WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Whitewater girls basketball coach Judy Harms couldn’t have worn a more appropriate T-shirt to a recent practice. The slogan on the back read, “Champions Are Not Born, They Are Made.”
Senior standout Sarah Schumacher fits into that mold, and she is a major reason why the Whippets should contend for another Rock Valley North Conference title this year despite the graduation of two-time Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State pick Brooke Trewyn.
Schumacher made the league’s first team after being a second-team choice as a sophomore, registering 36 blocks, 52 steals, 295 points, 164 rebounds and 49 assists last year.
Harms said Schumacher, averaging 16.5 ppg through two games, was the only non-senior named to last year’s All-Walworth County squad and has committed herself to becoming a better player.
STATELINE NEWS -- Ashley Himmelmann displays the attributes needed to lead the Beloit Turner girls basketball team’s up-tempo style on both ends of the floor.
The 5-foot-8 junior has speed, quickness, ball-handling skills, grit and determination. But arguably her top quality is her competitiveness, so much so that Trojans coach Scott Schleis tries to turn it back a notch or two.
“Ashley is a tremendous athlete and a true scorer who always wants to get to the basket,” said Schleis, starting his fourth season in his second stint at Turner. “She loves to play, but she’s always going 100 mph, and that’s part of the challenge. I have to reel her in a bit occasionally … she needs to learn when to turn it on and off and take what the opponent is giving her.”
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- They are nearly polar opposites in many ways, including physical stature and personality.
However, Tommy Wecker and Mitch Roberts share two important traits: They’re extremely competitive and they possess talent galore in the pool.
The Milton High School swimmers have qualified for the WIAA Division 2 boys meet the past two years and should represent the Red Hawks again.
WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Their worlds may be different, but people with disabilities tackle life with the same, or even more, gusto. It’s all about attitude and determination in overcoming obstacles.
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Student-athletes and staff members involved in wheelchair athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater prove that daily. And one of their main tools in dispelling myths, spreading awareness and breaking down barriers is the Cornerstones for Success program, which they have conducted throughout the Midwest for more than 15 years.
STATELINE NEWS -- Youth definitely will be served with the Rock County Fury girls hockey team this winter. So, coach Darrel Moore is relying heavily on two players to get his young squad through any rough stretches during a long season.
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And Bailey McKillips and Molly Gross welcome the challenge of their leadership roles.
McKillips, a defenseman, scored two goals and registered four assists for six points last year as the Fury finished 12-11-2 overall.
WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- It can be about the camaraderie and the beer, and both flow freely most evenings at alleys around the Stateline area. However, bowling means much more to George Wen and George Fincutter.
Several Stateline area teams could make a few big splashes at the 45th annual WIAA girls swimming and diving meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the UW-Madison Natatorium.
Athletes in Division 2 will compete Friday, with diving starting at 2:30 p.m. and swimming events at 6:30 p.m. Division 1 takes over Saturday, with diving beginning at 10 a.m. and timed events at 3 p.m.
Milton, Whitewater and Elkhorn will be represented in the D-2 field.
The Red Hawks’ contingent features sophomore Olivia DeRemer in the 200-yard individual medley, where her qualifying time of 2:14.99 stands 11th out of 16. Whitewater senior Sara Foucault has the ninth best time at 2:14.69.
Foucault also qualified in the 100 butterfly, where her 1:01.05 is tied for the 10th spot.
DeRemer’s second event is the 100 breaststroke (1:08.48), where she enters with the 10th best time.
Senior Megan Leahy of Elkhorn will compete in the 50 freestyle, where her 25.19 seconds clocking places her tied for 11th.
Whitewater junior Sydney Zimdars has the 15th best time in the 500 freestyle.
Jamie Richardson’s Elks also will compete in the 400 freestyle relay, where the qualifying foursome clocked a 3:49.9, which is 16th.
In Division 1, Janesville Craig and the Badger co-op team are in position to pile up some points.
Freshman Erin Donagan and junior Kendall Cawkins will lead the Cougars.
