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Baxter brings success to Eden Prairie girls lacrosse

She has guided one of Minnesota's most successful high school girls lacrosse programs in the Eden Prairie Eagles, leading them to the state tournament since 2007 and even before that as a club team.

Judy Baxter, the co-head coach of the Eagles since 1999, was interviewed following Eden Prairie's 18-6 win over their Lake Conference rival the Edina Hornets Thursday night. The game was moved inside to the Prairie Dome due to cold weather and ice of the bleachers at Aerie Stadium.

Before Baxter came to Eden Prairie, she played college lacrosse at Ursinius College, a small school with an enrollment of 1100 located in Collegeville Pennsylvania."We were nationally ranked in field hockey and lacrosse," Baxter said.

She also coached on the collegiate level at Lehigh University.

Baxter mentioned the keys to Eden Prairie' success in girls lacrosse. "I try to make it competitive. Everything is at top speed. It is important to go with top speed."

Another key to the program's success is co-head coach Beth Patterson, who has been with the Eagles since 2001.

"Beth and I are good friends and work very well," Baxter said.

Also, alumni have also helped with the varsity team. One former Eagle is on the coaching staff as an assistant, Hannah Riggs. Another Eden Prairie alum is the head coach at Benilde-St. Margaret's Ana Bowlsby.

Baxter also gave her view on the growth of high school lacrosse in Minnesota. It's a great game. Not a hard game to pick up. Fast pace and high scoring."

Under Baxter's tutelage, the Eagles.have won a combined six state titles including club and under the auspices of the Minnesota State High School League. They won in 2001, 04, 06, 07 and 09. They have finished second four times, losing to the Blake Bears in 2008, 10, 11 and 12.

Baxter commented on the rivalry between Blake and Eden Prairie. "We have a wonderful rivalry and we look forward to playing Blake." This season, the two state tournament rivals will face each other on May 23 at Blake in Hopkins.

The interview wrapped up with Baxter mentioning about the possibility of girls lacrosse going to a multi class tournament like volleyball and basketball. "I would certainly like to see it grow to that point." According to Baxter, there are 70 schools who have girls lacrosse programs.

This season, with seven players who played in the state girls hockey tournament, the Eagles are off to a 2-0 start. Can Baxter lead eden Prairie to another trip to state in early June?

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