John's Journal
Two Great Coaches, Two More Reasons To Love High School Activities9/9/2011
A quick note, recapping two excellent moments from Friday’s football festivities …

I witnessed two football games on Friday. The first one, with a 5 p.m. kickoff, was Park Center at Osseo. In a wonderful pregame ceremony (which I will be writing about), Osseo’s Carl A. Tonn Field – named for a past school board member and prominent Osseo supporter – was rededicated as John Hansen Stadium at Carl A. Tonn Field.

John Hansen was Osseo’s football coach as well as director of choral music for 40 years before retiring in 1992. Many of John’s former players and singers were on hand for the pregame ceremony. Among them was Osseo grad Mike Korton, who is the head football coach at Champlin Park. Even though Champlin Park had a home game Friday against Maple Grove, Mike wanted to support his high school coach … even it meant missing most of the pregame activities and warm-ups at his own game. That’s a pretty special tribute.

My second game of the day was Wayzata at Eagan, starting at 7. I was standing on the Wayzata sideline during the second quarter when Trojans coach Brad Wayzata (right) saw me. He smiled, we shook hands and chatted. This was quite extraordinary; while the game was going on, I asked Brad about his daughter Barrett, with whom I had chatted after Wayzata games in the past couple years. Brad told me Barrett (who is interested in journalism) is a freshman at Kansas, and he was planning to drive to Kansas after Friday’s game to see her.

Our conversation happened while Wayzata’s defense on the field. Brad runs the offense, and as Eagan lined up to punt, Brad slapped me on the back, smiled again and hustled back down the sideline to have a word with his offensive players.

How neat is that? One coach taking time away from his own team to honor his old coach, and another coach chatting with a scribe during a game as if they were standing on a street corner.

Boy, I love this job…

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 19
*Miles John has driven: 1,501

--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
One Change At The Top Of Statewide Football Rankings 9/8/2011
The No. 1-ranked teams in the Associated Press football rankings remained the same this week with one exception. In Class 5A, Eden Prairie moves up one spot and now shares the No. 1 spot with Wayzata.

The other No. 1 teams are Mankato West in 4A, Rochester Lourdes in 3A, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in 2A, New Ulm Cathedral in 1A and Edgerton/Ellsworth in Nine-Man.

5A had the most changes this week, with four new teams joining the top 10. The newcomers are No. 5 Minnetonka, No. 7 Lakeville North, No. 8 Rosemount and No. 10 Mounds View.

Here are the rankings …

CLASS 5A
#1 (2) Eden Prairie (1-0)
1 (1) Wayzata (1-0)
3 (3) Cretin-Derham Hall (1-0)
4 (4) Lakeville South (1-0)
5 (NR) Minnetonka (1-0)
6 (9) Blaine (1-0)
7 (NR) Lakeville North (1-0)
8 (NR) Rosemount (1-0)
9 (10) Brainerd (1-0)
10 (NR) Mounds View (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Hopkins, Stillwater, Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Champlin Park, Totino-Grace, St. Michael-Albertville, Shakopee, Eagan, Anoka

CLASS 4A
#1 (1) Mankato West (1-0)
2 (2) St. Thomas Academy (1-0)
3 (9) Mahtomedi (1-0)
4 (7) South St. Paul (1-0)
5 (NR) Rogers (1-0)
6 (8) Bemidji (1-0)
7 (6) Northfield (1-0)
7 (5) Waconia (1-0)
9 (4) Detroit Lakes (1-0)
10 (NR) Delano (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Spring Lake Park, Hutchinson, Marshall, Becker, Sartell-St. Stephen, Benilde-St. Margaret's, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Red Wing, Fergus Falls, Hill-Murray, Holy Angels, Willmar

CLASS 3A
#1 (1) Rochester Lourdes (1-0)
2 (3) Holy Family Catholic (1-0)
3 (2) Albany (1-0)
4 (4) Glencoe-Silver Lake (1-0)
5 (6) DeLaSalle (1-0)
6 (5) Fairmont (1-0)
7 (7) Kasson-Mantorville (1-0)
8 (NR) Pequot Lakes (1-0)
9 (9) Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1-0)
9 (NR) Thief River Falls (1-0)
Others receiving votes: East Grand Forks, Milaca, Byron, Minnehaha Academy, Mora, St. Anthony, Breck, Waseca, Minneapolis Washburn, Proctor

