30 in 30 yrs: Robins fly to yet another prep championship

The Robins defend the goal against a determined Dakota United athlete, in the PI title game.
The Robins defend the goal against a determined Dakota United athlete, in the PI
title game.

One of the state’s oldest and most successful adapted high school sports programs has racked up another state championship, its 30th title in three decades’ play. The Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka Robins won the team’s sixth straight title in the PI divisions November 16, winning 5-4 over Dakota United. The state tournament was at Stillwater High School.

Earlier this fall the Robins marked the program’s 30th anniversary with a ceremony at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School. Athletes from the past three decades of teams were invited back for the events, which included a soccer game against border rivals, the Park Center Pirates.

The Robins have their own booster club and take their name from the original Robbinsdale High teams, which were also the Robins. The PI teams are some of the best in the state, in adapted soccer, floor hockey and softball. Teams have won 14 out of 15 consecutive state championships between all three sports. The Robins have won the championships either as Robbinsdale High or in combination with other schools. The win November 16 was the Robins’ eighth PI soccer crown.

The program and its coaches have won other honors. In 2008, Robbinsdale Robins P.I. coaches Marcus Onsum and Steve Onsum were inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame as recipients of the USA WEEKEND Most Caring Coaches Award.

This year’s Robins averaged 11.0 goals per game and their opponents scored 1.0 against them in regular season play. Also during the regular season junior Tyler Sarff led the Robins with 25 goals and 10 assists. Junior Joe Dubisar added 12 goals and eight assists. Junior keeper Jimmie Flores went 4-0 in the net and has a 0.93 save percentage. With all three coming back next year the team is likely to be strong again.

The Robins predate the current state prep programs. The Minnesota State High School League has offered adapted sports for 21 years. The adapted soccer program has a PI division for athletes with physical disabilities, and a CI division for players with cognitive disabilities.

Before that the Minnesota Association for Adapted Athletics was organized for students with physical disabilities. Indoor floor hockey competition began in 1975. Competition for students with cognitive disabilities began in 1990. Indoor soccer, floor hockey and indoor softball are the team sports offered, with bowling as a team and individual athletic activities. Athletes with varying disabilities compete coeducationally. One team often represents multiple school districts.

The Robins are shown with their hardware from the state tournament.
The Robins are shown with their hardware from the state tournament.

In the latest state adapted soccer tournament the Robins crushed Minneapolis South 11-2 in the first round, and then defeated South Suburban, 7-3 to make the finals.

Anoka-Hennepin won third place over South Suburban. Minneapolis South defeated Park Center for the consolation championship. Other teams in the tournament were St. Paul Highland Park and Mounds View/ Irondale/Roseville.

In the CI division, a new champion was guaranteed as the 2012 winners from Dakota United failed to qualify for this year’s tournament. Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville won the CI division crown, topping Park Center, 8-1. The Blazing Cats clawed their way past North Suburban, 12-3, and Anoka- Hennepin, 5-2, to be in the title game. It was the first-ever title for the Blazing Cats.

This year’s Cats squad averaged 9.5 goals per game during the regular season while holding their opponents to an average of 1.3. Junior Michael Burns and junior Brayan Estrada Martinez tallied 67 and 66 points, respectively, for the Blazing Cats. Burns scored 36 goals and added 31 assists, and Estrada

Martinez scored 33 goals with 33 assists. Senior Stephen Friday played in goal every game and allowed 16 goals all season.

South Washington County won third place, defeating Anoka-Hennepin, 6-3. North Suburban took home the consolation title, trouncing Mounds View/ Irondale/Roseville, 13-1. Other teams in the tournament were Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee and Stillwater Area/St. Croix Prep.