Attending a state high school tournament is just the best experience ever. Doesn’t matter if it is football, volleyball, dance team, wrestling or basketball. It never gets old no matter how many times you have attended a state tournament. Being in the major arenas, like Williams Arena, Target Center, US Bank Stadium and the others watching high school kids play is just plain exciting and fun. It is a little different than playing in your high school gym.
As a sports broadcaster I get to attend state tournaments often with the different schools that I cover. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to broadcast the Minneota girls basketball team at state. Thursday I was at historic Williams Arena, Friday at the renovated Target Center and Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul. Three different venues in three days. I always enjoy going to the venues early and just walking around and soaking the experience in.
Walking through Williams Arena on Thursday, the history of Golden Gopher basketball is on display on just about every wall. Banners of famous Gopher basketball players hang from the rafters at Williams Arena, both men and women. I particularly like seeing pictures and reading about Gopher basketball players from the early 1900’s. The start and rise of women sports in the early 70’s is also interesting.
I have been blessed over the last few years to be able to attend many different state tournaments. These are a few of the more memorable ones.
- LQPV baseball team playing for the state championship at Target Field which was fairly new at the time. Broadcasting from the Herb Carneal press box was a real thrill.
- Canby boys basketball team playing a three overtime thriller at Williams Arena. What I remember is the many people from Canby that were there cheering on the Lancers.
- 2013 I called a Minneota Viking state volleyball match at the Excel Energy Center in the afternoon then jumped in my car with some Minneota dads and drove north to broadcast the Minneota Viking state football game vs Moose Lake/Willow River at Chisago Lakes high school in Lindstrom. Minneota football was in AA that year and won the game. It was an amazing win.
- The first year LQPV dance team competed at state, I think it was 2002, my daughter was one of the Shadows and I did my one and only play by play of state dance as they were performing on the floor. It didn’t work out to well. I still laugh at my attempt to do play by play of dance. I haven’t missed a state dance tournament since.
- Minneota girls basketball team at Williams Arena playing Goodhue, when Taylor Reiss stole the inbound pass and went in for the layup to put Minneota in the lead with just seconds left. Megan Larson then scored off Taylors missed free throw to clinch the game putting the Vikings into the state championship game. Never been so excited about a win!
- Dawson/Boyd winning a state football championship in the Metrodome. My favorite memory was interviewing Coach Larson and the boys outside the Metrodome with all the Dawson/Boyd family members and fans hanging around. It was a very happy moment.
- Dawson/Boyd and Minneota playing for a state football championship at TCF Bank Stadium. It didn’t seem right that two conference rivals end up playing each other for a state championship. A fun game to broadcast, I didn’t need to look at a roster to broadcast that game.
- Minneota football team beating Minneapolis North for the state championship. The eye poke to Isaac Hennen which was caught on tv was shocking and something I will always remember.
- I really enjoy covering the state cross country meet at St. Olaf in November. One of my favorite state meets to cover.
- More recently I have been covering the state golf meet. What a beautiful golf course Pebble Creek in Becker is. The state golf meet really is fun.
These are some of the state tournaments that I remember well. I know I missed some. Just being around all the family members of the players, visiting with the coaches and players is special. Everyone together at these venues and hanging out at the motels afterwards is special. Getting to hang with other radio guys doing the same job I am doing is special. Lots of special moments at state tournaments. I am excited and looking forward to covering the next state tournament. Fun times.