1. Eagles stars shine
Apple Valley juniors and top Division I recruits — Tre Jones (boys’ basketball) and Gable Steveson (wrestling) — carried the Eagles to state championships in their respective sports. Jones, a 6-3 guard headed for Duke, averaged a double-double (points and rebounds) in the state tournament in leading the Eagles to the Class 4A championship. Steveson, the top heavyweight in the state and Gopher bound, led the Eagles to their 12th consecutive Class 3A championship, and 25th overall. He won the individual heavyweight title with a pin in 11 seconds. That capped a 42-0 season, including 41 victories by pin.
2. A walk-off in the park
Sophomore third baseman Emma Frost hit a two-out, walk-off home run in the 10th inning, giving Farmington its first state team title in school history with a 1-0 victory over Anoka in the Class 4A softball championship game at Caswell Park in North Mankato. The shutout was ace Maddie Muelken’s second in as many days. She blanked top-seeded Chanhassen 2-0 in the semifinals before matching the feat against second-seeded Anoka in the final.
3. Panthers back on top
Lakeville North regained supremacy on the volleyball court while the Panthers’ gymnastics program returned to the top spot for the first time in over a decade. The volleyball squad knocked off two-time defending state champion Eagan 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23 for the Class 3A crown. It was the Panthers’ first title since 2012. The gymnastics team earned its first crown since 2003, before the school district splitting into two schools.
4. Wildcats excel on turf
The Eagan girls’ soccer team has grown accustomed to celebrating at the end of the season while its boys’ lacrosse team got to experience it for the first time. The soccer team won the Class 2A championship for the third time in the last four years with a 2-1 victory over Maple Grove when junior midfielder Ellen Pagois scored on a header with just a few seconds left. The lacrosse squad won its initial crown with a 19-12 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
5. King of the hill
Elliott Boman returned to the prep circuit for his senior season, and won his second Alpine skiing boys’ individual championship in the past three years. He posted a winning time of 1 minute, 14.53 seconds down Giants Ridge’s two slalom courses in Biwabik. After winning the title as a sophomore, the Northfield co-op skier took his junior year to train outside of high school competition under the Federation Internationale de Ski banner.