PAIGE ZENDER

Rosemount • softball

Legendary coach Herb Brooks famously said, in his pregame speech to his 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team before it went out and defeated the Soviets, "Great moments are born from great opportunity."

While not quite of miracle proportions, Rosemount's sophomore first baseman delivered when her opportunity arose in the Class 4A softball state championship game.

With the Irish clinging to a 1-0 lead over Forest Lake in the bottom of the fifth inning — a run Zender had driven in with her first base hit of the tournament — her teammates started a rally, loading the bases with one out.

The final baserunner came courtesy of an intentional walk to pitcher Jessa Snippes, lighting a fire under Zender, who came to bat next.

She responded by smacking a grand slam, giving Rosemount a comfortable 5-0 lead and propelling the Irish to a 5-1 victory and their third state title.

"It was amazing. Just the best feeling I could ever have," Zender said about watching the ball clear the outfield fence. "I've never hit grand slam. This was like everything I ever needed in one."

Before her championship game heroics, Zender had been hitless in the tournament but felt due for some good fortune. "I'd had some quality at-bats, but I hadn't gotten a hit yet,'' she said, ''so it was nice to do it for the team in such a big atmosphere."

MADDIE DAHLIEN

Edina • track and field

The junior made her case as the state's fastest high school girl with victories in the three sprints in the Class 2A state meet. Dahlien, who has committed to play soccer at North Carolina, won the 100 meters (11.99), the 200 (24.45) and the 400 (55.48).

DREW HEDTKE

Glencoe-Silver Lake • baseball

The hard-throwing senior righthander started all three games in the Class 2A state tournament for the Panthers and saved his best for last. He pitched a complete game one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 10-0 victory over Belle Plaine in the championship game.

MORGYN OTTE

Randolph • softball

The senior pitcher capped a stellar season with three dominant games in the Class 1A state tournament. She gave up just six hits and one unearned run while striking out 41 in leading the undefeated Rockets to their first state title.

MACKENZIE SALENTRE

Prior Lake • lacrosse

The senior attacker was the leading goal-scorer for the Lakers in their run to the state championship. She had four goals in the quarterfinals, five and in the semifinals and six in a 15-7 victory over Lakeville South in the championship game.

GABE SMIT

Prior Lake • track and field

The senior took first in the 3,200 meters, the opening race of the Class 2A meet, in 19 minutes, 19.38 seconds. He came back the next day to win the 1,600 in 4:15.96 — his best time of the season.

NATE STEVENS

Northfield • golf

In a tournament where par wasn't enough, the junior followed a 4-under first round by shooting 6 under in the second to win the Class 3A boys' championship with a 134.