Star News » Sports The Star News covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Elk River, Otsego, Rogers and Zimmerman, Minnesota and their surrounding areas. Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:55:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hockey moms sought for reality TV Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:10:52 +0000 Minnesota is considered the State of Hockey.

So it’s not surprising reality television producers would set up shop here to produce a show on Hockey Moms.

The state and its hockey moms feed five very successful in-state Division I college hockey programs, and the popularity of its state high school hockey tournament rivals that of high school football in Texas.

A group of reality TV producers know this and they are scouting Minnesota for the only thing tougher than hockey players – hockey moms.

McCalley-Lee Entertainment, a Minneapolis-based television production company, is offering Minnesotans the chance to star in a reality show appropriately named “Hockey Moms,” which will provide a look at the state’s “very competitive” youth hockey scene.

The company is holding an open casting call and hopes to attract personalities with “the reality TV ‘it’ factor ” – the entry form asks contestants to describe their unique talents, what makes them “special,” and any “crazy personal characteristics” they might have. In addition, they must explain why they want to be a reality TV star.

Elk River, considered to be a hockey town by most standards, has a star-studded reputation with one state hockey title in 2001, two Mr. Hockey winners, four players  that have made it to the pros and worn National Hockey League sweaters has its share of tough hockey moms to consider. The community even hosted one of the most talked about Hockey Day Minnesota events when it hosted high school games in 2014 in the Historic Handke Pit.

This is actually McCalley-Lee’s second time trying to get the show into the broadcasting arena. The producers tried to cast the program last year but were forced to put it on ice when they were unable to find a network for it.

Two Minnesota stations – KSTC-45 in the Twin Cities (owned by Hubbard Broadcasting) and ABC 6 in Rochester – have agreed to carry it, and the producers are encouraging anyone who tried out last year to give it another shot.

“Hockey Moms” will begin airing on December 26, the official website says.

Two notable episodes to look forward to: the Feb. 20, 2016 show will directly follow the AA Championship Girls High School Hockey Game, and the season finale will air right after the AA Championship Boys High School Hockey Game on March 5, according to McCalley-Lee.

The online casting call ends on Wednesday, Sept. 9. The final selection will be announced around Sept. 16, after two rounds of call-backs for Top 20 and then Top Three finalists. ]]> 0 Elks take Chisago Lakes 41-14 Sat, 29 Aug 2015 16:29:43 +0000 by Jerrod Peterson

One week after racking up over 580 rushing yards and scoring 52 points, the Elk River football was hosting Chisago Lakes for its home-opener on Friday night.

Elk River Elks quarterback Trent Pink (18) rushes for a first down as Chisago Lakes Area Wildcats defensive back Vaughn Strenke (14) wraps him up in the first quarter at Elk River High School.   Marilyn Indahl-ECM Publications
Elk River Elks quarterback Trent Pink (18) rushes for a first down as Chisago Lakes Area Wildcats defensive back Vaughn Strenke (14) wraps him up in the first quarter at Elk River High School. Marilyn Indahl-ECM Publications

Once again, Elk River’s offense didn’t disappoint as it scored 27 straight points in the second half to run over Chisago Lakes 41-14.

Despite being down all five starting linemen, the Elks mashed up the Chisago Lakes’ defense for 495 rushing yards Friday night, led by junior running back Nick Rice, who rushed for 207 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.

“I’m really proud of the way guys, who didn’t have much experience, took advantage of the opportunity they were given,” said Elk River coach Steve Hamilton. “It shows the depth of our team and the readiness of our players.”

Senior quarterback Trent Pink gained 152 yards on the ground and completed 3-of-4 passes for 77 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to junior Sam Gibas. Gibas also rushed for one touchdown, as did Kyle Ziemer and Luke Dickinson.

The Elks averaged 9.7 rush yards per attempt and gained 608 all-purpose yards. Through two games, Elk River has rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 93 points.

“This is who we are,” said Hamilton. “We love to run the ball.”

The Elks will host Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday. ]]> 0 Zimmerman takes 41-12 victory over Foley Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:32:25 +0000 by Jarrod Peterson

Big plays were the theme in the Zimmerman Thunder’s home-opener Friday night. The Thunder jumped out to an early 13-0 lead against the Foley Falcons, and it turned out that it would be all they needed as they cruised to a 41-12 victory.

