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She’s the state’s best vaulter PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 16:27

Weaver’s golden performance in Division 1 final gives local gymnastics team its first WIAA individual champion 

Warm-ups hadn’t gone well.

Renae Weaver was under-rotating or over-rotating on her vault. She was thinking too much.

When it came time for the Grafton/Cedarburg gymnast to compete at the WIAA Division 1 state meet last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids, she told herself to relax.

“It was my last meet in Wisconsin because I’m going to nationals later in May. I just wanted to have a lot of fun at it,” Weaver said.

The approach paid big dividends for the senior, who soared to first place with an average score of 9.6.

Weaver completed the front handspring front tuck, a vault so difficult that only two other high school gymnasts in the state even try it.

“I landed and I wasn’t moving. Why am I not moving?” Weaver recalled of her landing. “I was really surprised because I never stick it.”

Weaver stuck the landing all right, and she knew a good score would be coming, though she had no idea how good.

Grafton/Cedarburg coach Ali Pfeiffer was thrilled. She also knew a high mark was in order.

“I was standing right there. I kind of picked her up and hugged her. Everyone was cheering,” Pfeiffer said.

Weaver, who attends Cedarburg High School, received scores of 9.5, 9.6 and 9.7 on her three vaults. Coming off of a sectional championship with a 9.4, she  had worked on her form all week in preparation for the state meet.

“Her form was very much improved. The practice definitely paid off,” Pfeiffer said.

As a senior, Weaver wanted to execute skills she never had quite done before.

The difficulty alone put her in the mix for a medal at state, even though she hadn’t previously reached the top six in an event. She jokingly told her family and friends she would win state but never imagined it would actually happen.

“I was in complete shock. That was the highest score I have ever gotten,” Weaver said.

Then came the waiting and watching. Weaver had to sit through other top-notch vaulters aiming for her score.

Emily Fuchs of West Allis Hale/Central came the closest but had to settle for second place at 9.467.

“I know that the last rotation was going to be pretty scary for me. I was kind of on the edge of my seat,” Weaver said.

Weaver’s winning score tied a state record and made her the first Grafton/Cedarburg gymnast to earn a WIAA individual title.

“I was sitting next to my family at the time, and they just started going crazy,” she said.

A pep rally to honor Weaver was held Monday at Cedarburg High School.

Weaver ended her prep career on a high note. Although gymnastics is an individual sport, she said she didn’t do it alone.

“My team really helped me throughout this whole entire process. I probably wouldn’t have been able to be this successful this year if it wasn’t for them cheering for me and shouting words of encouragement,” she said.

Among the biggest cheerleaders was sophomore teammate Catie Ball, who joined Weaver in qualifying for state this year in the uneven bars.

Ball finished 18th with a 8.433 score, and Weaver was 23rd with 8.2.

 


 

Image Information: GRAFTON/CEDARBURG GYMNAST Renae Weaver held a banner made by her fans after winning a WIAA Division 1 title in the vault.

 
Pirates’ late miscues help Cedarburg girls steal victory PDF Print E-mail
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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 16:25

Few things in sports are more frustrating than seeing a win slip through your fingers.

The Port Washington girls’ basketball team received a sobering sample March 1 when it watched Cedarburg steal a 38-37 win in the North Shore Conference finale for both squads.

After leading most of the Senior Night game, host Port was poised to escape on top when it held a 37-36 lead in the closing minute. By forcing a turnover, the Pirates stymied a Cedarburg scoring threat and got the ball to midcourt with 17 seconds left.

But after a Port timeout, the Bulldogs’ Kendall Lynch stole the inbounds pass and drew a foul on the way to the basket. Lynch sank both ends of a bonus free-throw chance to put Cedarburg ahead with 14 seconds to go.

After the Pirates raced downcourt and missed a hurried layup, the Bulldogs regained possession and were able to run out the clock.

Turnovers and shaky shooting plagued Port, which scored only two points in the fourth quarter and was 1-for-9 at the free-throw line for the night.

“We just made a ton of mistakes, and it cost us,” said Pirates coach Brian Johnson, whose team finished NSC play 3-11.

