John's Journal
Wrestling Team Rankings12/31/2019
From The Guillotine

CLASS 3A
1 Shakopee (2)
2 Stillwater Area (4)
3 St. Michael-Albertville (5)
4 Forest Lake (7)
5 New Prague (2)
6 Northfield (1)
7 Owatonna (1)
8 Wayzata (5)
9 Coon Rapids (7)
10 Woodbury (3)
11 Hastings (3)
12 Anoka (7)
Lean and Mean
Prior Lake (2), Farmington (1), Apple Valley (2), Bemidji (8), Blaine (7), Park (3), Waconia (6), Mounds View (4)

CLASS 2A
1 Simley (1)
2 Kasson-Mantorville (1)
3 Fairmont/Martin County West (3)
4 Marshall (3)
5 Perham (8)
6 Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield (6)
7 Foley (7)
8 Detroit Lakes (8)
9 Scott West (2)
10 Becker (6)
11 Thief River Falls (8)
12 Princeton (7)
Lean and Mean
Hutchinson (2), Totino-Grace (5), Tri-City United (2), Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus (8), Delano (2), Mora (7), South St. Paul (4)

CLASS 1A
1 LPGE-Browerville (5)
2 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (4)
3 Minnewaska Area (5)
4 Blue Earth Area (2)
5 Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (5)
6 Frazee (8)
7 Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (8)
8 Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie (6)
9 Canby (3)
10 Minneota (3)
11 Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (3)
12 Dover-Eyota (1)
Lean and Mean
Chatfield (1), Maple River (2), West Central Area/Ashby/Brandon-Evansville (6), Ottertail Central (6), Caledonia/Houston (1), Jackson County Central (3), Kimball Area (4), United North Central (8)
Girls Basketball Rankings12/31/2019
From Minnesota Basketball News

CLASS 4A
1. Hopkins (6) 8-0
2. Wayzata (6) 7-0
3. Farmington (1) 7-1
4. Park Center (5) 8-0
5. Centennial (5) 6-1
6. St. Michael-Albertville (8) 5-3
7. Maple Grove (8) 6-2
8. Rosemount (3) 7-1
9. Chaska (2) 5-2
10. Elk River (8) 5-3
11. Stillwater (4) 6-3
12. Shakopee (2) 5-2
13. Eden Prairie (2) 3-3
14. Minnetonka (2) 4-2
15. Lakeville North (3) 3-4
16. Roseville Area (5) 6-3
17. Burnsville (3) 5-2
18. Minneapolis South (6) 5-0
19. East Ridge (4) 6-2
20. Eastview (3) 3-4

CLASS 3A
1. Becker (5) 3-1
2. DeLaSalle (4) 2-3
3. Holy Angels (6) 4-3
4. Red Wing (1) 8-0
5. Austin (1) 8-1
6. Simley (3) 3-1
7. St. Paul Como Park (3) 4-2
8. Marshall (2) 6-0
9. Waconia (2) 3-3
10. Alexandria (8) 6-2
11. Hill-Murray (4) 4-4
12. Mahtomedi (4) 7-0
13. Mankato West (2) 4-2
14. St. Croix Lutheran (3) 5-1
15. Hermantown (7) 6-0
16. St. Peter (2) 6-1
17. North Branch (7) 6-0
18. Monticello (5) 3-1
19. Hutchinson (2) 4-1
20. Bemidji (8) 5-1

CLASS 2A
1. Sauk Centre (6) 6-1
2. Rochester Lourdes (1) 6-1
3. Duluth Marshall (7) 5-0
4. New London-Spicer (3) 6-0
5. Fergus Falls (8) 6-1
6. Minnehaha Academy (4) 7-2
7. Waseca (2) 5-1
8. Winona Cotter (1) 9-0
9. Proctor (7) 6-1
10. Pine City (6) 6-0
11. Lake City (1) 7-2
12. Medford (2) 7-0
13. Mesabi East (7) 6-0
14. Roseau (8) 6-0
15. Albany (6) 4-1
16. Eden Valley-Watkins (3) 4-2
17. Crookston (8) 7-0
18. Rockford (5) 6-1
19. Goodhue (1) 7-1
20. Annandale (5) 5-0

