Stateline area athletes and teams turned in another banner calendar year in 2016. Here is a look at many of those performances in CSI Media’s annual Year in Review series.
This article focuses on girls and women’s sports -- next weekend we’ll ring in 2017 with boys/men’s highlights.
Diamonds in the rough
Ace pitcher Jennah Speth and Delavan-Darien weathered a rugged Southern Lakes Conference schedule to earn the school’s first appearance in the state softball tournament.
Then they survived Mother Nature during a game that spanned two days to reach the Division 2 title contest with a 1-0, nine-inning victory over Northwestern/South Shore.
That put the Comets in the state final, where they suffered a 2-1 loss to New Berlin West to end up 25-7.
Speth, a University of Illinois-Chicago recruit, set an all-division record with 22 strikeouts in the opening win and established another mark with 36 combined Ks for Hank Johnson’s squad.
Not running on empty
East Troy’s girls cross-country team turned in a championship performance to earn the Division 2 state title at Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 29.
And the difference between the Trojans and runner-up Luxemburg-Casco wasn’t decided until sophomore Morgan Bartlett crossed the line in 33rd position among team competitors (and 55th overall), 20 spots ahead of L-C’s No. 5 runner.
That gave East Troy 88 points and the Spartans 108 after the schools were tied through their top four runners.
Freshman Ella Rondeau led the Trojans in fourth place with a 19:11.73, which placed her sixth overall. Their next three runners were freshman Madison Desing in ninth (17th), freshman Christina Nolting in 19th (38th) and senior Madison Rosin in 23rd (45th).
Two other area runners proved they were among the state’s best. Delavan-Darien’s Erin Sorg finished eighth overall (19:16.13) in the D-2 field, while Janesville Craig’s Peyton Sippy captured fourth place (18:44.39) in Division 1.
Burning up the track
Area athletes proved they needed to be reckoned with at the state track meet in La Crosse, bringing back tons of hardware.
Beloit Memorial was the highest finisher in Division 1 with 17 points, good for 15th place. Meanwhile, the Rock Valley dominated in D-2. Jefferson won the crown with 44 points, with Brodhead/Juda seventh (25), Big Foot ninth (21) and Edgerton tying for 12th (18).
In D-1, top finishers included Memorial sophomore Adela Diaz capturing third place in the 300 hurdles; Beloit junior Eva Laun-Smith took fourth in the triple jump and Badger senior Sydney Collins fourth in the high jump; Beloit senior Jaliyah Elliott in the 100 and Parker senior Bree Porter in the 100 hurdles earned fifths; Parker freshman Julia Hartwig finished sixth in the shot put and Beloit’s Elliott in the 200 and Parker senior Hanna Rainiero in the pole vault grabbed sevenths, the latter’s 11-0 showing establishing a Vikings’ record.
Division 2 competitors turned in numerous topnotch performances. They featured Brodhead sophomore Madee Harding, East Troy freshman Rachel Bottum and Big Foot junior Brooke Wellhausen taking fourth through sixth places, respectively, in the 400.
The best finishes came in the relay races, where Big Foot’s foursome of Wellhausen, junior Gloria Esarco and sophomores Alexandria Demco and Grace Gillingham earned the gold in the 3,200 relay (school record time of 9:34.53), avenging a conference meet setback to state runner-up Brodhead/Juda, and second in the 1,600 (3:59.17).
Meanwhile, Edgerton’s group of juniors Maggie Lawrence and Kathleen Riley and sophomores Ashlyn Oren and Nikkia Johnson clocked a 49.36 to earn second in the 400 relay.
Individually, Oren’s effort in the long jump (17-4 1/2) gave her the silver medal and her 5-2 tied her for sixth in the high jump. East Troy received a third from junior Hope Schneider in the high jump (5-5), a fifth from senior Katrina Santos in the triple jump (36-1) and a sixth from senior M.E. Dodge in the discus (124-8).
Doubling their pleasure
Two doubles tandems made their presence felt at the D-2 state tennis tournament at Nielsen Stadium from Oct. 13 through Oct. 15.
East Troy sophomores Mackenzie Lindow and Erin Rice finished off their 23-3 campaign with a fourth-place finish, and the future looks even brighter should they continue to play together.
