John's Journal
It’s That Time Of Year: Football, Volleyball, Tennis, Soccer And More10/17/2011
The final two weeks of October always signal that things are changing, and I’m not referring to the goodbye-fall-hello-winter weather that is beginning to roll into Minnesota. This is a time when the prep sports calendar is absolutely packed as fall teams close out the regular season and hit their postseason stride. Here’s a look at what’s going on …

FOOTBALL

The football regular season will end this week with most of the games being held on Wednesday … although there will be six games on Tuesday and six on Thursday. These games will settle all remaining conference races and lay the foundation for the postseason, which will begin next week.

There are 31 undefeated teams in the state and two of them will meet in the biggest game of the regular season. Eden Prairie and Wayzata, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Class 5A rankings, will meet at Wayzata on Wednesday night. Both are 7-0 (this is the only game in the state this week between undefeated teams) and the winner will be the Lake Conference champion and take some major momentum into the section playoffs.

UNDEFEATED FOOTBALL TEAMS

NINE-MAN (section)
Spring Grove (1)
Edgerton/Ellsworth (3)
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (3)
Eagle Valey (4)
Ulen-Hitterdal (6)
North Woods (7)

CLASS 1A (section)
New Ulm Cathedral (2)
Dawson-Boyd (5)
Mahnomen (6)

CLASS 2A (section)
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2)
Norwood-Young America (4)
BOLD (5)
Moose Lake-Willow River (7)
Hawley (8)
Barnesville (8)

CLASS 3A (section)
Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1)
Montevideo (3)
St. Croix Lutheran (4)

CLASS 4A (section)
Mankato West (2)
Hutchinson (2)
Marshall (2)
St. Thomas Academy (3)
Delano (5)
Bemidji (7)
Hermantown (7)

CLASS 5A (section)
Lakeville North (1)
Owatonna (1)
Cretin-Derham Hall (4)
Wayzata (5)
Eden Prairie (6)
Shakopee (6)

GIRLS TENNIS

Most of the team section tournaments have been completed as teams prepare for next week’s state tournament in Minneapolis. Individual section tourneys will wrap up this week. Here are the qualifying teams:

Class 1A: Rochester Lourdes, Waseca, St. James, Blake, Providence Academy, Osakis, Pierz or Foley (they play today) and Staples-Motley.

Class 2A: Rochester Mayo, Minnetonka, Rosemount, Mahtomedi, Mounds View, Edina, Brainerd and the winner of Section 7 (Grand Rapids, Forest Lake, Elk River and Duluth East will decide the winner today).

GIRLS AND BOYS SOCCER

Section titles are being decided this week in Class 1A and 2A, and the state tournament will begin next week.

VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS

CLASS 3A
1. Lakeville South (10) 249
2. Eagan (2) 225
3. Blaine (4) 214
4. Shakopee 192
5. Lakeville North 173
6. Andover 163
7. Bloomington Jefferson 159
8. Eden Prairie (1) 157
9. Wayzata 125
10. Centennial 53
Others: Chanhassen (31), Hutchinson (29), Hill-Murray (16), Waconia (15), Minnetonka (14), Fergus Falls (6), Cretin-Derham Hall (2)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (12) 194
2. Jackson County Central 171
3. Stewartville (1) 164
4. Belle Plaine 157
5. Lesuer-Henderson 144
6. Kasson-Mantorville 122
7. Jordan 119
8. Caledonia 91
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 82
10. Byron 58
Others: Maple Lake (26), Sauk Center (18), Visitation (8), New Richland (7), Esko (6), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4)

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (12) 204
2. Wabasha-Kellogg 181
3. Canby (2) 174
4. Southwest Christian 173
5. Mayer Lutheran 153
6. Minneota 149
7. MACCRAY 127
8. Nevis 103
9. WinEMac 97
10. BBE 69
Others: Hancock (20), Ada-Borup (17), Mabel-Canton (8), Fillmore Central (6), Lake of the Woods (3)
Remembering Duluth East’s Rachel Sandell10/17/2011
Last March I wrote about a young girl named Rachel Sandell. This was during the boys state hockey tournament in St. Paul, where her fellow students from Duluth East were holding signs that said “The Love is on for Rachel” and repeatedly chanted “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!”

