John's Journal
Gymnastics Rankings2/13/2020
Gymnastics rankings from the Minnesota Girls Gymnastics Coaches Association.

The MSHSL state gymnastics championships will be held Feb. 21-22 at Roy Wilkins Auditorum in the St. Paul RiverCentre complex.

1 Big Lake 7A 146.575
2 Perham 8A 145.458
3 Melrose Area 8A 145.275
4 Mankato West 2A 145.042
5 Worthington 3A 143.975
6 Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 5A 143.700
7 Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa 1A 142.975
8 Willmar 6A 142.942
9 Detroit Lakes 8A 142.542
10 Monticello 7A 140.667
11 Benson/KMS 6A 138.008
12 New London-Spicer 6A 137.742
13 Annandale 6A 137.550
14 New Ulm Public/NUACS/MVL 2A 136.625
15 Mankato East 2A 136.108
16 Chisago Lakes 7A 135.250
17 Litchfield 6A 134.983
18 Martin County Area 3A 134.275
19 Redwood Valley 3A 134.108
20 Rockford 5A 133.942
21 Jackson County Central 3A 133.758
22 Austin 1A 133.633
23 Delano 5A 133.075
24 North Branch 7A 132.992
25 Fergus Falls 8A 132.800

1 Lakeville North 2AA 149.575
2 Sartell-St.Stephen 8AA 147.600
3 East Ridge 3AA 145.642
4 Elk River/Zimmerman 5AA 145.292
5 Mahtomedi 4AA 145.217
6 Cambridge-Isanti 7AA 145.183
7 Northfield 1AA 144.208
8 Bemidji 8AA 143.917
9 St. Cloud Tech 8AA 143.842
10 Wayzata 6AA 143.775
11 Mounds View/Irondale 4AA 143.650
12 Anoka 7AA 143.208
13 Maple Grove 5AA 142.842
14 Edina 6AA 142.800
15 Brainerd 8AA 142.650
16 Rosemount 1AA 142.458
17 New Prague 2AA 142.308
18 Forest Lake 7AA 142.267
19 Owatonna 1AA 141.867
20 Stillwater 4AA 141.800
21 Eden Prairie 2AA 141.758
22 Farmington 1AA 140.733
23 Hopkins 6AA 140.192
24 Champlin Park 5AA 139.417
25 Lakeville South 2AA 138.617
Boys Basketball Rankings 2/13/2020
From Minnesota Basketball News

Class 4A
1. Eden Prairie
2. Eastview
3. Cretin-Derham Hall
4. Shakopee
5. Hopkins
6. Spring Lake Park
7. Park Center
8. Robbinsdale Armstrong
9. Chaska
10.Lakeville South
11.East Ridge
12.North St. Paul
14.Prior Lake
15.Maple Grove
17.Champlin Park
18.Lakeville North
19.Mounds View
20.Rochester Century

Class 3A
1. Minnehaha Academy
2. Mankato East
3. DeLaSalle
4. Totino-Grace
5. Marshall
6. Waconia
7. Delano
8. Austin
9. St. Peter
13.Holy Angels
14.Bloomington Kennedy
15.Mound Westonka
16.Minneapolis Henry
17.St. Cloud Apollo

Class 2A
1. Caledonia
2. Waseca
3. Lake City
4. St. Croix Prep
5. Minneapolis North
6. Perham
7. Minnesota Valley Lutheran
8. East Grand Forks
9. Osakis
10.Eden Valley-Watkins
13.Fergus Falls
18.Pine City
19.Moose Lake-Willow River

Class 1A
2. Henning
3. Ada-Borup
4. Southwest MN Christian
5. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
6. New Ulm Cathedral
7. Springfield
8. West Central Area
9. Fertile-Beltrami
10.Mountain Lake-Comfrey
11.Blooming Prairie
15.Cass Lake-Bena
16.Parkers Prairie
18.North Woods
19.Norman Co. East/Ulen Hitterdal
Girls Basketball Rankings2/13/2020
From Minnesota Basketball News

Class 1A
1. Minneota
2. Cromwell-Wright
3. Henning
4. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley
5. Mountain Iron-Buhl
6. Mayer Lutheran
7. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown
8. Blooming Prairie
9. Cherry
10. Hills-Beaver Creek
11. Heritage Christian
12. Sleepy Eye St. Mary's
13. Springfield
14. Southwest MN Christian
15. Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart
16. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo
17. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa
18. East Grand Forks Sacred Heart
19. Underwood
20. Fillmore Central

Class 2A
1. Sauk Centre
2. Fergus Falls
3. Rochester Lourdes
4. New London-Spicer
5. Providence
6. Goodhue
7. Pelican Rapids
8. Proctor
9. Pine City
10. Albany
11. Lake City
12. Waseca
13. Duluth Marshall
14. Minnehaha Academy
15. Belle Plaine
16. Winona Cotter
17. Mesabi East
18. Roseau
19. Stewartville
20. Hawley

