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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The streak continues for the Woodbury softball team. The Royals have gone undefeated in every section softball game over the past two seasons. A 6-0 win against North on May 26 at McKnight Field in North St. Paul has put them in the Class 4A, Section 4 championship game for the third consecutive season. One more win and the Royals will make a third trip to the state tournament. The offense helped the Royals score six runs in the section semifinals game. But strong pitching and defense kept North's offense from getting comfortable.
The Woodbury baseball team ensured itself a break over Memorial Day weekend. A 3-1 victory over Roseville in the first round of the Class 4A, Section 4 tournament in Woodbury on May 25 helped the Royals advance to the semifinals of the winner's bracket. Woodbury will next face Tartan on May 30 at CHS Field in St. Paul.
Most spectators likely don't realize all of the techniques involved in pole vaulting. Seeing the athletes fly through the air on a flexed pole over the bar can demonstrate what it looks like when hard work pays off. This dedication has helped East Ridge sophomore Alec Wittman become one of the top young pole vaulters in the state this season. Just two years ago, Wittman decided to try pole vaulting after watching his older sister, Morgan Wittman, perform the sport. After trying it firsthand, Wittman was hooked.
The East Ridge boys' tennis team is headed back to the Class 2A state tournament for the fourth straight season. The Raptors wrapped up their fourth consecutive Class 2A, Section 3 team title with a 6-1 win against Hastings on May 24 at Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville. East Ridge swept all four singles matchups and added wins at first and third doubles. Although the Raptors started the season with a 6-1 win against Hastings on April 5 and did so again in the section championship, they had to work to stay ahead of the Raiders.
Suburban East Conference boys' golf teams started looking ahead to the upcoming section tournament after playing the SEC championship meet on May 23 at Indian Hills Golf Club in Stillwater. But first, Park wrapped up its best SEC finish in almost a decade. The Wolfpack finished third in the SEC this season, wrapping up the schedule with a fourth-place finish in the SEC championship meet. East Ridge finished sixth as a team in the final conference standings while Woodbury was seventh out of nine teams.
The Woodbury boys' and girls' track and field teams took home first-place finishes in a three-team meet at Park on Thursday, May 18. The last-chance meet did not feature every event, including the 3,200-meter run. First-place finishes for the Woodbury boys' track and field team included Ricardo Twinawe in the 400-meter dash (53.76), Joseph Romain in the 800 run (2:02.59), Alexander Budke in the 200-meter dash (23.30), Andrew Kraemer in the long jump (19-01.00), and Ojotane Marvel in the triple jump (39-03.00)
The exterior of the Oakdale-based training facility blends in with the rest of the businesses on Hudson Boulevard near the intersection of I-94 and I-694. But take a look inside ETS Elite Next Level, and there is a chance you could find a handful of local professional athletes carrying out the offseason training programs that keep them employed in some of the world's most competitive sports leagues.
Math and Science Academy distance runner Tierney Wolfgram knows she has a target on her back this spring. Winning tends to do that. The Dragons eighth-grader won a Class 1A state cross-country title last fall, gapping the rest of the field by 30 seconds for a 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 23.6 seconds at St. Olaf College in Northfield. After a finish like that, runners have learned about the Woodbury resident's ability. Now she is learning to manage expectations, starting with this spring's track and field season.
The Woodbury girls' golf team has continued to produce near the top of the Suburban East Conference after the first three meets of the season. Woodbury finished second in a nine-hole SEC meet May 8 at North Oaks Golf Club. Once again, Aayushi Sarkar led the Royals as she shot a 42. Rounding out the varsity team was Michelle Yang with a 46, Bailey Misura with a 48 and Maddi Hanson with a score of 50. Woodbury finished second with a team score of 186, behind first-place Forest Lake with a mark of 169. Park finished third with a team score of 194.
The Woodbury boys' lacrosse team lost a Suburban East Conference matchup with Park and also fell to nonconference opponents Blake and Eagan last week. The Royals dropped to 2-3 in SEC games this spring with a 17-2 loss to Park on May 9. Brady Moesenthin and Chase Schlorhaufer scored the only goals in the game for Woodbury. The Royals also lost 12-7 at Blake on Thursday, May 11, and 17-3 to Eagan at home Saturday, May 13. Schlorhaufer scored four goals on Thursday. Woodbury, which entered the week on a seven-game losing streak, is 2-8 overall this season.