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Monday, August 30, 2010
Four Players Removed From Elk River Football Team
The Elk River school board voted Sunday night to kick four football players off the team and suspend five after a district investigation into hazing allegations.

Three of the suspended players will be out for four games and two will miss one game.

The board met in closed session for two hours before opening up the meeting and voting to take the actions. School officials cannot release the names of the players who were disciplined because of privacy laws.

The school district suspended its 54-player varsity program on Wednesday and notified police after a parent reported the hazing. The district hired a law firm to help with its investigation.

Police Chief Jeffrey Beahen has said some players reported being struck or poked by other players with a broom handle on their buttocks or legs. Beahen said police haven't found any players interested in pursuing criminal charges.

District Superintendent Mark Bezek said players will have to undergo sensitivity training.

"These are good kids, and they made a mistake," Bezek said. "But it's a serious mistake."

Elk River school policy broadly defines hazing as any "act against a student, or coercing a student into committing an act, that creates a substantial risk of harm to a person, in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other purpose."

The team's first game is Thursday, when Elk River hosts Becker. The Elks were 1-8 last season and haven't had a winning record since 2003.

Elk River is a town of about 22,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Posted By
Friday, August 27, 2010
Elk River Suspends Entire Football Team
The Elk River High School varsity football program has been suspended while the school district investigates an allegation of hazing and police pursue their own criminal probe.
 
Elk River Capt. Bob Kluntz said the district notified police about the allegation on Wednesday. Kluntz wouldn't characterize the alleged hazing or provide further details, but said it could amount to criminal assault.
 
A parent of a football player made a report to school officials Wednesday which prompted administrators to start interviewing athletes and reviewing the district's anti-hazing rules.
 
All 50 members of the football team were interviewed and "based on the scope and severity of what we saw" Superintendent Mark Bezek suspended the varsity football program pending the results of the district's investigation.
 
Authorities have declined to discuss the nature of the alleged hazing.
 
Bezek announced his decision Wednesday night at a meeting attended by about
200 students and athletes.
 
In a prepared statement, he said, "I must emphasize that I am shocked and dismayed by these allegations. This district does not tolerate hazing or other unlawful activities."
 
The football team is prohibited from holding organized activities pending the outcome of a comprehensive review of the program, including coaches, by an outside lawyer hired by the district on Thursday.
 
Varsity head football coach Mike Cross, who is begining his sixth year in the job, said he would have no comment while the investigation was under way.
 
The team's first game is scheduled for Sept. 2, when it hosts Becker. The Elks finished 2009 with a record of 1-8 and haven't had a winning record since 2003 when they were 6-4.
 
Elk River is a town of about 22,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Posted By
Monday, August 23, 2010
Youth Football Gearing Up
Wadena Area Youth Tackle Football registration and equipment handout will be held August 24 and 25 in Wadena.
 
Students who attend Wadena-Deer Creek schools should register on Tueday, August 24.  All other players from the area will register on Wednesday, August 25.
 
Registration will be held from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. each evening in the lower level of the W-DC Elementary School in Wadena.  Use the Northwest entrance.
 
Registration fee is $40.  Practice/game schedule will be given out at registration.
 
If you have questions, contact Tom VanErp at 640-3382 or email at tvanerp@wdc2155.k12.mn.us
 
 
Posted By Kyle Gylsen
Thursday, August 19, 2010
MSHSL Announces Challenge Cup Winners
Eden Prairie has won its third consecutive and fourth overall Challenge Cup and Breck School of Golden Valley captured the Class A Cup for the first-time in school history.
 
Created in 2003, the Challenge Cup is a statewide, year-long competition between Minnesota State High School League member schools. Schools earn points throughout the school year for their success in post-season athletic and fine arts tournaments, and two schools — one in Class A and one in Class AA — with the most points are awarded the traveling Challenge Cup. The award is sponsored by Wells Fargo, the League’s premier corporate sponsor.
 
Leading all schools with 904 points for the 2009-10 school year, Eden Prairie also won the Class AA Challenge Cup in 2006, 2008, and 2009. They were runners-up in 2007. During this past year’s Challenge Cup competition the Eagles won team championships in baseball, boys’ cross country running, boys’ tennis, and boys’ track and field. They also had individual champions in boys’ cross country running, girls’ swimming and diving (100 butterfly), girls’ tennis (doubles), boys’ track and field (4x400-meter relay, long jump, and triple jump), and wrestling, (weight class 103).
 
Wayzata, the 2007 Challenge Cup winner, finished a close second to the Eagles with 896 points. Edina (801 points), Stillwater Area (554 points), and Minnetonka (547 points) are the other large schools to finish in the top five.
 
In the Class A race for the Challenge Cup, Breck School earned 474 points. They participated in 12 different post-season team and individual tournaments. The Mustangs finished first in boys’ hockey and boys’ swimming and diving. They also had individual first-place finishers in boys’ swimming and diving (200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay), girls’ swimming and diving (200-yard individual medley), and girls’ track and field (400-meter dash).
 
The remaining top five Class A schools were The Blake School of Minneapolis (423 points), Perham (411 points), St. Cloud Cathedral (328) and Kasson-Mantorville (256).
 
