County Ledger Press - Sports - Outdoors - Standard Press - Enterprise Press
Your Polk County, Wisconsin hometown newspaper since 1883 .
For more information, please
"After all these years, still doing a great job!!" -Ron Hermanson
Unity, Luck athletes run at UW Superior
By Paul Rignell
Unity boys placed sixth out of 11 teams and Frederic/Luck girls finished sixth out of 10 teams at the Dennis Simpson indoor track invitational March 29 at UW Superior.
The Unity girls also competed there, placing seventh out of 10 teams, as were the Frederic/Luck boys finishing 10th among 11.
Katie Mattson from Frederic/Luck earned 10 points for her team by winning the girls high jump after clearing a height of 4 feet 9 inches.
Lindsay Mattson from Frederic/Luck earned 5.5 points for the team by tying for third on the high jump with a height of 4 feet 3 inches.
Lindsay Mattson earned eight team points with a second-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles (10.45 seconds).
Zenia Moore of Unity finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 51.74 seconds to take eight team points for the Eagles.
Unity runners including Moore, RaeAnna Parmeter, Raegan Sorensen and Michaela Hol placed second for eight team points in the 4x400-meter relay (4:43.27).
Sorensen won another eight team points for Unity with a second-place showing in the pole vault (9 feet 6 inches) and Hol took three team points in the event at sixth place (8’6”).
Katie Mattson got eight team points for Frederic/Luck with a second-place finish in the long jump (covering 15 feet 11 inches) and Sorensen won two team points for Unity by placing seventh in the event (13’7”).
Hol along with Autumn Lowe, Sophie Reed and Myah Nelson finished third for six team points in the 4x200-meter relay (2:03.75).
Katie Mattson won six team points for Frederic/Luck by placing third (29.17 seconds) in the 200-meter dash, and Hol took five points for Unity in that event with a fourth-place finish (29.31).
Lindsay Mattson earned six team points for Frederic/Luck in the triple jump with a third-place finish, totaling 32 feet 6 inches.
Carly Nelson took five team points for Unity with a fourth-place finish in the shot put, covering a distance of 31 feet 1 inch.
Lindsay Mattson earned four team points by placing fifth in the 400-meter dash (1:12.73), and her Frederic/Luck teammate Elizabeth Schweitzer finished sixth in that event (1:12.81) for three team points.
Hunter Houde earned 10 team points for Unity at UW Superior with a victory in the 55-meter dash, running the stretch in 6.82 seconds.
Houde also won the 200 dash in 24.57 seconds for another 10 team points. Dennis Brule earned four team points for Frederic/Luck in that event with a fifth-place finish (25.33 seconds).
Nate Wester (9.24 seconds) and Dillion Merrill (9.32) finished fourth and fifth in the 55-meter hurdles to earn another nine team points for Unity, while Zach Peterson of Frederic/Luck placed sixth in that event (9.32) for three team points.
Cullen Feist won five team points for Unity with a fourth-place finish in the 1600-meter run (5 minutes, 0.56 seconds).
Thomas Cable earned four team points for Unity by tying for fourth in the high jump, clearing 5 feet 3 inches.
Cade Engen won five team points for Frederic/Luck by placing fourth in the pole vault after clearing a height of 10 feet. His teammate Braedon Dohm earned two team points by finishing seventh in the pole vault (9 feet). Blane Tendrup took one-half point for Unity by tying for eighth in that event (8 feet).
Houde earned 4.5 team points for Unity by tying for fourth in the long jump, covering 18 feet 11 inches.
Frederic/Luck runners including Brule, Andrew Moos, Zach Hochstetler and Tanner VanMeter earned three team points by placing sixth in the 4x200-meter relay with a time of 1:45.45. Unity runners Reeden Fisher, Julien Tillery, Luke Flaherty and Andrew Krone got one team point in that event with an eighth-place finish (1:49.07).
Unity runners including Cable, Sam DeHaven, Dylan Kern and Soren VosBenkowski earned two team points for the Eagles by placing seventh in the 4x800-meter relay (9:41.86).
Feist won a team point for Unity by placing eighth in the 400 dash (58.33 seconds).
DeHaven, Merrill, VosBenkowski and Wester got another team point for the Eagles by finishing eighth in the 4x400-meter relay (4:03.92).
The boys team from Superior High School won their meet with 118 team points. The girls from Superior placed second in the team totals with 88 points, behind Northwestern at 109 points.
Coaches speak on delayed start to seasons
By Paul Rignell
It is no secret to anyone who has been in Polk County since the official start of “spring” that winter has actually lingered until at least mid-April.
