The longest championship streak in MN high school history is over

After 19 straight first-place trophies, a Minnesota dynasty is putting a third-place one in their case.
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It was fun while it lasted. And it lasted longer than any of these teenagers have been alive.

The Edina High School girls tennis team put together a streak of 19 consecutive state championships.

Their hopes for a 20th ended Wednesday in the Class 2A semi-finals when they were beaten by Mahtomedi, 4-3.

There was no letdown for Mahtomedi, which went on to defeat Eagan and take home the big prize.

Now that their streak is over, Edina's accomplishment can sink in. The State High School League's John Millea says no high school tennis program anywhere in America has matched it.

Plus, the 19-year streak makes the Hornets' earlier dynasty of 15 straight titles look a little like a warmup.

How does a team win 19 straight championships ?

Obviously, Edina has had a lot of good tennis players over the years. Beyond that?

Some credit the coach, Steve Paulsen, for turning the tennis program into a well-oiled machine. A couple of years ago, junior varsity B team coach Jon Buckley told Edina Magazine the Hornets' success starts at the top with Paulsen. Players say Paulsen doesn't talk about or losing – only about being your best.

Experience may have also contributed to the dynasty. Their annual trips to the state tournament let the Hornets play in those pressure packed, win-or-go-home matches repeatedly.

At the start of this year's tournament, Sun Current newspapers noted that most of Edina's players were also part of last year's championship team. That group got a rare taste of being an underdog when they went up against top seeded Prior Lake for the state championship and pulled out a victory.

On the other hand, Mahtomedi has also gained some experience. The White Bear Press notes the Zephyrs advanced to the state semi-finals in each of the last two years, only to lose to Edina.

After Wednesday's loss, Edina team captain Isabelle Ouyang told the Star Tribune: "It is disappointing, but we’ll come back and play Edina tennis and try to represent the program with class.”

Edina did bounce back later in the day to defeat St. Cloud Tech and claim the third-place trophy.

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