March Madness has never been more “mad” in terms of the number of events condensed into a very short period of time than they are this year. Due to COVID all over our winter post-seasons that are normally spread out over 8 plus weeks are crammed into just a few weeks. In addition, March Madness also brings with it the most intense of emotions. It is what makes sports at the high school level so incredible. The tears of joy and excitement, the tears of sadness that a season or career has come to an end are just part of the story. Behind each of those tears are memories that go well beyond the final “win” or “loss.” The memories that go back to the first time a child tried a sport and then hit the fast forward button and for many they are playing their final competitive contest of their careers. To this day there are very few athletes that will ever remember the specific scores or stats, but they all remember the relationships they have formed with teammates and coaches. The kids on our teams this year have really seemed to grasp that more than any I can remember. The pandemic has taken so much away and as a result, our kids have taken nothing for granted. They have savored every opportunity whether it has been practice, games or playoffs. Those things that were once a given, have become anything but. This week was a great collection of watching kids participating in something they love. Some ended with total elation, while others ended in total heartbreak…..and everything in between. Regardless of win or loss, the word that will stick with me from this week is “love.” Love for the opportunity. Love for the sport they play. Love for teammates and coaches. Love for the memories and friendships that will last for years to come. Here is the latest:
Boys Basketball: The boys season came to an end on Saturday in heartbreaking fashion as they fell to #4 seed Park 55-52 in overtime. The boys finished the season with a record of 17-3. They were the SSC Champions and were also named Section Academic Champs for their performance in the classroom! So much to be proud of.
Girls Basketball: The girls season came to an end in the Section Semis on Saturday as they fall to #2 Seed Lakeville North 49-40. The team continued to improve throughout the season and showed great effort right up until the final buzzer.
Gymnastics: The AV-EV Gymnasts competed in Section 3AA on Friday night at Park High School. The team had a season best performance and placed third in Section 3AA as a team! Individually they also had some of their best performances of the year. Senior Abbie Swanson was able to comeback from a serious injury and compete her full Bars routine for the first time all year (which in and of itself would be a highlight!) and in doing so scored high enough to earn a trip to the STATE TOURNAMENT! A few of her teammates posted career best routines, but just missed a trip to State. Abbie will compete in State Gymnastics on Saturday, March 27th at Champlin Park High School at 6:00. Tickets are limited to family, but the event will be broadcast for a fee on www.prepspotlight.tv. Congrats to all team members on a great season and best of luck to Abbie at State!
Boys Hockey: The boys hockey team gave everything they had in their Section Tournament game on Tuesday, but came up just short losing 3-2 to the #3 Seed Burnsville. The team showed a lot of grit battling back from an early deficit and kept the pressure on all night long. Well done guys!
Girls’ Hockey: The Girls Hockey team picked the right week to put it all together and as a result are STATEBOUND as a team! The #2 Seed Lightning knocked off Hastings on Tuesday 5-0, then defeated Rosemount 5-1 in the Semis and then clinched a trip to State with a 5-1 win vs. Apple Valley on Saturday. This is the 4th trip to State for Girls Hockey and the first since 2017. Their record on the season is now 15-4-2. The team received the #5 Seed in the State Tournament and will face #4 Seed Stillwater in the State Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 27th at 8:00 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. Tickets for the Quarterfinals are limited to just family and friends, but if they advance to the Semis there will be a significant increase in tickets due to the Governor’s order that will go into effect on April 1st. The State Semis will take place on April 1st and the Championship will be on April 3rd. The Quarterfinals will be webcast (fee based) by www.prepspotlight.tv and the Semis and Finals will be on Channel 45TV. Congrats and best of luck to all team members!
Swim and Dive: The Boys Swim and Dive team had a couple of great days at the State Swim and Dive Meet. The 200 IM Relay of Kyle Kunisaki, Nick Phomsouvanh, Wyatt Olson and Max Blodgett placed 15th and Nick Phomsouvanh placed 18th in the 100 Breaststroke. Senior Diver Alex Sulistyo was an All-State selection for the 4th straight year placing 4th overall. Alex was in an extremely tight battle that came down to the wire. Alex also recorded the single highest scoring dive of the entire meet! Congrats to all on their great season and finishes at State!
Wrestling: The Eastview Wrestling Team had five wrestlers advance to State Individual Prelims at Farmington on March 20th. Ezra Formaneck went 1-2 to place 5th, Nathan Langer went 3-1 to place 3rd, Logan O’Neil went 3-1 to place 3rd, Connor Meixell went 3-2 and placed 3rd and Kellen Stewart went 2-1 on the day and placed 2nd! As a result of his top two finish Kellen will compete in the STATE FINALS (top 8 in the State) on March 25th at St. Michael-Albertville. While the season comes to an end for the others, Formaneck places in the top 24 in the State and Langer, O’Neil and Meixell all place in the top 12! Good luck to Kellen at State and congrats to all on an outstanding season!