Lizzy Gillingham and Thomas Hennen

On the Bench with Byron Higgin

Triple A Nominees announced

Minneota’s nominees for the state’s Triple “A” Award (Academics, Arts, and Athletics Award) this year are seniors Thomas Hennen and Lizzy Gillingham.

Both are high honor students and both excel in three sports. Hennen plays basketball, football and baseball and Gillingham track, volleyball and basketball.

The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the fine arts.

It’s also intended to elevate academic standards and create greater awareness of League-sponsored activities and their values.

The Minnesota High School League says the award will provide member schools of the League with the opportunity to participate in a statewide program that supports, promotes, and recognizes academic and extra-curricular achievements.

The Triple “A” Recognition Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Boys’ State Basketball Tournament in March.

The top two award finishers from each region will be invited to the banquet.

League officials will announce the four Triple “A” Award recipients at the banquet. Award recipients — a girl and a boy from both a Class A and a Class AA school — will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.

ODDS & ENDS: •Bruce Strand of the Minnesota Basketball News is the guy who ranks the teams across the state.

He initially put Minneota and Springfield at one and two in boys’ basketball.

After the Vikings beat Springfield, 78-75 last week, Strand contacted The Mascot asking for information about that game.

He printed parts of the story we printed last week and used the photo of Logan Sussner getting a rebound on the front page of the Basketball News.

Strand told me, “I do all the ratings. I guess I did OK pegging Minneota and Springfield as No.’s 1 and 2.”

Indeed. He’s the same guy who sat in on the interviews of the Minneota volleyball players after they won the state championship and asked if any of the Viking girls also played basketball.

He was told, “They all do.” Guess he found out they were good at both sports because he’s also ranked the Minneota girls as the No. 1 team in the state in Class A.

•Ironically, Strand was once the sports editor of the West Central Daily Tribune in Willmar. Our staff writer Scott Thoma worked for Strand, who left the paper and Thoma took over as sports editor.

Now Bruce is working for the basketball News, Thoma is working for us and I have been a “stringer” for both of them at one time. Crazy how some things happen!

Game to watch ... Despite the fact Dawson-Boyd has lost five games, the Vikings vs. Blackjacks basketball game is always a good one and the match-up is coming up Friday night in Minneota.

Should be a good one!

Byron Higgin

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Minneota, MN 56264

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