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota (3) 6-0
2. Cromwell-Wright (7) 6-1
3. Mountain Iron-Buhl (7) 3-1
4. Henning (6) 7-0
5. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (5) 5-1
6. Blooming Prairie (1) 4-0
7. Cherry (7) 6-0
8. Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (2) 7-1
9. Mayer Lutheran (4) 8-1
10. Hills-Beaver Creek (3) 6-0
11. Southwest MN Christian (3) 5-1
12. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2) 6-0
13. Central MN Christian (2) 5-1
14. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (8) 7-0
15. Hancock (6) 7-0
16. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo (8) 4-0
17. Parkers Prairie (6) 5-2
18. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart (2) 5-1
19. Park Christian (6) 6-1
20. Heritage Christian (4) 4-3from Minnesota Basketball News

CLASS 4A
1. Hopkins (6) 8-0
2. Wayzata (6) 7-0
3. Farmington (1) 7-1
4. Park Center (5) 8-0
5. Centennial (5) 6-1
6. St. Michael-Albertville (8) 5-3
7. Maple Grove (8) 6-2
8. Rosemount (3) 7-1
9. Chaska (2) 5-2
10. Elk River (8) 5-3
11. Stillwater (4) 6-3
12. Shakopee (2) 5-2
13. Eden Prairie (2) 3-3
14. Minnetonka (2) 4-2
15. Lakeville North (3) 3-4
16. Roseville Area (5) 6-3
17. Burnsville (3) 5-2
18. Minneapolis South (6) 5-0
19. East Ridge (4) 6-2
20. Eastview (3) 3-4

CLASS 3A
1. Becker (5) 3-1
2. DeLaSalle (4) 2-3
3. Holy Angels (6) 4-3
4. Red Wing (1) 8-0
5. Austin (1) 8-1
6. Simley (3) 3-1
7. St. Paul Como Park (3) 4-2
8. Marshall (2) 6-0
9. Waconia (2) 3-3
10. Alexandria (8) 6-2
11. Hill-Murray (4) 4-4
12. Mahtomedi (4) 7-0
13. Mankato West (2) 4-2
14. St. Croix Lutheran (3) 5-1
15. Hermantown (7) 6-0
16. St. Peter (2) 6-1
17. North Branch (7) 6-0
18. Monticello (5) 3-1
19. Hutchinson (2) 4-1
20. Bemidji (8) 5-1

CLASS 2A
1. Sauk Centre (6) 6-1
2. Rochester Lourdes (1) 6-1
3. Duluth Marshall (7) 5-0
4. New London-Spicer (3) 6-0
5. Fergus Falls (8) 6-1
6. Minnehaha Academy (4) 7-2
7. Waseca (2) 5-1
8. Winona Cotter (1) 9-0
9. Proctor (7) 6-1
10. Pine City (6) 6-0
11. Lake City (1) 7-2
12. Medford (2) 7-0
13. Mesabi East (7) 6-0
14. Roseau (8) 6-0
15. Albany (6) 4-1
16. Eden Valley-Watkins (3) 4-2
17. Crookston (8) 7-0
18. Rockford (5) 6-1
19. Goodhue (1) 7-1
20. Annandale (5) 5-0

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota (3) 6-0
2. Cromwell-Wright (7) 6-1
3. Mountain Iron-Buhl (7) 3-1
4. Henning (6) 7-0
5. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (5) 5-1
6. Blooming Prairie (1) 4-0
7. Cherry (7) 6-0
8. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (2) 7-1
9. Mayer Lutheran (4) 8-1
10. Hills-Beaver Creek (3) 6-0
11. Southwest MN Christian (3) 5-1
12. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2) 6-0
13. Central MN Christian (2) 5-1
14. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (8) 7-0
15. Hancock (6) 7-0
16. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo (8) 4-0
17. Parkers Prairie (6) 5-2
18. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart (2) 5-1
19. Park Christian (6) 6-1
20. Heritage Christian (4) 4-3
Boys Basketball Rankings 12/31/2019
From Minnesota Basketball News

