John's Journal
Short Notes on a Hot, Humid Monday5/24/2010
I flipped around to several radio stations on my drive to MSHSL World Headquarters this morning, and the various weather forecasts on the various stations predicted high temperatures in Minnesota today of anywhere from 90 to 95 degrees.

The average high for May 24 in the Twin Cities is 73 degrees, so we are getting up there today. It’s going to be a warm week, so if you’re involved in spring sports as an athlete, coach or fan, try to find some shade, keep those fluids flowing and have fun!

Now, here are a couple short notes to kick off the week…

--FAMILY AFFAIR: Darby Carlson is the head baseball coach at Maple Grove Senior High. Today the Crimson are playing at St. Michael-Albertville in a game that could impact section seeding. Darby’s youngest son, Bryton, is a senior third baseman for St. Michael.

--SPORTSMANSHIP: Here’s an email that was sent from a softball official to MSHSL Associate Director Kevin Merkle…

Hello Kevin,

On Wednesday, May 19, I was the plate umpire for the varsity softball game at Osseo, vs. Elk River. During the course of the game, the Osseo pitcher, Becca Girvan, recorded her 1,000th strikeout. My partner and I were advised prior to the game that this milestone may have been reached. When it was, we stopped the game briefly so all her teammates and coaches could properly congratulate her. That was expected. What followed was not at all expected.

As the Osseo players were returning to their respective positions, the Elk River players and coaches proceeded single file to the mound and each offered their congratulations to Ms. Girvan. Near the front of that line was the young lady who had become the 1,000th strikeout victim. All in all, a very refreshing display of class and sportsmanship. Such events should not go unnoticed or unreported.

I don't know if the MSHSL distributes any sportsmanship awards during any regular season. If it does, Elk River High School would be a most worthy recipient. And if no such awards are not presented, Elk River is an ideal candidate to be the initial recipient of such an award.

Umpiring this game was my most rewarding experience as an official in years. I am most grateful to both schools.

Most sincerely,

Roy Kline
MSHSL Official #61351

Frazee's Brady Breitenfeldt: A "Walking Miracle"5/24/2010
Brady Breitenfeldt is a soft-spoken young man who doesn’t say much about the day he died for 17 minutes. People in the community of Frazee, however, know Brady is special.

“Every time I see him, I view him as a walking miracle,” said Frazee High School activities director Dave Trautman, one of several people who pitched in to save Brady’s life after the 11th grader collapsed during school on Jan. 14.

To see Brady not only back in school, but also chasing down fly balls in the outfield for the Hornets baseball team, is a testament to readiness and quick action by school personnel, Frazee first responders and medical professionals.

“I swear he was gone,” Trautman said. “They said he wasn’t receiving air on his own for 17 minutes.”

Brady was in teacher Tavia Schumacher’s chemistry class early that January afternoon. Students were sitting on the floor, completing worksheets when Brady began gasping and appeared to be having a seizure.

Schumacher sent a student to teacher Chuck Wake’s nearby science classroom, and Wake and Schumacher quickly assessed the situation.

“He was turning blue and purple,” said Schumacher, a second-year teacher. “It was very scary for everyone in the whole situation.”

Brady had experienced previous fainting episodes, attributed to low electrolytes. But this was much more serious than a simple fainting spell.

Trautman and principal Brian Koslofsky were called to the room and the other students were ushered out. Brady didn’t have a pulse and Wake began administering CPR with an automated external defibrillator that was on hand at the school in case of such an emergency. Frazee Police Chief Mike Lorsung and Frazee Rescue EMT Brian Bigger quickly arrived on the scene. After a second and third round of defibrillation, Brady’s pulse returned.

Brady was taken to the closest hospital, St. Mary’s Innovis Health in Detroit Lakes, and then to MeritCare Children’s Hospital in Fargo. He was unconscious for several days and there were fears that he had suffered brain damage, but miraculously he did not.

After undergoing tests at the University of Minnesota, Brady was diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder called Long QT Syndrome. An internal defibrillator was surgically implanted near his heart and he was cleared to not only play baseball, but to return to wrestling, which is his favorite sport.

