A combined 21 letterwinners return for Aitkin Gobblers head track and field coaches Steve Jacobson (boys) and Adam Carlson (girls).
The girls' squad is solid with 10 returning athletes. Sarah Just (high jump, relays, sprints) and Trista Spolarich (hurdles, relays) are seniors returning from last year's Subsection 25, Class 1A third-place team.
Last year, Spolarich broke the school record in the 300 hurdles and advanced to the Section 7 meet in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
Also back is junior Ashley Heins, who broke the school triple jump record last year.
Aitkin has a host of sophomores, including Aleisha Morley (relays, sprints), Abby Hauser (hurdles, relays), Erin Carlson (hurdles, sprints, jumps), Svea Lindgren (sprints, distance), Ingrid Kezar (sprints, relays), Ashley Whipps (sprints, relays). Freshman Lindsey Chenevert (distance, relays, hurdles) also returns.
Senior Claudia Silva (distance), sophomores Renee Croatt (distance), Sarah Jacobson (sprints, hurdles, relays, jumps) and Kala Cloose (sprints) and freshmen Karina Kujawa (sprints, jumps) and Mandy Crowther (distance, jumps) round out the Gobbler roster.
Baseball coach -- Brian Sandberg, 23rd year
Career record -- 169-197
2002 finish -- 10-9 overall, 5-5 in Great River Conference
Assistant coaches -- Jeff Northburg, Mark Mehr, Joe Rosh
Softball coaches -- Kristen Rutten, 3rd year
Career record -- 9-28
2002 finish -- 6-12 overall, 2-6 Great River Conference
Assistant coach -- Ann Erlandson
Boys'/girls' track coach -- Steve Jacobson (8th year), Adam Carlson (2nd year)
2002 finish -- Girls 4th in Great River Conference
Girls' golf coach -- Greg Steinke, 4th year
Assistant coach -- Mike Eder
2002 finish -- 3rd in Great River Conference
Boys' golf coach -- Gary Johnson, 2nd year
Assistant coach -- Mike Eder
2002 finish -- 2nd in Great River Conference
Boys' tennis coach -- Joe Walz, 2nd year
Career record -- 8-7
Assistant coaches -- Trent Betley
2002 finish -- 8-7 overall
Jacobson believes the boys will be a balanced team thanks to 11 returners.
Seniors Andy Beaufeaux (distance), Aaron Patrick (relays) and Josh Setzer (relays, discus, shot) return to lead a younger squad.
Also back are juniors Brian Holte (distance, relays) Derek St. Onge (distance, jumps) and Brian Svoboda (jumps, relays). Sophomores back are Kyle Mlynar (sprints, relays), Jordan Moss (jumps, sprints), Mike Olson (sprints, shot), Dacey Tibbetts (jumps, sprints) and Sam Catlin (shot, discus, relays).
Additional varsity members
Seniors -- Mikael Arvidson (jumps, shot, discus, sprints), Jacob Miller (distance)
Junior -- Josh Voller (shot, discus); Sophomores -- Pat Brophy (sprints), Adam Mehr (sprints, jumps), Bill Monse (distance, jumps), Brock Stoffel (relays, hurdles, jumps), Mike Stromberg (hurdles, sprints) and Tim Obert (sprints, jumps)
Freshmen -- Matt Baumgartner (distance, hurdles) and Adam Insley (sprints, discus).
After an 8-7 season last year, and with eight returning letterwinners, Aitkin boys' tennis coach Joe Walz has a reason to be optimistic.
"We have a very solid lineup with excellent depth," said Walz, who begins his second season. "The lineup could easily shift, depending on individual commitment and who is hot."
Back at No. 1 singles is junior Roman Haberkorn who should benefit from a successful basketball season. Last year Haberkorn was 7-10. No. 2 singles will be manned by junior Chris Graft (7-8) followed by senior Michael Chouinard (10-3) at No. 3 singles and junior Aaron Ellis at No. 4 singles.
The No. 1 doubles team is shaping up to be juniors Adam Janson (13-4) and Brian Hallberg (12-2). Seniors Paul Johnson (9-5) and Andy Garvais (2-1) will man the No. 2 doubles spot.
Fighting for No. 3 doubles and possibly a singles spot will be juniors David Baumgartner, Michael Hughes and Kyle Bruce. Freshmen Jake Curtiss and Thor Torrent round out the roster.
In his 23rd season, Aitkin baseball coach Brian Sandberg has a team stacked with seniors.
Eight of the nine returning seniors started on last year's 10-9 team. The Gobblers finished the Great River Conference 5-5 and advanced to the second round of the Section 7, Class 2A playoffs.
Pitching is one concern the Gobblers have. Back on the mound are Jacob Mehr and Jason Esler, but Aitkin will need junior Caleb Brown to step up.
Starters returning in the outfield are Levi Baer, Esler and Jared Perry. Perry will also back up returner Chris Orpen as the catcher. Mehr (SS), Dallas Westerlund (1B) and James Van Stone (2B) also return along with John Swanson (INF). Jason Kowalke (1B) is also back for the Gobblers.
Matt Nadeau could start at third base and will play some second base. When Brown isn't pitching he'll provide depth at first base and in the outfield.
They may only be sophomores but Emily O'Neil, Erin Eno, Melissa Hasskamp and Justine Wagner all have varsity girls' experience.
Those four will lead a young Aitkin squad this season.
Gobblers coach Greg Steinke believes his team can finish in the top half of the Great River Conference but will need to replace all-conference selections Tiffany Kullhem and Carrie Cummings.
Battling for the final two spots will be sophomore Sally Stay, eighth-graders Emily Eisenbraun, Amy Ritter, Laura Wagner and Leslie Baird and seventh-graders Melissa Welshons and Hannah Cummings.
Six returning seniors will be the focal point of the Aitkin softball team.
Third-year head coach Kristen Rutten hopes to improve on last year's 6-12 overall and 2-6 Great River Conference marks.
First, she'll need to replace pitcher Amber Butler, who broke the school record for strikeouts in a season with 100 in 2002.
Seniors Amanda Carlson and Amy Lammers and sophomore Emily Walz should fill the void. Carlson faced 40 batters, allowing eight hits and 13 runs and struck out six.
If Aitkin is to compete, seniors Kahli Hoppe (INF), Brittany Johnson (INF), Hallie Ladd (C/SS) and Amy Kanz (INF/OF) will need to fire up their bats.
Last year, Lammers and Ladd led the Gobblers in batting average and RBI. Lammers finished with 12 RBI and a .391 average. Ladd followed with 10 RBI and a .348 average.
Filling out the roster are seniors Emily Johnson (INF/OF), and Nicki Brown (OF) and juniors Kelli Peysar (OF) and Teya Evans (OF).
Junior Adam Siemers and sophomores Jay Lammers and Jake Dragovich are the lone returners for a young Aitkin boys' golf team.
Competing for the three open spots will be seniors Zach Chelberg, Daniel Appel and Adam Host and junior Adam Kujawa.
Sophomores include Nathan Heggem, Greg Evans, Aaron Woodrow, Jake Redepenning and Pat Brophy.
Mike Johnson, Andrew Petrie, Lance Liljenquist and Garrett Tetrick could compete as freshmen.
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