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Mikki Modjeski, Taylor Burmeister and Kailey Hanson lead the charge for a proud program.

Rangers seek 4th straight state trip

Eyes on the prize

Spring Sports Preview Thursday, April 14, 2011 seceond section

Vol. 108 No. 48 - $1.00


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Standard set high for reigning section champs If Forest Lake’s 2009 appear- ances, the St. Cloud State commit ance in the state baseball tourna- notched four complete games and ment was a testament to the talent two shutouts, including a 2-0 blankin town, last year’s return trip ing of conference rival Stillwater in was a validation of a successful the first round at state. Johnson also program. batted .289 and drove in 10 runs. With just two regulars back Johnson will again be a workon the team, the Rangers opened horse, but Forest Lake has several eyes with a 17-11 campaign and a other arms in the pen. Phil Sauer second straight fourth-place finish logged 34.2 innings as a ninth-grader at the state tournament. and posted an ERA of 3.23. Considering the stable of playJunior southpaw ers now returning who conAlek Zentzis will get tributed as underclassmen a chance to prove last spring, it stands to reahimself, as Raabe said son that a special opportuhe has a very good nity exists. arsenal. “We have history now,” said head coach Brian Raabe. Lefty Trent Rabel “We have history proving we pitched 13.2 innings win. When we have talent, as a ninth-grader last we’ll win, and the athletes on Matt Schmidt spring before miss- Trent the team certainly see the taling most of the seaent. With that being said, they son with an injury. should be very confident.” Sophomore Matt Jellum impressed Raabe has built a winner here after moving up from JV last season. under the philosophy of playing Senior Matt Hultgren, senior whichever kids give him the best Andrew Miron, senior Luke Koren chance to win, regardless of age. and junior Lucas Kohls are also at He’ll have plenty to sort through pitching coach Tal Gravelle’s disthis season, as the Rangers are two- posal. or three-deep at several positions. Two of the outfield spots are Unfortunately, much of the evaluatlocked in with senior co-captain Matt ing will have to be done on the fly Schmidt and junior CJ Franklin. as the team only got a few days of Schmidt, a left fielder, played in all 28 practice outdoors before it opened games and hit .292 in 2010. Franklin the season on Monday. played center and hit leadoff. He “We have to make calls on a gym batted .365 with 16 RBI, seven extrafloor, and that’s very hard to do,” he base hits and seven stolen bases. said one week before opening day. “I Junior Bryce Kinder will have the like what I see so far, but this is in first crack at claiming the right field the gym. I want to see what kind of job. competitors we have.” Rabel was the opening day starter Around the Horn at first base and should provide a Raabe preaches pitching and power bat. He slugged four home defense, so he is happy to have senior runs in just 36 at-bats last year while Evan Johnson on the mound. The maintaining a .417 average. senior co-captain burst onto the varSecond base is up in the air, with sity scene last year with a 10-1 record as many as five boys battling for and a 1.39 ERA. In his 14 appear-

playing time. The left side of the infield returns intact to start out, with junior Ben Norling at third base and sophomore Beau Fandel entrenched at shortstop. Norling saw action in 23 games, while Fandel played in every contest and hit .377. Junior Carter Burgoyne opens the year as the starting catcher. Hultgren is the team’s main pinch runner, a role in which he excelled in the postseason. The lineup at the end of the season will likely look different than Monday’s. “This is kind of a year where, because we have so much talent, that we could be more creative on what we Rabel do,” Raabe said. “By taking one guy out of one position to strengthen another position, we’re really not going to weaken that spot.”

Outlook

Stillwater went 15-3 to win the SEC, but graduated most of its start- CJ Franklin brings speed to center field and the ing lineup. Cretin-Derham Hall was basepaths. The junior lead-off hitter was one of the runner-up at 13-5. Forest Lake’s top batters in his first year on varsity. In Section 7AAA, Grand Rapids went 16-10 and pushed the Rangers to an elimination game. The anger aseball Thunderhawks will again be a tough • 2010 record: 17-11, fourth at state (SEC: 10-8, T-fourth) test as they lost just one player. • Head coach: Brian Raabe, 11th year • Assistant coaches: Tal Gravelle-varsity, Gary Storm-JV, Raabe is not looking any farther Kale Henry-sophomores, Kyle Johnson-sophomores, away than his own squad, and he Valdie Magstadt-sophomores likes what he sees. • Captains: seniors Evan Johnson and Matt Schmidt “Right now we have a lot of tal• All-Conference returnees: Johnson and junior CJ ent,” he said. “The talent runs from Franklin. Honorable mention: Schmidt, sophomore Beau Fandel and sophomore Trent Rabel seniors, juniors, sophomores. We have some talent at the freshman level. So we’re excited about that as a coaching staff, [but] that doesn’t mean we’ll win. You never know what’s going to happen, but I’m very excited about our talent.”

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Around the SEC

Ryan Busch returns to lead Roseville after hitting .500 and posting a 1.97 ERA to earn all-state honors in 2010

Quick Hits • Team seeks third straight state appearance • Johnson leads deep pool of pitching options • Slew of returning players leads to position battles

By The Numbers

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Wins by Evan Johnson in 14 appearances last spring

File photos

Above: Pitching coach Tal Gravelle congratulates Evan Johnson after the then-junior shut out Stillwater in the first round at state last spring. Below: Phil Sauer provided some quality innings as a ninth-grader. Left: Beau Fandel established himself as a shortstop and hit .377 as a ninth-grader.

