Year in Review: Panthers put up several banners in 2012

Lakeville North present at several state tournaments

Alyssa Goehner goes for the kill at state. Photo by Rick Orndorf
Alyssa Goehner goes for the kill at state. Photo by Rick Orndorf

Lakeville North was witness to hundreds of victories in 2012 in perhaps one of the most successful sports years of any high school in the state.

Every season fans had the opportunity to watch Panthers teams perform at state and often do well.
State title for volleyball

Winning its second state title three years makes the volleyball team’s performance in 2012 the top story.

Alyssa Goehner, Erica Handley, Sami Flattum, Laura Larson, Haley Walker and the Panthers basically were undefeated in the fall (the team’s only loss was a forfeit) and won the Class AAA state title 3-1 over Eden Prairie.

The girls won the South Suburban Conference, the prestigious Southwest Minnesota Challenge in Marshall, the even more prestigious Eagle Invitational in Apple Valley, Lakeville North’s own Todd Bachman Invitational, and spent the entire season ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. The Panthers beat No. 2-ranked Eagan twice.
Football draws a crowd

The football team was runner-up at state in 2012. Photo by Rick Orndorf
The football team was runner-up at state in 2012. Photo by Rick Orndorf

The most popular sport at Lakeville North gave fans plenty to cheer about.

The Panthers started the football season by beating Lakeville South. They went on to win a share of the South Suburban Conference title and qualified for state for the second-straight season. Riding an uncommonly quick defense and big-play offensive, North made it to the Prep Bowl for the first time since the school split with Lakeville South.
Big-time basketball

The boys basketball team had its best season in school history, going 30-2, winning a share of the conference title and qualifying for state.

With a deep team, the Panthers reached the Class AAAA final before falling to Osseo on a basket at the buzzer. It was the first time Lakeville North made it to the championship game.
Saxton dominates

The best Nordic skier in the state wore a Panthers racing suit. Ben Saxton won his second straight state pursuit title in February at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, finishing nearly a minute ahead of everyone else.
Soccer dominates

Simone Kolander led the girls soccer team to another amazing season. The girls won the conference, spent time ranked No. 1 in the state and won the Section 1AA title game 2-0 over Farmington.

At state the Panthers finished third, defeating Blaine 6-2 in their final game. It was their best finish at state since 2004.
Panther hockey

The girls hockey team won the South Suburban Conference title outright over top-ranked teams Eagan and Lakeville South. The Panthers went on to beat South 5-2 in the Section 1AA title game and qualify for state, where they finished fourth.
Girls return

The girls basketball team made its third straight state appearance in March after winning the Section 1AAAA title over Rochester Mayo.

The Panther dance team qualified for the state meet in the jazz/funk division. Zoya Wahlstrom was fourth in the 100-yard butterfly at the state girls swim meet. The girls cross country team finished 15th at state and Taylor Perkins was seventh overall. The boys golf team won the conference and Freddy Thomas finished third in the state tournament. The gymnastics team placed fifth at state and Ashley Myers was sixth all-around. Angelica Anyaogu was fifth in the long jump at the state track meet and Emma Erickson was fifth in the discus. The wrestling team had a school-record six members qualify for state, where Anton Kalista finished sixth. The girls lacrosse team was one of the top-ranked teams in the state in the spring. Former Lakeville North hockey player Brady Skjei was selected by the New York Rangers in the first round of the NHL draft.