Thanksgiving just flew by and we’re back for a full schedule of invites here this weekend. Conference action has been building up the last 3 weeks and we’ll get a chance to see the pairings mix up this weekend when we hit the open format of an invite. Some long-standing traditional meets will be held, along with a few new and exciting meets like the Timberwolves Target Center meet which gives teams a chance to hit the state floor early. Here’s what we’re up to around the state:
Apple Valley Invitational: A personal favorite of mine, the AVaires invitational has been a tradition since the 80s, and still going strong. AAA will be AM, with A/AA divisions going PM. AAA will be a great chance for Duluth East to come down to see metro powers like Spring Lake Park and Minnetonka. AA will feature some big name teams such as Mound Westonka, Faribault, Sauk Rapids, Northfield, Austin, and South St. Paul all in the hunt for a trophy. Watch for South St. Paul to want to keep the momentum rolling with their jazz dance which took some top honors in conference this week. Class A will be the strongest division here, with 7 teams who have all been to the state tournament in the last 2 years. Cannon Falls returns to class A this weekend here as well. Things change minute-to-minute in class A, so its going to be an exciting day.
Rogers Invitational: Rogers hosts a small meet of north metro teams – look for the debut of the new Watertown-Mayer Lutheran co-op, and a rivalry matchup between Rogers, Elk River, and Andover. Noon start.
Detroit Lakes Invitational: The far north tradition of meeting at the Lakers’ gym continues this weekend. Look for a great matchup with Aitkin and Frazee teams in class A, while section 4AA will be making a good showing here in the AA side.
Catholic Jamboree: The fun-focused jamboree event this year will be held in the St. Cloud area for those fans to catch a great show. Benilde St. Margarets and Totino Grace make the do-not-miss list here. Fun this time, next time there will be points on the line. There’s usually a great fundraiser of some kind going on with this event – stay tuned for news on that.
New Ulm Cathedral Mini-Meet: The “out west” set gets warmed up in a small time setting at New Ulm Cathedral this weekend. BOLD, GFW, Sleepy Eye, New Ulm public and private all join in. NUC and BOLD are both programs with lots of potential this year – watch for those teams’ scores to be on the rise.
Forest Lake Invitational: The Lakefest invite will be a great chance for section 4AAA to check out their sections floor in the early season. With the FL team joining the new section, things could get interesting. St. Cloud Tech will make a metro appearance with Moundsview, Centennial, and 2 Rochester area schools on the eclectic list of participants. AA should be exciting for section 2AA fans – where Fridley debuts against Chisago, North Branch, Monticello, and Duluth Denfeld to name a few. This one should set the tone for that group.
Hutchinson Invitational: Watch for Belle Plaine, Waconia, Delano, and Hutchinson to try to set the pace in this small field against a state participant Marshall team. A low key first outing for most of these teams, with nothing really on the line just yet for section 3AA.
WOW Factor Timberwolves Invitational: The high energy day will certainly be down at the target center as teams get a pre-state warmup run on the Timberwolves floor. 2 State Champs will be here – Duluth Marshall and Maple Grove, joined by a few names from each class in this mostly AAA meet. This growing competition should be a fun change from the high school gym settings.
Chaska Invitational: This all AAA event will be high stakes as rivals Eastview and Wayzata go back to back in varsity jazz against a great field from a bunch of top tier programs. Catch Prior Lake, Chaska, Blaine, Henry Sibley, and Lakeville South all from last year’s state field. This event had a live stream last year – I’ll let you know if I see a link for that!
Hayfield Invitational: I think I’ve missed out on this schedule every single year! Must be those elusive SE class A teams hiding out down there 🙂 Or, maybe they’re just playing it cool in a very early season meet for them. Should be mostly class A, all from the southeast section 1. If I get a schedule, I’ll pass it on.