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BASEBALL

4/11 at C-D Hall 4-2 at Roseville 4:15 4/13 at Stillwater 4:15 4/15 vs Duluth Denfeld 5 4/16 at Woodbury 4:15 4/18 vs W.B. Lake 4:15 4/20 vs Hastings 7 4/21 at Park 4:15 4/25 at East Ridge 4:15 4/27 at Mounds View 4:15 4/29 vs C-D Hall 7 5/2 vs Roseville 7 5/4 vs Stillwater 7 5/6 vs Woodbury 7 5/9 at W.B. Lake 4:15 5/11 at Hastings 7 5/13 vs Park 7 5/16 vs Mounds View 7 5/20 vs Chisago Lakes 7 5/26 6/1 Section Play-in 6/3 Section Quarterfinals 6/7-9 Section Final Four 6/16-17 State Tournament

“We have history proving we win. When we have talent, we’ll win, and the athletes on the team certainly see the talent. ” – head coach Brian Raabe

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Allina Health System Van Dyke Family Polaris


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New talent, same expectations

Ranger Softball • 2010 record: 23-4, third at state (SEC: 11-3, T-first) • Head coach: Angie Ryan, seventh year • Assistant coaches: Erin Casey, Don Cramer and Laura Palke • All-Conference returnees: senior Taylor Burmeister and junior Shannon Nelson. Honorable mention: senior Kailey Hanson

Around the SEC

Defending champ North St. Paul assistant Tom Nemo takes over an up-and-coming East Ridge squad.

Quick Hits • Young newcomers will see playing time at several spots • Key pitcher-catcher combo returns intact Photo courtesy of Stan Waldhauser

The 2011 Rangers include, front row: Andrea Mogren, Micah McGuiness, Taylor Burmeister, Mikki Modjeski, Shannon Nelson and Natalie Wright. Back row: Brooke Halbert, Mikayla Watters, Kailey Hanson, Dana Mogren, Maggie Forsell and Lauren Riedeman. When former Forest Lake softball standout Angie Ryan took the head job at her alma mater, she came in with a plan to build the program from the ground up. After years of holding camps and working directly with summer leagues and traveling team coaches, the seventh-year head coach and her staff are really beginning to reap the benefits. “There’s a lot of people that put in a lot of time, and I’m just so appreciative,” she said. “We really feel we have a strong program, one of the strongest in the state, actually. We feel very good about where it’s going.” It is not really accurate to say they are beginning to reap the benefits – Forest Lake has gone to state three years running. But the advantages of having a solid foundation will truly manifest this spring. Five starters, nearly all multi-year starters, graduated. In step a handful of underclassmen, mostly ninthgraders and sophomores. Still, Ryan has never entertained the notion of expecting a step back this year. “We have a strong program and we want to keep it that way,” she said. “They know that. They have high expectations, just like I do.” It helps that the youngsters can realistically be expected to play well. “We used to have to work so hard at coaching varsity, whereas now [new varsity members] come in so much further along, just miles ahead of where they came in my first couple years,” Ryan said. It is not a complete overhaul. Forest Lake returns five starters, including its bat-

tery. Senior Taylor Burmeister transitioned extremely well to being the pitching workhorse last season, throwing nearly every inning as the Rangers allowed just 40 runs and went 23-4. “She’s definitely gotten better hitting her spots,” Ryan reported. “She looks good. She’s using her legs more, her riseball is better, her changeup looks better than it did last spring.” Catching Burmeister will be three-year varsity member Kailey Hanson. The Southwest Minnesota State commit is an elite defensive catcher whom Ryan expects to also be a big part of the offense as a senior. Mikki Modjeski is the final senior and also brings two previous years of varsity experience. An intelligent communicator, she will captain the outfield from centerfield. Modjeski will likely be flanked by newcomers. Ninth-graders Natalie Wright, Lauren

2011 Spring Sports Preview page

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Baseball page

Riedeman and Mikayla Watters are among those vying for the corner positions. Around the horn, speedy junior Shannon Nelson returns to start for a third season at second base. A starting outfielder in 2010, junior Andrea Mogren will bring quickness to third base and power that belies her size to the lineup. The left side of the infield will be all Mogren, as Andrea’s sister, Dana, lines up at shortstop. The long and rangy sophomore has one of the strongest arms on the team and projects as a good hitter. Brooke Halbert will get first crack at first base. The sophomore flashes a good glove, but will have to hold off junior Maggie Forsell when she returns from injury. Junior Micah McGuiness could figure in the outfield mix and

will serve as the backup pitcher. The offense may seem down from last year on paper, but Ryan thinks it will play out otherwise. “As good as we thought we were going to be offensively last year, we really weren’t until the end, at sections we started hitting,” she said. “We were just extremely good at defense last year – that’s what won most of our games. So I think this team can definitely compete with where that team was offensively last year.” The Suburban East Conference remains among the most loaded in the state. Hastings, who tied for the title with the Rangers in 2010, loses its all-state pitcher and catcher, but still figures to contend. Stillwater is always tough, and Roseville and White Bear Lake should benefit from new coaches. The Raiders are being led by former University of Minnesota co-head coach Julie Standering, while Ryan’s former assistant Kaity Wightman left Forest Lake to lead the Bears. Duluth Central could emerge as a sectional force, as the program combines with Duluth Denfeld starting this year. There is a rule change to keep an eye on this spring, as the high school league decided to move the pitching mound back three feet further from the plate. Batters will now be 43 feet from the pitcher, just like in college. “People make a big deal out of that, but it really isn’t for the kids because they play that distance in the summer,” Ryan noted.

Synchro page

4 Boys

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Lacrosse

Track page

5 Girls

Track

page

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articles written by sports Editor Clint Riese

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• Solid program going for fourth straight state trip

By The Numbers

3.4-1 Ratio by which Forest Lake outscored opponents last season

SOFTBALL 4/11 at C-D Hall 4:15 at East Ridge 4:15 4/14 vs Virginia 11:30 4/16 vs Hermantown 2 4/16 vs W.B. Lake 7 4/18 at Hastings 4:15 4/21 vs Stillwater 7 4/25 vs Roseville 7 4/27 vs Park 4:15 4/28 at Mounds View 4:15 5/2 at W.B. Lake 4:15 5/4 at Roseville 4:15 5/5 vs Woodbury 4:15 5/9 at Stillwater 4:15 5/11 vs Mounds View 4:15 5/12 at Duluth East 5:30 5/13 at Duluth Denfeld 7 5/13 vs Rosemount 7 5/17 at North Branch 4:30 5/19 5/24 Section Play-in 5/26 Section Quarterfinals 6/1-2 Section Final Four 6/9-10 State Tournament

“They come in just miles ahead of where they came in my first couple of years.” – coach Angie Ryan

File photos

Taylor Burmeister pitched her way to honorable mention All-State honors last spring. Left: Kailey Hanson will team with Burmeister to form an experienced battery.

