John's Journal
Taking Some Monday Down Time … But It Won’t Last Long3/7/2011
Happy Monday to one and all from MSHSL World Headquarters. It’s pretty peaceful in the office today, although a few ears are still ringing from the enthusiastic crowds on hand Saturday at the state wrestling and boys swimming and diving championships.

As the five-week run of winter state tournaments continues, this is boys hockey week. The action will kick off at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday with the Class 1A quarterfinals and the 2A schools will hit the ice on Thursday. All semifinals will be played Friday and the state champs will be crowned on Saturday.

If you want to put in a vote for your favorite team, you can do so on the MSHSL Facebook page. Just for fun, we have posted polls where you can vote for the teams you think will win the 1A and 2A hockey titles.

The basketball postseason is also heating up this week with section tournaments. Following this week’s hockey tournament, we will exit the Xcel Energy Center (home of girls hockey, wrestling and boys hockey) and shift over to Williams Arena and Target Center for the state basketball tourneys. The girls tournament will be held March 16-19 and the boys tourney will be March 23-26.

Have a great week!

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 503
*Miles John has driven: 8,379

--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
Class 1A Boys State Hockey Seedings and Pairings3/5/2011
Class 1A boys state hockey pairings …

Wednesday’s quarterfinals:

11 a.m./ #2 seed Hermantown (23-3-2) vs. Alexandria (12-15-1)

1 p.m./ #3 seed Rochester Lourdes (24-3-1) vs. Hibbing (17-9-2)

6 p.m./ #1 seed St. Thomas Academy (22-6) vs. New Ulm (21-4-2)

8 p.m./ #4 seed Breck (20-8) vs. Thief River Falls (19-8-1)
Class 2A Boys State Hockey Seedings and Pairings3/5/2011
Class 2A boys state hockey pairings …

Thursday’s quarterfinals:

11 a.m./ #2 seed Edina (18-7-1) vs. Blaine (20-4-4)

1 p.m./ #3 seed Duluth East (22-5) vs. White Bear Lake (21-5-2)

6 p.m./ #1 seed Eden Prairie (21-5-2) vs. Lakeville North (13-14-1)

8 p.m./ #4 seed Eagan (20-6-2) vs. Moorhead (18-7-2)
What A Saturday: A Whirlwind of Wrestling, Swimming And Hockey3/5/2011
Saturday was one of those days that people like me know are coming. When things slow down a bit -- usually during the midst of the regular season in whatever season it happens to be – you think ahead to the madness that will soon arrive.

On Saturday, the madness struck with full force. And oh, what a great day it was.

While wrestlers were battling their way through the consolation brackets in the state tournament on Saturday morning at Xcel Energy Center, conference calls were held with the coaches who will bring their boys hockey teams to the X for the upcoming state tourney. Seedings were announced, the pairings were drawn and the hockey tournament brackets were revealed to the world.

By noon Saturday the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center was a beehive of activity. That’s where the boys swimming and diving season culminated with the state meet. And the wrestling season came to its usual fun-filled finish with individual state champs being crowned.

Three sports, championship Saturday for two of them and setting up a great tournament for the third one. Busy, busy, busy. Befitting the times, I received this message via the famed worldwide web on Saturday evening: “John-Does your family get to see you any time in the next month?”

I replied: “They can see me whenever it's convenient. Except for days, nights, weekends and holidays.”

--Apple Valley crowned seven individual wrestling champs, and four of them own a combined 14 state titles. Destin McCauley (152 pounds, pictured at left) became the fourth wrestler in history to win five titles, and Dakota Trom (125), Matt Kelliher (135) and Brandon Kingsley (140) each won for the third time. Mitch Bengston of St. Cloud Apollo also captured a third gold medal.

Over at the state swim meet, Fergus Falls won the Class A team title with a one-point advantage over St. Thomas Academy. The final standings looked like this: 1. Fergus Falls 205. 2. St. Thomas Academy 204. 3. Breck/Blake 201. 4. Monticello 168. 5. Richfield 162.

