Staff Directory 6370414

Kevin Bertels

High school sports team leader | High school sports
Phone: 612-673-4532

Kevin Bertels has led the Star Tribune’s high school sports coverage since fall 2021. Before that, he spent 23 years as the newspaper’s night Sports section coordinator, placing him in charge of the Sports copy desk.


Bertels is a native Kansan and now a determined Minnesotan, living in Oak Grove, where he raised three sons with his wife. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a journalism degree. Kevin dabbles in fishing, canoe camping, golfing and gambling, and he was way too involved in youth sports until his youngest son went to college.
Recent content from Kevin Bertels
The members of Stillwater's synchronized swimming team pose with their trophy from the state championships.

Metro Team of the Year in synchronized swimming builds on history

Stillwater won the state championship for the fourth year in a row and improved on a record that shows the Ponies in the top two for all 49 years a champ has been crowned.
Lance Klersy became a trapshooting state champion with a 100-for-100 performance.

A day of perfection produces the Clay Target Shooter of the Year

Lance Klersy of Monticello went 100-for-100 at the state championships, his second perfect score, two years after his first. "My last box, I could barely put my shells in my gun, I was shaking so much," he said.
Difference Maker Award winner Mark (Dolo) Harris, who voluntarily contributes daily to athletic programs at Patrick Henry, speaks after receiving his

Meet the 2024 Difference Maker, who aspires to inspire inner-city athletes

Mark "Dolo" Harris is a familiar face and voice at Henry, his alma mater, working to improve opportunities in north Minneapolis.
Wayzata competes in the Class 3A jazz dance state tournament, where it finished first in late February.

The Dance Team of the Year came back for more. Lots more.

Wayzata hadn't won either division, jazz or high kick, since a sweep in 2019, until it won jazz in 2024 and finished second in high kick.
The Dakota United CI softball team poses with the state championship trophy.

Adapted Sports Team of the Year shook off a bad memory

Dakota United overcame eerily familiar late-game circumstances in the state final to win its first state championship.
A rain delay at Target Field is a fairly normal occurrence. The delay for the high school state championship games will last most of a week.

Rain delay, indeed: Baseball state title games will wait until Friday.

The finals won't have to leave Target Field after all. The MSHSL decided to hold off until the Twins leave town.
From left, Ryan Stendahl of Maple Grove and Reese McCauley of Simley hold the No. 1 rankings.

Ms. and Mr. Minnesota Golf finalists, eight of each, are revealed

The awards go to the top high school senior girl and boy in the state.
Rosemount players celebrate after defeating Forrest Lake 6-1 to win the MSHSL class 4A softball state championship game Friday, June 9, 2023, at Caswe

The champ lands big class' top seed in softball state tournament

Rosemount, undefeated ruler of Class 4A last season, wound up atop the field again. Cretin-Derham Hall is first in 3A, Randolph in 2A and New Ulm Cathedral in 1A.
Hopkins’ Liv McGill will lend her basketball skills to the USA Basketball under-18 team.

Team USA finds girls basketball firepower in Twin Cities

Liv McGill of Hopkins was picked to play for the U.S. under-18 team at a tournament in Colombia. Three Twin Cities players are trying out this week for the U17 team.
The No. 7 worn by Adam Johnson at the University of Minnesota Duluth hangs in 3M Arena at Mariucci in the days after Johnson's death.

Neck guards mandated for high school hockey after Johnson's death

The National Federation of High Schools announced that it will mandate neck guards nationwide after Minnesotan Adam Johnson died in October from a skate blade lacerating his throat.
Clockwise from top left: Aaliyah Crump of Minnetonka, Lanelle Wright of Minnetonka and Maddyn Greenway of Providence Academy will try out for the chan

Three area girls basketball stars trying out for national U-17 team

Minnetonka's Aaliyah Crump and Lanelle Wright and Providence Academy's Maddyn Greenway were invited to try out for USA Basketball's under-17 national team.
Mike Randolph is headed to Northern Lakes, a co-op that went 18-10 last season.

Randolph is back in the game, at Class 1A boys hockey co-op

Mike Randolph, one victory short of Minnesota's record for coaching victories, is taking over at Northern Lakes.
High school junior golfer moves a step closer to U.S. Open

High school junior golfer moves a step closer to U.S. Open

Cretin-Derham Hall's Sam Udovich was among five players who advanced from a tournament at Troy Burne. Next stop: a 36-hole qualifier June 3.
Holy Family's P.J. Herron is among the 16 boys still in the running to be Mr. Minnesota Golf.

List of 32 in running for Ms. and Mr. Minnesota Golf is revealed

The awards go to the top high school senior golfers in the state, and the winners will be named June 9.
Mike Randolph is tied for the state record in boys hockey coaching victories with 707.

Tied for state wins record, prep hockey coach Randolph loses job

According to coach Mike Randolph, a St. Thomas Academy official told him that 'little things' led to the decision to let him go as the school's hockey coach.
Zack Friedli, who coached three seasons with Chanhassen High School, is becoming head coach at Holy Family.

Holy Family hires boys hockey coach from program on the rise

Zack Friedli, who was associate head coach as Chanhassen reached the Class 2A final, will take over the Fire.
Minnetonka guard Andy Stefonowicz (11) and forward Kayden Wells (15) celebrate a moment during the Skippers' state championship victory Saturday night

Transfers make major impact at boys basketball tourney — and people noticed

All four state champions — two public schools and two privates —benefited from players who transferred. That and more from the weekend.
Coach James Ware and his Park Center boys basketball team will learn their seed for the Class 4A state tournament Saturday.

Who made state in boys basketball? The list of 32 is complete.

The brackets and seeds will be revealed Saturday, and the quarterfinals will begin Wednesday.
Chanhassen's Owen Buesgens (3) is one of six finalists for the Reed Larson Award, giving to the state's top senior defenseman.

Finalists revealed for state's top senior defenseman honor

The list is a who's who of the best senior blueliners from across the state.
Minnetonka celebrated the Class 2A championship last season, but a new champion will emerge this season.

Minnesota boys hockey state tournament 2023-24: The schedule and more

The legendary event begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. Find TV and ticket details and links to the brackets here.
Clockwise from top left: Willard Ikola in 1965, Roy Nystrom in 2007, Mike Randolph in 2023, Lorne Grosso in 2015.

Cretin-Derham Hall puts Randolph's pursuit of coaching record on hold

The Raiders advanced to the boys hockey state tournament and stopped the St. Thomas Academy coach from setting the Minnesota record for victories.
Mike Randolph, head coach at St. Thomas Academy since 2022, will break the state record with his next victory.

Randolph can set record for coaching wins in section final tonight

St. Thomas Academy coach Mike Randolph will break Lorne Grosso's state record with his 708th win if the Cadets top Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday in a section final.
Coach Dean Aurich, center, prepared running back Sam Dennis (20) during Mayer Lutheran's state championship victory in 2021.

High school football coach retires after leading program for 36 years

Dean Aurich, with a record of 256-114 and a state title from 2021, is stepping down at Mayer Lutheran.
This image was posted on social media Thursday as a tribute to senior Shakopee High School hockey player Mikayla McCarvel, who died Tuesday for injuri

Police: Shakopee hockey player suffered fatal injuries after driver of her car didn't stop at sign

High school senior Mikayla McCarvel, who was riding with three other 17-year-olds, suffered a brain injury and died Tuesday, her father said.

Small class' biggest rivals will spice up the boys hockey weekend

No. 1 Hermantown will take on No. 2 Warroad on Saturday. St. Thomas Academy surged in the Class 2A rankings, then lost.

Change comes again to the top of the Class 2A girls hockey rankings

Hill-Murray swapped spots with Minnetonka, and the schedule says there's reason to watch for more.
Former Gopher and North Star hockey legend Lou Nanne, left, told a story in response to a question by Star Tribune writer Mike Rand. Ten athletes were

After 60 years, Nanne prepares last call at boys hockey state tourney

Lou Nanne, Minnesota hockey patriarch and analyst for the broadcasts since 1964, said he'll make the next one his last.
Lauren Mack has 14 goals and 16 assists for No. 1 Minnetonka.

The first girls hockey rankings of the new year feature a new No. 1

Minnetonka moved past Hill-Murray, the only team to have defeated the Skippers.
Wayzata's Hawke Huff (18) looks to clear the puck in overtime of the holiday tournament between Minnetonka and Wayzata Friday, Dec. 29, 2023 at the Pl

Two unbeaten teams start 2024 atop boys hockey rankings

A draw over the holidays settled nothing, leaving Minnetonka No. 1 and Wayzata No. 2.
The tush push, the NFL play that sunk Vikings, is illegal in prep games

The tush push, the NFL play that sunk Vikings, is illegal in prep games

The play, in which a teammate pushes a runner ahead, cost one team a Prep Bowl TD when a player lifted a teammate who broke away for a score that was called back.

Six Minnesota boys land on Olympic youth hockey roster

Minnesotans make up more than a third of the team, which will play in South Korea starting Jan. 19.

Who's Minnesota's Player of the Year? Find him here, with 55 All-Staters

The All-State football first team starts with an offensive backfield that has no players from Class 6A, the largest schools.
Stewartville running back Carter Miller gave his fans a listen after a touchdown in the Class 3A seifinminals5) celebrates with the student section af

Prep Bowl: Title games start Friday. Schedule, TV, ticket info and more

Tap on the headline above for a link to watch the games, score updates, ticket information, the tournament program and more.
Will Steil of Rocori (left) amd Tanner Zolnosky of East Ridge are among the 10 finalists for Mr. Football.

Meet the 10 Mr. Football finalists (and don't miss the 19 previous winners)

The 2023 list runs from metro to far outstate, from small class to the largest.
Military helicopters fly over the rink at the start of Hockey Day in Minnesota in White Bear Township, Minn., on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Hockey Day M

Hockey Day Minnesota 2025 will set up at Valleyfair

The annual event celebrating hockey from youth to pros will happen amid rollercoasters and rides at the Shakopee amusement park.
Meet the matchup: Minneapolis North at Fridley in the Prep Spotlight free stream

Meet the matchup: Minneapolis North at Fridley in the Prep Spotlight free stream

The game, a pairing of metro teams from Class 4A and 3A, will be available at 6 p.m. on startribune.com.
Meet the matchup: Totino-Grace at Orono in the Prep Spotlight free stream

Meet the matchup: Totino-Grace at Orono in the Prep Spotlight free stream

The game, a pairing of teams ranked in the top five of Class 4A, will be available on startribune.com.
Becker High School long time football coach Dwight Lundeen spoke to the team during practice in Becker, Minn., on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Lundeen is

Meet the matchup: Rocori at Becker in the Prep Spotlight

Watch Becker, ranked first in Class 4A, and Rocori, ranked seventh, in the free streamed game of the week.
Blake coach Mike Ach congratulates Rochester Mayo's Claire Loftus as her sister Aoife stands nearby.

Rochester rules the girls tennis world entering the postseason

Mayo is ranked first in Class 2A and Lourdes is first in Class 1A as section tournaments get going.
Grace Estby of Wayzata (left) and Izzy Engle of Edina are prominent players on the state’s top two Class 3A teams.

It comes down to this in girls soccer: Perfection vs. perfection

Undefeated Class 3A teams, No. 1 and No. 2, will clash in the final game of the regular season.
Meet the matchup: Alexandria at Brainerd in the Prep Spotlight

Meet the matchup: Alexandria at Brainerd in the Prep Spotlight

The teams in the free streamed game are both undefeated and ranked in the top 10 of Class 5A.
Maple Grove running back Charles Langama (21) and center Rylan Bahl (60) celebrate a touchdown by Langama in the second half against Centennial Thursd

Meet the matchup: Maple Grove vs. Anoka in the Prep Spotlight

This week's free stream features undefeated Anoka and defending 6A champ Maple Grove.
Runners compete in the boy's junior varsity race during the 58th Annual Metro Invitational Cross Country Meet Saturday, Sep. 16, 2023, at Flying Cloud

Just ahead for cross-country runners: the Roy Griak Invitational

The University of Minnesota's meet, featuring high school and college races at the U, is back for the 37th time.
At the No Honor in Racism on the U of M campus in Minneapolis, Olympian hockey silver medalist Henry Boucha was a standard bearer.] Richard Tsong-Taat

Funeral for Boucha will be in Warroad arena Sept. 29

Gardens Arena is where Warroad high school hockey teams play, where Henry Boucha's No. 16 hangs and where banners commemorate the school's state hockey titles.

Highland Park, Central soccer teams invited to Allianz Field for Saint Paul Cup

Via the Saint Paul Cup, those schools' boys and girls teams will be the latest prep programs to compete in the facility.
Rochester Mayo running back Isaiah Beale (26) turned the corner and headed for the end zone for one of his two second-half touchdowns in a 42-14 victo

Meet the Prep Spotlight matchup: Rochester Mayo vs. Farmington

The football game will be streamed free and live Friday at startribune.com.
Clockwise from top left, Hopkins’ Sydney Drevlow, Hutchinson’s Isabelle Schmitz and Minneapolis Southwest’s Sam Scott are top-ranked runners.

Hopkins' Drevlow, Minneapolis Southwest's Scott reign in cross-country rankings

Wayzata teams lead both Class 3A polls, and St. Paul Highland Park is ranked first among 2A girls.
Wayzata's Miles Redmond (18) and Washburn's Nels Mortenson (8) get tied up while battling for a loose ball at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn.,

Who's No. 1? Everywhere you look in soccer, it's Wayzata

The Wayzata boys reached Class 3A's peak after defeating then-No. 1 Minneapolis Washburn. The girls team was already there.
Class 4A Section 5 volleyball final at Osseo, Champlin Park vs. Wayzata, 11-02-22. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

After three top-10 wins, Wayzata volleyball tightens grip on No. 1 spot

The Trojans showed their mettle, winning five matches last weekend including victories over No. 2 Champlin Park, No. 4 Lakeville North and No. 9 Maple Grove.
Mankato West's Jalen Smith (3) makes a catch while defended by Elk River's Darioh Balisidya (4) in the first half of the Minnesota High School footbal

Meet Mankato West and Andover, the football teams meeting in the Prep Spotlight game of the week

The game, pitting two Class 5A powers, will be streamed free and live Friday at startribune.com.
As he's wrapped up by Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's Brody Friend (8) as time runs out of the game, New London-Spicer's Grant Paffrath (12) pitches the bal

New London-Spicer's Hail Mary with a twist wins state title — and Metro Play of the Year

The moment that made the football team a state champion also made it a viral sensation. "It comes up for sure every week, if not a few times a week," says coach Chad Gustafson
Sunshine Vang, badminton player of the year who is graduating from St. Paul Highland Park High School, is photographed at Como Park in St. Paul, Minn.

Meet St. Paul Highland Park's Sunshine Vang, the Metro Badminton Player of the Year

Vang mastered two of the games she plays: the one in her head and the one on the badminton court in setting a school record for victories. "I changed a lot," she said,
St. Paul Academy shortstop Tommy Verhey stood ready during a May game, and it was clear from the background where he was playing.

CHS Field takes its first turn as site of prep baseball state title games

The stadium is a regular stop, and energizing atmosphere, for schools within St. Paul. This year the showcase of the high school baseball seasons comes to Lowertown.
Evelyn Wiltrout grinned from the second spot on the medal stand Friday, the position she needed to claim to qualify for state.

Cambridge-Isanti shot putter takes full advantage of her second chance

Evelyn Wiltrout qualified for the state championships a day after the MSHSL changed a ruling that had made her ineligible.
Cambridge-Isanti shot putters Evelyn Wiltrout (left) and Erin Baker posed over the mark Wiltrout’s shot made on her winning throw at the Mississippi

Decision reversed: Banned shot-putters will compete in section meet

Three girls from Cambridge-Isanti who began Thursday banned from their section track and field meet — and from their chance to win a spot at state — regained that opportunity Thursday night.
Mayer Lutheran tight end Teigan Martin (90), bottom right, celebrates with his team trophy after the Class 1A state championship football game between

Conference at edge of metro area, with 6 decades of history, breaks up

Member schools voted to disband after 2023-24, driven by widening differences in enrollment. The Minnesota River Conference president said "in the individual interests of the schools, this was the right decision."
Maple Grove dancers celebrated Friday after they won the jazz state championship at the dance team state championships.wons the 2023 Class 3A State Ch

Maple Grove wins jazz competition at dance team state meet

The Crimson was the only team to beat Eastview in the regular season and did it again.
Eastview performs at the Class 3A MSHSL State High Kick Dance Tournament on Feb. 19, 2022 at the Target Center. [ Special to Star Tribune, photo by Ma

Eastview's dominant dancers head to state on their annual mission

The Lightning have swept the titles three seasons in a row and will try for four with a new coach.
Jalen Suggs drew a crowd right onto his lap Thursday. His mom, Molly Manley, sat at his left, and his dad, Larry Suggs, was on the gym floor near Jale

No. 1 all around: Minnehaha Academy honors Jalen Suggs, retires his jerseys

In his second season in the NBA, Suggs is in town for a game against the Timberwolves. The school retired his No. 1 in both basketball and football.
The referees wore differing attire Monday when Minnesota Morris called in two high school referees and one college referee for its game against Macale

When college refs don't show, high school officials save the game

When no crew showed up to officiate Monday's game at the University of Minnesota Morris, athletic director Matt Johnson called on his prep connections for replacements to get the game going only a few minutes late.
David Flom, the suspended head coach of the Eden Prairie boy's basketball team watches their game against Farmington from the bleachers Friday, Dec. 1

As Eden Prairie coach awaits ruling, his case raises question: Is using a racial slur ever OK?