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FL chases third SEC, sixth section title in a row Ranger Boys Track

• 2010 record: first in SEC, first in Section 7AA • Head coach: Paul Kendrick, 14th year overall • Assistant coaches: Ron Backes, Mike Coffee, Tom Hipkins, Chris Fahey, Deno Johnson, Brandon Brambilla and Adam Wilson • Captains: seniors Phil d’Entremont, Hayden Lane, Tyler Massey and Charlie Royce • All-Conference returnees: d’Entremont, Lane, Massey, Royce, senior Tyler Colling, junior Eric Herbert, junior Joe Jackson, junior Ben Long and junior Tommy Tyson

Around the SEC Stillwater, W.B. Lake and Mounds View took the 3-5 spots at the 2010 True Team State Meet.

Quick Hits File photos

Senior captain Phil d’Entremont, left, is part of a standout distance crew that will be counted on to score lots of points for Forest Lake this spring.

could also factor in, and said. “I would say that Carlson has experience in sprint depth, we’ll see where we’re at, but right the event. The Rangers return now I’m thinking that’s Strong Field much from a strong an area I have a concern Forest Lake returns throwing contingent. with.” two state qualifiers in Senior Charlie Royce Even with the departhe pole vault. Seniors won the 2010 conference tures, the Rangers boast Tyler Massey and some burners. champiTyler Colling tied Tyson and Massey onship in for fifth- and 12thtook the fifth and the shot place, respecsixth spots in the put with a tively, at Hamline 100 at the sectoss of 50-8 University. The tion meet. Senior 3/4. Senior top four state Zach Greene Hayden finishers were should also win Lane proseniors. Massey some points in the vides a topped out at 14-3 solid sec- Charlie Royce event. Joe Jackson last spring, and ond scorer. Those three Colling at 13-11. last year joined The duo In the season-opening Minnesota High School also will head up the dis- Griffin on the state-qualiIndoor Classic this April cus. Lane won the SEC fying 4x100 relay. Competition is open 2, Massey set the indoor meet last season and has school record of 14-0. topped out at over 150 in the 200. The coachThere is depth, too, as feet. Royce also posted a ing staff will sort through senior Kyle Olson has top-five finish at the sec- a wide field of runners, tion meet. Senior Scot including Walton, junior also cleared 12-0. Larson will provide depth Pat Moran, junior Mac The Rangers also in both events. Schultz, sophomore Glen return a state qualifier On the Track Miron and senior newin the long jump. Tommy The running events comer Eric Invie. Tyson took 14th at state were a strong point for That mix may also as a junior and set a personal best of 21-6 1/2 earli- the team last year, but contribute in the 400, er in the season. The sup- Kendrick is looking for which could be boosted porting cast will include some athletes to step up by some of the longerjunior Andrew Mansmith, this spring, particularly distance specialists. who leaped 19-5 last year, in the middle distances. Head cross country and possibly Olson and State medal-winners Josh coach Deno Johnson Nielsen (400 meter) and senior Brandon Carlson. JJ Weigel (1,600 and 800) oversees the distance Tyson is also a 41-foot graduated. Tra Griffin, crew, which includes triple jumper. He took who took sixth in the 100 many from his state-qualfifth at sections last sea- as a sophomore, moved ifying fall team. son. Colling and sopho- to St. Paul. “Those kids were all more Anthony Tyler are good cross country kids, Griffin, Nielsen and in mix to round out the so we’re expecting that then-senior Mitch New event. formed three legs of the crew to really do well,” Cody Walton turned 4x200 relay team which Kendrick said. heads high-jumping as took seventh at state. Seniors Ben Long and a ninth-grader last year Eric Herbert, junior Joe “We gotta have some and has cleared 6-0 Jackson and sophomore already this spring. Tyler guys step up,” Kendrick Jacob Jankowski form a

solid nucleus, and senior captain Phil d’Entremont has also logged a lot of miles. Hurdle events could go from a weakness to a strength, as all the main contributors return and look improved. “Some of them trained pretty hard in the offseason,” said Kendrick. “So Aaron Egelkraut and Andrew Mansmith, we’re hoping for big things from them.” Walton also will hurdle.

Outlook

Overall, Forest Lake has a stable program with veteran coaching in place. Numbers were down just a bit, but Kendrick is excited about the potential of the 20-strong class of ninth-graders. The SEC remains rugged, with Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Mounds View and Roseville joining the Rangers as title contenders. Forest Lake will likely have an easier time defending its section title. Once some positions are sorted out, Forest Lake may once again make its typical late-season charge. “I’m pleased with what we have out,” Kendrick said. “Like every year, I think we’ll be a team that’s mid- to late-blooming again, just because we’re looking at young guys and seeing who can step up.”

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Above right: Senior Tyler Massey will again star in several events, including the 4x100 relay. Left: Senior Tyler Colling is eyeing big things in the pole vault. Above: Junior Tommy Tyson will play a big role as a sprinter and in the long and triple jumps.

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• Field events a strength • Team seeks third straight conference championship • Middle sprints among the few question marks heading into the season

By The Numbers

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Returning pole vault competitors who finished ahead of Tyler Massey at state

BOYS TRACK 4/2 MN Indoor Classic 7th at Univ. of Minnesota 4/7 SEC Relays 4th 4/12 Osceola (WI) Invite 3:45 4/14 at Stillwater 3:45 4/16 Pony Classic 9:45 at Stillwater 4/20 at Roseville 3:45 4/22 Hamline Elite Meet tbd 4/29 at Park tbd 5/7 Roch. Mayo Invite 10 5/10 True Team Section 3:30 at W.B. Lake 5/18 at Stillwater 3:45 5/20 True Team State tbd 5/24 SEC Prelims 3:15 at East Ridge 5/26 SEC Finals 4:15 at East Ridge 6/1 Section Prelims 11 at Grand Rapids 6/4 Section Finals 11 at Grand Rapids 6/10 State Prelims tbd at Hamline Univ. 6/11 State Finals tbd at Hamline Univ.

