Open Ultimate: A High School 2020 Preview (Part 1)

A stunning 58 teams competed across four divisions in the open Minnesota High School State Championship in 2019. Throughout the season, each team competed in one league game per week, with many teams opting to compete in additional weekend tournaments. The season ended in early June at the state championships. 

If you’ve never followed Ultimate before, the open division can be a bit confusing. Prior to 2005, high school ultimate had a single competitive division – mixed. Both boys and girls played together on the same competitive field. After 2004, high school ultimate split into two divisions – girls and open. Open is primarily played by boys, but players of any gender are allowed to compete on the same field.

Let’s take a look back at what happened in 2019, and preview each conference for the upcoming 2020 season.

Classic South

The Classic South1 conference was one of the smallest conferences to compete in 2019, with only 7 teams. Of those teams, Lakeville North was the runaway leader in the conference, defeating Lakeville South in the conference championships, 15-2. Lakeville North was the only team from their conference to make the division 1 state championships, taking 15th overall.

Conference runner up, Lakeville South, paralleled Lakeville North’s finish but in the division 2 state championships, also taking 15th overall.

In the division 3 state championships, Prior Lake managed a 14th place overall.

The division 4 state championships had a total of 10 teams, and representation from the Classic South conference fell right in the middle of the pack. Shakopee ended their season in 5th place, and Lakeville North JV took 6th.

According to the online results, Bloomington and Northfield did not participate in the 2019 state championship.

At first glance, the 2019 results for the Classic South seem underwhelming. However, it’s often conferences with a strong spread across divisions that offer some of the most exciting games of the season. A few teams in the Classic South conference were only a win or two away from an astounding season – and a few were a point or two away from heartbreak. Look for some surprises from the teams in the Classic South conference in 2020!

Classic Suburban

The Classic Suburban2 conference had the fewest teams compete in 2019 out of any open conference. At the top of the conference, winning almost every year since the conference was created in 2013, was White Bear Lake. They defeated Woodbury in the conference final, 15-5. White Bear Lake was also the only team from the Classic Suburban conference to make division 1 state, where they beat Cathedral to take 11th place overall. 

In the division 2, Stillwater ended up taking 16th overall.

Division 3 state saw a Woodbury cruise through quarter and semifinals, to finally meet their match against Cretin Durham Hall in the finals. Woodbury lost, taking 2nd overall at Division 3 sate. White Bear Lake JV made quarterfinals, but lost twice and found themselves in the 7th place game, where they beat Chaska to take 7th overall. Mahtomedi also competed strongly, with a 10th place finish, barely losing to Andover in the 9th place game.

According to online results, East Ridge did not participate in the 2019 state championship.

The Classic Suburban conference has teams, talent, and success across all divisions of state championships. White Bear Lake looks like they will continue to be the team to beat, as they are the only program fortunate enough to have a JV team. But strong results from Woodbury and Stillwater (in making division 2 state) could surprise the conference. Keep an eye on the Classic Suburban conference as the season continues, to see how it will all shake out in 2020!

North Suburban

The North Suburban3 conference had the largest amount of teams out of any conference in 2019, with thirteen total teams. 4 of 9 schools in the conference fielded a JV team. At the top of the conference in 2019, was Maple Grove, who defeated St. Louis Park in the conference finals, 13-9. At the division 1 state tournament, Maple Grove lost a close game to Hopkins the 5th place bracket, dropping them to the 7th place game, where they were able to defeat Great River School. St. Louis Park also competed at the division 1 state tournament, but lost two close games to finish the tournament, to take 16th overall.

The North Suburban conference saw a lot of success at the division 2 state tournament. Armstrong won two very close games in quarter and semifinals, and ended up taking 2nd overall. Irondale lost in semifinals on the other side of the bracket, but beat St. Paul Cathedral to take 3rd overall. Wayzata also made the top 8, and lost a very close game to Minneapolis Washburn in the 5th place bracket, dropping down to 8th place overall. Spring Lake Park and Robbinsdale Cooper matched up in the 9th place bracket. Robbinsdale Cooper ended up winning that game, and the next to take 9th overall, while Spring Lake Park won their final game of the season to take 11th overall. 

At the division 3 level, Andover finished their year strong in their last two games, winning and winning again to take 9th place. Benilde St. Margaret’s lost a few close games to take 16th place overall.

In division 4, Maple Grove JV made the top 4, and won a very close game against Minneapolis Washburn to take 3rd place overall. Armstrong JV also had a strong final game, beating St. Paul Academy JV to take 9th overall. 

According to online results, St. Louis Park JV and Wayzata JV did not participate in the 2019 state championship.

The North Suburban conference is the conference with the most historical parity. It is the only conference that has yet to have the same conference champion win two years in a row. This conference saw strong results at the division 1 tournament, and incredible results at the division 2 tournament. Look for some teams to breakout and move up in divisions in 2020. The North Suburban conference is competitive, and has depth as the JV teams show. Keep an eye out for some surges in results as the year goes on.

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 story about the season on using #MNUltimate on Twitter or Instagram! Let’s start a conversation about the 2020 Ultimate season here in Minnesota!

Footnotes

1 Seven teams participated in the Classic South conference in 2019: Bloomington, Lakeville North, Lakeville North JV, Lakeville South, Northfield, Prior Lake, and Shakopee. Back to Article.

2 Six teams participated in the Classic Suburban conference in 2019: East Ridge, Mahtomedi, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, White Bear Lake JV, and Woodbury. Back to Article

3 Thirteen teams participated in the North Suburban conference in 2019: Andover, Armstrong, Armstrong JV, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Irondale, Maple Grove, Maple Grove JV, Robbinsdale Cooper, Spring Lake Park, St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park JV, Wayzata, Wayzata JV. Back to Article.