John's Journal
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
The Countdown Has Begun8/2/2010
It’s time to start the countdown to the 2010-11 school year. August 16 is the first day of practice for fall sports, so the sands of summer are running out.

This question has been posted on the MSHSL Facebook page: “What will you be doing two weeks from today?” Folks have begun responding with their own comments, so feel free to add to the discussion.

Enjoy these last two weeks of summer!

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at
We Interrupt This Vacation to Honor Officials7/24/2010
Saturday was probably the biggest day in the history of sports officiating in Minnesota, and the ensuing days promise more of the same. The National Association of Sports Officials annual summit – July 25-27 at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis – was preceded by Saturday’s “Officiate Minnesota” gathering, a first-time event that brought together officials from all sports from all over the state.

Officiate Minnesota offered five different blocks of general and sport-specific 45-minute sessions. I removed myself from the vacation hammock and spent some time at Saturday’s event, which was unlike anything I have ever seen. A former baseball/softball official myself, I popped into several sessions and found them all to be interesting, educational and invaluable.

(To see a variety of photos from Officiate Minnesota, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.)

One of Saturday’s highlights was the keynote address by retired NFL official Jerry Markbreit. He talked about his career as a Big Ten and NFL official, but he began his career working touch football games in 1956, being paid three dollars a game.

Here is an excerpt from Markbreit’s speech:

“There’s nothing in the world like officiating. Seven men in the NFL walk into a stadium three hours before kickoff. Different races, different religions, different in every way. You get in that locker room and you take everything off. Out comes that magnificent zebra outfit, the uniform of the official. The uniform changes you from who you are in public to who you are in sport. That uniform transforms you. When I put that uniform on, I felt like Superman coming out of a phone booth. Out on that field to work a football game or a tennis match or a swimming meet or whatever.

"In the whole scheme of life, it meant maybe this much (he held two fingers about half an inch apart). But to the people involved, and the fans and the school and the families and teams and everybody else, it’s big stuff. And you’re doing it. What could be better? What could give you more reward inside than doing that job?”

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