Class 3A
1. DeLaSalle
2. Becker
3. Simley
4. Marshall
5. Holy Angels
6. Red Wing
7. Austin
8. St. Paul Como Park
9. Hill-Murray
10. Waconia
11. St. Croix Lutheran
12. Alexandria
13. Mankato West
14. Mahtomedi
15. Hermantown
16. Hutchinson
17. St. Peter
18. Totino-Grace
19. Richfield
20. Big Lake

Class 4A
1. Hopkins
2. Farmington
3. Wayzata
4. Park Center
5. Stillwater
6. Chaska
7. St. Michael-Albertville
8. Maple Grove
9. Rosemount
10. Centennial
11. Eden Prairie
12. Forest Lake
13. Elk River
14. Blaine
15. Lakeville North
16. Rochester Mayo
17. Minnetonka
18. New Prague
19. Minneapolis South
20. Burnsville
Owatonna High School Honored As Winner Of MSHSL Food Drive2/13/2020
This article was written by Bridget Kranz of the Owatonna People's Press and is reprinted with permission.

OWATONNA — The Huskies kicked off their annual Snow Week festivities with a pep fest Monday morning, where Owatonna High School was honored by the Minnesota State High School League as the winner of its Sack Hunger food drive.

Taking place in conjunction with the state football championship, the fundraiser invited all schools participating in the tournament to host an accompanying food drive throughout the month of November.

In Steele County alone, Owatonna and Blooming Prairie weighed in with over 5,000 pounds total — the majority of which went to the local food shelf. The two area districts ended up taking first and second place statewide, with Owatonna bringing in 3,108 pounds of donations and the Blossoms weighing in at 2,171 pounds.

Blooming Prairie beat out third-place winner Dassel-Cokato High School by two pounds to take home the silver medal.

Owatonna's drive was run by the student council with the help of staff adviser Sandra Justice, who said the group initially found out they'd won in early December. Alongside Activities Director Marc Achterkirch and Principal Kory Kath, Justice then coordinated with the Minnesota State High School League to find an event at which the achievement could be honored.

Ultimately, it was decided that league media specialist John Millea would attend the Feb. 10 pep fest in order to reach the broadest audience possible.

"It was a little bit of a wait, but we just wanted to make sure it was acknowledged as a big deal because it is," said Justice.

Although it was exciting to get confirmation of the first-place win, the orchestra director said she had been feeling good about the amount students has raised even before getting the official results from the league. She attributed the fundraiser’s success to the fact that all four local elementary schools, Owatonna Middle School and local business Complete Health with Destinee all participated —setting up individual collections and then bringing everything back to the high school.

“That’s more than a ton and a half,” noted Millea, of Owatonna’s total donation weight. “That’s pretty remarkable, and it’s all going to stay right in town and in the county.”

Although the drive is presided over by the league, Millea noted that it was himself and his wife who initially came up with the idea for Sack Hunger a couple years back.

“We were talking about my job and how fortunate I am to travel around the state. We were thinking about ways we could do something good and my wife came up with the idea of a food drive,” he explained.

Knowing that they wanted to link it in some way with the state football tournament, Millea said the initial plan was to have spectators bring nonperishable items to U.S. Bank Stadium. After logistical concerns, he explained it was ultimately decided to have participating schools opt in to doing their own drives at home.

This year marks the program’s second, and Millea said it brought in more participants — a trend that he hopes will continue in 2020.
While in town, Millea brought commemorative T-shirts for Owatonna students, which were thrown out into the crowd during the pep fest. Additionally, he said he was sure to get a few photos of the high school’s historic entrance.

“I got a couple pictures of the front, and a couple of the beautiful trees,” he added, of the morning hoarfrost that had formed just in time for Snow Week.

With the school’s Sack Hunger win celebrated, students were then looking forward to the rest of this week’s festivities — watching skits from Snow Week royalty nominees and going over the first clue for the school’s medallion hunt, a new activity this year.

While she has also been doing a fair amount of planning for Snow Week, Justice took a minute to think about future food drives and noted that, whether or not the school is able to participate in Sack Hunger again next year, similar fundraisers are in its future.

“It’s always needed, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is,” said Justice.

--Reporter Bridget Kranz can be reached at 507-444-2376. Follow her on Twitter @OPPBridget.

--See photos on the MSHSL Facebook page.
Despite Cancer Diagnosis, Joel McDonald Feels Very Fortunate 2/5/2020
Joel McDonald isn't asking for your sympathy, but he wouldn't mind if you kept him in your prayers.

The 47-year-old boys basketball coach at Hibbing, who was the state's all-time scoring leader when he finished his Chisholm High School career in 1991, is being treated for bladder cancer. His mother, Darlene, died of bladder cancer in 1997, three weeks before the wedding of Joel and his wife Carrie.

