Weather Forecast


Aimua wraps up career at state

Senior Andriel Aimua strikes a putt during the final round of the state tournament June 11 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick) 1 / 2
Senior Andriel Aimua hits a drive during the final round of the state tournament June 11 at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. (Bulletin photo by Jace Frederick)2 / 2

East Ridge’s girls golf program has never known life without Andriel Aimua.

Aimua was with the program as an eighth grader when it was conceived five years ago, and donned the Raptors uniform one last time as a senior at the state tournament on Wednesday at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.

She went out with a bang.

Aimua shot a one-under 35 on the back nine of her last round of high school golf, which aided her to a two-day total of 163, good enough for a tie for 25th-place in the tournament.

“This is actually the first time I’ve shot under par [for nine holes] in any tournament in high school,” she said. “So that’s a great thing to accomplish and I’m very proud of it. I’m just relieved.”

For the last five years Aimua has been the face of East Ridge girl’s golf, a weight she’s bore with pride and honor. Last year, she and Taylor Anderson became the first Raptors girls to qualify for the state tournament, where Aimua finished in a tie for 19th. This year, Aimua did it again.

“I think that’s a great accomplishment,” she said. “East Ridge, we definitely need a way to at least showcase girls golf and I’m just happy to be a part of it, to be a part of people who people can remember and be like, ‘hey, she was a part of East Ridge and she just helped make us a little bit more known to people.’”

During her final round, Aimua consistently drove the ball the farther than the other players in her foursome. That’s not new to her, though. Raptors coach Mark Retica said the primary strength of her game lies in her driver.

“She hits the ball extremely far, which is the hardest thing for a young lady to be able to do,” Retica said. “And that just comes from hard work, diligence, conditioning and continuing to pay attention to every detail. She hits it so much farther than most of the girls out here. There’s a handful in the state, maybe, that can push it the same distance she does. And it makes the game easier. You play shorter golf courses when you hit it that far.”

But Aimua said that distance would sometimes get her into trouble, forcing her to use her short game around the green. That’s where Retica said the senior golfer has the most room to grow.

And on Wednesday, when Aimua holed-out a chip from off the green for birdie on the back nine, it was clear she was well on her way in that department, as well.

“It’s fun to watch her,” Retica said. “She works awfully hard at what she does and she’s very good at what she does. There’s a level of commitment that I see in her that I very rarely see in student athletes her age, regardless of sport. She’ll spend hours working on her game.”

With her work ethic, Aimua’s game should continue to grow as she heads to Concordia-St. Paul in the fall to play on the links for the Golden Bears.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “They have amazing staff there, amazing coaching there, so I am just going to be trying my best to keep up with them. I guess you could say I could fit in also. It’s a great thing and I’m excited for it. Hopefully they’re going to benefit from me playing.”

At the very least, the Golden Bears should benefit from her attitude. Retica described Aimua as “a great teammate,” and while on the course on Wednesday, whether she had birdied or bogeyed a hole, there was always a smile on her face.

“She’s always smiling. ... She’s always positive,” Retica said. “The staff at Concordia is getting a kid who will do all the work. She’s a great student, she’s a great teammate, they’re going to get a very impressive, young student-athlete for their program and I know she’ll be successful there.”