John's Journal
We’re Ready For A Big, Busy Stretch Of Fall Championships11/7/2012
Here we go, starting a big week of state tournaments and looking ahead to the culmination of fall sports for 2012. The soccer, cross-country and girls tennis seasons have come to an end, and volleyball, football, girls swimming and diving and adapted soccer are in the postseason.

Here’s what we are looking forward to…

--The state volleyball tournament will take place at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, with play in all three classes beginning Thursday. Quarterfinals will be contested that day, with semifinals (and consolation rounds) on Friday and championship, third-place and fifth-place matches on Saturday.

--The state football quarterfinals will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 16 sites around the state. The busiest single site will be St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium with one game Thursday, two on Friday and three on Saturday. All four Class 6A quarterfinals will be played at the Metrodome, with two games Thursday and two on Friday.

--Girls swimming and diving will complete section tournaments this week in preparation for the state championships Nov. 15-17 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

--And adapted soccer teams are gearing up for the state tournament, as well. That tourney will take place at Stillwater High School on Nov. 16-17.

Before you know it, winter sports will be in full swing. Practice is already underway for girls hockey and dance team, and Monday, Nov. 12, is the first day of practice for boys hockey, girls basketball, gymnastics and alpine and Nordic skiing.

And away we go!

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 289
*Miles John has driven: 3,907
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Another Honor For Shakopee's Maria Hauger11/6/2012
Maria Hauger, the Shakopee cross-country star who became only the second four-time state champion in Minnesota history on Saturday, has received another honor. She has been named the Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week.

The senior runner capped a record-setting high school cross-country career in dominating fashion Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Hauger won her fourth consecutive Class 2A state championship, joining legendary Dawson-Boyd runner Carrie Tollefson as the only Minnesota athletes to win four titles. Hauger also set an all-time course record of 13 minutes, 42 seconds in winning with a 15-second margin over the rest of the field.

Hauger finished ninth at the state meet as an eighth-grader before beginning her four-year championship reign. She has narrowed her list of college choices to five, and the University of Minnesota is among the five.

Congratulation to Maria as the first two-time winner of the Old Dutch High School Athlete of the Week Award as she also won on Oct. 2 after winning the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational cross-country meet in course-record time.
Volleyball’s Best, With A State Berth On The Line11/5/2012
When the top two teams in the Class 3A volleyball rankings squared off to determine which one would go to the state tournament, the atmosphere matched the action. Read Brian Jerzak's story by clicking here
Shakopee’s Hauger Wins Fourth State Title, Joins Elite Company11/3/2012
NORTHFIELD -- Maria Hauger turned back the clock Saturday. And she didn’t wait until bedtime like the rest of us. She did it in the middle of the afternoon and turned it all the way back to 1994. That’s when Dawson-Boyd’s Carrie Tollefson became the only athlete in Minnesota history to win five cross-country state championships.

Hauger won the Class 2A state title for the fourth year in a row Saturday at St. Olaf College. She joined Tollefson – who went on to become an NCAA cross-country and track champion at Villanova University and run the 1,500 meters at the 2004 Olympics – as the only four-time champions. Tollefson won three Class 1A titles and two in Class 2A between 1990 and 1994. (Hauger and Tollefson are pictured here in a photo from earlier this season.)

Haugen’s other goal in her final high school race in Minnesota was to set a girls course record. And she did that, too, finishing in 13 minutes, 42 seconds. That shattered the record of 13:54.7 set in 2005 by Bria Wetsch of Holy Family.

The second-place finisher was Anna French, a sophomore from Wayzata. Placing third was Alexandria ninth-grader Bethany Hasz, followed by Eagan senior Danielle Anderson and Bemidji sophomore Jenna Truedson.

Any time anyone mentions to Hauger that she is in the same hemisphere as Tollefson, she brushes the comparisons aside: “She’s an Olympian, I’m just a high schooler.”

Hauger says that another athlete she also looks up to is swimmer Michael Phelps, “even though he’s not a runner. He’s just amazing.”

That word fits Hauger pretty well, too. Her running career began when she was in seventh grade and she broke the Shakopee school record in the mile in her very first race. She placed ninth at the state cross-country race in her first appearance, as an eighth-grader, and won every championship race since. The only race in Minnesota she didn’t win in the last four years came earlier this season at the Montgomery Invitational, when Blake junior Clare Flanagan – who captured her second Class 1A title Saturday – reached the finish line 18 seconds ahead of Hauger.

Hauger responded with a dominating victory at the Roy Griak Invitational two weeks later, and put a gold-medal cherry on her prep cross-country career Saturday.

“I’m pretty exhausted,” she said after the race. “Probably the most exhausting race, though, was the Griak. I felt like I was going to pass out. This one was good.”

She said her list of possible colleges has been narrowed to five. She wouldn’t name them, other than saying that the University of Minnesota is among the five.

CLASS 2A BOYS

Wayde Hall of Stillwater captured the title with a four-second margin of victory over runner-up Obsa Ali of Richfield. Third place went to Joe Klecker of Hopkins, followed by Will Burke of Edina and Connor Olson of Wayzata. Hall placed seventh last year at state.

The 2A boys team title went to top-ranked Stillwater. The Ponies had a score of 46, followed by Edina (80), Wayzata (90), Owatonna (125) and Rosemount (152).

CLASS 1A BOYS

The rankings held true to form as Proctor senior Matt Welch (pictured), the No. 1 runner in the 1A coaches poll, won his first state title after finishing 14th, 13th and 61st in the previous three years. The runner-up was Foley senior Charlie Lawrence, who is ranked second. Lawrence placed third a year ago. Shane Streich of Waseca, who finished fifth a year ago, placed third this year.

Perham cruised to the 1A boys team title with a score of 37 points. St. Cloud Cathedral was second with 72, followed by Waseca (164) and Martin County West and Winona Cotter, both with 200. Perham was third in 2009, first in 2010 and second last year.

CLASS 1A GIRLS

Blake junior Clare Flanagan easily won her second consecutive state title, finishing 12 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The runner-up was Cannon Falls’ Emi Trost, followed by McKenzie Holt of St. Cloud Christian, Emily Mantor of United South Central and Marisa Shady of Esko.

Esko, which had been a top five team for the last three years, broke through to win the team crown. The Eskomos had 115 points, followed by Annandale (150), Minnehaha Academy (151), Waseca (157) and Dover-Eyota (184). Esko was eighth in 2009, fifth in 2010 and third last year.

--Photo galleries from state cross-country are posted on the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 288
*Miles John has driven: 3,819
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Class 6A Football Playoffs: Lakeville North 42, Roseville 011/3/2012
Lakeville North is playing its best football of the season, qualifying for the Class 6A state tournament with a big win over Roseville. Read Luke Sleeper's story by clicking here