College athletes: Ex-Elk 1-2 punch Jesperson, Brown start strong in college tennis

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Katie Jesperson and Cassandra Brown, who graduated last year one-two in career wins in Elk tennis history, are off to good starts in their collegiate careers.

Jesperson, who placed third in the state her senior year, is playing No. 2 singles for Augustana as a freshman and has a 16-1 record. She’s also 11-5 in doubles with Brittany Gaster, the senior who plays 1-singles. The Vikings are 8-2.

Brown is playing No. 1 singles for St. Cloud State with an 8-7 record. She’s also 9-5 at No. 1 doubles with Katie Kotschevar of Monticello. The Huskies have a 13-3 record. This is Brown’s first experience as a No. 1, having played behind Jesperson at ERHS.

Matt Clauer, junior from Elk River on the Minnesota Gopher track team, placed eighth in the Big 10 indoor meet with 6-8 1/4, helping the Gophers win the championship, Feb. 26-27 at Illinois. Clauer made a career-best 6-10 3/4 at Iowa State on Jan. 29.

Heather Brunn, junior from Rogers on the Minnesota women’s track team, posted her indoor season-best of 2:14.77 in the 800  on Feb. 12, placing 13th in a meet at Iowa State.


Jena Jondahl, Winona State freshman gymnast from Elk River, won vault the WIAC/West Regionals meet. with 9.625, and is one of five members of her team headed for nationals March 25-26 at Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Brittany DeZiel, UW-Stout freshman gymnast from Spectrum High and Rogers, led the team with 37.075 as they placed third in the WIAC/West Regional to qualify for nationals.

Jeff Nielsen, freshman from Zimmerman on the Augustana wrestling team, red-shirted this year but competed in five tournaments unattached and had a 15-13 record at 197 pounds.

Michael Jenson, freshman guard from Zimmerman on the St. Olaf basketball team, averaged 3.9 points off the bench, including 31-for-81 on 3-pointers (.383). The Oles were 17-9.

Lexi Yeado and Joe Yeado, siblings who played tennis for Elk River, are both playing for Dallas Baptist in Texas. Both are juniors.

Ally Brandell, junior from Elk River, is 10-4 at No. 6 singles for the St. Benedict’s tennis team.

Dannie Skrove, junior from Zimmerman on the Gopher softball team, is batting .202 with two homers and nine RBI in 53 games. The former Elk River shortstop was moved to second base at the U this season after two years in center field. The Gophers are 16-37.

Ellie Vondenkamp, who helped the Elk River Dance Team reach state four times,  was a member of the dance team at University of Missouri this year as a freshman


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