Playoff buffet with a side of everything
The football postseason was about as memorable as it gets. Eden Prairie had its 40-game winning streak and run of four consecutive state championships halted by an inspired and disciplined Totino-Grace squad, 27-13, in the Class 6A quarterfinals. Osseo won its first Class 6A championship, winning its final three games by a total of five points, including back-to-back, heart-stopping, come-from-behind victories in the semifinals (22-21 over Totino-Grace) and Prep Bowl (14-13 over East Ridge). St. Michael-Albertville won the Class 5A championship with close finishes in all three state tournament games. Minneapolis North made it to the Class 1A championship before falling to Minneota 35-18, becoming the first Minneapolis City school to play in the Prep Bowl.
Behind a pitching staff that threw two shutouts and gave up only two earned runs in three state tournament games, Chanhassen became the first team in the school's then-six year history to win a state championship, defeating Lakeville North 2-0 to win the Class 3A baseball championship. Four months later, Chanhassen senior Hayley Haakenstad won the Class 2A girls' tennis singles crown with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bella Lambert of Minnetonka in the final.
In memory of mom
Perhaps the most courageous individual effort of the previous 12 months occurred on an otherwise typical late-September Friday evening at Minnetonka's Einar Anderson Stadium. One day after his mother, Neshaune Scott, died of complications from a stroke suffered a month earlier, Skippers senior receiver Amar Miller went out and had his best game of the season. He caught 11 passes for 121 yards in a 35-14 loss to Maple Grove. "She would have wanted me to stay strong and play," Miller said.
New alignment, new success
The switch from a conference-based regular-season football schedule to one based on districts turned out to be just what some programs needed. Mound Westonka had not posted a record above .500 since 1980 and had not won more than two games in a season since 2000. Playing a schedule more suited to a school of its size, it went undefeated in the regular season (8-0). The SMB Wolfpack, a newly formed cooperative between St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake, also was 8-0 in the regular season.
With its convincing 82-64 victory over St. Paul Johnson in the Class 3A championship game, DeLaSalle became only the third boys' basketball team in state history to win four consecutive titles. Minneapolis Henry won four 3A titles from 2000-2003 and Southwest Minnesota Christian did it in Class 1A from 1999-2002. No team has won five in a row.
•Nia Hollie emerged as a superstar in leading Hopkins to the Class 4A girls' basketball championship. She scored 26 points as the Royals defeated defending champion Eastview 68-60 in the final.
•Blake's five-year run as girls' lacrosse state champs came to an end in the state semifinals when the Bears lost to Lakeville South 11-9. Eden Prairie went on to win the title, beating Lakeville South 14-13 in double overtime.
•The Edina girls' tennis team extended its state-record streak of titles by winning its 19th consecutive Class 2A championship, defeating Prior Lake 5-2 in the final.
•Blake owned the Class 1A tennis tournaments. In June, the boys' team swept all three titles — singles, doubles and team — and in October, the girls took home singles and team championships.