John's Journal
Looking Ahead To 2013, Remembering The Best of 2012 12/31/2012
As we begin a new year and bid farewell to the year that has passed, I posed this question to MSHSL followers on Facebook and Twitter: "What are your favorite memories of high school activities in 2012? There were many great stories in the last 12 months, and we would love to hear what you will remember most from 2012..."

The replies are below. They came from dozens of people who are among the more than 11,000 people who follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@MSHSLjohn).

I know the replies will bring back some great memories. Happy New Year!

--getting to experience playing at the state 1A with not only the fosston boys team but also our girls team its a weekend i will never forget! Go Hounds!

--Tigers getting state champs in football this year! Way to go Tigers!

--The Princeton Tigers finally making it to the Dome for the fitst time

--Jordan Hubmen football. Ending regular season 1-7, and making it to state.

--being smallest school in 3AAA football by 1 student and winning the state title for the first time ever in school history and being undefeated! BUC PRIDE!

--Seeing the Minneapolis Washburn Millers play in the state baseball tournament in St Cloud... Hoping for a return trip to state for them in 2013!

--NB Vikings Varsity football team

--roman breaking the scoring record for boys basketball.

--De La Salle at the buzzer vs. Washburn in AAA Boys Basketball Championship! Instant Classic!

-- Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa winning state championship with a 33-0 record!

-- New Ulm Softball winning the AA softball state championship in extra innings against St. Anthony Village

--Winning state in football for the third year in a row and it being the fifth title in six years. And wat made it the best is we beet moose lake for the second year in a row and on a last second 24 yard feild goal #caledoniawarriors

--Winning state Cal Football

--Watching Anders Broman score 72 points in a game at Melrose! Broman and Scottie Stone meet up again this Feb. 9th in Duluth.

--Murray County Central boys golf finishing 4th at State in first year of existence!

--Lakeville North winning the state AAA Volleyball Championship!

--Perham XC - state and small school national champs!

--State titles for Eastview in Dance Team, Boys Lacrosse, Baseball and Boys Soccer.

--watching BSM win AA boys hockey title for #jabs with Besse's five goal performance

--Maria Haugers 4th straigtht CC State Championship and doing so in record fashion

--MSAD VB and FTB teams win Deaf National Champions!

--Lester prairie Holy Trinity football breaking the state rushing record against blooming prairie

--Sleepy Eye GBB making first state appearance in history coming in as the #7 seed in their sub-section.

--White Bear Lake beats Lakeville North 1-0 in OT, advances to 2A girls soccer state championship game.

--Reffing my first Section final and first state tournament game

--Two of Goodridge-Grygla's GBB seniors hitting 1,000 points in December.

--Cannon Falls Bombers winning section 1AA baseball tournament and qualifying for the State Tournament!!

--the 1-7 Jordan Hubmen making a playoff run and qualifying for the state tourney!

--twolves and twins student media days!

--Chan Boys Hockey knocking off Holy Angels as the 12-time defending Missota Conference Champion

--Student Media day at Target Field

--Seeing the players, coaches & managers from Austin & Edgerton '60 teams be honored at the 100th anniversary of state basketball.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 383
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,357
(*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

Remembering Osseo High School Legend Harry Beier12/20/2012
I was a new member of the MSHSL staff when I met Harry Beier back in the spring of 2010. I was attending a baseball game at Osseo High School and Osseo athletic director Ray Kirch introduced me to Harry.

Earlier this week, I received this email from Ray: “In April of 2010 you did a John’s Journal piece on Harry Beier – a 1941 grad of OSH and a true Oriole AND Gopher fan. Harry passed away on Saturday.”

Harry was famous in Osseo, as a supporter of the Orioles as well as the Gophers. At that point, he had not missed a Gophers home football game since 1947. He was 90 years old when he died; his funeral was Thursday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Osseo.

Harry was honored on his 90th birthday in September with a gathering at the Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion.

Here’s what I wrote about Harry on April 16, 2010…

I love to tell people that I can spend a few minutes with any team in any sport at any high school in Minnesota and find a great story. Turns out all you have to do is sit in the bleachers and the same thing can happen.

