John's Journal
Shaved Heads In Support Of A Friend And Teammate10/12/2011
I was talking on the phone Wednesday with Jill Schmidt, whose son Trevor is undergoing brain surgery on Thursday. Trevor, a senior soccer/baseball player at Mound-Westonka, has a condition called angioma. Jill described angioma as “a cluster of veins that didn’t develop properly. The walls of the veins are fragile and they bleed.”

The Schmidts have known about Trevor’s condition for two years. In some cases angioma doesn’t become a surgical issue, but when Trevor suffered a seizure … well, that’s when surgery entered the picture.

But neither the illness nor the surgery are the story, Jill said. The story is all the support Trevor has received from his teammates, classmates and friends. A whole bunch of boys shaved their heads in order to match Trevor’s look, and more than 30 of them gathered for a quick photo shoot in the gym Wednesday after school.

“It means a lot,” Trevor told me. “I’m pretty scared and nervous going into it, but having these guys behind me makes me feel a lot better.”

He had several Cheerios-looking devices stuck to his head; they were placed during pre-surgery tests earlier Wednesday and were to remain there through the procedure.

As I was talking to a few of Trevor’s soccer teammates, the volleyball team was setting up for practice. One of the players, senior middle hitter Ellie Kalgren, ran over to Trevor, said “Good luck tomorrow” and gave him a hug.

Jill Schmidt said Trevor wasn’t required to shave his head, but he thought that it was the best way to go since some of his hair would be removed for surgery.

“When we were meeting with the surgeon, Trevor said, ‘What about my hair?’ The surgeon said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ But later Trevor said he needed a haircut, and ‘I’m just going to shave it all off, anyway.’ That spurred his buddies to jump on the bandwagon. Kids as young as eighth grade have done it.”

Fellow senior soccer player Mitchell Spanjers explained how all the head shaving started.

“I think what happened was Trevor was saying, ‘I’ve got to have surgery and I’ll have to shave my head.’ Then we thought, ‘Oh, we should do it with you.’ And then it turned into this, with all these guys doing it.”

When I inquired about the best method for shaving a head, senior soccer players Hunter Botts and Dayton Strong described the procedure.

“We just used a big electric razor. That’s about the only way you can do it,” Botts said.

“And you have to do it slowly,” Strong said. “Otherwise it just rips and it hurts really bad.”

The boys were all smiling. Their hair has begun to grow back, so their looks will return to normal. And the support for their friend? Oh, that will never change.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 49
*Miles John has driven: 3,748

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
Stillwater, Monticello, St. Cloud Cathedral Lead Cross-Country Rankings10/11/2011
The cross-country season is winding down as teams and individuals compete in the final meets of the regular season in preparation for section competitions. Sections are two weeks away and the state championships will be held Nov. 5 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

In this week’s state rankings -- courtesy of the cross-country coaches association – St. Cloud Cathedral continues to hold the top spot in Class 1A boys as well as girls, Stillwater is No. 1 in 2A boys and Monticello leads the pack among 2A girls.

CLASS 2A
Boys Teams
1 Stillwater
2 Rosemount
3 Wayzata
4 Burnsville
5 Eden Prairie
6 Edina
7 Moorhead
8 Andover
9 Eastview
10 White Bear Lake
11 Hopkins
12 Sartell-St Stephen
Others receiving votes:
Centennial, Owatonna, Forest Lake

Boys Individuals
1 Josh Thorson, Wayzata
2 Cole O'Brien, Burnsville
3 Jan Ketterson, Jefferson
4 Joey Duerr, Chaska
5 Glen Ellingson, Moorhead
6 Riley Macon, Rochester Mayo
7 Connor Olson, Wayzata
8 Mubarik Musa, Worthington
9 Will Burke, Edina
10 Zach Roozen, Mounds View
11 Sidney Speir, Eagan
12 Luke McKenzie, Chisago Lakes Area
Others receiving votes:
Troy Koivisto, Dassel-Cokato; Wayde Hall, Stillwater

Girls Teams
1. Monticello
2. Lakeville South
3. Eagan
4. East Ridge
5. Shakopee
6. Wayzata
7. Eden Prairie
8. Edina
9. Moorhead
10. Andover
11. Hopkins
12. Prior Lake

