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PJ's Perspective: Robinette shines at Eau Claire, Rick Light retiring, and more

East Ridge graduate Leah Robinette helped the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire women’s gymnastics team finish in second place at the John Zuerlein Invitational at UW-Stout recently and earned UW-Eau Claire athlete of the week honors for Feb. 3-9. UW-Stout won the meet with a score of 183.550 while the Blugolds took second with 178.975 points. Hamline University (Minn.) finished in third place with 177.675 points. Robinette, a sophomore, was one of two Blugolds to win an event, taking first in the uneven bars with a score of 9.350. She also recorded a career-high on the vault to take 12th with a 9.050. Robinette, a 2012 grad, was a high school state champion in the vault as a senior.

Longtime Woodbury High School diving coach Rick Light will be retiring at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Brie Yaritz of Woodbury and the St. Cloud University dance team performed at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship Jan. 17-20 in Orlando, Fla. The team placed fourth in the Open Pom category and seventh in the Open Jazz category. This year, the team consists of about 23 dancers who perform at multiple local shows, campus sporting events, and the UDA National Cheer and Dance Championship. The team performs both jazz and pom routines.

St. Catherine University sophomore soccer player Meghan Reilly of Woodbury was one of the school’s 16 student-athletes from three sports to earn Fall 2013 Academic All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) honors. Each winter, the MIAC honors outstanding fall season student-athletes for their participation in varsity athletics while also achieving at the highest level academically with Academic all-Conference honors. Academically, student-athletes must be a sophomore, junior, or senior with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale to qualify for MIAC Academic All-Conference recognition. Athletically, student-athletes in team sports must compete in 50 percent of their team’s regular-season varsity contests.

Bemidji State senior outfielder Nicole Dupay of Woodbury was picked at the team’s player to watch in the 2014 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bemidji State softball team was pegged 15th in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers received 35 points in the poll after the 2013 squad finished with an 8-39 overall and 2-28 NSIC record to rank 15th in the final conference standings. The defending NSIC Regular Season Co-Champions and NSIC Tournament Champions of Minnesota State University, Mankato along with Winona State University were the top picks in the poll. Dupay, a Woodbury High School grad, started all 47 games for the Beavers in 2013. She led the team with a batting average with a .326 mark, runs scored with 29, hits with 47 and home runs with five. The five homeruns tied her for third with most homeruns in a season in BSU history. The softball team begins competition Feb. 25-26.

Dave Fritze, a current East Ridge assistant football coach and longtime head coach at Eagan, was one of seven 2014 inductees to the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Hall of Fame. The 2014 inductees will be formally enshrined in the MFCA Hall of Fame at the 50th Annual Football Hall of Fame Banquet on March 29 at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis. Fritze joins an esteemed list of coaches including: Jon Bakken of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, Mike Grant of Forest Lake and Eden Prairie, Tom Idstrom of Anoka and Irondale, Dave Nelson of Blaine and Minnetonka, Larry Thompson of Lakeville and Lakeville South and Marc Trestman of the Chicago Bears. Fritze has been a high school football coach in Minnesota for 30 years, including 16 as head coach at Eagan and 14 as an assistant at Apple Valley and East Ridge. He has also been a member of the MFCA Executive Committee for 14 years and been a director of the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game for 19 years.

Woodbury graduate and current Carleton College senior volleyball player Rachel Johnson, has been awarded Academic All-Conference honors for fall 2013. Johnson is among 29 Knights who earned Academic All-Conference honors. Carleton is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and NCAA Division III. To earn Academic All-Conference honors, MIAC student-athletes must be a sophomore, junior or senior with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale while also meeting sport-specific athletic requirements, making the award a perfect blend of the balanced excellence championed by the MIAC and NCAA Division III. Athletically, student-athletes in team sports must compete in 50 percent of their team’s regular-season varsity contests. The team sports eligible were football, volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer.

New Life Academy graduate and University of Northwestern senior soccer player Sarah Stenson earned Upper Midwest Athletic Conference fall academic all-conference honors. To earn the honor student-athletes must earn a 3.5 or better grade point aveage (GPA) in their respective semester of competition.

Patrick Johnson
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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