we lost in the (Section 7) semifinals. We’ve been working hard for this.”

In order to avoid sharing the flu with her teammates, Katie stayed in a room that adjoined the team locker room before the game and between periods. A door was cracked so she could hear the coaches’ instructions while she wrapped herself in blankets and fought off the chills. A bucket was kept on the bench in case Katie had to, well, you know.

Here’s the most amazing thing of all: she never missed a shift.

“It was just mind over matter,” said Bluejackets coach Pete Hyduke. “She’s a tough, tough kid. She had played sick, but not this sick. She’s played through injuries over the years. She was raised by parents who said, ‘This is your job, you’re part of this team.’ ”

That’s the key factor in this equation: The Team.

“I would have done anything to play in that game,” Katie said.” I just wanted to be there for my team.”


--Eden Prairie 6, Forest Lake 0: The second-seeded Eagles scored twice in each period in advancing to the semifinals. Angie Heppelmann and Josie Olson each had two goals for Eden Prairie.

--Hill-Murray 6, Eagan 2: Pioneers freshman Laura Anderson had a goal and two assists, and eight other players had points. Hill-Murray and Eden Prairie will meet in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Xcel Energy Center.

--Minnetonka 4, Irondale 0: The top-seeded Skippers got out to a strong start in their quest for a third consecutive state title. They led 3-0 after the first period and maintained control the rest of the way.

--Lakeville North 5, North Wright County 4 (overtime): Christi Vetter scored the winning goal on a power play in overtime. Lakeville North will face Minnetonka in Friday night’s second semifinal game.


Both of these come from the Irondale Knights after their loss to Minnetonka…

--Coach Tom Rodefeld, asked about preparing to play the talented Skippers: “We knew we couldn’t make even the slightest mistake.”

--Sophomore goaltender Anna Pate, asked if playing in the big arena matched her dreams: “It was better. It was amazing.”


--Eagan sophomore Rachel Wall had to make a quick change before the Wildcats faced Hill-Murray. After warming up, the Wildcats left their helmets in the bench area; Rachel set hers on the boards but the helmet fell to the ice just as the Zamboni passed by. The machinery crushed her headgear and, after a little shuffling with her teammates and the student managers (who are required to wear helmets on the bench), as well as some help from the Bauer equipment representatives who are at the tournament, Rachel had a replacement. It must have been a good one, too, because she scored Eagan’s first goal.

--1A consolation bracket: Mound Westonka defeated Alexandria 3-2 in overtime on a power-play goal by Jessica Nkhata. Hibbing/Chisholm beat New Ulm. Mound Westonka and Hibbing/Chisholm will play in the fifth-place game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena.

*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 6 for the tournament, 6 for the winter state tournaments
*Schools/teams John has visited: 464
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 7,039
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn