Can anyone knock off the Awesome Blossoms?
It’s not like Blooming Prairie High School in southern Minnesota is seen as an athletic powerhouse in the way that we recognize other schools around the state. But the school has earned a No. 1 seed in a 64-school internet competition to choose the best team nickname in Minnesota.
Voting started Monday in the tournament, which is being run on the Twitter feed of Minnesota State High School League publicist John Millea, who did the seeding and divided the tournament into four 16-school “regions.”
The Awesome Blossoms meet the Ely Timberwolves in the opening round of the Pretzel and Cheese region. The other top seeds are the Moorhead Spuds, Wabasso Rabbits and Thief River Falls Prowlers.
If the Awesome Blossoms prevail, as expected, they'll meet the winner of the match-up between the unseeded Cleveland Clippers and the No. 8 Edgerton Flying Dutchmen, who are also celebrating the 60th anniversary of their boys' basketball title that captivated the state.
How was the field chosen?
“I selected all 64 nicknames and seeded the field,” Millea said. “They were initially seeded 1-to-64 but I thought that was a little unwieldy, so I seeded one to eight in each bracket and chose their first-round opponents at random.”
Tracie Bressler, the league’s graphic designer, built the graphic that’s displayed on the league’s Facebook page.
The result is the only spring high school tournament in the state. Voting in each bracket will run for 24 hours this week, with the rest of the tournament to follow.
As should be expected, the field generated some controversy over teams that were left out or disrespected in the seeding.
Millea said that the top nickname that didn’t make the cut was the Pumas of Cristo Rey Jesuit in south Minneapolis.
It should also be noted that nicknames of combined programs weren’t considered. That eliminated, among others, the “Bearstangs” boys’ swimming collaboration between The Blake School Bears and Breck School Mustangs.
But private schools should have their own tournament, right?