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Friday, November 11, 2005

County athletes at the top of their games

Granted, Bears’ fans have more to celebrate than Packers’ fans; however, sports nuts of any stripe can be proud to live in Walworth County these days.

In the past two weeks, we’ve crowned a state champion in high school volleyball, a runner-up in high school soccer and a batch of swimmers from county schools are competing in the state meet this weekend.

And at UW-Whitewater, three teams–football, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball–have qualified for NCAA III tournament play.

The soccer team lost their opening round game Friday 2-1 to Wheaton College (Scores).

The volleyball team won their opening match Thursday, forcing a showdown with league rival Platteville Friday (Update).

It may be the third year in a row that the Williams Bay volleyball team has returned from the state tournament with the first-place trophy, but I’ll bet it never gets old.

As coach Jim Neave tells contributing writer Todd Mishler, you can attribute the winning attitude to senior leadership.

“I feel good about the talent level we’ll put on the floor in the future, and part of that can be attributed to our seniors, who lit a fire under many of these kids at a young age.”

They’ve lit a fire under the soccer players in the Delavan-Darien area as well, with a high school program well stocked by a successful club program. Many of the players in this year’s state tournament squad have been playing together since they were little kids.
Playing in six championship games in the past 12 years is proof of the success of this program.

“I told the guys at the beginning of the week that there were 249 teams in the three divisions and that they had ordered six trophies and we were going to get one of them,” Mowery said.

State tournament action continues this weekend with the state swim meet at the Natatorium on the UW-Madison campus. Swimmers from the Badger/Big Foot, Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn teams will be competing.

Elkhorn’s relay team, including juniors Ali Matelski, Jenni Sisko, Danielle Fink and Breanna Beinborn, earned a berth. Beinborn will also compete in the 500 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. Sisko also qualified in the 200 individual medley and Fink advanced with seventh-place time of 25.85.

Delavan-Darien’s Brianna Peyer qualified in the 100 breaststroke and the 50 freestyle.

Badger/Big Foot/Bay swimmer Barbara Kamps qualified for the Division 1 state meet in the 100 backstroke.
If it’s a busy time of year for state high school tournaments, it’s even busier at UW-Whitewater.

The Warhawk football team, which has clinched its seventh league title and is ranked No. 2 in the nation, hoped to preserve an undefeated season in the finale Saturday. Next they’ll begin preparing for the NCAA Div. III playoffs.

Warhawk fans are also keeping an eye on the volleyball team, a traditional powerhouse, as well as men’s soccer, which is playing the opening rounds in Whitewater.

All in all, not a bad few weeks, not to mention a nice diversion for Packers fans.

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