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Hawks land on all-conference teams

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 3:27pm
Six softball players recognizedBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Bayleigh Laabs, left, throws to first base for the final out of a Bay Conference win over Green Bay East at Martzke Park on April 30.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Steven Hoffmann looks up and readies himself to catch a foul popup during a Bay Conference game against Xavier at Memorial Park on May 6.

With summer having arrived, conferences around the state started naming top athletes from the spring sports seasons.

Shawano had several athletes earn all-conference recognition after solid seasons on the diamonds and fields.


The Shawano softball team had six players named to one of three all-conference teams.

Senior Kate Hoffman (outfield), junior Gracyn Habeck (infield) and sophomore Taylor Johnson (utility) all earned first team honors. Junior Macie Herm (catcher) was a second-teamer, while senior Bayleigh Laabs (infield) and sophomore Naomi Wynos (infield) made the honorable mention squad.

Habeck and Johnson were each unanimous first team picks.

“As a junior, I am proud to receive that recognition from the other coaches,” said Habeck, who had made it a goal to make first team this spring. “Also having my teammates by my side to help me work hard during practice to get better each day, I thank them so much for pushing me. My coaches from their constructive criticism and positive attitudes have helped me build a strong physical and mental game.”

“It means a lot to be awarded with this because it really showed me that all of the work I’ve put in since day one is paying off,” Johnson said. “In sports, you go through so many setbacks and I think it’s such an honor as an athlete to get recognized for all of the time and energy you’ve put into your sport, especially by coaches in the conference.”

At the plate, Habeck posted a .450 batting average, drove in 10 runs and also scored 11 times. She also earned two wins in the circle.

Johnson pitched 31 1/3 innings for Shawano, also earning two wins. She had a 3.13 earned run average.

Johnson batted .382 at the plate. She drove in four runs and scored six other times.

To earn her spot on the first team, Hoffman batted .405, driving in six runs and finishing with a team-high 15 runs scored.

“It means a lot to know that I was recognized through the conference of all the hard work that I put in my senior year,” Hoffman said.

Along with helping guide pitchers through games, Herm posted a .292 batting average and drove in four runs. She also led the team in walks with 10.

Laabs was the Hawks’ primary shortstop for the season, but also had a solid year with the bat. She hit .302, drove in nine runs and scored eight more.

Wynos admitted she had a slow start to the season, but came on strong as the season progressed to help the team finish tied for third in the conference. She ended up hitting .457, with six RBIs, 10 runs scored and a team-high four stolen bases.

Wynos believes big things are in store for the Hawks moving forward.

“This season gave me a lot of confidence. I know what I need to get better at and what needs improvement. I also have a lot more confidence because I now know the speed of the game, the competition, and what I’m capable of doing,” Wynos said. “My motivation for next season is to help my team be a winning team. I think next season we will do great things together.”


A pair of dedicated seniors from the Hawks baseball team earned all-conference recognition this spring. Nick Grignon and Steven Hoffmann each were placed on the second team.

Grignon made the team as an infielder, primarily playing shortstop for the Hawks.

Grignon hit .438 on the season and had nine of the team’s 19 doubles. Grignon also drove in 12 runs and stole nine bases.

“It means a lot to receive recognition like that from the coaches from around the Bay,” Grignon said. “It’s something to be very proud of when coaches think that highly of you.”

Hoffmann made the team as an outfielder but did a little bit of everything to help his team out.

Hoffmann posted a .310 batting average and also drew 12 walks to finish with the most runs scored (13) for the team.

Hoffmann also worked a team-high 35 innings on the mound, striking out 20 batters along the way.

“Receiving all-conference honors is awesome — it let’s you know that your hard work and everything paid off,” Hoffmann said.

“I’m going to remember last season’s seniors the most and I hope my teammates remember me with the same leadership and fun qualities. I think the highlight this season, for me, was that win against New London (May 13) that I was on the mound for, and getting to see all the youngsters grow up throughout the season.”

Girls soccer

The Shawano girls soccer team’s last line of defense turned out to be the only Hawk to make an all-conference team this spring, with junior Peyton Buerman picking up honorable mention status.

“I think that it’s such a cool recognition for being a junior because there are so many amazing and talented goalies,” Buerman said. “I am truly grateful to be nominated in the first place, but to actually receive it is something else.”

Buerman played goalkeeper in 21 of the team’s 22 games this season and stopped 299 shots over those games.

She recorded double-digit save totals in 14 games, including a season-high 31 in a 2-1 loss to Merrill back on March 30.

“This honor will definitely fuel me for next season and give me more to work for,” Buerman said. “There’s definitely a lot to improve on, but I have no doubt that we will be able to achieve our goals next year. We have so much potential on our team and I believe that we will be able to come together as a team and pick up our intensity.”

Boys golf

Freshman Kaden Marcell and sophomore Andrew Puissant hardly looked like underclassmen as they eventually made their way to sectionals as individuals this spring.

Marcell and Puissant also turned in strong efforts during the conference portion of the season, with both landing on the honorable mention team.

Both golfers figure to play big roles for the team moving forward. Shawano will return all five of its regional golfers next spring.

Boys tennis

A pair of doubles teams represented Shawano on the all-conference list for boys tennis.

Seniors Christopher Black and Cesar Ramirez formed the Hawks No. 1 doubles team and made the first team. Fellow seniors Wyatt Theis and Rhain Rodenbeck created the No. 2 doubles team that made the second team.

Along with those four seniors, the Hawks will also need to replace Anton Piantek, who played No. 1 singles this year.

BABA Highlights

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 3:24pm

East/West Divisions

Shawano 15

Tilleda 1

Shawano cruised past Tilleda to jump to 2-1 on the season.

Branden Estep struck out 10 batters to earn the win for Shawano. Kregg Boldig had three hits, while Adam Compton and Conner Klisch each had two.

Zach Fehrman took the loss for Tilleda, which is now 0-3. The team had just two hits.

Gresham 12

Bowler 8

Gresham improved to 3-0 with a high-scoring win over upset-minded Bowler.

Nate Ejnik hit a three-run homer and a grand slam to go along with a triple to lead Gresham at the plate. Pete Carroll added three hits, while Mitch Pleshek picked up the win.

Landan Kroening, Austin Wolf and Cody Thiex all posted three hits for Bowler. Paul Murphy homered, but also took the loss.

Tigerton 9

Marion 2

Tigerton remained perfect on the young season with a strong win over Marion. Tigerton is now 3-0, while Marion fell to 0-3.

Paul Sellner earned the win, striking out 12 batters over eight innings. Conner Harris and Brandon Sivertson each had three hits, with Sivertson homering twice and Harris tallying a homer and double.

Ryan Mortensen took the loss for Marion. Joe Weinberg had three hits, while Dave Hueds and Jake Westphal added two hits each.

Clintonville 8

Leopolis 4

Clintonville doubled up Leopolis to bump its record to 4-0 on the season. Leopolis dropped to 1-2.

Jeremy Schoenike and Jaden Doornick each had three hits for Clintonville, while Tyler Torberg had two hits. Hunter Vollmer struck out seven batters over six innings to earn the win.

Tommy Stueck took the loss for Leopolis. Nick Schoen reached base five times without the benefit of a hit, walking four times and also being hit by a pitch.

Neopit 14

Caroline 10

Neopit picked up a high-scoring victory over Caroline to move to 2-1 overall. Caroline is now 1-2.

Dustin Peters led Neopit with three hits, while Bob Peters, Anthony Leaman and Dallas Madosh all had two. Leaman also was the winning pitcher.

