All-star weekend

Each year, the high school baseball and football all-star events are held on the same weekend. Between the two events, both District 622 high schools had players participating this year.

North’s Bishop McDonald, Angelo Mancini and Louie Varland and Tartan’s Connor Brass spent last weekend competing with and against the top seniors in the state in their respective sports. 

McDonald and Mancini played in the Minnesota Football Coaches Association’s Tackle Cancer All-Star Football Game on June 25 at St. Cloud State University’s Husky Stadium. They were members of the North All-Stars team.

McDonald, a defensive back and running back, and Mancini, a linebacker and running back, were the Polars’ sixth and seventh football all-stars in the 55 installments of the game. Prior to this year, the last time a Polar played in the all-star football game was 2001.

Mancini and McDonald helped lead North to the state tournament last fall. It was the Polars’ second state football tournament appearance and first since 1998.

North went 6-2 in the regular season and was seeded No. 2 in Section 4AAAAA. Following a first-round bye, the Polars beat third-seeded St. Paul Central 33-8 and fifth-seeded Mahtomedi 16-10 to win the section title and advance to state.

The Polars squared off against St. Thomas Academy in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals on Oct. 30 and dropped a hard-fought 7-0 decision to the Cadets. Mancini tied for game-high honors with 14 total tackles while McDonald caught three passes for 43 yards and made five tackles.

Prior to this year, North’s football all-stars were Jerry Allen in 1978; Dan Rondeau in 1980; Duane Goldhammer in 1983; and Neil Cooper and Jared Ellevold in 2001. In 2003, Gary Gustafson was an honorary coach for the Metro team.

Varland and Brass spent last weekend in the southwest metro playing in the Play Ball! Minnesota High School Baseball All-Star Series. They were both members of the Metro East team.

The baseball all-star series format changed a bit this year. In the past, there were four teams competing but this year the series included six teams.

Another change was the addition of a second site. Chaska Athletic Park has been the site of the baseball all-star series since 1989 except for a handful of years when it was unavailable because of flooding.

With the addition of two teams, the series needed to add a second venue and that was Storm/Red Bird Stadium at Chanhassen High School. Three teams were assigned to each ballpark and played a round-robin format on the first day of the tournament.

The Metro East team played the Metro South and South teams in the round-robin portion of the tournament.

Following Friday’s games, the teams were ranked within their own three-team group and then matched up against the team in the same place from the opposite group. All of Saturday’s games were played at Chaska.

This is the last year that the baseball and football all-star games will be played on the same weekend. The all-star football game is moving to December and will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings.


Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.




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