In Class AA, Minnetonka claimed the team championship. Those team standings: 1. Minnetonka 253.5. 2. Eden Prairie 248. 3. Edina 232.5. 4. Rochester Century 154. 5. Mounds View 137.

--I had some darn good company Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. One of the best things about my job with the MSHSL is spending time with aspiring journalists from high schools all over Minnesota. A Breckenridge High School junior named Turner Blaufuss hung out with me during the wrestling tournament, and we chatted about sports, journalism and lots of other fun stuff. Turner was actually in town to cheer for Breckenridge junior 160-pounder Stephen Erlandson (who took home a second-place medal in Class 1A), and he drank Cokes while I kept up my usual pace of consuming Diet Cokes.

--One of the best things about state tournaments is running into people you haven’t seen in a long time. That’s exactly what happened Saturday when I bumped into Wild goalie coach Bob Mason at the Xcel Center. Mason had the same job at the University of Minnesota during my days as a college hockey writer. We had a nice chat and promised to meet up again during the boys state hockey tournament … which is just a few days away.

Will the madness ever end? I sure hope not.

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 12 for the tournament, 28 for the winter tournaments.

To see photo galleries from the state wrestling and swimming championships, click on the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 503
*Miles John has driven: 8,379

--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
Elissa Reinsma Loses a Match And Gains More Fans3/4/2011
The Big Story in the opening round of the state wrestling tournament Friday was Elissa Reinsma, who has become a well-known name in the sport. Two years ago as a sophomore at Fulda/Murray County Central, Elissa became the first female to qualify for the state tournament. She wrestled twice and lost both matches in 2009.

She was sidelined with a knee injury late last season, but she made it back to state this week. She drew a tough opening-round opponent in Foley sophomore Tristan Manderfeld, who is ranked second at 103 pounds in Class 2A and came to state with a season record of 41-1.

Elissa, who is not ranked, lost a 7-0 decision to Tristan on Friday morning. (Tristan is on the left and Elissa on the right in this photo.) That put her record at 32-6 and put her in waiting mode; if Tristan advances through Friday evening’s quarterfinals, Elissa will remain alive in the tournament’s wrestleback bracket and have a chance to go home with a medal on Saturday.

There are two sides to many wrestlers, including Elissa. One side is the competitive side, where they work harder than most people can imagine and leave everything on the mat. The other side is the smiling, friendly side; it’s almost as if they turn a switch when the competition ends.

That was Elissa on Friday morning. She wrestled hard and lost to a talented wrestler. After the match, she was distraught. She knew she didn’t wrestle her best match, and her coach, Dan Blankenship, spent a lot of time with her in an Xcel Energy Center corridor. He told her she needed to realize that she probably would wrestle again later in the day, and that she could learn from the day’s first match.

A few minutes later Elissa met with a group of waiting reporters, shook hands with everybody and even managed to smile. The switch had been turned, at least temporarily.

“After getting down right away it got into my head,” Elissa said. “I hope I get a wrestleback. I don’t want to be one and out, and I don’t want to be two and out. If he goes on and wins it, I can say I lost to the champ.”

Blankenship said, “She’s just ticked off because she lost. That’s just like any other wrestler; they’re going to be mad when they lose. She gets frustrated, just like any wrestler does.”

After Fulda/Murray County Central’s Austin Kluis (125 pounds) and Jordan Anderson (171) competed in the opening round, the coaches and wrestlers returned to their hotel for some down time. They would be back at the Xcel Center in the evening, ready for the wrestlebacks if they qualified.

When I asked Elissa about her goals for the tournament, it was clear they had changed with the opening-round loss.

“Just to place,” she said.” Obviously a goal would be to win it, but placing now.”

Soon after talking to Elissa, I posted several photos from her match on the MSHSL Facebook page. One reader posted a comment that did a nice job of summing things up. The comment: “Great pictures. She looks great. Just like a wrestler ... nothing more. Glad I was able to see this to understand that she is just a wrestler.”

That is indeed correct. She is just another wrestler. One who loves to compete and hates to lose.

--Diet Coke Count: 2 for the day, 6 for the tournament, 24 for the winter tournaments.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 503
*Miles John has driven: 8,297

--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