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East Ridge's Sam Scholz qualified for the 2011-12 state meet in the maximum four events as East Ridge finished in second place in Section 4AA.

2012-13 Winter Preview: East Ridge boys swim team one to watch this winter

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sports Woodbury, 55125
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Last year, the East Ridge boys swimming and diving team finished on a high note. This winter, the Raptors hope the momentum carries over.

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Led by 2012 grads Matt Koken and Austin Davidson, the Raptors earned an impressive eighth place at last year's state meet. Koken and Davidson each reached the state finals in the maximum four events.

Individually, Koken finished in fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly, while Davidson placed fifth in the 200-yard individual medley and eighth place in the 100-yard backstroke. Davidson and Koken also teamed up, along with freshman Kent Rabideaux and sophomore Sam Scholz to place seventh in the 400-yard freestyle and took sixth in the 200-yard medley relay along with 2012 grad Justin Kong and Scholz.

This year, under second-year head coach Steve Webb, East Ridge will be without Koken, Davidson and Kong, but the good news is the Raptors only said good-bye to three other grads - Ryan Schifrel, Jiatao Yun and Alex Thiede.

Expected to return and lead the way for the Raptors this season will be Scholz, now a junior, and sophomore Garrett Verhoeven. Like Koken and Davidson, Scholz qualified for the 2011-12 state meet in the maximum four events as East Ridge finished in second place in Section 4AA. In addition to being a part of the Raptors' state-entrant 400 free relay and 200 medley relay teams, Scholz punched a ticket to state in the 200-yard individual medley and in the 100-yard backstroke. Verhoeven reached state last year in the 500-yard freestyle.

East Ridge totaled 386 points in the Section 4AA meet to take second place a year ago. Stillwater won the section championship with 562 points. Woodbury was third place with 289 points. It will likely be the same three teams leading the way again this season.

East Ridge opens its season on Thursday, Dec. 6 in the annual Suburban East Conference relays at Stillwater Junior High School.

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