Zimmerman's Alex Riley reaches the ball inside the pylon to score the Thunder’s first score of the game. Photo by Erik Jacobson
Zimmerman’s Alex Riley reaches the ball inside the pylon to score the Thunder’s first score of the game. Photo by Erik Jacobson

“The boys came out and played fantastic game,” said Zimmerman coach Tom Kish. “After last week, we wanted to try to incorporate some more passing into our game-plan, but our run game was just too consistent to try anything else.”

One week after putting up 42 points against Delano, via big plays, the Thunder took to the field in search of a 2-0 start to the season. One thing that remained constant was the big plays, particularly from quarterback Alex Riley. Riley got the Thunder on the board with a 23-yard scamper with 3:10 left in the first quarter. After a botched extra-point attempt, the Thunder led 6-0.

The Zimmerman defense, which gave up numerous big plays last weekend against Delano, was nothing short of stubborn on Friday. The defense gave up six first downs in the first half, with five of those first downs coming on one long, 18-play Foley drive. However, a red-zone stop kept the Falcons out of the end zone and off the scoreboard.

Zimmerman’s defense also forced one first-half turnover that helped the offense score its second touchdown. Foley quarterback Kyle Kipka was jarred by several Zimmerman defenders and the ball popped loose. Kolby Peacock jumped on the ball for Zimmerman to give the Thunder solid field position on their own 47-yardline.

On the next play, Riley took it to the house, 53 yards, for what everyone thought was Zimmerman’s second score of the game. However, a holding penalty was called, and the ball was brought back to the 37-yardline. Four plays later, on a first-and-10 from Foley’s 43-yardline, Zimmerman’s Haydon Miller took the hand-off from Riley and danced through several Foley arm tackles on his way to a 43-yard score to make it 12-0.

The Thunder lead 13-0 at the half. Foley got the ball to start the second half, but its opening possession didn’t last long as Kipka was intercepted by Damie Vangstad on a third-down pass.

Five plays and false start penalty later, Zimmerman’s Ben Schnellman was off to the races as he took it 44 yards for Zimmerman’s third touchdown over 20 yards in the ball game. The extra point made it 20-0, and Foley was losing confidence.

Again, Foley put together a solid drive that lasted 10 plays, but on the 10th play, running back Spencer Elwell fumbled the ball and Zimmerman recovered. On the first play, Riley picked up 30 yards as he dodged and weaved Foley defenders. From there, Zimmerman methodically pounded the ball down the throat of Foley’s defense until Vangstad took it in from four yards out to make it 27-0.

Foley continued to struggle on offense and was forced to punt. Riley put the exclamation point on an impressive home-opening victory as he sprinted through the line-of-scrimmage and 60 more yards on his way to his second touchdown of the game to put Zimmerman ahead 34-0.

The Thunder racked up 355 yards on the ground, and Riley led the way with 163 rushing yards. Miller finished with 73 yards and Schnellman grinded out 65 yards.

With the victory, Zimmerman is 2-0 on the season and will head to Milaca next Friday, a place where it has struggled the past two times.

“For some reason, we haven’t played well the last two times up there,” said Kish. “I have a feeling it will be different this time around, provided we stick to our game plan.” ]]> 0 Thunder volleyball falls to Princeton Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:27:30 +0000 by Jarrod Peterson

The Zimmerman Thunder girls volleyball team opened its season on Thursday night at home against Princeton.

While the Thunder played the Tigers tough, they lost in straight sets by scores of 23-25, 17-25, and 15-25.

Amira Samaha led the Thunder in kills with seven, while Ashley Pool finished with five kills, one ace, and eight digs. Kayla Christopherson handed out 11 assists and Carlie Lage scored three aces and recorded 16 digs.

“We came out a little nervous,” said Thunder coach Cassandra Olson. “That led to us making some errors during critical times of the match, and were hard to overcome. Overall, we looked very strong at the net and the service line. We are looking to put together a much stronger, overall game together against Rockford next time out.”

Zimmerman will host Rockford on Thursday. ]]> 0 Spectrum football runs over Humboldt for first win of season Sat, 29 Aug 2015 01:39:25 +0000 by Sean Davich

Following a fourth-down failure for the Hawks early on, the Sting were off and running – literally.

Using a strong rushing attack, Spectrum rebounded from a tough season-opening last week by routing Humboldt 34-8 Friday night.

“We played a lot better [compared to last week],” said head coach Seth Mills. “We started off hot.”

Fisher Marberg scored on a 15-yard direct snap and added a pick-six early in the second quarter, giving Spectrum a 27-0 halftime lead and himself three touchdowns on the young season.

