One score will be cemented in the minds of every Pequot Lakes Patriots football player this fall.
That was the score of the Section 8AA final in which the Patriots lost to the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Wolves after leading most of the championship game.
This year some new faces will be making the calls as Tony Maurer takes over for Tom Smith, who resigned as head coach. Brian Koslofsky is the defensive coordinator and former Washington Redskins kicker Chip Lohmiller takes over the special teams coaching duties.
Pequot Lakes Patriots
Football coach -- Tony Mauer, 1st year
2000 record -- 7-1 overall, 6-1 in North Star Conference
Assistant coaches -- Brain Koslofsky, Chip Lohmiller, Josh Willcoxen, James Whitcomb
Volleyball coach -- Judy Heslop 20th year
2000 record -- 12-8 in Park Region Conference
Assistant coach -- Steve Heslop
Girls' tennis coach -- Mindi Brill, 5th year
Career record -- 35-36
2000 record -- 12-7 overall
Assistant coach -- Andrea Neva, Lyle Steffenson
Cross country coach -- Jon Dale, 2nd year
Assistant coach -- Kate Dale
With eight returning letterwinners the Patriots hope to capture the North Star Conference title and finally break into the state tournament.
This year it will be difficult as Pequot moves up to Section 8, Class 3A. The change in coaches will also present a challenge.
"We have a new coaching staff, new offense, new offensive line and we have made some changes on defense," said Maurer. "The talent is here. We just need to buy into the system and be able to jell by Aug. 30."
Pequot will once again have a talented backfield as leading rusher Justin Biebighauser returns. He has led the Patriots in rushing the last two years. Joby Goerges and Tony Landecker are also back.
Although Matt Royer wasn't the full-time quarterback, he was under center for passing situations. The 6-foot-4 senior does have experience and, with two returning tight ends, should have enough weapons to throw to.
The returning tight ends are Eric Miller and Joey Neznik. They will be called upon heavily in passing situations but more so to solidify a new offensive line.
Nic Collette and Mike Hines are the only returning linemen from last year. They'll be teamed with Paul Fox, Matt Mailand and Mike Schwanke. Shane Blowers will be the receiver while Tony Craig and James Baumann will provide depth at running back.
A familiar face returns to the sidelines for the Pequot Lakes Patriots volleyball team.
Judy Heslop is back after a 10-year absence. She coached the Patriots from 1972-1991. In the last 10 years, Heslop has been officiating volleyball games with her husband, Steve, who will be her assistant.
Heslop takes over for Tracy Wolkenhauer, who resigned after last season. She inherits a team that finished third in the Park Region Conference, an all-conference setter and an all-conference honorable mention hitter.
Julie Redebaugh (middle hitter) and Jackie Heslop (setter) are two-year letterwinners and will be captains of a young team.
"Our team will be led by Jackie and Julie," Judy Heslop said. "We have mostly juniors and sophomores. We do have a good nucleus of girls and with confidence and hard work we hope to be competitive this season."
Others vying for a starting spot will be Jenna Carlson (outside hitter), Erin Topp (Utility), Megan Nordgren (middle hitter), Nikki Williams (back row specialist), Carly Blanksma (utility), Crystal Price (utility), Ariel Moorhouse (outside services) and Calida Cogan (outside hitter).
Last year, Ashley Meschke advanced to the state individual singles tournament as a junior.
This year she will be looking to return to state, but also to take home some hardware.
Meschke will again occupy the No. 1 singles position with sister, Valerie, also taking a singles position.
Head coach Mindi Brill begins her fifth year at Pequot. She will have eight returning letterwinners from a 12-7 season a year ago.
"We expect to have a successful season and will work toward improving our overall record," said Brill. "Our goal is to advance to the section team tournament for the first time and advance players to the section and state individual tournaments."
Returning from last year are juniors Jenny Baker, Kristin McSherry, Samantha Moen and captain Kristy Bender. Freshmen Ali Gravdahl and Kali Welu also return.
Additional varsity candidates:
Senior -- April Menk.
Junior -- Tiffany Varilek.
Sophomore -- Jessica Kuhne.
Seventh-grader -- Kayla Lenz.
Jon Dale begins his second year as the cross country coach for the Pequot Lakes Patriots.
Last year, both boys' and girls' teams finished second in the Birch Tree Conference with David Schwen earning all-conference honors and Josh Dale receiving honorable mention.
The Patriots are still young, but will look to build upon last year's season.
"We're a young team with mostly underclassman," said Dale. "We will be building for the future."
Kristine Tiggelaar and Holly Johnson are the only returning letterwinners for the girls' team. They'll need Megan O'Neill and Toni Gammello to step up and fill a varsity position.
On the boys' side, senior Dan Domenzain, junior Matt Kline, Josh Dale and freshman Jake Scott return. Leif Olson, Erik Oseland, Mitch Hallan, Marc Danforth, Bryant Szymanski and Bryce Szymanski will be vying to complete the roster.
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