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Young look deceiving for Grafton girls PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 17:44

Junior-heavy team can count experience as one of its assets in preparing for North Shore battles

Looks can be deceiving, especially when it comes to Grafton girls’ basketball.

Although the Black Hawks have only one senior this season, there’s no dearth of talent on their roster.

Their lineup features a solid group of juniors from a squad that went 16-11 last season and reached a WIAA sectional final for the fourth straight year.

“We have a young team, but it’s a good group, and I really like them a lot,” Hawks coach Bob Maronde said.

“They’ve got a bit of a tough edge to them. They’re like little Rambos running around out there.

“When they make mistakes, they bounce right back. There’s a lot of resiliency.”

There’s plenty of skill, as well.

Grafton’s lone senior is Abbey Benzschawel, a 6-foot-1-inch center whose improved play last season culminated in a 17-point, 11-rebound performance in a sectional final against New Berlin Eisenhower.

“Abbey really stepped up for us as a leader,” Maronde said. “She started playing with great confidence.”

The Hawks’ other veterans include five juniors who contributed last year — forwards Hannah Eichler (5-11), Tess Safstrom (5-8) and Kimmi Schacht (5-11) and guards
Carley Pfannerstill (5-3) and Emily Schreiner (5-8).

Eichler, a two-year varsity player, earned All-North Shore Conference second-team honors as a sophomore, when she averaged nine points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.5 assists per game. Her versatility allows her to play in the backcourt as well as the front line.

“I think this will be a breakout year for Hannah,” Maronde said. “You can see that she has much more confidence now.”

Pfannerstill has been pegged as the starting point guard. Her ball-handling skills and leadership will be crucial to the team’s success.

“Carley has a great knack of knowing when to go and when to hold up offensively,” Maronde said. “She is so quick, which makes it tough on other teams’ guards.”

Likewise, Schreiner and Safstrom bring quickness to the wing positions and are “both solid shooting and handling the ball,” Maronde said.

Schacht will bolster the Hawks’ front line and “is very strong in the post and has a great mid-range jumper,” he added.

Giving Grafton strength in reserve will be players such as juniors Symone Wright (5-4) and Emily Volkmann (5-3), sophomores Audrey Dickmann (5-6), Sam Gosewehr (6-0) and Haley Orlowski (5-7) and freshman Amanda Hunt (5-11).

“Overall, I like us from No. 1 to No. 12,” Maronde said. “All the girls are good basketball players who can contribute.”

Even so, Maronde said his team’s youthful energy comes with a hitch.

“My biggest concern right now with them is their ability to focus for long periods of time,” he said. “They can be impatient and rush things, but I think it will get better over the course of the season.”

After winning conference titles in three of four seasons from 2005-06 to 2008-09, the Hawks slipped to fourth place with an 8-6 record last season. Reclaiming the top spot may be a long shot with defending champion Nicolet a heavy favorite to repeat.

However, Maronde is hoping his team will be among the league’s best, a list he thinks will include Cedarburg, Germantown and Whitefish Bay.

“A lot of it depends on how we handle December,” he said, noting Grafton faces a tough schedule early in the season.

The Hawks open play Tuesday, Nov. 30, by hosting Green Bay West in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game.

They will face Milwaukee Washington on Dec. 3 and Milwaukee Bay View on Dec. 7 before opening NSC play against Homestead on Dec. 10.

Grafton then takes on Cedarburg and Nicolet in consecutive games.

 
Swimmers, divers save best for last PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 17:11

Grafton, Port girls turn in top season performances at state

Members of the Grafton girls’ swimming and diving team took a simple but effective approach to last Friday’s WIAA Division 2 state meet: Save your best for last.

Turning in one personal-best effort after another, the Black Hawks capped their season with a 13th-place finish in a 38-team field at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.

Grafton scored 65 points, good for a share of 13th with Brown Deer/University School. Milton won the title with 238 points.

Among other local teams, Port Washington took 29th with 18 points.

“We wanted to get back into the top 10, and we just missed, but I’m pretty happy with the way things went,” Grafton coach Adan Burgos said.

“To get that many points out of the four swimmers and one diver we had was great. Most of them had their best meets of the season.”

As she did the previous week at the Plymouth Sectional, diver Katelyn Zarem led the Hawks in Madison. The junior duplicated her performance at last year’s state meet by placing fourth in a 16-diver field.

Zarem scored 346.85 points to finish ahead of Port Washington sophomore Hayley Seitz, who was fifth with 326.35.

Junior Claire Kinzer, Port’s other state qualifier, took 13th in diving with 292 points.

“Katelyn’s goal was to finish in the top three, so she came up a little short, but she still got back on the podium with fourth,” Burgos said.

“She did really well. You can’t control how other people will do, so she had to concentrate on her own dives. It was a nice way to end the season.”

Most of Grafton’s scoring was provided by its swimmers. Their best finish came from senior Kelsi Chesney, who placed sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (in 59.4 seconds)
and 11th in the 100 butterfly (1:00.97).

