Northern Tier Stars Girls hockey (Co-op with C-I, North Branch & St. Francis)
Head coach: Cory Denney
Assistant coaches: Brett Westbrook and Danae Douville
2021 Roster: Carly Koolmo, Abygail Spitzer, Karlissa Anderson, Haley Olson, Raelyn Putnam, Ashlynn Grady, Zajra Grant, Charity Olson, Jasmin Sibell, Chole Moline, Samantha Rudnick, Chloe Olson, Jaden Kozak, Jenna Kurkowski, Jenna Hari, Marissa Miller, Madison Neubauer, Gabrielle Giving, Allison Kishish, Kathryn Busse, Hailey Turner, Alexa Oliver, Ashton Parnell, Cecelia Lero, Samantha Olson, and Meghan Gibb.
Who are the key players this year? Jenna Kurkowski (F) - Senior, Jasmyn Sibell (D) - Senior, Meghan Gibb (G) - Junior, Ashton Parnell (F) - Senior, Samantha Rudnick (D) - senior, and Jenna Hari (F) - Junior
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? Athletes are required to wear masks as well as limit contact through smaller group sizes and locker room restrictions. We have also implemented screening procedures to ensure that athletes are healthy each day. As a team, we will have to find creative ways to overcome some of these challenges and foster team synergy.
How do you think this pause will affect your team? While the pause has been challenging in respect to the short turnaround time to prepare for competition, it has also created a lot of excitement and motivation among the team to get back on the ice and work hard.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? We have a good range of talent with solid defense, a strong junior goaltender, and an overall hardworking team.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Our main goals are to keep our student athletes healthy so we can continue to play hockey as well as fight for the conference championship. The main obstacles that we are facing this season are being a brand new program that is a co-op of 3 high schools and navigating COVID-19 and related regulations.
Bluejacket Boys swimming and diving
Head coach: Gary Gotz
Assistant coaches: Kate Goebel
2021 Roster: Eli Bingham, Mitchell Patrick, Jonathan Chose, John Humphrey, Michael Sauze, Aidan Timmann, Carson Dissing, Nate Engelking, Joseph Larkin, Dermsie Schauer, Chris William, Carter Rand, Gavin Baar, and Gabriel Ludwig.
Who are the key players this year? Our two seniors , Mitchell Patrick and Eli Bingham will be our strongest performers . We have a group of young developing athletes that should be augmenting their performances before too long.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? The changes in the rules this year will affect the format of our meets more than practices. The order of events will be different with all diving happening first. The competitive lanes will all be different with each team getting 3 lanes but on their own half of the pool instead of alternating. We are still trying to work out a solution on spectators that will allow at least some parents to attend each meet. The good thing is they dont have to wear masks while swimming !
How do you think this pause will affect your team? The pause did affect our numbers slightly as we have a few boys from last year that are not participating due to the uncertainty of whether there would be a season or not and they are working or doing other things.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? Our team is very young this year. We have two seniors, 1 junior the remainder are underclassmen and middle school..
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Our goals this year are to build for the future and to learn as much as we can. Mostly we want to make it a fun season for the boys. Hopefully we will be able to complete the season.
Head coach: Wendy Rooney
Assistant coaches: Megan Schultz and Nic Morgan
2021 Roster: Becca Maikkula, Ellie Goodmanson, Emily Jones, Gabby Hamvas, Megan VanHout, Laci Leverty, Alison Barber, Laci Lorinser, Abby Donnay, Cadence Guenther, Abby Kryzer, Zoe Klocksien, Aubrey Wilson, Jovie Ebertowski, Julia Henderson
Who are the key players this year? I expect all 15 gymnasts to play key roles in our success. Returning from last year’s State Qualifying team are Becca Maikkula, Ellie Goodmanson, Laci Leverty, Alison Barber, Laci Lorinser, and Abby Kryzer. I expect seniors Emily Jones and Gabby Hamvas to make strong contributions as well.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? I don’t think our rules are any different than any other sport, other than the fact that our gymnasts will be allowed to remove their masks for safety reasons. Like the other sports, we’ll have an added challenge of trying to keep our athletes distanced while at practice. They’re used to being a close-knit group and being forced to discontinue so many of our team-bonding behaviors and events will be difficult. We’ll definitely miss the ability to be able to properly celebrate new skills or great routines like we have in the past.
How do you think this pause will affect your team? Even a 2 or 3 week break can significantly affect the progress and timing of skills (particularly new skills where the muscle memory isn’t as developed), so the 6-week forced break will have a negative impact. I trust that our gymnasts were doing everything in their power to stay in good physical shape, but there’s no substitute for actually doing the skills. We’re going to have a lot of sore bodies the first few weeks. The girls kept great attitudes this summer when they came back from the first break, though, and I have no doubt that they’ll have great attitudes again. The main challenge will be only having 2.5 weeks to get skills back, get endurance up, and get routines put together for our first meet.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? We have a fabulous group of girls! They are incredibly hard working and really fun to work with. Regardless of the challenges we’ll face this season, I’m so happy that this group has one more season together.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Our main goal is to be able to complete our season without missing out on any of our competitions. As of now, we don’t know what the Section meet will look like or if we’ll even have a State Tournament. Continuing our streak of Section titles is always a goal, as is doing well in conference competition.
Bluejacket Boys hockey
Head coach: Jared Ziebarth
Assistant coaches: Jeremy Anderson and Cody Kielsa. Volunteer coaches Rich Brown and Scott Overby.
2021 Roster: Nathaniel Bauer, Tyler Haupert, Owen Jarvela, Ryan Olsen, Easton Parnell, Noah Peterson, Nathan Schibilla, Gaven Ziebarth, Jacob Ziebarth, Bobby Hendricks, Andrew Aljets, Peyton Andrews, Jake Brown, Treyten Green, Jaxon Jones, Wyatt Lindell, Jakob Olson, Finn Overby, Luke Pierson, and Evan Meier.
Who are the key players this year? Easton Parnell is the team captain for the third straight year. Jacob Ziebarth will be a solid captain this season. Nathan Schibilla is one of our quickest and shiftiest forwards. Ryan Olsen is our top returning defenseman.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? All participants will need to wear a mask in and out of competition. Recovery and vision are the main concerns. The boys have handled well so far. They don’t like it, but they will do just about anything to play the game of hockey!
How do you think this pause will affect your team? Many players were able to participate in the Bridge Season sponsored by Minnesota Hockey. This helped a great deal in preparing the players for a competitive practice environment.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? We have a dedicated group of athletes this year that have done all the right things to make this a great season. This will be a competitive group of players. The strong leadership has served them well in the off season, and they will lead this team to success during the regular season as well. The boys have lofty goals this year. The biggest challenge will be proving they can put more pucks to the back of the net. With all the hard work leading up to this season, they should be able to accomplish this task.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Our main goal is to improve every time we hit the ice. Staying competitive in all regular season games will be something to shoot for. Monticello, St. Francis and Princeton will be teams we will need to hurtle in order to compete for the M8 Conference Title. The biggest obstacle was surviving the last few years with a low number of hockey players. We will enjoy a larger selection of players this season, which should put pressure on our starters to perform competitively day in and day out.
Bluejacket Girls basketball
Head coach: Jody Ledahl
Assistant coaches: Jeff Kurowski, Mandy Crittenden, and Emily Lindell.
2021 Roster: Mikayla Aumer, Jennifer Steinbring, Aiyana Knight, Emily Nystrom, Theja Jones, Steph Gagne, Madison Lawrence, Evelyn Wiltrout, Kendyl Izzo, Kenzie Rafftery, Alexa Davis, Croix Vavra, and Maraya Wiltrout
Who are the key players this year? Mikayla Aumer is our lone returning letter winner and was our leading scorer at 16.5 ppg. We will rely on her heavily early in the season. We have a group of seniors who have sat backseat to our section championship group from last season. This will finally be their opportunity to step up and contribute to our success.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? Obviously masks are the biggest change and challenge to basketball. They have also modified our timeouts so we get five full timeouts.
