Archive for Brad Salmen

DC Alumni Update

The following is an update on former Dassel-Cokato athletes participating in post-secondary athletics in the winter season.

David Raisanen, hockey, Minot Minotauros. Raisanen has had a phenomenal season for the Minotauros of the NAHL (North American Hockey League). He currently leads the team in goals and points, with 21 goals, 24 assists, and 45 points through 52 games. Minot is second in the Central Division with a 32-19-1 record.

Olivia Travis, swimming & diving, St. Cloud St. Travis, a freshman, has made an immediate impact for the NCAA Division II Huskies. In the NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) Championships, Travis placed 5th in the 100 Backstroke (56.89), 7th in the 200 Backstroke (2:05.23), and 15th in the 50 Free (24.15). She was also part of the 200 Medley Relay team (4th), 400 Medley Relay team (5th), and 800 Freestyle Relay team (6th). The Huskies placed first in the NSIC tournament.

Hana Pokornowski, swimming & diving, Gustavus Adolphus. Pokornowski, a sophomore, has been a big contributor for the Golden Gusties this season. At the MIAC Championships she placed 10th in the 100 Backstroke (59.95), 16th in the 50 Free (25.12), and 26th in the 200 Backstroke (2:20.17). Gustavus Adolphus finished second at the MIAC tournament.

Trever Kaiser, basketball, University of Mary. Kaiser, DC’s all-time leading scorer with over 1,600 points, played in 25 games this season as a freshman for the
NCAA Division II Marauders in Bismark, North Dakota. Kaiser averaged 3.4 points per game and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Mauraders, who finished the season 12-17 overall and 9-13 in conference play. U of M lost their first conference playoff game to Wayne St., 84-62.

Alayna Johnson, basketball, Northern State. Johnson, a sophomore center who finished as DC’s all-time leading scorer, was the fifth-leading scorer for the Wolves this season. Johnson started 10 games, and averaged 6.8 points per game, and 2.8 rebounds per game. Northern State finished with a record of 10-19 overall, 7-15 in the NSIC, and lost their first-round playoff game to Augustana, 80-64.

Spencer Atkinson, swimming & diving, St. John’s University. Atkinson, a freshman, played a key role for the Johnnies this season, finishing with two top-10 finishes at the MIAC Championships. Atkinson placed 8th in the 100 Backstroke (54.00), 9th in the 200 Backstroke (1:58.88), and 17th in the 200 IM (2:01.62). St. John’s placed 5th out of eight teams at the MIAC tournament.

Paige Forsman, hockey, St. Scholastica. Forsman, a junior, finished with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists), in 29 games played for the Division III Saints. St. Scholastica finished second in the NCHA Slaats Cup, losing 3-2 in overtime to Adrian in the championship game.

Maddy Benson, hockey, St. Scholastica. Benson, a sophomore, appeared in three games for the Saints, all in relief. She finished with a 0-0-0 record, a .917 save percentage, and a 2.08 GAA.

Kait Ryynanen, hockey, Finlandia University. Ryynanen, a junior, had four points (two goals, two assists) in 13 games played for the NCAA Division III Lions. Finlandia had a tough season, as the team finished 1-23 overall.

Jared Pedersen, hockey, St. Olaf, Freshman. After a successful season with the Thief River Falls Norskies in the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJYL) in which he had 52 points in 55 games, Pedersen committed to St. Olaf. Pedersen played in only one game this season for the Oles.

Brody Schmidt, wrestling, North Dakota State University. Schmidt, a sophomore, finished 1-12 on the season in open tournament action for the NCAA Division I Bison.

• Thomas Schumann, swimming & diving, Gustavus Adolphus. Schumann, a senior, contributed in a number of different events for the NCAA Division III Golden Gusties, including the 200 IM, the 100 Breaststroke, and the 200 Medley Relay. Gustavus Adolphus won the MIAC Championships.

Emily Kivisto, swimming, Concordia-Irvine. Kivisto, a junior, has participated in a number of events for the Eagles, in their second season as an NCAA Division II team. Kivisto has participated in the 400 Medley Relay, the 200 Breaststroke, and the 200 Free Relay, among others.


Editor’s Note: If you know of any other former DC athletes participating at the next level, please contact Sports Editor Brad Salmen at


LDC Girls Hockey Year in Review

The Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato girls hockey team showed the most improvement out of any area team in the 2018-19 season.

Consider: a year ago, the Dragons finished just 2-23 on the season, and 0-12 in Wright County Conference play.