Rachel was in Nevada at the time, undergoing cancer treatment. She passed away Sunday. Rachel and her family maintained a CaringBridge site as a way to communicate and share. On Oct. 6, Rachel wrote what would be her final entry on the site. You can find it here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelsandell

Here’s an excerpt: “Speaking of love, i wholeheartedly agree with the amazing things my mom had to say in her last two posts. And you people need not be concerned about my mental and emotional well being. Trust me. I feel totally accepting of all of this. Like really. What happens, happens, and it will when it will. I am living this beautiful life until im not anymore, just like all of us.”

Here is what I wrote about Rachel during the boys state hockey tournament on March 10, 2011 …

Rachel, can you hear them? Can you hear your friends back home in Minnesota cheering for you? Can you hear them chanting your name?

We know Rachel Sandell saw the signs. On her computer way out in Reno, Nevada, she was watching her friends from Duluth East High School – on the ice and in the stands – during Thursday’s Class 2A boys state hockey quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center.

They held up signs in the stands that said, “The Love is on for Rachel!” They chanted, “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!” They chanted, “We love Rachel! We love Rachel!”

Rachel – watching a webcast of the Channel 45 game telecast -- saw the signs and texted friends who were at the game. She sent one text that said, “I saw the signs! That’s awesome!”

Awesome indeed. While Rachel and her mom are in Reno -- where Rachel is being treated for liver cancer – her Duluth East schoolmates are pulling for her. Cheering for her in the midst of the biggest hockey game of the season. The Duluth East Greyhounds beat White Bear Lake 4-3 in double overtime Thursday, with the winning goal scored by Zac Schendel.

“She’s a friend of mine,” Zac said. “Our team’s talked about her a few times. We want her to stay strong and hopefully she can pull through this.”

When the East team was honored at a pep assembly on Tuesday, the event was dedicated to Rachel. She’s a senior and she’s special; she’s on the dance team, she’s an officer in the Key Club, she’s the editor-in-chief of the yearbook.

“She’s totally involved and everyone knows her,” said fellow senior Jessa Kohlhaas during Thursday’s game. “Everyone misses her. Everyone loves her. We all just want to let her know that.”

Jessa told me that Rachel has been fighting liver cancer since early last summer. “She’s been doing great but recently she took kind of a little bit of a turn,” Jessa said. “She’s out in Reno with her mom to pursue some more aggressive treatment.”

Rachel and her mom are keeping the folks back home updated via a Caring Bridge website (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelsandell)

“Basically, as a community at East and around Duluth we’re trying to show her and her family support,” Jessa said. “Financially, emotionally, whatever they need we’re just trying to show that we love them, we care about them, and we’re behind them 100 percent.”

East goaltender JoJo Jeanetta, who made 22 saves against White Bear Lake, is also one of Rachel’s many friends.

“It was a really sad story when she was diagnosed, but it’s amazing to see how well she’s dealing with it and to see our whole school get behind her,” JoJo said. “We’re playing for each other and for her.”

As someone wrote on Rachel’s Caring Bridge site after Thursday’s game: “Hope you had a chance to see the East hockey game today and all the beautiful blue “The Love is on for Rachel” signs that the students had! I'm betting all those positive thoughts directed your way helped the team a little bit, too!”

Keep watching and listening, Rachel. We’re all pulling for you.
Hey! We Have Correspondents!10/15/2011
We have added a new wrinkle to John's Journal: stories by correspondents from around the state.

Our first installment is about the biggest Nine-Man football game in Minnesota on Friday evening, and it's provided by a student who is a proud member of the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.

No. 5 Ulen-Hitterdal defeats No. 2 Ada-Borup
Five Named For Induction Into Basketball Coaches Hall Of Fame 10/14/2011
The Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association has named five men who will be inducted into the MBCA Hall of Fame later this month. The purpose of the MBCA Hall of Fame is to give special recognition to the people of Minnesota who have made significant contributions to promote high school basketball in the state via their achievements and service.

The 2011 inductees are:

Howard Bahn – Kimball

Dan Brink – St. Paul Central/St. Paul Como Park

Perry Doney – Hector/Wood Lake/Canby

Don Tangen – Glencoe-Silver Lake

Larry Weum – Robbinsdale Armstrong.

The induction ceremonies will be held at the MBCA Hall of Fame Banquet on Sunday, October 30th, at noon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis.

