John's Journal
Coach Is Gone, But Inspiration Remains For Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa3/1/2013
The state wrestling tournament is a hotbed of raw emotion, with a never-ending supply of screaming from the stands, high-wire encouragement from coaches and for the wrestlers, a very fine line between success and the end of the road as the season comes to a close.

But let’s go back to the first day of wrestling practice last November, when another kind of emotional scene played out in a very peaceful spot. The scene was a cemetery in Belgrade, Minnesota. That’s where the wrestling team from Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa went to visit their former coach as the season began.

Rich Vos was 38 years old and riding his bicycle in the early-morning darkness on Oct. 16 when he was struck by a semi-trailer and killed. Since that day, nothing has been the same for the B-B-E Jaguars.

Before beginning their first practice of the season, the wrestlers ran to St. Francis DeSales Catholic Cemetery, about a mile from the high school. Waiting for them there was Rich’s widow, Beth, a mother of two young children. She and the wrestlers gathered at the gravesite and she read them a letter. Beth tried to put into words what the coach would have said to the team if he could have done the writing.

“She wrote about what Rich would have wanted this year, what he thought we could accomplish,” Jaguars senior Tyler Tensen told me Friday at Xcel Energy Center. “How it would be awesome if we would dedicate this year to him. And of course we did.”

Rich has been listed as the team’s head coach all season. The mats inside the high school gym carry the words “Always in Your Corner.” The coaches have Rich’s name printed on the back of their shirts. The wrestlers have t-shirts that say “His Vision, Our Mission/ In Memory of Coach Vos.”

“It was definitely hard,” said Tyler, one of three Jaguars to qualify for the state tournament. “The whole season, not having him was hard. Losing him was definitely a big motivator through the year, that’s for sure. And it was certainly hard not having a good friend and a coach around.”

Assistant coach Brian Friedrichs, who took over as head coach, works as a National Guard Readiness NCO in Sauk Centre. He was on his way to Camp Ripley for a staff meeting when he learned that Vos had been killed.

“That evening I went to see the family and the next day we talked to wrestlers, to see how they were doing,” he said.

Right after Vos died, many of his wrestlers who also played football had to play the final regular-season game.

“They had to think about finishing the regular season that next day, on MEA Wednesday, and then the playoffs,” B-B-E athletic director Rick Gossen said. “Talk about an emotional roller coaster for 16-17-18-year-old kids.

“I think the students and staff supported each other very well. They had a chance to grieve and heal. It’s one of those things that never leaves you. You never stop feeling that loss, especially for the wrestlers that were closest to him.”

--Tensen (126 pounds) and fellow senior Patrick Rooney (182) each won two matches Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Sophomore Josey Tensen lost in the opening round at 106 pounds.


Every defending state champion won in the first round of the state tournament Friday, but the number was whittled a bit in the second round.

Friday’s marquee match came in Class 2A at 126 pounds. Simley senior Juan Torres, last year’s champion at that weight, won a 5-4 decision in the quarterfinals over Rockford junior Ty Griffin, who was the 2012 champ at 120 pounds.

--St. Cloud Apollo senior Mitch Bengston, a three-time champion, is on track for another 3A title. He will meet Blake Carlisle of Prior Lake in Saturday’s semifinals.

--In Saturday’s 3A semifinals, Apple Valley will have eight wrestlers and St. Michael-Albertville will have seven. Apple Valley had 14 individual qualify for state and the Knights had 12; they tied for the 3A team championship on Thursday night.

Semifinal matches will take place Saturday morning, with title matches scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

--To see a photo gallery from the tournament, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.


*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 7 for the tournament, 19 for the winter state tournaments
*Schools/teams John has visited: 488
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 7,239
(*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
Team Title Matches Are Set At State Wrestling Tournament2/28/2013
After some great competition in the quarterfinals and semifinals, the state championship matches are set on the team side of the state wrestling tournament. All title matches are set for 7 o’clock tonight at Xcel Energy Center, and the top two seeds in each class will meet to decide who takes home gold medals.

In Class 1A, top-seeded and three-time defending champion Jackson County Central will meet Frazee in the finals. Jackson beat Barnesville 43-19 in the quarterfinals and Chatfield 39-25 in the semifinals; Frazee defeated Pierz 47-12 and Sibley East 40-16.

In Class 2A, No. 1 seed Kasson-Mantorville will face second-seeded Simley in the title match. Kasson-Mantorville advanced by beating Perham 56-15 and New Prague 37-18, while Simley (which owns the last five 2A crowns) beat Chisago Lakes 45-23 and Foley 35-23.

