Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
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Make that two straight wins for the Woodbury football team against crosstown rival East Ridge. The Royals received just enough offense to pull ahead by 10 points in the third quarter of Friday’s rivalry game with East Ridge. From there, the defense held off the Raptors for a 20-3 victory. It was the second straight win for Woodbury in the rivalry game after last year’s 47-25 victory.
With dozens of scholarship offers on the table, Woodbury senior defensive end David Alston had the luxury to be selective about where he would play football after high school. In the end, he chose a Big Ten university with a rich football tradition. Alston announced his decision on Twitter Friday morning, Oct. 6, to play football at the University of Nebraska once he graduates this spring.
Giveaways can be costly in football. Just ask the East Ridge football team. In an overtime game that ended with a 25-24 loss to Mounds View, head coach Dan Fritze lamented those costly mistakes from the Raptors’ offense. “It’s hard to be consistent when you turn the ball over three times,” Fritze said on Friday.
Before Friday, every game the Woodbury football team played this season had a final margin of seven points or less. But that changed in a big way during Friday’s homecoming game at Woodbury High School. The Royals’ defense shut out White Bear Lake, and the offense limited its mistakes in a 33-0 victory.
You can't pick your family but you can pick your friends, as the old saying goes. On the Woodbury girls' swimming and diving team, more than a dozen of the team's athletes have decided to spend time with members of their families in the pool. Between 14 swimmers and divers, plus a pair of coaches, the Royals can't remember a time when they have had this many family members on one team in recent history.
The East Ridge girls' varsity and Woodbury boys' varsity cross-country teams led the way for District 833 schools at the Red Wing Invitational on Friday, Sept. 29. East Ridge eighth-grader Halle Mestery was the top-finishing individual as she crossed the finish line in fifth place with a 5-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 37 seconds.
A 1-1 week against Suburban East Conference teams solidified a second-place finish in the final standings for the East Ridge girls' tennis team. The Raptors lost their first SEC dual meet of the season to state-ranked Roseville 5-2 on Tuesday, Sept. 26. But the Raptors bounced back to win a 6-1 meet against Forest Lake on Thursday, Sept. 28, to wrap up a 7-1 record in the SEC standings. Roseville is tied for 10th in the Class 2A state polls, and head coach Jon Rydberg said the Raiders had a challenging lineup. East Ridge won matches at first and second doubles.
The Park girls' swimming and diving team did not win its meet at Woodbury on Thursday, Sept. 28. But that did not stop head coach Amanda Johnson from saying it was one of the best dual meets of the season for the Wolfpack. Even though this is the middle of the toughest training portion of the season, Johnson saw some positive individual results from the meet. "We've been working our distance girls to get in shape for distance swimming," Johnson said. "They really shined today. For some reason — just the day, just the swim, I don't know — really did well."
The New Life Academy boys' soccer team has been one of the top teams in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association this season. But head coach Robb Rupp knows that the team still has another level it can reach this season. The Eagles tied with two MCAA opponents in a tough schedule this week. On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Eagles took a 2-0 lead into halftime before tying Trinity 2-2. Three days later, New Life Academy tied Southwest Christian on the road 2-2.
It was not a perfect game, but the Woodbury football team made enough plays in the fourth quarter to win its first game of the season at Anoka on Friday. The Royals overcame six turnovers in the victory. Trailing in the fourth quarter, Ryan Christensen threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ames to give Woodbury a 10-6 lead with 4:39 left in the game. "It was a good drive. We converted on a fourth and five for probably a 40-yard gain," head coach Andy Hill said. "And then we were able to punch it in from there."