--Howard Bahn became the head boys basketball coach at Kimball in 1976 and spent the next 20 seasons as the leader of the Cubs program prior to retiring in 1996. Howard’s career began as a head basketball coach, assistant football coach, and assistant track coach at Lutheran East H.S., Cleveland, OH, in 1966. During his 10 year tenure at Lutheran East, his teams won six conference titles and four District championships. Coach Bahn led his Kimball teams to five Central Minnesota Conference titles, a District 20 championship and a Region 5 runner-up finish. Bahn was named Central Minnesota Conference Coach of the Year in 1993 and District 20 Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1994. Sixteen of his athletes went on to play college basketball and one played professionally. He also served as an assistant football coach and assistant baseball coach at Kimball. Howard retired after 30 seasons of coaching with an overall record of 388-231.

--Dan Brink spent the first six years of his coaching career, 1971-’77, as the head coach at Monroe H.S. in St. Paul. In 1977, he moved to St. Paul Central and within two years won conference and region titles with a subsequent State Tournament runner-up finish and the Minutemen were on their way. During his 16 seasons at Central, the Minutemen won 12 conference titles, earned 7 Region championships resulting in State Tournament appearances, and compiled a 312-78 record. Coach Brink left Central in 1993 to assume the position of Defensive Coordinator at St. Thomas University where he helped lead the Tommies to the DIII Final Four in 1994. He returned to the high school ranks in 2002 when he assumed the head coaching position at Como Park H.S. and in his first year led the Cougars to a Region title and third place finish in the State Tournament. His sixth and final season prior to his retirement resulted in a second State Tournament appearance for Como Park and was the 9th time a Brink-led team earned that milestone. Dan was recognized by his peers as Section Coach of the Year six times and conference COY 10 times. He was also named WCCO State Coach of the Year and is a member of the Central Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Brink retired in 2008 with an overall record of 426-246.

--Perry Doney’s coaching career began in 1932 in South Shores, SD. He spent ten years coaching in South Dakota before his career took a three year hiatus as he spent 1942-45 on the West Coast during WWII. His legendary career as a coach of four sports began at Canby H.S. in 1945. In 1948, he moved to Wood Lake where he spent the next 17 years as the head coach for basketball, football, baseball, and track. His 1964 Wood Lake Warriors football team was the first team in Minnesota to go through a 10 game season undefeated, averaging an amazing 58.3 ppg while only giving up 93 during the course of the season. His Warrior basketball teams were legendary for upsetting a #1 ranked Marshall team three times in tournament play and he coached three 1,000 point scorers in the “50’s and employed a “match-up zone” at a time when the term was yet to be defined. Coach Doney’s Wood Lake teams were 240-116, a winning percentage of 68%, during his 17 seasons there. Perry returned to his hometown of Hector and led them to their first ever District 12 title in 1968. He finished his basketball coaching career at Hector after the 1970 season. Doney was a Merit Award recipient of the MBCA and is a charter member of the Northern State Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Doney passed away in 1989.

--Don Tangen has coached basketball at Glencoe/Glencoe-Silver Lake for 34 years and just completed the 40th season of a coaching career that began at Murdock H.S. in 1977. His Glencoe-Silver Lake teams won Wright County Conference titles in 1994 and 1995 and Coach Tangen led seven Glencoe/GSL teams to Section titles and State Tournament appearances during three different decades. Don’s coaching achievements earned him recognition from his peers as he was the recipient of multiple Conference Coach of the Year and Section Coach of the Year honors. Coach Tangen was selected and participated as a coach in the 2001 MBCA All Star Series. Don is a member of the 400 win club and has compiled an overall record of 495-405. He is a lifetime member of the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association and served as President of the MSHSCA in 2009. Coach Tangen has also coached football at Murdock, Glencoe, and Glencoe-Silver Lake for 40 seasons.

--Larry Weum coached basketball at Robbinsdale Armstrong H.S. for 27 years; 17 as the head coach, and 10 as an assistant coach. Coach Weum’s basketball coaching career began at Sandberg Jr. High in 1970. In addition to his 27 years at Armstrong he also spent two years, 1982-84, as the head basketball coach at North Hennepin CC. In his second year at the helm of the Armstrong program, Coach Weum led the Falcons to a second place State tournament finish, a feat which was matched again the following season. His Armstrong squads won three Lake/Classic Lake Conference titles and earned State Tournament appearances with three Section championships. In an eleven year period, Falcon teams advanced to the Section finals eight times. Larry served as a Section Representative for 6AA. He was selected and participated as an MBCA All Star Series Coach in 1998. Coach Weum retired from teaching and coaching in 2001 with an overall mark of 302-145 as head coach at Armstrong.