Bryson Bernarde was dealt the loss for Caroline. Eric Kroening had four hits, while Dylan Loveland posted three.

Little Falls 17

Menominee 4

Little Falls moved to 3-0 with a lopsided win over Menominee, which dropped to 0-4.

Kal Fischer led Little Falls with three hits, while Cam Gruenwald and Jenner Gullixon each had two.

Joe Grignon had two hits for Menominee.

South Central Division

Plover 13

Scandinavia 3 (8 inn.)

Plover improved to 3-1 with a convincing win in eight innings over Scandinavia.

Zach Hintz earned the win for Plover. Nate Jackan homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs to lead the team at the plate. John Jazz added two hits.

Zach Ksicinski had two hits and two RBIs for Scandinavia, which dropped to 2-1. Ksicinski also took the loss.

Waupaca 12

Green Lake 1

Waupaca bumped its record to 3-0 with a win over Green Lake, which fell to 0-3.

Kyle Douglas, Sean Peskie, Travis Holat, Tyler Goggins, Walker Smith and Johnny Popham all recorded two hits, while Luke Behm hit a two-run home run for Waupaca. Jim Nighbor pitched four innings to earn the win, while Cam Seidl tossed three strong innings.

Andrew Radloff took the loss for Green Lake. Hunter Merrill tripled and drove in the team’s lone run.

Northern Division

Birnamwood 9

Wittenberg 4

Birnamwood improved to 3-1 with a division win over Wittenberg, which now is 0-4.

Zach Bembenek had three hits, while Gus Turner-Zick and Erik Steigerwald each added two for Birnamwood. Austin Reed struck out eight batters over five innings to earn the win.

Dominic Anderson suffered the loss for Wittenberg, which totaled just five hits in the contest.

Hatley 6

Antigo/Polar 4

Hatley held off Antigo/Polar to improve to 2-1 on the season. Antigo/Polar dropped to 2-1.

Connor Langbehn and John Breske each had two hits for Hatley, while Breske also earned the win.

Nick Marshall and Kyle Wagoner each tallied three hits. while Jed Weix had two for Antigo/Polar. Cody Urban suffered the loss.

Eland 5

Aniwa 4

Eland fended off Aniwa to remain tied atop the conference standings with a 3-1 record. Aniwa slipped to 1-2.

Jared Richter finished with three hits to lead Eland. Jacob Ligenza had two hits and was also the winning pitcher.

Wade Farmer homered and doubled to lead Aniwa at the plate. Jesse Jankowski took the loss on the hill.

School’s out and now the science lesson begins for country kids

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 3:21pm

Tuesday was the last day of school for New London public school students, including my daughter, Kalispell. She spent a grueling day on a 7th grade field trip to Appleton’s Fox River Mall, where she dined on Panda Express Chinese cuisine, then went to a bowling alley for three games.

Then it was off to a good friend’s house for a last-day-of-school party with six other screaming, texting and sugar-eating girls.

Thankfully, I missed it all because I was at work. OK, I did give her a ride to school after a stop at her favorite breakfast spot, Kwik Trip.

Now that she’s home for the summer, I can tell you what will happen on our little Google Maps section of Wisconsin. Our little 2-acre homestead on a sand-covered, pine-ringed paradise surrounded by Wolf River backwaters is teeming with every manner of reptile and amphibian.

A kid’s first instinct when encountering a critter is to make it a pet. My brother and I were the same way a few centuries ago when we grew up in a small Illinois town near the banks of the Mississippi River. We’d grab the painted or snapping turtle crawling through the yard, recite the summer mantra, “Mom, can I keep him?” and either drop the turtle in a galvanized metal wash tub for a day or two until we got bored (painted turtle) or immediately let the turtle go after teasing it with a yellow No. 2 pencil until a buddy almost lost the tip of his index finger (snapping turtle).

We’ve had both species in our Wisconsin yard almost every year, and in fact Kali caught a silver dollar-sized painted turtle May 26. She dug a 2-gallon fish tank out of the garage, quickly put some decorative stones in the bottom, added some rain water from the dog’s kiddie pool and plopped the turtle in.

As my daughter grows older, I’ve observed that she wants to keep found critters for ever-shorter periods of time (perhaps realizing that any pet means work, and summer is not the time for labor if you can avoid it by letting the darn animal go). She shocked me by announcing within an hour of finding “Franklin” that it was time to take him across the road to the slough, which we did.

Kali discovered the more exciting potential pet on Sunday when we were attempting to drain the rain water and leaves out of the bottom of our discount store swimming pool. My wife set the pool up to get it out of the garage for a yard sale, and, in an effort to burn up my precious weekend spare time, asked me to help her lift up the lining and slide plastic lawn chairs underneath so the pool would drain. I asked her if it would have been easier to leave the liner flat on the ground and hose it off, rather than putting it inside the pool frame, but since I’m not an engineer, I couldn’t possibly comprehend why that would never work.

As we lifted the tarp below the pool, a big snake crawled out, eliciting a healthy scream or two from Kali. If it’s one thing 13-year-old girls have down, it’s screaming.

“Dad! Come over heeeere! It’s a cobra!”

A co-worker had recently picked my brain about a similar experience with a hood-flaring snake, and I suggested it was probably a hognose. These harmless snakes flare their heads, rattle their tails in the leaves and even play dead in an effort to fool predators and 13-year-old girls. They will even strike, but almost never open their mouths. I had a hognose for a pet when I was a kid and he was great.

Sure enough. A large Eastern hognose snake was rearing up and spreading its head like a hood! I told her it would be easy to grab it behind the head and lift it up, but its aggressive stance scared me enough to back down. Kali corralled it briefly into a clear plastic shoe box before it slithered off into the brush. It left behind some nasty black poo that made Kali gag.

She briefly wanted to keep the hognose, too, but I reminded her that any wild animal should be left alone so it can stay wild and free.

She’ll pass the summer catching dragonflies in the backyard prairie grass, rounding up leopard frogs and tree frogs and American toads, chasing red admiral and question mark butterflies with her net before begging me to take her fishing for bluegills and sunfish at the fishing hole on the end of our road.

For a kid blessed enough to live in the country, summer doesn’t get any better than that.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at [email protected]

Holsey Football Camp dates set

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 3:20pm

Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School football coach Bernard Holsey is hosting his annual non-contact football skills camp from July 10-12 at the high school.

The free camp will be divided by skill level and age. Snacks will be provided and a cookout will be held on the last day of each session.

Upcoming first-through eighth-graders will participate on July 10 (12:30-2:30 p.m.) and July 11 (9-11 a.m.). The ninth- through 12th-graders camp will take place July 11 (1-4 p.m.) and July 12 (9 a.m.-noon).

Check-in and walk-up registration will begin 40 minutes before the start time of each camp session.

Email questions to Holsey at [email protected]. For registration forms, visit

Registration forms should be sent to Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, c/o Bernard Holsey, 400 W. Grand Ave., Wittenberg, WI 54499.

Bonduel honors spring athletes

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 9:12pm
Bohm, LaBerge named athletes of year
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Parker Bohm prepares to take a swing during the team’s regional final game against Peshtigo on May 29. Bohm was named the boys Athlete of the Year at Bonduel after a strong football, basketball and baseball career.

Bonduel High School recognized its top athletes from spring sports and also awarded yearly honors to several deserving athletes during a banquet on Sunday.

Senior Parker Bohm was named the boys Athlete of the Year, while senior Jessie LaBerge was the girls Athlete of the Year.