CLASS 2A
#1 (1) Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (1-0)
2 (5) Eden Valley-Watkins (1-0)
3 (3) Moose Lake-Willow River (1-0)
4 (4) Barnesville (1-0)
5 (7) Pierz (1-0)
6 (NR) Chatfield (1-0)
7 (9) Jackson County Central (1-0)
8 (8) Pelican Rapids (1-0)
8 (NR) LeSueur-Henderson (1-0)
10 (6) Luverne (0-1)
Others receiving votes: Caledonia, Sibley East, BOLD, Mayer Lutheran, Hawley, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Triton

CLASS 1A
#1 (1) New Ulm Cathedral (1-0)
2 (3) Goodhue (1-0)
3 (2) Mahnomen (1-0)
4 (4) Minneota/Lincoln HI (1-0)
5 (6) Ottertail Central (1-0)
6 (7) Barnum (1-0)
7 (10) Adrian (1-0)
8 (8) Dawson-Boyd (1-0)
9 (NR) Southland (1-0)
10 (NR) Blooming Prairie (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Royalton, Red Lake County, Braham, Fertile-Beltrami, Le Center, Deer River, Red Rock Central

Nine-Man
#1 (1) Edgerton/Ellsworth (1-0)
2 (3) Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke (1-0)
3 (6) Nicollet (1-0)
4 (5) Lanesboro (1-0)
5 (7) Ada-Borup (1-0)
6 (2) Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (1-0)
7 (NR) Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (1-0)
8 (NR) McGregor (1-0)
9 (4) Hills-Beaver Creek (1-0)
10 (8) Mountain Iron-Buhl (1-0)
Others receiving votes: Eagle Valley, Climax/Fisher, Spring Grove, Ulen-Hitterdal, Clearbrook-Gonvick, Floodwood, Grand Meadow, Kittson County Central, Bigfork
Thinking Back To Ten Years Ago This Week9/8/2011
I’ll always remember where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I had an appointment to speak to a class at Bloomington Jefferson High School, and I turned on the radio at home as I was getting dressed for the day.

There was talk of something bad happening in New York City. I turned on the TV in the kitchen and saw a big black smoldering hole in the side of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A plane had apparently struck the building, but nobody knew anything more than that. Before long another aircraft blasted into the other twin tower.

I drove to Bloomington Jefferson, arriving a few minutes early. I listened to the radio in the car for as long as I could and then walked into the school and was escorted to the room where the Sports Literature class was meeting. There were televisions in the classrooms, but because of construction work in the school none of the TVs were working. I told the class everything I had learned from listening to the radio, and then we were all in blackout mode.

After the class period ended, I drove to the Star Tribune building in downtown Minneapolis. Like everyone else in the newsroom, I watched the scenes on television. The Pentagon was on fire … a plane had apparently gone down in Pennsylvania.

Fast-forward a few years and I was back at Jefferson, writing about a memorial stone that had been installed at the school in honor of former Jaguars quarterback Tom Burnett, who died when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. I also wrote about former Blake linebacker Gordy Aamoth, who died in one of the twin towers on Sept. 11. The stadium at Blake now bears his name and a twisted beam from the World Trade Center is on display at the stadium.

In the Sept. 14, 2001, edition of the Star Tribune, I wrote a column under the headline “High school sports can help the healing.” I had spoken with people at Colorado’s Columbine High School as well as Osceolo High School in Wisconsin, where a traffic accident had claimed twin brothers a few weeks before Sept. 11. That column seemed to resonate with readers at the time, and to this day people occasionally will mention it to me. I have heard from a few people who say they saved that column, and they read it every day as Sept. 11 comes around. That is equally touching and humbling.

Here is that column as it appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sept. 14, 2001…

High School Sports Can Help The Healing

In the horrible wake of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, all after-school activities were canceled Tuesday in the Jefferson County (Colo.) School District. This didn't surprise Ed Woytek, the athletic director at Columbine High School.

The day's events hit Columbine hard, especially the senior class. They were freshmen on April 20, 1999, when two students shot and killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

"Our coaches and all of us are on kind of a fine line, especially with what happened here previously," Woytek said.

Columbine still is recovering from that day. Recovery also is an ongoing process in Osceola, Wis., where twin brothers Eric and Aaron Kipp, 18, died in a car accident on the way to football practice 30 days ago.

