An element of surprise tints many of Renee Gonzalez's rugby experiences, but the now-senior was expecting to attend her second Stars & Stripes camp as a veteran. That was, of course, until the Stars staff asked the 17-year-old fullback to have a go at flanker. The forwards. Scrums.
Leading into the Minnesota girls state final, Armstrong coach Jimmy Hanson anticipated one of the best championship matches that the league has seen in a long time. Hanson proved prophetic, as his side had to rally from a first-half deficit to eventually overcome North Suburban 31-17 – a score that belies the intensity and competitiveness of the game itself.
The competitive gap in Minnesota’s girls high school league appears to be widening. As Armstrong and North Suburban prepare for this Saturday’s state championship, they’ll not only be amped for a chance to win a title, but also grateful for a competitive match.
Both Armstrong (5-0) and North Suburban (4-1) were looking forward to yesterday’s game. The leaders in Minnesota's girls high school league were not only desperate for quality competition, but the game was also a Tundra showdown.
On the one hand, Armstrong looked the same. The Minnesota powerhouse opened up its high school season last week with a 109-0 win over Rogers. But the reigning state champ looked different, too, as the 25-player team included 10 freshmen.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Armstrong girls in Minnesota.
The four-time state champions had graduated a huge part of their 2013 team, and with weather playing havoc with their early schedule, Head Coach Jimmy Hanson decided to pull back, not go to the Midwest or NIT tournaments, and concentrate on competing at the state level.