I went to a baseball game at Osseo High School on Thursday afternoon. The Orioles played Champlin Park on a lovely sunny day. I went to the ballgame with a couple of future story possibilities in mind.

There were Osseo’s Windle twins, Tom and Sam. Tom, who throws and bats lefthanded, has signed to play baseball with the University of Minnesota. Sam, who throws and bats righthanded, has signed to play baseball with North Dakota State. Both twins play hockey, too.

There was speedy Champlin Park center fielder Brandon Marquardt, a running back and Mr. Football finalist who will play football at Minnesota State Mankato.

And then there was Harry Beier.

Osseo athletic/activities director Ray Kirch had sprung for hot dogs, and as we walked to the bleachers he said, “John, do you know Harry Beier?” I did not, so Ray introduced me to an older gentleman sitting in the first row. Ray had other things to attend to, but Harry and I chatted for the rest of the game.

Harry graduated from Osseo High School in 1941. Sixty-nine years ago, he played baseball on the same field the current Orioles use. He was a multi-sport athlete -- also playing football and basketball in high school – providing another link to current athletes like the Windle twins and Brandon Marquardt.

Harry was a pitcher who relied on a fastball. At the plate, he tried to hit the ball where it was pitched, spraying hits all over the field.

You could see the sparkle in his eye as we watched the kids from Osseo and Champlin Park play the game. There are people similar to Harry at almost every high school in America; alumni who have strong ties to their school and their community and love nothing more than remaining connected.

Champlin Park senior Tyler Ockuly pitched a two-hitter in the Rebels’ 11-2 victory, striking out the side in the fourth inning. When Osseo athletic trainer Lindsey Geesaman came onto the field to tend to an injured Champlin Park player, a mom sitting nearby said with an air of awe, “She’s at every game.” A young girl replied, “She is so cool.”

Harry and I took it all in as we chatted. He was drafted into the Army shortly after graduating from high school and spent two and a half years stationed in England. “I bought myself a bicycle and saw all the towns around the area,” he said.

One of his high school coaches always told the kids – remember, this was back in the 1930s and 1940s – that smoking was a bad idea. “I never did smoke, even in the service,” Harry said. “I saw that coach at reunions and thanked him for that.”

Harry, who was an employee of the University of Minnesota for 42 years, has seen every Gophers home football game since 1947. He knows almost everybody at the university, from President Robert Bruininks on down. He likesTCF Bank Stadium, but he liked the Metrodome, too.

Between innings, music was played on the P.A. system. The baseball field was well-manicured, the sunshine was warm and the breeze was sweet.

It was a perfect day to be at a high school event.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 386
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,383
(*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
‘Severe’ Back Pain Sidelines Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones12/19/2012
Apple Valley basketball star Tyus Jones, one of the nation's top recruits, left Tuesday 's game against Hopkins with a back injury that kept him from practicing for a week and his status is uncertain. The good news for Apple Valley was that they defeated Hopkins with Jones watching from the bench. Read the details by clicking here.
Coaches Review The New Class 6A Football Format12/18/2012
After the first year of Class 6A football, coaches in 6A and 5A were surveyed on what they liked and what they didn't like about the new class, the playoff format and other topics. Read Brian Jerzak's story by clicking here.
A Night For Harvey: Fulda Raises Lots Of Money, Has Lots Of Fun12/17/2012
FULDA – You know it’s a fun night when this happens …

The Fulda girls basketball team holds an eight-point lead over Luverne as the home team calls a timeout with 62 seconds to play. Before talking to his team, Fulda coach Gregg Slaathaug needs to know the spot where the ball will be inbounded. He looks to one of the officials, who is standing on the opposite side of the court, holding the ball.

Slaathaug asks the official, “Is that the spot? Right there, by the bald guy?”

Indeed, a member of the local citizenry is sitting in the first row, the gymnasium lights reflecting off the top of his head. He smiles and raises his arms in a gesture that says, “Who? Me?” Yes. You.

And so it went on Saturday night in a little gym in Murray County, 18 miles north of Worthington. Six rows of bleachers on either side of the court, more fans sitting on the stage behind one basket. It was a girls-boys basketball doubleheader between Luverne and Fulda, but the meaning of the evening went much deeper; into the hearts and souls of folks from Fulda and the surrounding area who know and love a man named Harvey Carroll.