That’s because they defeated three teams of seniors from Altoona (7-5, 6-2), a fifth-seeded pair from Martin Luther (6-4, 6-4) and Kohler (6-3, 6-2) en route to the semifinals, where they lost to another senior duo and eventual champions, Abby Fox and Maddie Molitor of Edgewood.
Lindow and Rice then fell 7-5, 6-3 to the third-seeded entry from Catholic Memorial.
Meanwhile, Whitewater seniors Milena Maroske and Whitney Treder finished one step behind in fifth place.
They knocked off a team from Regis (6-4, 6-4) and disposed of another Regis entrant, the sixth seed, by a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 score. Maroske and Treder were then downed 6-4, 6-1 by the aforementioned third-place Catholic Memorial tandem.
However, they recovered to defeat a second Memorial pair 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 before beating the Kohler duo 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Olympic dreams dashed
East Troy’s Annie Haeger and San Diego teammate Briana Provancha were among 15 members of the U.S. sailing team who traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August.
Haeger, 26, and Provancha were considered a top hope for a sailing medal, competing in the 470 Class.
The tandem had a realistic shot at a silver or bronze medal after the 10 series events, but after a strong start, they faded in the medals race and finished seventh overall in the standings. So, the Olympic dream shifts to the 2020 Games.
Reaching the mountaintop
Lana Wieseman, a Badger High School product, finished her illustrious hoops career at Beloit College.
She ended up as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,639 points and made free throws with 410 while finishing second in scoring average at 17.8 and field goals with 594.
In 2015-’16, Wieseman accumulated three 30-point outings and led the Buccaneers with 20.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, a 52.8 shooting percentage and 28 blocked shots.
Wieseman’s 475 school record for points bettered her junior output of 468. She also established a Beloit College standard with a 37-point showing in 2014-’15, one of six times she reached the 30-point plateau.
The Bucs’ 9-14 overall record gave them their most wins in the last six years, while Beloit finished 7-11 in league play for a third consecutive season.
-- South Dakota State recruit Mia Seeman of Milton, a junior, carded a round of 152, following a 74 with a 78, to share fourth place in the medalist standings in the Division 1 state golf tournament at University Ridge on Oct. 10-11. That effort was an improvement of 20 strokes from her 2015 showing.
-- Janesville Craig junior Erin Donagan stood out at the state swimming meet. Donagan finished third in the 200 individual medley and wound up fifth in the 100 breaststroke at UW-Madison’s Natatorium, scoring all 30 points for the Cougars.
She clocked a 2:04.42 in the 200 IM, more than two seconds faster than her seeding time. Donagan then did the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.62.
The latter effort broke her school record of 1:05.33, which she set at the sectional meet in Middleton, where Donagan also helped Craig create a new standard in the 200 medley relay in 1:54.01.
-- The area wasn’t as well represented as usual, but Whitewater’s Kelly O’Hara and Craig’s Sara Malmanger were bright spots at the state gymnastics meet.
O’Hara grabbed sixth in the all-around in D-2, finishing third in the floor exercise, sixth on the uneven bars and eighth in the vault. Malmanger took third on the balance beam in Division 1.
-- The Rock County Fury qualified for the state hockey tournament for the first time, upsetting top-seeded Middleton, 3-2, in the sectional final at the Madison Ice Arena.
The third-seeded Fury upended Baraboo, 3-1, and second-seeded Onalaska, 3-2 in overtime, to reach the Final Four. Their season ended with a 6-1 setback to eventual champion Hayward in their state opener.
-- Burlington finished 39-10 and qualified for its eighth appearance at the state volleyball tournament, falling short of its third Division 1 title.
The Demons overcame a two-set deficit to win a five-set thriller over defending champion Divine Savior Holy Angels in their opener at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Nov. 3. Then they downed Menomonee Falls in four sets in the semis the next day.
However, Neenah finished 45-4 with a straight-sets triumph in the finale.
-- The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s teams proved formidable again. The women’s softball squad qualified for regionals, the basketball team reached the second round in NCAA Division III tournament action and the volleyball and soccer contingents advanced to the third round of the postseason. Also, three gymnasts won individual event national titles, while the Warhawks finished third in the team portion.
-- Hononegah’s basketball program won its 17th regional crown and is chasing its first sectional title since 2004-’05. Randy Weibel’s squad dominated the NIC-10 en route to a 16-0 mark, finishing 29-3 overall after falling in the sectional final.
