It was a big risk that paid off.
As one of the state's best setters with an eye toward playing volleyball in college, last winter Handley and her family relocated from northwestern Minnesota, where she had led Win-E-Mac to consecutive state tournament appearances, to Lakeville.
Handley, a senior, was the backup setter for her Northern Lights club volleyball team that won an AAU national championship last summer, a huge accomplishment.
But what she really wanted was to win a high school championship. She achieved that goal Saturday, coordinating Lakeville North's attack at the Panthers defeated Eden Prairie in four sets to win the Class 3A title.
Handley got better as the tournament progressed. In three matches, she had 134 assists, 15 digs, 10 kills and five blocks, highlighted by a 56-assist, nine-dig effort in the final.
"This is even better than I thought it would be," said Handley, who is expected to sign a letter of intent this week to play at Syracuse. "Winning a state championship is my dream come true. We worked so hard for this. It feels amazing."
Following Bethlehem Academy's victory over Southwest in the Class 1A finals, the champions raved about the 5-9 junior middle hitter, who had 80 kills and 53 digs in three matches. "She jumps so high. She's really, really tough to stop," said the Cardinals' Jessie Mathews.
In his past two games, the sophomore RB/DB has scored seven touchdowns. In the Fire's Class 4A quarterfinal victory over Hill-Murray, he had 148 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving, scored three TDs and made five tackles.
In the Class 1A, Section 4 meet, the sophomore swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays and won the 100 butterfly in 54.69 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 1:00.17, helping the Blazers win the section title.
Wayzata dominated the Class 2A, Section 5 meet with Paulson the biggest winner. The senior led off the 200 medley relay, swam anchor on the 400 free relay -- both victories -- and won the 50 freestyle (25.05) and 100 back (57.51).
In the Cadets running back-by-committee backfield, it was McFadden who was the standout in a 30-7 victory over Elk River in the Class 5A quarterfinals. The senior, who will miss the beginning of hockey practice, rushed for 142 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The sophomore quarterback picked the perfect time to have a breakout game as a passer, completing 14 of 18 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in a 14-10 victory over No. 1 Edina in the Class 6A quarterfinals.