Going for third-place in their own tournament, the Royals got a painful lesson in the every-point-counts school of wrestling. Woodbury led Lakeville North 23-18 after the 145-pound match and 29-24 after the 182-pound match, but couldn’t hold on, losing in excruciating fashion, 36-35. Each of the eight teams wrestled three times in the dual meet tournament. Woodbury pinned Benilde-St. Margaret 59-12 in the tournament opener, then dropped a 50-21 decision to seventh-ranked Anoka in the semifinals.
Senior guard Sid Tomes teased the home-standing East Ridge crowd Dec. 12, coming ever so close to knocking down enough points to set the Raptors all-time scoring record. Tomes’s magic number was 27 – that the number that will make him the all-time leading scorer in East Ridge boys basketball history. Tomes scored 23, but said he didn’t regret not setting the scoring record in a 76-45 win over visiting Park. Tomes was fairly quiet in the first half, scoring just eight points.
Led by three wins in nine events, the East Ridge Raptors kicked off the boys swimming season with a splash in the Suburban East Conference boys swimming relays Dec. 11 at Stillwater. East Ridge won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:29.09, finished first in the 850-yard free crescendo relay in 8:03.77 and took the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:16.71. Park and Woodbury swimmers also fared well in the nine-team meet.
Something obviously had to give when winless East Ridge met winless Park in boys hockey Dec. 6 in an early season bout at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. What gave was East Ridge’s season-opening four-game long scoring drought. The Raptors came into Saturday’s contest having scored just four goals in four games. That all changed in a big way as the Raptors got out fast and sharp with a 3-0 lead after one period and went on to skate past Park 6-0. The Raptors outshot Park 54-13 in the contest. East Ridge improved to 1-4 on the season and to 1-1 in the Suburban East.
East Ridge head coach Paul Virgin thought the defense and rebounding weren’t all they could be – but he couldn’t quibble with the offense Dec. 5. The Raptors started hot and rolled steady in an 89-60 non-conference win over visiting Bloomington Kennedy. Standout senior guard Sid Tomes led the way for the Raptors with 25 points, and he had lots of help. Junior forward Seth Green and senior guard Colin Masgai scored 14 each and junior reserve center Kyle Junker added eight. Offense wasn’t a problem for the Raptors.
Woodbury’s wrestling season opened with a bang Dec.
A young East Ridge squad took the floor for the first time this season and showed its youth – in a very good way. Sophomores Mariah Sexe, Noelle Tomes and Emma Stoehr scored 46 of East Ridge’s 57 points in a hard-fought 57-53 win over visiting Apple Valley Dec. 2. In a tight contest where the biggest lead was seven points by East Ridge, the Raptors made a series of clutch plays down the stretch to earn the win. Leading 53-50 with less than a minute to play, the Raptors forced Apple Valley into a tough inside shot and sophomore center Sexe grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
Woodbury battled back from a 3-0 second-period deficit, only to fall 5-4 in overtime to visiting Chanhassen Nov. 28. Woodbury tied the game at 3-all early in the third period and then took a 4-3 lead on Jared Markeson’s second straight goal with 10:40 to play. The Royals were skating and scoring well and looked like they had all of the momentum.
This is a building year for East Ridge wrestling as new coach Matt Everson takes over at ground zero. “We’re building a program,” Everson said. “What’s in the wins and loss column isn’t what matters at the end of this year. It’s getting the kids excited and getting the buzz around about the good things we’re doing here at East Ridge High School in terms of the wrestling program and helping kids get to their individual goals.” A native of Mitchell, S.D., Everson was a four-time state place-winner and lost just nine matches in four years.
A Woodbury team comprised in large part of younger players mostly took its lumps last season, but skate into the 2014-15 season with hopes brighter days—and more goals — are ahead. Woodbury lost just six seniors off last year’s squad that went 7-19-1 overall and just 1-16-1 in conference play. And while the Royals are still young in spots this season, they also return a number of players who gained significant ice time the last few seasons. “They’ve been some of the key players for the last two or three years,” Royals head coach Chris Lepper said.