Bohm and LaBerge were also among the Bears seniors recognized for playing sports across each possible season of their high school careers. Brooks Dehn, Aaron Schaal, Nathan Kelly, Jared Wondra, Colin Ewing and Isaac Garside were the other seniors that earned that distinction.


The baseball team, coached by Donnie Gruenewald, enjoyed a strong regular season before overcoming some late season adversity to eventually play in a Division 3 regional final.

Noah Beilfuss was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after a big year at the plate and on the pitching mound.

Joey Wagester was tabbed the Most Improved Player, while Bohm and Cole Letter picked up captain honors.


A young softball team hit its groove near the end of the season before earning a playoff win under coach Chris Reinke.

McKenzie Wollenberg was named the Most Valuable Player after playing shortstop and batting in the heart of the Bears lineup.

MacKenzie Moore was named the most improved, while Nicole Koeller was honored for being the team’s top hitter.

Boys golf

The boys golf team endured an up-and-down season on the course, with several different golfers stepping up for coach Dave LaBerge over the spring.

Carter Siolka was named the Most Valuable Golfer after leading the team in most of its meets and invites.

Colin Hanus was named the Most Improved Golfer after a breakout season.

Track and field

The Bonduel track and field teams experienced plenty of success this spring under coach James Westrich.

LaBerge and Canaan Szoszorek were honored as the Most Valuable Players after each qualifying for state.

LaBerge and Wondra were honored as captains, while Brenna Hertzfeldt and Max Marohl were tabbed the most improved.

Down in one: LaFleur hobbled, Yelich, Bakhtiari shine

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 9:07pm

If one of the key figures on your favorite football organization suffers a torn Achilles tendon 3½ months before the opener, it might as well be the coach.

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur did precisely that, blowing out his wheel on a basketball court playing a game fittingly called “Knockout.”

His torn Achilles, far more limiting than the broken nose suffered by Clay Matthews last year in a benefit softball game, will relegate LaFleur to a golf cart to get around until the tendon heals.

These non-football injuries are borderline irritating. Hopefully the Packers workouts that LaFleur oversees will include more stretching than he apparently may have done.

As he’s a coach and not a player, his injury isn’t the worst thing that could happen to the Packers. If ever a key guy like Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams gets knocked out of the picture in the offseason, then feel free to hit the panic button.

In light of the fact that it’s his first year, and that he and his staff are installing a new offense, it’s not an especially good thing, either. His is described as a very animated, hands-on style of coaching, and the injury — which typically takes anywhere from four to six months to return to normal activity — will markedly stifle that.

A hands-on approach to coaching can produce a more collaborative feel, a common bond in striving toward a goal, between coach and player.

A coach could become so in tune to his players’ character and tendencies that he can get a read from the most superficial of “tells” about a player’s readiness.

A perfect example came during Game 5 of the Milwaukee Bucks series with the Toronto Raptors, when a spontaneous beer-chugging demonstration led to a lineup decision in the next day’s baseball game.

Packer offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, sitting in an area with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, put away two full cups effortlessly. Rodgers, sitting apart from Bakhtiari, was unable to finish his glass in one gulp, to a chorus of derisive howls at Fiserv Forum.

Yelich eventually got into the act. The major league home run leader slammed down his half-full cup of beer, and the crowd roared its approval. Rodgers responded by holding up his thumb and index finger apart to indicate how shy of being full Yelich’s glass was when he drank his — not nearly as smoothly inhaled as those put away by Bakhtiari, it should be noted, but Yelich did get it down in one.

Yelich, the reigning National League MVP, has missed seven games with back discomfort but still leads the team in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. He had not played in the Brewers’ previous game, but his performance in Beer Slam 2 Electric Boogaloo was enough to convince the skipper that he was good to go.

“When I saw him (guzzle the beer) I knew he was ready to play,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

He was right. The Brewers got beat by the Phillies the next night, but Yelich hit his 20th home run and drew a walk in four at-bats. He’s since banged out a couple more and began the week leading the majors with 22 homers.

That’s an impressive connection. Counsell showed once again that he’s a player’s coach, and a big reason for the Brewers sitting atop the NL Central.

They lead the evenly balanced division but two of their starting pitchers, Gio Gonzalez and Jhoulys Chacin, recently went on the 10-day disabled list. Gonzalez has a dead arm and Chacin has a strained back.

The sooner they come back, the better, but bad backs are funny. So are dead arms. There is no timetable on either one’s return because of how unpredictable their injuries are, even with a beer test.

Veteran sportswriter Gary Seymour’s column appears weekly in the Leader. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Packers getting acclimated to new schemes, teammates

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 7:24pm
LaFleur adjusting after injuryBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Packers rookie offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins, center, works on a blocking drill with Billy Turner, left and Corey Linsley during Tuesday’s OTA in Green Bay.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Packers running back Jamaal Williams, left, works on a blocking drill with Malcolm Johnson during Tuesday’s OTA in Green Bay.

After an offseason of change, the Green Bay Packers’ organized team activities (OTAs) were a time for the offense to get familiar with the schemes of new head coach Matt LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, while the defense became acquainted with several new additions to the unit.

Tuesday’s OTA at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay, the last open to the media and the public, came with a wrinkle.

After suffering a torn Achilles while playing basketball on May 29, LaFleur had to take in practice from the comfort of a golf cart instead of being able to walk around and be more hands-on like he had been.

The first-time head coach does not believe the injury will affect the team in any way.

“I’ve definitely had to adjust my routine but that’s why you have great assistant coaches,” LaFleur said. “We are all on the same page, we communicate all the time and I kind of let them know what the expectation is and what not. But it throws a little wrench, a little curveball at us right now but I think long term you won’t see any affects.”

The coach noted that he may have to sit in the booth for games in the preseason, but expects to be on the field for the entire regular season.

At multiple points during Tuesday’s OTA, quarterback Aaron Rodgers would walk over to where LaFleur was parked to talk. Rodgers noted how easy the coach was to find in the cart instead of having to scan the mass of bodies on the practice field.

With OTAs ending Thursday and mandatory minicamp around the corner LaFleur said he’s seen, “A lot of good things and there’s still a ton of room for improvement.”

He went on to highlight how he’d like the team to operate better in and out of the huddle and that the offense was not fully installed yet.

LaFleur loves the communication that the revamped defense has shown so far and said they have been challenging the offense.

Rodgers echoed that same thought.

“They are a lot more comfortable,” the quarterback said on the defense being in the second year under Mike Pettine. “Their disguise has gotten better. They have a great quarterback of the defense in Blake Martinez — he really looks comfortable directing the whole thing. And now you are kind of putting it all together with all three levels, really having a lot of depth and talent…”

While no contact is allowed at the OTA practices, teams can still scrimmage.

The defense did a good job of limiting the big plays from the offense, with the top highlight being an interception by linebacker James Crawford that would have been returned for a touchdown.

The offense’s best play came when Rodgers was able to connect with tight end Jimmy Graham on a deep ball.

Individuals across the organization believe Graham is in for a big year in his second year with the team.

“I think Jimmy’s a pro,” LaFleur said. “He’s a perfectionist too and he gets down on himself when he doesn’t do it the right way, and that’s one thing I challenged him — I said, ‘Hey listen, you’re out here learning, mistakes are going to happen. When they happen, everybody is looking at you, you can’t blink.’

“I want him to keep a positive outlook whether he is making a great play or he has to have a learning experience from not doing something quite right, but I’m really excited about him. He brings that veteran presence, especially to that room.”

After OTAs conclude, the Packers will reconvene during mandatory minicamp, which is set to run from June 11-13. Training camp follows, starting July 25.