“I think we’ll be a mid- to lateblooming team again because we’re seeing who can step up.” – coach Paul Kendrick

GOOD LUCK Forest Lake Rangers

From The

Forest Lake Times

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The Ranger boys’ track and field program is riding high on a string of successful seasons. In 2010, the boys claimed their second consecutive Suburban East Conference championship and their fifth straight Section 7AA title. They went on to medal in six events at state, taking 14th place. “We’ve just been fortunate enough to have enough talent to be really competitive,” said coach Paul Kendrick. “There’s a lot of good coaches in our conference and section, but you need talent to win.” Finding the right balance of “track” and “field” will be crucial if the run is to continue this spring. Heading into this season, Forest Lake looks to be quite strong in the field events, while some holes exist on the track.


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Numbers soar as track girls seek continued rise Forgive Eric Kaluza and Matt Cleary if they are still learning names as the track and field season begins. The cohead coaches have a crew of 102 girls at their disposal this spring. That number is up about 20 from last year, and is triple the amount Kaluza inherited when he became coach in 2007. He is not shy about hoping to grow the program upwards of 200 within a few years. That amount of talent to cultivate might be necessary to compete with the likes of Mounds View in the Suburban East Conference and Elk River in Section 7AA. It might be possible, considering that this year’s seniors number less than 10. “We are young all the way around,” Kaluza said. The staff even brought up a dozen or so seventh- and eighthgraders. The high turnout and solid base of talent will be needed as Forest Lake tries to defend its True Team Section title and replace several graduated state qualifiers. Graduation hit the

sprint crew especially hard. Sophomores Amanda Sievers, Amina Cheikh and Liz Thorson will be asked to step into leading roles in the 100 and 200. The middle- and long- distance events should be a strength for the Rangers. “We’re going to be strong 400 on up, we’ll be very tough to beat,” Kaluza said. Junior Sarah Hagen and ninth-grader Lara Steinhoff will contribute in the 400, and distance crew juniors Holly Winberg and Cassie Thobe will dip down into the event, as well. In the 800 on up, Thobe and Winberg will be joined by fellow cross-country standouts including senior Liz Peterson, eighthgrader Rocci Wohlk, seventh-grader Emma Benner and eighth-grader Abby Van Bergen. Wohlk finished fourth at sections in the 3200 last year and is running under 5:30 in the mile this spring. “They’ve done a phenomenal job,” Kaluza said of the long-distance runners. “They

are at or better than they were last year at this point already.” Sophomore Jessica Dhaene appears ready to have a big year in the hurdles, as she is hitting around 50 seconds in the 300-meter variety. Sophomore Rachel Schumaker is also competing in hurdles. The Rangers were dealt a blow in the field events when junior captain Kayla Suess suffered a torn labrum. She took sixth in the conference in the long jump last spring, and would have figured in the pole vault, high jump and hurdles. Her status for returning is unknown. Her loss will be felt most in the long jump, as that and the triple jump are among the most unsettled spots on the team at this point. High jump should still be a strong point, as Schumaker and eighth-grader Sarah Jaeb are clearing 4-10. Schumaker placed sixth in the conference last year. Junior Hailee Cohoes is the top returning pole vaulter and is clearing 8-7.

Forest Lake will score a ton of points in the throwing events. Junior Sam Anderson went to state in both the shot put and discus last season and threetime conference scorer Amy Holmes, a senior, was not far off. Even if all goes well, the Rangers would be hard-pressed to edge Mounds View, Roseville or Stillwater for the SEC title. “We would love to be fourth in the conference,” Kaluza said. The team took third in the section in 2010 and could improve on that, although defending champion Elk River remains the favorite. Forest Lake’s true hope, though, is to make another trip to the True Team State meet. “We know White Bear and Blaine are hungry, they don’t want us to beat them again,” Kaluza said. “That’s our centralized focus. We have one month to get ready for it.”

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Ranger Girls Track and Field

• 2010 record: Sixth in conference, third in section • Head coaches: Eric Kaluza, fifth year and Matt Cleary, second year • Assistant coaches: Mike Coffee, Devin Swanberg and Paul Wieland • Captains: senior Amy Holmes, senior Liz Peterson, junior Kayla Suess and junior Holly Winberg • All-Conference returnees: Eighth-grader Rocci Wohlk

Around the SEC GIRLS TRACK Mark Sotebeer enters his 30th and final season as coach at Roseville, which took fourth at state.

Quick Hits • State-qualifier Anderson leads strong throwing crew • Talent abounds in longdistance events • True Team section title defense is top priority

By The Numbers

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Girls on the team this season, up from the mid-80s in recent years

4/5 Chisago Lakes T. Trials 4/6 M. View Time Trials 4/12 at Roseville 4 4/14 at Stillwater 3:45 4/16 Saints Invite 10 at St. Francis 4/19 at Mounds View 3:45 4/26 at Roseville 3:45 4/28 at W.B. Lake 3:45 4/29 Hamline Elite Meet 4 5/6 at Chisago Lakes 3:45 5/10 True Team Section 4 at W.B. Lake 5/20 True Team State 4 at Stillwater 5/24 SEC Prelims 3:15 at East Ridge 5/26 SEC Finals 4 at East Ridge 6/1 Section Prelims 11 at Grand Rapids 6/4 Section Finals 11 at Grand Rapids 6/10 State Prelims 10 at Hamline Univ. 6/11 State Finals 10 at Hamline Univ.

“We’re going to be strong from the 400 on up, we’ll be very tough to beat.” – coach Eric Kaluza

Photos by Clint RIese/File

Clockwise from above: Junior Sam Anderson hopes to build on a state appearance; Kayla Suess, Liz Peterson, Amy Holmes and Holly Winberg (not pictured) will captain the team; Eighth-grader Abby Van Bergen is part of a deep pool of distance runners; Sophomore Jessica Dhaene has looked good in the hurdles this spring.

