Longtime Mounds View soft­ball coach Frank Roth is pol­ish­ing a new di­a­mond.

St. Croix Pre­para­tory Academy, based in Stillwater, hired Roth and his form­er staff. Soft­ball sea­son be­gins Mon­day and Roth is ex­cit­ed for the chal­lenge.

"Fami­lies choose St. Croix be­cause the ed­u­ca­tion is ex­cel­lent," Roth said. "I want to match the ed­u­ca­tion with athlet­ics. My staff and I all be­lieve in that, and we feel we can make kids the best they can be."

Roth left Mounds View af­ter the 2016 sea­son, his 14th at the helm. His teams won 198 games and placed se­cond in the con­fer­ence four times.

Mile­stone vic­to­ry

Elk River boys' basket­ball coach Randy Klasen won his 500th ca­reer game as his Elks de­feat­ed St. Mi­chael-Albertville 66-62 on March 7 in the Class 4A, Section 8 quart­er­finals.

Klasen's vic­to­ry total is a com­bi­na­tion of his work as both a girls' and boys' head coach.

The Force awak­ens

Academy Force Football is the new identity for a re­tooled pri­vate school conglomerate. Mounds Park Academy joins New Life Academy and St. Croix Prep as part of a east-met­ro-based foot­ball co-op for the up­com­ing sea­son.

The cur­rent pro­gram plays in Class 4A, Section 3 and reached the sec­tion finals last sea­son.

David La Vaque