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Mundell takes the helm in Wrenshall softball

Carlton and Wrenshall will no longer be a cooperative program in softball this spring. Last season was the final year of the combined program, so that means the programs have had to search for new coaches. While Carlton settled on a new coach, Ji...

Carlton and Wrenshall will no longer be a cooperative program in softball this spring. Last season was the final year of the combined program, so that means the programs have had to search for new coaches. While Carlton settled on a new coach, Jill Mundell, in the fall the Wrens did not hire a head coach - until last week. Former UWS star Melissa Nelmark will take over the fledgling program this season.

"I am very excited about the chance," explained Nelmark. "I wasn't actively looking for a coaching job until Roger Plachta, head coach at UWS, told me about the job in Wrenshall. I decided to look into it and I am excited about the upcoming season."

Nelmark graduated from Duluth East in 1999 and then played at the University of Minnesota-Morris for two years before transferring to UWS and playing for Plachta.

"I really believe in stressing the fundamentals," said Nelmark. "We will work hard and build on that hard work for the future."

While the old "Bird Dogs" have folded, the new Wrens will be excited about the fact that 17 players showed up for a preseason meeting to introduce the new coach.

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"I thought that was a strong number considering they don't know anything about me," commented Nelmark. "I hope we can go into the season with around 15 girls."

With only 15 players a junior varsity program is out of the question for this season, but Nelmark has a plan for the future of the program.

"We will try and get a program going in the summer to get our kids playing," suggested Nelmark. "I would like to build toward a junior varsity and get our numbers up, but we'll work with what we have. I am excited, and even a bit nervous, but I am ready for the challenge and I could tell the girls are, too."

Nelmark will be assisted by Chris Perez, who also is the head soccer coach at the University of Wisconsin-Superior where Nelmark is employed as a admissions recruiter and serves as the assistant soccer coach.

Pine Journal sports reporter Kerry Rodd can be contacted at: kdrodd@aol.com .

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