Spring sports practices began for area high school track teams during the first week of March. Though those athletes would likely prefer to compete outdoors as much as possible through their season, they are fortunate to have indoor meet opportunities in April at universities within reasonable driving distances.
But the high school baseball and softball players, along with golfers (boys teams play in the spring, girls play in fall), do not generally have those types of indoor opportunities for real competition. For the baseball and softball teams from Unity, Luck and St. Croix Falls, their games that were scheduled for the early part of the season have either been postponed until later into April or May (with fingers crossed that they will be played) or some have been canceled outright.
St. Croix Falls varsity softball coach Clayton Hanson, along with Unity varsity baseball coach Shaun Fisher and Unity varsity boys golf coach Larry Stencil, shared some insight into how this memorable “spring” weather has affected their athletes’ games.
“It has had an impact on many things, but it has been challenging to get ‘live’ looks at guys in their positions,” said Unity baseball coach Fisher. “They have shown a lot of potential, but it can be challenging putting it all together when you are confined to a gymnasium full of athletes. It has given our new coaching staff some extra time to build relationships with the players and set our expectations for the season.
“We have been in the gym a lot,” said St. Croix Falls softball coach Hanson. “There are good things about it, like a lot of individual time with my pitchers. We have also spent a great deal working on situations. We do get outside whenever we can.
“As a coach it is my job to keep my girls motivated,” Hanson noted. “If it gets me down, they feed off of that. So (my) going into practice with a good attitude, gives them a good attitude. I make sure to keep practice light, but competitive.
“In all honesty, the extra wait has been frustrating for players, coaches and fans, but we are focusing on getting better and being prepared for our first game outside because even though it doesn’t seem like it right now, we will be playing ball sometime soon,” Unity coach Fisher said. “We have also tried to plan drills and activities to keep the guys fresh and having fun. They have done a really good job staying focused and have been rewarding to spend time with.
“We are still working on a way to get as many games in as we can while still keeping player safety a priority,” Coach Fisher added. “We will have to get creative and explore opportunities to play that we normally wouldn’t, but it will be necessary to get some games in before too long as teams in southern Wisconsin may be playing much earlier than us.
“We are in the same situation as every team,” said Saints coach Hanson. “Our (athletic directors) are working hard to make sure we get as many games in as we can.”
This type of season delay is not exactly without precedent. Hanson said they had this sort of delayed start in 2013. “It was one of those long, cold winters, but it helped me (for) this year,” he said.
“(That) winter … was similar to this as we traveled down to Mauston to play a couple games in April, but nothing like this,” said Unity coach Fisher. “Again, we are really proud of the guys for continuing to stay focused and positive throughout the challenging spring. Hopefully that mental toughness will help us out later in the season.”
“The weather plays a significant role every year,” noted Unity golf coach Stencil. “The schedule is set a year or two in advance with the hope of a normal spring. In my nine years, the success rate is about 50 percent. So, this is not new and we prepare accordingly.
“The players come in each (year) knowing that once we get outside and competition begins, there is not much time for practice,” Coach Stencil added. “Is it fun and exciting hitting balls inside and into a net - for the first week or so, then it is the coaches’ job to create productive practices.
“Golf courses are different than a school’s athletic facilities,” he explained. “We truly appreciate the golf courses that allow our teams to compete and respect their decisions on days that matches can be played. The West Lakeland coaches will be in touch once we get close to see whose course can handle a match. The coaches that host invitationals will contact us for alternative dates or readiness of course. The schedule is very fluid.
“The (Unity) team expects weather to play a role in our season,” Stencil said. “I think it was 2014 where we did not have our first match until May 1. This season could equal or exceed that starting date.”
April 12, 2018
Arrival of spring allows outdoor track at Osceola
By Paul Rignell
The St. Croix Falls and Frederic/Luck boys and girls track teams competed at the Osceola Invitational on April 24.
The hosts from Osceola had postponed their meet by one week due to the lingering winter weather, and then tentatively booked Tuesday’s event to move indoors at UW River Falls, but in the end Osceola officials decided conditions were fair enough to host the meet on their campus.
Jordan Braund of St. Croix Falls won the girls 100-meter dash in 13.23 seconds.
The Saints’ 4x200-relay runners including Braund, Riley Henk, Alaina Driscoll and Jenna Driscoll won that event in 1 minute, 52.48 seconds. They were followed in that event by the second-place Frederic/Luck runners of Katie Christensen, Lindsay Mattson, Katie Mattson and Elizabeth Schweitzer. That group ran the 4x200 in 1:58.28.