CLASS 4A
1. Eden Prairie (2) 5-0
2. Cretin-Derham Hall (4) 6-1
3. Prior Lake (2) 3-1
4. East Ridge (4) 4-1
5. Park Center (5) 5-1
6. Shakopee (2) 4-0
7. Hopkins (6) 4-2
8. Eastview (3) 4-1
9. Tartan (4) 5-0
10. Spring Lake Park (5) 4-1
11. Rochester Mayo (1) 4-0
12. Lakeville South (1) 5-0
13. Chaska (2) 4-1
14. Lakeville North (3) 4-1
15. Robbinsdale Armstrong (6) 4-1
16. Edina (2) 4-2
17. Maple Grove (8) 4-0
18. Rosemount (3) 5-1
19. Blaine (7) 1-2
20. Osseo (5) 3-3

CLASS 3A
1. Minnehaha Academy (4) 3-2
2. DeLaSalle (6) 4-0
3. Mankato East (2) 5-1
4. Totino-Grace (4) 3-2
5. Marshall (2) 5-0
6. Austin (1) 4-1
7. Waconia (6) 4-2
8. St. Peter (2) 7-1
9. St. Cloud Apollo (8) 6-0
10. Mound Westonka (6) 5-1
11. St. Croix Lutheran (3) 3-2
12. Delano (5) 5-1
13. South St. Paul (3) 5-0
14. Columbia Heights (4) 4-0
15. Bloomington Kennedy (3) 5-1
16. Alexandria (8) 4-1
17. Holy Angels (3) 3-2
18. Grand Rapids (7) 4-1
19. Princeton (7) 3-2
20. Hermantown (7) 3-1

CLASS 2A
1. Waseca (2) 3-2
2. Caledonia (1) 6-0
3. Lake City (1) 5-1
4. St. Croix Prep (4) 5-0
5. Perham (6) 4-0
6. Minneapolis North (5) 3-2
7. Esko (7) 3-2
8. Cristo Rey Jesuit (4) 2-1
9. Pine City (6) 4-0
10. Osakis (6) 6-0
11. Minnesota Valley Lutheran (2) 7-0
12. Maranatha Christian (5) 4-1
13. Jordan (2) 2-2
14. East Grand Forks (8) 4-0
15. Stewartville (1) 4-1
16. Rockford (5) 7-0
17. Fergus Falls (8) 4-1
18. Eden Valley-Watkins (6) 4-1
19. Holy Family (5) 4-2
20. Moose Lake-Willow River (7) 6-0

CLASS 1A
1. Henning (6) 6-0
2. BOLD (2) 3-0
3. Ada-Borup (8) 4-0
4. Southwest MN Christian (3) 5-0
5. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2) 6-0
6. North Woods (7) 4-1
7. Hayfield (1) 3-1
8. West Central Area (6) 4-0
9. New Ulm Cathedral (2) 6-0
10. Cromwell-Wright (5) 4-0
11. Springfield (2) 3-1
12. Parkers Prairie (6) 3-0
13. Red Lake (8) 4-0
14. Randolph (1) 5-2
15. Mountain Lake-Comfrey (2) 3-0
16. Christ's Household of Faith (4) 4-1
17. Nashwauk-Keewatin (7) 4-1
18. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (5) 5-0
19. Clearbrook-Gonvick (8) 5-0
20. Blackduck (8) 4-1
One Coach, Two Teams: A Busy Season At Mountain Iron-Buhl12/17/2019
MOUNTAIN IRON – Last spring, the basketball season ended with the girls team from Mountain Iron-Buhl High School playing at state for the ninth year in a row. The Rangers are one of the premier Class 1A teams in Minnesota, with coach Jeff Buffetta in charge for two decades.

A group of coaches and their families, embarking on an Easter weekend vacation in San Diego, were car-pooling to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. During the three-hour-plus drive from the Iron Range, Buffetta turned to assistant coach John Villebrun and said, "I want to run something past you."

Luke Winans, the school's longtime athletic director, had stepped away from coaching the boys basketball team at the end of the 2018-19 season. Buffetta's proposal to Villebrun was simple: Would it be possible for Buffetta to coach both the girls and boys teams at the same time?

Villebrun told him, “You might be nuts. But you’re the only one who could pull it off.”

