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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Pole vault camp A free camp for students interested in pole vaulting will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays during June and July at the East Ridge High School track. The camp is for students going into sixth grade and up who are interested in pole vaulting. Students are asked to bring a water bottle and proper shoes. Poles and helmets are provided. The first day of camp will be held on Tuesday, June 20. Contact Mark Haesly with questions at 651-815-3855 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . T-Wolves, Lynx basketball camp
East Ridge's new boys' basketball coach has grown up with basketball in his blood. The Raptors recently named Bryce Tesdahl as the next head coach of the boys' basketball program. With his grandfather Bob McDonald, holding the record for most career boys' basketball head coaching victories in state history, it would be hard not to know the game. "I'm very fortunate to grow up in a basketball family, it all starts with him," said Tesdahl about his grandfather, who coached 59 years at Chisholm and won 1,012 games.
It all came down to survival for the East Ridge baseball team on June 2 in Dundas. The Raptors defeated Rosemount 3-2 in 10 innings to advance through the winner's bracket to the Class 2A, Section 3 championship. Now they are one win away from the state tournament. Charlie Larson drove home the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th. He was looking for a pitch to drive and was able to strike a fly ball far enough into left-center to score teammate Joe Trollen from third base.
Both the Woodbury and East Ridge track and field teams will be sending a busload of athletes to the Class 2A track and field meet on June 9 and 10 at Hamline University in St. Paul. Athletes from both high schools qualified for state during Class 2A, Section 4 championship competition on May 30 and June 1 at East Ridge High School. When the dust settled, the East Ridge boys' finished second behind Stillwater in the team standings, with Woodbury placing third. The Raptors girls' team was third with Woodbury placing sixth.
Ben van der Sman is looking ahead to the challenge of the individual state tournament after a small test by Eagan's Maxim Zagrebelny in the Class 2A, Section 3 singles championship match in Lakeville on May 30. The East Ridge senior made it a relatively quick first set against Zagrebelny, winning 6-2. But van der Sman faced more pressure in the second set as his Eagan opponent forced the score to 5-5. van der Sman was able to regain control from there, breaking Zagrebelny's serve and following with a win in his next service game for a 7-5 set victory.
The Park boys' golf team fell just a few shots short of reaching a few goals on the final day of competition in the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament on June 5 at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Junior Keegan Oberding fell just one shot short of qualifying for state as an individual after shooting a two-day score of 158. He was edged out by Eagan's Joe Rohlf and Rosemount's Connor Humble who both scored 157.
The Woodbury girls' golf team's streak is over. For the past two seasons, the Royals have concluded their season at the Class 3A state tournament. But this year, the team will not be making the trip. Woodbury finished third with a score of 725 after the two-day Class 3A, Section 3 tournament at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Rosemount ended up winning the section title with a score of 697, and Eagan placed second with a 707. Unlike the past two seasons, the Royals did not play with the same consistency that helped them reach the top of the section.
With the Minnesota Wild bowing out of the NHL playoffs in the first round, hockey fans across the Twin Cities have fixated on a 22-year-old rookie forward with a knack for scoring goals. Woodbury resident Jake Guentzel is putting his mark on a run to the Stanley Cup finals for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 13 playoff goals and often playing on the same line as NHL star Sidney Crosby. Jake's father Mike Guentzel recalls his phone blowing up with about 75 texts when Jake scored his first NHL earlier this season in November.
The Woodbury girls' golf team finished the regular season near the top of the Suburban East Conference golf standings. The Royals placed second in the SEC, one higher than their third-place result from a season ago. They backed up the placing with a second-place finish at the SEC championship meet Thursday, May 25, at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater. Head coach Bryan Orlenko said the Royals' consistency this season has helped them climb the SEC ladder. "Some teams graduated different players, and we remained more consistent this year," Orlenko said.
Kory Kiekhoefer graduated from New Life Academy seven years ago. Now the 25-year-old is making a homecoming as the new head coach of the boys' basketball team. Kiekhoefer has stayed busy in basketball since moving on from New Life Academy in 2010. He attended the University of Northwestern-St. Paul where he played basketball with the Eagles, later graduating and becoming a head coach for the past two seasons at Bethany Academy in Bloomington.