I can’t believe it’s already time for a championship weekend. Yikes this year is flying by. December felt short until I realized I’d been to 6 meets in 3 weeks. Several conferences are already wrapping things up before we head into the January invitational weeks. Northwest Suburban, Metro West, and South Suburban will all be handing out the hardware this Saturday. Let’s take a look:
South Suburban Conference Championship: Farmington hosts the SSC championship this year and much is on the line for the section 1AAA teams. Eastview is out front in both styles again, but the real battle is with Lakeville North, Lakeville South, and Prior Lake who all want a piece of that top prize. Further down the standings, but not forgotten are the tough teams from Burnsville, Farmington, and Apple Valley who will try to make some moves in the finale.
Northwest Suburban Conference Championship: Irondale will play host to the 13 teams in NWSC. This all-varsity evening event will be a can’t-miss. Judges from SSC will be coming up for this one, so I’ll be interested to see any score comparisons from event to event. Might be the first meaningful cross-event scoring we’ve seen yet this year. Maple Grove is locked up with Totino Grace again this year with double conference points on the line in the end. Spoilers are Anoka who won the last kick meet on their side and Spring Lake Park who have everything to gain from making a move up the ranks.
Metro West Conference Championship: With only 6 teams it’s hard to explain just how tough this one really is. Benilde jumps out with a strong kick performance this week taking over the top spot from Chanhassen who falls to 3rd after a tie-breaker with Chaska. That’s just the kick side of things! This is fun and lighthearted conference event considering the outcome won’t mean much come sections time.
Frazee Invitational: The Fly-Girls get things started for us on Friday night with a class-A event. Pelican Rapids, Frazee, and Crosby Ironton will meet up for an interesting section 4A clash. Crosby and Frazee like to keep things tight and how things shake out here could give us a glimpse of January rivalries.
Lake City Invitational: The tigers host a packed house event each year for an all Class A field. I’m interested to see Randolph go against a surging Wabasha Kellogg team. Zumbrota Mazeppa will always be a strong contender here, and the host school Lake City will be adding a jazz program for the first time this year. Class A always has a few surprises, so don’t count out tiny teams from Houston and Dover Eyota making a name this week.
Academy of Holy Angels Invitational: The Winter Jam this year will feature a great matchup with Rocori and Austin finding a rare regular season contest. Pequot Lakes and St. Cloud Apollo will also join from northern MN, and will try to make things interesting at a much smaller than usual AHA invite.
Melrose Invitational: Albany, Monticello, and Alexandria will highlight the Melrose invitational this year. This one is interesting because it’s pretty wide open without a dominant team coming to take all the hardware. Bemidji and Moorhead will be joining from the far out-state regions and could shake things up for the regional teams. Check out New London Spicer and Minnewaska in the 4-team class A division as well.
Waconia Invitational: West metro region teams will join a field of mostly 3AA competitors. Hutchinson, Mound Westonka, Rockford and Orono will face challenge from Marshall, Delano, Waconia, Belle Plaine and two very intriguing AAA teams that will be getting in the mix from Sauk Rapids Rice and New Prague. Both of those programs have interesting things going on as they try to make a mark in the big school class. Orono’s Alice in Wonderland kick dance just won their conference meet last night, and look good to score well again.
BOLD Invitational: I love watching what comes out of this annual event that takes over the tiny town of Bird Island. I’m pretty sure the population doubles during this meet. Teams from all over the state come here – so we’ll be seeing St. Charles, Aitkin, Bagley, and Worthington all make 2hr+ drives to get there. Lac Qui Parle Valley got off to a hot start last week and will be one to watch against BOLD, Aitkin, Yellow Medicine East, and Montevideo.
Rochester Mayo Invitational: 10:45am start for this regional event. No performance order at the time of press.