So here was Buffetta on Monday, directing the Rangers boys during practice from 3:20 until 5:15 p.m., watching the Rangers girls junior varsity play a home game against Esko, then resuming his coaching duties for the MIB-Esko girls varsity game. That was all after a full day of teaching fifth- and sixth-grade social studies and never leaving the school.

It was all in a long day’s work for the 1994 Mountain Iron-Buhl graduate who also has been on the coaching staffs for volleyball, football, softball, and track and field.

“I get to school early in the morning, and if I'm not coaching I’m usually here watching somebody else or scouting,” Buffetta said after the Rangers girls improved to 3-1 with a 70-42 win over the Eskomos.

Indeed, Buffetta and the girls team were back in the gym at 6 a.m. Tuesday for practice. The boys took a record of 5-1 into a game at Virginia that night, so having the girls practice before school allowed Buffetta – and Byron Negen, an assistant coach for both teams – to be there for the boys.

Scheduling was the main marker for deciding if coaching two teams was possible, said the 44-year-old Buffetta. The girls and boys play only one same-site doubleheader this season, and several games were rescheduled thanks to cooperation from other schools. The two teams hold separate practices.

There were no doubts regarding Buffetta’s coaching skills; he’s taken those nine girls teams to state tournaments, with Class 1A runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2017, he had a 457-136 career record coming into this season and was a 2017 inductee into the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

When Buffetta’s dual coaching job was announced, there was some skepticism but lots of excitement, especially among the players.

“I was pretty excited, to be honest,” said ninth-grader Asher Zubich, who led the boys team in scoring as an eighth-grader. “They made the schedules balance out, so we were getting just as much time and effort as the girls were. I just thought it was going to be great, and it’s been great. He pushes us hard in practice to make sure we're on top of our game.”

Buffetta had thought about coaching the boys at some point in his career. He has a daughter in fourth grade and a son in second grade, and the thought of coaching his son had some appeal. When Winans resigned, Buffetta considered simply moving over to the boys team, but he didn’t want to leave the girls program he had helped build.

“Mr. Winans did such a good job here and had such a good program,” Buffetta said. “I always knew that if he ever decided not to (coach), I knew I’d take a look at it and consider it. Making the complete switch from girls to boys really was hard to do right now in the middle of what our girls are doing.

“We have a good relationship with all these girls, they all work hard, I think it's been something special that we've done here and you just want to keep it going. And I hate to see somebody else come in and take the blame for not keeping it going. So if we were going to end up losing, it was going to be on my time and not somebody else's.”

Coaching two teams simultaneously does make for a hectic season. Practices and games make it busy enough, and Buffetta also is in the gym Saturdays for elementary basketball.

“It's just time management, that's all it is,” he said. “It’s scheduling for practices and games and away games and early morning practices and all that stuff. Once I figured I could do it, it was time to do it. I think I appreciate Sundays a little bit more, though.”

Both Rangers teams are young. Nels Parentau is the only senior on the boys squad and there are three seniors (Laney Ryan, Miah Gellerstedt and Mia Ganyo) on the girls team.

“I was kind of worried because it was new,” Parenteau said of the coaching change. “It’s my senior year and I thought having a new coaching staff might be stressful because I was so used to one coaching staff for my entire basketball career. But it was exciting because I know how good they were with the girls and I knew that Mr. Buffetta could handle it.”

He can easily handle it, said Ganyo.

“I was excited when I heard that he was coaching both boys and girls,” she said. “He gets this excitement in his eyes and in his voice when he's coaching us. It's just the best thing because he's doing it with all his heart and he's doing it for us.”

During the boys practice Monday, Buffetta and Negen led the team through drills, followed by cross-court sprints and time in the weight room. A few minutes later on the same court, Negen was coaching the junior varsity girls and was on the bench during the varsity contest.

“It's a time commitment, but it's something we both enjoy doing,” Negen said. “We love being involved with basketball and we enjoy working together and teaching kids a game that we love. And I think that's what makes it so much fun for the two of us.

“He came to me and said, ‘What do you think about doing the girls and the boys program?’ And right away I said, ‘Let's do it. I think it'd be fun.’ There was no hesitation. It’s worked out great so far. There are some long days, but the good thing is we both have wives that are pretty committed to what we do and if they're happy, we're happy.”