A New Football Team Atop Class 3A Rankings10/12/2011
With two games remaining in the regular season for most high school football teams in Minnesota, postseason playoffs are right around the corner. One team that might be worth watching is the team that has moved into the No. 1 spot in this week’s Associated Press Class 3A rankings.

That team is unbeaten St. Croix Lutheran, which moved up from No. 3 to No. 1 this week. The previous No. 1 team, Glencoe-Silver Lake, lost to No. 6-4A Hutchinson last week and fell to No. 4 in 3A. Holy Family Catholic dropped from No. 2 in 3A to 8 after losing to No. 2-4A St. Thomas Academy. Climbing quickly this week in 3A were Plainview-Elgin Millville (No. 4 to No. 2) and Montevideo (No. 7 to No. 4).

Here are this week’s rankings in all six classes …

CLASS 5A
#1 (1) Eden Prairie (6-0)
2 (2) Wayzata (6-0)
3 (3) Cretin-Derham Hall (6-0)
4 (5) Lakeville North (6-0)
5 (6) Mounds View (5-1)
6 (7) Anoka (5-1)
7 (8) Shakopee (6-0)
8 (4) Lakeville South (5-1)
9 (10) Osseo (5-1)
10 (NR) Owatonna (6-0)
10 (9) Minnetonka (4-2)
Others receiving votes: Totino-Grace, Blaine

CLASS 4A
#1 (1) Mankato West (6-0)
2 (2) St. Thomas Academy (6-0)
3 (3) South St. Paul (6-0)
4 (4) Rogers (6-0)
5 (5) Bemidji (6-0)
6 (7) Hutchinson (6-0)
7 (6) Delano (6-0)
8 (9) Marshall (6-0)
9 (10) Spring Lake Park (5-1)
10 (8) Holy Angels (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Detroit Lakes, Hermantown, Hill-Murray, Rocori

CLASS 3A
#1 (3) St. Croix Lutheran (6-0)
2 (4) Plainview-Elgin-Millville (6-0)
3 (7) Montevideo (6-0)
4 (1) Glencoe-Silver Lake (5-1)
5 (5) Stewartville (5-1)
5 (8) Fairmont (5-1)
7 (9) St. Cloud Cathedral (6-0)
8 (2) Holy Family Catholic (5-1)
9 (10) Pequot Lakes (5-1)
10 (NR) DeLaSalle (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Albany, Minneapolis Washburn, Rochester Lourdes, Zimmerman, New London-Spicer, Pine City

CLASS 2A
#1 (1) Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (6-0)
2 (2) Moose Lake-Willow River (6-0)
3 (4) Barnesville (6-0)
4 (5) Norwood-Young America (6-0)
5 (6) Blue Earth Area (6-0)
6 (8) Hawley (6-0)
7 (7) Caledonia (5-1)
8 (9) BOLD (6-0)
9 (T10) Osakis (6-0)
10 (3) Pierz (5-1)
10 (NR) LeSueur-Henderson (5-1)
10 (T10) Jackson County Central (4-2)
Others receiving votes: Maple River

CLASS 1A
#1 (1) New Ulm Cathedral (6-0)
2 (2) Mahnomen (6-0)
3 (3) Adrian (6-0)
4 (4) Dawson-Boyd (6-0)
5 (T6) Braham (6-0)
6 (T9) Fillmore Central (6-0)
7 (8) Fertile-Beltrami (6-0)
8 (T9) Deer River (6-1)
9 (5) Southland (5-1)
10 (NR) Ogilvie (6-0)
Others receiving votes: Goodhue, Minneota/Lincoln, Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Martin County West, Browerville

NINE-MAN

#1 (1) Edgerton/Ellsworth Flying (6-0)
2 (2) Ada-Borup (6-0)
3 (3) Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (6-0)
4 (6) North Woods (6-0)
5 (5) Ulen-Hitterdal (6-0)
6 (7) Spring Grove (6-0)
7 (8) Onamia (6-0)
8 (10) Eagle Valley (6-0)
9 (4) Hills-Beaver Creek (5-1)
10 (9) Nicollet (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Wheaton, Kittson County Central