With thousands of innocent people presumed to have perished this week, what do you say? How do you heal? Maybe it's best to listen to the kids. That's among the lessons learned at Columbine and Osceola.

"Pretty much all of them are saying to us, 'We need to be a family,'" Woytek said. "Because that's what happened a few years ago; they got with family. And that's where we need to be, that's where our American people need to be, is with family."

After the Kipp brothers died, football practices were stopped for a short period. But soon, everyone wanted to return -- or try to return -- to some sense of normalcy.

"Very soon, the kids were ready to go back," said Osceola coach/principal Mike McMartin. "They said, 'Coach, I need to keep busy.' And they were right. When we jumped back into it, although they weren't the best practices in the world, there was almost a big sigh of relief that they could start moving forward and take with us all the good things that the boys had shared with us for so many years, instead of thinking about the bad."

Activities went on as scheduled Tuesday in Osceola, the day of the attacks.

"We just really felt during that time it was massively important that we show to the kids, 'Hey, we're going on. We're not going to let these people defeat us or take us off our feet here. We're going to move forward and be proud,'" McMartin said.

At Columbine and Osceola, tragedy struck a specific community of people. This week, tragedy struck us all.

The Columbine Rebels take a 1-1 record into tonight's game at Dakota Ridge. Osceola is 3-0 and the homecoming opponent for rival St. Croix Falls. The games go on, as do our lives.

"Everybody keeps saying we'll never get back to normal, just like our nation will never get back to normal," Woytek said. "But hopefully we're going to get as close to normal as we can."

So if sporting events are part of your normal routine, stick with it. If you haven't been to a high school game in years, tonight would be a wonderful time to go. Get away from the television, escape the headlines. Find a seat in the bleachers and take a break, however temporary, from all that's gone so wretchedly wrong in this world.

Watch the team captains shake hands before the coin flip. Hold your hand over your heart during the national anthem as the flag flutters at half-staff. Bow your head during the moment of silence to honor this week's victims. Get on your feet for the opening kickoff. Watch our young people -- players, cheerleaders, fans -- as they smile, holler and laugh together during this evening that is tradition both athletic and social. Buy popcorn, listen to the band, cheer first downs, simply celebrate.

Maybe administrators at every school can find a recording of God Bless America, and across our states -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond -- we'll sing together when the game ends. Just like a family.
A Big Loss For Wayzata Football And Latest Cross-Country Rankings9/7/2011
If you watched Wayzata’s 31-14 victory over Rosemount in the Class 5A football state title game last year, you remember the performance of then-sophomore Mitchell Underhill. He ran 12 times for 247 yards and touchdowns of 45, 66, 58 and 58 yards.

Underhill suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s 47-20 season-opening victory at Prior Lake. Wayzata will play at Eagan this Friday.

--The top-ranked teams remained unchanged in this week’s cross-country polls released by the coaches association, but there were some shifts at the top of the individual rankings.

In Class 1A girls, Blake’s Clare Flanagan has risen from No. 7 in the preseason rankings to the current No. 1 spot. And in Class 2A boys, Wayzata’s Josh Thorson has moved from No. 2 to No. 1.

Here are all the rankings…

CLASS 2A

Boys Teams
1. Stillwater
2. Wayzata
3. Rosemount
4. Edina
5. Moorhead
6. Andover
7. White Bear Lake
8. Eastview
9. Mounds View
10. Eden Prairie
11. Owatonna
12. Sartell – St Stephen
Others receiving votes: Burnsville, Forrest Lake, Mahtomedi, Monticello

Boys Individuals
1. Josh Thorson, Wayzata
2. Zach Roozen, Mounds View
3. Glen Ellingson, Moorhead
4. Cole O'Brien, Burnsville
5. Riley Macon, Rochester Mayo
6. Tom Linner, Stillwater
7. Nathan Rock, Rosemount
8. Mubarik Musa, Worthington
9. Jan Ketterson, Bloomington Jefferson
10. Joel Reichow, White Bear Lake
11. Joey Duerr, Chaska
12. Connor Olson, Wayzata
Others receiving votes: Tyler Broadwell, Sartell - St Stephen; Ahmed Bule, St Paul Central; Will Burke, Edina; Wayde Hall, Stillwater; Sidney Speir, Eagan; Parker Wharram, Mound Westonka

Girls Teams
1. Monticello
2. Lakeville South
3. Eden Prairie
4. Andover
5. Prior Lake
6. Wayzata
7. Roseville
8. Eagan
9. East Ridge
10. Sartell
11. Alexandria
12. Stillwater

Girls Individuals
1. Maria Hauger, 11, Shakopee
2. Jamie Piepenburg, 12, Alexandria
3. Erica Seidenkrantz, 12, Monticello
4. Nicole Heitzman, 11, Andover
5. Amber Seidenkratz, 10, Monticello
6. Kaelyn Williams, 12, Robbinsdale Cooper
7. Jenna Truedson, 9, Bemidji
8. Danielle Anderson, 11, Eagan
9. Emily Knapczyk, 12, Armstrong
10. Chrissy Monson, 11, Albert Lea
11. Taylor Scholl, 12, Prior Lake
12. Piper Bain, 12, Edina

CLASS 1A

Boys Teams
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Minnehaha Academy
3. Perham
4. Esko
5. Winona Cotter
6. Waseca
7. Blake
8. Albany
9. Mora
10. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
11. LaCrescent
12. St.James

Boys Individuals
1. Brandon Clark Blake
2. Jonnathan Surber St. James
3. Shane Streich Waseca
4. Byron Schuldt Nevis
5. Matt Welch Proctor
6. Nick Stoks Canby-Minneota/LinHi
7. Jacob Siekmeier Math&Science Acad
8. Cade Ekstrom Madelia/Truman
9. Charlie Lawrence Foley
10. Jesse Delgado Waseca
11. Matt Schrupp Winona Cotter
12. Micheal Wagner Eveleth-Gilbert

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

Girls Individuals
1. Clare Flanagan Blake
2. Jordan Kopplow Adrian
3. Cheyanne Bower S., James
4. Victoria Alexander Lake of the Woods
5. Emi Trost Cannon Falls
6. Greta Danielson St. Cloud Cath.
7. Jordan Chancellor Blake
8. Sally O”Brien Waseca
9. Kallyn Knutson Esko
10. Lydia Lutz Park Rapids
11. McKenzie Holt St. Cloud Christian
12. Megan Sauer Adrian
Volleyball Rankings: More Change At The Top In 1A9/6/2011
For the third time in as many weeks, there is a new team in the No. 1 spot in the Class 1A state volleyball rankings. Nevis was No. 1 in the preseason poll, Wabasha-Kellogg was in the top position last week and this week Bethlehem Academy is the new No.1.

The 3A and 2A leaders remain unchanged, with Bloomington Jefferson No. 1 in 3A and Jackson County Central No. 1 in 2A.

Bethlehem Academy has played two matches and has a record of 1-1. But the Cardinals’ opening opponents have not been slouches. Bethlehem Academy lost to Lakeville North (the defending 3A champ and current No. 2 team) 3-0 in the season opener and then went to Marshall (No. 5 this week in 2A) and came away with a 3-0 win.

Here are this week’s rankings, courtesy of the state volleyball coaches association…

CLASS 3A
1. Bloomington Jefferson (14) 261
2. Lakeville North (3) 236
3. Wayzata 222
4. Blaine 196
5. Lakeville South 175
6. Shakopee 174
7. Centennial 150
8. Eden Prairie 113
9. Andover 71
10. Eagan 59
Others: Hopkins (42), Chanhassen (32), Waconia (28), Hill-Murray (22), Burnsville (21), Apple Valley (8), Minnetonka (2)

CLASS 2A
1. Jackson County Central (8) 133
2. Stewartville (1) 127
3. Belle Plaine 112
4. Lesuer-Henderson 108
5. Marshall 103
6. Maple Lake 77
Kasson-Mantorville 77
8. Byron 74
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 67
10. Visitation 39
Others: Jordan (28), Esko (6), Caledonia (6) Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4)

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (9) 190
2. Wabasha-Kellogg (2) 176
3. Nevis (2) 158
4. Mayer Lutheran 155
5. Minneota 144
6. Win-E-Mac 127
7. Southwest Christian 123
8. BBE 112
9. Canby 71
10. Ada-Borup 59
Others: MACCRAY (31), Mabel-Canton (7), Sebeka (6), Hancock (6), Martin County West (5)