“He’s a player, man,” said Mills.

Spencer Maas added two short TD runs of his own, helping the Sting win its first game of the season to match last year’s total.

Humboldt looked completely outmatched following their opening drive turnover deep in Spectrum territory, when quarterback Jacob Andrews fumbled on a fourth-down gamble that was recovered by Daniel Spaulding. The Sting subsequently went on to score on Maas’s first touchdown run and never looked back.

The Hawks avoided the shutout with just over three minutes left when Andrews scored on a 29-yard bootleg. He passed to Billy Robles for the two-point conversion.

The Sting are now 1-1 on the season and will play their first road game next Friday at Mound Westonka. ]]> 0 Spectrum boys soccer team wins its first game as a varsity soccer program flying solo Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:07:47 +0000 by Sean Davich

Contributing Sports Writer

The Sting boys soccer team played its first-ever varsity game Thursday night, but lost 3-1 at Maranatha Christian Academy.

Spectrum previously hosted a coop team with Big Lake, but two years ago the program went on its own with a junior varsity program. This year it made the jump to varsity and played its first game on Aug. 27.

Maranatha struck twice in the first half of the season opener despite Spectrum controlling play offensively, and it proved to be the difference in the game.

The Sting pulled back within a goal after Gunner Maas used perfect precision on a corner kick to find Hunter Bechtel, who jumped and directed a headshot into the net. The Mustangs added an insurance goal to account for the final.

Spectrum falls to 0-1 on the season and will play at Christian Life Academy on Aug. 31.

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Elk River girls tennis cruise to two more victories Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:00:28 +0000 by Jarrod Peterson

Contributing Sports Writer

One day after opening their season with a victory over Champlin Park, the Elk River girls’ tennis team had two matches against conference rivals on Wednesday.

The Elks proved dominant in both matches as they crushed Park Center and Osseo by beating both teams by a score of 7-0.

In singles play, Elk River’s Meagan Brown quickly and efficiently defeated Park Center’s Ashley Yanni 6-0, 6-0. Elk River’s Jen Kohler didn’t have much trouble with Karen Yang as she won easily 6-1, 6-0. Rebekah Morrison quickly defeated her opponent, Reyna Perry, 6-0, 6-1, and in the final singles match of the day, freshman Riley Mathis overcame a tough first set to defeat Pa Hua Vang 6-3, 6-0.

In doubles play, Deanna Dokken and Dani Dokken had little trouble with Shaimeynah Vang and Mainhia Thao as the Dokken sisters won 6-0, 6-1. Elizabeth Brayden and Brooke Burns took it to Manona Thao and Karisa Yang 6-1, 6-1. In the final doubles match of the day, Sydney and Sam Reiner beat Samantha Thao and Amanda Engeman 6-0, 6-0.

Elk River’s match against Osseo was more of the same dominance the Elks displayed against Park Center.

Brown got the ball rolling with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Ghao Thao. Kohler followed suit with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Shania Nguyen. Dani Dokken also earned a shutout as she defeated Anna Zetlinger 6-0, 6-0. Caitlyn Foote got the nod in the No. 4 singles match and didn’t disappoint. She earned a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Cynthia Oden.

In doubles play, Deanna Dokken and Morrison earned a hard-fought 6-1, 6-2 victory in the No. 1 doubles match. Brayden and Burns didn’t have any trouble in their match as they coasted to a 6-0, 6-0 win, and Reagan Mathis and Carmen Kaelke cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 victory in the final doubles match.

“Everybody played very well today,” said Elk River coach LeRoyce Boldt. “All the girls came out and competed very hard, and we got the results we wanted.” ]]> 0 Rogers Royals fall sports preview Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:35:35 +0000 by Jarrod Peterson

Contributing Sports Writer


Last year — 8-2 overall (4-1 in conference — second in Mississippi Blue Division); lost in section semifinals

Blayne Kasper, of the Rogers Royals, was hauled down by a pack of Elks on this play.  Kasper will be one of the running backs tasked with replacing Gunnar Bloom. Another is Cole Hyde. Both players are seniors.
Blayne Kasper, of the Rogers Royals, was hauled down by a pack of Elks on this play.
Kasper will be one of the running backs tasked with replacing Gunnar Bloom. Another is Cole Hyde. Both players are seniors.

