The year of the unbeatens highlight an outstanding 2017-18 school year south of the Minnesota River.
It came on the mat — Apple Valley senior wrestler Gable Steveson — as well as on the court — Eastview’s girls’ basketball team.
Steveson capped his prep career with a fourth consecutive individual state championship — racking up 173 consecutive victories — highlighted by a front handspring/back flip after pinning Brandon Frankfurth of Anoka in 17 seconds in his final Class 3A match at Xcel Energy Center.
Two weeks later it was the school across town, Eastview, celebrating a 32-0 girls’ basketball season after a 68-63 triumph over Hopkins at Target Center. It was the Lightning’s second Class 4A state championship, the other being in 2014, during a seven-year run of state tournament appearances.
Here are some other superb performances by individuals and teams:
• Red Wing’s Sophia Yoemans, the state’s No. 1-ranked girls’ golfer, won the Class 2A title with a state tournament and course record 15-under-par 129 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. She fired a 9-under-par 63, also a state tournament and course record, in the first round of the two-day event.
• The Apple Valley girls’ lacrosse team capped a 17-1 season by edging three-time defending state champion Eden Prairie 11-10 on senior Sophia Leong’s goal with 1 minute, 12 seconds left in the state finals. The Eagles became just the third school — Eden Prairie and Blake were the others — to win the state crown since the sport became sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League in 2007. Apple Valley defeated Blake 11-6 in the semifinals. Leong’s classmate Reagan Roelofs concluded her career as the state’s all-time leading scorer with 524 points. She had 72 goals and 49 assists in her final season.
• The Eagan girls’ soccer squad won its third Class 2A championship in four years when junior midfielder Ellen Pagois scored her first goal of the season on a header off a corner kick with six seconds left to give the Wildcats a 2-1 victory over Maple Grove in the title tilt at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Wildcats won their last eight games to finish 17-2-2.
• The Prior Lake boys’ lacrosse squad won its second state championship in the past three years, defeating No. 1-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s 10-8 at Chanhassen High School. Senior attacker Alex Rejda netted half of the Lakers’ goals. Prior Lake finished 17-2 on the season.
• Lakeville North’s volleyball team knocked off two-defending state champion Eagan to win the Class 3A state title at Xcel Energy Center. It was the third Class 3A title for the Lakeville North program and first since 2012. The Panthers, who wound up 32-2 on the season, lost to Eagan twice during the regular season.