The record-setting Donagan has the eighth-best showing -- out of 24 -- in the 200 IM at 2:09.08 and stands 13th (1:06.99) in the 100 breaststroke.
Meanwhile, Cawkins will compete in the 50 free (24.57) and 100 free (54.30), which are 17th and 23rd, respectively.
Craig also will field 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. The former clocked a 1:39.55, good for a tie for 11th, and the latter qualified in 3:41.29, good for 19th.
The Badgers will be led by senior standout Kaarin Quaerna. She enters at No. 4 in the 50 free (23.81) and clocked the fastest time in the state in the 100 free (51.49).
Quaerna also will be a huge factor in the relay races, where Badger stands 13th in the 200 medley relay, 15th in the 200 free relay and 14th in the 400 free relay.
Three other individuals will compete for Badger: Freshman Cora Rafe is eighth in the 200 IM (2:09.06) and 14th in the 100 backstroke (58.59), sophomore Katelyn O’Brien is 22nd in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.52) and sophomore Molly Dover is in the 100 butterfly, where she enters with the 18th best mark.
It could be a free-for-all in most conferences featuring Stateline area boys basketball teams this year.
Many standouts must be replaced, but Edgerton, Delavan-Darien and Clinton are among the programs with the most talent coming back.
Here is a quick roundup of what to expect.
Janesville Craig must replace first team performer and current UW-Whitewater player Jerry Ngobi (15.5) and Mike Murphy (13.0), who made the third team. The Cougars suffered numerous peaks and valleys, thus finishing 13-11 overall and 10-8 in conference competition.
Craig also lost Nolan Maresch (10.0) and James Morgan (8.6), but it can build around seniors Ross Smith (5.8) and Kejuan Green (4.3) and sophomore SanTrell Payton (6.3).
Beloit Memorial also must replace leading scorer Andre Neal (15.8), who garnered second team honors. Third team choice Draylen Fair (13.5) also graduated. The roster also will be minus Blake Farr (9.4), Denzel Barnes (9.1) and Armann Cabrera (7.0).
Jay Bryant’s team finished 15-10 overall, including 10-8 in conference action, and fell to Mukwonago in the sectional semifinals.
Janesville Parker must fill the hole left by Adam Thompson’s graduation. He made the third team after averaging 12.9 points per game, second on the team for Ryan Masterson, whose squad opens this season Nov. 26 at Delavan-Darien.
The Vikings finished 6-18 overall, including a 2-16 mark in league play, with both victories coming against Middleton. Leading scorer J.J. Scott (16.9) and Cullen Osmond (9.9) also graduated. Connor Osmond (5.7) is one of the returnees.
Milton returns Tyler Westrick (10.9) from its 8-15 squad, but the Red Hawks lost four of their top five scorers to graduation, including Noah Johnson (11.4), who joined Westrick on the league’s second team. Also gone are Drew Johnson (10.1), Connor Bowen (6.3) and Tyler Hammil (5.0).
Rock Valley North
Edgerton won the league crown behind an experienced lineup that included player of the year and first team choice Adam Converse (10.8), who the Crimson Tide must replace along with fellow graduate Brooks Johnson (9.0), a second team selection. Edgerton also must replace coach Jason Knott, who took an administrative position in the Evansville school district, after he led the Crimson Tide to a record 15-0 start and a 20-4 overall record, equaling a school standard for victories. However, Edgerton gets back some nice pieces in seniors Jacob Zeimet (11.1), Brennan Deegan (7.9) and James Fox (11.1). Zeimet made the first team, while the other two were honorable mention selections. The Crimson Tide were a No. 1 seed but lost in the sectional semifinals to Lakeside Lutheran.
East Troy, a year after its second state tournament appearance, finished 17-8 overall, which featured wins over Edgerton and McFarland. Eventual state champion Brown Deer eliminated the Trojans in the sectional semifinals, 58-55.
