HOP ON MY BACK
Nobody carried its team to a state championship like J.P. Macura did at Lakeville North.
The Xavier recruit netted 23 points in a 59-47 victory over Buffalo in the Class 4A basketball state quarterfinals at the Target Center. He averaged 31.8 points per game on the year.
Then Macura scored 31 points in a 55-52 triumph over Cretin-Derham Hall in the semifinals. He drained a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.
But he wasn't done. To cap his senior career, Macura scored 43 points as the Panthers stunned Hopkins 84-82 in the finals.
It was the first boys' basketball state championship for Lakeville North. It also marked the first time Hopkins lost a title tilt under coach Ken Novak Jr. The Royals were 6-0 in championship games.
CONFERENCE COMPLETES SWEEP
Eastview girls' basketball team completed a sweep for the South Suburban Conference on the hardwood.
A week after Lakeville North's celebration, the Lightning knocked off Bloomington Kennedy 64-61 for the Class 4A crown at Williams Arena. Bloomington Kennedy is also a member of the 10-team conference.
It was also Eastview's first girls' basketball state championship. It previously had been the runners-up twice, in 2000 and 2003.
Junior guard Madison Guebert's layup with 48 seconds remaining gave Eastview its first lead on the night. She finished with a game-high 29 points.
Guebert was able to celebrate the title with her mother, Melissa. She is the coach of the Lightning.
A YEAR OF FIRSTS CONTINUES IN SPRING
Lakeville South joined in on the act of achieving school firsts, winning its initial Class 3A softball state crown.
Michaela Thielen scored on Mariah Uphoff's suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the Cougars a 3-2 victory over Maple Grove in the finals at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
Coach Rob Laden's squad also was making its initial state tournament appearance. It defeated Orono 2-1 in eight innings in the quarterfinals and rolled over Anoka 11-0 in the semifinals.
The Cougars had eight different players hit home runs on the season, led by Amanda Bloomquist with four and Kylie Stober with three. Stober, who will play for the Gophers, was the winning pitcher in all three state tournament games.
FINAL PREP TOURNEY ONE TO REMEMBER
New Prague senior MacKenzie Neisen concluded her prep golf career with a record-setting performance.
The Oklahoma State recruit fired a record 9-under-par 135 to win the Class 3A girls' tournament for the second consecutive year at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. Neisen finished one stroke ahead of Wayzata senior Sarah Burnham.
Neisen and Burnham shared the title in 2013, when they both shot 4-under-par 140s.
Neisen also had two runner-up finishes in the state tournament during her career. New Prague also won two team titles with Neisen leading the way.
CHAMPIONSHIPS A WAY TO LIFE
Northfield junior Bailey DuPay is making winning state championships commonplace, whether it's in girls' swimming or gymnastics.
DuPay won her third consecutive Class 1A title in diving at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in the fall. She accumulated a winning score of 397.55 points.
She followed that up by successfully defending her title in the all-around competition at the Class 2A gymnastics state meet at University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. She compiled a winning mark of 39.075.
She also won the balance beam (9.725), floor exercise (9.775) and uneven bars (9.85) in the process.
EAGLES WRESTLERS DOMINATE PODIUM
Apple Valley, the Goliath of Minnesota wrestling, won its ninth consecutive Class 3A team championship by steamrolling Prior Lake 56-9 at Xcel Energy Center. It was the program's 22nd crown.
The victory capped a 33-0 season for the South Suburban Conference school. The Eagles defeated Maple Grove 64-4 in the opening round and Hastings 65-3 in the semifinals.
Apple Valley also had four individual champions from its talented ranks. They were Maolu Woiwor (132 pounds), Seth Gross (138), Mark Hall (170) and Bobby Steveson (182).
Hall, a sophomore, won his fourth consecutive title. Woiwor and Gross each won their third individual crowns.
SIMLEY THE BEST IN CLASS 2A FIELD
Simley's wrestling team didn't start the season as the team to beat in Class 2A but it was the one on top at the end.
The Spartans won their sixth title in seven years, defeating Scott West 33-21 in the title tilt. It marked the 10th championship in school history.
Mack Short (152 pounds) was the school's lone individual champion.
EAGAN RETURNS TO NO. 1 POSITION
Eagan volleyball senior captains Taylr McNeil and Celia Bertsch mixed fun and competitiveness to perfection on the 2013 squad.
The tandem helped the Wildcats to an exciting 25-13, 27-29, 26-24, 21-25, 15-12 victory over Delano in the Class 3A state championship at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
It was Eagan's fifth state crown in the history of the program.
RARE DOUBLE WINNER IN STATE TRACK MEET
How good of an athlete is Lakeville South senior Shaina Burns? All you have to do is look at what she accomplished in the Class 2A girls' track state meet.
Burns was a double-winner, but the events don't exactly go hand in hand. She won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.44 seconds and the shot put with a toss of 44 feet, 10½ inches.
The Texas A&M recruit also finished third in the 300 hurdles and was a member of the school's 4x400 relay team that finished third.
TWICE AS NICE FOR COUGARS SWIMMER
Lakeville South senior Mitch Herrera exited the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center as a double winner in the Class 2A boys' swimming state meet.
Herrera won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. He posted a winning time of 1 minute, 40.85 seconds in the 200. He won the 500 with a time of 4 minutes, 33.55 seconds.