Coaches — Marc Franz (head), Ryan LaPointe, Ken Worel, B.J. Brent, Justin Oie, Josh, Rogahn, Matt Webb, Jeff Peterson, Jeremy Hood, Burt Sepulveda, Durand Onell

Captains —Blayne Kasper, Drew Sagehorn, Dominic Skawiniak and  Sam and Suedbeck

Returning starters — Offense (four); defense (four)

Watch out for — Blayne Kasper (sr, RB), Cole Hyde (sr, RB)

Keep an eye on — The quarterback position is a top priority, with juniors Mitch Spilles and Tanner Palm competing for the starting role.

Coach says — “We will be inexperienced to begin the season with four starters returning on offense and defense,” said Franz. “However, our lower level teams did very well last year so we expect to be very competitive by the end of the season. The shortened preseason and elimination of preseason scrimmage will be a challenge because of our young team and overall lack of experience.”

Season outlook — The Royals will be hurt by the losses of star running back Gunnar Bloom (1,283 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns) and quarterback Andy Borchardt (1,086 passing yards and 12 touchdowns), but they do return two offensive linemen (Dominic Skawiniak and Reed Seifert) along with running back Blayne Kasper (415 rushing yards — 9.7 yards per attempt — and six touchdowns) on offense. On defense, the Royals return defensive linemen Jake Abrahamson and Andrew Piehl, and linebacker Travis Limoseth and safety Drew Sagehorn from a defense that allowed only 100 points last season. “We expect to be very competitive at all levels (district, section and state),” Franz said.

Boys soccer

Last year — 10-7-0 overall (6-3-0 in conference); finished fifth in section

Coaches — Chris Miller (head), Dan Wespetal, Bruce Schulzetenberg

Captains — Jake Post and Griffin Johnson

Returning players — Rogers will return all of its starters but one and all but two of its varsity players from the 2014 campaign.

Watch out for — “We had a huge influx of boys come out for the team this season,” Miller said. “We expect the big numbers to help improve our team greatly.”

Coach says — “We should have a strong team overall,” Miller said. “With the majority of our players returning and some good talent coming up from the lower ranks, it should make for a fun and exciting season.”

Outlook — The Royals have good reason to be optimistic about this season. They return top goal-getter Trevor Klink (17 goals), as well as assist leader Logan Olkon (10) and a host of other veteran players. Rogers outscored their opponents last season by 27 goals and figure to put up plenty of goals this season despite a difficult schedule. “We are going to see a lot of good teams,” Miller said. “But there is no reason we can have a good showing in the conference and section this season. I feel that we are a quality and skilled team that has a lot of confidence.”


Last year 8-14 overall (2-7 in conference); lost in section quarterfinals

Coaches — T.J. Canham, Bo Schmidt, Amanda Pederson, Brock Peniata

Captains — TBD

Returning players — Addy Sachs (sr, outside hitter), Hannah Sjervan (sr, middle blocker), Maleia Ysteboe (jr, outside hitter), Ellie Hoyt (jr, setter)

Coach’s comments — “A lot of girls have come out for the team this year, so that’s very encouraging,” Canham said.

Season outlook — The Royals are in a transition period, in terms of coaching. Canham is in his first season at Rogers High School. Canham will bring his wealth of knowledge of the sport to a senior-laden team. “We had a lot of girls come out for the team this season and we hope to use our healthy stable of seniors to our advantage.”

Girls soccer

Last year — 13-3 overall (8-1 in conference — Co-conference champions); lost in section finals

Coaches — Aaron Lindquist, Todd Dusosky, Marissa Erdman, Kristi Anderson, Craig Davis

Cailey Henderson and Jenna Bresseman of Rogers tussled with a Princeton player in action last season. Bresseman, who made first team all conference last year figures  big into the Royals plans.
Cailey Henderson and Jenna Bresseman of Rogers tussled with a Princeton player in action last season. Bresseman, who made first team all conference last year figures big into the Royals plans.

Captains — Courtney Henderson, Abbie Gearou

Returning players — 17 players return from last year’s roster; Gearou (defender, First Team All-State, one goal and two assists), Henderson (center-mid, Second Team All State, nine goals and 10 assists), Jenna Breseman (forward, First Team All-Conference, 14 goals and 14 assists), Kate Heimer (center-mid, four goals and three assists), Janelle Rouillard (forward, four goals and four assists)

Position battles — Goalkeeper, defenders, central midfielders are wide open.

Keep an eye on — Claire Swan: As a freshman, she played in every single game last season. Rouillard: Returning from an ACL injury last year. Lindquist is expecting “some big goals out of her.”

