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They did it. The New Life Academy softball team tied a state record by reaching an eighth consecutive state tournament, beating Minneapolis Washburn 2-0 in the Section 4A Championship game on Tuesday, May 28, at Hamline University. "Last year wasn't really expected, but this year we set some goals and this was one of them," New Life head coach Mick Ramey said. "No. 8 was the goal." With the eight straight state appearances, New Life ties Winona Cotter for the most in the history of Minnesota high school softball.
East Ridge kept its season alive Monday with a 7-1 victory over Tartan in the consolation round of the Section 4AAA playoffs in North St. Paul. Josh Stuempert gave up three hits in a complete-game victory and did not allow a walk. Raptors senior Ryan Gregory had three hits and three RBI while sophomore Sam Cobbs had an RBI double. "It was a good day overall for us as team," East Ridge head coach Brian Sprout said. "I think we were ready to go right away at the start of the game.
Woodbury's season came to a screeching halt Thursday in a game where the eighth-seeded Royals had nearly as many errors as base hits in the first round of the Section 4AAA playoffs against ninth-seeded Roseville in Woodbury. The Royals committed six errors and finished with seven hits in an 8-2 loss to the Raiders (9-10) in the first round of the section playoffs, but even that figure doesn't account for several other mistakes that ultimately cost Woodbury from advancing.
The Woodbury girls golf team earned third place in the final Suburban East Conference standings. The Royals took fourth place at the SEC Championship Tournament on Thursday, May 23, at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater. East Ridge won this year's conference championship title, leapfrogging Forest Lake with a third-straight first-place finish. East Ridge and Forest Lake were the only two teams to win SEC tournaments this season. The Raptors finished with five first-place finishes on the season and 79 total points. Forest Lake won four matches and took second with 71 points.
The East Ridge boys tennis team did something it's never done before. The Raptors advanced five players -- two doubles teams and one singles player -- to the Section 3AAA individual quarterfinals. East Ridge junior singles player Zekeria Nigatu won both his matches in straight sets over Park and Rosemount in the first two rounds. Nigatu, the seventh seed, beat Park senior Charlie Link 6-1, 6-0 in the opener and Rosemount junior Sairam Sunkam 6-1, 6-2 in round two. He will now face the section's No.
A year ago, the East Ridge girls golf team finished second in the Suburban East Conference standings. The Raptors weren't about to come up just short again. East Ridge won this year's conference championship title, leapfrogging Forest Lake with a third-straight first-place finish at the SEC Championship Tournament on Thursday, May 23, at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater. "I don't know how they did it," East Ridge head coach Mark Retica said. "It's extremely satisfying. It's been such a challenging spring with the weather. It was fun. There was no shortage of smiles.
The New Life Academy softball team took one step closer to history. After an impressive run of resounding victories in its first three section tournament games, the Eagles are just one win away from reaching eight consecutive state tournaments, which would tie the state record. If it reached an eighth straight state tournament, New Life, which is ranked second in Class A, is 15-3 and was a perfect 8-0 in MCAA play, would tie Winona Cotter for the most consecutive state tournament appearances in state history.
The East Ridge softball team put itself in the driver's seat. The Raptors are two wins away from the state tournament after beating perennial power North St. Paul 3-1 in the third round of the Section 4AAA playoffs. East Ridge, the third seed in the section, opened up a 3-0 lead on second-seeded North St. Paul in the game, which took place at McKnight Fields in North St. Paul on Thursday, May 23, then held on for the win. East Ridge head coach Tom Nemo said the win over North St.
Prior to the season, the South Washington County Thunderbolts came up with the mantra "believe." Last week, the 'Bolts turned their conviction to reality when they beat White Bear Lake and qualified for the state tournament for the second time since 2007 and for the second year in a row. "No matter what happens we're going to stick together and believe in each other - that's been our motto this year," said John Culbertson, who is in his first year as head coach of the Thunderbolts, after being an assistant coach for the past 10 years under Denny Larson.
Last month, the community had the opportunity to hear a few of the many student success stories that are being acknowledged across the district. Our staff also has many reasons to be proud this time of the year. The stories of special staff come alive at our annual employee celebration in May. With hundreds in attendance, the event is the opportunity to recognize those retiring from the district, those with milestone years of service, and also our Education All Stars.