Girls Individuals
1. Maria Hauger, Shakopee
2. Jamie Piepenburg, Alexandria
3. Danielle Anderson, Eagan
4. Jenna Truedson, Bemidji
5. Megan Hasz, Alexandria
6. Chrissy Monson, Albert Lea
7. Bethany Hasz, Alexandria
8. Kaelyn Williams, Robbinsdale Cooper
9. Erica Seidenkrantz, Monticello
10. Shaelyn Sorensen, Tartan
11. Madeline McKeefry, Andover
12. Annie Brekken, Lakeville South


CLASS 1A
Boys Teams:
1 St. Cloud Cathedral
2 Perham
3 Blake
4 Waseca
5 Mesabi East
6 Redwood Valley Area
7 Plainview-Elgin-Millville
8 Minnehaha Academy
9 Esko
10 Albany
11 Crosby Ironton
12 Ottertail Central

Boys Individuals
1 Brandon Clark, Blake
2 Charlie Lawrence, Foley
3 Romeo Benish, Proctor
4 Shane Streich, Waseca
5 Nick Stoks, Canby-Minneota/LinHi
6 Matt Welch, Proctor
7 Dan Borash, Royalton
8 Nick Golebiowski, St. Cloud Cathedral
9 Byron Schuldt, Nevis
10 Jake Burr, Glencoe-Silver Lake
11 Pat Reinschmidt, Plainview-E-M
12 Jacob Siekmeier, Math & Science Academy

Girls Teams
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Adrian
3. Blake
4. LaCrescent
5. Waseca
6. Esko
7. Trinity of River Ridge
8. Annandale
9. Minnehaha Acad.
10. United South Central
11. Park Rapids
12. Perham

Girls Individuals
1. Clare Flanagan, Blake
2. McKenzie Holt, St. Cloud Christian
3. Blake Marissa Shady, Esko
4. Elena Danielson, St. Cloud Cathedral
5. Emi Trost, Cannon Falls
6. Lydia Lutz, Park Rapids
7. Lauren Friese, Fairmont
8. Jordan Kopplow, Adrian
9. Meghan Henrikson, Mankato Loyola
10. Mary Ennis, Trinity
11. Victoria Alexander, Lake of the Woods
12. Kayla Woltz, Chatfield
A Homecoming Game between JVs from St. Clair, Minneapolis Roosevelt10/11/2011
Something positive has come out of two negatives, and the results will be on view Friday when two schools that dropped varsity football this season will meet on the junior varsity field.

Decisions were made at St. Clair and Minneapolis Roosevelt to play no varsity football games this season due to low numbers of players, but administrators from the schools have come together for a special contest. St. Clair (enrollment 175) will play football at Roosevelt (enrollment 563) in the Teddies' Homecoming game on Friday.

Friday was an open date for both JV teams, and Roosevelt will hold full Homecoming festivities, including a pep fest, coronation, parade and concluding with a dance.
Lakeville South Makes A Big Move In Volleyball Rankings10/10/2011
With a week or so remaining in the volleyball regular season, teams are preparing for section playoffs. This week’s state rankings, courtesy of the volleyball coaches association, offer a glimpse into teams that could be on hand for the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 10-12.

The biggest move in any class this week came from Lakeville South, which rose from No. 6 to No. 2 in 3A on the strength of a 3-1 win over Bloomington Jefferson last week. Lakeville South is 22-1, with the loss coming to then-No. 1 Lakeville North. North, which lost a 3-0 decision to Jefferson last week, dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 this week. Blaine remained the No. 1 team in 3A, with Bloomington Jefferson staying at No. 3

The top three teams remained unchanged in Class 2A, with Marshall, Jackson County Central and Stewartville leading the poll.

In 1A, Bethlehem Academy held the top spot, Wabasha-Kellogg moved up one spot to No. 2 and Canby went down one to No. 3.

