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Warriors Athlete of Week: Thorkelson having record-breaking season for boys soccer team

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Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Brainerd Warrior Jack Thorkelson works on his footwork at practice Tuesday, Oct. 9.2 / 2

Jack Thorkelson can finally relax.

The Brainerd Warrior junior soccer player was hoping to smash the single-season school record for goals, a mark that he accomplished with a hat trick in an 8-0 win over Fergus Falls Oct. 4. In his pursuit of the goals record, he has also eclipsed the program's mark for total points in a season.

Entering the 2017 season the single-season school record for goals was 17 scored by Tyler Hansen in 2006. The total points in a season record (23) was set by Jason Roberts in 2000.

Thorkelson enters the Section 8-2A playoff match against Moorhead Thursday, Oct. 11, with 18 goals and 29 total points. Warriors coach Tom Grausam said Thorkelson was stressing a bit as he approached the goal record.

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Jack Thorkelson

  • Sport: Soccer
  • Position: Forward
  • Year: Junior
  • Age: 16
  • Height: 5-7
  • Career highlight: Scoring hat trick vs St. Cloud Tech Sept. 18, 2018
  • Favorite class: Math
  • Favorite food: Pizza
  • Favorite movie: "Sandlot"
  • Favorite TV show: "Friends"
  • Favorite restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Future plans: Hopes to play college soccer, would like to teach physical education and coach
  • Favorite soccer: Lionel Messi
  • Parents: Theresa and Bob Thorkelson

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"He looked at them before every game. He'd say 'Am I going to break it? Am I going to break it? Against Fergus Falls, he was one point away and I pulled him off because the last two seasons he's been hurt," Grausam said. "He never made it into a section playoff game because he got injured in the second-to-last or the last (regular-season) game.

"This year I said 'I'm pulling you. You're done' and he got upset. He was mad he got pulled because he wanted to break the record. At halftime (vs. Fergus Falls) I said 'I'm giving you 10 minutes.'

"In those 10 minutes, he scored twice. He put two in and I said 'Alright, you're done."

Thorkelson conceded he checked the Warriors' record book frequently.

"As soon as I got past 12 goals I was like 'Oh, I'm pretty close. I probably should keep track of this,'" he said.

He added that getting the goal record was a surprise "but I've worked pretty hard for this so it's nice to see the outcome be like that. I didn't think I was going to score 18. My goal was high. I wanted to score 12, but obviously (18 is) nice."

His season output includes three hat tricks—against St. Cloud Tech Sept. 18 and Sartell Sept. 20—in addition to Fergus Falls.

"It's definitely my teammates," Thorkelson said of his scoring. "My teammates obviously they helped create every single play."

Mason Malone and Nick Whiteman are among the teammates to whom Thorkelson referred. Along with Thorkelson they've given Brainerd a potent front line. Through Monday's 1-0 win in the final game of the regular season, Malone has piled up 23 points (16 goals, 7 assists) and Whiteman 22 (11-11).

"We're all pretty soccer smart," Thorkelson said. "We have our own little connection between us three. We know where each other are. We know how we want to give the ball to each other."

Grausam attributes Thorkelson's scoring production to midfielders getting the ball up the field as well as seeing the field.

"Jack's getting the ball off his foot a lot quicker," Grausam said. "His speed and foot skills are really outstanding."

Thorkelson's emergence as a striker may be a bit surprising. Last year he totaled seven points all season (4 goals, 3 assists).

"I think my confidence rose a lot more," he said. "My sophomore year I didn't think I could really produce that many (points). This year I kind of (bore) down and said I could do it."

Grausam believes Thorkelson's work ethic and being a vocal leader at practice and in games have led to his scoring.

"He's a very hard worker," Grausam said. "He's tremendous with the ball. He's really focused in scoring, but with 11 assists it shows he's unselfish, too.

"His main goal is to get the team to state. He thinks about the team a lot. That's his No. 1 priority is the team."

Thorkelson hopes to help Brainerd to the first state tournament in program history. The Warriors finished the regular season 12-4, tying the program record for wins in a season. The only other time the Warriors have won 12 games was in 2008.

"It means a lot to be part of history," Thorkelson said. "I'm honored to be in this group with these guys because we've been playing for so long together. It's nice to see us build up to breaking records like this."

Other notable efforts:

• Britney Fletcher, girls tennis, won the North Subsection 8-2A singles title.

• Kate Kurtzman, girls tennis, finished third in the North Subsection 8-2A singles.

• Taya Person-Heidi Jacobson, girls tennis, won the North Subsection doubles title.

• Bridget Collins, cross country, won the girls race at the C-I Invite.

• Joe Klang, football, rushed for 142 yards and a TD vs. Becker.

• Sam Miller, football, passed for 170 yards and two TDs vs. Becker.

• Courtney Russell, volleyball, posted 17 kills vs. Fergus Falls.