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The East Ridge boys' soccer team got some early attention from coaches around the state when it was ranked fourth in the Class 2A preseason rankings. But despite the Raptors' standing in the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaching Association's preseason poll, head coach Anthony Bidwell said they have not focused too much on what people are saying. "The rankings don't really matter to us," Bidwell said.
The East Ridge cross-country teams likely will not have any problem with depth this season. Between the boys' and girls' teams, head coach Chad Cronin said the Raptors cross-country program has more than 100 runners out for the team this fall. "Our purpose on this team is to strive for excellence in all that we do," Cronin said. "In the short time since the start of the season, we can tell these student athletes have already caught that spirit. It's going to be an amazing fall of running and representing East Ridge."
The Park girls' soccer team might spend some extra time working on its goal scoring early this season. The Wolfpack have started the season with two 1-0 road wins against Kasson-Mantorville and Apple Valley. Mandy Elton scored Park's lone goal at Kasson-Mantorville on Thursday, Aug. 24, and Taylor Johnson scored in the Saturday, Aug. 27, victory at Apple Valley. "We had a lot of shots on goal in the opening game," co-head coach Stacy Paleen said. "Only one went in, so that is going to be kind of a focus for us. But we're pretty happy with how we've played."
The Woodbury girls' soccer team won its first game of the season on Thursday, Aug. 31, after starting the season with two losses up north. Kaitlyn Bieszk scored the lone goal for the Royals in a 1-0 victory over Eastview in the team's home opener. The Royalswere 1-2 on the season after losing twice in the Great Northern Shootout tournament in Duluth. Woodbury was scheduled to play two nonconference games next week on the road at Hill-Murray on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and home against Mahtomedi on Thursday, Sept. 7. Park
The Woodbury football team knew there would be some challenges on Friday, Sept. 1 with an offense that returns just two starters from last season. Yes, the Royals made some mistakes. But the offense also had a potential game winning drive as they pushed into Farmington territory with less than one minute left in the fourth quarter.
When a large class of talented seniors graduates, high school football teams do not always know what a new group of incoming players will bring the following fall. During East Ridge's season opener on Thursday, Aug. 31, the Raptors showed the signs of inexperience in a 34-13 loss to Champlin Park. Three turnovers inside Rebels territory stalled offensive drives, and other mistakes helped widen the margin. "They are really good, and we're young, but we moved the ball," head coach Dan Fritze said about the offense. "We turned the ball over three times going in to score."
The Woodbury football team is hoping an attitude change will help its performance on the field this season. The Royals showed flashes of reaching their full potential last season, including a victory over crosstown rival East Ridge in the regular season finale and a midseason three-game winning streak. But with four seniors on the roster who are now playing for Division I football teams, the Royals felt they did not fully utilize their talent level in a 4-5 season that ended in the first round of the Class 6A football tournament.
The Woodbury girls' cross-country team should have an opportunity to move up in the conference and section standings this season. This is what head coach Mark Andrews is looking forward to after having just one regular varsity starter graduate from last season. Maggie Wilson graduated, but the rest of the team's varsity regulars are returning. Among those runners is Tiffany Holiday, who as a freshman last season qualified as an individual for the Class 2A state meet.
New Woodbury head coach Liz Rodgers-Horan grew up in the pool with the Royals girls' swimming and diving team. Rodgers-Horan swam on the team from seventh grade until her graduation from the high school in 1999. The career included the 1993-94 season when the Royals won a state championship. Now she is back at the helm of the program. "I loved the program, I loved all the girls that I still have lifelong friendships with," Rodgers-Horan said.
The roster might not be the ideal size, but the Park girls' tennis team is aiming for a more competitive season with more experience back this fall. Park coach Cris Glade spent last season working on fundamentals with some of the team's inexperienced tennis players. Now, most of the team's 20 players now have experience playing competitive tennis. Among the team's graduates from last year were top singles players Mary Corderio and Maddie Reckinger.