New East Ridge gymnastics head coach Caroline Urgo has inherited a situation made in most coaches' dreams. The Raptors are loaded, again, with eight of the top nine returning from the team which won the Class 2A, Section 3 title and placed seventh in the state last season. It was the second straight top-seven finish at state for the East Ridge team, which finished third two seasons ago under the leadership of all-around stars Megan Trollen and Wren Anderson. The Raptors have their sights set on more section and state honors this time around.
It will be a mixture of veterans and newcomers for the Park gymnastics team this season. Seven gymnasts are back for the Wolfpack and will be joined by five newcomers. Returning to the Wolfpack are veteran seniors Alena Abrahamson, Sydne Blahnik, juniors Mandy Hafner and Genny Tester, and sophomore Rachel Williamson. "Hopefully we'll be stronger than we were last year," Park head coach Ali Flaata said. "That's what I'm anticipating. But you never know based on the other teams that we're competing against."
Down 20-12 at the half, the Park Wolfpack flipped the switch in the second half and took home a 43-35 win over host Eagan in the season opener Tuesday. Senior post player Delaney Young scored 14 points and senior guard Taylor Johnson added 10 — all after intermission — to key the Park offense.
Lakeville South had a little too much of everything for the host East Ridge in a 62-33 girls' basketball decision Friday. The Cougars slapped a full-court press on the inexperienced Raptors, which created a score of turnovers and led to easy baskets for the visitors. Even when the Raptors got the ball in the half court, the defensive-minded Cougars mostly forced bad shots.
A wounded Park team battled gamely, but couldn't survive in overtime in a 13-7 season-ending loss to St. Thomas Academy Saturday. Park lost star senior quarterback Grant Glaziers to injuries most of the game, and despite a heroic effort to send the game into overtime, their tank finally ran dry. St. Thomas Academy broke a scoreless tie on fourth-and-three from the 25-yard line when quarterback Will Herzog passed to Andrew Johnson with 7:40 to play in the fourth quarter.
Park overcame a rash of fumbles, injuries and generally sloppy play to post a 24-6 win over host Simley Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the regular season finale. Park senior quarterback Grant Glazier was knocked out of the game early and massive senior lineman Jericho Shamberger late. "Jericho's got a bad ankle, a bad ankle sprain that got rolled up," Park coach Darin Glazer said. "Grant's got a couple sprained shoulders. He was fighting with his right shoulder last week and now his throwing shoulder tonight. So, we need a bye week."
Class 3A's 10th-ranked East Ridge volleyball team recorded its fifth-straight win Tuesday, Sept. 26, with a sweep of visiting Park. The Raptors won 25-9, 25-6 and 25-9. "They just have a level of comfortability with each other," Park head coach Damon Liberatore said. "They pass the ball well. They play great defense. I thought both teams played great defense. They just have some real nice offensive threats that they were able to use. It's a war of attrition at that point. They're digging; we're digging. But their hitters are a little bit more seasoned than we are."
Park senior quarterback Grant Glazier ran for two touchdowns and passed for another the Wolfpack rolled visiting Henry Sibley 49-14 on a happy Homecoming evening Friday. Glazier ran for scores of scores of 15 and 6 yards in the second quarter as Park built a commanding 28-0 halftime lead. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Edmond Nkwain scored the game’s first touchdown, catching a 53-yard pass from Glazier for a 7-0 Park lead midway through the first quarter.
All those early games against top-10 opponents are starting to pay off for the East Ridge Raptors. East Ridge and Mounds View came into Tuesday's game with similar records, but the Raptors easily dominated the visiting Mustangs, sweeping three games. East Ridge won 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16. The Raptors jumped out to big leads in games one and two, took their feet off the pedal a bit, but still were able to close out the wins.
Last week it was defensive problems which plagued Academy Force in a loss to St. Paul Johnson. Friday night it was the offense that wasn’t working for the Force in a 40-0 loss to a good Mound-Westonka team in a game played at Woodbury High School.