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 East Ridge girls' tennis team had a dominant day in its home tournament on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Raptors finished first as a team as each individual singles player or doubles team finished third place or higher in their flight. Woodbury finished third after tying Champlin Park in team points but losing the tiebreaker on head-to-head wins. First place finishers from East Ridge included Regan Dolezal and Julia Travis at first doubles, and Megan Karrow at first singles.
The East Ridge football team is headed into its homecoming week with a 2-1 record after pulling away from White Bear Lake in a 31-15 road victory Friday, Sept. 15. Quarterback Riley Tuckner led the Raptors with three touchdown passes. He threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Payton Johnson in the first quarter, followed by a 41-yard strike to Ty Johnson for seven points in the third quarter and an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Curtis in the fourth. Tuckner also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
There is a big difference between the wins that the East Ridge boys' soccer team has earned this season and its two losses. The Raptors' two losses this season have come in a 3-2 overtime game to Minneapolis Washburn on Thursday, Aug. 31, and 4-1 on Saturday, Sept. 16, against Wayzata. Outside of those two games against state-ranked teams, East Ridge is 5-0 this season. The Raptors finished 1-1 last week, defeating Woodbury 5-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and also losing against Wayzata.
The script was similar for the Woodbury football team on Friday to those in the first two games of the season. The Royals had their opportunities, but they fell one possession short in a 34-27 loss to Cretin-Derham Hall at Woodbury High School. After losses of 22-20 to Farmington and 25-22 to Roseville, it was another disappointment for the Royals.
Park cross-country and track and field coach Brad Narveson has been working with Wolfpack runners for more than a decade. But after undergoing heart surgery in late August, he will not have the chance to coach cross-country this fall. Instead, he will spend the next few months recovering.
Tiffany Holiday had an accomplished cross-country season last fall as a freshman. But until last week, she had never won a varsity cross-country race. Holiday crossed the finish line of the 5-kilometer race with a time of 19 minutes, 50 seconds for the first win of her career at the Dewey Minnaert cross-country meet Thursday, Sept. 7, at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. The first-place time gave her a 10-second gap between the second-place finisher, Red Wing's Grace Johnson who finished just over the 20-minute mark.
Practices are just a little bit easier when you have an experienced tennis team. With eight seniors listed on the varsity roster, this is one of the advantages the East Ridge girls' tennis team has this season. East Ridge head coach Jon Rydberg said practices have been smooth with the influx of seniors on one of the Suburban East Conference's most experienced teams. With most of the Raptors being varsity veterans, the team has been able to focus on more advanced drills than in other years.
The East Ridge girls' swimming and diving team got its first win in Suburban East Conference competition by a score of 104-82 at home Sept. 7 against Mounds View. Grace Rauker won two events in the 200-yard freestyle (2:01.63) and the 500 freestyle (5:26.47). Other first-place finishes came from Callie Kunz in the 200-yard individual medley (2:19.69) and Chloe Wangensteen in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.21). The East Ridge 400-yard freestyle relay team of Kyra Bachman, Rauker, Kunz and Robbie Witikko also took first with a time of 3:50.10.
The Woodbury girls' tennis team did not have a lot of varsity experience returning at the start of the season. Eight seniors graduated from last season, and singles player Delaney Schurhamer also decided not to play tennis. But while the Royals only have three of their top-10 players returning from last year, they still have been competitive in the Suburban East Conference. The Royals have started the SEC schedule 2-1, with the only loss coming 4-3 against an experienced East Ridge team.
A week after losing its first game of the season, East Ridge bounced back with a 6-0 win Sept. 7 at Forest Lake. It was the first game in Suburban East Conference play this season. The Raptors now hold an overall record of 4-1. Woodbury defeats Bloomington Jefferson The Woodbury boys' soccer team is 2-0 on the season heading into its first scheduled SEC game Tuesday, Sept. 12, against East Ridge. The Royals defeated Bloomington Jefferson 2-1 behind two goals from Jack Hays. Park falls to state-ranked Stillwater