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Page 6A – Thursday, April 14, 2011 – Forest Lake Times

www.forestlaketimes.com

Singles fuel loaded squad Coming off the first team state appearance in school history, hopes are as high as they have ever been for the Ranger boys’ tennis program. Forest Lake returns six of 10 varsity players to a lineup centered around a killer singles flight that remains intact. “You’ve got to pick your poison,” said veteran coach Greg Patchin. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to come against us as a coach.” In 2010, the fearsome foursome of Dusty and Toby Boyer, Zack Decker and Brett Gravelle combined to lose just 10 matches while propelling the Rangers to a mark of 15-4 and the Section 7AA title. All but Gravelle also qualified for the individual state tournament, and Dusty Boyer won his second consecutive state singles title as a sophomore. All return as underclassmen. Dusty Boyer is riding a 69-match winning streak and did not drop a set last year until the state tournament. Toby Boyer was the section runner-up to his brother as a seventhgrader and was dominant at No. 2 singles. “Toby is not so much taller [than last year], but so much stronger, and his foot speed is phenomenal,” said Patchin. The best-kept secret may be the junior Decker, who played more than any of his teammates in the offseason. Patchin describes him as an intelligent player who does everything asked of him. All three could be the ace of nearly any team in the state and Patchin does not mince words in discussing their talent. “In all the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve had some great players, but I think the three best play-

Around the SEC BOYS TENNIS Cretin’s Dante Pitera is the lone 2010 individual state qualifier back other than Forest Lake’s three returnees.

Quick Hits Photo by Clint Riese

Front row: Zack Decker, Jake Albee, Toby Boyer, Brett Gravelle, Danny McClure, Zak Buckley and Thane Meier. Back row: Caleb Peters, Austin Riedeman, Nate Riedeman, Dusty Boyer, Ryan Renard, Calvin Eichinger and Austin Morris. ers that have ever picked up a racquet in Forest Lake are playing on the same team right now,” he said, noting that 2000 German foreign exchange student Orkin Cakir may be the lone exception. Gravelle is no pushover, either. The ninth-grader could be one of the best No. 4 singles players in the state. He features athleticism and a lethal backhand. “I think he understands his focus and his goals,” Patchin said. “I think he knows that if he doesn’t get beat, the team isn’t going to get beat. Brett is just such a competitor.” Such a loaded singles lineup means that Forest Lake may often see teams stack their doubles and hope to get lucky at one of the four singles matches. “If we can come up with some doubles, we’re going to be pretty good,” Patchin said. The Rangers have plenty of candidates in that side of the field, but none have yet pulled away from the pack. Juniors Nate Riedeman and Zak Buckley paired at No. 3 doubles for most of last spring. Riedeman’s 10th-

Ranger Synchronized Swimming

• 2010 record: Second at sections, third at state • Head coach: Laura Davison, eighth year • Assistant coaches: Wendy Chelberg, McKinzie Chelberg and Kelly Knutsen • Captains: senior Charity Riesgraf and juniors Brooke Ewert and Morgan Sperry

Around the SEC

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING

The Stillwater Ponies took second place at the 2010 state meet.

(All home events held at Southwest Junior High) FIGURES MEETS:

Quick Hits • Just one senior on roster • Young swimmers fill in gaps left by graduation on extended team • Team has balance among its top several competitors

4/5

at

Stillwater

4/7

vs

Bloomington 27-2 Osseo-M. Grove 29-0

4/14

at Col. Heights (with Richfield)

vs

3-26

4:30

ROUTINE MEETS:

5/3

vs

Stillwater

4:30

5/7 Home Show

By The Numbers

14

Ranger Boys Tennis

• 2010 record: 15-4 (SEC: 7-2, T-second) • Head coach: Greg Patchin, 20th year • Assistant coach: Phil Raaen • All-Conference returnees: junior Dusty Boyer, junior Zack Decker and eighth-grader Toby Boyer. Honorable mention: ninth-grader Brett Gravelle

5/20-21 Section Meet at Columbia Heights 5/26-27 State Meet at Univ. of Minnesota

Routines Forest Lake sent to the state meet last spring, leading to third place

“I think we’re coming back strong for having lost quite a few girls. I feel like we’ve made up some ground.” – coach Laura Davison

grade brother, Austin, will likely end up on a varsity doubles team. Juniors Thane Meier and Ryan Renard could play their way to a varsity position, and seniors Caleb Peters and Jake Albee teamed at the top JV doubles position last year. Two off-season developments will pose challenges to the Rangers. First, two-year varsity member Jeremiah Cusick left for California, where he is in the national training program for the US Archery team. The senior would have been a tennis captain and a No. 1 doubles player. Then Mounds View senior Wyatt McCoy announced he is returning to high school competition after two years of playing in the USTA circuit. The Notre Dame commit won the Class AA state title as an eighth-grader in 2007 and is undefeated against Dusty Boyer in USTA play. Patchin felt this was Forest Lake’s year to beat Mounds View, but McCoy’s return could be enough for the Mustangs to keep their stranglehold on the SEC. Regardless, tennis fans should circle April 26 on their calendar, as the

• Mounds View comes here April 26 for SEC showdown • Stacked singles lineup has four all-conference players • Section 7AA is improved,

4/9 Elk River Triangular vs S. Lake Park 5-2 vs Hibbing 6-1 vs Elk River 2-5 at Chisago Lakes 5-2 4/11 at Stillwater 3:30 4/14 9 4/16 Herzog Invite at Stillwater 4/18 vs Andover 4 at Woodbury 3:30 4/19 at W.B. Lake 3:30 4/21 vs Mounds View 3:30 4/26 at Park 3:30 4/28 vs Centennial 4 5/2 vs Hastings 3:30 5/3 at East Ridge 3:30 5/5 9 5/7 Andover Invite vs Roseville 3:30 5/10 vs Camb.-Isanti 4 5/11 at C-D Hall 3:30 5/12 5/23-24 Team Sectionals 4 5/26 Ind. Subsectionals 9 at St. Francis 5/31 Team Final Four 9 at Hibbing 6/1 Ind. Section Finals 9 at Hibbing 6/7-6/8 State Tournament at Univ. of Minnesota

Mustangs visit Forest Lake but FL the favorite to repeat this year. “If Dusty puts it all together I think he’s going By The Numbers to beat him, but boy I don’t know,” said Patchin. “Dusty has ice water in his veins, but if you get somebody who refuses to lose and you haven’t beat, Consecutive victories for sometimes that can be junior Dusty Boyer entering hard to overcome...There’s the 2011 season going to be some real nice tennis on the 26th, no doubt about it.” Stillwater, Woodbury and Cretin-Derham Hall could compete with Forest Lake, but it would likely be an upset if anyone other than Mounds View beats the Rangers in SEC play. – coach Greg Patchin In the Section 7AA scene, Hibbing is athletic, Cambridge-Isanti may have its best team ever and Duluth East brings nearly everyone back. Still, the Rangers expect to return to the team state meet, where last season they lost 4-3 to eventual runner-up Eagan and 5-2 to Mounds View in the consolation semifinals. “The goal is to get three matches at state,” Patchin said. “Section 7 has been File photo two-and-done at state for Zack Decker improved over another busy offseason six or seven years now.” and should be a force at No. 3 singles.

