Area High School Teams Are Excited For 2022-23 Season
November 12, 2022
By Pat Garry, Sports Writer
It’s time to tape-up the sticks, roll out the mats, and air-up the basketballs, as another winter season rapidly approaches. Student athletes are chomping at the bit to get the competition underway, and coaches again look forward to successful journeys.
First year Coach Ryan De Bock is excited to lead the Roseau boys basketball team this year. “This season is going to be about laying the foundation to set these guys up for success; both physically and mentally. Our team motto this year is “Clean Your Room” - which symbolizes what it takes to achieve success; take the easy victories whenever you can and control the things you can control,” said Coach De Bock. The Rams lost a few key players from last year, and it’s going to be tough to fill that void, but they have a lot of young talent on the roster. “And we want to continue from where the team left off last season; a gritty playoff performance against the #1 seed in the Section,” Coach De Bock explained. “I have all the confidence in the world in my assistant coaches, Skyler Forst and Tracy Borowicz, and I am really excited to get the season started,” added Coach De Bock.
ROSEAU BOYS HOCKEY
Expectations for another good, successful season in 2022-23, are paramount in the Roseau hockey boys headquarters. The Rams lost a lot of top-end talent, but they plan to reload with new individuals. Junior forward Noah Urness (24 goals, 35 assists last season) leads the way offensively. Senior defenseman Aaron Wensloff anchors the pack on the blue-line. “Like every season, the boys’ goal is to make it to the section championship and ultimately make it to the state tournament in St. Paul, come March,” explained Head Coach Greg Lund. Key losses: Max Strand, Kellen Murphy, Isaac Wensloff, Gavin Gunderson, Thor Byfuglien, Adam Severson, and Carter Christianson; Key returners: Noah Urness, Aaron Wensloff, Gavin Jenson, Tanner George, and Preston Lundbohm; Head coach, Greg Lund; Assistant coach, Gabe Magnusson;
JV coaches, Keagan Foss and Josh Olson;
Entering season number (10) as Roseau girls head basketball coach, Kelsey Didrikson anticipates a great 2022-23 season. “We graduated (3) key, contributing seniors last year, so it will be a fun challenge to figure out this year’s team — who’ll play where, who’ll step up, how will things progress over the course of the season?” declared Coach Didrikson. In some ways, the Rams have some veteran players who’ve been contributors for multiple seasons — girls like Kayla Bachleitner, Anya Severson, and Nevaeh Fletcher. There are also some younger girls who are looking more and more ready to contribute at the Varsity level. Consistently filling the point guard spot, however, generates a big challenge, following the graduation of Hanna Mooney. Sophie Olson and Brooklyn Hulst are hopefuls that might develop nicely into that role in the backcourt this season. “As a team, we’re coming off a 20-win season last year, that was incredibly fun and happened because we have coachable, hard-working girls who were committed to getting better and being competitive. We’re looking for more of the same this season!” Coach Didrikson exclaimed. Didrikson’s coaching staff includes Torie Petersen and Bria Dale (Junior High), Jesse Matthews (C-Team), Isaac Erickson (JV and Assistant Varsity). “Isaac and I have been coaching together the entire time. Bria and Torie are joining us this season, which is fun because they are both former players,” added Coach Didrikson.
After a year with only a Varsity team, Lady Rams girls hockey is excited to field a Varsity and JV team for the 2022-2023 season. The rebound in numbers is a welcome change from last season, but with a majority of the roster being 8th, 9th and 10th graders, the Lady Rams are certainly in a rebuilding phase. Rebuilding or not, expectations for Rams’ hockey teams are always high and maintaining that tradition is important for both the coaches and the players.
Last season, the team depended on 3 impactful seniors, in Celine Stroot, Ginevra Johnson, and especially, Memphis Mertens. All 3 of these ladies were team leaders and huge contributors both offensively and defensively. “Filling their roles will be difficult; however, we have several talented underclassmen that I believe are up for the challenge,” said Head Coach Amanda Giles. Payton Remick (10th grade), Lily Erickson (10th grade) and Jasmine Hovda (9th grade) were all top 6 forwards and goal scorers for the Rams last season. This summer, all 3 ladies were invited to participate in the USA Hockey Girls 15 High Performance Development Camp, and they will need to bring that experience and the skills they gained into this season for the team to be successful. Summer Byfuglien (10th grade), was the leader on the blue line as a first-year freshman last season. “We will be leaning on her heavily for not only her fantastic defensive play but also for her leadership skills. Jada Pelowski, our junior net-minder and the backbone of our team, is the biggest key to our success this year,” added Coach Giles. Jada has proven consistently the past three seasons, that she is one of the top goaltenders in her class.
“My two main goals for this season are to have a winning record with our very tough, heavy travel schedule and to improve on last season’s strong Section semifinal performance, by making it to the Section Championship game,” Coach Giles declared. Section opponents like Moorhead, Alexandria and Brainerd, are returning a lot of their rosters and will be tough again this season. The young, talented Lady Rams will definitely be challenged, but if they focus on having fun, working as a team, and pushing each other to be better every day at practice, they have a good chance of achieving those goals. This season’s coaching staff includes three returning coaches from last season: Amanda (Monkman) Giles, Bridget Slater and Tyler Lodin. Amanda, Lady Ram Alumna, is starting her second year as head coach for the girls hockey team. Bridget, also a former Lady Ram, is the team’s goaltending coach, while Tyler takes over the forward coaching responsibilities. Both are going into their second season assisting the Lady Rams. The final coach on the staff is Zach Manka. Zach, a local police officer, will be focusing on defense and was most recently an assistant coach for the 2020-2021 Lady Rams team under former coach Steve Huglen.
