John's Journal
If It's Monday, This Must Be Brainerd 5/3/2010
Yes, this dispatch is being filed from Brainerd, site of another in a series of MSHSL area meetings. After an early-morning departure from the Twin Cities, the MSHSL crew has arrived at The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes.

Administrators, along with several students here to learn about the Student Sports Information Directors program, are arriving and the meeting will begin at 10 a.m. After Howard Voigt and I speak to the entire group during the meeting, we will break off with the students and chat in another room.

Lunch will end the festivities, after which we will return back to headquarters. Be sure to look atTwitter and Facebook for photos from today.

Have a great Monday!

--John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook; simply search for “MSHSL” and become a fan
Analisa Huschle: Dancer, Singer, Track Champion4/30/2010
As you enter Bagley High School, one of the first things you see is a large banner that reads, “State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” The banner, courtesy of Gatorade, designates Analisa Huschle as Minnesota’s top female track athlete for 2008-09.

The folks in Bagley better make sure there is enough room for a couple more banners, because Huschle’s fame continues to grow.

The 17-year-old junior won the long jump, triple jump and 200-meter dash at last year’s Class A state track meet for the Bagley/Fosston cooperative team. She set an all-time state record in the long jump, going 19 feet, 2 ¼ inches.

Huschle is the favorite to win those events again at this year’s state meet, which will be held June 11-12 at Hamline University in St. Paul. She captured her first state title in the triple jump when she was a ninth-grader, and if she can win three events again this spring and do the same in her senior year, she would become a 10-time state track champion.

Her coach says we have yet to see the best from his young star.

“She actually has a long ways to go yet,” Doug Carlson said. “She has a lot of natural ability but it’s something we’re constantly working on, the technique in the jump events and things. Basically the sky’s the limit.”

Huschle realized as much in February when she worked out in front of former Gophers jump star and Olympian Shani Marks, a former Apple Valley High School athlete.

“She watched my form and she told me what I was doing wrong,” Huschle said. “Basically, I was doing everything wrong.”

That’s says something about Huschle’s athletic talent: she was “basically doing everything wrong” and still set a state record in the long jump.

“Shani kind of gave her some pointers,” Carlson said. “It was probably a little bit of an awakening, too, because she can do much more.”

Analisa already does a lot, on the track and off. She is a member of her school’s dance team during the winter (Question: Does dancing help make you a better track athlete? Answer: “I think so. We’re always kicking, doing leaps and stuff”) and she dreams of becoming a recording artist; she sings country music and plays the guitar.

Huschle won the long jump, triple jump and 200 at the recent Hamline Elite Meet, competing against athletes from some of the largest schools in the state. Bagley’s high school enrollment is only 258 and Fosston has 170 students.

“That was awesome,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well. There are bigger schools there, everybody’s there.”

Bagley/Fosston won last year’s Class A state team title, with Huschle's three titles accounting for 36 of the team’s 47 points (she teamed with Maria Berg, Kyli Day and Lynsey Bardwell to finish second in the 4x200 relay). It was the first team championship in any sport for Bagley, and the accomplishment by Huschle and her teammates is even more remarkable considering the track facilities in Bagley.

The track is little more than a wide gravel path. If it had lanes, there might be four of five of them. The athletes don’t wear spikes when running on the track. “You could, but there’s no point,” Huschle said.

Analisa, who has four older brothers, lives on a farm near Bagley with her parents, Dan and Kim. The farm is also the home of beef cattle and two horses.

As Huschle’s profile continues to rise, Division I colleges are showing interest in her. If she feels any pressure, she doesn’t show it. She just smiles and says her goals for the rest of this season are simple.

“Basically, I just want to keep improving,” she said.

That should not be a problem. In other words, prepare for more banners,

--John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook; simply search for “MSHSL” and become a fan

Red Wing's Nemanich Steps Down4/29/2010
Red Wing High School boys’ hockey coach George Nemanich has stepped down. Here are excerpts from a story by Ryan Nilsson in the Red Wing Republican Eagle:

After 18 years as the Red Wing boys’ hockey coach, George Nemanich resigned to devote his attention to his profession and his family. Nemanich led the team to one state championship and six state tournament appearances.

He finished with a 331-142-15 record behind the bench. He was just the team’s second coach since the program was launched in 1974.

Nemanich has been the assistant principal at Twin Bluff Middle School for the past three years and this year he added the role of Tower View School principal to his list of responsibilities. He took a three-year leave of absence as a high school social studies teacher for the administrative position and he has elected not to return to teaching.

Nemanich became head coach in the 1992-93 season. The Wingers appeared in five consecutive state tournaments beginning in 1995. Red Wing finished second in 1996 and won it all the next year.

--John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook; simply search for “MSHSL” and become a fan
Apple Valley's Scanlon Steps Down as Girls' Hockey Coach4/27/2010
Apple Valley High School has announced the resignation of Chuck Scanlon as the head girls' hockey coach. Scanlon will continue to teach at Apple Valley and serve as the head boys' soccer coach, where he has guided the team to eight state championships.

Coach Scanlon has been the only girls' hockey coach in the history of Apple Valley High School, starting as the ringette coach in 1992 and leading the transition to hockey in 1994-95. His team captured the nation’s first-ever girls' state hockey championship in 1995.

In 1998, his Eagles captured their second state championship, beating Hibbing in the first televised high school girls' hockey game. His overall record with the girls' program was 217-167-28.

Applications are now being accepted. Interested applicants can send a cover letter and resume to AVHS Athletics Director Pete Buesgens.
Report From the Road: Ponytails and Ticks4/27/2010
Good evening from Grand Rapids. Our three-pronged journey across northern Minnesota for MSHSL area meetings has taken us to Fergus Falls and Thief River Falls, and Wednesday morning we will host a meeting in Chisholm before motoring home.

We are spending this Tuesday night in Grand Rapids. About all you need to know – sports-wise – about this part of the state is the sign on the door of our hotel: “NO hockey sticks allowed in building.”

Here are a few other observations from the road …

--The finest radio station in Minnesota (at least in my mind) is Z103.3 FM in Fergus Falls. I don’t think they were tipped off that I was driving in their region, but everything they played – until I drove out of range – was right in my wheelhouse.

--I was zooming along a two-lane road Tuesday afternoon when I rolled up behind a mammoth tractor, pulling an equally mammoth plow. Growing up in a farming region, this was not a strange sight for me. But when I pulled up and passed the tractor, I was surprised to see what was bobbing behind the driver’s head: a big, bouncy, blonde ponytail. Whether it was a farm wife or a farm daughter, she was moving some big equipment.

--During our meeting this morning at the Best Western in Thief River Falls, another meeting was taking place in an adjoining room. The group was called “Golden Pioneers,” and the room filled with silver-haired gentlemen appeared to be having a grand time.

--If you haven’t seen the photo of the poolside sign from the Best Western on Facebook or Twitter, it’s worth a look. The sign says, “Crockpots or Potluck Not Allowed in Poolside.” OK, but can you swim with hotdish?

--On the car radio, I have heard weather forecasts for southern Manitoba as well as eastern Montana.

--I found a wood tick in my car today. Killed that sucker in a hurry.

--John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook; simply search for “MSHSL” and become a fan