Relay teams provided a couple of bright spots for New Life Academy in the Class 1A, Section 4 True Team meet May 9 at Maple Lake. The Eagles boys and girls have small track and field teams this year with 24 athletes overall — eight girls and 16 boys. Eagles coach Kristen Hawkins said they're a "really close-knit team." "I think it makes a big difference in our relays because doing it for each other, I think, gives them all an extra motivation," Hawkins said.
Getting out-hit slightly didn't stop New Life Academy in a 13-5 conference softball win over PACT Charter on Friday, May 12, in Ramsey. The Eagles (8-8, 5-5 Minnesota Christian Athletic Association) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and tacked another on in the second for a 6-0 advantage. PACT responded with three runs in the bottom of the second and one in the third to close the gap to 6-4.
After cruising past a couple more conference opponents last week, New Life Academy faced the reality of postseason baseball competition in a loss to Caledonia. While the Eagles play Class A schools in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, the team competes in Class AA for the postseason. Caledonia, ranked No. 11 in Class 2A, handed the Eagles a 12-1 loss in five innings May 6 at Rochester's Mayo Field, home to the minor league Rochester Honkers.
East Ridge's up and down season took a turn for the better in early May. The Raptors (7-6, 5-6) won three straight softball games May 3-5 over Suburban East Conference opponents Roseville, Stillwater and Mounds View. In that stretch, the Raptors outscored them 20-6. It started with the Raptors bouncing back from a 3-2 loss May 2 at White Bear Lake to beat Roseville 10-2 on May 3. The Raptors then won a tight contest with Stillwater 3-2 on May 4 followed by a 7-1 win over Mounds View on May 5.
With three returning golfers, New Life Academy will look for steady improvement coming off a last-place season in its conference. Only sophomore Claire Wallerick lettered last season among the veteran Eagles golfers. Senior Lailah Kuhne and sophomore Anna Bettmann both competed in just one varsity meet last spring.
New Life Academy won't rest on its laurels after achieving its winningest regular season under boys' basketball head coach Doug Linton. A win Tuesday, Feb. 28, over Providence Academy 79-51 concluded a 23-3 regular season for the Eagles. It marked a program-high 23 regular season wins, one better than last year's 22-5 campaign. "It was pretty nice to see them get 23 wins this year," Linton said. "Hopefully, there will be a few more."
Carly Hager led New Life Academy with 17 points in a 56-39 win against St. Paul Academy to end the regular season. NLA also had Bethany Brocker in double figures with 15 points Saturday, Feb. 25, as the Eagles secured a No. 9 seed for the Class 2A, Section 4 tournament. The Eagles (11-15, 6-7 Minnesota Christian Athletic Association) are scheduled to open the 18-team tournament on the road at Trinity School at River Ridge (12-14, 5-8 MCAA) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Whoever wins will visit top-seeded Minnehaha Academy at 7 p.m. Saturday.
East Ridge kept gaining steam for a strong postseason with a 36-25 win against Chaska-Chanhassen. Despite a deadlock of seven individual match wins between the two teams, the Raptors found a way past the Stormhawks Thursday, Feb. 9. It came down to bonus points. "We fought and found ways to score bonus points and save bonus points," East Ridge coach Matt Everson said.
Goaltender Anna Julius picked up her first career varsity girls’ hockey win as Woodbury downed Rochester Mayo 5-2. Julius stopped 19 shots in net for the Royals as her team rebounded from an early first-period score by the Spartans on Thursday. Julius finished with a .905 save percentage. “It’s really nice to see the girls get a win for the effort that they’ve been putting in and how much they’ve improved,” Royals coach Chris Lepper said.
Not even a typically hostile environment can slow down New Life Academy in its unbeaten conference start. The Eagles made the trip west of the metro to Lester Prairie and beat Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity 62-36 on Jan. 17. The Bulldogs typically give road teams a hard time. “Historically it has been a tough place to play,” Eagles coach Doug Linton said. “It’s a long road trip, and you do on Tuesday night, the middle of your week. It’s never easy.”