Shawano honors athletes at spring banquet

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 7:02pm
DePerry, Timm named athletes of yearBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano seniors Crede Timm, left, and Tori DePerry were named the Athletes of the Year at the school’s spring athletic banquet at The Gathering on Monday.

Shawano Community High School held its final athletic banquet of the school year at The Gathering on Monday, honoring athletes from spring sports and handing out some annual awards.

Seniors Tori DePerry and Crede Timm were named the school’s athletes of the year.

Senior Alice Hoffmann was the recipient of several annual awards, being named the WIAA Scholar Athlete, Scholar Athlete of the Year and winner of the Martzke Award.

Senior Karson Rades was the male WIAA Scholar Athlete and Scholar Athlete of the Year, while senior Steven Hoffmann was other Martzke Award recipient.

The school also honored eight senior athletes that were involved in sports during each season of their high school careers. Steven Hoffmann, DePerry, Timm, Rades, Collin Buerman, Nick Grignon, Bryce Stomberg and Carrie Young earned that distinction.

Boys tennis

The boys tennis team, coached by Matt Zoll, handed out four awards on the night.

The No. 1 doubles team of Cesar Ramirez and Christopher Black were named the team’s Most Valuable Players. The duo landed on the Bay Conference’s first team.

Camden Kroll was tabbed the team’s Rising Star, while Black and Anton Piantek received Heart of the Hawk awards. Ramirez was named the Coach’s Fearless Leader.

Wyatt Theis and Rhain Rodenbeck landed on the all-conference second team for their play at No. 2 doubles.


Under the direction of coach Brian Johnson, the Hawks softball team tied for third in the Bay Conference.

Gracyn Habeck was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and Silver Slugger after leading the team at the plate and lending a hand from the circle.

Bayleigh Laabs picked up the Golden Glove for her fine work defensively as a shortstop. Sarah Mente was tabbed the team’s Most Improved Player, while Taylor Johnson was the Most Dedicated Player.


The Shawano baseball team came into the season inexperienced and, according to coach, Rob Wolff, were never able to get all the aspects of the game clicking at the same time. Still, several individuals enjoyed strong seasons on the diamond and were recognized for their play.

Steven Hoffman was the team’s Most Valuable Player, doing whatever the coaching staff asked him to do.

Nick Grignon was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year, while Mason Dingeldein grabbed the Defensive Player of the Year award. Andrew Popp earned the Rookie of the Year honor.

Boys golf

Going into the season not sure what to expect, coach Dean Kugler was thrilled with the season the boys golf team put together.

Kaden Marcell enjoyed a strong freshman season that ended with him competing in sectionals, and he was named the team’s Most Valuable Golfer as a result.

Owen Moesch was tabbed the team’s Most Improved Golfer, while Nick Sherman earned the Heart of the Hawk honor.

Girls soccer

Coach Bob Croschere was pleased with how the girls soccer team continued to battle all season despite earning a 4-17-1 record.

Goalie Peyton Buerman was named the team’s Most Valuable Player after her work defending the net this spring. Lindsey Roloff was the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, while Emily Watters was recognized as the Most Valuable Defensive Player.

Georgia Eggert earned the Most Improved Player honor, while Makayla Stoddart was the team’s Most Dedicated Player.

Track and field

The Shawano track and field teams had a memorable season under coach Dave Hanssen, breaking numerous records and setting personal bests throughout the season.

Parker Pues was named the boys Al Hartman MVP, while Lydia Beyer earned the honor on the girls side.

Ethan Chelberg (distance), Elliott Lowney (sprints) and Nathan Krizan (throws) were named boys Most Valuable Athletes. Alice Hoffmann (distance), Carrie Young (sprints) and Morgan Weinig (throws) earned Most Valuable Athlete awards on the girls team.

Lowney was also awarded the Best First Year. Odessa Arce, Grace Beyer and Isabel Roloff earned Best First Year honors for the girls.

Racing: 2019 Hall of Fame Class inducted at Shawano Speedway

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 6:27pm
Wilinski, Michonski, Anvelink, Engebregtsen, Hacker win on trackBy: 

By Dave Buss Special to the Leader

Contributed Photo Nick Anvelink hung on late and picked up a win in the Late Model feature at Shawano Speedway on Saturday.

A day that started with uncertainty as to whether races would be held ended with a lot of definitive results on the track.

The dominating performance on the track were just a compliment to the dominating presence of the two new Hall of Fame inductees, Gary Roehrborn and Tom Naeyaert. Joined by fellow members, Roehrborn and Naeyaert were inducted into the Shawano Speedway Hall of Fame during a ceremony at intermission.

The IMCA Modifieds led the night off with Jerry Wilinski skating by Tim Rothe on the second lap to grab the lead. Wilinski then checked out from the field until a lap nine caution brought the pack back together.

The caution flag was the only thing that slowed Wilinski as he again jumped to a dominating lead on the restart. Wyatt Block, Rothe and Konnor Wilinski were left to sort things out for second at the line, with Block grabbing the spot followed by Rothe and Konnor Wilinski in the top four.

Not to be outdone, Dan Michonski got by polesitter Asa Doxtator on lap one of the IMCA Stock Car feature and proceed to disappear from the pack on his way to a dominate green to checkers win.

While Michonski enjoyed his Saturday night drive, Travis VanStraten made his way forward. Starting in the seventh position, VanStraten charged forward to a second-place finish. Doxtator finished a strong third with Chummy Arneson grabbing fourth after starting 21st.

Brand-new Hall of Famer Naeyaert rolled out sixth in the Late Model feature event with Luke Postl on the point. Trouble found Ron Berna and Joel Bennett before one lap could be completed, ending both their nights.

Once the race got rolling, Nick Anvelink began his pursuit of Chris Engels for the lead. Despite his best efforts, Engels relinquished the lead to Anvelink near the halfway point of the race.

Troy Springborn began to track down Engels for second after a great three-wide battle with Postl and Joe Reuter. Springborn grabbed second and began his attempt to catch Anvelink but with no success as laps wound down.

Anvelink grabbed the win with Springborn, Brett Swedberg and Engels rounding out the top four.

The IMCA Sport Mods also got rolling with the 98 of Dustin Wudstrack grabbing the lead after a lap-three caution. Wudstrack began to pull away as Kevin Bethke and Matthew Radtke went side-by-side in a great battle for third. Bethke eventually grabbed that spot and then got by Jeffery Teske for second.

Brock Saunders joined the top three by the halfway point, with Vince Engebregtsen moving to fourth by lap 15. A late caution changed everything as Engebregtsen had a great restart and charged to the lead, capturing the win. Bethke came in second, Jordan Bartz third and Wudstrack fourth.

Jason Cornelius took charge of the first half of the Mighty 4’s feature event, with Jason Stueck tracking his every move. With laps winding down, it was the hard-charging Lucas Hacker joining the battle.

With two laps remaining, Hacker placed his claim on the top spot and went on to win. Cornelius, Stueck and Brad Nelson completed the top four.

Girls soccer: Clintonville girls upset bid falls short

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 6:23pm

The Clintonville High School girls soccer team battled to the very end, but came up short in a 3-1 Division 3 regional semifinal loss against New London on Thursday.

The third-seeded Bulldogs scored twice in the second half to seal their win. New London went on to lose to second-seeded Medford in a regional final Saturday.

Medford will battle top-seeded Lakeland in a sectional semifinal Thursday.

The sixth-seeded Truckers scored their goal in the second half.

Clintonville’s Booth takes third in 100 hurdles

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 4:11pm

Clintonville High School senior Allysin Booth capped her high school career with a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdle finals at the 2019 State Track & Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse on Saturday.

