VIKING GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
Head coach: Norm Nagel
Assistant coaches: Brent Lundgren, Eli Erickson, Madison Mench, Paige Larson, Kathy Robtcek, Mike Boelk, and Adam Wilson.
Who are the players to watch this year? Avery Smith, Dakota Esget, Sophia Thorsen, Sophia Benedict, Derrian Dick, and Ella Kuhlman all return from last season’s 4x200 and 4x400 relay state qualifiers. Ella Dick returns as a state pole vault qualifier, and Asaysha Olson qualified in both long and triple jump last year.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? This year’s squad is young and very polished. We will be very strong in the sprints and relays this year. We have all of our athletes coming back with a lot of new faces to help this group. We have a ton of pole vaulters. Our field events should be strong too.
What challenges will the team face? Rightnow our biggest obstacle is the weather. It looks like mother nature is not on our side this year. We already have a short season and not getting on the track to do field events, workouts is hard to swallow.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? We first would like to achieve academic gold status, move up from 3rd place in our conference, top three in sections, and defend the Section 7AA True Team trophy.
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? Cambridge-Isanti and Monticello in the conference. Cloquet and Chisago Lakes in the section.
VIKING BOYS TENNIS
Head coach: Joel Santjer
Assistant coaches: Bryant Meyer
Who are the players to watch this year? We’re going to be looking to see some growth for this season from our players that have been out awhile, especially in our singles lineup. We’ll have quite a few guys back from last year. We’ll mix things up a bit in the lineup and have some guys playing new positions.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? We’re really pushing for our guys to stay consistent, and be aggressive when necessary. With more guys back this year than last, it’s fun to have a base skill already in place. Now we can just keep fine tuning our skills and get better every day.
What challenges will the team face? The weather was an early problem for us, but we’re through that now. The guys stayed in great spirits and worked really hard during those in-door practices.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? Grow the program and grow the players.
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? We’ve got a great section and conference with lots of great competition.
Head coach: Kathy Crudo
Assistant coaches: Carli Hart, Ava Sittlow, Karissa Ratcliff, Kyle Groh, Brandon Hunter
Who are the players to watch this year? I think our returners will be our backbone this year. Hannah Bernier, Erin Pederson, Peyton Verdon, and Kaytlin Hammond. However we have a few players that practiced with varsity all last year that will need to step up in full time roles: Samantha Schmitt, and Abby Pfiefer.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? Our older girls leading the younger girls in a positive manner will be huge for us. We will obviously have our pitcher/catcher back which is nice defensively but filling the open spots with kids stepping up and playing varsity for the first time will be a process. I think consistency will be the main factor for us. Once our leaders become more consistent I think the rest of the team will follow (offensively and defensively).
What challenges will the team face? Obviously the same challenges as everyone else in the area in terms of getting outside and getting the reps necessary on dirt. Also a big challenge will be adjustment for the younger players fighting for spots and not ever playing at this level before. Getting them up to speed but also understanding it will be a growth process and they need to have that mindset.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? Keep everyone healthy and to compete with everyone we face.
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? I think it is more so individual players (90% of the time these are just that teams pitcher) that we will need to prepare for not necessarily teams as a whole which is pretty similar for most of us smaller schools.
Head coach: Matt Solberg
Assistant coaches: Charlie Linder, Josh Beaver, Nick Solberg, Aaron Robillard, Casey Schwalbe
Who are the players to watch this year? We are returning our two top hitters/pitchers from this past year’s roster (Andrew Orf and Noah Thorsen). The expectation is for both of them to have tremendous seasons and help lead our team on and off the field. Others to watch include Tanner Helin and Sam Robillard, both of which had injuries that cut short the previous season. Fortunately both have looked great this spring and ready to contribute offensively, defensively, and on the mound. Seniors Loghan Croal, Jacob Karnes, and Austin Darwin should see expanded roles this spring as well. Lucas Goggin and Carter Drill are the two sophomores who won varsity spots early this year and should be key contributors.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? Pitching depth and offensive consistency will be the key’s to our teams success. With the condensed schedule we will have to use several arms to get through the season. This year our pitching depth has been very impressive and our pitching coach Charlie Linder is thrilled with the improvements we have seen thus far.
What challenges will the team face? Our biggest challenge for this team is organizational depth and inexperience. Six of the nine players with the most at bats this past season have moved on and replacing that volume of varsity at bats will be difficult. The entire outfield graduated and we hope those open spots will generate competition to get into the lineup.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? We have been relatively competitive in our section the past few years which lead our returning athletes to have the drive and hunger to push through to get to state.
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? Conference: Princeton is the defending champion and has an excellent program. St Francis is coming off a state tournament appearance and are extremely well coached.
Section: Hermantown and Grand Rapids are both programs returning multiple players from extremely good rosters this past season. Both teams will be incredibly tough outs come section tournament time.
VIKING BOYS GOLF
Head coach: Ryan Minke
Assistant coaches: Chad Carlson
Who are the players to watch this year? Tyler Minke was an All-Conference Player, and State Tournament participant last year as a 9th grader. Nick Melvin is a 7th grader, but has played lots of highly competitive tournaments. Drake Dimich and Carter Magnison both played Varsity last year as 7th graders. I expect the 4 of them to be very competitive in the conference this year.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? Staying Positive. We are young,and at times if things aren’t going well, guys can get frustrated. We just need to stay positive and good things will happen.
What challenges will the team face? We are young and don’t have a ton of experience.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? Finish near the top of the Conference, and Section
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? I think Monticello and Chisago will be tough in the Conference, and Titino-Grace will be the favorite to win the section.
2023 North Branch Viking boys golf (in no particular order): Tyler Minke, Drake Dimich, Nick Melvin, Carter Magnison, Aiden Peterson, Ian Smith, Evan Pommier, Andrew Karnes, Jake Durhiem, Isaac Cornelious, Hunter Reinhart, Vince Crudo.
VIKING GIRLS GOLF
Head coach: Chad Bistodeau
Assistant coaches: Chad Carlson, Alicia Voight
Who are the players to watch this year? Olivia Weyenberg, Ashley Bistodeau, both have a chance at the top 5 in the conference and could even win it.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? Putting and chipping, and minimizing mistakes, because everyone who plays golf makes mistake, it’s just not compounding a mistake with another.
What challenges will the team face? Youth and inexperience. We only have 2 girls back from last year.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? Top 3 in the Conference, Top 2 in the section and get 2 players to the state tournament
Who is the opponent to watch for this year in the conference/section? Becker, Chisago, Cambridge in the Conference. Providence Academy, Totino Grace and Delano in the Section
VIKING BOYS TRACK AND FIELD
Head coach: Brent Lundgren
Assistant coaches: Norm Nagel, Kathy Robatcek, Adam Wilson, Maddie Mench, Paige Larson, Eli Erickson, Mike Boelk
Who are the players to watch this year? Nick Bovitz and Carson Weber will be big leaders for our jumps and sprint groups this year. Jordan Stumm had a great cross country season earning a trip to state. Austin Anderson will be a great sprinter for the team. Eric Flor had a great season down the stretch last year earning a trip to state in pole vault.
What will be the keys to the team’s success this year? Staying healthy will be a huge key to our success this season.
What challenges will the team face? We will be smaller in numbers this season so athletes will be tasked with running in multiple events and trying out different field events. Some athletes may be pushed out of their comfort zone in early meets to see where they can help the team the most.
What are your goals for the 2023 season? To finish in the top 3 at the Section 7AA True Team meet, Conference Championships, and Section 7AA Championships. Most importantly we want to develop our younger athletes and get them experience.
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