Coach says — “We are coming off our best season finish as a AA program in 2014,” Lindquist said. “We set records for most goals scored, few goals allowed, best record, most shutouts and furthest section finish. Our toughest games will be on the road this season. Our team motto is, ‘Fit, Fierce, Fireproof,’ which is some of the things we felt we lacked last season.”

Outlook — The Royals expect to compete for the conference title for the third year in a row. Schools like St. Michael, Princeton, and St. Francis will push Rogers to the limit. In addition to St. Michael, Elk River will also test Rogers in section play. “Our goal is to ‘take the next step,’” said Lindquist.

Girls tennis

Last year — Second in conference (one loss to Princeton); lost in section semifinals

Coaches — Debbie Conley (head), Mike Sporer, Sam Oakland and Britteny Nieber

Captain — Amanda Penick (sr)

Kianna Koeppe smashed the ball in this doubles match against Maple Grove. Coach Debbie Conley said she has been impressed with her players off-season training, and believes the team is ready to take its game up a notch.
Kianna Koeppe smashed the ball in this doubles match against Maple Grove. Coach Debbie Conley said she has been impressed with her players off-season training, and believes the team is ready to take its game up a notch.

Returning Starters — Penick (sr), Kaylie Conlin (jr), Samantha Fitzpatrick (jr), Alannah Sperr (jr), Hannah Stolba (jr), Emily Rubbelke (fr), Samantha Stickler (fr)

Coach says — “The players did a lot of work this offseason,” Conley said. “I’m very impressed with how they look through the first few days of practice. This is the kind of work that takes a team to the next level.”

Outlook — The Royals figure to have a strong singles lineup that features Penick, but Conley said that also having strong doubles teams will make the team more formidable. “We lost varsity doubles players due to graduation,” said Conley. “With that happening, it’s important to develop our doubles team in order to remain competitive in a tough conference. The preseason tournaments will show us what and where we need to improve. It should be a fun year.”


Last year — Girls: Sixth in conference, 13th in section . . . Boys: Fifth in conference, fourth in section

Coaches — Chad Kreuser (head), Janelle Packard

Captains — Girls: Katelyn Kemmetmueller, Jenna Karls . . . Boys: Evan Huber, McKone Corkery

Returning runners — Girls: 12 . . . Boys: 10

Watch out for – Girls: Kemmetmueller, Karls, Kaitlyn Benz, Sarah Janckila, Ellie Cargill, Madison Hansen, Marissa LeClaire, Nicole VanEss, Whitney Meyer, Sara Parent, Breanna Schumacher, Kate Stein . . . Boys: Ryan Davidson, Huber, Dylan Brunetti, Nathan Cassady, Corkery, Braydon Wald, Seamus Corkery, Thomas Glad, Adam Paris, Hyrum Teasdale.

Coach says — “By far, this is the largest group of runners to sign up for the cross-country team,” Kreuser said. “We are excited to be working hard to create great memories and traditions with this group of runners. It should be a very fun season.”

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Spectrum Sting fall sports preview Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:30:25 +0000 by Sean Davich

Contributing Sports Writer


Last year — 1-8, lost in first round of section playoffs

Coaches — Seth Mills (head), Ken Hanson, Scott Gangl, Cassidy Cook, J.T. Cross, Jon Benge (assistants)

Spencer Maas will lead the Spectrum Sting in football this year. The Sting is a really young, but very talented team, according to coach Seth Mills.
Spencer Maas will lead the Spectrum Sting in football this year. The Sting is a really young, but very talented team, according to coach Seth Mills.

Captains — None decided yet

Returning regulars — Spencer Maas, Dillon Swenson, Fisher Marberg, Ben Kopt

Fun facts — Maas, the starting quarterback, returns as the leading passer for the Sting, having thrown for 200 yards last year. … The top two rushers are gone, according to coach Mills, but Mass thrives in the Sting’s run-heavy offense. … The football team is heading into its fourth season as a program.

Coach says — “We have an extremely young team, but very talented and a great group of kids. We hope to make a better run during the regular season and make a better showing in the playoffs. We want to improve.”

Outlook — With only one win last season, there’s nowhere to go but up for this young football program. Not many players remain from last season, but the ones that are still around will make an impact.


Last year — Last year: Girls third in conference meet, boys in fifth. In section meet, girls placed fifth and boys placed 12th. Nobody went to state; Zack Anderson narrowly missed it.

