In 2019, over 30 high school girls Ultimate teams in the metro area competed across four conferences in the MN high school Ultimate league. Each team played one game per week through the months of April and May. The season ended with the state championship taking place in early June.
Let’s take a look back, see what happened in 2019, and preview each conference for the 2020 season.
The East Metro Conference1 was a whirlwind of close games and talent last year. The conference championship saw close games all around, as each semifinal winner won by a single point. The conference final was very close as well, with Mounds View barely beating Roseville, 11-9.
Despite the tight competition in this conference, only one team – White Bear Lake – made it to the top eight at the division 1 state championship. White Bear Lake ended up taking eighth, with Roseville following close behind at 9th. Stillwater, the fourth place finisher in the conference, was able to win in a close game against Great River School with a score of 9-8, taking 11th, landing Great River at 12th. After an incredible conference championship, Mounds View fell at division 1 state, beating conference rival St. Paul Central, to take 15th and 16th place respectively.
In the division 2 state championship, Como Park had a strong showing, making quarterfinals and taking 7th overall. The Roseville JV team put together some good games over the weekend, and ended the tournament in the 12th place pool.
Keep an eye on the East Metro this year in 2020. The competition at the top of the conference is tightly matched – a sign of a healthy and growing conference. Great River has two state championships to their name, and Mounds View has been improving for years, finishing 2nd in the conference in 2017 and 2018, with a first place finish in 2019. While the 2019 results were underwhelming at the state level, 2020 could have some surprises in store for teams in the East Metro.
The Northwest Metro conference2 can perhaps be described in two words: Talent and Development. Teams currently in the Northwest Metro have been competitors at the top of the state level since the state tournament began in 2005. Supporting this high level of competition, is a strong foundation of development throughout the conference.
Armstrong, the winner of the Northwest Metro conference last year, also had the best conference showing at the division 1 state tournament, taking 3rd overall. Cooper had a strong state tournament as well, losing in semifinals to Armstrong to take 4th. Hopkins, who took second place in the conference championships, lost in an exciting quarter finals game against the eventual 2nd place Eagan, but managed to hang on and take 6th overall.
At the division 2 state championships, Irondale took 4th overall. Benilde St. Margaret’s, who lost to Irondale in the quarterfinals, worked their way back up the bracket to win in the 5th place game over conference rival Maple Grove, who subsequently took 6th. Armstrong JV took 8th in the tournament showing the depth of the conference, and Blake enjoyed some wins on the weekend in the 9th place pool.
With three teams making the top 6 of the division 1 state championships, and 4 others in the top 8 of division 2, the Northwest Metro could be ready for a big year in 2020. The talent level has always existed in the conference since its inception in 2015. There is clearly a strong group of developing programs that threaten to push their way into the division 1 championships. This could be a momentum year for the teams in the Northwest Metro.
The South Metro Conference3 saw some intense peaks (and a few valleys) in the 2019 season. Apple Valley peaked in the conference championships, beating Eagan 16-14. Northfield also played at a high level during the conference championship, losing to Apple Valley by only one, and taking third by beating Hastings 14-10.
At the division 1 state championship, Eagan found their peak and played an incredible tournament, losing in the championship to Edina, to take 2nd place overall. Apple Valley ended up taking 10th, losing to Roseville by a single point. Hastings finished at the top of the 13th place bracket, beating Cathedral 10-7.
In the division 2 state championships, Open World Learning fought their way through tough bracket competition, never winning by more than two, to win another state championship and become the first team to win back to back division 2 championships. St. Paul Academy also had a good tournament, taking 3rd overall. Cretin Durham Hall enjoyed some wins in the 9th place pool. It appears that Northfield did not play in either state championship last year.
The South Metro Conference will be a fun conference to watch in 2020. Being the only conference to have a different school in each of the division 1 and division 2 finals, the conference talent is poised for an exciting season. Which teams will peak at the right time, has yet to be determined.
The West Metro Conference4 is unique compared to the other conferences in girl’s high school Ultimate. Four of the nine teams are JV (or 2nd JV) teams. The implication of this means there are less overall schools vying for the top spots of the conference, and more developmental teams competing in the conference.
Having said that, the West Metro saw strong results at the division 1 state championship. Edina, the West Metro Conference champion, also ended up winning the 2019 division 1 state finals, for the first time since 2014. On their way to the finals, they beat conference rival Eden Prairie, who fought back to win the 5th place game against Hopkins. Minneapolis South, who took third place in the conference championships, beat White Bear Lake for 7th in the state championships.
In the division 2 state championships, Edina JV lost a close game to Open World Learning in the finals. St. Louis Park ended up winning the 9th place pool, and Prior Lake won the 12th place pool. They met in the consolation crossover, with St. Louis Park winning, 8-5. Minneapolis South JV also competed in the 12th place pool, and Eden Prairie JV did not appear at either division in the state tournament.
The West Metro will be an interesting conference to watch in 2020. Edina and Minneapolis South have a history of success, and Eden Prairie has made it to the semifinals at division 1 state before. The JV squads for each of these teams, as well as Prior Lake and St. Louis Park, have shown the strength of their programs, as well as the depth of talent in this conference. The West Metro could have some top finishers again in 2020, along with strong improvement from the developmental teams.
The 2020 Season
The 2020 season begins the first week in April. Who do you think is going to have a good year? Will teams have to play in the snow? What teams do you think will surprise everyone? Share your thoughts5 about the season on using #MNUltimate on Twitter or Instagram! Let’s start a conversation about the 2020 Ultimate season here in Minnesota!
1Eight teams participated as a part of the East Metro conference in 2019: Como Park, Great River School, Mounds View, Roseville, Roseville JV, St. Paul Central, Stillwater Girls, White Bear Lake. Back to Article.
2 Eight teams participated as a part of the Northwest Metro conference in 2019: Armstrong, Armstrong JV, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Blake, Cooper, Hopkins, Irondale, and Maple Grove. Back to Article.
3Eight teams participated as a part of the South Metro conference in 2019: Apple Valley, Cretin-Durham Hall, Eagan, Hastings, Northfield, Open World Learning, St. Paul Academy. Back to Article.
4Nine teams participated as a part of the West Metro conference in 2019: Eden Prairie, Eden Prairie JV, Edina, Edina JV, Edina JV 2, Minneapolis South, Minneapolis South JV, Prior Lake, Saint Louis Park. Back to Article.
5Or yell about what’s on your mind. You know how it is. Back to Article.