Kuemmel's Corner: The beauty of winter section and state tournaments
As the winter season winds down, we are in the middle of section playoffs. There is not a more exciting time of the season than section playoffs. Despite the season record or seedings, each team comes in with a clean record and a chance to beat the other team.
That means lower seeded teams have a chance to upset the higher seeds, and the higher seeds have the pressure to "hold serve" and defeat the team that is supposedly not as good. Park teams have been on both sides of that situation in the past.
About 11 years ago, it was our boys' basketball team that earned an upset victory. Park was seeded No. 8 in the section, and had to travel to Lakeville North to take on the No. 1-seeded Panthers.
I am guessing most Lakeville fans thought this would be an easy victory for them. I even had one Lakeville fan ask me at the concession stand at halftime, "How did you guys get a number eight seed?"
But the Wolfpack coaches had a great game plan that was executed perfectly by the players. I am sure Lakeville had hopes of making it to the state tournament as a No. 1 seed. Maybe something similar will happen this year? (Note: This column was written before the boys basketball semifinal game vs. Eastview (a #4 seed vs. a #1 seed!))
As exciting as it is to win those upsets, it is equally as heartbreaking to lose in those games. Sometimes one section is stacked with two or three very good teams, yet only one of those teams gets to advance to state (this has happened to our girls' soccer and basketball teams throughout the years).
Many Park athletes also have a chance to advance to the state meet as an individual. Our wrestlers and gymnasts have been regulars at their state meets throughout the years, and this year some boys' swimmers made it as well.
Park gets the opportunity to host many section events throughout the school year. Next year we will host the individual tournament for wrestling. That is always a great chance to see many of the great wrestlers in our area, and our fans do not have to travel far to cheer on the Wolfpack.
Thank you to our parents and coaches who work so hard to host these events. Every team is eventually going to end their season with a loss (unless you are the state champion), which is never easy to take. But the roller coaster ride through section playoffs is still very exciting.