Maria Novotny, Marissa Kuik, and Noelle Diekman will be among the leaders this year on the cross country team for the Sting. Kulik and Diekman are captains for the girls team.
Maria Novotny, Marissa Kuik, and Noelle Diekman will be among the leaders this year on the cross country team for the Sting. Kulik and Diekman are captains for the girls team.

Coaches — Rick Peterson (head), Amy Cornelius, Kal Diekman

Captains — Girls: Noelle Diekman, Marissa Kuik … Boys: Nate Hackbarth, Joel Zimmerman

Returning regulars — Girls: Diekman, Kuik, Maria Novotny, Julia Fahrner … Boys: Anderson, Ben Harvey, Camden Sharp, Zimmerman, Nevin Sagstetter

Fun facts — Anderson is two-time defending all-conference. Every boy on the team this year is either freshman or sophomore level, according to coach Peterson. … Over the summer, some runners had the privilege of attending an advanced running camp in Oregon in July

Zackary Anderson led the pack during this training session. He narrowly missed state this past year, and will want to make it this year.
Zackary Anderson led the pack during this training session. He narrowly missed state this past year, and will want to make it this year.

Coach says — “There are about 40 runners on the team this year. … Our goal this year is, competitively, to try to improve on our section meet finishes and also to improve upon our conference meet finishes. Those are our competitive team goals.”

Outlook — There’s potential for both the boys and girls at being top in the conference this fall. With all the boys being freshmen or sophomores, count on them to make some noise. It should be a fun season.

Boys soccer

Last year — Spectrum did not have a varsity team last year. It did, however, have a solidly performing junior varsity team that finished the year 9-1.

Coaches — Brad Smith (head) and Jake MacArthur

Captains — Hunter Bechtel and Ryan Swanson

Activities director says — Spectrum used to have a varsity program under a co-op with Big Lake that it hosted. That dissolved two seasons ago when the two schools decided to make a go of it on their own.

The Sting competed at a lower level the past two years, and now with 25 players it will play a full varsity schedule.

Outlook — “We were ready to move up to the next level,” Activities Director Rick Peterson said. The team has also been accepted into a Minnesota Christian Athletic Association conference even though it is not a private Christian-based school.


Last year — Last year: 18-7, lost in first round of section playoffs

Coaches — Tex Cuabo (head), Rob Rogers (JV), Deb Hoyt (fr)

Captains — Maddie Hays, Ellie Rogers

Returning regulars — Hays, Rogers, Kira Lorensen, Jasmine Nelson

In the mix — McKayla Hoffarth

Fun facts — The team is coming off its most successful season; its first with a winning record. This will be the final nonconference season for the Sting before moving to the Minnesota Christian Athletic Conference next season.

Coach says — “We gotta play tough from the get-go and try to maintain a .500 record. You can’t win everything, but it’s good to win more than half your games, right?”

Outlook: — The team has a chance to make good on coach Cuabo’s word, following its most successful season yet. The program is still young, but with a tough schedule this season, the experience will be quite valuable.

Girls soccer

Last year — 6-8-2, lost in first round of section playoffs

Coaches — Nicki Luehrs (head), Jessica Kemnitz, Courtney Wirz (assistants)

Captains — Maddie Bursch, Megan McCarty, Lorna Bechtel

Returning regulars — McCarty, Bursch, Bechtel, Anna McGlone, Aly Kraus, Makayla Morrell, Emily O’Connell, Brynne Walk

Fun facts — Despite a sub-.500 record last fall, the team was unbeaten at home with a 4-0-1 mark. … The entire defensive squad returns from last year, giving them chemistry on defense in front of Kraus, who already is a strong presence between the pipes.

Coach says — “I expect us to bring even stronger competition this year than we have in the past. Up top we’re looking to put some new speed to try and break through any offsides traps. … Last year we came up short in several close contests, and this season we hope to improve enough to secure a win in those evenly played matches.”

Outlook — The defense should hold strong, and if Kraus keeps it up in net, this team could be going places this year.

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Elk River Elks fall preview Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:24:42 +0000 by Jarrod Peterson

Contributing Sports Writer


Last year — 7-3 overall (6-2 in conference — conference champions); lost in section finals.

