Coach — Tom Kish … Assistants Zach Eidelbes, Bob Freeh, Chris Riley, Mike Cross
Last year — 5-2 conference, 6-4 overall
Returning starters — Noah Lunning (sr RB-S), Andrew Nixon (jr RB), Cody Thompson (sr WR-S), Nick Hasslan (sr WR), Dustin Neseth (sr C), Eli Mullenbach (sr DL), Austin Tretbar (sr LB), Trent Milless (so CB), Craig Steiskal (sr CB), Alex McGregor (sr K)
Offensive candidates — Matthew Dorso (jr QB), Taylor Snow (so QB), Tretbar (FB), Hunter Smith (sr RB), Austin May (jr FB), Mack Riley (jr RB), Chase Rosby (so RB), Milless (RB), Lee Christopherson (sr T), Nate Wiley (jr T), Evan Langston (jr G), Trent Mitchell (jr T), Mitch Mossman (so G), Cameron Norenberg (so G)
Defensive candidates — Christopher (L), Wiley (L), Neseth (L), Norenberg (L), Ben Jensen (jr L), Tretbar (LB), Langston (LB), May (LB), Hasslan (LB), Smith (LB), Collin Lane (sr LB), Rosby (LB), Nixon (DB), Riley (DB), Pettitt (DB), Joe Loija (so DB)
Special teams — McGregor (PK, KO, P), Langston ( P), Thompson (snap), Neseth (snap), Pettitt (PR), Lunning (KR), Nixon (KR)
Captains — Lunning, Neseth, Mullenbach
Worth noting — Lunning had 384 yards rushing and 308 receiving, and 5 TD … McGregor has FG range over 50 yards, has battled hamstring injury … Neseth getting D-II attention as lineman, coach says.
Coach says — “We need an efficient offense that will protect the ball and make good drives. We need to get the ball in Lunning’s hands as much as possible. Our defense has to attack; we have kids who run well. Our special teams look excellent. We have a tough schedule, but we should be able to compete with everybody.”
Outlook — Thunder, hoping for third consecutive winning season, had all five all-conference picks last year graduate but still have some good athletes and leaders.
THUNDER CROSS COUNTRY
Coach — Mike Back
Last year — Girls 7th, boys 8th in conference
Returning starters (boys) — Chase Laxdal (so), Jordan Jeandron (so), Connor Gagne (so), Wyatt Sullivan (so)
Should help (boys) — Mitch Gagne (sr), Michael Hoheisel (so), Ben Rosenow (so), Jacob Gagne (8th), Jacob Hjulberg (8th), and Aaron Koch (8th)
Returning starters (girls) — Nikki Jurik (jr), Kelsey Forster (fr), Kelsie Tufto (fr), Makenna Upton (8th) … Should help — Summer Peoples (fr)
Captain — Jurik
Worth noting — Jurik is two-time all-conference … Boys lineup includes school track record-holders Jeandron (3200), C. Gagnon (1600) and M. Gagne (800).
Coach says — “I expect that Nikki will have another strong season, joined by Kelsey and Kelsie and a third freshman, Summer, first time in CC, who had very good track season. … Chase Laxdal has been steadily improving for two years. We have four very strong boys and need a fifth man to step up.”
THUNDER GIRLS SOCCER
Coach — Jeff Downing … Assistants Valene Downing, Rich Bond
Last year — 3-7 conference, 6-11 overall
Returning starters — Justine Charles (sr G), Jamie Pensinger (sr M), Anne Rademacher (sr M), Sam Kames (sr D), Brooke Salo (jr M), Cami Bond (jr F), Amanda Sahr (jr F), Molly Kieliszewski (so D), Morgan Ziebarth (so D), Sarah Neubauer (so D)
Other lettermen — Kaitlyn Mason (sr D), Raina Watson (sr D), Haley Artmann (jr M), Cassandra Carley (jr M), Camilla Johanson (jr M), Abbie Canton (jr G)
Should help — Maddie Jacobs (jr D)
Captains — Charles, Kames, Solo
Worth noting — Top scorers, both all-conference, return: Solo (11 goals), Pensinger (seven goals)
Coach says — “Great effort has gone into improving our ability to control the flow of the game over the past few seasons. This is the squad that could see this style of play bring great success. Our confidence with the ball is much improved, and that should allow for better decisions.”
Outlook — Veteran group has good chance to rise to the sunny side of .500.
Coach — Cassandra Olson … Assistants Emily Zahn (JV), Angie Elphick and Mackenzie Gangestad (9th)
Last year — 9-3 conference, 21-8 overall
Returning starters — Brooke Bochardt (sr MH), Gabby Antolak (sr MH)
Should also help — Rachel Hoheisel (sr OH), Catherine Lewandowski (sr OH), Olivia Zachar (sr D)
Captains — Borchardt, Ant-olak, Lewandowski
Worth noting — Borchardt set team records with 304 kills and 65 kill blocks last year.
New coach — Olson takes over after assisting Rita Belka, who got the program on its feet
Coach says — “We have a strong middle attack, but one of the biggest strengths this team has is their ability to communicate and work together. We lack experience, but this group has played together on JV two years and are ready for the challenges ahead of them.”
Outlook — The Thunder, one win from state last year, graduated some top talent, but has some power in the middle to rebuild around.