CLASS 3A
1. Blaine (11) 190
2. Lakeville South (1) 169
3. Bloomington Jefferson 166
4. Eagan (1) 155
5. Lakeville North 142
6. Shakopee 133
7. Wayzata 118
8. Eden Prairie 89
9. Centennial 43
10. Chanhassen 42
Others: Hutchinson (29), Minnetonka (28), Hill-Murray (24), Waconia (22), Andover (18), Apple Valley (7), Cretin-Derham Hall (7), MN Southwest (1)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (7) 119
2. Jackson County Central 114
3. Stewartville (1) 103
4. Belle Plaine 95
5. Lesuer-Henderson 87
6. Jordan 78
7. Kasson-Mantorville 63
8. Caledonia 61
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 45
10. Byron 44
Others: Maple Lake (12), Visitation (9), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (6), Esko (6), Sauk Center (60

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (9) 174
2. Wabasha-Kellogg 160
3. Canby (2) 148
4. Southwest Christian 138
5. Minneota 131
6. Mayer Lutheran 125
7. MACCRAY 114
8. Win-E-Mac 84
9. Nevis 62
10. BBE 62
Others: Ada-Borup (35), Hancock (18), Mabel-Canton (14), Lake of the Woods (12),
Families, Friends and Neighbors: The Battle For Lakeville Bragging Rights 10/8/2011
Before the biggest game in the biggest football class Friday night, the final message from one of the head coaches to his players was this: “It’s our night to play and let’s get after it! Let’s be special!”

A couple of hours later, the other coach said to his triumphant team, “You came out and you sent a message to the state! And people will hear it!”

Between those two little speeches, a wonderful thing happened. A pair of undefeated teams met in a high-pressure game played in front of an overflow crowd on a windy and warm night as friends, neighbors and relatives cheered for their teams in the annual battle for bragging rights in Lakeville.

Parents who graduated from Lakeville High (which is now North High) have completely changed their game-day wardrobes, ditching Lakeville/North red and white for South cardinal and gold as they cheer for children who are Cougars. The family theme even extends to the head coaches. South’s Larry Thompson had a stellar 27-year career at Lakeville High – where his teams played in five Prep Bowls and won three state titles -- before taking over at the new school when it opened in 2005, and North coach Brian Vossen played under Thompson in the late 1990s at Lakeville.

North scored first, scored second, led 10-6 at halftime and opened things up with an interception and another touchdown. Grant Erickson returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown to put the Panthers in front 23-6 in the third quarter, and that was enough to secure North’s 30-6 victory.

If there was a star of the game, it was North senior quarterback Trey Heid, who ran for two scores and threw for one. He has played an understudy role this season to more heralded South senior Mitch Leidner, a big, strong lad who has committed to the University of Minnesota. But much like his team, Heid sent a message Friday with his performance as well as with his postgame comments. Trey talked about the success of the Cougars’ running game, never spoke of himself but mentioned six teammates by name: A.J. Miller, Mike Manikowski, Aaron Baker, Zach Zeimer, Ben Blake and Pat Fitzgerald. That’s a team guy talking.

“We were really confident coming in here,” Heid added. “We expected this. We knew we were a good team, we knew they were a really good team and we had to play our best game.” (To see a video interview with Heid, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.)

The teams came in as the only unbeatens in the South Suburban Conference and angling for the top seed in the Section 1 playoffs. South is ranked No. 4 and North is No. 5 in the Associated Press Class 5A poll. This game was the first time since South opened that both teams were unbeaten and ranked when they met in the crosstown showdown. And it was a blast.

“This is pretty cool, isn’t it?” Thompson said to me during pregame warmups, by which time nearly every seat was filled. The old coach talked about two factors that he figured would be big: the wind and turnovers. He was right on both counts. The team with the wind at its back had a definitive edge, and South’s ability to run the football and transform a turnover into points was crucial.

Heid was intercepted on the first drive of the second half, but Leidner was picked off a few plays later and Heid ran five yards for a touchdown to make it 17-6. Major turning point.

“We got ‘em going against the wind when it was10-6, and they scored,” Thompson said. “That was big.” And the bigness grew when Erickson swiped another Leidner pass and took it into the end zone. Ballgame.

“They were better than us,” Thompson said. “Defensively they’re fast and we needed to run the ball better.”

The Cougars players were celebrating with the “One Community, Two Cats” trophy that goes to the winner of the series when North assistant coach Bob Kovich,whom I have known for a long time, gave me a handshake and hug. I was congratulating Bob -- an assistant to Thompson at Lakeville for years before Larry moved to South – when he summed up the evening perfectly.

“Those guys are my best friends,” Kovich said as he looked toward the South coaches. “I hate this week.”

Thankfully, the big week is over and the battle for Lakeville bragging rights has concluded. And if they meet again in the section playoffs? It will be one heck of a show.

--Photo galleries featuring the game, the fans and the halftime show can be seen on the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 47
*Miles John has driven: 3,619

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn