We’re already at the last invitational weekend of the year. I’m sad! Time has flown by since winter break – and now we’re on the short track to the post season. Lots of invites and another round of conference championships fill out the calendar as we take one last look at the weekend preview. Let’s be sure to send some love to all of our great JV’s who will be finishing up this week – you guys are the future and I can’t wait to see you shine! Next week is elimination round time – stay tuned for new leaderboards and an in-depth look at sectional matchups.
West Central, Heart O’Lakes, and Hiawatha Valley League Championships get us started on Thursday and Friday nights this week. West Central is always an adventure since it’s a weeknight that always seems prone to snow and wild mishaps. This year we look to have a smooth run at BOLD with the host school looking strong. (as of press time they won both kick and jazz divisions) Heart O’Lakes is all Frazee so far – they’ll be looking to polish and shine at this point. Hawley will play host. HVL is another fun one on Friday with a nice mix of A and AA. Cannon Falls, Kasson Mantorville, Zumbrota Mazeppa, and Lake City all get in the mix at this one. Triton will host.
Monticello Invitational: This newer invitational continues to grow and has a wide open field for anyone to shine. St. Cloud Apollo, Pequot Lakes, Melrose, Becker, Albany, North Branch will be key names to see here.
Mounds View Winterfest: The classic “JV Championship” event has grown and changed over the years, but still focuses on rewarding and promoting a strong JV system. I love seeing that tradition continue this year. Anoka, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, and Maple Grove JVs are looking solid in the AAA JV category. The wide variety of varsity teams from all classes are really there just for a final tune up and scoresheet – not much on the line placement-wise this week and teams will be more relaxed.
Dover Eyota Invitational: The opposite of relaxed will be the Dover invite. Basically a section 1A dress-rehearsal, the DE invite is tough because it’s never the exact result as 2 weeks later at sections. St. Charles stays out of this mix this year, and Plainview will be there from AA to try for some top placements. Wabasha, Zumbrota, and Lake City will be in a tight matchup here.
Eastview Showcase: The evening showcase event is a final performance tune-up for some of our top AAA varsities from the metro area. A privately scored event, the showcase is for feedback rather than a placement. I always feel a bit conflicted about that – since I love how transparent and wide open our scoring has become over the years. And yet the idea of removing focus from placement at a “meaningless” event had merits for the teams as well. Regardless- it’s quite a show. You aren’t signing up for this event unless you mean business. 6pm start.
Blaine Invitational: The bengalettes host their annual (and huge!) event on the final weekend of the year. This event is also a serious JV championship level event with 24 JV/B/middle school teams. 15 AAA Varsities will also be on hand. Hopkins, Brainerd, and Blaine make the do-not-miss list for this event.
New Prague Invitational: The Trojans host an interesting mix with Fairbault joining in with Winona, Waconia, New Prague, Bloomington, Annandale, and Shakopee. Should be a fun and fast day here – again the focus will be on what’s to come rather than a placement today.
Camden Conference Championships: The Camden Conference will feature YME, Canby, Worthington, and Lac Qui Parle as headliner names in the hunt for top honors. With how strong the Worthington and Canby programs continue to be over the last 2 years, they’ll be looking to get in the mix with YME and Lac Qui Parle. The Shadows are having a strong year as well – so it’s gonna be a tough one.
GFW Invitational: The GFW invite is a bit smaller this year with conference events being held in the area over the weekend – but New Ulm Cathedral, Richfield, Sleepy Eye, St. Charles, PACT, Randolph, and New Ulm Public will all be on hand to do their last “normal” meet for the year.
Simley Invitational: I didn’t have a schedule as of press time – but I have one now so the link is new. Simley typically hosts a mid-size AA meet with some southeast regional and metro teams. No doubt section 1AA will have some teams doing their section prep here.