Weibel’s teams have a 406-124 mark during his tenure, including a current streak of four straight years of 25 or more victories.
Athlete profile: Beau Cary
Athlete’s name: Beau Cary
School: Big Foot High School
Sports: Basketball, football, tennis
Honors/highlights for each sport: Basketball — second team All-Rock Valley South Conference as sophomore, first team as junior, two-year team captain and MVP, three letters; Football — all-conference honorable mention as junior, second team as senior, three letters
Season scoring stats, best times, etc. for each sport: Basketball — averaged 2.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as freshman; 9.0 ppg and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore; 14.9 ppg and 8.0 rebounds as a junior
Describe yourself on/off the field: I always try to keep a positive attitude in whatever I do. I push to better myself in all aspects of my life each and every day.
How did you get started playing each of the sports or your favorite sport? My older brothers played sports, and I attended all of their games. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play.
Biggest influences or role models and why: My coach, Mike Dowden, really has helped me throughout high school, both on and off the court. Anything from not playing well to struggling in a class, he always has been there to support me.
Most memorable moment(s) in high school sports: Beating Clinton in the playoffs my sophomore year (basketball regional opener).
What advice would you give younger athletes about competing at the high school and/or collegiate levels? Enjoy it; it goes by faster than you think.
Favorite athlete(s): Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Favorite team(s): UW Badgers
Post-high school plans: College and play basketball
Athlete’s name: Brady Olson
School: Palmyra-Eagle High School
Sports: Football (for three years, not as senior), basketball and baseball
Honors/recognition for each sport: Football — three-year varsity letter winner, all-conference honorable mention sophomore year, second team as junior, team captain junior year. Basketball — three-year varsity letter winner, all-conference honorable mention sophomore and junior years. Baseball — three-year varsity letter winner, all-conference honorable mention freshman year, second team sophomore year.
Season scoring stats, best times, etc. for each sport: Basketball — sophomore year on varsity 10 points per game, junior year (was injured) 12.5 ppg. Football — junior year on varsity 28 receptions for 562 yards and six touchdowns. Baseball — single-season batting average record for the school sophomore year (batted .425)
Describe yourself on/off the field: A leader/role model who cares about the game on the field and respects others.
How did you get started in playing each of the sports or your favorite sport: At a young age my dad got me into them, and just always being in a family that plays sports and is around sports.
Biggest influences or role models and why: My parents always have been there for me and showed me how to respect others and just act in general.
Most memorable moment(s) in high school sports: Beating Clinton in basketball my junior year at home. Clinton was a favorite against us and we won by 16; I finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
What advice would you give younger athletes about competing at the high school and/or collegiate levels: Appreciate what you have in your four short years of sports. It goes by faster than you think. Play every game and practice as if it were your last, because you never know if it might be. I hope no one gets injured, but having two surgeries during high school definitely changes your perspective on things.
Favorite athletes: Derek Jeter (former New York Yankees), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Favorite teams: All of the Wisconsin Badger teams, Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and anyone (in the NBA) that is not the Golden State Warriors.
Any other hobbies outside of sports: Playing video games, hanging out with friends, going to the YMCA to work out.
Post-high school plans: Going to college but don’t know where yet. I have been accepted into UW-Whitewater, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Milwaukee.
Athlete profile:Grant Truesdale
Athlete’s name: Grant Truesdale
School: Elkhorn Area High School
Sports: Soccer and wrestling
Honors/recognition for each sport: State runner-up in soccer; first-team all-conference and conference wrestling champion
Season scoring stats, best times, etc.: Most pins in 2015-’16 season (22), placed third at sectionals in wrestling
Describe yourself on/off the field: Work hard on and off the field and it will get you places.
How did you get started in playing each of the sports or your favorite sport: Began wrestling around age 6 and loved the sport from the start. Started soccer in middle school, team kept winning and it was an all-around fun time.
Biggest influences/role models and why: My parents, who have influenced me to work hard at everything I do.
Most memorable moment(s) in high school sports: Winning conference my sophomore year and placing second at state in soccer.
What advice would you give younger athletes about competing at the high school and/or collegiate levels: Work as hard as you can every day in practice. It’s a whole new level and takes a ton of offseason and in-season work to be good. Nothing is handed to you.