Brady said he remembers nothing from the day he collapsed.

“I just woke up and they told me what happened,” he said. “I had no idea what happened. I’m pretty lucky (school staff and rescue personnel) were all there. They knew what they were doing.”

A couple weeks later, Brady was back in school.

“It was just kind of a relief to have him walk in the room,” Schumacher said. “He’s outgoing when he knows people but he’s kind of a shy kid. It was like, ‘Hey Brady.’ It was good to have him back, and it was awesome to have him back with his friends, joking around. There are quite a few wrestlers in that class. Once they knew he was coming back and there was no brain damage, it was like a weight was lifted off their shoulders.”

Trautman summed up the entire experience in simple terms.

“It’s unbelievable.”

--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

Adapted Bowling: 'The Highlight of the the Year'5/22/2010
I have attended and written about all manner of sporting events over the years, but nothing compares to Friday’s MSHSL state adapted bowling tournament. The event was held at Brunswick Lanes in Eden Prairie.

One of the first people I saw upon arriving was Alexandria athletic director David Hartmann. He said, “This is the highlight of the year.” Truer words were never spoken.

I can’t imagine a more rollicking, fun-filled event than what I witnessed Friday. All 40 lanes were used from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, with cheers erupting everywhere. Parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors packed the place as everyone watched with pride and cheered their hearts out.

The competition is split into two divisions: CI (cognitively impaired) and PI (physically impaired). Singles, doubles and team events are held. This was more than a full day of bowling, with warm-ups beginning at 8:45 a.m. and the action going nearly non-stop until the final awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Adapted bowling tournaments have been sponsored by the MSHSL since 2000. Other adapted sports include soccer, floor hockey and softball. There are no better examples of sportsmanship and celebration anywhere in the sports universe than at these wonderful events.

This is one of those activities to which words do not do justice. So along those lines, we have posted some photos from adapted bowling on the MSHSL Facebook page. They provide a glimpse into the atmosphere, spirit and sportsmanship of “the highlight of the year.”

--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
Henry Sibley’s Dasovich Named Boys’ Basketball Coach at Minnetonka5/21/2010
Tom Dasovich, who shaped the Henry Sibley boys’ basketball program into one of the most successful in Minnesota, is leaving the Mendota Heights school to become head coach at Minnetonka.

Dasovich is a former teacher and assistant coach at Minnetonka, and his home is very close to the high school. His wife, Leah, who teaches English at Minnetonka, is a former Skippers junior varsity girls’ basketball coach. Tom Dasovich will teach ninth- and 10th-grade social studies

He replaces former coach John Hedstrom, for whom he once worked as an assistant. Hedstrom resigned earlier this year as coach and athletic director. Dasovich met with his Henry Sibley players after school Thursday to inform them that he was leaving, and held his first meeting with the Minnetonka players before school Friday.

He said telling the Henry Sibley team that he was exiting “was the worst part of the whole deal.”

Dasovich brings a strong track record to the job. Taking over a Henry Sibley program that had never won more than 16 games in a season, Dasovich led the Warriors to the Class 4A state tournament in each of the past three years.

“Everybody at Henry Sibley was wonderful to me,” Dasovich said in a telephone interview Thursday night. “I can’t imagine having a better six years. The fact that we got to go to three state tournaments was great. It would have been nice to win a state title, but we did our best. From where the program was when I took over to where I’m leaving it now, I’m proud of the work we did at Henry Sibley.”

Dasovich, a graduate of Hopkins High School and St. Cloud State University, spent two years at the head coach at Columbia Heights before moving to Henry Sibley for the 2004-05 season.

In Dasovich’s first season, the Warriors tied a school record with 16 victories. A year later they won 17 games, followed by 21 in his third season. In 2007-08 the Warriors finished with a 26-6 record, their first conference championship in 35 years, a first-ever section championship and a state runner-up finish in Class 4A. In 2008-09 the Warriors once again broke a school record for wins (27-3) and captured conference and section titles before losing in the first round of the state tournament. Last season, Henry Sibley was 25-7 and finished third in the state tournament.

