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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Buoyed by an 11th place finish by senior Oliver Kennedy, the East Ridge boys alpine ski team finished in seventh place in its second-straight trip to the state meet. As a team, East Ridge scored 102 points to finish ahead of eighth-place Minnetonka (88 points), just three points behind sixth-place Chanhassen and 15 points back of fifth-place Edina.
Park bounced back from three-straight losses in a big way. The Wolfpack took down No. 5-ranked White Bear Lake 55-50 on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Cottage Grove. The victory came on the heels of Park’s first losing streak of the season. “Sometimes I think you have to lose some games to gain a little perspective,” Park head coach Stephanie Tolkinen said. “If losing those three games makes us a better team, you have to take it. It was kind of a wake-up call.” Park, currently third in the Suburban East Conference, moved up to No.
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.
Cottage Grove all-day Hockey Fest Everyone is invited to the Cottage Grove Hockey Association’s annual hockey fest, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena. Admission is free. Nordy, the Minnesota Wild mascot will greet visitors from noon to 1 p.m. Activities will include Mite hockey games all day, a bounce house, Chuck-a-Puck, Zamboni rides, games, free face painting, vendors, food and a silent auction. East Ridge Athletic Association general membership meeting Feb.
The East Ridge competitive cheer team competed at the state competition this past weekend in St. Paul. The East Ridge varsity squad won first place in its division and earned the Grand Champion award, winning over all 32 varsity squads from across the state that competed. The East Ridge JV was awarded second in their division. The culmination of their season is this weekend when both squads earned bids to compete at the UCA National Competition in Orlando, Fla.
The East Ridge girls basketball team climbed to fifth in the Suburban East Conference standings with three wins last week. The Raptors (15-4; 8-4 SEC) beat Roseville and rival Woodbury in two SEC games, before taking down Farmington in non-conference play last week. East Ridge beat Roseville 63-54 on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at home, then won 45-25 at Woodbury on Friday and 60-49 over Farmington back at home on Saturday. East Ridge is currently on a five-game winning streak. The Raptors outscored Roseville (16-4; 8-4 SEC) by eight points in the second half to earn the nine-point win.
The Park boys basketball team played White Bear Lake tough before being roughed up by Cretin-Hall in a pair of Suburban East Conference games last week. Park (3-18; 0-14 SEC) fell 65-46 to White Bear Lake on Monday, Feb. 3 and lost 83-36 to Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday, Feb. 7. Both games were held at Park High School. White Bear Lake (10-12; 6-8 SEC) took a 37-26 lead at the half against the Wolfpack then outscored Park 28-20 in the second half to earn the win. Twelve different players scored for Park in the defeat. However, no one hit double figures.
Though it gave No. 4-ranked White Bear Lake one of their best tests of the season, the Park girls basketball team finds itself in the midst of its first losing streak of the year. On the heels of a 4-point Suburban East Conference loss to Roseville, Park - ranked ninth in Class AAA - fell 53-49 at White Bear Lake on Thursday, Feb. 6. The Wolfpack (13-6; 9-3 SEC) then were upset 45-42 by Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul on Friday, Feb. 7. In the loss to White Bear Lake, Park outscored the Bears 33-29 in the second half, but a 5-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome.
Park senior wrestler Cody Linssen recorded his 100th win as the Wolfpack went 2-0 in a home triangular on Friday, Feb. 7. Linssen, who is ranked third at 220 pounds in Class AAA, earned a pin of his opponent from Wayzata in 1 minute 1 second. Also earning wins by pin in the match were Collin LaBrosse at 120 pounds, Austin Thurmes at 126 pounds, David Giadyu at 145 pounds, Jake Lanik at 152 pounds, Cory Flaata at 160 pounds and Justin Sabin at 285 pounds.
Five members of the Wolfpack are ready to take it to the next level. Evan Bonneson, Sam Flack, Katelyn Floysand, Temi Ogunrinde and Alissa Troje all signed National Letters of Intent to play college sports in a ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Park High School. Three of the Park athletes chose to attend Southwest Minnesota State University next year.