John's Journal
A New Look for Ellsworth High School8/11/2010
We all know Ellsworth as a powerhouse boys’ basketball program. The Panthers won Class A state titles in 2007 and 2008 and have been state runners-up three times since 2003.

I have been to the Ellsworth gymnasium, and it is a very special place. It has a distinct “Hoosiers” feel, with a stage on one side of the court (that’s where the scorer’s table is located) and the teams sitting on folding chairs in front of the stage. But the gym will have an updated look when the 2010-11 season begins, thanks to a new floor.

It’s a wonderful story, typical of people in our communities. The project was approved, money was raised and volunteer manpower did much of the work.

Steve Kellen, a longtime assistant boys’ basketball coach in Ellsworth and an all-around great guy, filled me in on the project this week via an email conversation. Here’s the short version of the story, thanks to Steve…

“About two months ago we got the OK to go ahead and replace our gym floor!!! The total bill for the gym project is $54,000. And that didn't include removal of the old floor. So on a Thursday evening we removed the old floor....took about three hours or so. The bad news was they put the old floor down with tar!!! So on that Friday we had to remove the tar to within 1/8 of an inch....we got it done but it took all of a day to do so.

“The new floor is down and sanded. We had to raise $27,000 for the project and the school would kick in the rest. We have exceeded our half. (Ellsworth alum) Curt Schilling was the main person behind the push for the new floor. He was our junior high boys coach two years ago and last year was the head girls coach in Ellsworth. After he started the push for it he accepted the A.D. job and head boys basketball coaching position in George-Little Rock, Iowa. But he was committed to getting the floor...even if he wasn't coaching in Ellsworth. The idea was to find 27 $1,000 contributors and put their names on a banner in the gym. We got the OK to go forward with the project on a Monday night and by that Friday of graduation we had raised $16,000. We have taken contributions from as small as a few bucks to a $5,000 donation from a soft drink distributor.

“The townfolk/players/coaches are really excited about this improvement. Without all the manpower since the second week of July (removing of the old floor) none of this could be possible. I'd like to know what they would have charged to remove the old floor for us...I bet big bucks!!!! But between players, coaches, parents of both boys and girls programs we got it done and saved a buck besides. I hope you can make it done this winter to see it ... you saw the old floor and won't believe the new floor!!”

Well done, Ellsworth. Congratulations!

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at

Maxson Named Eastview Gymnastics Coach8/11/2010
Eastview High School has named Ashley Maxson head gymnastics coach. Maxson will replace longtime head coach Jodi Ramboldt, who has resigned after a very successful tenure as the leader of the Eastview program.

Maxson, a 2003 Eastview graduate, has coached youth and high school gymnastics for seven years. She has worked as an assistant coach at Eastview for the past five seasons.

Maxson competed as a varsity gymnast at Eastview for five years from 1998-2003 and ended her career as one of the most highly decorated gymnasts in school history. She was a five-year varsity letter winner, five-time all-conference selection, five-time state tournament entrant (placing as high as third in All Around), four-time team MVP and two-time All-State “Elite” gymnast. She also accomplished the extremely rare feat of being a four-time section champion in the All-Around competition.

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to lead a program I have been a part of as both an athlete and assistant coach,” Maxson said. “I am looking forward to continuing to build upon a successful program both in and out of the gym. This is a proud moment for me, as being named the head gymnastics coach at Eastview is a dream come true.”

MSHSL Board Supports Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association8/10/2010
Good afternoon from Deerwood, where the MSHSL board of directors has just concluded its first meeting of the 2010-11 school year.

A federal court has upheld the WIAA’s right to sign exclusive contracts for internet coverage of state tournaments, and Gannett Co. Inc. and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association have appealed that decision. The WIAA sued Gannett and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association in 2008 after the Appleton Post-Crescent produced online streaming coverage of four football playoff games without the WIAA's permission.

Also at today’s meeting, held at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Conference Center…

*Due to increasing fees for the use of Xcel Energy Center (hockey) and Target Center (basketball) during state tournaments, the board voted to increase ticket prices by $2 for adults and $1 for students at those arenas.

*Board president Les Zellmann discussed an initiative to make the League web site,, the central clearinghouse for all sports statistics and related information for all high schools in the state. That process is ongoing.

*Associate director Kevin Merkle made a presentation on football game scheduling, which is an issue for many schools. The use of “zero week” games – played one week earlier than the traditional start of the season – was discussed. If implemented, teams that play zero week games would have to take a week off from normal practice and games later in the season. Merkle also discussed the format for postseason football and several possible future scenarios.

*The board approved the use of a puck-like product called Felt Sliders in adapted floor hockey.

The next board meeting will be Oct. 7 at MSHSL headquarters in Broklyn Center.

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at

MSHSL Board of Directors to Meet Tuesday8/9/2010
The MSHSL board of directors will hold its first meeting of the 2010-11 school year on Tuesday. The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Ruttger’s Conference Center in Deerwood.

Board officers for 2010-11 are president Les Zellmann, athletic/activities director at St. James; vice president Mindy Sparby, athletic/activities director at Belle Plaine; and treasurer John Schumacher, athletic/activities director at Park Rapids Area.

New board members are Ada-Borup superintendent/principal Mike Kolness, representing Regions 7-8A; Underwood principal John Hamann, representing the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals; Gilbert school board member Walt Hautala, representing the Minnesota School Boards Association; Rosemount athletic/activities director Mike Manning, representing Regions 3-4AA; Chisago Lakes athletic/activities director Perry Aadland, representing Regions 7-8AA; and Laurie Esau, a governor’s appointee from Orono.

The board of directors meets six times each year.

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at
A Sure Sign of Fall: Preseason Rankings8/4/2010
As we continue the countdown to the 2010-11 year in activities, the first preseason ranking has been released: Class 2A boys’ cross-country. We’ll follow up with rankings in other sports as they arrive.

Class 2A Boys’ Cross-Country Preseason Rankings
1 Eden Prairie
2 Wayzata
3 Burnsville
4 Edina
5 Moorhead
6 White Bear Lake
7 Totino-Grace
8 Stillwater
9 Owatonna
10 Lakeville North
11 Alexandria
12 St. Thomas Academy

Also received votes: Rosemount, Hopkins, Bloomington Jefferson, Forest Lake, Andover, Cambridge-Isanti, Roseville, Red Wing, Willmar

1 Aaron Bartnik 12 Eden Prairie
2 Cole O'Brien 11 Burnsville
3 Josh Thorson 11 Wayzata
4 Adam Zutz 12 St. Francis
5 Mohamed Mohamed 12 Eden Prairie
6 Aldis Inde 12 Edina
7 Christian Skaret 12 Minnetonka
8 Bryant Blahnik 12 Red Wing
9 Trent Lusignan 12 Shakopee
10 Steven Dado 12 Totino-Grace
11 Ben Saxton 11 Lakeville North
12 Lukas Gemar 12 Moorhead

Also received votes: Elliot Fenske 12 Farmington; Adam Braun 12 Totino-Grace; Tyler Olson 12 Maple Grove; Adam Moline 12 Wayzata; Kyle Bratrud 12 Eden Prairie; Wayde Hall 10 Stillwater; Shane McCallum 12 Rosemount; Glen Ellingson 11 Moorhead; Tom Linner 11 Stillwater

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at