“It was an easy decision, but then again it wasn’t because of how good the people at Henry Sibley have been to me,” he said. “I like to say that I’m treated like a small-town coach in the metro area. I sometimes don’t pay for meals in Mendota Heights. I don’t think they keep track of these things, but I guarantee you at Henry Sibley we had the biggest crowds at our home games and at the state tournaments, and it wasn’t that way six years ago. That’s the tough part of leaving. Even if I’m very, very successful at Minnetonka, I don’t know if I’ll have that again. It was a special six years, a special time for me.”

Dasovich’s home is a short drive from Minnetonka High School, and he and his wife have a 4-year-old daughter who will attend Minnetonka schools.

Minnetonka won the 4A state title in 2007-08, including a 68-59 victory over Henry Sibley at Target Center in the championship game. The Skippers were 12-14 a year later and finished 14-14 last season, with Hedstrom stepping aside for undisclosed reasons in January.

Dasovich’s new job will bring him back to the Classic Lake Conference, where he played at Hopkins High School for coach Ken Novak Jr., whose team has won the past two 4A state titles. He and Novak are good friends, and now conference coaching rivals.

“In terms of my family decision, and from a basketball standpoint, it wasn’t a hard decision,” Dasovich he said. “The biggest thing is that I feel Minnetonka really has a chance to be the best program in the state of Minnesota, with the facilities and resources and just a district-wide commitment to excellence. I’m going from a school that was 55th (in size) out of 64 teams in 4A and Minnetonka is fifth or sixth. At this point it’s the type of job I’m ready for. Minnetonka has a great basketball tradition and I really want to turn it into the best program in the state.”

--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

Q & A: Bloomington Jefferson Senior Jacob Sandry (Part II)5/20/2010
Q: What do you do as a peer tutor?

A: I try to help out students who have trouble in school, like ADHD, which is something I had pretty bad, especially in elementary school, so I know what it is. I basically tutor them fourth hour, it’s kind of like a learning lab thing. It’s really cool because it’s kids I never really would have interacted with before, but now I’ve built a lot of relationships with them.

Q: How has Oppositional Defiance Disorder affected you?

A: Basically I just like to argue with people, so that feeds into the debate aspect. In elementary school I had a lot of energy all the time, and I didn’t really want to pay attention in school, I just wanted to yell at the teacher. I was definitely like the kid who was going to end up in jail every day. I think the fact that I’ve been involved in so many things – running, debate, Global Unity Project, rigorous classes – has put that balance so I can spread out my energy to each one. That’s why running is such a great thing; I can dissipate my energy so I can really focus.

Q: What will you do in your year off from school?

A: My year off will start when I graduate, in Kansas City (at the national debate tournament). That will be really fun. Then I’ll be in the Twin Cities. I work at TC Running Company, which is cool. I’m also going to be volunteering in some political campaigns; the governor’s race and my local state house seat. That’ll be until about January, and hopefully I’ll have enough money to go to South America on a program where you travel, learn Spanish and volunteer. I really want to learn Spanish, I want to see things and do things like climb Machu Picchu, sail across Lake Titicaca, all this cool stuff. But the real meaningful part is the volunteer work that they do. That would be for three or four months, and after that I’m going to go to Ethiopia for two or three months, doing a program called Running Across Borders. It’s an organization that takes Ethiopians and trains them to be either elite distance runners or other jobs in the running community; sell shoes, be a personal trainer, be an agent, be in advertising, all these economic opportunities for these people who make $300 a year. It’s a cultural exchange where I pay my money to stay there, and it’s less than $1,000 a month for food, board, training with the fastest runners in the world and the best coaches in the world, and getting to experience this great culture.

Q: After the year off, where will you go to college?

A: Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. It’s a small liberal arts school with a really big focus on activism, and that’s really the number one thing that drew me to it. Activism is really the main thing, and I love running and I love the coach at Swarthmore. The coach, Pete Carroll, is a really cool guy.

Q: After college, do you have a career goal?

A: It’s going to be something along the lines of helping other people. I’m really interested in political science and politics, that’s why I’m volunteering on some campaigns. Swarthmore has a lot of stuff that’s about activism, getting involved in politics, that kind of thing. I think that I’m really going to thrive there.

--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