Your nickname, if any: Truesie
Favorite athlete(s): Kyle Snyder (American Olympic gold medalist wrestler) and Eddie Lacy
Favorite team(s): Green Bay Packers
Any other hobbies outside of sports: Playing backyard games with friends as much as possible
Post-high school plans: Attend college; pursue a degree in the medical field
The journey to the Wisconsin state boys basketball tournament began in earnest with opening games scattered throughout the Stateline this past week, while Illinois schools start their seasons next week.
Here is a roundup of area teams for the 2016-’17 season.
Rock Valley North
Darryl Rayfield’s Trojans have been the cream of the proverbial crop, having enjoyed a four-run seldom seen in the Stateline area.
East Troy reached the Division 3 state tournament in 2013, lost to eventual champion Brown Deer in the sectional semifinals in 2014, returned to Madison in 2015 and fell in the sectional title game last year.
So, what do the Trojans do for an encore after going 15-1 in conference action and 20-6 overall?
East Troy’s biggest question is who will step up after the graduation loss of All-Rock County Player of the Year Jake Nixon, who led the league in scoring at 26.6 ppg.
However, the Trojans also must replace fellow RVC North first teamer Joe Ciriacks (18.4), second teamer Jacob Remsza (8.8) and honorable mention pick Johnathon Brehm (8.2).
The team’s top returning performer is senior Jonathan Ciriacks, who averaged 8.7 ppg and earned honorable mention status.
The Whippets return two key cogs in senior Brodie Runez and junior Bryce Parrish. Runez made the North’s second team after scoring at a 13.7 clip, while Parrish was an honorable mention pick after adding 9.4 ppg. No. 3 scorer Daniel Fuller (8.4), a junior, also will be counted on heavily.
Dan Gnatzig’s squad finished 7-15 overall, including a 7-9 conference showing, and is looking for the school’s first winning league record since going 8-4 in its second-to-last year in the Southern Lakes in 2006-’07.
Rock Valley South
The Chiefs return one of the top two-way performers in the conference in senior first teamer Beau Cary, who was third in scoring (14.9) and second in rebounding (8.0).
However, the Chiefs must replace honorable mention pick Zak Greco (12.4) if they want to improve on their 7-9 league standing and 9-14 overall mark.
Sophomore Logan Eischeid (7.0) and seniors Chucky Rohner (5.1) and Nelson Tovar (3.0) must step up for Michael Dowden’s squad if it wants to post the school’s first winning record since earning the South title in 2009-’10.
The Panthers were fifth out of six teams with a third consecutive 3-13 league record, finishing 7-16 overall.
They will try to regroup again without honorable mention selection Mason Roscizewski, who averaged 6.7 ppg. However, senior Brady Olson (12.5), also an honorable mention pick, is back after playing in only 11 games.
Palmyra-Eagle also must find replacements for the likes of Noah Hayalian (6.9) and Izaac Neubauer (5.7).
Still, the Panthers’ arsenal will include seniors Simon Carpenter (7.1) and Carson Poulson (3.8) for coach Mike Meracle.
The Cougars displayed plenty of firepower as Zach Krause (17.0), Cole Ciochon (13.5) and Terrell Walker (12.7) finished in the league’s top five in scoring, while Ciochon made the conference’s first team after leading the way in rebounding (11.1).
Ciochon is back for his senior campaign as Clinton attempts to catch Turner after finishing 10-6 in loop play and 14-10 overall.
Denny Morris’ squad lost Blake Hodges to graduation, one of three guys to make the second team along with Krause and Walker, who are in their junior and senior years, respectively. Also back are junior honorable mention picks Tyler Halsted (6.4) and Caleb Gracyalny (11.9).
The question is, can they challenge the Trojans after falling by a combined 43 points in their two meetings a year ago?
First-year coach Chris Hembrook must replace three big guns from his explosive Comets, who finished in fourth place in SLC action at 8-6 and 13-10 overall, the smallest school in the league’s second winning mark in eight years.
Second teamers Lucas DeLara (17.7) and Will Brown (14.1) and honorable mention performer Austin Ryan (12.4) have graduated and were the team’s top three scorers under longtime head man Bob Beighton, whose final squad finished 2-12 and 7-16 the year before.
However, the next four leading scorers are scheduled to return: seniors Brandon Edmonds (8.9), Seth Kirsch (6.9) and Jayce Crull (5.7) and junior Logan Rios (3.0).
The Badgers are coming off a third-place finish in the SLC, their 9-5 showing two games behind champion Westosha Central.
