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Wednesday, 23 December 2015 09:15

Whitewater girls state hoops title leads 2015 hit parade

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The WIAA Division 3 state basketball champs at Whitewater High School were the top female sports story in the Stateline area during 2015. The WIAA Division 3 state basketball champs at Whitewater High School were the top female sports story in the Stateline area during 2015. Terry Mayer/Staff

It was another banner year for Stateline area athletes and teams in 2015, and this year we are splitting up the many highlights.

This week’s Sports page will focus on girls/women’s accomplishments from the past calendar year. In our first issue of the new year, it will be the boys/men’s turn in the spotlight.

So, here are some of the best stories that made the news during the past 12 months, not necessarily in any order, although the first entry gets the nod for the No. 1 spot.

Whitewater basketball

It was the fourth straight season that a Stateline area team from the Rock Valley Conference qualified for the WIAA Division 3 girls state basketball tournament.

In 2015, Judy Harms’ Whitewater Whippets accomplished what East Troy (2012-’13) and Brodhead (2014) fell short of, bringing home a Gold Ball to culminate March Madness.

Whitewater finished off a 28-0 campaign with victories over Kettle Moraine Lutheran and Appleton Xavier after surviving a sectional field that featured four other top 10 foes.

Senior league and All-Walworth County Player of the Year Sarah Schumacher scored 12 points in the opener and her sister, sophomore Rebekah, led the way with 14 points. In the title showdown, Sarah Schumacher scored 18 points while Myriama Smith-Traore, another soph, scored 17 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

Janesville Craig hoops

Kerry Storbakken’s team secured only the second piece of the Big Eight Conference crown in school history, sharing the title with Verona at 16-2.

The Cougars finished 22-4 behind two-time Big Eight Player of the Year Alison Hughes, who also finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer and only one in program history to surpass 1,000 career points.

Craig’s season ended with a 66-57 sectional final defeat to league runner-up and rival Middleton, a game that Craig led by seven points after three quarters only to get outscored 27-11 in the final eight minutes.

Demons, East Troy volleyball

Burlington made its seventh overall appearance in the WIAA state tournament and sixth since 2009.

Burlington was ranked No. 1 but suffered an upset loss to Verona in its Division 1 quarterfinal match, halting its shot at a third state championship after earning trophies in 2011 and 2012.

Meanwhile, the Trojans qualified for a third time and second in three years.

East Troy won the 2013 Division 2 crown with a perfect 44-0 finish and advanced to the finale, where it lost to Catholic Memorial in four sets.

Burlington’s Quinn Spieker and East Troy’s Mary Dodge and Chloe Jaksent were named to their respective all-tourney squads, while Spieker and Dodge made the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-State first team.

Beloit Turner softball

Veteran manager Bob Sulser’s squad eliminated Evansville, Delavan-Darien, Elkhorn and McFarland to earn the school’s third state tournament appearance and first since 2002.

The Trojans used a talented, balanced offensive attack and the right arm of standout pitcher Kelsie Packard to advance to Goodman Diamond in Madison.

Turner suffered a 5-4 setback against Waupun in the Division 2 semifinal after rallying to grab a 4-3 lead with a four-run sixth.

Packard was named to the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association’s All-State first team, while catcher Summer Amman and infielder Tessa Mikkelson were selected to the second unit.

Milton golf

Andrea Wieland’s talented squad was the state’s top-rated team, set a school record with a 311 score to win the Janesville Parker Invite and won its first Badger South Conference title.

However, Milton fell a couple of steps short after qualifying for the school’s fifth state tournament, all in the last six seasons.

The Red Hawks finished third in Division 1, 26 shots behind Middleton, at University Ridge.

Still, it was another excellent performance that saw senior CheyAnn Knudsen tied for fifth in the medalist chase with a 153 and freshman Taylor Hakala capture 11th at 157.

Beloit Memorial track

The Purple Knights finished 12th in the Division 1 competitions at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Eva Laun-Smith finished third in the 100-meter hurdles and fourth in the triple jump, while fellow sophomore Yolonda Johnson grabbed fifth place in the 300 hurdles. Senior Brenda Hernandez did her part, contributing a third-place effort in the 3,200. She finished out of the scoring but took 10th in the 1,600.

Beloit Memorial could have done much more damage and possibly challenged for a spot in the top four or five had junior sprinter Jaliyah Elliott been available. The injured Elliott missed the meet after qualifying in the 100 and 200 while being the anchor for the 400 relay. Elliott finished seventh in the 100 and helped the Purple Knights take 10th in the relay in 2014.

Meanwhile, Badger junior Sydney Collins grabbed sixth in the D-1 high jump and Burlington senior Brittany Ehlen tied for sixth in the pole vault.

In D-2, Whitewater senior Kailey Reynolds took fourth and Edgerton freshman Ashlyn Oren was seventh in the 100, Big Foot sophomore Brooke Wellhausen finished seventh in the 400, Parkview soph Camryn Burtness captured seventh in the 800, Whitewater junior Sarah Ziolkowski took ninth in the 1,600, Edgerton grabbed fourth in the 400 relay, Beloit Turner was fifth in the 800 relay, Big Foot placed fourth in the 1,600 relay and East Troy took 10th in the 3,200 relay.

In Division 2 field events, East Troy sophomore Hope Schneider finished second in the high jump, Edgerton’s Oren finished fourth and Whitewater’s Reynolds were eighth in the long jump and Evansville senior Karen Wethal and East Troy junior Mary Dodge finished fourth and sixth in the discus, respectively.

State cross country

Whitewater finished seventh out of 16 schools in the D-2 team standings. Senior Sarah Ziolkowski grabbed the same spot among those competing on qualifying teams, while turning in the 16th best time overall.

Among those not on qualifying teams, Delavan-Darien sophomore Erin Sorg captured fifth place overall in Division 2.

UW-Whitewater teams excel

Several University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women’s teams qualified for NCAA Division III postseason action.

The softball team, co-champions of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, defeated UW-River Falls to win the league tournament title and received the league’s automatic tourney bid for the third consecutive season.

The Warhawks finished 37-8 and made the school’s 18th national appearance in program history.

Meanwhile, the UW-W volleyball squad ended 31-5 overall after falling in its NCAA regional opener in five sets. The Warhawks earned their 15th WIAC tournament championship, making their 24th consecutive NCAA trip.

The women’s soccer team finished 11th in the final poll after setting school records in wins (20-5) and goals scored in a season (68), winning three contests to reach the D-III quarterfinals for the first time.

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