“March” Madness, what a misnomer. Local sports fans know the madness gets loud well before the calendar says March. And around here this year, the action will be going strong right up through April 12, the night of the NCAA Frozen Four final. Two months of March Madness, buckle up. The high school sports blitz brings us many madness highlights every year, and the tournament season opens today, with skiing champions being crowned up north. Many more champions will follow. Here’s your road map to the best story lines.
ron haggstrom, jim paulsen and david la vaque
Alpine and Nordic skiing
A family affair, and a classic finish?
When: Wednesday for Alpine, Thursday for Nordic
Where: Giants Ridge, Biwabik
A possible first: Eagan’s brother-sister combination of Tommy and Sally Anderson could become the first siblings to land on the top spot of the Alpine podium in the same year. Tommy is a sophomore and Sally is a senior. Both finished in the top 10 a year ago.
Sprint to the finish: How fun would this be to see in the girls’ Nordic 10K pursuit race? Seniors Vivian Hett of Burnsville, Mattie Watts of Irondale and Alayna Sonnesyn of Wayzata coming around the final turn in a dead-heat sprint for medalist honors in their final high school race.
Big drama before the tournament
When: Feb. 19-22
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Pre-tourney tourney: Four of the top six girls’ teams in Class 2A reside in Section 6: Hopkins, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Minnetonka and Wayzata. And since there can only be one winner, it’s hockey fans who are losing out on seeing more of the sport’s top players and teams.
Northern exposure: Thursday’s Class 1A, Section 8 championship game between Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks earns the victor its state tournament debut. East Grand Forks knocked out five-time defending section champion Warroad.
A chance to be among the best ever
When: Feb. 21-22