John's Journal
Late Night Lacrosse (With Plenty Of Fluids)6/8/2011
When the final game horn sounded at around 11 p.m. Tuesday evening, the weather conditions were pretty darn decent … considering what had transpired earlier in the day. The temperatures leaped past 100 degrees in much of Minnesota, and Tuesday’s boys state lacrosse semifinal games were moved back one hour in order to make the conditions easier to handle.

The two semifinals – which had their starting times moved to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. – were worth the wait, too. Top-seeded and defending state champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s had its hands full before defeating fourth-seeded Burnsville 11-10, and second-seeded Eden Prairie got an unassisted goal by sophomore Jake Woodring with 10.8 seconds left in regulation to hold off No. 3 seed White Bear Lake 5-4.

Shortly before the first game began, the temperature on the artificial turf at Chanhassen High School was 120 degrees. Thus the sideline sights of extra buckets of water, coolers filled with ice and towels soaked in that ice.

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights began hydrating on Saturday, when their coaches took a look at the forecast. After all, athletes can’t start pounding the fluids on game day and expect to be prepared for the kind of conditions that Tuesday presented.

“It was a big concern,” said Benilde coach Colin Mulcahy. “With a heat index over 100, anything can happen. We didn’t want any of our boys to go down.”

Everyone appeared healthy after both games, thanks to smart preparation and teams of trainers and managers who kept the players hydrated, iced and sprayed with water.

The girls lacrosse state semifinals will take place at Chanhassen on Wednesday, with top-seeded Blake facing No. 4 seed Bloomington Jefferson at 6 p.m. and No. 2 seed Eden Prairie and No. 3 seed Stillwater meeting at 8 p.m.

The boys state tennis tournament also will continue Wednesday with team competition, before singles and doubles are held Thursday and Friday.

And the weather looks to be improving, which is about the best news of all.

--To see a photo gallery from the boys lacrosse semifinals, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 695
*Miles John has driven: 10,440

--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
State Tennis, State Track: The Busiest Spring Athlete In Minnesota6/8/2011
Some amazing stories are being told this week at the boys state tennis tournament. Probably the most well-known player is Ingrid Neel, a seventh-grade female who is part of the Class 2A boys championship team from Rochester Mayo. Montevideo senior Eric Johnson qualified for the 1A tournament with doubles partner Jesse Brace. Oh by the way, Eric has a prosthetic left leg as a result of a childhood accident.

And then there is Brendan “Beezer” Skime, who is the busiest athlete in Minnesota this week. The senior from Thief River Falls competed with his Prowlers tennis teammates as they finished fourth in the Class 1A tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday in Minneapolis. He’ll stay in town for the rest of the week, but he’s not finished competing at state.

Come Friday, Skime (right) will compete in the 3,200-meter run in the 1A state track meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. On Saturday he will run the 1,600 meters, and that will complete a high school career like few others. By the time Skime hits the finish line on Saturday, he will have competed in 12 different state tournaments in four sports.

He’s been to state six times in tennis (joining the varsity as a seventh-grader), three times in cross-country, twice in track and once in hockey. He’s especially busy in the spring, going to tennis practice after school and getting in some miles for track in the evening. He’s the only two-sport spring athlete in Thief River Falls for as long as anybody can remember.

“Sometimes it’s hard,” he said Wednesday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center, site of the 1A tournament. “You don’t get to spend time with friends when you have to practice with the tennis team and then do a running workout. But it’s still fun.”

About that nickname. When Brendan was young, his favorite hockey player was NHL goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, whose nickname was Beezer. “My dad shot a softball at me, it hit me and he said, ‘Bonk on the Beezer.’ It just stuck with me ever since.” I asked Brendan if anyone ever calls him Brendan. Answer: Negative. In fact, the lane assignments for the state track meet have him officially listed as “Beezer Skime.”

Beezer is not only a committed and experienced athlete, he also is talented. He placed 15th and ninth at state in cross-country the last two years and was 15th in the 3,200 at the state track meet last year.

“He manages everything real well,” said Thief River Falls tennis coach Tim Engelstad. “He’s an exceptional young man.”

Beezer didn’t join the track team until his junior year. It’s no surprise that Prowlers boys and girls track coach Lynn Dyer urged him to give it a try.

“I made it to state when I was a sophomore in cross-country and then I wanted to (join track) as a sophomore but it didn’t work out because it was too late,” Skime said. “My junior year the track coach, Lynn Dyer, said, ‘The 3,200 would be a good race for you.’ ”

Beezer will attend North Dakota State University in the fall and be part of the cross-country and track teams. He calls tennis his No. 1 priority because it’s the sport he has played the longest.

