In her first year as head coach of the Aitkin Gobblers girls' tennis team Cindy Walz finished 3-15.
Her second year resulted in an 11-8 mark. With four seniors and five other returning letterwinners, Walz and the Gobblers look capable of improving upon that mark.
Leading the way will be seniors Amy Lammers, Megan Lundberg, Brittany Johnson and Jessica Storlie.
Johnson will handle No. 1 singles duties while sophomore Emily Walz handles No. 2. Lammers is slated at No. 3 while sophomore Svea Lindgren is at No. 4.
Football coach -- Mark Mehr, 18th year
Career record -- 52-77
2001 record -- 4-5 overall, 4-2 in Great River Conference
Assistant coaches -- Scott Miller, Rob Williams
Volleyball coach -- Loren Vonasek, 5th year
Career record -- 38-60
2001 record -- 4-22 overall, 2-12 in Great River Conference
Assistant coaches -- Kathy Lane, Kristen Rutten
Girls' tennis coach -- Cindy Walz, 3rd year
Career record -- 14-23
2001 record -- 11-8 overall
Assistant coach -- Jennifer Waldorf
Lundberg will team with sophomore Emily O'Neil at No. 1 doubles with Katrina Schwartz and Bethany Beck at No. 2. Storlie will team up with a flock of underclassmen at No. 3 doubles.
"We have varsity and junior varsity teams with a lot of depth," said Walz. "These girls have been working hard on their game and are enthusiastic to start match play."
Juniors Kelli Peysar, Ashley Butenhoff, Teya Evans, sophomores Brenda Smith, Danielle Sterling, Nicole Cook and freshmen Wendy Whipps and Jaime Landsverk will compete for the No. 3 doubles position.
Nine returning starters should lead the Aitkin football team to a promising season.
The Gobblers lost in the first round of the Section 7, 3A playoffs to Hermantown and finished with a 4-5 overall record last year. They finished 4-2 in the Great River Conference.
The Gobblers will rely on senior quarterback Jacob Mehr to lead the team. The returning starter will also be a defensive back.
Also returning are running backs Jason Esler, Josh Setzer and John Swanson. The offensive and defensive lines should also be solid with senior Mikael Arvidson and juniors Brian Hallberg and Nate Horner.
Also returning is Sam Esary (E-DB) and Jake Hegman (E-LB).
Seniors Sean DeCent (E-DB), Jason Kowalke (OL-DL), John Lehrke (OL-DL), Chris Orpen (RB-DB), Jared Perry (RB-DB), Aaron Tibbetts (RB-LB) and Mike Wagner (OL-DL) will fill the starting positions and add depth.
Juniors looking to break into the starting lineup:
Andy Beaufeaux (RB-DB), Austin Boyer (E-DB), Kyle Christensen (OL-DL), Nate Christensen (OL-DL), Roman Haberkorn (E-DL), Matt Landrus (OL-DL), Jodi Lindbo (OL-DL), Cory Miller (RB-DB), Matt Nadeau (RB-LB), Adam Siemers (QB-DB), Cale Sparks (OL-DL), Sam Stay (OL-LB) and Josh Voller (OL-DL).
For the four returning starters on the Aitkin volleyball team, forgetting last year's record is a priority.
Last year, Aitkin finished 2-12 in the Great River Conference, 4-22 overall. Those are uncharacteristic numbers for a program that has enjoyed success. But with seniors Amanda Carlson, Sarah Just, Talia Otto and Trista Spolarich back, improving last year's numbers shouldn't be difficult.
Carlson, an outside hitter and back-row specialist, will team with Just (middle hitter) and Spolarich (outside hitter) to provide the offensive attack.
Otto will run the offense from her setter position.
The other starting positions will emerge from a battle between senior outside hitters Ann Davies and Kahli Hoppe and juniors Ashley Heins (outside hitter-middle hitter), Emily Johnson (outside hitter, setter) and Brittany Swanson (outside hitter).
Last year, Just was voted defensive player of the year and received All-Park Region Conference honorable mention while Otto was the outstanding server and earned all-conference honors. Spolarich was the top hitter for Aitkin last year.
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