Frederic/Luck won the boys 4x200, followed by St. Croix Falls in second place. Tanner VanMeter, Adam Menke, Zach Hochstetler and Dennis Brule ran the course in 1:40.58 for Frederic/Luck, while Logan Ross, Isiah Hoggatt, Andrew Opel and David Tompsett finished the race in 1:40.72 for the Saints.
The same St. Croix Falls girls that won the 4x200 also won the 4x100 at Osceola, in 52.67 seconds.
Anna Klein, Addie McCurdy, Emily McCurdy and Grace Klein won the girls 4x400-meter relay for St. Croix Falls in 4:22.66.
Katie Mattson won the girls high jump for Frederic/Luck by clearing 5 feet 4 inches, and she also won the long jump by covering 14 feet 11 inches.
Ross won the boys long jump for St. Croix Falls by covering 18 feet 5.75 inches.
Lindsay Mattson won the girls triple jump for Frederic/Luck with a distance of 31 feet 11 inches.
Osceola boys and girls teams each placed first for the meet among their visiting competitors. St. Croix Central placed second in both the boys and girls standings.
St. Croix Falls girls placed third in their standings, followed by Frederic/Luck, Somerset and New Richmond.
Somerset placed third in the boys standings, followed by St. Croix Falls, New Richmond and Frederic/Luck.
St. Croix Falls is scheduled to host Frederic/Luck, Unity and other teams in an invitational 4:15 p.m. Thursday, April 26.
Golfers finish regular season meets
By Paul Rignell
Boys golf teams from Luck, Unity, St. Croix Falls and other schools in the Lakeland West Conference held two last regular conference meets early this week before a conference tournament May 17.
To make up for a missed meet of nine holes from earlier on the schedule, due to persistent snow, the teams played twice as much or 18 holes May 14.
Ethan Alexander of the Luck/Frederic team led all golfers by shooting a 37 on the front nine, where his teammate Logan Lillehaug shot a 38. Taylor Zenzen totaled 40 on those holes for Luck/Frederic, followed by Beau Brenizer at 41 and Nick Aguado with a 43.
Lillehaug shot a 37 on the back nine, followed by Alexander and Zenzen each at 39. Aguado totaled 41, and Brenizer shot a 45.
Hunter Robinson of the Unity Eagles shot a 38 on the front nine May 14. His teammates Aaron Nyberg shot a 41 and Daniel Sorenson totaled 44 on those holes. Other Unity golfers included Nick Frokjer at 56 and Alex Robinson with a 57.
Nyberg shot a 36 on the back nine, followed by Hunter Robinson at 38. Sorenson shot a 41, followed by Frokjer at 44 and Alex Robinson shot a 59.
For St. Croix Falls on Monday, Chance Belisle led the Saints with a 45 on the front nine followed by Mitchell Steele at 53. Belisle totaled 42 on the next nine, where Steele shot a 48. Noah Horn at 53 and Madisen Jensen at 56 also lowered their scores on the back nine, where Tyler Moryn shot a 54 for the Saints.
Liilehaug of the Luck/Frederic team was a co-leader for the meet May 15, shooting a 36. His teammate Brenizer followed with a 37, and Alexander shot a 38. Zenzen totaled 42 for Luck/Frederic, and Aguado shot a 46.
Hunter Robinson of Unity was Tuesday’s other co-leader with a 36. Nyberg shot a 41 for the Eagles, and Sorenson totaled 48. Vince Cloutier followed at 49, and Frokjer shot a 56.
Belisle and Steele each shot a 47 for St. Croix Falls on May 15. Horn was third for the Saints by shooting a 56.
Thursday’s conference tournament is scheduled for a mid-morning start in Rice Lake. Regionals will start May 22, from which the top qualifiers will advance to sectionals on May 29.
May 17, 2018
Saints softball wins over Webster and Spooner
St. Croix Falls 21, Webster-Siren 8
Saints head coach Clayton Hanson knows that among other things, if his squad was going to have a chance come playoff time they needed to make the most of their chances when they got them. For example, leading up to St. Croix Falls final game of the regular season last Thursday, Hanson’s troops had struggled putting the bat on the ball with two outs and runners on base. It was something the veteran head coach had stressed to his team all season. Judging by how the Saints knocked the ball around the field in the first inning against Webster-Siren, it seems as though his girls were starting to get the message. St. Croix Falls scored 15 runs in the bottom of the first inning including 12 with two outs against the visiting team, propelling them to a convincing 21-8 win. While the game wasn’t perfect by any means, Hanson was pleased to see his squad excel in an area of the game that has snake-bitten them throughout the year.