Coaches — Steve Hamilton (head), Mike Breyen, Mike Cross, Marv Johnson, Brad Olson, Eric Klaers, Dan Kohler, Luke Nowinsky, Mark Leadens

Captains — Not known yet

Returning starters — Offense (seven); defense (five); seven All-Conference selections

Watch out For  — Offense — Trent Pink (sr, QB, 300 passing yards, four touchdowns; 615 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns); defense — Kyle Ziemer (sr, DB, 39 tackles), Connor Detloff (sr, DL, one sack, seven tackles)

Keep an eye on — Jalon Nielson (jr, OL/DL), Sam Gibas (jr, RB/LB), Ziemer (sr, DB/RB), Nick Rice (jr, RB/DB). “Everyone is battling for a position,” Hamilton said. “We have tremendous depth at running back.”

Coach says — “We have a good core that is returning from last year’s team,” Hamilton said. “I except us to be super competitive every week. Our new schedule will be an adjustment, but I think the team will be ready for it. We expect to get better every single week.”

Outlook — The Elks lose Zach Ernst, the state’s sixth leading rusher (1,343 yards, 16 touchdowns) in 2014, but Hamilton isn’t worried because of the depth at that position. According to the roster, the Elks have 16 players listed at running back. While all 16 won’t see playing time, Hamilton will have plenty to choose from in case players don’t perform to the level he wants them to or in the event of injuries.

Boys soccer

Last year — 4-12-1 overall (2-10-1 in conference); lost in section quarterfinals

Coaches — Ryan Sorensen (head), Bill Stefano, Jim Wood, Derrick Dorholt, Marc Jacob

Captains — Joe Marsh, Tyler Eirich, Gil Valdez, Joe Christiansen

Coach says — “I expect this team to have a great amount of leadership and compete in every single game this season,” Sorensen said.

Outlook — “After a tough season in 2014, the Elks look to put it behind them and prepare for the 2015 campaign. “I think the team will have a bounce-back year,” said Sorensen. “We have a great group of seniors, … and our junior class will push us past most teams on the field, in terms of experience. If we put in the effort and focus on what we can control, there is no saying what this team could achieve this season.”


Last year — 10-16 overall; lost in section semifinals

Sydney Wentland had a 25-kill game against Park Center last year when this shot was taken. She is expected to produce big numbers again this year.
Sydney Wentland had a 25-kill game against Park Center last year when this shot was taken. She is expected to produce big numbers again this year.

Coaches — Theresa Brummer (head), Amy Kahl, Erika Kelly, Rick Michalak, Bethany Benting, Jenny Madsen

Captains — Abi Scheid and Annika Johnson

Returning players — Scheid (sr, middle blocker), Sidney Wentland (jr, outside hitter), Gabi Haack (jr, outside hitter)

Watch out for — Johnson (sr, setter), Nissa Johnson (jr, middle blocker), Hailey Ullrich (so, outside hitter), Morgan Turner (sr, libero), Becky Caswell (jr, setter/defensive specialist), Erin Davis (so, defensive specialist/libero), Britley Plautz (sr, reserve)

Coach says — “I expect big things from this team this season,” Brummer said. “We have a lot of talent and tenacity on the floor, and the kids have been great and they have worked very hard. With our hard work, we are looking at a top-four finish in the conference. We know it won’t be an easy road, but this group of girls is committed to taking things to the next level.”

Outlook — The Elks do have a reason to be optimistic. Wentland is the Elks returning kills leader with 192 and Johnson is the returning assist leader with 107. Defensively, the Elks return a group of players who compiled a total of 452 digs in 2014. “This team is ready to go,” said Brummer. “We play in one of the toughest conferences in the state and we can’t wait to get started.”

Girls soccer

Last year — 7-11 overall (6-7 in conference); lost in section semifinals

Lizzy Holien battled for the ball against a Totino Grace player. As a captain this year she will be one of the leaders on the Elks team.
Lizzy Holien battled for the ball against a Totino Grace player. As a captain this year she will be one of the leaders on the Elks team.

Coaches — Brian Steuter (head), Julie Steuter, Tony Cloud, Jess Brown, Nathan Cairns

Captains — Lizzy Hohlien, Brianna Anderson, Toni Bailey

Returning players — Eight starters: Alyse Grunewald (sr, goalkeeper), Hohlien (sr, defense), Kalen Weidenbach (sr, defense), Anderson (sr, midfield), Rachel Ness (sr, midfield), Bailey (sr, midfield), Monet Cairns (sr, forward), Ali Libor (sr, forward)

Watch out for — The Elks have position battles at outside defense and outside midfielder.

Coach says — “We have a lot of experience,” Steuter said. “We lost a lot of scoring from last year’s team, so finding scoring this season will be a big thing for us. If we can find consistent scoring this season, we will be tough to beat.”

