Delano takes on challenge of high school league lacrosse

by Dave Pedersen

Sun PRESS Newspapers

This is the first season in the Minnesota State High School league for boys and girls lacrosse at Delano, teams well prepared for all the challenges that come with this elevated competition.

Last season, the Delano Rage boys lacrosse club captured state titles in both the varsity and junior varsity divisions of the Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association. The varsity club team went 19-1 in each of the past two seasons.

Sophomore Ashley Effertz is a captain for the Delano girls lacrosse team.
Sophomore Ashley Effertz is a captain for the Delano girls lacrosse team.

The girls return most of our varsity players from the RAGE club team, including seven Minnesota Elite players.

Head boys coach Dan Willette has coached the Delano boys club teams at every level and has hung many championship banners. He will be assisted by Ted Moonen, who has coached with the club teams the past five years and knows the talent pool.

“We will have a big adjustment going from club to the high school league where we expect to see much better competition,” said Willette. “We have been practicing inside the hockey rink since April 1 and the players are chomping at the bit to play some games. We have already had four games and two scrimmages postponed.”

The starting lineup is expected to be senior Zach Wills in goal, seniors Austin Wallace and Derek Malecek, plus junior Jaison Detwieler on defense and juniors Jack Nelson and Nick Pogue with sophomore RJ Pheilsticker at midfield. Attackers are juniors Nick Walstad and Mike Christians, plus sophomore Aaron Wagner.

Key newcomers are defenders Sawyer Thommes and Kyle Moonen, plus midfielders Sean Mallak and Steven Lewis.

Willette said the toughest teams on the schedule are Stillwater, Centennial, Breck and Orono.

The head coach has never played the sport, but became a student of the game, absorbing knowledge from attending many clinics, watching DVD coaching resources and watching college level games.

The first boys game is set for 6 p.m. Monday, April 22 at the Delano soccer complex against Rogers. The Tigers go to face Stillwater Saturday, April 27.

Katie Youngblut is the head coach for the girls team, assisted by Derek Schansberg. Youngblut is a sixth grade teacher and basketball coach at Delano Middle School.

“My lacrosse career started in high school where I played for the first team at Prior Lake High School,” says Youngblut. “I wanted to see what the buzz was about. It instantly became one of my favorite sports and my friends I played any chance we could.”

Youngblut moved on to play lacrosse at UW-Eau Claire where she was a captain and played in the All-Star game. In the summers during college she taught a variety of lacrosse players.

Along with proven veterans Delano has some new players who have promising futures. Captains are junior Sam Gildemeister, plus sophomores Ashley Effertz and Kaylah Walstad.

Other top returning players include Lexie Walstad, Claire Kozub, Aspen Hanson, Maddy Walstad, Courtney Durst, Alyia Hinz, Hannah Ganzel, Abby Jaunich, Allison Sandlass, Sydney Beal, Nicole Praska and Julia Schansberg. Top newcomers include Katherine Klatke, Emma Hohn and Natile Ganzel.

Top teams are expected to be Buffalo, St. Michael-Albertville and Wayzata.

Four matches have been postponed. The girls hope to open at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at home against St. Michael-Albertville. The team is at Becker Thursday, April 25.


Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]