Harvey’s status as a fixture in this town of 1,300 people began to take root when he arrived as a teacher and coach in 1980. For the next 27 years, every youngster in Fulda knew Harvey. He taught sixth grade and was head or assistant coach of basketball, football and track teams. He helped run the elementary basketball program, had a hand in the Fulda summer recreation program and worked as a volleyball official for 10 years.

Somehow, Harvey also found time to work on a painting crew in the summers, battle weeds on the local golf course, make unannounced deliveries of sweet corn and squash to neighbors and do a thousand other things for the kids and adults in Fulda.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005 and taught and coached for two more years. Parkinson’s is a brain condition that is characterized by slowness of movement, stiffness, rigidity, loss of balance and coordination and difficulties with speech. Nowadays Harvey gets around with the aid of a walker.

As the girls game ended Saturday night, longtime football coach and current track coach Brad Holinka took the microphone and said, “Don’t run away right now, we’re going to do some things for Harvey.”

Hearing those words, the crowd stood as one and began applauding. Harvey, his wife Sharon and other family members and friends were in one corner of the gym, where a chair is placed for Harvey at every game. Written on a piece of paper taped to the chair was: “Reserved for Harvey Carroll.”

The people had no reservations in showing their love for Carroll. The applause went on and on and everyone remained standing as Holinka talked about what Harvey means to Fulda.

“Harvey Carroll has left a lasting impression,” he said. “Our community, all the coaches around the area, everybody knows Harvey.

“Harvey always started with the kids. And the kids started in elementary school, went from football to basketball to track, and then the little kids went to summer rec, and Harvey was there, too. This started in 1980 and went until 2007. That’s a lasting impression. Let’s give a big round of applause for Harvey Carroll.”

After the serenade died down, Holinka wrapped up the formal presentation with these words: “We are all very, very proud, Harvey, to have you as a friend and call you a friend. Everyone in here can attest to that. You truly are an inspiration to anyone you’ve ever been associated with. One more time, ladies and gentlemen.”

And the thunder of applause swept through the little gym once again. Many of the people wore T-shirts that carried the words “Support Cure Advocate; Parkinson’s Disease Awareness.”

The shirts were being sold in the school lobby, which was filled with items for a silent auction. The items included some real gems; footballs, jerseys, photos and other memorabilia autographed by the likes of Adrian Peterson, Joe Mauer, Mike Krzyzewski, Derek Jeter, Johnny Unitas, Kent Hrbek, Fred Hoiberg, George Brett, John Wooden, Rod Carew and on and on.

A raffle and meal was also held to raise funds, with all the money going to National Parkinsons Foundation Minnesota. Fulda boys basketball coach Colby Pack directed the efforts as a way to pay tribute to Harvey and fight the disease. Pack, Slaathaug and assistant boys basketball coach Steve Kellen sparked the idea while watching a volleyball match in early October, and everything came together quickly.

Pack said, “A lot of schools do Coaches vs. Cancer and we said, ‘Why not honor one of our former coaches who has Parkinson’s Disease?’ I’ve done these raffles before; I have a nephew with Down Syndrome and we’ve had auctions so I had a few connections. It’s one of those things where we probably sent 300 letters and 400 emails. It was time-consuming but well worth it.”

The meal was terrific: pulled pork sandwiches, chips and a delightful array of homemade desserts. Free-will donations were made by the hungry diners, and the total amount raised at the event will come to around $12,000.

Fans came to the gym on a wet, snowy night, hung their outerwear on coat racks and packed the place. They bought T-shirts, perused the auction items and wrote down their bids. A steady line moved through the cafeteria. After a moment of silence was observed for the victims of the previous day’s Connecticut school shooting, Fulda senior Mallory Pagel sang a wonderful national anthem.

As the boys teams warmed up, I sat in the bleachers and closed my eyes for a few seconds. The song “Some Nights” by the band Fun was playing on the sound system, accompanied by the squeaks of sneakers and the bouncing of a couple dozen basketballs.

Saturday night, a small-town gym, friends gathering to honor someone who has touched so many lives, teams competing. That’s a perfect combination.

--To see a photo gallery from the evening in Fulda, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 381
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,349
(*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