Are more changes in store for the Missota Conference?

At this point it’s only speculation by one person so I didn’t include it in the story in Wednesday’s newspaper, but Red Wing athletic director and football coach Matt Schultz pointed out that the creation of Class AAAAAA football in 2012 could lead to another round of talks about Missota Conference membership.

I’ll do my best to spell out Schultz’s thinking in three steps.

  1. In Red Wing’s section, Section 1AAAA, the postseason seeding is determined by a point system. If a member of the section beats another Class AAAA school, that team earns 100 points. A victory over a Class AAA school is worth 80 points. A victory over a Class AAAAA school is worth 120 points.
  2. Shakopee was placed in Class AAAAAA, meaning it is one of the 32 largest schools in the state. The Sabers are the only Class AAAAAA school in the Missota Conference. Their league schedule will include five Class AAAAA schools (Chanhassen, Chaska, Farmington, New Prague and Northfield) and two Class AAAA schools (Holy Angels and Red Wing).
  3. Assuming Shakopee’s new section uses a similar point system to determine postseason seeds, the Sabers will be at a distinct disadvantage by playing in the Missota Conference.

“They may want to look at something different,” Schultz said. “If I was coaching a Class AAAA team in a Class AA conference, boy I’d like to do something different.”

Shakopee was placed in the state’s toughest section without a doubt. The Sabers are in the same section as Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Robbinsdale Armstrong,
Wayzata and Minneapolis South. Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Wayzata have won eight of the past 11 large-school state titles.

But they aren’t necessarily on a playoff collision course. The MSHSL board will revisit and possibly vote on the playoff format structure in August. The most likely scenario will have each team playing one game in their assigned section, followed by a crossover game against a team from another section. — Star Tribune

The Missota Conference experienced a good deal of turnover less than a year ago. Hutchinson and Prior Lake left the Missota Conference and moved to the Wright Count and South Suburban conferences, respectively, in the fall of 2010. Chanhassen and Chaska, formerly of the Lake Conference, were added to the Missota Conference in the fall of 2010.

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Kelly remains committed to Nebraska

Red Wing’s Pat Kelly said he remains committed to the Nebraska baseball program even though there’s been a coaching change.

“I’m a Husker,” said Kelly, who was wearing a Nebraska lanyard around his neck. “That’s all there is to it.”

Mike Anderson guided Nebraska for the past nine seasons, but he was dismissed on May 22. Darin Erstad was named as his successor on Thursday.

Erstad played Major League Baseball for 14 years and was a three-time Gold Glove winner. He served as a volunteer assistant with the Huskers in 2011 and Kelly said he’s already familiar with Erstad.

“We talked quite a bit when I was down there,” said Kelly, who signed a National Letter of Intent in November to play for the Huskers. “We kept in contact. I called him quite a bit. We have a really good relationship.”

Kelly’s senior season with the Wingers concluded Saturday with a pair of losses in the Section 1AAA Final Four.

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This-n-That: Baseball jottings

Pat Kelly, Justin Cunningham and Caleb Dressen

  • The Red Wing baseball team’s regular-season finale Tuesday against Ellsworth pitted familiar foes. Panthers assistant coach Jim Dressen dropped the above photo off at the newspaper office before the game. It shows Pat Kelly (left), Justin Cunningham and Caleb Dressen several years ago. Kelly and Cunningham are seniors on the Red Wing team while Caleb Dressen, Jim’s son, is a senior for the Panthers.
  • One of the black spruce trees from Target Field will be replanted at the Zumbrota-Mazeppa baseball diamond in honor of Pat Gadient on Tuesday.
  • Brodie Gibart, the 3 1/2-year-old son of Red Wing Aces pitcher and assistant manager Andy Gibart, will sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by himself at the Minnesota Twins game this afternoon.
  • Miesville’s Jack Ruhr Field and John Burch Park in Cannon Falls were both named to a list of the top amateur ballparks in the state compiled on The list was created by Jeff Wald, the former sports editor at the Northfield News.
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Much on the line for Red Wing teams Tuesday

Off the top of my head I can’t recall a day in the last couple years that has had as many meaningful Red Wing events as are scheduled for Tuesday. A state berth or a conference title is on the line for four of the seven Wingers spring sports teams in less than 24 hours and another program, the girls golf team, will play host to a meet that on paper projects to be deeper than any state tournament field. Here’s a quick rundown:

Girls golf, Red Wing invitational, Mississippi National Golf Links, 12:30 p.m.

The Star Tribune highlighted the invite in its list of noteworthy prep events in the week ahead for good reason: The field includes 10 of the state’s top-12 ranked teams.

New Prague, Wayzata, Red Wing, Minnewaska Area, Edina and Elk River are all scheduled to attend, according to the Missota Conference website. Those schools are ranked first through sixth, respectively, in the Minnesota Golf Association team rankings released today.

Stillwater (No. 8), Detroit Lakes (9), White Bear Lake (10) and Lake City (12) also are slated to compete.

Plus, the state’s four highest-ranked golfers — Wayzata freshman Sarah Burnham, Cretin-Derham Hall freshman Celia Kuenster, New Prague freshman McKenzie Neisen and Eastview junior Sara Detlefsen — are members of teams scheduled to play in the tournament.

Red Wing junior Katie Kesti (No. 13) and senior Danielle Brooks (No. 15) are both ranked in the top 15 as individuals.

Track and field, True Team Section 1A meet, Red Wing High School track, 3:15 p.m.

The True Team section meet is the focal point of the season for both the Red Wing boys and girls. The Red Wing girls will be vying to get back to the True Team state meet for the second straight year and the third time in four years. The boys finished fourth at the section meet a season ago.

Baseball, Red Wing vs. Shakopee doubleheader, Red Wing Athletic Field, 4 p.m.

The Wingers and the Sabers are the top two teams in the Missota Conference. Red Wing is 7-1 in league play while the Sabers are 7-2. After Tuesday the Wingers (8-3 overall) have just four conference games remaining so a sweep would go a long way toward locking up the conference title. A split wouldn’t be a bad outcome either for the host team as it would remain atop the standings.

Boys tennis, Red Wing at Shakopee, 4:15 p.m.

Red Wing has been dominant in Missota Conference play to his point: The Wingers are 4-0 in conference duals and they are 27-1 in conference matches. The Sabers also are 4-0 in Missota duals and they have gone 24-4 in league matches. Shakopee boasts an overall record of 13-2. Wingers coach Randy Decker said in an email that the winner of the dual is “almost certain to be the Missota Conference champion.”

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