“It was good. It gives us a reason to build and get ourselves mentally prepared to play Spooner,” remarked Hanson, referring to the Saints upcoming opponent in the first round of playoffs. “They had a couple of errors and we started to hit a few gaps. We scored 12 runs with two outs. We started finding spots and their pitcher was struggling a little. The girls just started finding their zone and started hitting; putting the ball where it needed to be. Then you get an error or two and things roll from there. I was pretty proud of our girls stepping up.”
The win pushed the Saints final season record to 4-8 overall. Don’t look now but St. Croix’s offense seems to be heating up just in time for the postseason run. Dating back to their win over Luck the previous week, the 21 runs scored against Webster-Siren gave the Saints 41 runs in two games.
Regionals- First Round
St. Croix Falls 11, Spooner 1
The Saints opened up the 2018 regional playoffs in fine fashion last Tuesday with a dominating win over Spooner. The 11-1 win was St. Croix’s third win in a row- their longest winning streak of the season.
Despite a slow start, St. Croix Falls chipped away at Spooner pitching for the first four innings before the gates opened up in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, the Saints struck for six runs on their way to a 11-1 win. Bridgett Bergmann starred at the plate for St. Croix Falls, leading off the game with a double and getting on base every time after that. Senior Annalise Parks started the game on the mound for St. Croix and got the win. For good measure, Parks also finished the game at the plate with a bases loaded hit in the bottom of the fifth giving the Saints the 10-run win.
“Bridgett was our lead-off hitter and she reached base every time so that was one of the things that got us going. Whenever that happens it’s a huge lift for your team. Annalise pitched a good game. Spooner can hit the ball and she found a way to get around those hitters and was consistent,” remarked Hanson. “We started off slow but the girls started to get some momentum and things took off. I think they are starting to recognize what they can do if they play smart and build off each other. We are playing well right now and I’m excited to see what happens next.”
Be careful what you wish for…
Up next for the Saints is the top-seed Bloomer on Wednesday night in Bloomer; no doubt St. Croix’s stiffest test of the season to date.
“As they say, if you are going to make it to state you have to beat everyone,” laughed Hanson. “We are excited to be playing them. This is the playoffs and you never know what can happen.”
May 24, 2018
Luck/Frederic Golf winning host of sectional
The Luck/Frederic co-op golf team wouldn’t be defeated on their home turf when they hosted the sectional competition at the Frederic Golf Course on Tuesday. The team was the top finisher on the par 72 course with a final score of 320.
Following are the team results; the top two teams will advance to the state competition.
1. Luck/Frederic, 320, 2.Eleva-Strum, 324, 3. Osseo/Fairchild, 332, 4. Spring Valley, 346, 5. Durand, 349, 6. Grantsburg, 363, 7. Unity, 366, 8. Glenwood City, 366, 9. Washburn, 373, 10. Chequamegon, 383, 11. Birchwood, 414, 12. Prentice, 453.
Individual results/rankings for local golfers are as follows:
Ethan Alexander, (Luck/Frederic) 71, 3- Logan Littlehaug (Luck/Frederic) 76
12- Hunter Robinson (Unity) 81, 14- Aaron Nyberg (Unity) 82, 19- Beau Brenizer (Luck/Frederic) 84, 32- Taylor Meyer-Zenzen (Luck/Frederic) 89, 35- Chance Belisle (St. Croix Falls) 90, 35- Nick Aguado (Luck/Frederic) 90, 42- Daniel Sorenson (Unity) 95, 60- Vincent Cloutier (Unity) 108, 62- Nick Frokjer (Unity) 110.
The Luck/Frederic team will be heading of to the state competition, which is to be held June 5 at University Ridge in Madison.
The Luck/Frederic team also qualified for state last year placing second at sectionals.
The weather wasn’t fair for much of the event as golfers made their way around the course, they were delayed two hours by rain as the sky opened up and deluged the course and lightning flashed in the sky.
Had the thunderstorm been longer lasting and further delayed the game, the scores for the competition may have been based on the first nine holes.
“I am glad that we were able to play the full 18 holes,” observed Luck/Frederic Coach Rick Giller. “Some individuals that made it to state (not on a team) would not have made it if we only used the first nine hole scores.
“(The) Luck/Frederic team played well all season. Playing at sectionals was no exception. Logan Lillehaug shot a 76 and Ethan Alexander came through big time with one under 71. He even had an out of bounds with that score. Ethan hit great, long drives, solid iron shots, and putted extremely well. Beau Brenizer shot an 84, while Taylor and Nick shot 89 and 90 respectively,” concluded Giller.
May 31, 2018