This year, despite losing their leading scorer from last year, and 10 seniors, LDC quadrupled their win total, going 8-16-2, and winning three games in the extremely tough WCC (those three wins were the first conference victories in four seasons).

The Dragons entered the postseason as the #5 seed in Section 2A, and fell to #4 New Ulm for the second year in a row, 3-0.

The future looks bright for LDC and co-head coaches Matt Hogg and Brett Damerow.

The team will return all but two players from this year’s squad, including their top-five scorers and sophomore standout goaltender Avery Stilwell.

The Dragons were also named Section 2A Academic Champion.

Hogg provided the following comments from this season.

Seniors this past season:

Mary Ridgeway and Courtney Carlson are the two seniors we will lose. Despite their small class size, they made a huge impact on our program. They were tremendous captains for us this year, and helped lead a very young team with their poise, hard work, and attitude. They were excellent role models and will be greatly missed next season!


#1 Avery Stilwell (Soph.) G

#3 Emily Johnson (9th) F

#4 Grace Braaten (8th) F

#5 Emma DeWolf (Soph.) D

#6 Lauren Block (Soph.) F

#7 Alyssa Olson (Jr.) D

#8 Emmy Haataja (9th) F

#9 Sophia Hillmann (Jr.) F

#11 Hannah Erickson (Jr.) F

#12 Grace Niemela (So.) D

#14 Adriana Iverson (9th) D

#16 Mary Ridgeway (Sr.) F

#17 Grace Walsh (Jr.) F

#18 Kristin Foley (Soph.) D

#19 Sydney Braaten (Jr.) D

#20 Courtney Carlson (Sr.) F

#21 Ella Hansen (Soph.) F

#22 Cassy Justison (Soph.) F

#23 Lydia Niemela (Soph.) F

#30 Shiloh Milender (Soph.) G

Award winners:

• Section 2A Academic Champions.

• WCC All-Conference: Avery Stilwell, G.

• WCC All-Conference Honorable Mention: Alyssa Olson, Sydney Braaten, Sophia Hillmann.

• MN Hockey Coaches Association Hobey Baker Award: Courtney Carlson.

• Team Offensive Player of the Year: Sophia Hillmann

• Team Defensive Player. of the Year: Sydney Braaten.

• Team Most Improved: Grace Braaten, Emmy Haataja.

Team Leaders

Captains Mary Ridgeway and Courtney Carlson.

Looking ahead, what will next season have in store?

We are already looking forward to the start of next season in October as a coaching staff.  This group of young ladies has the potential to do some very special things as a team, as we return all but two players from the 2018-2019 squad.

We need to continue to develop our offensive game and find ways to be confident scoring goals when we get opportunities in games. We also need to continue to develop our mental game in order to understand that we are capable of not only playing with, but beating the best teams in our conference and section.

We have a busy off season planned, with many opportunities for our players to grow their game. We hope the girls stay hungry and motivated to improve upon this season, and take the LDC girls program to the next level.

Final thoughts:

The 2018-2019 season was one of the most enjoyable we have had as a coaching staff. We cannot say enough good things about the girls willingness to work and improve each day at practice. These qualities are something that makes us most excited about the years to come and the direction of our program.

We feel we are very close to taking this team to a high level in which we are not only competing with, but beating the very best our conference and section has to offer.

DC Boys Basketball Year in Review


Sports Editor

The Dassel-Cokato boys basketball team had a tough go in the 2018-19 season, finishing with a record of 2-23.

The going got even tougher just one game into the season, when junior point guard Sanders Asplin – the only returning starter from a year ago – was injured in the first game of the season and did not play most of the year.

Senior forward Collin Krick played well, averaging over 14 points per game and garnering All-Conference honors, but the Chargers struggled with an inexperienced back court, only gaining wins over Braham and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.

The Chargers received the #8 seed in the Section 5AAA playoffs, squaring off against top-seeded Delano in the section quarterfinals.

The Tigers defeated DC 73-26.

The team did receive a prestigous academic award, as they were the Section 5AAA Academic Champions.

The Chargers will return three starters, and seven letterwinners, for next season.

DC head coach David Chvojicek provided the following comments for the 2017-18 season.


• Keaton Warner

• Josiah Bullivant

• Collin Krick

• Noah Jenkins

• Noah James

• Taylor Workman

This was a high-character group of young men who were great students. They brought positivity and good attitudes on a daily basis.

Highlights:  The highlight of our season was an exciting victory over neighbors Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.


