John's Journal
Fall Sports Participants, Start Your Engines!8/14/2010
The dawn of a new year of high school sports and activities is upon us, and the full, complete, entire John’s Journal staff is gearing up to get things rolling.

Beginning bright and early Monday morning, I’ll be starting a quest to visit as many defending state championship teams and athletes as I can. The results will be stories and photos here on John’s Journal, with lots more photos (and videos) posted on the MSHSL Facebook page.

My Monday schedule has me visiting volleyball, cross-country and football teams in the metro area, and Tuesday will be an outstate trip to spend time with other defending state title squads. That will be the theme much of the next two weeks, as we follow teams and individuals while they gear up for the first competitions of the 2010 fall sports season. I won’t be able to visit every single defending state champion, but I’m going to spend time with as many as I can.

As always, the John’s Journal newsroom is looking for stories. If there is something happening at your school that you think might be of interest to people around the state (as well as the rest of the country and beyond), send an email to me at the address listed above.

And spread the word about the MSHSL Facebook and Twitter pages to your teammates, friends and relatives. They are the most immediate methods of sharing information between everyone who appreciates high school activities.

Let’s get started!

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

New London-Spicer Boys’ Basketball Coach Steps Down8/12/2010
As reported earlier today on the MSHSL Facebook page…

New London-Spicer boys' basketball coach Matt Cordes, who led the Wildcats to Class 2A state titles in 2008 and 2010, has resigned to take a position at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo, where he will be the director of campus ministries.

At Oak Grove, Cordes will teach Christian studies classes for grades six through 12, coordinate chapel services, plan and lead mission trips and develop and coordinate opportunities for Christian service at Oak Grove. Cordes received a bachelor’s degree in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. He has been the youth minister at Peace Lutheran Church in New London, Minn. for the last 12 years. Prior to his time at Peace Lutheran, he was a youth minister at Fron Lutheran Church in Starbuck, Minn, as well as Minnewaska Assembly of God in Glenwood, Minn. He has worked in a school system as a paraprofessional and was the head boys’ basketball coach at New London-Spicer for the last seven years.

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter at
Apple Valley Names Girls' Cross-Country Coach8/11/2010
This press release has arrived from Apple Valley:

Apple Valley High School is pleased to announce that Raedi Zimmer has been hired as the head girls' cross country coach. She replaces Andrea Gelle, who was recently hired as the head women’s track and field coach at St. Olaf in Northfield.

Zimmer has been an assistant coach with the cross-country program at Apple Valley High School for the past eight years. Additionally, she has been the sprint coach with the track and field team for 25 years. She is employed by District 196 as an occupational therapist working with special needs students.
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.”