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.
- Member for
- 4 years 3 months
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."
Cretin-Derham Hall brought East Ridge back to Earth on Friday, a week after the Raptors got their biggest victory of the season. East Ridge defeated Roseville 17-16 on homecoming Sept. 22, but seven days later Cretin-Derham Hall’s powerful offense helped put the win the rearview mirror. The Raiders defense slowed East Ridge’s offense and used big passing plays to run up a 43-7 final.
The New Life Academy girls' tennis team knew it was graduating two of its top players from last year's varsity team as it prepared for the start of fall practice. But when three other experienced players decided not to go out for the team this season, the Eagles soon realized they would not have enough players to field a full varsity team. But take a quick glance at the Eagles' record in the final weeks of the regular season, which is 6-9 heading into the week of Sept. 25, and you might not realize the challenges they have faced.
The East Ridge girls' swimming and diving team finished first in the Maroon Division of the Maroon and Gold Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. East Ridge topped the 14-team division by finishing first with 432 points. Blaine was second in the Maroon Division with 374 points. Grace Rauker led the Raptors with two second-place finishes on the day. Rauker delivered her second-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of two minutes, one second and the 500 freestyle in 5:22.18.
All three of the District 833 cross-country teams got a chance to see where they stack up with many of the other teams from around the strate at the Milaca Mega Meet on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca. The East Ridge boys' team finished 11th among Class 4A boys' teams, with Woodbury taking 13th and Park in 19th.