Booth posted a time of 15.21 seconds, behind only Adams-Friendship’s Brooke Livingston (14.71) and Lodi’s Mackenzie Heyroth (14.36). Heyroth’s time broke the D2 state record of 14.64.

“My race felt amazing, it was a great way to end my track career. I was really happy and excited,” said Booth.

“It was really awesome to race against the girl who got the state record,” added Booth. “She’s worked so hard and it was amazing to compete with her.”

The finish marked the third straight year Booth finished third in the 100 hurdles.

“It’s amazing. All my years it’s been really fun,” said Booth of competing at state again. “I love the enthusiasm from everybody — all the way around, everybody in the crowd, everybody that ran. Everyone is just so happy and nice to each other. It’s amazing, I love it.”

Menominee Indian’s Wayka finishes third in shot put

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 9:12pm
Booth qualifies, while Szoszorek competes in finalsBy: 

Morgan Rode, [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Menominee Indian’s Darius Wayka competes in the Division 3 shot put competition at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships in La Crosse on Friday.

Menominee Indian senior Darius Wayka expected to finish in the top three of the Division 3 boys shot put at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships.

He turned the expectation into a reality on Friday, coming through with a throw of 51 feet, 2.5 inches on his last throw to take third place while competing at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“It was my last throw of high school, so I just put everything together and just had to throw that (distance) because I wanted to take third,” Wayka said.

Wayka’s best throw leading up to his final throw was 49-4. The winning throw came from Wayland Academy’s Gracien Jules at 56-9.25.

“It was a big goal of mine. I worked hard and it feels good to just to have everything come together,” said Wayka of his strong finish. “It just feels good that everything I’ve worked at put me up there on the podium.”

Clintonville senior Allysin Booth qualified for the 100-meter hurdle final with a fourth-place finish in 15.88 seconds in the prelims.

“Overall today my hurdles went very well but my actual running was very slow and I was not very happy with my overall speed,” Booth said. “And I just want to have a fun race tomorrow to end my high school career.”

It will mark the third straight year Booth competes in the 100 hurdles. She placed third the past two years.

Bonduel senior Canaan Szoszorek took part in the Division 2 shot put competition.

Szoszorek advanced to the finals and ended up placing 10th after a top throw of 49-0.75.

“I definitely didn’t throw as well as I wanted to but I just wanted to make it to state and enjoy the experience so I’m not feeling terrible,” Szoszorek said.

“I was feeling down but one of my coaches told me I was 10th in the state and once that sunk in, I realized that I actually did something that I always wanted to do (make state).”

Senior teammate Jessie LaBerge also competed on Friday. LaBerge came in 12th in the prelims of the 300 hurdles, posting a time of 49.34.

The top-10 finishers advanced to the finals. LaBerge missed qualifying by just 0.25 seconds.

The senior hoped to enjoy the experience more than anything, and she certainly did just that.

“My race today definitely wasn’t one of my best runs, but I am still very grateful for the opportunity I had to run at the state meet,” LaBerge said. “Although the outcome wasn’t how we expected, I am still very happy that I got to finish out my high school career at state. This was an experience that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life and I couldn’t be happier.”

Shawano senior Tori DePerry and junior Michael Klement took part in Division 1 action.

DePerry cleared 5 feet on her first jump of the day, but was unable to clear 5-2. She tied for 15th place.

“I just couldn’t get my PR, I was missing with my heels so I was kind of bummed about that,” DePerry said. “But all in all, it’s a really good experience. I’m not mad at all that I missed graduation for this. This is a really good experience coming here top 25 in D1 for high jump — no matter what place.”

Klement was unable to clear a height in the pole vault.

Despite falling short of his expectations, Klement enjoyed competing among the state’s best.

“It feels good, it gives me a confidence booster when I went on the runways in the back of my mind,” Klement said. “It’s something to be very proud of and I am.”

State competition is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Bonduel cross-country teams achieve academic honors

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 8:23pm

Contributed Photo Forming the Bonduel cross-country teams that earned academic honors from the WCCCA were, from left, top row, Kim Smith, Katlin Thompson, Erin Timler, Breanna Schnell, Madison Kurey, Kara Troxel and Jessica Ewing; bottom row, Alex Jasch, Jack Johnson, Jared Wondra, Colin Ewing, William Beaumier, Carter Kurey and Cole Klosterman.

The Bonduel High School cross-country teams each had strong seasons this past fall, qualifying and competing at the state meet to cap the season.

On May 24, coach Diane Schnell was able to honor the team again, but this time for their work in the classroom.

Both the girls and boys teams were given Academic All-State awards by the Wisconsin Cross-Country Coaches Association (WCCCA) for posting grade-point averages of 3.4 or better as a team.

The girls team placed fifth in the state with a GPA of 3.93, while the boys took ninth with a GPA of 3.64.

“This is especially important to me as a coach because high school sports are really a means for assisting the students in getting a well-rounded education,” Schnell said. “I could not be more proud of this award for them. For me, it is the highest accolade for my teams. No sport is easy and school can also be very challenging. These students have mastered both.”

Individual academic awards were handed out to individuals who maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Kara Troxel, Breanna Schnell, Erin Timler, Jessica Ewing, Katlin Thompson and Madison Kurey each earned honors for the girls team. Jared Wondra, Colin Ewing, Williams Beaumier and Alex Jasch earned individual honors from the boys team.

BABA Highlights

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 8:20pm

East-West Division

Leopolis 11

Bowler 8

Leopolis earned its first win with a high-scoring win over Bowler, which fell to 0-2.

Nate Laude earned the win for Leopolis, which is now 1-1.

Landan Kroening took the loss for Bowler, but led the team with four hits at the plate. Ezra Spencer added two hits.

Tigerton 13

Tilleda 4

Tigerton bumped its record to 2-0 with a convincing win over Tilleda.

Brandon Sivertson, Conner Harris and Shawn Much each tallied three hits for Tigerton, with one of Harris’ hits being a home run. Jaden Sivertson and Hayden Harris each chipped in two hits, while Patrick Bailey doubled. Paul Sellner earned the win on the mound.

Stephen Reinke, Joel Brei and Brad Brei all had two hits for Tilleda. Joel Brei also took the loss.

Clintonville 4

Marion 3

Clintonville squeaked out a win over Marion to move to 3-0 on the season.

Hunter Vollmer picked up the win on the mound for Clintonville. Kolin Kubitz had two hits — he and Jordan Koeppen each doubled.

Joe Weyenberg suffered the loss for Marion. Ryan Mortensen recorded three hits, including a double, while Weyenberg had two hits.

Little Falls 5

Caroline 3

Little Falls held off Caroline to move to 2-0 on the season.

Chris Dunn tossed six strong innings to pick up the win on the mound for Little Falls. He struck out 11 batters while allowing just one hit and one walk.

Dunn also had three hits at the plate, while Hunter Grunewald and Kal Fischer each added two hits.

Bryson Bernarde was dealt the loss, allowing eight hits and four runs over six innings. — he struck out four batters. Conner Senzig hit a homer and had two RBIs to lead Caroline at the plate.

Neopit 11

Shawano 9

Neopit knocked off Shawano in a high-scoring affair to pick up its first win.

Anthony Leman earned the win on the hill for Neopit, which is now 1-1.

Shawano fell to 1-1, with Brandon Estep taking the loss.

Gresham 31

Menominee 1 (7 inn.)

Gresham improved to 2-0 with a blowout win in seven innings over Menominee.

Menominee is now 0-3 this season.

