by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
The countdown to 2013-14 high school sports seasons started Monday as athletes from Elk River, Rogers, Zimmerman, Spectrum and the rest of Minnesota began practices for games that start as early as next week.
With most fall sports played outside, the athletes breathed a sigh of relief in one respect, as the elements were mid-70’s with gentle breezes, rather than the oppressive 90-degree days that often greet them.
“Can’t beat the weather,” commented Chris Miller, Rogers boys soccer coach, watching his charges bolt around the field with a minimum of sweat. “They say it’ll be hot again next week, though.”
The first District 728 team in action will be Rogers girls tennis with a dual at Coon Rapids on Tuesday and a four-team tourney at Litchfield on Wednesday. Elk River tennis starts Saturday, Aug. 24, at Minnetonka.
Soccer starts Thursday with Elk River hosting Buffalo in a girl-boy doubleheader while Rogers boys play at Andover. Starting Friday are Zimmerman girls hosting Becker and Rogers girls hosting Osseo. Spectrum girls start Aug. 27 host Metro United.
In football, Elk River has a rather high profile opener, traveling to Eden Prairie to take on the eight-time state champion juggernaut on Thursday, Aug. 29. Rogers will open at North Branch the same day. Also on the road for grid openers on Aug. 30 are Zimmerman, at Fridley, and Spectrum, at St. Paul Academy.
Zimmerman has an early volleyball opener on Thursday hosting Princeton. Elk River and Rogers volleyball will lift the lid against each other at ERHS on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Spectrum hosts Columbia Heights on Aug. 26.
Rogers cross country starts Friday at Champlin Park. Zimmerman starts Aug. 29 at Princeton. Elk River starts Sept. 4 at Hopkins. The Elk swimmers are the last to start, hosting Blaine on Sept. 3.
Elk River has three new head coaches this fall — Theresa Brummer in volleyball and Elk alums Aaron Lindquist in boys soccer and Luke Johnson in girls swimming.
Also new at the helm are Chad Kreuser with Rogers cross country, Cassandra Olson with Zimmerman volleyball and Seth Mills with Spectrum football. Kreuser was the Royal soccer team’s assistant for several years.