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New Centennial coach Kristi King doubles up

05/21/2013, 5:36pm CDT
By David La Vaque, Star Tribune

The next year and a half of Kristi King’s life will be spent finishing her college degree while starting her varsity hockey coaching career.

King, 21, was recently hired as the Centennial girls’ hockey coach after directing the Cougars’ junior varsity to a 19-5-1 record last season. King, who helped Stillwater win the Class 2A state championship in 2007 and 2009 and played college hockey at Maine and Bemidji State, knows her age could create concern.

“A lot of people might ask whether a 21-year-old can handle this job but I did play Division I hockey where we spent five or six hours a day at the rink,” King said. “I look at this job similar to that. I’m going to make the time for it. I care so much that I’m not going to let anything slip.”

King tallied 150 career points for Stillwater and headed to Maine. Feeling homesick, she transferred to Bemidji State after one season. She suffered a career-ending concussion in the season finale as a sophomore and returned to the Twin Cities to finish her degree. She plans to graduate from Bethel University in December 2014 with a business marketing major and communications minor.

She gained some insight in communication skills observing Bemidji State coach Steve Sertich, who King said understood how to reach different players while staying consistent.

King already has learned the differences in going from assistant to head coach. She met players last Friday and has been going about getting practice jerseys ready, designing and ordering T-shirts, meeting with her activities director and assistant coaches and setting up the scrimmage schedule.

“I already respect head coaches 100 percent more,’’ King said. “They don’t just teach the game and develop the kids. They have all the other roles.

“I’m in a new role now,” she said. “Last year I was definitely the fun coach. Not that I can’t be again this year but it’s going to be getting down to business and getting better.”

News and notes

Blaine senior Davis Bryan pitched a no-hitter as the Bengals defeated Maple Grove 8-0 on May 16. Bryan threw 95 pitches in seven innings, striking out three and walking six. … St. Francis sophomore John Santiago set a school record with his 300-meter intermediate hurdles time of 38.47 seconds, good for second at the North Suburban Conference meet. … St. Francis junior Jessica Justin also took down a school record with her 200-meter dash time of 25.74 seconds set in the conference meet preliminaries. She went on to win the event and the triple jump (35 feet, 2¾ inches).

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574

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