And in 3A, top seed St. Michael-Albertville will face No. 2 seed Apple Valley, which has won every 3A state title since 2006 and all but one since 1999 (Owatonna was the 2005 champ). St. Michael-Albertville advanced by defeating Willmar 53-9 and Owatonna 36-21. Apple Valley beat Moorhead 55-9 and Prior Lake 36-19

I’m posting frequent updates on the MSHSL Facebook page as well as on Twitter. Follow @MSHSLjohn.

--To see a photo gallery from the tournament, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Diet Coke Count: 2 for the day, 2 for the tournament, 14 for the winter state tournaments
*Schools/teams John has visited: 488
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 7,189
(*During the 2012-13 school year)
Stuck In An Elevator, Then Winning A State Championship2/28/2013
The wrestlers from Kasson-Mantorville have quite a story to tell, and their first state championship is only part of the story.

The KoMets defeated five-time defending champ Simley 30-27 in the Class 2A team title match Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center, but what happened before that -- a few blocks away -- is what they will laugh about for the rest of their lives.

Fourteen KoMets spent an hour and 15 minutes stuck in an elevator in the vicinity of the sixth floor of the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown St. Paul. They were rescued by junior 285-pound teammate Sam Stoll, who – the story goes -- pried the doors apart with his bare hands (“and his belly,” stated a smaller teammate who did not wish to be identified publicly).

“For the first five minutes, it was fun,” said wrestler Noah Ryan, “and then we got worried.”

Their title match against Simley was scheduled for 7 p.m. and they were sprung at around 6:35. Things were getting a little warm inside the elevator, too.

They would have phoned for help right away, had their coaches not taken away their cell phones the day before … to avoid distractions.

--In Class 1A, top-seeded and three-time defending champion Jackson County Central made it four titles in a row with a 38-22 victory over second-seeded Frazee.

Frazee had won four state titles, most recently in 2011 when it shared the title with Jackson County Central.

--And in 3A, top seed St. Michael-Albertville and No. 2 seed Apple Valley finished in a dead heat, a 28-28 tie. By rule, state championship wrestling matches are not decided by tiebreakers or criteria.

Apple Valley has won every 3A state title since 2006 and all but one since 1999 (Owatonna was the 2005 champ). St. Michael-Albertville owns six previous championships, most recently in Class 2A in 2007.


Class 3A: Third-place match: Prior Lake beat Owatonna 34-21. Fifth-place match: Moorhead beat Willmar 36-22.

Class 2A: Third-place match: Foley beat New Prague 33-24. Fifth-place match: Chisago Lakes beat Perham 33-30.

Class 1A: Third-place match: Chatfield beat Sibley East 35-33. Fifth-place match: ACGC beat KMS 28-21.


With the team portion of the tournament finished, Friday and Saturday will be devoted to the individual competition.

--Thursday’s total attendance was 17,216.

--To see a photo gallery from the tournament, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 3 for the tournament, 15 for the winter state tournaments
*Schools/teams John has visited: 488
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 7,189
(*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
Setting The Fields For The Boys State Hockey Tournament2/27/2013
The fields for the boys state hockey tournament is being finalized this week in anticipation of the tournament next week at Xcel Energy Center. Here are the teams, sites and game times for each section …


Class 1A Section 1: Rochester Lourdes 6, Mankato West 1

Class 1A Section 3: Marshall 3, Hutchinson 2 (OT)

Class 1A Section 7: Duluth Marshall 3, Duluth Denfeld 2

Class 2A Section 2: Edina 3, Burnsville 2

Class 2A Section 6: Wayzata 5, Benilde-St. Margaret’s 2

Class 2A Section 8: Moorhead 2, Brainerd 0


Class 1A Section 2: Delano vs. Breck at Parade Ice Garden, 7:30 p.m.

Class 1A Section 6: St. Cloud Apollo vs. Little Falls at St. Cloud MAC, 7 p.m.

Class 1A Section 8: Warroad vs. East Grand Forks at East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Section 1: Lakeville North vs. Lakeville South at Rochester Rec Center, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Section 3: Eastview vs. Eagan at State Fairgrounds Coliseum, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Section 7: Grand Rapids vs. Duluth East at AMSOIL Arena, 7:30 p.m.


Class 1A Section 4: Totino-Grace vs. St. Thomas Academy at Aldrich Arena, 7:30 p.m.

Class 1A Section 5: St. Cloud Cathedral vs. Hermantown at Champlin Park, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Section 5: Maple Grove or Centennial vs. Champlin Park or Blaine (semifinals Wednesday) at State Fairgrounds Coliseum, 6 p.m.

