Game On - Spring 2024

ence and slight disappointment in the championship match will only help them as they move forward. “We thought we could have performed a little better in that championship match (in 2023),” Staudt said. “In the semifinal we looked really good, really com- fortable, but in that champion- ship match we got down a little bit early and that affected how we performed the rest of the day.” With past successes serving as the backdrop, Gilbert has its sights set on a third trip to state this spring, and with four of six varsity members returning into the fold it’s easy to see why. Miles Britt, Carter Hodgen, and Nick Staudt are all three- year varsity regulars, Nathan Tifft was part of the varsity group last season, and there is plenty of talent throughout the 15-player roster to cause ex- citement. Senior Nash Hanson is a newcomer to the team and someone Staudt feels can make an impact. Britt is the clear No. 1 player on the team and is someone Staudt says colleges are look- ing at to be a competitor at the next level. The junior puts in time in the offseason and out- side of practice to hone his craft, and his work ethic is a big reason why he’s one of the top Mario Kart players in the state. “It’s similar to what you see


Gr. Sr. Sr. Sr.

Greyson Rehbein Luke Jorgensen Nash Hanson Nathan Tifft Carter Hodgen Evan Larwick Ian Larwick Hunter McLaughlin

Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr.

Gilbert’s Mario Kart team has qualified for state two years in a row.

Jr. Jr. Jr.

with elite athletes; he’s willing to put in the time on his own,” Staudt said of Britt. “He re- searches things like what is the best build, what is the best line to take on this track, when do I gamble, what strategy do I use, those kinds of things. All of those are little nuances that he’s willing to put in the time to figure out. There has to be an aptitude or skill and he has that. Then he’s willing to put in the time to learn the nuances and things that make you really good.” Hodgen, Staudt, and Tifft are all on equal footing for the next three spots in the lineup, and filling out the remaining spot in the lineup could make Gilbert one of the state’s top teams again. That’s not to say there won’t be challenges. With classes shifting for this season, Gilbert finds itself in an expanded big-

school division that went from 20-plus schools to 45 schools. It’s one reason why Staudt says his players cannot take any- thing for granted throughout the spring. Past successes won’t automatically translate into cur- rent success. “I think we’re still in wait and see mode a little bit,” Staudt said. “Our ultimate goal is to get back to that championship match and see how we match up. I think we have that poten- tial, but there are some new teams we haven’t seen before, so we’re going to have to see how that all shakes out.” To prepare for the campaign, Staudt brought in Nate Rode- meyer, the head coach from Marshalltown Community Col- lege, to conduct a clinic with the team. Rodemeyer was the leader of MCC’s NAIA national championship Mario Kart team, and he brought ideas for how

Miles Britt Nick Staudt

Raymond Lopez Sam Ellingson

So. So. Fr. Fr. Fr.

Ella Britt

Katerina Pecharsky Nikolai Pecharsky

SPRING 2024 | GAME ON 47 players could sharpen their skills. The experience, the talent, it all added up for the Tigers when they opened the 2024 cam- paign in late March with a per- fect score in their first match. Gilbert will need to maintain its regular season success in order to attain another invite to the state tournament. Points ac- crued throughout the regular season lead to those invites. The top four teams in the state will automatically receive bids and first-round byes. The next eight teams will duke it out in a qualifier-style tournament for the remaining spots.

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