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 Park softball team lost three games last week, but closed things out a the right note with a 4-3 extra-inning win over Suburban East Conference foe Cretin-Derham Hall at Charlie Whitbred Field in Cottage Grove on Saturday, April 26. Park sophomore catcher Autumn Mortenson provided the game-winner against Cretin-Derham Hall as the Raiders’ shortstop dropped a pop fly in the bottom of the eighth inning, which allowed pinch runner Meghan Kuemmel to score from third base and end the game. Park head coach Bob Loshek said he believed the game would end with Mort
East Ridge High School has hired University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Famer Dean Talafous as the new head coach of its girls hockey program.
Playing lacrosse at East Ridge has become a family affair. Ten sets of siblings are part of the girls lacrosse program at East Ridge High School this season. Jane and Margaret Ahmann, Michelle and Rebecca Bailey, Bridget and Elizabeth Bregel, Anika and Ella Frazer, Jenna and Kayla Griffith, Veronica and Victoria Gruett, Jessica and Samantha Hammer, Chloe and Grace Heiting and Alyssa and Maria Wallace all play for the Raptors.
Van Horn scholarship benefit May 4 The Park High School wrestling team and the family of former Park wrestler and coach Matt Van Horn will be holding a benefit in honor of Matt on Sunday, May 4, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Red Barn in Cottage Grove. In October 2013, Matt was hit by a car and died at the age of 24. The benefit will help establish a scholarship fund in Matt’s honor for the Park wrestling team. The benefit will include a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, bake sale, raffle and bean bag tournament. Cost is $10, raffle tickets are extra.
There were some ups and downs for the Park softball team last week. Park beat Suburban East Conference foe Stillwater 9-8 on the road on Monday, April 14, before losing 13-3 to SEC-leading Hastings in its home opener on Friday, April 18, at Charlie Whitbred Field in Cottage Grove. In the win over Stillwater, even though the wind chill factor read 18 degrees, the Wolfpack (2-1; 2-1 SEC) bats got off to a hot start by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
The East Ridge boys tennis team picked up two more wins last week to improve to 4-0 on the season. East Ridge beat Suburban East Conference foes Roseville and Stillwater, only dropping two sets in the process, to stay unbeaten on the year. East Ridge is now 3-0 in conference play and has won its four matches a combined 27-1. East Ridge head coach Suzie Heideman said having all 15 players on varsity pushing each other has helped lead to the Raptors’ early season success. “Every player has played a counting position and we’re only four matches in,” Heideman said.
A year removed from playing for a section championship, the East Ridge softball team has stumbled out of the gates this season. With three losses last week, East Ridge fell to 1-5 to open the 2014 season and is 0-5 in Suburban East Conference play. East Ridge fell 8-0 to Forest Lake on Monday, April 14, lost 4-1 to Hastings on Tuesday, April 15, and lost 8-6 to Cretin-Derham Hall on Thursday, April 17. Offensive and defensive struggles hurt the Raptors last week. In the loss to Forest Lake, East Ridge totaled just four hits against Rangers’ starter Rachael Harrington.
The East Ridge girls golf team opened up Suburban East Conference play with a first-place finish. The Raptors won the first SEC match of the 2014 season with a 180 at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater on Monday, April 14. Forest Lake and Stillwater tied for second with matching 183 scores. East Ridge senior Danielle Mischke had the low score of the day for East Ridge, shooting a 42. Also, senior Andriel Aimua carded a 44, senior Molly Richardson shot a 46 and senior Taylor Anderson shot a 48 to round out the Raptors’ top four.
The East Ridge girls lacrosse team erupted for 16 goals in a season-opening victory over Section 4 foe Mahtomedi on Thursday, April 17, at East Ridge High School. The Raptors (1-0) won 16-9 over the Zephyrs (0-1). East Ridge senior attacker Jenna Griffith led the Raptors’ offense with six goals, while her twin sister, Kayla Griffith added four goals. Jenna Griffith scored East Ridge’s first three goals, giving the Raptors a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Park boys and girls track and field teams hosted the four-team Park Quad on April 15 at Park High School in Cottage Grove. At the meet, which also included Hastings, Tartan and Hudson, Wis., the Park girls took second place and the Wolfpack boys took third. The Park girls totaled 68.5 points to finish back of Hudson (98.5) and the Park boys had 38 points. Hudson won the boys meet, too, with 126.99 points. “Everyone I thought had a really good day,” Park head girls track coach Matt Maher said.