69

“I think the three best players that have ever picked up a racquet in Forest Lake are playing on the same team right now.”

Youth make waves for FL The Forest Lake synchronized swim team took third place in the state in 2010. The finish tied for the best in program history. The Rangers previously finished third in 1999, when current head coach Laura Davison was a senior on the squad. Davison will be without the large contingent of seniors which helped the team break through last spring after Forest Lake had finished fourth or fifth for five straight years. Just one member of the current team is a senior. Fortunately, some young talent is ready to step in which has Davison believing this year’s team can fare just as well. “I think that we’re coming back strong from losing quite a few girls,” she said. “So far I feel like we’ve made up some ground this season. We had girls do the summer clinic and a few girls working year-round with the Stillwater club and that helped bring up our level from what we lost.” No swimmer below ninth-grade has ever made the extended team here, but two such youngsters are in Forest Lake’s top grouping in 2011.

Photo by Clint Riese

Front row: Rachel Chatwin and Andrea Dunrud. Middle row: Charity Riesgraf and Morgan Sperry. Back row: Katherine Anderson, Resa Brockman, Brooke Ewert and Kirsten Sewall. Seventh-grader Andrea Dunrud and eighthgrader Rachel Chatwin join senior Charity Riesgraf and juniors Katherine Anderson, Resa Brockman, Brooke Ewert, Morgan Sperry and Kiersten Sewall on the extended team. The group will perform to an intense musical compilation entitled ‘Fight.’ Ewert, Riesgraf and

Sperry have an extended trio selection. Sperry and Ewert will also team as a duo. Anderson and Sewall will take part in the extended solo division. Competing as a team in the long division are junior Alissa Ralph, sophomores Kathy Tomnitz, Randi Rossbach and Sarah Kroska, ninth-grader Karlee Lawrence and

eighth-graders Lindsey Crohn, Stephanie Brenk and Jessica Walker. Overall, Davison considers the team to be very balanced. For example, in the figures competitions where swimmers are judged individually on their execution of a series of common moves, any of a number of Rangers could post the highest score. “It’s a really hard thing to call with these girls,” Davison said. “At [our first] meet, Katherine Anderson took the top spot... I looked at it and not one girl took the top spot more than two times last year. It kept rotating and it could do that this year.” Stillwater remains the top contender in the conference and gave Forest Lake an early-season showing of top-level performance. The Rangers, though, are optimistic they can end the season with another top-three finish. ‘We’ve hit the ground running and I’d say as far as knowing our routines, especially our team routines, we’re ahead of the game at this point, which is exciting,” Davison said.


Thursday, April 14, 2011 – Forest Lake Times – Page

www.forestlaketimes.com

One thing stood out to new boys’ lacrosse coach Jon Loo as soon as he started working with the Rangers this spring – desire. No matter the level of experience or skill, the boys have something that can’t be taught. “There’s a lot of really enthusiastic guys,” he said. “You can tell they’ve been part of the whole grassroots operation that started lacrosse in Forest Lake. There is no need to teach them to love the game.” Loo, a teacher at Blaine High School, takes the reins from Rahal Cheikh, who stepped down after one year due to his work schedule. The 1995 Blaine graduate was an assistant lacrosse coach for the Bengals last spring. He is also a Linwood resident who has been an Jon Loo assistant coach in the Forest Lake boys’ hockey program for four years. He takes over a program with 58 players out. The Rangers were held winless in their first season as a high school team in 2010. That made this year’s goal-setting discussion a short one. “One win and we’ve got success,” Loo said. “We’re just going to try to get better every year.” Loo expects sophomore Dan Mollet to be a key part of the offense. Senior captain Steve Pignato and junior Chase Hamernick lead a defense protecting the net in front of goalie Collin Murray. The team again calls the fields at the Central Learning Center home. Bleachers have been added over the off-season, though a permanent scoreboard solution has yet to be finalized. The team has been practicing on a soccer field in order to let the main field dry out. When the boys finally take to it, look for a fullfledged effort. “These guys are ready to win,” Loo said. “They’re thirsty.”

7A

Rangers have the hunger Ranger Boys Lacrosse

• 2010 record: 0-10 • Head coach: Jon Loo, first year • Assistant coach: Greg Sowden • Captains: senior Nathan Fuerst, senior Steve Pignato and senior Jake Shields • All-Conference returnees: Shields. Honorable mention: Pignato

Around the SEC BOYS LACROSSE In boys’ lacrosse, Park and East Ridge join together as South Washington County.

4/12 at St. Cloud Tech 6:30 4/13 at Andover

7

4/22 at S. Lake Park 7 File photos

Forest Lake jumped in head-first to the varsity lacrosse scene last season. The boys hung close in a few games but are seeking their first win as the 2011 season begins.

Quick Hits • Team sets goal of first win in program history • New coach Jon Loo comes from the staff at Blaine, which went 12-0 in the regular season last year

By The Numbers

2

4/25 vs Mahtomedi

6

4/27 at S. Wash. Co.

7

5/2

vs

Stillwater

6

5/4

at

Mounds View 6:30

5/9

vs

Woodbury

6

5/11 at Roseville

6

5/12 at Irondale

7

5/16 vs W.B. Lake

6

tbd

Section 4 Tourney

6/7-10 State Tourney

Everything should be that much smoother for the boys in their second go-around

“You can tell they’ve been part of the whole grassroots operation that started lacrosse here. There is no need to teach them to love the game.” – coach Jon Loo

Numbers don’t lie: Sport catching on in FL Ranger Girls Lacrosse

• 2010 record: 3-10 • Head coach: Krista Seipel, second year • Assistant coach: Heidi Link • Captains: senior Jamila Cheikh, senior Laura Goedeke and senior McCall Lemmons • All-Conference returnees: Cheikh. Honorable mention: Goedeke, Lemmons and sophomore Amy Enrooth

Around the SEC GIRLS LACROSSE In girls’ lacrosse, Woodbury and East Ridge join together as South Washington County.

