Posted On: 11/10/18 10:30 AM

It isn’t often that the team that isn’t the favorite in its respective section doesn’t ultimately win it. But upsets at the high school level certainly can happen. Here are teams from each section that could surprise.

Section 1A: Randolph

Favorite: Rushford-Peterson, Spring Grove

It feels like it’s always been Rushford-Peterson and Spring Grove (and Goodhue recently) as the two frontrunners in this section and it’s most likely those two again but Randolph has has some talent. The Rockets won 19 games a year ago and returns several very good starters including Carsyn Gunderson and Nick Drinken.

Section 2A: Minnesota Valley Lutheran

Favorite: Springfield, BOLD

Springfield and BOLD may be the two best teams in Class A so picking a team other than those two to contend in this section is difficult. Minnesota Valley Lutheran has the best individual player not on those two teams in Jake Kettner and he’s good enough to make the Chargers a contender on his own. He’s not alone though as they’ve got good returners in Jace Morotz, Matthew Munsen and Mason Cox.

Section 3A: Dawson-Boyd

Favorite: Minneota, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

Another section with two powerhouse clubs as RTR and Minneota have the look of top-5ish teams. Dawson-Boyd is no slouch though as the Blackjacks won 20 games last year and return two all-conference type guys in Bentley Boike and Romell Horton.

Section 4A: Christian Life Academy

Favorite: CHOF

This was one of the sections where the favorite didn’t actually get to state. Christian Life Academy won 17 games last season and while the Hawks won’t be favored to win the section, they’ve got good returners in Jacob Kyllo, Caleb Carlson and Kyle Hovey.

Section 5A: Nevis

Favorite: Cromwell-Wright

Nevis doesn’t really fit the mold of ‘darkhorse’ given the Tigers got to state two years ago and have several guys from that team still around. But Cromwell-Wright looks like the favorite in that section given what it has coming back. Nevis has Michael Landquist, Derek Lindow and Luke DeWulf which is plenty of firepower to make a run.

Section 6A: Ortonville

Favorite: Norman County East, Parkers Prairie

Picking a darkhorse in this section is tough because there doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut favorite. Norman County East is always good it feels like so counting them out would be unwise and Parkers Prairie was the third best team in the section last year and returns a bunch of ke guys. Ortonville won 20 games last year and returns a whole crop of good players too though. The Trojans bring back Tyson Powell who averaged 20 points per game to lead the way. Double figure scorers DaVonte Edwards, Peter Treinen and Caden Wellnitz all return as well.

Section 7A: Ely

Favorite: North Woods

North Woods has been to two straight state title games and could be a favorite to win the whole thing this winter. Is there a team that can keep things close with them? It’ll be tough but Ely may have the pieces to do it. Patrick Vanderbeek averaged more than 20 points per game as a junior and Trevor Mattson is back after averaging better than 11 a night.

Section 8A: Sacred Heart

Favorite: Ada-Borup

Ada-Borup and Cass Lake-Bena will probably duke it out for section supremacy but several other teams return key guys and could give those teams a run. Sacred Heart won 23 games a year ago and returns all-conference caliber guard Brendan Bethke. Oscar Ortiz and Evan Sczepanski also return after carving out key roles last year.