Northern Division

Antigo/Polar 11

Eland 0

Antigo/Polar blew past Eland to move to 2-0 on the season.

AJ Kirsch led Antigo/Polar with a trio of hits, while Jed Weix and Blake Below each added two hits. Nick Marshall earned the win on the hill.

Alex Bembenek, Shane Larson and Eric Resch all posted two hits in the loss for Eland, which is now 1-2. Jarod Richter took the loss.

Birnamwood 7

Hatley 1

Birnamwood improved to 3-0 with a win over Hatley.

Zach Bembenek pitched eight strong innings to lead Birnamwood. Gus Turner-Zick homered among his two hits, while Erik Steigerwald and Brandon Resch each added two hits.

Hatley had just four hits in the game, with Wyatt Brown posting two of them. Josh Nielson took the loss on the mound.

Elderon 14

Wittenberg 9

Elderon picked up its first win in a high-scoring clash with Wittenberg.

Justin Meronk and Matt Meronk each had two hits for Elderon in the win. Rick Boda was the winning pitcher.

Seth Steliga had two hits for Wittenberg, which is now 0-3. Dom Anderson suffered the loss.

South Central Division

All South Central Division teams had a bye.

A season of close calls and frustration

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 8:17pm

This past Tuesday marked the end of the 2019 Wisconsin turkey hunting spring season, which started the Wednesday before Easter.

I heard, saw and read about several hunters who were successful. My journey across the six-period season was incredibly frustrating, yet so much fun at the same time — from missing a golden opportunity on two big toms the day before Easter, to having farming equipment silence several gobbling birds on Sunday and everything in between.

I turkey hunted on public land for the first time in my life this spring. I bounced around several different Shawano County public pieces of land during Period D (May 8-14).

After a rainy day on May 9, I decided to sneak out for a quick hunt in the waning minutes of daylight.

After finding what I thought was a pretty solid spot, I decided to tweet a picture on Twitter. As I waited for the picture to upload, I caught movement in front of me. Once my eyes adjusted to the dark woods ahead of me, I saw a turkey — big enough to be at least a jake — walking away from me.

I hunted the same piece of land on May 12. It turned into my best public land opportunity, as I heard my first four gobbles of the period, but was ruined when a pair of dogs decided to come barking and running at me just when the gobbler had committed.

The final two periods of my season were spent up in Chippewa County, where I looked to redeem myself from an early season miss.

On May 17, I made almost an identical setup to when I had missed, but sat on the other side of the open lane I hoped the turkeys would work down.

Things went almost exactly how I hoped, as a lone tom fired up at 6 a.m. and walked through the neighbor’s open field and right toward my setup.

Right when the gobbler was about to cross over to our property, he stopped in his tracks and hung up — like he remembered what happened just a few weeks prior and thought better of taking two more steps.

The following day, my brother Sawyer rejoined me in the woods. After a late start due to the weather, he and I tucked into a ground blind a little farther back of the border.

Minutes after setting up a pile of decoys, a curious hen invaded our space. When she arrived, I thought that might be our ticket to getting a longbeard to come further onto our property, but she actually ended up ruining our hunt.

A couple minutes after the hen arrived, a tom fired up on the neighboring field, but the hen stuck around for about 40 minutes, forcing me to not call at the tom.

Eventually the hen worked off and took the tom with her, ending our morning and weekend as the following day brought cold temperatures and rain.

My brother and I returned to the woods together on May 24, and I had what I thought was a great plan to seal the deal.

I moved inside the woods and closer to where I thought the toms were roosting, while having my brother remain near the property border in case they stuck to their pattern.

I got within about 100 yards of where a bird was gobbling on the roost, but when he flew down, he went the other way. A half hour later, my brother’s calling got him fired back up and headed our direction again.

The bird continued to gobble as he worked in between my brother and I, but neither of us ended up seeing him before calling it a day.

I hunted the next two days on my own, moving closer and closer to where the birds were roosting. The first day, they flew down across the creek on our property and never would fully commit to coming back to the side I was sitting on.

So the next morning — my last for the year — I sat tight to the creek and hoped they would fly down on my side. Instead, they followed the pattern they had for most of the season, ending up by the neighboring field and out of harm’s way.

After packing up my gear for the final time, I contemplated my season as a whole. Despite having to eat an expensive tag soup this spring, it definitely won’t deter me from chasing birds again soon.

Speaking of which, I’m already planning how to turn this year’s close calls into success stories next spring.

Morgan Rode is the sports editor for the Shawano Leader. Readers can contact him at [email protected]

Fish, hike and ride ATV trails for free this weekend

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 8:14pm

Why is something free so much better than the same things for a small cost?

If you are having a yard sale, people might ignore your dime and quarter items, but they’ll flock to the free table or box. At my workplace, we have a large table near the employee entrance that is called the Free Table. Just drop anything there that you want to get rid of and by the end of the day, it’s gone.

A fishing license or state parks pass are only a few dollars each (an annual resident fishing license is $20 and a state parks pass is $28), but this weekend, you can fish and explore the parks for free.

Most states have a Free Fishing Weekend, but Wisconsin topped that with Free Fun Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. You can also hike and bike the state’s trails and ride the public ATV trails for free, too. It’s the ultimate low-budget weekend for those strapped for cash — or for those who appreciate that the best things in life are free.

In addition to fishing on any of the state’s waters for free (no license needed), you can also fish for inland trout and Great Lakes trout and salmon without a trout stamp. Now the savings are starting to add up. Remember, though, all fishing regulations (including size and harvest limits) still apply.

Don’t I need a bunch of expensive fishing gear to catch some bluegills, crappies or walleyes, you may ask? Seriously? Are you Dutch? (I can say that because I am) Well, about 50 state parks will even loan you free fishing equipment and provide you with free fishing clinics to help you catch something. The closest clinic is one in Bukolt Park, Stevens Point, offered from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday for kids ages 4-13, and it includes free T-shirts. Visit for details on this and other clinics.

Bear proposal

A proposal to allow bear hunting with dogs in the center of the state (including Shawano and Waupaca counties) has been struck down after opponents of the plan voiced their opinions May 22 at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board meeting.

The board voted 6-1 in favor of removing bear hunting with dogs from what would be a newly formed Zone C in an overall revised bear management plan, according to the Associated Press. The state currently has four bear management zones, but that will change to six when the new plan is eventually implemented.

The DNR held a series of meetings and sought public comment through April 14 on the 87-page Wisconsin Bear Management Plan 2019-2029, which represents the first significant bear management changes since 1980.

Although supporters of the plan to allow bear hunting with dogs in Zone C argued that dogs already can be used for training in that area during July and August, opponents such as the Humane Society of the United States Wisconsin chapter won out, arguing that most of Zone C was private land and would create trespassing issues.

Bear hunting with dogs currently is allowed in the northern portions of the state, where huge tracts of national forests and lands owned by paper companies give the dogs room to roam in pursuit of bears.

Although the DNR board approved the overall management plan with the revision, it will take a few years to create new administrative rules and the earliest it could go into effect is the fall of 2021.

To see the final draft of the 87-page plan, visit

A record 124,053 people applied for a bear permit or preference point in 2018. The DNR estimates the Wisconsin black bear population at about 30,000 animals.

Ross Bielema is a freelance writer from New London and owner of Wolf River Concealed Carry LLC. Contact him at [email protected]

Baseball: Bonduel cannot hold early lead in season-ending loss

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 9:03pm
Peshtigo uses three-run fifth to surge aheadBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Noah Beilfuss, right, slides safely into home plate during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional final against Peshtigo.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Garrett Engel, left, fields a bunt attempt in front of Parker Bohm during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional final against Peshtigo.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Joey Wagester makes a short throw to first base during Wednesday’s Division 3 regional final against Peshtigo.