Quick Hits • Team won three games in first year as varsity sport • Most of the scoring punch returns • Tightening up defense will be a key

By The Numbers

56

The girls’ program has nearly doubled in size to 56 in its second season

4/13 at Andover

5:30

4/15 at Blaine

6

4/19 at S. Lake Park 6:30 4/20 vs C-D Hall

6

4/26 vs Hill-Murray 6 4/27 vs Park

6

5/2

at

Stillwater

6

5/4

vs

Mounds View 6

5/9

at

S. Wash. Co. 6

5/11 vs Roseville

6

5/16 at W.B. Lake

6

5/18 vs Mahtomedi 6 tbd

Section 4 Tourney

6/7-10 State Tourney

“It’s been a lot easier. Just on the coaching side with the drills, there’s a foundation there so they know what to expect.” – coach Krista Seipel

It’s safe to say that lacrosse is catching on as a girls’ sport in Forest Lake. The Rangers started their program last season with 31 participants. One spring later, the number has ballooned to 56. The sudden growth allows for a full JV team. Last year, several girls carried over between JV and varsity. For head coach Krista Seipel, that means a bigger talent base to pick from. Much of the spots, though, are already locked down as Forest Lake returns nearly all of its key players from its inaugural season. In her senior season, allconference forward Jamila Cheikh will again be flanked by McCall Lemmons and Laura Goedeke. Both were all-conference honorable mention picks as juniors last year, when the Rangers went 3-10. Sophomore midfielder Amy Enrooth also made the honorable mention cut in 2010. Three starters return to the defense: senior Kristina Johnson and juniors Quin Lei and Haley Huberty. Senior Allie Dreher will protect the pipes this season. Seipel got to coach some of the girls in a 7-on-7 league in Stillwater this winter. She said this season has seemed like a breeze so far as the bulk of the girls know the ropes going in. “It’s been a lot easier,” she said. “Just on the

File photos

Laura Goedeke, above, was a key scorer for the Rangers in 2010. At right, McCall Lemmons returns for a second year as one of the team’s captains. coaching side with the drills, there’s a foundation there this year so they kind of know what to expect.” As a second-year program, there is still a focus on teaching fundamentals and getting the girls up to speed with the game’s inner workings. “I told them they’ve built an excellent foundation,” Seipel said. “Stronger defense is the goal, and we’re looking to have more of a bold offense.”


Page 8A – Thursday, April 14, 2011 – Forest Lake Times

www.forestlaketimes.com

Deep squad poised for state return After three straight top-three finishes at the state meet, fate was cruel to the Ranger golf boys last spring. The team finished a dramatic lateseason run with its third consecutive Suburban East Conference championship, but fell short in heartbreaking fashion at the Section 7AAA meet. Forest Lake improved by 38 strokes on its section-winning score from 2009, only to see Elk River shoot a remarkable 576 to win the title. The scores could drop again this spring, because the Rangers appear as dangerous as in any of their state years. Six of the team’s top seven golfers return, and competition runs extremely deep Max even beyond that. Four spots are locked up with all-conference returnees, and upwards of 10 boys are shooting it out for playing time at the last two varsity positions. “It’s going to be very competitive, and that’s what I told the guys – it’s going to make us better,” said coach John Buck. Talent abounds, but Buck is equally excited about the attitude and cohesion the squad has displayed early on. “I want them to really try to just enjoy [the season],” he said. “Last year sometimes the kids weren’t enjoying themselves. Part of that was just the leadership and the atmosphere that develops from that and they have to fight it. This year I don’t expect to have to deal with that.” Two seniors with state experience will captain the team. Drew Massey qualified individually last season and Shane Sampair tied for eighth at the 2009 state meet. Massey, who will golf for St. Cloud State next year, came on strong last season after missing his sophomore season with an injury. “He has a really big upside, and I think he’s just kind of scratched the

surface,” Buck said. Sampair, who will play for Fort Lewis College in Colorado next year, was fourth in the SEC in scoring last season at 74.0. Forest Lake’s biggest weapon, though, will be sophomore Max Kelly, who broke out in a big way as a ninth-grader. Kelly won the SEC scoring title (72.25), took second in the section and tied for eighth place at the state meet. Another sophomore, Trevor Thompson, golfed his way onto the all-conference team in his first varsity season and had the team’s third-best score at the section meet. Senior Matt Skoglund and Kelly junior Zach Dickinson each had extensive varsity experience in 2010 and will have a chance to round out the lineup. Juniors Taylor Bisbee and Brad Rod, sophomore Sam Shiminski and ninthgraders Daniel Massey and Jake Moryn are among those also competing for varsity playing time. “Who else is going to step up?” Buck said. “There’s a long list of kids, so I’m excited.” Interest in the program is peaking, as 75 boys are out for the sport. Most will play on a developmental team which Buck plans to run similar to a league. Roseville and Stillwater should again be among the top competition in the SEC. Section 7AA may be even more competitive than the conference, as Elk River returns the top four scorers from its third-place state lineup and Grand Rapids continues to improve. Soggy conditions kept Forest Lake off the course for the first few weeks of practice. Instead, assistant coach Jeff Wilson coordinated a series of conditioning drills aimed at getting the team off to a fast start. “We’re not going to have a lot of extra time, so they’ve got to be in shape and ready to go,” Buck said.

Ranger Boys Golf

• 2010 record: first in conference, second in section • Head coach: John Buck, seventh year • Assistant coaches: Jeff Wilson, Aaron Forsythe and Matt Fenno • Captains: Seniors Drew Massey and Shane Sampair • All-Conference returnees: Massey, Sampair and sophomores Max Kelly and Trevor Thompson

Around the SEC

Roseville senior Sam Mathew is the lowestscoring returner in the SEC other than FL’s Max Kelly.

