John's Journal
Sportsmanship, Friendship And Little Else Matters2/22/2020
I really never anticipated ever typing the word "Oboshinotentoten." In fact, until this weekend I had never heard the word "Oboshinotentoten." And don't you dare ask me to pronounce it.

According to a Google search conducted from the Xcel Energy Center press box Saturday evening during the girls state hockey tournament, "Oboshinotentoten" is a hand-clapping game that's played in a circle.

Now that I can confirm.

Let's retrace our steps and walk down a hallway from the Xcel Energy Center to Roy Wilkins Auditorium. That was the site of the state gymnastics championships Friday and Saturday … making the weekend quite convenient for anyone wanting to see both tournaments. A few minutes before Friday's Class A (small-school) team competition began in the 88-year-old showplace, all the gymnasts were having fun together.

Normally, you might expect to see athletes pacing, stretching, going through their routines … you know, being nervous as heck. Not these kids from Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Mankato West, Worthington, St. Paul Highland Park, Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka, Willmar, Big Lake and Perham.

Every one of them was sitting in a big circle on a concrete floor in an area that was off limits to the fans. They were all smiling and singing, "Oboshinotentoten, hey, hey, I am a boom, boom, boom, Eeny meeny oten toten, Oboshinotentoten Oboshinotentoten boom 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!" There was hand clapping and hand slapping involved, and it was quite remarkable to watch.

Then the time came for each team to be introduced, and one by one the squads walked through a gap in a big black curtain to the fans' cheers.

Now let's fast forward to about 27 hours later. The team competition was Friday and the individual events and all-around titles were decided Saturday. During the Class A awards ceremony Saturday, more remarkability was witnessed.

As the medalists were being named in each event, veteran public-address announcer Allie Cronk announced that there was a tie for second place on the uneven bars. As she said the words "From Detroit Lakes, Jackson Hegg" and "From Perham, Jada Olsen" … well, there was a sparkling moment of sportsmanship and friendship.

Jackson and Jada – like all the gymnasts, sitting with their teams in the floor exercise area – stood up and instantly gravitated to each other. They held hands as they bounced toward the podium, jumped up on the second-place spot and hugged one of the most beautiful hugs you'll ever see. They smiled the entire time.

And then came the capper. In the all-around competition, the final award of the meet, Jackson wore that same giant smile when she was announced as the second-place finisher. She returned to that same No. 2 spot on the podium and a silver medal was placed around her neck.

And then, the all-around champion was announced. It was her friend, Jada Olsen of Perham. Jackson stood on the podium and cheered, positively roared, in approval as Jada walked up to the podium. Another hug and more great big beautiful smiles followed.

In fact, everyone was smiling.

Oboshinotentoten to us all.

--See photo of the Oboshinotentoten circle on the MSHSL Facebook page.

MSHSL gymnastics individual championships

Class A top three

1 Jada Olsen, Perham
2 Jackson Hegg, Detroit Lakes
3 Becca Green, Annandale

1 Jada Olsen, Perham
2 Chloe Hughes, Winona/Winona Cotter
3 Alayna Schloeder, Rockford

1 Becca Green, Annandale
2 Taryn Sellner, Mankato West
3 Jackson Hegg, Detroit Lakes

Floor Exercise
1 Jackson Hegg, Detroit Lakes
2 Alayna Schloeder, Rockford
3 Jada Olsen, Perham

1 Becca Green, Annandale
2 (tie) Jackson Hegg, Detroit Lakes
2 (tie) Jada Olsen, Perham

Class AA top three

1 Bella Frattalone, Mahtomedi
2 Annika Lee, Park Center
3 Nadia Abid, Maple Grove

1 Bella Frattalone, Mahtomedi
2 Taylar Schaefer, St. Cloud Tech
3 Marley Michaud, Sartell-St. Stephen

1 Nadia Abid, Maple Grove
2 Kaitlyn Nguyen, Lakeville North
3 Hailey Tretter, East Ridge

Floor Exercise
1 Bella Frattalone, Mahtomedi
2 Grace Treanor, Wayzata
3 Annika Lee, Park Center

1 Anna Altermatt, Lakeville North
2 Annika Lee, Park Center
3 Marley Michaud, Sartell-St. Stephen

Girls state hockey tournament

Saturday's Class A games
Fifth place: Hutchinson 5, South St. Paul 3
Third place: Warroad 6, Rochester Lourdes 1
Championship: Breck 6, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 0

Class A Wells-Fargo All-Tournament Team
Lilie Ramirez, South St. Paul
Alex Hantge, Hannah Ladwig, Hutchinson
Sydney Phaneuf, Geno Hendrickson, Karlie Meeker, Warroad
Tenley Stewart, Taylor Nelson, Araya Kiminski, Cloquet-Esko Carlton
Olivia Mobley, Ava Lindsay, Emily Zumwinkle, Breck