“We had a lot of people who don’t normally make those kind of mistakes make them.”

Neither team was able to establish offensive rhythm. However, Port managed to take a 25-20 lead into halftime and held a seven-point edge early in the third quarter.

Cedarburg had only two field goals in the second half. But unlike Port, the Bulldogs enjoyed enough success at the free-throw line (12 for 18) to stay in contention.

With guard Caity Tydrick, Port’s best ball handler, slowed by foul trouble, Cedarburg used defensive pressure to fight back. After trailing, 35-31, at the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs made five unanswered free throws to take a 36-35 lead.

On their only points of the period, the Pirates got a layup by Kelsey Steffen to move back ahead, 37-36, with 2:03 left.  Twenty seconds later, Port missed the front end of a bonus free-throw chance.

With less than a minute left, the Bulldogs ran the clock down before turning the ball over. However, the Pirates returned the favor when Lynch stepped in front of Tydrick for the biggest defensive play of the game.

“Turnovers and free throws, that made the difference in the game,” Johnson said.

The Bulldogs, who finished 7-7 in the conference, were led by Kylee Marks and Lynch with eight and seven points, respectively.

Port got 10 points from Nicole Ziehm and nine from Tydrick.

This week, the Pirates tried to bounce back when they opened WIAA Division 4 tournament play Tuesday with a quarterfinal game against Kewaskum (see related story).


Image Information: PRESSURE FROM A pair of Cedarburg defenders forced Port Washington’s Kayla McIlree to look for an open teammate.   Photo by Sam Arendt

 
A weekend of near misses in Madison PDF Print E-mail
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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 16:29

Smith’s 2nd-place effort leads record-setting group of Port wrestlers in Division 2 state individual tournament

Heading into last week’s WIAA state individual tournament in Madison, there was little doubt that Zach Smith was having an impressive rookie year for the Port Washington wrestling team.

But for good measure, the freshman capped the season by placing second in the 113-pound weight class in the Division 2 competition — giving him the highest finish among seven Port wrestlers who qualified for the meet.

After receiving a first-round bye Thursday, Smith won two matches before losing to Ellsworth’s Jens Lantz, 10-0, in Saturday’s championship match at the Kohl Center. Lantz, a sophomore, won his second straight state title and finished the season 37-0.

Smith ended with a 29-7 mark that included a variety of honors, including North Shore Conference, regional and sectional titles.

“Zach had a great run, no doubt about that,” Port coach Angelo LaRosa said.

“Things didn’t go his way in the final, but he’ll have a chance to face that kid again in the future.”

Smith continued his late-season surge by defeating Medford’s Gunner Peterson, 9-6, in the state quarterfinals. He then scored one of his most impressive wins of the year in the semifinals, pinning Neillsville’s Phillip Opelt (48-7) in just 56 seconds.

“Zach is a very dangerous wrestler. He got that kid in a cradle, and the match was over fast. It was a great win for him.”

With Port having a team-record number of state qualifiers, LaRosa had high hopes for several medal-winning performances. In addition to Smith, the Pirates got place-finishing efforts from freshman Jordan Dieringer (third at 152) and sophomore Noah Rosado (sixth at 106).

Also representing Port were seniors Adam Dreikosen (160) and Tyler Griswold (220), junior Josh Meins (170) and sophomore Andy Fidler (285).

Each of the Pirates made their first state appearance

“We had a great season. We could have done better at state, but we had a lot of success, so it’s hard to complain about that,” LaRosa said.

Dieringer finished the season 23-5, including a 4-1 state record. After a first-round pin of Lakeside Lutheran’s Conor Fussner in 3:27, he lost to Mike Uliana of Luxemburg-Casco, 9-0, in the quarterfinals.

However, Dieringer rebounded with three more wins in the consolation round. He defeated Delavan-Darien’s Kyndle Bennett, 10-5, and Sparta’s Toby Mosley, 10-2, and pinned Neillsville’s Damien Luchterhand in 1:30 of the third-place match. It was only the second loss of the season for Luchterhand, who finished 39-2.

“The guy Jordan lost to was a really physical senior wrestler,” LaRosa said. “But he beat some tough kids and had a really good tournament.”

 
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