Junior Caitlin Hanney was eighth in both the 200 individual medley (2:13.59) and 500 freestyle (5:19.47).

In relay races, the Hawks got a 13th-place effort from the 400 freestyle relay team of Chesney, junior Lisa Borden, freshman Stephanie Haebig and Hanney (a season-best 3:46.48).

The same lineup also finished 16th in the 200 freestyle (1:44.38).

“We actually did better than I thought we would,” Burgos said of his swimmers.

“Caitlin and Kelsi both had great times in their individual events, and Lisa and Stephanie stepped up with them in the relays.”

Seitz and Kinzer, who qualified for the state meet for the second straight year,  had mixed results in their bids to improve on their 2009 finishes.

Kinzer was slightly behind her 13th-place performance last year, while Seitz leaped up from 14th place as a freshman. Both are expected to be Port’s leaders next year in diving, which was one of the team’s strong suits this season.   

“It went quite well for them,” Port coach Maureen Jajtner said.

“Hayley has been working hard on her degree of difficulty, so we could see (her improvement) coming.”

Whitnall sophomore Rachel Stave dominated the diving competition on her way to a first-place score of 470.2 points, nearly 100 more than runner-up Sierra Becker of River Falls.

“But after Rachel, for the most part the scores were tight,” Jajtner said. “It was just a matter of the fine points  that separated most of the rest of the field.”

Burgos said he’s already looking forward to next season, thanks in large part to the return of all the Hawks’ state qualifiers except Chesney.

“Losing Kelsi to graduation will be tough, but we will have some very good swimmers and divers back,” he said. “It’s a nice, solid group to build the program around.”

In winning its first state team title, Milton edged Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol, the defending champion, which took second with 184 points.

DeForest, which won the title from 2006 to 2008, was third with 182 points.


CAITLYN HANNEY placed eighth in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle for the Grafton girls’ swimming and diving team at last Friday’s WIAA Division 2 state meet. Photo by Sam Arendt
 
It’s Oklahoma State for Port mat champ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 17:04

Perennial wrestling power is college choice for Pirates’senior standout Dieringer

The winningest wrestler in Port Washington High School history will head to Oklahoma State University next fall.

Alex Dieringer has signed a letter of intent accepting a wrestling scholarship from the Big 12 Conference school after considering offers from several Division I college programs.

“It was a real hard choice,” said Dieringer, who will enter his senior season as a two-time WIAA state champion.

“I had other schools interested in me, but I was looking for the best one for wrestling, academics and after college.”

Dieringer has a 128-4 career record, including a 45-1 mark as a junior, when he won the Division 1 state title at 140 pounds. He placed second in the Division 2 state tournament as a 125-pound sophomore after winning the Division 1 title at 103 pounds as a freshman.

Dieringer has also earned numerous honors at national freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments. In July, he placed first in the USA Junior Nationals freestyle competition at 145 pounds as a member of the Wisconsin state team.

He is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in his age group at 145 pounds.

“Alex has everything you need to be great in his sport,” Port wrestling coach Angelo LaRosa said.

“A lot of people have talent but not the work ethic, or are real strong but lack technique. He’s on top of everything in practice and the way he approaches wrestling.
“And he’s probably the best athlete on our team.”

After weighing his college options for several months, Dieringer picked Oklahoma State (in Stillwater) from a group of finalists that also included schools such as Wisconsin, Central Michigan and Missouri. He narrowed the list to Oklahoma State and Wisconsin before making his choice.

Dieringer said he will be redshirted his freshman year, followed by four years of eligibility. He plans to pursue a degree in education or coaching.

A perennial wrestling power, Oklahoma State has won 34 national team titles, the most in NCAA history. The Cowboys have had 133 individual NCAA champions and 213 wrestlers earn All-American honors.

Oklahoma State is coached by John Smith, a six-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist in wrestling.

“They have a great program with a coach who’s been an Olympic champion,” Dieringer said. “I want a chance to go to the Olympics, too.”

Dieringer said he appreciates the advice he got from LaRosa and his family, who “told me to consider all the positives at each school” before making a decision.

He is the son of David and Cindy Dieringer of Port Washington.

“Alex made a really good choice with Oklahoma State,” LaRosa said.

“I think getting this done is like getting a gorilla off his back. If he hadn’t signed until later, it probably would have been a distraction during the season.”

Dieringer began wrestling practice this week at Port with the ultimate goal of winning his third state title in four years, an achievement that would put him in select company in WIAA history.

“That will be my goal,” he said. “It would be a nice way to finish high school.”

LaRosa has no doubt about Dieringer’s ability to reach that goal. 

“He’ll be focused. He always has been,” LaRosa said. “He’s setting the bar pretty high for all the kids coming through our program.”


ALEX DIERINGER, Port Washington High School’s two-time state champion, has signed a letter of intent to accept a wrestling scholarship from Oklahoma State University. Joining the senior were (from left) his mother Cindy Dieringer, Port athletic director Thad Gabrielse and Port wrestling coach Angelo LaRosa.  Photo by Sam Arendt

 
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