Kalkaska Starts Anew with Thelen
KALKASKA – After going winless in 2018, Kalkaska is starting anew with first-year coach Justin Thelen.
A 2017 Alma College graduate, Thelen was a three-year starter and two-time captain at defensive back and earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors.
Thelen, who is an English teacher at Kalkaska High School, replaces Josh Bigby who resigned last September midway through his first season and after a 0-6 start.
Prior to his teaching position at Kalkaska, Thelen served as a defensive backs coach at NCAA Division III Manchester (Ind.) University in 2018 and Anderson (Ind.) University in 2017.
“Very hungry. And we look at it as, restart is a better way to put it than rebuild,” Thelen said. “We have very high expectations for this group and the kids, like you said, are very, very hungry. They’re ready for something new, and we’re ready to emphatically put last year to bed.”
The Blazers have already seen a change in mentality with Thelen.
“It’s kind of just a turn-the-page mentality,” Kalkaska senior Ben Porter said. “You just forget what happened and move on and try to do our best to improve the program and try to rebuild what was broken down last year.”
Kalkaska opens its season at home against Pine River on Thursday, Aug. 29.