Through mask mandates, abrupt endings, limited crowds and all the rest, the 2020-21 high school sports year was one that will not be forgotten any time soon.
Said season wrapped up this past week. For some, there was disappointment, but for others, there was plenty to celebrate. That included an EPHS athlete capturing a state championship on Saturday. Here’s the final postseason update for the 2020-21 school year.
Girls’ Track and Field
As previously reported at EPLN, Nia Holloway has made a name for herself as an athlete, earning a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Minnesota. As of this past weekend, she also can add state champion high-jump to her list of accomplishments.
Holloway placed first with a 5-08.00 total, three inches ahead of Winona Stone from Minnetonka, who finished second in the event.
Besides the high jump, Holloway finished fifth in the 200-meter dash. The soon-to-be senior was also part of the 4×200-meter relay team that finished sixth. She was part of a group that included Kennedy Houston, Maggie Zaugg and Adisa Preston.
Another female standout for EP was Carolyn Tarpey, who finished second in the pole vault competition. The senior finished a foot behind Julia Gherardi of Hibbing.
Other high finishers on the girls’ side included Miriam Sandeen, Katie Ose and Madeline Kaufman. Sandeen finished sixth in the 1600-meter dash. In the 300-meter hurdles, Ose finished seventh.
As for Kaufman she competed in multiple field events. That included the pole vault, where she finished in eighth, six spots behind her teammate, Tarpey. In the shot put, she finished 11th and took home 13th place in the discus.
Combining all of the individual performances, the Eagles finished sixth overall in team score.
Boys’ Track and Field
In last weekend’s state meet, no EP boys’ track and field athletes took home state titles. However, the Eagles were still well represented at the meet, which took place at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
Let’s start with Alexander Gutierrez. He was the highest finisher of any Eagle male athlete in the meet as he took third in the 800-meter dash. Fellow distance runner Isaac Hartman took seventh in the 1600-meter dash.
The next best finish came via the boys’ 4×200-meter relay team. That quad included Daniel Knudsen, Takhi Vaughn, Michael Gross and Nicholas Heckman. Knudsen, Vaughn and Heckman were also part of a 4×100-meter relay that finished 13th.
In field events, Devin Jordan finished the highest of any Eagle as he took ninth in the high jump.
Besides Knudsen’s roles on the relay teams, he also finished 15th in shotput and 11th in discus. Overall, the individual performances resulted in a 16th-place finish in the team standings.
In the Section 2AAA tournament, EP made it through as the Eagles defeated defending section champion Chanhassen.
Besides a section crown, EP owned a Lake Conference title heading into state. The Eagles hoped to capture their first girls’ golf crown at Bunker Hills golf course.
Unfortunately for EP, that dream did not come to fruition. The Eagles did manage to finish fourth overall in the tournament after being tied up with Lake Conference rival Edina for third after the first day of play.
As for individuals, Emma Davies placed the best amongst her teammates as she finished 23rd. The second best finisher was Rose Barnes. She captured the 31st spot in Class AAA.
As the No. 3 seed in Section 2 and facing stiff competition with second-seeded Minnetonka and top-seeded Chanhassen, EP defied the odds and defeated both squads on the road and continued its impressive state tournament streak that now goes nearly a decade and a half.
Heading to the state tournament, the Eagles found themselves as the fifth seed. That meant they’d be the underdog as EP took on fourth-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
In the regular season, the Eagles fell to the Red Knights, 15-14, at home. Trailing by one at halftime, EP battled Benilde-St. Margaret’s the rest of the way thanks to Taylor Kotschevar-Call and Brinley Hopper. They each scored five goals in the regular-season meeting.
The Red Knights came out firing in the state quarterfinals as they jumped ahead of the Eagles, 6-0. EP did cut the lead in half before halftime break.
After two Benilde-St. Margaret’s goals to open the second, EP got within one goal in the second half but could not extract revenge as the Red Knights went on to win, 13-10.
This was the first time in the history of the girls’ lacrosse state tournament that the Eagles failed to advance to at least the semifinals. EP did have some highlights in the form of players such as Kotschevar-Call, Josie Lillquist and Meghan Blaschko.
Kotschevar-Call led the way with a team-best four points. She added a goal to go along with three assists. Lillquist, playing in her final high school lacrosse game finished with a goal and two assists. Blaschko had the most goals of any Eagle in the game with three.
Editors note: This article was updated June 24 with a correction adding Madeline Kaufman to correct an error. EPLN regrets the error.