There was more pressure this time around, mostly due to higher expectations. A midseason illness didn't help, and a hint of doubt crept in after two regular-season losses to Eastview's Karin Young.
In the end, however, Copeland overcame it all to win her second consecutive Class 2A singles championship. After straight-set victories in the first two rounds, Copeland outdueled Zoe Adkins of Maple Grove in three sets in the semifinals, then came back to defeat Edina teammate and close friend Andrea Jansson 6-1, 6-4 in the final.
"There was a lot more pressure this year," Copeland said. "I had a target on my back. Everyone wanted to beat me."
While the regular season was rougher than she anticipated, things changed for the better when the postseason arrived. "I kind of turned things around in sections and started playing better," she said.
When her finals match was over, Copeland was more thoughtful than celebratory.
"It's kind of the same feeling as last year," she said.
More gratifying, considering the added challenges?
"I think so," she said, then paused. "It just feels so good."
Mpls. Washburn, cross-country
The senior continued her long-distance running dominance by becoming the first girl to break the 17-minute mark for a 5K in Minnesota State High School League competition when she won the Class 2A, Section 6 meet last Wednesday in 16 minutes, 56.4 seconds. Three days later, she announced that she would attend Colorado.
As has become common, when Wayzata girls' soccer has offensive success, the senior midfielder is right in the middle of it. She assisted on the Trojans' first three goals and scored one herself in a 4-1 victory over Blaine in the Class 2A state tournament quarterfinals.
Forest Lake, volleyball
It was a standout week for the 5-10 senior outside hitter. She led the Rangers to the championship of the Rochester tournament with 49 kills and 47 digs, then had 20 kills, 22 digs and two blocks in a Class 3A, Section 7 quarterfinal victory over Blaine.
St. Agnes, football
The senior running back had two 300-yard rushing games in leading the Aggies into the Class 2A, Section 4 final. He ran for 356 yards and six touchdowns in a victory over Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted and 304 yards and three TDs in a victory over Concordia Academy.
Prior Lake, football
Shaver, a senior, stood out on both sides of the ball in the Lakers' 52-42 victory over Buffalo. He filled in as running back and rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown and took a screen pass and ran for 73 yards. He also made six tackles from his linebacker position.
After three years of Class 1A singles runner-up finishes, Shen, a junior, finally got over the hump, defeating Katie Mulvey of Trinity 6-0, 6-4 to win the championship. Shen, who also led the Bears to the team title, lost only seven games in seven state tournament matches.