Quick Hits • Nearly everyone back from SEC-winning team • Sophomore Kelly tied for eighth at state last spring File photos

Senior captains Shane Sampair, above, and Drew Massey each have state tournament experience. They lead a Ranger team deep in talent this spring.

• Defending section champ Elk River looks tough again

By The Numbers

+4

Forest Lake’s section score of 580 was just four over par, but also four back of Elk River

BOYS GOLF 4/12 at River Oaks GC 4/14 Blaine Invite at Bunker Hills GC at TPC Blaine 4/18 4/19 SEC Meet at Hastings CC 4/21 Chisago Lakes Inv. at Chisago Lakes GC 4/25 W.B. Lake Invite at Dellwood Hills GC 4/28 Brainerd Invite at The Preserve 4/29-30 at Edinburgh USA GC 5/3 SEC Meet at River Oaks GC 5/7 FL Invite at Forest Hills GC 5/9 SEC Meet at Prestwick GC 5/13-14 Detroit Lakes Invite at Detroit Lakes CC 5/16 SEC Meet at Forest Hills GC 5/19 SEC Meet at Highland National 5/23 Duluth East Invite at Northland CC 5/25 SEC Tournament at Keller GC 5/30, 6/2 Section Tournament (Location TBD) 5/14-16 State Tournament at Bunker Hills GC

1 9 8 2:30 1 12 9 1 2 3 1

2:30 9 8 tbd

11, 9 tbd

“[Competition for varsity] is going to be very competitive. I told the guys it’s going to make us better.” – coach John Buck

It’s a whole new ball game for green team Ranger Girls Golf • 2010 record: fourth in conference, third in section • Head coach: Joel Hall, sixth year • Assistant coach: Joe Mueller • Captain: senior Sami Moe • All-Conference returnees: Moe

Around the SEC

Cassie Deeg and Hailey Boner placed in the top 10 as sophomores to help Stillwater take third at state last year.

Quick Hits • Longtime leaders gone as team opens new era • Plenty of competition for final varsity spots • Home invite scheduled for Monday, May 2

By The Numbers

1

Seniors out for the team this year

GIRLS GOLF 4/18 at TPC Blaine tbd 4/21 SEC Meet 4:40 at Prestwick GC 4/25 SEC Meet 2:45 at Midland Hills CC 4/26 Elk River Invite 11 at Elk River CC 4/28 SEC Meet 3 at Highland National GC 5/2 Ranger Invite 10 at Forest Hills GC 5/3 SEC Meet 2:30 at North Oaks GC 5/5 Northfield Invite 2 at Willingers CC 5/9 SEC Meet 12:30 at W.B. Lake Yacht Club 5/10 Red Wing Invite 1 at Mississippi National GC 5/12 SEC Meet tbd at River Oaks GC 5/16 SEC Meet 3 at Hastings CC 5/19 SEC Meet 4:45 at Prestwick GC 5/20-21 Duluth Invite 1, 9 at Ridgeview, Northland 5/26 SEC Tournament tbd at Oak Glen 5/30, 6/2 Section Tournament 11, 9 (Location TBD) 6/14-16 State Tournament tbd at Bunker Hills GC

“We should be able to beat some teams and hopefully hang with some of the better teams.” – coach Joel Hall

Filming swings, practicing yoga, putting in the hallway...the season was not 10 days old yet and Forest Lake girls’ golf coach Joel Hall was already digging deep to think of how to run a practice without the benefit of a course to play on. The lingering effects of the harsh winter had the sixth-year head coach listing the benefits of moving the golf season to the fall. “If we start it mid-August and have the state tournament first week in October, that would be fantastic,” he said. “We’ll have half the season done before school even starts. You wouldn’t have to miss school, it’d be great.” But alas, there is a season to play this spring, muddy though it may be. This year, in particular, Hall could have used all the nice days he could get to sort out just what he has with a young roster. Opponents may have trouble recognizing Forest Lake this spring without Betsy Kelly atop the scorecard. The six-year varsity member, five-time state qualifier and 2009 state champion is now playing for the Colorado State Rams. Also gone is four-year varsity member Katie Nowicki. “We graduated the biggest class we’ve ever graduated last year,” Hall said. “It’s tough to see Betsy go and Katie Nowicki go. They’ve been staples for a long time.” The Rangers return four girls who saw significant varsity time and their development will dictate the team’s success. Sami Moe enters her third varsity season as the team’s lone senior. She placed second on the team at the section meet last year. “She can scramble well. She usually does pretty well with the shortgame stuff,” Hall said. “She just has that one blow-up hole and if she eliminates that and can rely on that consistency she does show, she’ll be in really good shape.” Junior Katie Wick and sopho-

File photos

Senior Sami Moe earned all-conference honors a year ago and will be counted on for consistent scores, as she is surrounded by a young cast. more Emily Proulx saw their scores count toward the team total often in 2010. Wick is strong physically and can hit the ball long. “The first time I saw her swing a club in ninth grade, I looked at [assistant coach Joe] Mueller and said, ‘She’ll be all-conference honorable mention by the time she’s a junior.’ So this is her year,” Hall said. Proulx is entering just her second varsity season, but she has a lot of playing experience and Hall considers her a “seasoned veteran” already. “Those three have to be able to play day in and day out,” he said. “If they have a bad day, hopefully it can’t be that bad.” Ninth-grader Maggie Jeans played extensively last spring and ninth-grader Rachel Skoglund just missed a varsity letter. Among those who could fill out the lineup are sophomore Maddy Wohlberg and Katelin Krueger, who both have put in a lot of practice on their own.

Just 17 girls came out for the squad, as the coaches encouraged less experienced golfers to take private lessons. Last spring, the nonvarsity and JV girls practiced on a developmental team. “The girls that did it just didn’t get enough out of it and for the 200 bucks they’re spending on the activity fee, they’d be better off spending that on private lessons or a membership somewhere,” Hall said. The varsity crew will have their hands full in the Suburban East Conference, as Stillwater could be a state contender and White Bear Lake returns three individual state competitors. In Section 7AAA, defending champ Grand Rapids will remain tough, and Elk River is on the rise. “Realistically, I’m hoping for the top half [of the conference],” Hall said. “We should be able to beat some teams and hopefully hang with some of the better teams if we play well.”


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