Herd’s notebook

Sports Reporter
Sam is the sports reporter for ABC Newspapers, covering high school, junior college and community sports in the area. He joined the staff in October 2016.

Observations, thoughts and notes from the last week in local, regional and national sports:

Texas has its football. Indiana has its basketball. And Minnesota has its hockey.

Growing up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I never experienced the state hockey tournament. I was a big basketball guy growing up. I have been able to experience a handful of state tournaments, whether it be as a fan or media member.

While working at a newspaper in North Dakota, I covered “The B.”

The B is a hidden gem of a state tournament. It’s the state boys basketball tournament featuring Class B teams. Towns with 1,000 people – sometimes more, sometimes less – are left empty if their teams make The B.

Pound for pound, not many state tournaments in America can match the pride fans have at The B.

One of those that can, as I found out, is the Minnesota boys hockey state tournament.

I watched the Moorhead-Lakeville South semifinal game last week in the press box. The sheer size of the crowd was one thing. The passion was another.

Not many state tournaments can attract a lot of casual fans. It’s mostly fans, parents, teachers and alumni. But the boys hockey tournament was a main attraction in St. Paul last week with near sellout crowds for the Class 2A games.

“The greatest high school state tournament in America” is something I had heard a lot. I figured it was a bit of a stretch. The casual American probably knows about the tournament because of the hockey hair videos on YouTube. Or they just assume everyone plays hockey in Minnesota.

But after watching my first game at the Xcel Energy Center, I believed in the hype.

If Texas high school football can get games on national television, so too should Minnesota high school hockey. While I understand sports fans are more likely to watch a random football game on TV than a hockey game, the Minnesota state tournament deserves to have more eyeballs on it outside the state.

Summer baseball

Coon Rapids summer baseball registration is now available. Go to https www.eteamz.com/crbb/ for online forms or email [email protected] for registration forms or more information.

Legion baseball and senior Babe Ruth are for players age 18 and under, VFW baseball is for players age 16, Gopher State (18) is for players age 19 and under and Gopher State (16) is for players age 16.

Players league age is their age on April 30, 2017.

The registration fee is $275.

College notes

Ten members of the St. Scholastica men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams were recognized recently as United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association All-Academic honorees. One of those athletes was Steven Mueggenberg, a senior and a Coon Rapids High School graduate.

Junior Erin Sullivan, a Blaine High School graduate, swam a school record in the 50 freestyle to lead the Minnesota State University Moorhead swimming and diving team at the opening day of the NCAA Division II National Championships on March 8 in Alabama. Her time of 23.55 in the 50 free prelims placed her 20th and was also a lifetime-best.

The Dragons’ 200 medley relay team of Sullivan, Taylor Beynon, Ashley Higgins and Breah Anderson was 23rd in 1:44.92. Sullivan (25.37) and Anderson (23.25) swam lifetime-best and school record splits in that event.

Comments, complaints or story ideas for Sam? Send them to [email protected].