Head Coach Jim Mack, anchors the Roseau wrestling squad. Starting his first year in that role, Mack worked the past five years as the head youth wrestling coach, also in Roseau. “I’m still working on recruiting some new kids, so I won’t know what my numbers are until the first day of practice. Also, new to the MSHSL is girls wrestling at the high school level. Last year was the first year of the MSHSL girls wrestling state tournament. My goal is to get a few new girls out this season,” explained Coach Mack. The 2022-23 Roseau Rams wrestling team will be a very young team for the next few years, but there’s a lot of promise and talent on the horizon for the program’s future. The high school has been plagued by low numbers for the last handful of years, with less than ten kids coming out each year. This year, the team will be led by sophomore Pat Locklear, who took 5th in sections last year at 132 lbs. He is the most experienced wrestler on the team. Also, 7th grader Seth Cossentine enters the high school program and will see Varsity action this season as well. Seth was a very accomplished youth wrestler at the local, state, and national levels. Although both wrestlers are young, they’re both exceptional leaders.
Coach Mack’s goal as a coach is to recruit and get 20 kids out this season. “We will finally have our first home dual after a few years. It is a triangular with Grafton, N.D. and Northwoods, N.D. on Thursday, December 8, starting at 6:00,” said Coach Mack. The Rams have a strong 7th grade class coming this season. They will primarily wrestle a junior high and Junior Varsity schedule this season, to gain some valuable mat experience. Coach feels like they are 2-3 years from having a full Varsity line-up that can have a winning season. “My goal for this season is to win a couple of dual matches as a team, and keep every high school kid who’s out for the sport, wanting to improve and be hungry to come back better and stronger for next season,” Coach Mack said. Assistant Coaches: Nathan Cossentine - Roseau County Sheriff’s Deputy, wrestled for and graduated from Eagle Valley High School; Drew Worthley - Polaris Engineer, grew up and wrestled in Colorado; Cody Quin - Polaris Engineer, grew up in Washington and was a two time All-American at U of M - Mankato.
The Warroad boys basketball team and Head Coach Vichita Ounchith are excited for the new season to begin. “Our expectation for the team is a simple one…to secure a home playoff game,” announced Coach Ounchith. Despite losing a fair amount of experience to graduation, the Warriors look to rely on those seasoned veterans from last year’s squad, to step up and show a lot of leadership. “We have a few key players back, who were in regular rotation from last year, namely senior Gage Thompson, junior Logan Kvarnlov, and sophomore Liam Grover,” Coach Ounchith added. The other returning players from the Varsity team are sophomores Tedd Eastvold and Kason Pietruszewski. This is Coach Ounchith’s 13th year at the helm, his 15th overall. He is assisted by Darin Spenst, who has been with the boys program the last 5 years.
Led by Head Coach Jay Hardwick, the Warroad Warriors look to be a favorite in Class A, again this winter. Some of the key losses from last season are defensemen Carson Reed and Todd Powassin, and forwards Daimon Gardner and Matt Hard. Warroad returns phenom net-minder and recent D-1 commit, senior goalie Hampton Slukynsky (26-4-1 .924 SV% 1.59 GAA). The Warriors have two outstanding defenders returning, in senior Eric Comstock (4-30-34 pts) and junior Ryan Lund (5-19-24 pts). On offense, returners include forward senior Jayson Shaugabay (27-55-82 pts) and juniors Murray Marvin-Cordes (15-19-34 pts) with Carson Pilgrim (17-14-31 pts). “The question is, who will fill-in the top 9 forward positions, and the top 5 defense positions? It should make for great competition as the season goes along,” explained Coach Hardwick. The Warriors open the season on Friday, November 25, in Delano, Minn. On Saturday, November 26, they take-on St. Cloud Cathedral. Warroad’s first home game is Saturday Dec 3, versus Mahtomedi, at the Gardens in Warroad. Staff: Head Coach: Jay Hardwick, 11th season; Assistant Coach: Mike Tveit, 7th season; Assistant Coach: Scott Knutson, 10th year. “I’m excited for the season to get started. We have a solid core of returning players and some new players that will push for ice time. We look to build off of our state runner-up finish from last year and would like to finish it off this year. We have a very competitive schedule that should get us ready for play offs,” said Coach Hardwick.
The Warroad girls basketball team is returning a good number of kids who have had substantial playing time over the past couple of years. Head Coach John Larson has some high expectations. “We are hoping to have a competitive year, with some younger players helping out in key roles,” said Coach Larson. Returning starters are Faith Lilly, Danika Gustafson, Katherine Schreiner, and Leah Loeffler. Faith Lilly had a very good year last year, and she worked diligently over the summer to improve her game. Coach is very excited to see what Rilynn Anderson, Danika Gustafson and Cassidy Kotlowski will bring to the floor this season. “We are going to be athletic, and we hope to use that to our benefit in the 2022-23 campaign,” Coach Larson added.
Warroad’s last season was capped off with a great win against Proctor/Hermantown in the State Championship game, to win the Warriors’ third state title. “We had three super seniors on that team, who are all playing at the collegiate level now, so we have some big shoes to fill there,” explained Head Coach Blayke Nelson. The Warriors leading scorers from last year, and their core defense group are all returning this season. Warroad’s goals for the season remain the same — to compete in every game, make it to the Xcel Energy Center in February, then execute and bring home another championship.
DON’T MISS A THING!
Come out and support the kids in their efforts. They have trained hard to hone their talents/skills, and their devotion is unprecedented. You can find full schedules for all sports on the individual school’s websites or by visiting the Minnesota State High School League website (https://www.mshsl.org) Good Luck to everyone and keep it fun!