High school athletes are lucky if they get to participate in one state tournament in their career.
Lakeville North senior Drew Stewart has played in nine consecutive state tournaments in three different sports.
Stewart scored six points in Lakeville North’s 60-49 victory against Maple Grove in a Class 4A quarterfinal at Target Center.
That pushed his state tournament streak to nine in a row – four in basketball, three in football and two in baseball.
His streak actually stands at 10 because he was a freshman member of Lakeville North’s football team that advanced to the Prep Bowl in 2012. Stewart hardly played that season so …
“I don’t count that one,” he said. “I didn’t play any meaningful minutes.”
Stewart was a three-year starter at quarterback. He helped Lakeville North win its first boys' basketball state championship in 2014.
J.P. Macura stole the show that night with 43 points in a remarkable shooting display. Stewart nailed a corner three-pointer in the final 30 seconds to cut Hopkins' lead to one point, putting Lakeville North in position for the upset.
Stewart said that state tournament was his most memorable. He doesn’t take the others for granted.
“I know I’m very lucky to have this type of success with such a great group of guys,” he said. “I feel blessed. Without all my teammates and my coaching staffs, I don’t know if I would be here.”
Stewart said participating in a state tournament never becomes routine, not even the ninth time.
“It never gets old coming back,” he said. “Walking through that tunnel [at Target Center] and seeing all the people here, it gives me the chills.”
His pregame nerves, however, have “dulled” with experience.
“At first, I used to be up all night, almost puking in the morning,” he said.
Stewart has a chance to extend his tournament streak to 10 – or 11, if you count the freshman year of football – with Lakeville North’s baseball team.
Asked what it would be like to not play in a state tournament, Stewart said, “I don’t know. I’ll tell you if it happens.”
Stewart signed a football scholarship with Augustana University to play quarterback.
Drew Stewart at practiced at Lakeville North High in August 2015. (Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune)