Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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In 2013, Elizabeth Koprucki finished at the top of the mountain. As a senior at East Ridge High School, Koprucki wrapped up a dominant alpine skiing career with her first state championship title. Koprucki won the championship in her fourth state meet appearance in February at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. “It’s really nice to go out my senior year with a win,” Koprucki said after the win.
In 2013 Woodbury’s Johnathan Osifuye leapt into the record books to become the Royals’ track teams first-ever individual state title winner. The 2013 graduate’s jump of 22 feet, 3 inches in the preliminaries of the long jump held up as the best jump of the day and crowned him as the state champion at last spring’s Class AA State Track and Field Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. “I never would have thought about this a couple of years ago,” Osifuye said after the meet.
The New Life Academy softball team continued to make history in 2013. New Life tied a state record by reaching an amazing eighth consecutive state tournament, beating Minneapolis Washburn 2-0 in the Section 4A Championship game in May. With the eight straight state appearances, New Life tied Winona Cotter for the most in Minnesota high school softball history. Head coach Mick Ramey, who joined the NLA softball team in 2003 and has been the head coach since 2006, has been around for each one. “We want to be humble about it,” Ramey said after the record-tying win.
East Ridge senior center J.C. Hassenauer became the talk of the town after committing to play college football for Alabama – arguably the nation’s top team over the past decade. Hassenauer, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound center, committed to play for the two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide the summer before his senior season. After being an undersized offensive lineman as a freshman Hassenauer worked his way to being ranked the No. 1 center prospect in the country and was the No.
In 2013, Kassey Kallman’s name was on nearly every list pertaining to women’s soccer honors. Most notably, Kallman, a Woodbury High School graduate and a senior at Florida State is one of 15 semifinalists from across the country for the Missouri Athletic Club’s (MAC) Hermann Trophy. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer – basically soccer’s Heisman Trophy – and is presented annually during a January banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St.
In 2013, Justin Herold-Plakut became the new No. 1. The Woodbury senior became the all-time leader in career victories Dec. 7 at the Lakeville North Panther Invite on his way to earning the 170-pound tournament title. Herold-Plakut, currently ranked No. 2 at 170 pounds, beat Lakeville South’s Mark Kennedy in the quarterfinals for his 176th career victory to break the previous school record. Herold-Plakut has gone to the state tournament for the past four years, beginning as an eighth-grader at 103 pounds.
In 2013 record books were re-written, milestones were set, streaks were broken and championships were won. Old coaches said goodbye, new coaches were brought in and some longtime leaders were honored. There was a litany of ups and downs, highs and lows and tears of joy and sadness shed throughout the year.
The Woodbury girls basketball team made quick work of Suburban East Conference foe Hastings on Friday, Dec. 20, in Woodbury, winning 66-26 to improve to 5-1 overall and remain unbeaten in conference play.
Forest Lake is regarded as one of the top teams in the Suburban East Conference this season. On Friday, Dec. 20, the East Ridge girls basketball team found out why.
East Ridge beat Forest Lake 69-46 in a Suburban East Conference game on Friday, Dec. 20, at East Ridge High School and is now riding a six-game win streak.