• Sanders Asplin

• Keaton Warner

• Eli Gillman

• Cade Ortquist

• Josiah Bullivant

• Collin Asplin

• Collin Krick

• Noah Jenkins

• Luke Woetzel

• Solomon Jorgensen

• Noah James

• Ethan Mayer

• Taylor Workman

Award Winners:

• WCC All-Conference: Collin Krick

• Section 5AAA Academic Champions

Team leaders: Sanders Asplin and Collin Krick led the team in scoring, Krick led the team in rebounds, and Ethan Mayer led the team in assists.

Thoughts on Next Year: We have seven returning letterwinners, including captain Sanders Asplin. The opportunity to improve greatly on our record is there, but it will take individual skill work, work in the weight room, and work as a team in the offseason.

Final thoughts: It was a tough season win-loss-wise, but on a daily daily basis our practices were sprited and positive. Losing Sanders for as long as we did was a challenge, but the kids competed throughout.

Gymnastics 2018-19 Year in Review


Sports Editor

The 2018-19 DC gymastics season was an up-and-down affair.

The Chargers entered their second season under head coach Alex Halonen (nee Wente) with high hopes after a 2017-18 campaign that had no senior graduates.

Unfortunately, the team was bitten by the injury bug all season, impeding their team progress and scores.

However, a number of younger gymnasts stepped up to gain valuable varsity experience, which bodes well for future seasons.

The Chargers will graduate two seniors this season, in Marianna Aho and Megan Nelson.

DC will especially have a tough time filling the spot of Nelson, a four-year starter on varsity.

Nelson was the highest all-around finisher at the section tournament, finishing in 12th place. She also finished tops on the team in two individual events.

Nelson and eighth-grader Lauren Abfalter were both named All-Conference for the Wright County Conference.

The team also received the Section 6A Gold Award for the third straight year.

Wente provided the following comments for the 2017-18 season.

Season record: 4-6 in regular season. Placed 7th at sections out of 10.

We were pleased with this finish, as there was a wide spread of points between each place.


• Marianna Aho – will be continuing her education at Gustavus Aldolphus, where she will study to be a nurse. We will miss her free spirit in the gym, and we thank her for her years of commitment to DC Charger Gymnastics.

• Megan Nelson – will be continuing her education at Southwest Minnesota State, where she will study social work, as well as continue her diving career. We are grateful for her time competing as a DC Charger, and will miss her contagious energy!

Highlights this past season:

Overall the team had great depth on each event. The girls all added more difficulty into their routines and also satisfied more routine requirements.

Although our goal of breaking the team record was not accomplished, there was  a lot of improvement made this year in routines and performance. When adding harder skills in routines and fulfilling requirements to earn a higher start value, you also open the door for more deductions.


• Marianna Aho

• Megan Nelson

• Madeline Pokornowski

• Lauren Abfalter

• Randi Bayerl

• Kianna Anderson

Award Winners:

• All-Conference: Megan Nelson, Lauren Abfalter

• Section 6A Gold Academic Award (team)


• Megan Nelson

• Marianna Aho

Captains Next Season:

• Kianna Anderson

• Randi Bayerl

• Madeline Pokornowski

Looking Ahead to Next Year: Next season we hope to start off strong and come into the gym prepared. We will have the same goal as last year, beating the team record. We are hopeful that injuries will not be as prominent next year as they were this year. We are all  excited for what we can accomplish with out veteran gymnasts  and our first year competitors!

Final thoughts: We are very excited to continue adding difficulty into our routines on all events. We are also very pleased with the participants with DC Tumblers (our community ed program) and hope to continue to grow and make our DC Chargers as competitive  as they can be!

DC boys bb eliminated in first round of playoffs

DELANO – The DC boys basketball team was eliminated in the first round of the Section 5AAA playoffs Tuesday, as #1 Delano defeated the #8-seeded Chargers 73-26.

The Tigers outscored the Chargers 47-14 in the first half, and 26-12 in the second half.

Sanders Asplin led DC with 15 points.

Trey Longstreet led the Tigers with 18 points, with Derek Techam adding 15.

Delano had 12 players score.

Check out Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for a full recap.

Schmitz takes 5th place at State Wrestling Tournament

ST. PAUL – Jacob Schmitz ended a phenomenal senior season by placing 5th at the State Wrestling tournament over the weekend at the Xcel Energy Center.

Schmitz went 4-2 in six matches at 182 pounds in Class AA, ending his season with a 47-4 record.

Four other Charger wrestlers did not place at state.

Noah Halonen (32-18) lost two matches at 138; Prestin Bradley (42-8) dropped two at 145; Josh DeBoer (25-14) lost twice at 195 pounds, and Beau Nelson (29-16) lost one match at 170 pounds.

Check out Friday’s Enterprise Dispatch for a full recap.