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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The East Ridge girls track and field team took fourth place in the annual Suburban East Conference Relay meet last Tuesday at Roseville High School. In the meet, which is run with all relays or by adding the top four athletes’ finishes together, East Ridge got first-place finishes in the 300-meter hurdle relay, the 800-meter relay and the long jump to help total 119.5 points for fourth place. Mounds View won the meet with 145 points.
The New Life Academy boys track and field team took fifth place and the Eagles girls placed sixth in the nine-team Cannon Falls Invitational on Saturday, April 12, at Cannon Falls High School. The New Life boys scored 39 points in the meet. The Eagles girls scored 25 points. West Lutheran won the boys side of the meet with 195 points. Belle Plaine-Holy Family won the girls meet with 255 points. New Life Academy senior Sam Hagen led the Eagles’ boys, winning the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 4.61 seconds.
The Math and Science Academy girls track and field team took fifth place and the Dragons boys placed seventh in the nine-team Cannon Falls Invitational on Saturday, April 12, at Cannon Falls High School. The MSA girls scored 47 points in the meet. The Dragons boys scored 27 points. West Lutheran won the boys side of the meet with 195 points. Belle Plaine-Holy Family won the girls meet with 255 points. The Math and Science girls proved to be strong in the distance events.
East Metro Rugby Club forming teams for spring The East Metro Rugby Club in the South Washington County School District is forming a boys and a girls team this spring. Rugby will be added to the 2016 Olympics schedule and is a true blend of strength, finesse, speed, and stamina. The ball is advanced by carrying as in football but only lateral passes allowed or can be kicked forward at any time with teams of 15 per side and 7 subs per match. Tackling results in possession turnover however no blocking is allowed.
University of Minnesota freshman Nate Roese , a 2013 East Ridge High School grad, helped the Gophers men’s track and field 1600-meter relay team take second place at the Baldy Castillo Invitational at Arizona’s State’s Sun Angel Stadium to open the outdoor season. The team of Roese, Jacob Capek, Goaner Deng and Bradley Johnson finished second in 3:11.70 – just behind Long Beach State at 3:11.63.
The East Ridge boys and girls track and field teams started their season indoors at the All-American Invitational at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on March 29 — and the Raptors already appeared to be in mid-season form. The East Ridge girls team won the 16-team meet, while the Raptors boys placed fifth. Led by first-place finishes by Sandra Gramer and Brenley Goertzen, the East Ridge girls totaled 88 points to top second-place Anoka, which scored 73.50 points. The East Ridge boys scored 55 points.
Despite some blowback, the Minnesota State High School League will be moving forward in its district scheduling plan for the 2015 season. Back in January, the MSHSL approved to arrange Minnesota high school football teams into “districts” with the hope teams will play more schools with similar enrollments and in a closer vicinity to each other. All the details of the plan still need to be worked out.
In Greek mythology, among other things, Athena is the goddess of heroic endeavor. This week, East Ridge’s Jamie Swanson, Park’s Anna Keys, New Life Academy’s Chloe Westlund and Woodbury’s Kristina Swanson will be honored for their heroic endeavors on and off the field. The four local seniors each were awarded with their school’s Athena Award. Now in its 20th year, the Athena Award is given annually to one outstanding female athlete in the senior class.
The South Washington County Thunderbolts adapted softball team has reached the state tournament the past two years. This season, the ‘Bolts hope to make it three in a row. The Thunderbolts, led by head coach John Culbertson, finished in fourth place in the state in 2012 and earned the consolation championship title last season. Culbertson is in his second year as head coach of the Thunderbolts after being an assistant coach for the past 10 years under Denny Larson.
Under the guidance of second-year head coach Dave Darr, the New Life Academy baseball team returns all but one player from last year’s squad, which went 14-6 overall and had a nice playoff run. “We hit well, and I think we will continue to do so,” Darr said. “We have some pitching depth, provided everyone stays healthy.