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Weinzierls make officiating history at state tournament

     The Weinzierl family made history at last week’s Minnesota state boys basketball tournament.

     Park Rapids’ Jim Weinzierl and his sons Ryan (of Dilworth) and Scott (of Bemidji) became the first father-son combination to officiate a state tournament game together.

     The three Weinzierls formed the three-man crew at two state tournament games this year. The Weinzierls worked Austin’s 59-56 victory over Blake in a Class AAA quarterfinal game at Williams Arena and worked the Class AA championship game where Minnehaha Academy edged Litchfield 56-54 at Target Center.

     “This was the first time a father and son, or in this case a father and sons, worked the same state tournament game,” said Jim Weinzierl. “It was very nice of the (Minnesota State High School League) to do that. The games went really well and we received very good critiques. It was a very special weekend for me.”

     Over the past 19 years, Jim Weinzierl has formed a two-man officiating crew with one of his sons in more than 200 games. The three Weinzierls have worked as a three-man crew in about 20 games, including several section championship contests.

     Jim Weinzierl has officiated 35 games in 23 state tournament appearances, including 10 state championship games. Ryan and Scott have worked eight state tournaments each. While all three have worked different games during the same state tournament, this was the first time all three worked the same state tournament game.

     What made this historic achievement even more special is the fact that this year marked Jim Weinzierl’s final appearance officiating at the state tournament. Weinzierl, who worked about 70 basketball games this past season, declined an offer to officiate at next year’s state tournament and is planning on working only 25 to 30 games next year. During some years of his career, Weinzierl worked five or six nights a week officiating both high school and college basketball games.

     Weinzierl says it’s time to start cutting back.

     “I’m going to miss working at the state tournament level. It was a memorable way to go out working a championship game with Ryan and Scott,” said Jim Weinzierl, who is kept busy organizing athletic and extra-curricular activities as the Region 8A secretary. “It was a fun run, but it’s time to move on.”