The Bonduel High School baseball team saw its season come to an end in a 5-3 Division 3 regional title loss to Peshtigo on Wednesday afternoon. The Bulldogs used a three-run fifth inning to pull ahead before fending off the Bears seventh inning rally.

Peshtigo had its first four runners reach base in the fifth before a two-run single put the hosts ahead for good. The Bulldogs added another run in the sixth to go up 5-3.

Needing to score at least twice in the seventh to extend their season, the Bears put together a two-out rally. Junior Cole Letter walked and senior Parker Bohm singled up the middle to bring up Noah Beilfuss. The junior put a good swing on a two-strike pitch, but the ball bounced right to the third baseman, who stepped on third base to end the game.

It was a game of tough breaks for Bonduel, which barrelled up several balls but always seemed to hit them right at Peshtigo defenders.

“Sometimes when we face a better pitcher on the mound, we have some trouble not so much putting the ball in play but hitting it where they are not,” said Bonduel coach Donnie Gruenewald. “We hit the ball well at the start of the game. But when we did square a ball up (later in the game), we seemed to hit it right at somebody.”

“I think we had a lot of good opportunities but we hit some hard outs right at people,” said senior Aaron Margelofsky. “We just couldn’t find the holes (in the defense) that we did early on. I think we had good at-bats, but ultimately it didn’t amount to anything.”

Much like it did to Coleman a night earlier, Bonduel jumped out to an early lead over Peshtigo.

Parker Bohm singled with one out before Beilfuss walked. Senior Riddik Bohm then lifted a deep flyball to right-center that kept carrying but ended in a long single to load the bases.

After Peshtigo made a pitching change, Bonduel junior Dylan Burch drew a walk to allow Parker Bohm to score. Sophomore Garrett Engel then came through with a RBI sacrifice fly to score Beilfuss, but Peshtigo was able to get the third out on the play to avoid any further damage.

Senior Joey Wagester earned the start on the hill for the Bears and kept the Bulldogs off balance in the early innings.

Wagester worked a 1-2-3 first inning before working around a walk and single in the second. Peshtigo got on the scoreboard in the third after a hit batsman and a wind-aided triple with two outs.

The Bulldogs looked to be on their way to a big fourth inning, but Wagester induced an inning-ending double play to energize the team and Bonduel faithful.

Wagester ran into trouble in the fifth after hitting a batter and allowing a walk. Parker Bohm came on to try and halt the momentum, but a bunt single loaded the bases.

A walk forced in a run to decrease Bonduel’s lead to one before the two-RBI single with two outs gave the hosts their first lead.

“It was kind of both — my arm was getting a little sore and tired but they were really starting to hit the ball good and I have to give them credit for that,” Wagester said.

Following the game, the Bonduel coaching staff insisted that the players keep their heads up and should have no regrets because they left it all on the field and played the right way.

“I think we got a lot closer as a team, we were like a family,” Parker Bohm said. “We struggled with a lot of adversity throughout the year but we overcame that and had a successful season in the end.”

“I think we’ve always kind of struggled with handling adversity and this year, we stepped it up and realized that nobody was going to feel sorry for us,” Margelofsky said. “We knew we had to go out and make things happen. Just over the last two or three weeks of the season, we had a couple big comeback wins and that was huge for us and set us up for this little (playoff) run we had here.”

“The bond, we were like brothers, like cousins,” Wagester said. “It was a magical season.”

Bonduel finished the year with a 16-7 record.

Track and field: Area athletes ready to put talents on display at state meet

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 8:44pm
Four of six local qualifiers making first state appearancesBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Canaan Szoszorek competes in the shot put during the Division 2 Oconto Falls Regional on May 20.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Tori DePerry competes in the high jump during the Bay Conference Meet in De Pere on May 13.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Clintonville’s Allysin Booth competes in the 100 hurdles during the Division 2 Oconto Falls Regional on May 20.

Athletes work the entire spring to get to the state track and field championships in La Crosse. With that time having arrived, the six local qualifiers are ready to give it their all and enjoy the experience as best they can.

Just two of the local qualifiers — Shawano’s Tori DePerry and Clintonville’s Allysin Booth — have competed at state before. Shawano’s Michael Klement, Bonduel’s Canaan Szoszorek and Jessie LaBerge and Menominee Indian’s Darius Wayka will all be taking part in their first state meets.

DePerry, a senior, heads into the high jump competition with a seed mark of 5 feet, 1 inch. DePerry qualified in the same event as a sophomore, clearing 5-0 to tie for 16th.

DePerry, who will miss Shawano’s graduation ceremony to compete, has a goal to set a new personal record by clearing 5-2, and hopefully 5-4. But most of all, she hopes to enjoy her final opportunity to compete in the event.

“I am going to focus on my goal but in my mind I know I’m going to continue to have fun as well,” DePerry said. “It’s my last time ever jumping and I have nothing to lose.”

Booth, also a senior, will make her fourth consecutive trip to state in the 100-meter hurdles.

She placed 13th in the event as a freshman and third as a sophomore and junior. She heads to state this year with a seed time of 15.77 seconds.

“For me, qualifying for state again is exciting and I am super happy that I am able to finish off my track and field experience at state again,” Booth said. “My goal heading into this last meet is to just have fun. I would like to use all the hard work these past four years and just have fun with it.”

Klement, a junior, may head into the weekend’s pole vault competition without any state experience of his own to look back on, but he has a valuable resource in his corner in Shawano graduate Payden Buck, who qualified for state in the pole vault last year.

Like DePerry, Klement is not as interested in earning a specific place at state.

“Going to state has always been a goal that I’ve worked for and it feels amazing to finally achieve that goal,” Klement said. “My goals for the state meet would be to enjoy and learn from others around me as well to achieve a personal best jump.”

Klement enters state with a seed mark of 13-0.

For lifelong friends Szoszorek and LaBerge, qualifying for the state meet as seniors is a dream come true.

LaBerge not only gets to compete at state to end her high school career, but also could make school history in the process. LaBerge owns a seed time of 47.4 seconds in the 300 hurdles, just tenths of a second behind the school record of 47.0.

She knows controlling her emotions will be key to running a good race and having a shot at the record.

“I’m going to focus on not getting too overwhelmed by the setting of it all,” said LaBerge, who noted coach James Westrich helped him over the years. “I have run this race many times before and I know what I have to do. I’m just going to try and stay calm and enjoy the moment.”

With his biggest high school goal of reaching state accomplished, Szoszorek hopes to improve upon his school record-breaking shot put throw from sectionals. Szoszorek’s seed mark of 50-3 ranks sixth out of the 17 qualifiers in the event.

“I’m just going to go in there with a mindset of no matter how I do, I made it,” said Szoszorek, who credited Jordan Gruel for guiding him throughout high school. “So with this in mind I will be able to have as much fun as I can while also performing.”

Wayka, a senior, has quickly found the recipe for success in high school.

“It means a lot to me to qualify for the state meet,” Wayka said. “I worked hard to go because I’ve only been in shot put for a year-and-a-half.”

Despite the limited time in the sport, Wayka expects to finish in the top three. He enters the state meet with a best throw of 49-8, which ranks fourth.

Shawano will compete against other Division 1 schools. Bonduel and Clintonville are in Division 2, while Menominee Indian will compete in Division 3.


