St. Paul Academy ruled the 1980s and ’90s, winning two state championships and making seven tournament appearances each decade. The 2000s didn’t produce a trip to state. State-level success resumed — albeit at a trickle — in the 2010s with three Class 1A state tournament appearances but no titles.
Which brings us to today, the beginning of what the Spartans hope is their renaissance period. They are, after all, ranked No. 1 in the Class 1A coaches' poll from Sept. 6 and off to a 2-1-1 overall start fueled by standout scorers such as Zekiah Juliusson and Cooper Bollinger-Danielson.
Providence Academy is something of an anti-St. Paul Academy in that it hasn’t achieved any statewide success to date (no state tournament appearances). The Lions lost 1-0 to Willmar in a Section 6A first-round game last season and were ousted 4-0 by Holy Family Catholic in the quarterfinals in 2019.
That was then, but now look at the Lions. They are 4-0-1 overall, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A and poised, perhaps, to start their own dynasty. Junior Wayne Muthuri and senior Elijah Crutchmer are among Providence Academy’s top scorers.