Class A Herb Brooks Award winner
Taylor Nelson, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton

Saturday's Class AA games
Fifth place: Roseau 4, Hill-Murray 0
Third place: Minnetonka 3, Maple Grove 1
Championship: Andover 5, Edina 3

Class AA Wells-Fargo All-Tournament Team
Memphis Mertens, Roseau
Brooke Cassibo, Maple Grove
Hanna Baskin, Maggie Nicholson, Brynn Dulac, Minnetonka
Peyton Hemp, Jamie Nelson, Kennedy Little, Gabby Krause, Andover
Tella Jungels, Hannah Chorske, Vivian Jungles, Edina

Class AA Herb Brooks Award winner
Anika Stoskopf, Roseau

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea" wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Big Lake Gymnasts Win Class A Team State Title 2/21/2020
The word, the plan, the theme for the Big Lake gymnastics team Friday was "normal." The Hornets came into the Class A team championships at Roy Wilkins Auditorium carrying the state's No. 1 ranking and high hopes for the school's first team gymnastics title since 2000.

"We kind of just had been talking about being normal," said co-coach Nikki Dilbert. "We've been hitting these things all season long, we've been at the top all season long. We won our true team state meet already, we have that under our belt and we just really wanted to focus on doing our best.”

That's exactly what the Hornets did. They finished with a first-place score of 146.825, which was enough to hold off runner-up Perham (144.925) and third-place Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka (144.375).

Big Lake came in as the Section 7 champ. Other than New Prague in 2013, the Class A state champion had come from current Section 8 schools every year since 2003. Perham put together a streak of eight consecutive championships from 2004 until 2011, and through last year Detroit Lakes had won five titles in a row. The Lakers finished third in the Section 8 meet this year behind Perham and Melrose.

Big Lake's big day was built on a foundation that was a long time in the making.

“It actually started four years ago with this group of kids,” said co-coach Lanny Goldsmith. “We had a couple of seniors on that team four years ago that were really good leaders and kind of set the tone for these kids, and we finished second two years in a row in our section and didn't get to experience this.

“I think those lessons, those failures if you call it that, led this team to be where they are now; we had been through those experiences at big meets and not come out on top. I think this was just the culmination of four years of hard work. I don't think it was a surprise to us, we knew how hard these kids have been working.”

Big Lake activities director Logan Midthun called the championship “a testament to what this program is and what our coaches and kids do. It's a team that has a GPA of over 3.8, so it's just a great group of kids who have been working hard and led by a great group of seniors. We're really proud of them.”

The state championship event had been held at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion for more than a decade. Because the Pavilion was not available this week, it returned to Roy Wilkins Auditorium for the first time in 12 years. Roy Wilkins provides enhanced floor space, with fans watching from a balcony that encircles the arena on three sides.

Big Lake brought six buses carrying more than 250 students to cheer for the Hornets.

“With the fans being up so high, I think it was really cool and I think the kids really felt the energy, especially from our fans that were awesome today,” Goldsmith said. “I mean, it's awesome, oh my gosh. Being in this venue was really fun.”

Class A team results

1 Big Lake 146.825
2 Perham 144.925
3 Watertown-Mayer/MW 144.375
4 Mankato West 144.150
5 Worthington 141.300
6 Pine Island/ZM 141.075
7 Willmar 139.900
8 St. Paul Highland Park 131.325

Lakeville North Repeats As AA Champ

Lakeville North won the Class AA team championship for the second year in a row and the third time in four years. The Panthers had a score of 149.975. Finishing second was Sartell-St. Stephen with 147.975 and third was Northfield with 146.350.

Class AA team results

1 Lakeville North 149.975
2 Sartell-St. Stephen 147.975
3 Northfield 146.350
4 East Ridge 145.050
5 Mahtomedi 144.825
6 Cambridge-Isanti 144.675
7 Wayzata 143.950
8 Elk River-Zimmerman 143.575

--Individual event competition will be held Saturday.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Hockey And Music: Farmington’s Husband And Wife Team2/20/2020
This article appeared here on John's Journal during the girls state hockey tournament a year ago. With Farmington returning to the tournament in 2020, let’s revisit the Holmes family.

Thursday was an exciting day for the Holmes family. Jon Holmes stood on the bench at Xcel Energy Center as head coach of the Farmington High School girls hockey team. Erin Holmes stood in front of the giant Farmington pep band, directing them during the Tigers’ Class 2A state quarterfinal game against Andover.

Jon and Erin’s three sons -- ninth-grader William, third-grader Henry and kindergartener Duke – cheered for the Tigers ... the hockey players as well as the musicians.

This was a special day, but most days are hectic when one parent is coaching a sports team, the other is coaching musicians and their children are busy with school and activities.