For a full list of state qualifiers, the order of events and any other state-related information, visit

Bucks stopped here, but certify their lot among league’s elite

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 8:40pm

Members of the Milwaukee Bucks not named Giannis Antetokounmpo hit a sparkling 80 percent from the free throw line in the Eastern Conference finals series with Toronto.

Antetokounmpo, who led the team to a league-best 60-win season, made just 35 of the 60 foul shots he took as the Bucks — who only once during the regular season lost two games in a row — ended their season by dropping four straight to the Raptors.

Missed free throws weren’t the sole cause of the dramatic momentum shift throughout the best-of-seven series won by the Raptors 4-2 — although Antetokounmpo would be the first to tell you that there was room for improvement over his 2-for-7, 6-for-10, 4-for-9 and 5-for-10 efforts from the line over the last four games.

That is, if he felt like sticking around and talking about it. Asked at the postgame press conference what sort of learning experience he and the Bucks could distill from the lost series, Antetokounmpo got up and walked out.

You couldn’t blame him because there was really nothing to say at that point, beyond the usual forced fluff about coming back and working harder, blah blah.

Antetokounmpo was often flustered by the Raptors’ collapsing defense and committed twice as many turnovers throughout the series than any of his teammates.

But while he may have hearkened the echoes of Wilt and Shaq in their freebie-bricking heyday, Antetokounmpo was still the driving force behind the team. He led the Bucks in points, rebounds, minutes played, blocked shots and assists against the Raptors.

It’s not easy to foresee a huge momentum swing like the one in the Bucks-Raptors series. For the first two games of the series, won by the Bucks, and much of the third game, there was legitimate musing over whether Toronto had the means to avoid a sweep. But the Bucks, a team that had won six straight playoff games and looked unbeatable, suddenly lost their way at crunch time.

In the end, the Raptors simply hit more big shots. Antetokounmpo may have been the MVP in the regular season, which was one of the Bucks’ most successful in their 51-year history, but Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard was the winning difference in the series.

The only positive to draw from the conference finals loss is that Antetokounmpo — whose contract with the Bucks runs through the 2020-21 season — sounded motivated to stay in town to clean up the unfinished business.

Having collected his thoughts later on and taking note of the wide community support in the wake of the defeat, Antetokounmpo spoke the words that were music to Bucks fans’ ears.

He won’t guarantee 61 wins for next year but said, “We’re going to put ourselves in a place to be a championship contending team for many more years to come. There’s not a lot of teams that can say that, but we’re going to put ourselves in that situation for many years to come.”

Sounds like a plan. For now, it will have to do.

Starr personifies Packers

Rest in peace, Bart Starr, one of the greatest players in the illustrious history of the Green Bay Packers. The Hall of Fame quarterback passed away at the age of 85, having led the Packers to five NFL championships, including two Super Bowls.

At pick No. 200 overall (17th round) in 1956, Starr would become the Packers’ original late-in-the-draft QB gold mine. His career passing numbers are relatively unremarkable but were forged in days when the running game prevailed. Starr, who like most quarterbacks of the era called the plays from the huddle, was a quietly effective leader who once threw 294 consecutive passes without an interception, a record that stood for 26 seasons.

His one-yard touchdown sneak in the closing seconds of the frigid 1967 NFL title game is considered one of the most famous plays in history of the league.

Tough and resilient yet unstintingly humble, Bart Starr was an exemplary athlete who personified the essence of being a Green Bay Packer.

Veteran sportswriter Gary Seymour’s column appears weekly in the Leader. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Baseball: Bonduel rolls past Coleman in regional semi

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 9:06pm
Balanced hitting, Beilfuss’ start power BearsBy: 

By Morgan Rode [email protected]

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Riddik Bohm slides into home plate during Tuesday’s Division 3 regional semifinal win over Coleman.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Noah Beilfuss delivers a pitch during Tuesday’s Division 3 regional semifinal win over Coleman.
Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Carson Robaidek, right, holds the tag on Coleman’s Mason Risner during Tuesday’s Division 3 regional semifinal matchup in Coleman.

The Bonduel High School baseball team traveled to Coleman as the lower seed, hoping to score an upset win over the Cougars.

The Bears left with a convincing 13-1 victory in the Division 3 regional semifinal on Tuesday.

Third-seeded Bonduel grabbed the momentum early on with a three-run first inning before tacking on its final nine runs from the fourth through six innings. Junior Noah Beilfuss handled the rest on the mound, going the distance after a tough start.

“To tell you the truth, our guys just played really well today,” said Bonduel coach Donnie Gruenewald. “Noah threw strikes, he adjusted after the first inning. Our defense played well, I think we maybe had one error. We’ve been playing really good for about the last week-and-a-half, been scoring a lot of runs. I knew we had a chance to beat them, I just didn’t think it would be a 10-run rule game, but I’m kind of glad it was.”

Bonduel accepted the underdog role and put the pressure on Coleman from the start.

“We love to battle. There’s no challenge we don’t want want to take on and we just love winning,” said senior Riddik Bohm of the Bears upset win.

“We are an extremely confident team. They came in with a better record, higher seed but we weren’t scared for a challenge and we played very well tonight,” said senior Parker Bohm.

Parker Bohm and Beilfuss delivered back-to-back singles to set the table in the Bears’ three-run first. Riddik Bohm delivered a two-run triple before being brought home by sophomore Garrett Engel’s single with two outs.

Coleman answered with a run in its half of the first, but Beilfuss and the Bears defended an attempted double steal perfectly to end the inning without any further damage.

After the first, Beilfuss settled in, and Coleman switched pitchers in the second to slow the Bears’ charge.

The game remained a 3-1 advantage for Bonduel until the fourth when Parker Bohm singled in junior Cole Letter with two outs. Letter had reached on an infield single before moving to second on a passed ball.

After Beilfuss tossed another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth, the Bears blew the game open with a six-run fifth.

Riddik Bohm walked before moving to third on a single down the right-field line by junior lefty Dylan Burch. Senior Joey Wagester followed with an infield chopper, but the Cougars throw to the plate was late, allowing Riddik Bohm to score.

Senior Aaron Margelofsky followed with a single to load the bases before an error allowed each runner to move up a base and Burch to score. Letter and Parker Bohm then followed with bases-loaded walks to score two more runs.

Beilfuss followed with the big hit in the inning, doubling in two runs to make it 10-1.

“They had just put a new wing (pitcher) in, so I was kind of watching him a little bit before the at-bat,” Beilfuss said. “I saw that he had some decent speed, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. I just stayed back, relaxed and just drove the ball. I was just focused on barrelling it up and driving it somewhere.”

Bonduel was unable to reach the 10-run rule in the inning, as a strikeout and groundout ended the frame.

Beilfuss continued to dominate on the mound with another three up, three down bottom of the fifth inning to get the Bears right back in the dugout.

Bonduel tacked on three runs in the sixth to seal up the convincing win.

Engel was hit by a pitch to open the inning before Wagester reached on an error while trying to bunt. Margelofsky walked to load the bases.

Sophomore Carson Robaidek drove in the Bears 11th run on a fielder’s choice before Wagester scored on a throwing error after a groundout. Parker Bohm capped the big inning with his third RBI of the night, scoring Robaidek with a single

The Cougars got a runner on in the sixth, but a groundout and two flyouts ended the frame and contest. From the second inning on, Coleman only had two batters reach base.

“He was trying to trust me and I’m always trying to set up on the corners and I guess he was hitting them,” said Engel of Beilfuss’ strong pitching performance. “We got a really good chemistry since we are cousins and have been best friends for a really long time.”

The win advanced Bonduel into the regional final, where they will face top-seeded Peshtigo on Wednesday.