Season previews for Elk River baseball, softball, tennis, girls lacrosse, and girls track
Elk River baseball
Elk baseball coach Barry Hohlen anticipates solid defense and a much-improved offense this year. As for pitching: “We only return one of last year’s primary pitchers and we have several strong but unproven candidates vying to step up and fill those needs.” The Elks had just one win last year. Returning starters are Aaron Pipenhagen (sr P-1B), Corey Collins (jr SS-OF), Matt Williams (sr OF), Tucker Morrell (jr SS-P), Sam Krick (jr OF), Brandon Meyer (fr SS-P), Logan Paige (jr 3B-C-P), and Brady Givens (so IF-OF-P)
Elk River tennis
The Elks return seven starters and two other letterman from a conference and section champion team, including eighth-graders Sam and Josh Gearou, who were the top two singles players and went to state in doubles. Captains are senior Zak Steichen, and juniors Mitchel Brandell and Ryan Ness. Also back are Josh Chuba, Dylan Berger, Nathan Chanthamontry and Steve Delain. Jesse Bragg, who moved in from North Carolina, has a shot at varsity along with Logann Burns, Joe Wetherille, Levi Howse and Matt Jesperson. “Elk boys tennis looks to be strong,” said coach Randy Ronning. “There has been a lot of off-season skills development and they look good in the first weeks of practice.” He regards Coon Rapids and Centennial as top challengers in conference.
Elk River track, girls
The Elks are coming off their best season in years as they won conference and went to true-team state. Coach Russ Gnan said the Elks remain strong in sprints, hurdles and field events. Some “big hitters” graduated and main concerns are depth and middle distance. Captains are Dani Esperum, Kelly Edwards, Layni Bednarz, Kelli Loberg and Jane Kallemeyn.
Returning starters – Hurdles: Jordyn Sohns (10), Lindsey Lowe(10) … Sprinters: Dani Detloff (11), Kelly Edwards (11), Logan Daulton (9), Josie Brown (11), Dani Esperum (12), Abby McDonald (10) … Distance: Jane Kallemeyn (12), Anna Haugen (10), Erin Ness (9), Marin Olson (12), Samantha Hendricks (8) … Throws: Nicole Thorndal (12), Samantha Nugent (12), Allison Tacheny (12), Molli Detloff (9) … Jumpers: Morgan Carpenter (11), Kelli Loberg (12) Lindsay Madden (11), Layni Bednarz (12), Alana Embury (11), Laura Crepeau (11)
Also in the mix – Other reteurning letterwinners: Mollie McLain (11) sprints, Candace Nemes (12) distance … Showing promise: Rachel Ness (7), Taylor Odegard (8), Kara Ziemer (10), Brienna Dehkes (10), Chelsey Petrich (10), Cassie Petrich (11), Jenna Kivley (9)
Elk-Rogers-Zimm. lacrosse, girls
The Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman team has over 60 players and will field avarsity JV and a B team. All but three players are back from a team that went 7-3 in district to place fourth among 11 teams. “We have some very talented players,” said coach Jeannette Bankes. “Some players have chosen to play winter leagues and I am looking forward to seeing increased skill sets from players this year.” She adds: Due to this being a newer sport, all teams in the district are increasing in game knowledge and skills. We are in a highly competitive district.” Returning all-conference players are Morgan Pierson (attack wing) who had 34 goals, and Sam Geissler (goalie). Other top players include attackers Rebecca Leshovsky, Kayla Mills, Megan Orrock, and Mackenzie Perna and defenders Ashley Joel and Danielle Morgan.
Elk River softball
The Elks have seven starters back from a 10-11 team including senior captains Kayti Hanson (shortstop) and Kaitlyn Roche (outfield). “Good team chemistry, offense, and experience pitcher,” are the strengths, said coach Stacy Sheetz. Other starters back are Moriah Bruns (sr P), Jenna Germscheid (sr 2B), Bethani Athey (sr C-3B), Austyn Bees (so 2B) and Michaela Bruns (fr C-3B). Other letterwinners back are Dani Edwards (jr 3B), Kathi Opsahl (so OF), Courntey Jensen (fr P-1B). Challenging for playing time are Sidney Schwindel (so 1B), Alivia Lensing (fr OFo, Jessica Neuman (fr utility) and Ali Krohn (8th utility).
Editor’s note: All coaches were invited to submit previews. Not every one participated.