Buffetta said he is aware of two other coaches, one in Florida and one in North Carolina, who are pulling similar double coaching duty.

If both Rangers teams go deep into the postseason, there is one possible glitch in the scheduling magic. Should the Rangers girls advance to state, they could play a Class 1A semifinal game in Minneapolis on March 13. That same day, the boys could be playing in the Section 7 championship game in Hibbing.

In no surprise at all, Buffetta is optimistic that they could make it work.

“The way I look at it is, if we ever get to a girls state semifinal on the same day as a boys section championship, it would be doable. I mean, I thought about that ahead of time. It could easily get done.”

In the meantime, the two Rangers teams have one head coach and everything is working out just fine.

“I love being here,” Buffetta said. “Everybody knows that I grew up here, we have a lot of pride in our school. And we just want to help the kids out and be the best that we can.”

--See photos from Mountain Iron-Buhl on the MSHSL Facebook page.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.

High Schools In Spotlight At Minnesota Sports Awards 12/12/2019
During an evening dedicated to celebrating Minnesota sports on all levels, awards and honors went to professional and college athletes and coaches, and six legends became Hall of Fame members. One of the biggest awards of the night went to a high school basketball team.

The event Wednesday at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis was the annual Minnesota Sports Awards, organized by Meet Minneapolis/Sports Minneapolis, which was named the National Sports Commission of the Year. The ceremony, hosted by Lea B. Olsen and Anthony LaPanta, will be broadcast by Fox North Sports on Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

One of the biggest awards was for the Sports Moment of the Year. The finalists included St. John's defeating St. Thomas in football shortly after the death of former Johnnies coach John Gagliardi; the Twins setting a Major League Baseball home run record; and Minnesota Duluth repeating as NCAA men's hockey champion.

The award, however, went to the Henning High School boys basketball team. The Hornets honored teammate Jacob Quam – who had died two years earlier – throughout the season, keeping his No. 33 jersey with them. Their emotional season ended in the school's first trip to state in more than 50 years along with the Class 1A state championship, Henning's first state title in any sport.

Head coach Randy Misegades and assistant coach Marc Oscarson took to the stage and accepted the award. Photos from the state tournament were shown on large screens behind the stage (see photos from the event on the MSHSL Facebook page).

"It just kind of adds to everything that went on,” said Misegades, who became emotional talking about Jacob and his teammates. “It’s just amazing, and that's what high school athletics are about and that's why you do it, because of the kids and because of the people.”

Awards also went to two individual high school athletes.

The Boys High School Athlete of the Year was David Roddy of Breck. He was a Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball finalist as well as a state champion in the discus. He’s now playing basketball at Colorado State and was unable to attend the event. On a recorded video message, David said, “First and foremost, I want to thank my family, coaches and teammates for their everlasting support, I wouldn't be here without them. I want to thank the committee for selecting me for this prestigious award. I'm very humbled and honored to accept the award. And again, I just want to thank everyone for supporting me along the years, and everyone have a good night.”

The Girls High School Athlete of the Year is Erika Bute of Alden-Conger. She was a six-year starter in volleyball, a five-year starter in basketball, a four-year softball starter, valedictorian and student council president. She’s now playing volleyball at Augustana University.

On stage, Erika talked about her busy high school career, saying “I loved it. People would ask, ‘Do you ever get sick of it?’ I’m like, ‘No, I would do it again. I love it.' ”

The most emotional moment of the evening came when the late Gabe Grunewald, a runner at Perham High School, the University of Minnesota and professionally, was honored with the Courage Award. Gabe's husband Justin accepted the award.

Inducted into the Star Tribune Minnesota Sports Hall Of Fame were Willard Ikola, John Gagliardi, John Randle, Randall McDaniel, Randy Moss and Lindsay Whalen.

Other award winners were …

Female College Athlete of the Year: Amber Fiser, University of Minnesota softball

Male College Athlete of the Year: Parker Mackay, University of Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey

Professional Athlete of the Year: Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx

Coach of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota Twins

Trailblazer Award: Kevin Warren, Minnesota Vikings/Big Ten Conference

--See photos from the Minnesota Sports Awards on the MSHSL Facebook page.

--Follow John on Twitter @MSHSLjohn, listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts and hear him on Minnesota Public Radio.