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Zimmerman Thunder fall preview
Last year -- 7-3 overall (5-2 in conference); lost in section semifinals
Cameron Norenberg (No. 99) helped take down a Mound-Westonka player in Zimmerman Thunder action last year. Coaches say to keep an eye on this defensive lineman and offensive lineman.Coaches -- Tom Kish (head, defense), Bob Freeh (offense), Dave Hamlin, Chris Riley, Mark Hayes, Tommy Boyd
Captains -- Trent Milless, Taylor Snow, Mitchell Mossman and Nathen Christensen
Returning starters — Offense: nine, one Granite Ridge All-Conference selection; defense: eight, two Granite Ridge All-Conference selections
Offense – Mossman (sr, OL), Ben Schnellman (jr, RB) Haydon Miller (jr, RB), Christensen (sr, OL) Cameron Norenberg (sr, OL/DL), Calvin Waterhouse (jr, OL), Cameron Bruce (sr, OL0, Taylor McEachern (sr, WR), Tristan Pettitt (sr, WR)
Defense – Chase Rosby (sr, LB), Kolby Peacock (jr, DL), Damie Vangstad (sr, DB), Snow (sr, LB), Milless (sr, DB), Alex Riley (jr, DB), Miller (jr, LB/RB), Norenberg (sr, DL/OL)
Keep an eye on — Kadin Hakola (sr, DL) and Norenberg (sr, OL/DL) will transition to more offensive line duties this season. The defensive line is a work-in-progress.
Coach says -- “We return a lot of starters and look pretty good on paper, but our team must practice and prepare with a great sense of urgency if we want to be successful. Our schedule is very difficult and what happened last season no longer matters.”
Outlook -- Zimmerman will have no favors done for it. It is in the toughest section in the state in Class 4A with powerhouse schools like Becker and Orono. “If we are going to get farther in playoff than we did last season, our team must improve in all three phases of the game,” said Kish.
Last year -- 6-23; lost in section quarterfinals
Coaches -- Cassandra Olson (head), Emily Zahn, Angie Elphick, Nikki O’Keefe
Captains -- TBD
Returning starters — Kayla Christopherson (sr, setter), Carlie Lage (sr, libero), Ashley Pool (sr, outside hitter), Anissa Rosario (sr, outside hitter), Amira Smaha (sr, middle hitter), Danielle Williams (jr, middle hitter)
Watch out for -- “We graduated our setter from our 2014 team, so that is a position that we need to fill,” Olson said. “We have some younger girls, who are competitive and athletic, who could fill that position.”
Coach says -- “We should be very strong defensively,” Olson said. “With that being said, we need to improve our offense to score consistently. We will rely on our group of seniors to drive our offense this season.”
Season outlook -- The cupboard is bare for the Thunder in 2015. The Thunder returns offensive assist-leader Christopherson (249 assists and 52 aces), as well as a trio of players — Pool (127 kills), Rosario (100 kills), and Samaha (124 kills) — who recorded 100 or more kills in 2014. Defensively, the trio of Lage, Pool and Rosario combined for 769 digs. Williams recorded 80 kills and 19 blocks as a sophomore and should see an even bigger role this season. Those numbers are something that Olson is very excited about. “We return the majority of our starting lineup, which in turn means more experienced players,” said Olson. “While we play in a tough conference, our goal is to finish in the top half of the conference.” The Thunder hasn’t finished in the top end of the conference since 2012.
Last year -- 12-4-2 (5-1-2 in conference, Conference Champions); lost in section semifinals
Coaches — Jeff Downing (head), Lynk Downing, Rich Bond, Cassie Heyer
Captains — Molly Kieliszewski, Sarah Neubauer, Morgan Ziebarth
Returning players — Nine players. “We have several players back this season who gained significant playing Varsity-level experience,” said Downing.
Position battles -- “We currently have five girls vying for the goalkeeper position,” said Downing. “We have a lot of young players who are challenging some of our veteran players for playing time. The competition is great for the girls because it raises their level of play.”
Coach says -- “I expect this team to be extremely competitive the entire season,” said Downing. “We have some explosive athletes, in terms of speed. If we (coaches) can bring each piece together with the right tactical approach, we should be in for another special season.”
Season outlook -- While the Thunder loses their top goal-scorer, Brooke Salo (21), they still return three players (Kieliszewski, Neubauer and Ziebarth) who made Honorable Mention All-Conference. Coach Downing is happy with what he has coming back. “Success breeds success, and we had a lot of success last season,” Downing said. “While it doesn’t always equate to winning, but staying focused on the game plan and building on the little successes within the game will allow us to compete with whoever we are playing.”
Last year -- Girls: sixth in conference, eighth in section; boys eighth in conference, 15th in section
Coach -- Michael Back
Zimmerman’s Nicole Jurik (left) and Chelsea Bouley finished one-two at Princeton in this race. Bouley is back for another year with the Thunder cross country team.Captains -- Summer Peoples and Connor Gagne
Returning runners — 11 runners total; Connor Gagne, Jacob Gagne, Aaron Coons, Aaron Koch all ran varsity last year for the boys team and return this season. Peoples, Cheresa Bouley, Kelsie Tufto (conference champion), and Grace Kerzman ran varsity on the girls team and return this season.
Watch out for -- Boys: Alex Karnes and Wyatt Pramann; girls: Emily Olinger and Aylssa Koch
Coach says -- “We have a good group out this fall,” Back said. “We also have five middle school runners out for the first time, so I’m pretty excited with what I have seen in the first few days.”
Outlook -- Zimmerman hopes to improve on its finishes in both the conference and section from last season. “We have a pretty solid foursome on both teams,” Back said. “But the opportunity for a fifth runner to step up will certainly be there, so I am hoping someone will take advantage of it. We return one state runner from 2014 (Bouley) and we hope to get a few more into the state meet this season. This is our fifth season as a program and we hope to take another step in the right direction this season.”
What We Do
The Zimmerman Booster Club would like to thank the many volunteers currently involved, now and from the past. It takes many volunteers coming together to make a difference.
As a Booster Club we are interested in any ideas you may have to better our student’s experiences here at Zimmerman middle school and high school.
Getting involved in your school through the Booster Club is fun and a great way to meet other adults and faculty. We are always looking for people to help with ideas and the planning of Booster Club activities. Everything we do benefits the students of our school and community. We support our Academics, Arts and Athletics. Come check out what we are up to!
Booster Club meetings are always the 2nd Monday of each month, except when there is no school that day. Then it will be the following Monday. Meetings are at 7:00 in the ZHS media center. Please Come and Check It Out!
We are always interested in your thoughts, please come to any meeting and help make a difference.
Mike Crego - email
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