Previous Challenge Cup winners were: St. Cloud Cathedral in 2004 and 2006; Eden Prairie in 2006, 2008 and 2009; Lakeville in 2004 and 2005; The Blake School in 2005, 2007 and 2009; Wayzata in 2007; and Perham in 2008.
 
"The Challenge Cup is an excellent way to recognize the overall efforts of schools in all League-sponsored fine arts and athletic activities," said James Prunty, Great Lakes Region president for Wells Fargo. "We congratulate Eden Prairie and Breck for winning the 2009-10 Challenge Cup."
 
Representatives from the League and Wells Fargo will present the traveling Challenge Cup to each school this fall. For a complete list of all the schools that earned Challenge Cup points for the 2009-10 school year, visit the League web site at www.MSHSL.org and click on the Recognition tab.
 
Posted By MSHSL
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Construction Causes Schedule Changes
Due to ongoing construction at the Staples-Motley high school in Staples, a number of events are being relocated.
 
A new gym floor, new restrooms, new concession area, spacious lobby area and updated windows are a few of the changes that will greet students and other visitors stepping into the gymnasium this fall.  The project is expected to be completed sometime mid-September.
 
The Cardinals' volleyball team was scheduled to host Bertha-Hewitt in their season opener on Thursday, August 26 and then travel to Bertha to take on the Bears on Thursday, September 30.
 
Now those sites have been flip-flopped, with the teams playing in Bertha for their first meeting and in Staples for the rematch.
 
According to Staples-Motley activities director Lynn Peterson, the following volleyball games will be played at the middle school in Motley:
 
August 31 vs. Aitkin
September 7 vs. New York Mills
September 9 vs. Park Rapids Area
 
The schedule for all three nights will have the 9th grade teams playing at 5:00 p.m. and the JV at 6:15 p.m., followed by the varsity.
 
On a related note, the Cardinals' activities department is offering pieces of its storied basketball history in the form of the old gym floor.
 
Pieces of the old floor are available ranging from a $10 donation for a square foot, $100 for a 4x4 foot piece and $150 for a 4x8 piece.
 
During the Staples-Motley all-class reunion, the 12x12 center circle will be auctioned off.
 
All proceeds will go toward the purchase of a protective covering for the new floor.

For more information, or to purchase a piece of Cardinal history, contact Peterson at (218) 894-5407 or (218) 296-0713 or e-mail him at lpeterson@isd2170.k12.mn.us.

 
Posted By Kyle Gylsen
Sunday, August 1, 2010
St. John's Prep Suspends Football Program
Low numbers will prevent St. John’s Prep from fielding a football team this fall, though activities director Bryan Backes said he still hopes to work out a cooperative agreement with another school to provide the Johnnies’ remaining players with an opportunity to compete this season.
 
“It’s not a decision we wanted to make, but it was obvious that it was a move we needed to make,” Backes said.
 
“We had 14 guys come to an organizational meeting at the end of the school year last spring. We spent the month of June trying to see where we were at, and if we could get more students interested.
 
“Ultimately, we just decided that we weren’t at a point where we’d have enough players to make up a team.”
 
Backes said the school — which was forced to drop the sport at the varsity level in 1995 and ’96 as well — has informed the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association of its decision.
 
“We let the conference know that we won’t have a team in 2010, and now we’re working on trying to find a co-sponsorship with another school,” Backes said.
 
“The Minnesota State High School League requires that everything be in place for that type of arrangement by the first day of practice. So we’re hopeful that we can still get something worked out that will give our guys the chance to play.”
 
Backes said even if a cooperative arrangement cannot be worked out this season, the school will attempt to get something arranged for 2011, though he did not rule out St. John’s Prep once again fielding its own team if numbers increased.
 
“There are just a lot of unknowns at this point,” Backes said. “But going forward, it seems like the most stability we could have would come as a co-op.”
 
Added Backes: “It’s impossible to foresee the future. If we have 25 kids that are able to play, we’d entertain fielding a team the way we have in the past. But the reality may be more along the lines of a co-op.”
 
Backes said the Johnnies had 24 players on the roster last season, but eight seniors graduated, one player transferred and three more potential players will be studying abroad this fall.
 
“We held out as long as we could and tried every option we could think of to make it work, but ultimately, we realized we just weren’t going to be able to continue on our own,” said Backes, who himself coached football at the school from 1997-2005.
 
Bob Ellenbecker, who coached the team from 2006 through last season and was an assistant to Backes before that, said numbers have always been an issue in the program.
 
“We’ve always kind of been on the cusp,” Ellenbecker said. “It’s always been a question every year if we’d have enough guys.
 
“But it’s too bad, because if you’d have asked me a couple of years ago, I’d have said things were looking pretty optimistic. We had a pile of guys at the middle school level playing football. But a lot of those guys, for one reason or another, when they were done with eighth grade, didn’t come back.”
 
Ellenbecker said he, too, is hopeful a cooperative arrangement can be worked out.
 
“That would be huge,” said Ellenbecker, who remains on staff as a teacher at the school. “We have about half a dozen guys who really want to play and I feel bad for them. We have another half-dozen for whom it won’t be such a big deal. They’ll play soccer or do something else.
 
“But for the guys who really want to play football, I hope something works out.”
Posted By Frank Rajkowski/St. Cloud Times
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