Outlook — Hohlien is the top goal-scoring leader (six), returning for a team that scored 27 goals last season. The Elks will face explosive offenses such as Maple Grove, Centennial, Park Center and Blaine, so scoring goals is something that will be necessary. “We play in a solid conference and each game will be a challenge,” Steuter said.

Girls tennis

Last year — Conference champions; lost in section semifinals

Coaches — LeRoyce Boldt (head), Terry Gryzbowksi, Tasha Goudy, Leah Koehler

Meagan Brown
Meagan Brown

Captains — Brooke Burns and Jennifer Koehler

Returning players — Meagan Brown, Koehler, Rebekah Morrison, Burns, Danielle Dokken, Carmen Kaelke, Elizabeth Brayden

Watch out for — It will be interesting to see who plays our third and fourth singles positions,” Boldt said. “Not only those two positions, but our doubles spots are pretty wide open, too. We have many girls working hard to earn those positions. Brown, a sophomore, should have another successful year as No. 1 singles” as she made it to state last year as an individual and played for the consolation title.

Coach’s comments — “We will be a hardworking team with a lot of potential,” Boldt said. “Our goal is to win the conference and compete to win our section.”

Season outlook — The Elks return Brown and Koehler, their No. 1 and No. 2 singles players from 2014, so this season looks promising. Both players went undefeated in the conference last, and Brown will use the experience she gained last season, as she made it to the state tournament, to propel her and her team to bigger things in 2015.

Boys cross-country

Last year — Boys: Fourth in conference (section champions) . . . Girls: 11th in conference (fourth in sections); state qualifiers: Lucas Trapp, Annica Carr

Coaches — Michael Niziolek (head), Brian Gilbertson, Jill Varty

Returning runners — Boys: Trapp (sr, All-Conference), Christian Leonard (jr), Cory Warner (sr), Tyler Hudson (sr), Bradley Beaver (sr), Peyton Holmes (sr), Lucas Gustafson (fr) . . . Girls: Carr (fr), Maria Brown (jr), Jessica Holmquist (so), Grace Scheid (sr), Ellie Kunze (eighth grade), Lydia Haack (eighth grade), Lydia Carr (sr)

Watch out for — Boys: Ben Jacobs (sr), Aaron Ley (sr), Jeremy Radke (sr), Jacob Thompson (sr), Jacob Heyne (jr), Collin Lindgren (jr) . . . Girls: Anne Christensen (sr), Katie Crocker (sr), Medeline Jung (sr), Ashley Lind (sr), Enya Mably (sr), Sadie Elsenpeter (sr)

Coach says — Boys: “I’m very excited about this season,” Niziolek said. “I feel that the boys team should be one of the better teams in the state. They have done an excellent job in preparing for the season.” Girls: “I think this year’s girls team should be much improved than last year’s team,” Niziolek said. “The team has a lot of potential and I think they are ready to get going.”

Outlook — “I have no doubt that on the boys side, this could be one of the best teams Elk River has ever had,” said Niziolek. “In order for that to happen, every runner will have to do his part. For the girls, I’m excited to see what they can do. We have a lot of seniors that have been strong and steady throughout the first few days of practice and over the course of the summer.” Elk River will host the 2015 Northwest Suburban Conference Championship on Oct. 14 at Elk River Golf Club.

Girls swimming

Last year  7-2 overall, second in conference; fourth in section

Coaches — Luke Johnson (head), Liz Johnson, Jenn Bartlett (diving), Betsy Ludvigson

Captains — Krista Kovar (sr), Anya Larson (sr), Sophia Schutt (sr), Alaina Sylvester (sr)

Key returning swimmers — Kovar, Larson, Schutt, Sylvester (All-Conference), Beth Kelzer (sr, All-Conference Honorable Mention), Kaylee Benson (sr, All-Conference Honorable Mention)

Watch out for — Claire Grundman (so) and Andie Timpe (8th grade)

Coach says — “We had a really good season in 2014,” Johnson said. “It all culminated with our tie-breaking win over Maple Grove, and I think that really excited the girls. We are looking to take that next step to challenge St. Michael and Centennial for the conference title.”

Outlook — Since Johnson took over three years ago, Elk River has progressed to the point where Johnson hopes the Elk River can compete for a conference title this season. “Everything we’ve been doing has been preparing the girls to compete against St. Michael and Centennial,” said Johnson. “Those are the two teams we’re gunning for this season, and I believe we can compete with both of those teams.” ]]> 0