East Troy lost senior first team guard Jacob Growel (17.1), their leading scorer, but several other top performers return. That list includes second teamer Will Iloncaie (11.1) and fellow seniors Matt Kaminski (10.8) and Connor Mitchell (9.0), who gained honorable mention status along with junior Joe Ciriacks (10.0).
Evansville turned in a 12-12 finish last year, losing in the regional final. The Blue Devils lost honorable mention guard Matt Sperry (9.2), but they get sophomore second teamer Brennan Banks (16.7) and honorable mention junior Kyle Rutkowski (10.3) back.
Whitewater posted a 9-14 record and must find a replacement for second team choice Scott Gorsuch (10.4) and honorable mention selection Brett Harms (7.4). However, the Whippets’ returnees include senior honorable mention performer Josh Nast, who averaged 7.8 ppg.
Rock Valley South
Clinton, which finished 10-12, must move forward without first team player Eric DeLong (12.2) but has a good nucleus with returning senior second teamers Luke Risse (11.0) and Zach Kaminski (9.2). The Cougars, who had seven players register double-digit scoring games last year, also should get contributions from seniors Marc Eliszewski (6.9), Derek Severson (6.7) and Willy Churchill (4.2), as well as sophomore Terrell Walker (4.6).
Parkview (10-12) will find it tough to duplicate their double-digit victory output after losing league player of the year Garrett Reinhardt (15.0) and fellow first team selection Christian Hobson (13.2), not to mention second team pick James Wellnitz (9.2) and honorable mention performer Jacob Phillips (4.7).
Parkview will build around senior honorable mention guard Nolan Masterson, who was third on the team with 10.3 ppg.
Beloit Turner hopes to start like it did last year, but this time the Trojans want to carry it through the rest of the season.
Turner started 4-0 and stood at 7-4 before suffering an eight-game losing streak. The Trojans rebounded briefly with three consecutive victories to end the regular season, but Clinton knocked them out in the regional opener to give them a 10-13 overall mark.
Ken Watkins’ squad lost quality experience in second team performers Anthony Payton (11.6) and Aaron Bartz (10.3) and honorable mention pick Ian Olson (4.2). Bartz also led the team with 6.7 rebounds per game.
The task is finding other offensive contributors to go with sophomore first teamer Alec Fruin (14.5) and junior Justin Hansen (4.8).
Big Foot mustered an 8-16 finish last year, but it was much more competitive down the stretch, going 7-9 after a 1-7 start.
Big Foot must fill the hole left by its only all-league selection, honorable mention choice Austin Hoey (8.3).
Lost to graduation were Nate Freytag (13.9), Gus Wedig (6.3), Daniel Pearce (4.2) and Craig Halma (4.2). Among the key returnees are seniors Nico Tovar (7.2) and Alex Landers (5.5).
Palmyra-Eagle stumbled to a 7-16 record, and offensive struggles were a big reason because the Panthers scored 36 or fewer points 14 times, surpassing the 50-point mark only once, their season opener.
P-E must replace its top three players: second team selection Nate Behr (11.3) and honorable mention choices Ryan Dahms (5.4) and Bryce Boos (7.3).
Senior Sean Mara (3.0), sophomore Simon Carpenter (2.6) and junior Ty Poulson (3.2) are the top returning scorers.
Brodhead can only go one way after a 3-20 campaign that featured only one league triumph, a season-opening win over Clinton.
Brodhead gets its big gun back in junior first team guard Ned Slocum, who averaged 17.8 points per outing, registering a season high of 41 in that game against the Cougars and reaching double figures in all but two contests.
The Cards will be senior-dominated with the likes of Josiah DeLorme (11.4), Griffin Day (7.8), Tjaden Sanders (5.7) and Tad Harnack (3.7) back, as well as junior Josh Pickel (3.0).
Delavan-Darien will pin its hopes around the senior tandem of seniors Isiah Ramos and Jesse Collins, seniors who averaged 12.9 and 12.0 ppg to earn honorable mention status.
Longtime Comets’ coach Bob Beighton’s lineup also will feature junior William Brown (10.4) and senior Isaac Ramos (7.3).
