A couple of weeks ago I mentioned something about the Minnesota High School League’s Hall of Fame banquet. Well, I went, and had a great time. I didn’t realize I knew so many celebrities. However, I did come away a little disappointed.

One of the inductees I wanted to see, and meet for the first time, was Heather Van Norman. As I’ve mentioned before, Van Norman is the mother of Odell Beckum, star football player for the New York Giants, a Windom High School (WHS) graduate, and a star in her own right. In case you forgot, she won the 100m, 200m and 400m races at the state track meet, four years in a row. Down in Windom they refer to that accomplishment as the “quadruple-triple.” She finished her high school career winning 147 races in a row. She graduated in 1988, so I’m a little older that she is, but only 25 years or so. She went to the U of M for one year and then transferred to Louisiana State University where she was an All-American for the Tigers. Van Norman’s high school track coach, Lyle Riebe, accepted the award in her honor. Riebe was a teacher at WHS when I went there too.

A little closer to home, the Section 1A Athletic Director’s Association had its annual awards banquet. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I got to be part of this one. Awards presented included Distinguished Alumni Award (Kerry Linbo, Byron, presented by Doug Matti), Distinguished Service Award (Bill Bentson, presented by Chris Mensink), Distinguished Service Award (Bob Nahlovsky, Blooming Prairie, presented by John Worke), Larry Teskey Officials Award (Tristan Severson, Plainview, presented by Jared Butson), Retired Activities Director Award and Hall of Fame Award, (Marv Peters, Rochester Lourdes, presented by Brad Johnson) and Pete Boelter Activities Director of the Year (Josh Wieme, Goodhue, presented by Mike Harvey).

A big, big thank you to the Section 1A athletic directors and to Chris Mensink for all the wonderful comments on my behalf. I will cherish the award forever.

Cross-country

Today, Thursday, is the Section 1A cross-country meet. The meet is held at the Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester. It might be a bit windy, but the temperature forecast says it will be in the mid-50s, which should be ideal for the run. I’ll have the results in next week’s WEB.

Top contenders, team-wise, for the girls are Stewartville (No. 2), Cotter (No. 5) and Lake City (No. 9), all ranked in the final poll.

Individually, Grace Ping, Cotter ninth grader, is the number-one ranked girl in the state, so she’s definitely the favorite. She’ll be running with the wind. Lauren Ping, seventh grade sister of Grace, is ranked third in the state. Also in the state rankings are Kayla Christopherson (Austin Pacelli, junior, No. 6), Natasha Sortland (Zumbrota-Mazeppa/Kenyon-Wanamingo, seventh grade, No. 7), Kailee Malone (Stewartville, sophomore, No. 8), and Abby Orvis (Stewartville, senior, No. 10). Not ranked, but looking for a state berth are Kaylee Arndt (Lanesboro/Fillmore Central), Courtney West (Kasson-Mantorville), Madilyn Simon (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) and a couple more runners from Cotter and K-M. Tessa McMahon, an eighth grader from Chatfield, could have a break-out race and surprise some people.

In the boys race, Plainview-Elgin-Millville (No. 12) and La Crescent (Honorable Mention) will probably duke it out for the top team spot. Individually, Matt Steiger, senior at La Crescent, is the number-two-ranked runner in Class A. Nick Meyer, also a senior, Wabasha-Kellogg, has been in the rankings just about all year. Some other individuals who are definitely in the hunt for a trip to the state meet are Alec Isle (Blooming Prairie, senior), Caleb Jones (Rochester Home School, senior), Josiah Eide (RAHS, senior), Isaiah Scruggs (Stewartville, senior) and Tanner Horton, Pine Island. K-M could have some runners up in the rankings too. They won the Byron Invitational with a perfect 15.

No matter who wins, I’ll be at the state meet at St. Olaf in Northfield on Saturday, Nov. 4.

I still think they need to come up with some innovative plan to have more of Section 6AA represented at the state level. In the final rankings, six of the boys teams from that section were ranked and the top four girls teams are from Section 6AA, with a fifth team getting into the honorable mention list.

Volleyball

The “pigtail” matches in each of the sub-sections are done. In the 1A-East sub-section, Kingsland shutout Rushford-Peterson, 3-0; Wabasha-Kellogg did the same to Hope Lutheran, 3-0; Lewiston-Altura got a 3-1 win over Houston and Schaeffer Academy ended Lanesboro’s season with a 3-0 sweep.

