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1989-1990 School Year
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1989-1990 Combined Team Photo: Players’ names were not listed in the 1990 South Yearbook.

Defending State Champions.  With that moniker, the Tigers knew everyone was out to dethrone them, whether it was conference foes or non-conference opponents.  It was the job of coaches Warren Kaari and Craig Canham to make sure the Tiger runners kept working hard and kept their heads out of the clouds.

South opened hosting the Nokomis Invitational.  The Tigers won their first meet of the season.

In New Ulm, South finished second, but the rebounded to win the Apple Valley Applejack Invitational. 

The Tigers “slumped” in the Burnsville Invitational but again responded to win the Anoka Invitational.

This set up the defense of the Conference Title.  South was running without one of their best runners, Eli Anthony, who was out with an injury.  That did not stop the Tigers from claiming seven of the top eight spot and retaining their Conference Championship.  Junior Gaio Lakin claimed the individual title.  He was followed by Rachid Elaydi, Joe Walsh, Eli Brown, Joel Wegener, Dough Demarest, and Josh Williams.  The only non-South runner in the top eight was second-place Lance Shimonura from Roosevelt.

One down and two to go.  South entered the Region Meet and claimed that title, earning a second consecutive trip to the State Meet.  Eli Anthony was still injured, so all of the runners knew they had to be at their best to claim a second straight title.  Junior Gail Lakin placed third overall, but would that be enough.  South runners ran so well that even without Lakin’s finish, the Tigers still would have won the Title according to the 1990 South Yearbook. 

Lakin said, as reported in the Yearbook, “Last year we really didn’t think about winning at all…we went into the year (1988-89) unranked in all the polls and we would have been happy with anything.  But this year, we would have been disappointed with a second place finish.”