Eden Prairie boys basketball coach David Flom watched the Eagles from the stands Friday night while he remains suspended. The school district is investigating his reading of a slur as part of a lesson.
Captain tells his high school's fans:  'We need to stop yelling at the refs'

Captain tells his high school's fans: 'We need to stop yelling at the refs'

The captain of a boys basketball team in southeastern Minnesota delivered a plea to fans after his school's first home game: "I hope we can all come together as a community and change for the better."
The new Old Oil Can Trophy and a look at the old one from the Feb. 1, 1932, edition of the Stillwater Arrow.

Rivals bring back basketball trophy missing since World War II

Stillwater boys basketball coach Brady Hannigan has revived a prize that dates to the 1920s and was last awarded about 80 years ago. It will go to the winner of Friday's game between his team and White Bear Lake.
From left: Jim, Dane and Pete Roback. The Roback family will have a third generation involved in the Prep Bowl now that Rosemount has qualified.

Meet the Roback family and its three generations of Prep Bowlers

Dad Jim helped coach Coon Rapids to a 1983 title, son Pete won with Anoka in '90 and grandson Dane will get there with Rosemount.
Larry McKenzie spoke before Sunday’s banquet with WCCO-TV’s Mike Max, who emceed the event.

Retired? Former North High coach McKenzie returning as an assistant

A Hall of Famer as a head coach at several Twin Cities high schools, including Minneapolis North, Larry McKenzie is joining Park Center as an assistant. Here are five things learned at a banquet in his honor.
Eden Prairie at Stillwater. October 19, 2022. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner

Five questions, five answers on the state high school football playoffs

The Class 6A bracket will be revealed Friday morning, and much is yet to be determined. because of games that still need to be played. But some of the top seeds are pretty certain.
Clockwise from top left: Eden Prairie’s Devin Jordan, Elk River’s Cade Osterman, Maple Grove’s Jacob Kilzer, Richfield’s Dominic Miller, St. T

The last week of regular-season football is here: three issues from each class

High school teams have played down to matchups that will set section pairings and settle even more.
Neighborhood Sports Network warns about scammers taking advantage of streamed sports to steal credit card information.

Company streaming high school sports warns about scammers

Neighborhood Sports Network says the safe route to broadcasts is to go directly to its website.
Maple Grove at Minnetonka. September 16, 2022. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner

1 favorite, 4 contenders: Who's next at No. 1 in Twin Cities football?

The top teams in Jim Paulsen's Metro Top 10 lost in Weeks 3 and 4. This raised questions. We asked Jim for answers.
Bah Ni Thay and his St. Paul Humboldt teammates made it from the Mayor’s Cup at Allianz Field to the Class 1A final last season. St. Paul Harding an

St. Paul, you're invited: Plan will put high school soccer teams on Allianz Field annually

The Saint Paul Cup will feature boys' and girls' teams from Como Park and Harding this year and others in the future.
The sun sets as the Eden Prairie football team takes on Lakeville South in the first quarter Friday, September 16, 2022 at Eden Prairie High School in

Any given Thursday: It's No. 1 Eden Prairie vs. Rosemount in high-powered matchup

That's the top team in the Metro Top 10 against No. 8, a Thursday opportunity in a season with a bunch of those. Here are some of the best.
Conner Erickson was taken from the football sideline by ambulance Sept. 9.

Brainerd football player improving as he recovers from brain surgery

"Conner is making progress!" after being removed from a ventilator and taken off sedation, Conner Erickson's mother said in a CaringBridge post.
Trent Witz was part of two boys’ basketball state championships in nine years at Minneapolis North.

A key member of Larry McKenzie's supporting cast steps away from Minneapolis North

Trent Witz, assistant coach under McKenzie and director of basketball operations for the Polars, says he's exiting.
Jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan was injured Wednesday night in a fall at Canterbury Park. He remained hospitalized the next day with back, rib and lung inj

Jockey hospitalized after fall from his mount at Canterbury Park

Jermaine Bridgmohan fell from Mickey Dobbs while they were leading, was trampled on and has broken bones and a collapsed lung.
Clockwise from top left: Lakeville South’s Ian Segna, Lakeville South’s Carson Hansen, Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant and quarterback Nick Fazi, Ed

No. 1 vs. No. 2: A closer look at Lakeville South vs. Eden Prairie

For the second year in a row, Week 3 of the high school football season serves up a matchup of No. 1 in the Metro Top 10, Lakeville South, and No. 2, Eden Prairie, on Friday.