McDonald was 24 years old, a St. Cloud State graduate in his first year teaching and coaching in Hibbing when his mom died. Hearing the words "bladder cancer" from his doctors was difficult.

"That was easily the hardest thing I had ever done, watching my mom pass away from bladder cancer," Joel said during a Wednesday phone conversation while returning to Hibbing from a weekly visit for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “There hasn't been anything tougher for all of us. With a diagnosis of bladder cancer, you’re instantly afraid. Once you hear that, your world changes. But you give it time to process, and I know I’m in good hands and it’s in God’s hands, too.”

After seeing blood in his urine last year, tests found a tumor on his bladder in October. Surgery to remove the tumor was done on Nov. 1. While returning home he had complications, including severe bleeding, and was in critical condition back in Rochester. A follow-up surgery was performed.

Wednesday’s treatment was the fifth in a six-round weekly regimen of what’s called BCG. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin is an immunotherapy plan in which a form of tuberculosis bacteria is inserted into the bladder in the hope that the body will build up immunities to the cancer cells.

This isn’t McDonald’s first serious health scare. In 2007 he suffered from severe atrial fibrillation with a heart rate of more than 300 beats per minute. A procedure in which diagnostic catheters were inserted into his heart resulted in scarring in three of the four pulmonary veins, and three stents were put in place.

“That was my first round at the Mayo and now I’m back again,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s there. Unfortunately I’m a patient dealing with some significant things. It’s a little bit of a drive, more than four hours, but well worth the trip.”

The McDonalds are the first family of Minnesota basketball. Joel is the youngest of six children of Bob and Darlene McDonald; all six became basketball coaches. Bob retired from coaching in 2004 after 53 years on the job in Chisholm and a state-best 1,012 victories. Joel scored 3,292 points playing for his dad, besting the previous state record of 2,852 set by Foley’s Norm Grow in 1958. McDonald’s record was eclipsed by Braham’s Isaiah Dahlman in 2006, and six others have set new records since then.

Joel and Carrie – who is the principal at Greenhaven Elementary in Hibbing -- have two kids. Abbey is a freshman at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and Ayden is a sophomore on his father’s basketball team.

“Finding out it was cancer and having to break that news to your kids is a pretty tough thing,” Joel said. “I like to believe I’m still relatively young at 47. The first time I found out it was a cancerous tumor, you shake your head and wonder how could this happen? My kids took it pretty well. They took it as 15- and 18-year-olds would, I think. At the same time I’m sure they were scared to death just because it’s that word.”

Joel and Carrie broke the news to Abbey over the phone, and “It was really scary,” Abbey said. “I think now that he has been through most of his treatments, it’s nice to know that he’s this far along and it’s going as well as it is.”

Joel said, “Carrie has done everything we’ve needed, and obviously you need somebody who kind of props you up when the world seems to be beating you down. She’s had lots of support to keep her chin up, as well.”

After telling his siblings, Joel broke the news to his dad a week later. Bob McDonald, who was treated for prostate cancer in the 1990s, recently moved from an assisted-living facility in Chisholm to a nursing home in Hibbing.

“I didn’t tell him I was having surgery because I didn’t want to worry him, I didn’t want to stress him out. He was concerned, he was shocked. Being the youngest of the six of us, I think it took him a while to process the reality of it.”

The basketball season has kept everyone busy. Joel has generally hit the road after games on Tuesday evenings, spending the night with relatives of Carrie in the Twin Cities before finishing the drive to Rochester on Wednesday morning, then returning home after his treatment. That means missing a day of teaching World History to sophomores and World Geography to seniors.

Joel told his basketball players of his diagnosis right away, as well as students in his classroom.

“I’ve taken a very open route with all of this, to try and prevent people from hearing things that may not be true,” said McDonald, who was an assistant basketball coach with the Bluejackets for three years and now is in his 21st season as head coach.

“I was very upfront with (the players),” he said. “They are great kids from great families and I just wanted them to know the truth and not hear it in a roundabout way. I’m sure it’s affected them. We go back a long way.”

McDonald has been fortunate in not suffering any serious side effects from the cancer treatments. His trips to Rochester mean missing practices on Wednesday, but he has total trust in his assistant coaches.

“Everyone that talks to me, they’re surprised that he’s coaching,” Abbey said. “At the same time, if he wasn’t coaching I don’t think he would be as happy as he is.”

Joel knows he is in good hands, medically as well as in his network of family and friends. His diagnosis isn’t the same specific type of bladder cancer that his mother had, and “She was tougher than she should have been and didn’t go in until it was too late,” he said.

“It’s been quite a deal. It’s crazy, the kind of support you get, dealing with things like this. And the level of concern, with tons of people praying for you, willing to do anything for you. I feel very fortunate.”

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