Class 2A Section 4: White Bear Lake vs. Hill-Murray at State Fairgrounds Coliseum, 8:30 p.m.

Six-Overtime Game Ends At 1:02 A.M.; Twitter Was On Fire2/23/2013
In case you actually went to bed at a decent hour Friday night, you missed a wild time at Xcel Energy Center. The Class 2A girls state hockey semifinal between Minnetonka and Lakeville North was nearly an all-nighter, with Minnetonka winning in the sixth overtime. Yes, the SIXTH overtime.

The score was 3-3 at the end of the second period and remained that way until Minnetonka senior forward Amy Petersen scored the game-winning goal in the sixth overtime.

Multiple state tournaments records were broken during this game…
--Longest game in girls hockey state tournament history (113:29).
--Most shots by one team in an overtime game (Minnetonka, 63).
--Most stops one game (Lakeville North, Cassie Alexander, 59).

During the marathon game, Twitter was a hotbed of late-night conversation. By the time the game finally ended, we had experienced quite an entertaining online evening/morning.

In chronological order, here is a summary of some of what I tweeted and re-tweeted…

--5:00 left in regulation, Minnetonka and Lakeville North tied 3-3 in 2A girls state hockey semifinals.

--OT at the X! Minnetonka and Lakeville North are tied 3-3 at the end of regulation in 2A girls state hockey semifinals.

--DOUBLE OT. Minnetonka and Lakeville North still 3-3 after 8 minutes of OT. We'll take a break, scrape the ice and go at it again.

--If one of these bands busts out Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" I may take a dive right out of the press box. #2ndOTunderway

-- RT@rstanzel: @MSHSLjohn hopefully they haven't last called for Diet Coke yet! … No more DC's tonight. Snack table has been cleared. #travesty

-- RT @rstanzel: How late can they go? … In the words of L. Richie ... all night long.

--FYI: This girls state semifinal hockey game began today at 8:48 ... p.m. I believe.

-- RT @njrowan @MSHSLjohn I'm more concerned about whether or not they have enough diet coke to last any more OT's … Per earlier tweet: #travesty

--Shots are Minnetonka 40, Lakeville North 27 as we begin what the scoreboard has designated as "Period 6."

--FOUR OVERTIMES! 3-3 deadlock between Minnetonka and Lakeville North after 3 OT. We'll mop the ice, put 17:00 up and keep rolling.

--1996 boys state: Apple Valley beat Duluth East boys 4-3 in 2A semifinals, 5 overtimes, ended at 1:39 a.m.

--I know it's late when I start seeing Tweets from Hawaii with state basketball tournament scores. And that's happening now.

--Good morning from Xcel Energy Center!... where Lakeville North and Minnetonka have been playing hockey for 84 minutes. 4th OT awaits!

--Both of these teams will play another full state tourney hockey game ... later today.

-- RT@amyeolson1: @mshsljohn What's the soda tally? I sense a record in the making … It's a bad scene. Supply has run out. #imhurtingman

-- RT @MSHSLjohn@amyeolson1 @mshsljohn I would imagine concessions have been closed for a long time … They'll open for the a.m. session soon

--If this thing goes too much longer I might be late on my paper route.#calmdowngrandpa

--33 years later, it'll be another miracle on ice if I make it home before sunrise.

--1 2 3 4 I declare a thumb war. #thatmightsettlethis

-- @rgrammond: @mshsljohn I boldly predict that the last shot of this epic contest will be the game winner.#outonalimbguy … Next goal is big RT

--The Wild's next home game is scheduled for Tuesday.#crossyourfingers

--Since the last goal was scored, I have shaved. Twice.

-- RT @BethMillea: @MSHSLjohn Miss you, hope you're home by breakfast. #kiddingbutnotreally … Hi. I remember you.

--Two things are official. 1) This is longest game in girls state tourney history. 2) I am unsure if I will ever see sunlight again.

--Minnetonka band now playing "California Girls" by Katy Perry. Or maybe Perry Como. #gettingpunchy

--It's now 1 a.m. in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, and we're still playin' hockey. What's cooler than that?

-- RT @savoypizza: We wish we were still open to get @mshsljohn a pizza and some caffeine. … You and me both. #bestpizza

--WE HAVE A WINNER. Minnetonka beats Lakeville North 4-3 in 5 overtimes. Game ends at 1:03 a.m.

(These next two Tweets are from Saturday morning…)

--@nelses1:@MSHSLjohn how did the diet coke count end up last night? ...They cut me off after regulation #hulksmash

--@Chanstormcenter: @MSHSLjohnLaying in bed laughing at tweets from girls' hockey last night. You up yet? ... I'm up! Did that really happen?