Minnetonka track and field coach Chris Cohen felt an opportunity to win a True Team state meet was lost in 2003 when he waited too long to notify his guys of a conflict with prom.
So Cohen warned the members of this season's promising squad in February that a prom conflict would happen. His Skippers decided to make the state meet a priority and were rewarded with a victory Friday night at Stillwater High School.
Minnetonka scored 889.5 points to hold off Wayzata (811.5) and win the first Class 3A title in program history. Lakeville South's girls captured their first title with 880 points. The True Team format is unique because all 27 competitors in each meet are eligible to score points. Both teams took full advantage.
Minnetonka jumped to a 20-point lead after two events thanks to a strong effort in the 110-meter hurdles. Jamie Crum placed third, followed by fellow Skippers Angus Stoudt (fourth) and Rashad Cohen (sixth).
"We've been thinking about this ever since we took third last year," Stoudt said. "If I won an individual event at state, I wouldn't be close to as happy as I am tonight."
The trio also dominated the 300 hurdles. Stoudt won the event in 39.17 seconds, Crum took third and Cohen claimed eighth. All told, Minnetonka's hurdles crew contributed 143 points.
"That's what is so awesome about this team," Crum said of choosing track and field over prom. "Everybody wanted to come and compete. Everybody wanted to win. I think we'll take this over a dance anytime."
Also helping the Skippers earn a celebratory infield dance were the Singleton brothers, DeAndre and KeAndre, who placed first and seventh, respectively, in the long jump to help widen the Skippers' lead.
"We capitalized on what I call our strength events and we didn't have a weak event," Chris Cohen said.
On the girls' side, Lakeville South coach Andrew Hilliard preached patience to his team. Prior Lake made an expected early move with strong middle- and long-distance running results but Hilliard knew his team could counter.
The high jump corps proved him right. Lakeville South owned the event as Morgan Pieri (5 feet, 6 inches), Slattery (5-4) and Burns (5-4) swept the top three spots and moved the Cougars into a 49-point lead over Prior Lake.
"We knew the field events would give us that boost half way through the meet and that high jump really helped us," Hilliard said.
The Cougars gained more separation from second-place Prior Lake after placing Allison Mosser (fourth), Pieri (seventh) and Slattery among the top-11 in the triple jump.
In the shot put, Jordyn Thornton won with a mark of 44 feet, 3¼ inches. Teammate Monica Turner placed third.
"I've been on this team since seventh grade, and every year we got second or third at True Team sections," said senior Megan Kilbride. "This is what we've been working for."