Hold up, baseball. Wait a moment, softball. Cool it, track and field.
Before spring season sports take hold, a few final bouquets for the North and East metro winter sports.
Stick taps are due all around in hockey. First for Anoka, which returned to the Class 2A state tournament for the first time since 2003. And then for a spinning, overtime goal from Noah Cates that put Stillwater into the state tournament and him on SportsCenter’s top plays. Keep them tapping for Blaine’s Riley Tufte, who earned Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year and Mr. Hockey honors.
Don’t forget the Maple Grove girls’ hockey team, which reached the Class 2A title game for the first time. And Hill-Murray, which fell to the Crimson in the semifinals, ended a remarkable run highlighted by back-to-back state championships.
A tough ending shouldn’t diminish what the Osseo boys’ basketball team accomplished. The Orioles carried an undefeated record into the Class 4A state tournament.
On the girls’ side, unseeded White Bear Lake scored Class 4A’s biggest state tournament upset, toppling No. 2 seed St. Michael-Albertville in overtime of the quarterfinals.
From backboards to the diving board, Spring Lake Park senior Mitch Raihle achieved a rare feat by winning 1-meter diving state titles in both Class 1A (in 2015) and 2A.
Raihle capped an undefeated season with a dominating performance at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in the Class 2A state meet. His lead was so big, he could have skipped his final dive and still won.