DAVID PONATH

St. Croix Lutheran • football

The season started with Ponath at running back. It also started with two losses.

He moved to quarterback in the third game and the Crusaders’ fortunes soared. A 38-35 victory over Glencoe-Silver Lake in the Class 3A quarterfinals Friday was their ninth in a row. He passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 81 yards, including a game-clinching 70-yard touchdown run.

Ponath’s long run came on a gutsy decision by St. Croix Lutheran coaches to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 30-yard line with less than three minutes to play. The call was for Ponath on a quarterback keeper.

He burst through the line and found nothing but open field ahead of him. His biggest worry was if his body would hold up long enough to get to the end zone.

“I started cramping up a little,” he remembered. “But it held off long enough to score.”

After the game, Ponath, a senior, said never doubted the play would work. “I knew the play would be open,” he said.

LINDSEY COLEMAN

Burnsville • hockey

Fresh from helping the Blaze to the Class 2A soccer state tournament, the senior paced the hockey team to a pair of season-opening victories. She had a hat trick as Burnsville beat Rosemount 6-1 and three goals and three assists in an 8-4 victory over Hastings.

DAN FISHER

Eden Prairie • Football

In only his second game back from a concussion, the bruiser turned into a breakaway threat in a 42-14 victory over Lake­ville North, rushing for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He had five runs of 17 or more yards. “I’m normally more of a straight-ahead guy,” he said.

TAYLR MCNEIL

Eagan • volleyball

There was perhaps no single player that meant more to her team’s success than McNeil, a 6-1 senior outside hitter, did for Eagan in its run to the Class 3A championship. In three tournament matches, McNeil had 79 kills — 36 in a finals victory over Delano — 45 digs and eight block assists.

JESPER HORSTED

Roseville • football

Already a talented receiver, Horsted took his game to a higher level in the Raiders’ 24-21 Class 6A quarterfinals victory over Maple Grove. Horsted caught 19 passes (quarterback Jacques Perra completed 22 in total) for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

MADISON PREISS

Wayzata • swimming

The sophomore had a stellar Class 2A, Section 5 meet, placing first in four events. Preiss set meets records in the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 8.58 seconds) and the 100 backstroke (1:05.10) and swam on the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams, both of which won their events in record times as well.

MEGAN WENMAN

Rosemount • swimming

The sophomore was one of the stars of the Class 2A, Section 3 meet, helping the Irish to the meet championship. She swam on the meet-record setting 400 freestyle relay team (3:32.38) and the winning 200 freestyle relay team. In addition, she set pool records in winning the 100 and 200 freestyle races.

JIM PAULSEN