MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Fans filled Minnehaha Academy’s gym Tuesday night for the big matchup between the Redhawks and the Eden Prairie Eagles.
Both of these teams are top in their class in the state and nationally ranked, but a state bylaw is preventing both teams from showing their skills in the national spotlight.
Senior Redhawks captain Jalen Suggs has already solidified his future in this sport, signing with Gonzaga University.
“We start playing together and special things happen, and this season truly has been special,” Suggs said.
A team special enough to be ranked nationally, in the top 25 teams. But because of MSHSL bylaws, they are not allowed to play in the high school national tournament in New York this spring. The league only allows their teams to play within Minnesota or the bordering states of Wisconsin, Iowa or the Dakotas.
“For it to be denied and taken away from us is kind of tough,” Suggs said.
He says an opportunity to play on a national stage is important exposure for younger players.
“For some of these guys, you know, it could be that tournament, you know, that gets them the scholarship that they need to go to college from the school that they want,” Suggs said.
Minnehaha Academy Athletic Director Josh Thurow respects the rules of the league, but hopes they are not set in stone.
“The disappointing aspect is not letting a national stage see them,” Thurow said. “Someday, I hope the bylaws do change. That would be outstanding.”
For now, the Redhawks are putting all their focus on the highest win they can earn.
“We have a special opportunity to get our fourth state championship in a row, you know, in our first year in 3A, o right now we’re focused on that,” Suggs said.
The state league also doesn’t allow teams to participate out of state after the Minnesota state tournament finals, which is in March. The national tournament is in April.