How do you think this pause will affect your team? We have one letter winner back from last season, so we have a very inexperienced team. The fact that we have had very little contact with our players since last season puts us quite a ways behind where I would like to have been by this time of the season.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? Although inexperienced, I believe by the end of the season, as we gain experience, we will be very good.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Our goal every season is to put ourselves in position to compete for a conference/section championship--COVID probably being the biggest obstacle this season.
Bluejacket Boys basketball
Head coach: Mike McDonald
Assistant coaches: Matt Braaten, Jeremy Bickford, and Jeff Salo.
2021 Roster: Connor Braaten, colton Skoglund, Reese Bickford, Jordan Sperl, Rigo Mork, Blake Roberts, Caleb Ludwig, Jaxson Skoglund, Aleck Dee, Kobe Karels, Matt Crawford, Alex Magnuson, Chase Carstensen, Braden Jones, and Clay Wilking.
Who are the key players this year? Connor Braaten is our only returning player with real varsity experience. Last year, he anchored our interior defense, while providing games where he scored a lot due to last year’s excellent perimeter players. This year his role will be enhanced. Other players that we feel will contribute are our seniors Rigo Mork, Aleck Dee, Chase Carstensen, Jordan Sperl, and Clay Wilking. We do have an athletic group of underclassmen too, that have the skills to contribute on the varsity level. Our juniors and sophomores are ready to contribute.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? We are following MSHSL and Department of Health guidelines. We have been masking and trying to stay socially distant while practicing. Basketball is a contact sport, but we are doing our best. Bottom line? We are back on the court and playing. To me, we will take it.
How do you think this pause will affect your team? It really affected offseason development. We have had very few interactions with players since March. The thing is, though, that all basketball programs have been in the same situation as us, so we just need to do the best we can with the situation.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? We have many new “varsity” faces. They have been working extremely hard. There are a lot of little things we can do better, but the team seems hungry to prove something.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? We plan on continuing our “Havoc” style of play, aggressive play on both ends of the court. Our goals are to compete every possession and do our best to defend our back to back section championships. Losing a 3000 point scorer and some great teammates from last year is tough, but that’s the nature of high school sports. You have to move on to the next season and compete.
Head coach: Neil Jennissen
Assistant coaches: Jesse Jennissen, Travis Fuhol, Matt Henderson, Chris Lindquist, Erich Harcey, Kyle Hay, Bob Nassif, Nate Nassif, John Henderson, and Travis Huntley.
2021 Roster: Leo Edblad, Carter Wothe Logan Lindquist, Maverick Henderson, Caleb Sachs, brandon Austin, Payton Doty, Wyatt Wothe, Treytin Byers, Justin Henderson, Darren Spencer, Andrew Stickley, Devan Jones, Scott Simpson, Quinten Harcey, Austin Wood, James Harcey, Brock Brown, Braylon davis, Syatt Kassa, Blaine Wald, James Peterson, Logan Carlile, Jacob Henderson, Dominic Cardenas, Kami Senlycki, Joe Dorber, Isaiah Wessel, Laiken Brasch, Sam Rodriguez, and Andru Hansen.
Who are the key players this year? Seniors Brandon Austin, Logan Lindquist, Devan Jones, Jacob McCabe Andrew Stickley and Wyatt Wothe should provide great leadership from the top! Returning section placewinners Leo Edblad, Payton Doty, Treytin Byers and Scott Simpson will be top underclass contributors.
How do you think any COVID-related rules will impact your team? Trying to keep a team apart that is not used to social distancing is a challenge! The differences due to COVID are too numerous to list. We are just happy we have a chance to practice and compete.
How do you think this pause will affect your team? We are behind, but the kids are working hard, so we will improve throughout the season, and hopefully be where we need to be at the end of the season.
COVID aside, what is your initial impression about this year’s squad? So far so good.
What are your main goals for this season and what obstacles do you foresee in reaching those goals? Both Conference and Section are loaded with ranked teams, however we have some tough kids too, so it should be fun to watch and see how well we can hang with the best!