"I don’t want to say it’s chaotic because my wife is such a good planner,” Jon said. “But there’s always something to do. I’m a head coach in two sports (also boys golf), and she’s busier than I am. Life in the house is certainly interesting.”

Jon is a 1999 Farmington graduate who was the school’s male athlete of the year as a senior, lettering in hockey, golf, tennis and cross-country. They met when Erin, a musician since her days as a student at Bethlehem Academy in Faribault, was on a Farmington faculty committee interviewing candidates for a social studies teaching job. Jon was interviewed and hired.

“We started dating a year or so later, got married a couple years later, and we just keep getting busier,” Erin said.

The unseeded Farmington Tigers, making their sixth state tournament appearance, lost to second-seeded Andover 7-1 Thursday. Farmington will play unseeded White Bear Lake in Friday’s 10 a.m. consolation game at TRIA Rink.

“We didn’t really have our best stuff. Everything kind of went haywire,” said Jon, whose team is the youngest in the tournament with three seniors, three juniors, six sophomores, four ninth-graders and four eighth-graders.

While he was in charge of 20 hockey players, Erin and co-band director Bradley Mariska were leading 190 talented musicians.

The band played a wide variety of songs, including Escape (the Pina Colada song), Eye of the Tiger, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up), and of course the school song.

Afterwards, Jon admitted that in the midst of the game he didn’t have a chance to focus on the band.

“I notice it more when we’re scoring because they play our school song,” he said. “And at home games, definitely, because we walk right through them to our benches.”

Farmington has nine different bands during the school day, with marching band offered as an after-school extracurricular option. Erin is in charge of two jazz bands, two concert ensembles, is director of the marching band and teaches individual lessons.

Last year she was named the first female jazz chair of the Minnesota Music Educators Association and one of School Band and Orchestra Magazine's 50 Directors Who Make a Difference.

If there is a typical day during the hockey season in the Holmes household, it goes something like this: Erin leaves home first because her teaching day begins earlier than Jon’s. After school Jon goes to hockey practice and Erin picks up their boys.

“We high-five each other and run our kids around to where they need to go,” Erin said. “And meet up at the end of the day and catch up.”

The night before the state tournament began, the two of them had some quiet time together while the boys were being watched by grandparents. Since their jobs are very similar – coaching, directing, mentoring, positively influencing young people – they talked about some of those themes.

“We must have had a two-hour conversation about culture and how things can really get turned in certain directions from certain events,” Jon said. “And obviously because it’s a state tournament we were talking about how this was going to be positive for the little kids.

“I’ve been to their band camps, watching her and Brad Mariska run their camps. I just take notes. She loves to sit and watch our practices. It’s really cool.”

Erin said, “We compare each other’s philosophies a lot. Music certainly relates to sports and we talk a lot about what we’re doing. These are very much team efforts, very much family-oriented situations, where you lean on each other and push each other to get better. Band is just like any sport.

“It’s such a great relationship when you’ve got each other’s passions in your hands. We feel very much supported by each other.”

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.
Girls State Hockey Update2/20/2020
Girls state hockey tournament
At Xcel Energy Center

Class A
Wednesday's quarterfinals
Warroad 7, Willmar 4
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2, Hutchinson 0
Breck 8, Luverne 1
Rochester Lourdes 2, South St. Paul 1

Thursday’s consolation games at TRIA Rink
Hutchinson 9, Willmar 4
South St. Paul 8, Luverne 4

Friday’s semifinals
11 a.m.: Warroad vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
1 p.m.: Breck vs. Rochester Lourdes

Class 2A
Thursday’s quarterfinals
Andover 6, Farmington 0
Minnetonka 7, Roseau 2
Edina 4, Burnsville 0
Maple Grove 3, Hill-Murray 2

Friday’s consolation games at TRIA Rink
10 a.m.: Farmington vs. Roseau
Noon: Burnsville vs. Hill-Murray

Friday’s semifinals
6 p.m.: Andover vs. Minnetonka
8 p.m.: Edina vs. Maple Grove
Girls State Hockey Tournament2/19/2020
At Xcel Energy Center

Wednesday's quarterfinals
Warroad 7, Willmar 4
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2, Hutchinson 0
Breck 8, Luverne 1
Rochester Lourdes 2, South St. Paul 1 (OT)

Thursday's consolation semifinals at TRIA Rink
10 a.m.: Willmar vs. Hutchinson
Noon: Luverne vs. South St. Paul

Friday's semifinals
11 a.m.: Warroad vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
1 p.m.: Breck vs. Rochester Lourdes

Thursday's quarterfinals
11 a.m.: Farmington vs. Andover
1 p.m.: Roseau vs. Minnetonka
6 p.m.: Burnsville vs. Edina
8 p.m.: Hill-Murray vs. Maple Grove