Three down, seven more to go.
The MSHSL winter state tournament season is in full swing, with three already in the rearview mirror — Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and dance team — and two more on tap this week.
The girls are in the spotlight, with the girls’ hockey state tournament set from Wednesday to Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. The gymnastics state meet will be held Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota’s Maturi Sports Pavilion.
In girls’ hockey, defending Class 2A champion Edina earned the No. 1 seed by virtue of its 4-2 victory over Blake in the Section 6 final. After winning the first state title in program history last year, the Hornets will be shooting for two in a row. Impressive, but a long way from the boys’ total of 12 (including three by Edina East in the late 1970s).
Centennial’s dynamite senior duo of Gabby Hughes and Anneke Linser will finally get the chance to show their stuff on the state tournament stage as the Cougars broke a streak of three consecutive losses in section championship games with a 3-0 victory over Blaine in the Section 5 finals. Centennial is seeded No. 2.
Hill-Murray, making its sixth consecutive state tournament appearance, earned the No. 3 seed while Andover was seeded No. 4 and Eden Prairie No. 5.
A new champ is assured in Class 1A with Blake having moved up to 2A. Will that open the door for St. Paul United, which lost in the past two championship games? Perhaps, but United has a tough road to get back to the finals. It was seeded No. 5 in Class 1A, behind No. 1 seed Warroad, No. 2 Breck, No. 3 Red Wing and No. 4 Alexandria.
In gymnastics, the Class 2A field looks far more competitive than 1A, where Detroit Lakes has been the dominant program in the state regardless of class. The Lakers have won three consecutive small-school team titles and are averaging about 151.0 team points per meet, well ahead of any other team in the state, and had the best team score in the state this season with a 152.375 in the Section 8 finals.
In 2A, defending champion Lakeville North posted a 150.050 to emerge from Section 2, but it will have to face down a tough field that included No. 2-ranked Stillwater, No. 3 Owatonna, No. 4 St. Cloud Tech, No. 6 East Ridge and No. 8 Champlin Park.
And then there’s wrestling. Individual qualifying meets will be held this week as the field for the team state meet, was mostly set last week. This year, the state meet will be notable as much for who isn’t there as who is, since three of the state’s most established programs — Apple Valley and Owatonna in Class 3A and Simley in Class 2A — were defeated in their respective section finals.