When I was in high school playing sports I didn’t get the chance to play in a state tournament. I never got to know what it felt like to win a section championship and play in the big venues at state. I wish I would have had that experience.

In my broadcasting career I get to watch young men and women win a section championship and celebrate with family and friends on the field and court. The smiles and hugs, the tears of joy. The community comes together and celebrates with them. It really is a special time for the players, coaches, families, school and community. Saturday night in Marshall the Minneota volleyball team won another section title. The girls on the team have done this before, but you wouldn’t know it watching them celebrate Saturday. You would think it was their first time going to state.

Abby Frie joined me in the postgame show and watching her smile and talk about her teammates, coaches and family brought a smile to my face. I named Abby the Player of the Game and gave her a POG t-shirt. After our interview she had about 25 members of her family gather for a picture and she was proudly holding her t-shirt in the picture. It was great to see.

It never gets old knowing you are on your way to state. I visited with head coach Hayley Fruin after the game, she was all smiles and had such nice things to say about her team and coaches and the community of Minneota. You would think it was her first time going to state, but it’s definitely not. The atmosphere at the RA Facility is electric and so much fun to be there. Earlier that evening, Jackson County Central played Paynesville for the Section 3AA crown and they went 5 sets, with each set being very close. Watching the Huskies from JCC celebrate the winning point right in front of me was exciting and I don’t even know anyone on the team. I was happy for them.

So, this week I will be heading to the Excel Energy Center Thursday to broadcast state volleyball. Then on Friday, I will broadcast state football from Monticello following the Minneota Viking football team, who are no strangers to playing at state either. I still get excited covering state tournaments in the cities. I have great memories with the Shadows dance team, Canby boys basketball team, state golf, the Lqpv baseball team, Dawson/Boyd football teams, Cross Country teams and of course Minneota Vikings teams. I am beyond blessed to have experienced so many state tournaments. It would have been so exciting to have experienced a state trip while I was in high school.

Check out some of my section and state pictures over the years.

Tony Ourada - State Farm ad

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