Forrest Larson’s squad, which wound up 12-11 overall, must fill gaps left by leading scorer Jake Berhorst (21.0), who finished second in the league in scoring and made the All-Walworth County unit. He made the conference’s first team for a second consecutive year, while Austin Jackson (10.4) also graduated after earning honorable mention.
Badger will rely on seniors Mason DuMez (11.8) and Ian Schirtzinger (7.9) to carry the load until several others step up while trying to also replace Chase Kruger (8.8).
The Elks slid into last place in the league at 2-12 despite the efforts of Alex Easterday, who as a junior made the talented conference’s first team after averaging 20.0 ppg, third best in the SLC.
Easterday is back after making the All-Walworth County squad, but Elkhorn, which went 6-17 overall, must make up for the loss of honorable mention choice Dayne Fisher (13.0).
Josh Skatrud’s team will look to seniors Ross Ingersoll (8.2), Ian Nowell (3.5) and Ryan Shilts (3.2) for improvement.
The Demons captured second place in the SLC standings, finishing one game behind Westosha Central at 10-4 while going 15-10 overall.
Burlington will try to challenge for the title again without honorable mention pick Cal Tully (10.5), but Steve Berezowitz’s unit features Nick Klug, a first-team selection after scoring at a 15.2 clip as a sophomore.
Seniors Luke Geiger (6.7) and Liam Safer (3.3) and juniors Brock Halbach (7.1) and Grant Tully (3.4) should be key pieces again.
The Bulldogs never lost more than three games in a row and didn’t win more than two in a row until a four-game run that included a regional-opening victory over Black Hawk, thus their 9-9 conference finish and 12-12 overall showing.
Jake Olson (11.0) graduated after making the league’s honorable mention list, but senior second teamer Avery Lettenberger returns after averaging 10.4 ppg and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds.
Andrew Breen (7.7) must be replaced, but senior Cory Shea (7.7) and juniors Braden O’Laughlin (5.6) and Eric Norton (5.0) will take on bigger roles for coach Troy Nottestad.
The Hilltoppers tied Racine Lutheran for second place in the league standings at 10-6, six games behind juggernaut Dominican in an otherwise balanced conference.
Central finished 19-10 overall, and that included a spirited postseason run that saw it advance to the WIAA state tournament for the third time in school history. The Hilltoppers, who won titles in their first two appearances, fell to McDonnell Central in the D-5 showdown.
Central will be hard pressed to duplicate that run after the graduation of first teamer and league player of the year Ben Heiligenthal, who was second in scoring at 21.3 and first in rebounding at 9.0.
Brandon Vandehei (8.7) also graduated, but fellow honorable mention pick and senior Aaron Rueber (5.5) is back. Junior Frank Koehnke (9.5) and seniors Cole Pankau (5.5) and Austin Neuhaus (4.6) also should be key pieces.
Indian Trails Blue
The Eagles should be the favorite in conference play after sharing the top spot with Kenosha Reuther at 9-1.
Veteran coach Brian Pollard’s Eagles finished 13-10 overall and lost first teamer Noah Knudtson (8.8) to graduation.
But Faith Christian returns a strong lineup that features juniors Caleb Thomas (11.5) and Cole Bachman (9.1), who made the first and second teams, respectively. Classmates Joshua Olson (8.3), C.J. Johnston (6.9) and Ben Ledger (6.8) make this a formidable attack.
And keep an eye on sophomore Andrew Kent, who averaged 8.3 ppg in just three outings.
The Red Hawks seldom have been competitive in eight years in the Badger South Conference, only reaching the .500 mark once, a 6-6 showing in their first winter in the league in 2008-’09, and not finishing with an overall winning record since their final year in the Southern Lakes.
Milton’s struggles continued a year ago as it finished in the league’s basement for a fourth consecutive campaign, going 0-12 and 1-22.
Coach Zach Groelle again will try to get his squad turned around, and he needs a big year from senior Chase Frye, who made the loop’s honorable mention list after averaging 6.5 points per game.
The Red Hawks must replace leading scorer Josh Cash (8.7). However, they get back the services of seniors Charlie Terrill (7.2), Jake Hermanson (5.6) and Max Olson (5.0), plus junior Mark Bowditch (5.5).
Big Foot will have to make up for Michael Heidenreich’s 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
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