One of his toughest decisions came last month when the Section 8 tennis tournament coincided with a sub-section track meet. Beezer -- who qualified for state tennis as an individual last year (when the two sports didn’t have a section conflict) -- had to make a hard decision this year and he chose track.

“This year it didn’t work out,” he said. “It was tough.”

His senior year has been pretty special, considering that he will have competed in four state tournaments. But it all seems to be part of the plan.

“I’m always practicing and working out, trying to improve,” he said.

--I’ll be in North Mankato on Thursday and Friday for the state softball tournament and at Hamline on Saturday for the second day of state track. As always seems to be the case, weather may play a factor in the softball tourney at Caswell Park. There’s a 70 percent chance of rain in the Mankato area on Friday with a high temp of 59 degrees (out with the sunblock, in with the umbrella). But looking at the half-full glass, the conditions Thursday for softball and Saturday for track look outstanding. Cross your fingers, everybody.

--To see a photo gallery from the boys state tennis tournament, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 699
*Miles John has driven: 10,488

--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
Heat Alert: Boys Lacrosse Semifinals Delayed One Hour6/7/2011
Today's excessive heat, with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher, is having an impact on high school athletic events.

Today’s boys lacrosse state semifinal games at Chanhassen High School will begin one hour later than planned in order to make the conditions as safe as possible. The new schedule has Benilde-St. Margaret's and Burnsville playing at 7 p.m, followed by Eden Prairie vs. White Bear Lake at 9 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning. In addition, the turf field the game will be played on will be hotter than the air temperature. Tournament officials may also implement scheduled one-minute water breaks every four minutes during game time.

In southeastern Minnesota, today's Class 3A Section 1 baseball championship game between Rochester Century and Rochester Mayo has been moved back one hour (from 5 to 6 p.m.), also due to high temps.

If you're competing or cheering, please keep plenty of water on hand and keep an eye on each other. The weather is supposed to be much more confortable later in the week, so let's hope for better conditions.
MSHSL Board of Directors meeting is underway6/6/2011
The board’s June meeting has begun, and I’ll post a report once the meeting has ended.

This appears to be a fairly routine meeting, with few head-line grabbing possibilities. To see the agenda, look on the right side of mshsl.org for “League News.” The agenda is the first item under “Board of Director's Meeting Agenda - June 2011”

Board officers for the 2011-12 school year will be elected during this meeting.
Football in June? MSHSL Board Approves Plan For 2012 Season6/6/2011
Here we are in the midst of spring sports mania, and football is the main headline from today’s MSHSL Board of Directors meeting. Go figure.

The board approved the lineup of classes and sections for 2012, when a new class will be added for the largest 32 schools. Class 6A will consist of four eight-team sections. The biggest buzz surrounds a section that consists of Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Armstrong, Shakopee, Wayzata and Minneapolis South. Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Wayzata have combined to win six state titles in the past seven years.

(To see the full list of class/section assignments for 2012 football, go to mshsl.org and look on the right side under “Popular Links.” The first link is the one you want: “2012 Football Competitive Section Assignments”)

Two schools opted up for the 2012 football season. Cretin-Derham Hall will play in 6A and Totino-Grace (which had already opted up to 5A for 2011) also will play in 5A in 2012.

The board also approved one football rule change, requiring four players to be positioned on each side of the kicker when an onside kick is attempted, and that no contact by the kicking team can take place until the ball has traveled 10 yards.

In other news from the meeting…

--The board approved a motion to have the League become a presenting partner of FIRST robotics competition. Minnesota will be the first state in the nation to have a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and a high school activities governing body.

--The election of new board officers for 2011-12 took place. Mindy Sparby, Belle Plaine activities director, will be the board president; vice president will be Mark Fredericksen, Waconia principal; and treasurer will be Luanne Wagner, St. Francis assistant principal.

--Six board members whose terms have expired were recognized. They are Carol Bomben of Eden Prairie, Ray Kirch of Osseo, Brent Robbins of Golden Valley, John Schumacher of Park Rapids, Bill Webb of Edina and Les Zellmann of St. James. When the board meets in August, new members will be Scott McCready of St. Charles, Roz Peterson of Lakeville, Lane Powell of Fillmore Central, Mark Solberg of Cambridge-Isanti and John Soma of Edina. One appointee by the governor’s office remains to be decided.