That meant that Kingsland (No. 8, 13-18) would be at Caledonia (No. 1, 20-8), W-K (No. 5, 18-10) traveled to Spring Grove (No. 4, 21-6), L-A (No. 7, 18-10) was at Mabel-Canton (No. 2, 26-5) and Fillmore Central (No. 3, 19-7) hosted Schaeffer Academy (#6, 18-7). Winners moved on to the sub-section semi-finals in Rochester on Saturday. Sub-section finals are Thursday, Nov. 2. The section finals are Saturday, Nov. 4.

In the 1A West sub-section, Lyle/Pacelli hung on for the 3-2 win over Christian Life Academy; Blooming Prairie downed Glenville-Emmons, 3-0; Randolph ousted Southland, 3-1; and Goodhue swept LeRoy-Ostrander, 3-0.

Saturday matches included Lyle/Pacelli (No. 8, 10-15) at Hayfield (No. 1, 22-5); Blooming Prairie (No. 5, 14-10) at Grand Meadow (No. 4, 20-10); Randolph (No. 7, 9-12) at Bethlehem Academy (No. 2, 12-14).

Semi-finals and finals have the same dates as the East sub-section.

Final state rankings had Hayfield at fourth, BA at fifth, Caledonia at seventh and Mabel-Canton is tenth.

The AA schools had their first matches this past Thursday. In the east, Dover-Eyota (2-23, No. 8) was at Plainview-Elgin-Millville (No. 1, 21-8); Lake City (No. 5, 8-17) was at Cotter (No. 4, 10-14); La Crescent (No. 7, 3-19) traveled to St. Charles (No. 2, 12-9) and Chatfield (No. 6, 6-23) made the trip to Red Wing (No. 3, 12-16).

Over on the west side, Stewartville (No. 1, 22-5) hosted Triton (No. 8, 5-18); Z-M (No 5, 11-11) was at Byron (No. 4, 20-7); Pine Island (No. 7, 10-17) went to K-M (No. 2, 18-10) and Rochester Lourdes (No. 6, 12-14) headed up Highway 52 to Cannon Falls (No. 3, 15-13).

Stewartville finished the regular season at number-three in the state poll. K-M was at number 10.

Some of the AA coaches, especially those in the west, notably Stewartville and K-M, want to go to a 16-team tournament, as opposed to sub-sections. I’m in favor of sub-sections, until you get to the final two in each, then flip-flop. That could put two teams from the same sub-section in the finals, if that’s where the power is!

Football

Semi-finals were played this past Saturday. There were some really good match-ups, in all the classes. Finals should be great!

In nine-man, Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran (No. 3) beat LeRoy-Ostrander (No. 6), 55-30; Houston (No. 2) beat-up on Lanesboro, 72-14; Grand Meadow beat Mabel-Canton, 52-22; and Spring Grove downed Lyle/Pacelli, 64-20.

Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran traveled to Houston this past Saturday and Grand Meadow was at Spring Grove. Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran didn’t play during the regular season. The Lions outlasted the SuperLarks, 33-20, just two weeks ago. Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran only played one Section team, Spring Grove, and lost to them, 52-51, in overtime. The Lions are still number-one in the state rankings, Cleveland/Immanuel Lutheran is at number four. Houston got the number-five spot and Grand Meadow is at number 13.

In Class A, Blooming Prairie (No. 3) was at Rushford-Peterson (No. 2) and Fillmore Central (No. 4) traveled to Goodhue (No. 1). R-P beat the Awesome Blossoms, 39-35, just 10 days ago. The Falcons and the Wildcats didn’t meet this year during the regular season. In first-round games, BP beat Southland, 54-22; R-P ended Kingsland’s season with a 42-22 win; Fillmore Central downed Wabasha-Kellogg, 61-12, and Goodhue upended Hayfield, 60-7. Goodhue, still undefeated at 9-0, fell to number-two in the state rankings, R-P is at number nine and Blooming Prairie is in at number 11.

In the AA playoffs, Chatfield (No. 4) downed St. Charles (No. 5), 27-15; Triton (No. 2) shutout Cotter (No. 7), 46-0; and Lewiston-Altura (No. 3) beat Kenyon-Wanamingo (No. 6), 43-6. Caledonia (No. 1) had a bye. Chatfield was at Caledonia on Saturday and L-A traveled to Triton. Caledonia (No. 1) was the only Section 1AA team in the final state rankings.

I would like to do more on the other classes and some on teams around the state, but I’m out of room. There were some upsets, so check out Minnesota-scores.net.

That’s it for me for this week. Hey to the Great 8 and my wife, Carol, you are the greatest. Have a great week everybody, one day at a time.

Hasta la vista. WEB