They must fill holes left by John Damrow (7.1) and Stephan Rodriguez (5.6) in hopes of improving upon their 7-16 showing. Delavan-Darien started 0-9 but gradually improved, winning five of its final six regular-season games before rival Elkhorn handed them a third defeat of the year in the postseason opener.
Badger will rely a lot on senior second team performer and leading scorer Lincoln Wieseman (13.7), especially with the loss of honorable mention pick Tony Ashley (6.1).
The Badgers also lost Jake Kozlowski (10.6), Derrick Buntrock (9.6) and Logan Tenney (6.9).
However, Badger will have experience with senior Bryant Sontag (5.4) and junior Jake Berhorst (9.6) to complement Wieseman as it attempts to better its 11-12 record.
Elkhorn must try to rebound without the services of second team selection Arik Anderson (13.5).
However, the Elks get senior honorable mention pick Aaron Wales (6.8) back, as well as seniors Joe Konopski (8.4) and Cody Johnson (4.3) and sophomore Alex Easterday (5.2).
Elkhorn will try to improve upon its 9-15 showing without longtime coach John Handel, who is an assistant at UW-Whitewater.
Burlington (10-14) must replace first team player and leading scorer Ben Geiger (15.4) and honorable mention choice Lucas Dahl (5.7), but the Demons do get senior Frankie Hozeska (12.1) back after he made the second unit.
Other returnees include seniors James Tully (6.7) and Nathaniel Sibley (5.0) and junior Tyler Wiemer (4.6).
Williams Bay must find replacements for first team guard Adam Lechelt (16.2) and honorable mention forward Sergey Klyukuin (11.9) along with Jonah VanVleet (4.6) from a squad that finished 17-7 overall.
Among the top returning performers are seniors John Higgins (12.6) and Brad Quinn (8.6) and sophomore Avery Lettenberger (3.7).
The Bulldogs would take another fast start like last season, when they were 10-0 and didn’t lose until Jan. 14, including a 7-0 mark in league play.
Catholic Central turned in a wonderful 21-5 campaign, which featured a 10-game winning streak. Two of their defeats came to eventual Division 4 state champion Dominican, while the Hilltoppers reached the D-5 sectional semifinals.
Central will rely on two key returning weapons. Among the returnees are junior and leading scorer Ben Heiligenthal (12.1) and senior Spencer Wilker, who averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds.
However, the Hilltoppers’ graduation losses included Bailey Wright (11.4 and 4.3) and Tegan Miles, who chipped in 9.5 points and led the team in rebounding at 7.8.
Faith Christian posted a 16-6 overall mark, winning its first six outings and claiming five in a row before losing its postseason opener to Albany.
Brian Pollard will have to start pretty much from scratch in building his roster this year, because Faith graduated five of its top six scorers.
Gone are standouts Joe Ingersoll, who led the Eagles in scoring (20.1) and rebounding (13.3), and Jared Mulder, who scored at a 14.4 clip. Graduates also included Alex Cesarz (7.3), Wayne York (5.9) and Jay Valadez (4.4).
The lone returnee among those six is junior Noah Knudtson (5.0).
Rock Valley Conference members Whitewater and Brodhead were among the top girls basketball teams in Division 3 throughout the 2013-’14 season and should be strong postseason contenders again.
Kerry Storbakken’s Janesville Craig squad finished third in the Big Eight Conference behind Middleton and Verona and should challenge again after losing only one key contributor. The Cougars held a one-point lead after three quarters before falling, 43-36, to Mukwonago in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal last year.
Janesville Parker also returns a strong senior class and looks to bounce back from its 12-12 finish.
STATELINE NEWS -- Head coach Tim Sughroue fields his own version of Knute Rockne’s vaunted Four Horsemen, and he unleashes them against Northern Illinois Conference opponents every Friday night.
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Hononegah’s powerful ground game features the quartet of senior running backs Alec Dodd, Sam Ballano, Marcos Reyes and Keinen Nordlie.