The Elks opened head coach Denise Green’s 37th season as head coach on a positive note, winning its first two meets of the season.
Elk River (2-0, 2-0) defeated Andover 94-83 in its season opener on Thursday, Jan. 14, at VandenBerge Middle School in Elk River, then defeated Osseo 97-72 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Osseo Junior High School.
Green said she wants the Elks to swim every meet this season like its a Section 8-2A meet or a state tournament meet.
“We’re hoping to end our season and compete in all of our meets, but there’s always that unknown,” Green said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re facing. That’s our goal—to give it our all every swim. Most of them have not been in the water. Pools were shut down and for only being in practice a couple weeks, they looked good [on Thursday, Jan. 14].”
Elk River won 7 of 16 varsity events. The A relay team of seniors Colin Bedbury, Sam Hlavachek, Lucas Lodermeier and Preston Schmeidel finished first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:46.17. Senior Isaac Kaspner finished first in the 200-yard individual medley, finishing in 2:13.48. Bedbury finished first in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 24.12.
At the halfway point of the meet, Hlavachek finished first in the 1-meter diving competition with a score of 303. Schmeidle finished first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.88. Senior Jack West finished first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:27.93. The A relay team of Bedbury, Hlavachek, Lodermeier and Gavin Anderson finished first in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing in 1:39.74.
Green said Elk River’s seniors stepped up against the Huskies.
“We have 33 team members,” she said. “Eleven of them are seniors. A third of our team is seniors, and they stepped up last night.”
The theme for the 2020-21 Elks is Achi, the Hebrew word for brother. It is printed on black shirts that swimmers wear when they are not swimming. Green said the senior captains choose a theme before each season to promote unity. The 2020-21 senior captains are Hlavachek, Kapsner, Lodermeier, Schmeidel and Arteom Katkov.
“We pull from a lot of schools [in District 728]: the middle schools, the three high schools, Spectrum [and] homeschool kids,” Green said. “It’s always been [about] unity or that type of thing. We assign each team member a team brother, someone to help out and look out for. We’ve always called it the family—once a part of the family, always a part of the family. They consider themselves brothers. We usually do some kind of foreign language term. We’ve had Latin. We’ve had Hawaiian. We [have] Hebrew this year. We’ve had Swahili. We’ve had a lot of different foreign words. They wanted to stick with that idea.”
Elks beat Osseo 97-72
The Elks continued their winning ways on Tuesday, Jan. 19, winning 97-72 over the Orioles at Osseo Junior High School. Elk River won 6 of 16 events.
Braley finished first in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:27.09. Senior Daniel Reed finished first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.01. Junior Austin Kantor finished first in the 1-meter diving competition with a score of 275.35. West finished first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.29. The A relay team of Reed, West, sophomore Derrick Lodermeier and freshman Hunter Wolcenski finished first in the 200-yard freestyle varsity with a time of 1:46.74. Sophomore Colton Flagle finished first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:07.44.
Elk River will host Anoka on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at VandenBerge Middle School.
Correction: A previous edition of this story said that there would be a Tournament of Champions. There will be no Tournament of Champions this season. The Elks will face only Northwest Suburban Conference opponents in 2020-21.