Comprising a geographic area inside a triangle from Minneapolis to Waconia to Buffalo, the west metro makes up a large and diverse segment of the metropolitan area. And it had its share of athletic high points in the 2013-14 school year. Here’s a look at some of the most notable:
Mitchell McKee: Season For Dad
St. Michael-Albertville sophomore wrestler Mitchell McKee dedicated his season to winning a state championship for his father, Steve, who had been stricken with cancer. With Steve sitting matside after having spent the week in extensive chemotherapy just to get the chance to watch his son compete, Mitchell reached his goal, winning the Class 3A 120-pound state championship. The crowd at the Xcel Energy Center reacted with a standing ovation when Mitchell ran over to embrace his father after the victory.
Wayzata: Biggest and Baddest
When you’re the biggest school in the state, success is an expectation. So, for Wayzata — with an official enrollment of 2,979 — it’s safe to say that expectations were met and even surpassed in 2013-14. Buoyed by six team championships and six individual titles, the Trojans have pulled away from the rest of the Class 3A schools in the Minnesota State High School League Challenge Cup Class 3A standings with 880 points. That doesn’t include the girls’ cross-country teams’ Nike National championship and the synchronized swimming team’s eighth consecutive state title.
Eden Prairie: Finally, National Recognition
Eden Prairie’s overwhelming football dominance had many claiming that the 2013 Eagles team was among the best Minnesota has produced. Despite playing in the Lake Conference — one of the state’s toughest — the Eagles (12-0) won every game by at least 16 points. They ended up ranked No. 21 in the final USA Today national rankings and coach Mike Grant was selected as the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.
Hopkins: Mountain To The Valley
Hopkins experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the Class 4A boys’ basketball state tournament. Sophomore Amir Coffey made a 60-foot basket as time expired to give the Royals a 49-46 quadruple-overtime victory over Shakopee in the semifinals. Two days later, Hopkins gave up a four-point lead in the final 22 seconds of play, falling to Lakeville North 84-82 in the championship game.
DeLaSalle: Treasures On The Island
The DeLaSalle boys’ basketball team may have been competed in Class 3A, but in truth, the Islanders were likely the best boys’ squad in the state. Led by Division I signees Reid Travis (Stanford) and Geno Crandall (North Dakota), they won their third consecutive championship and barely broke a sweat doing it, winning all three state tournament games by at least 20 points. With at least two more potential D-I players remaining in Jarvis Johnson and Sacar Anim, expect the Islanders to be seeking title No. 4 in 2015.