Opener featuring Packers vs. Bears as it should be

Some eyebrows raised with last week’s announcement that the Green Bay Packers would be spotlighted in the NFL 2019 season opener, a Thursday night showdown Sept. 5 in Chicago.

The Packers-Bears opener is a departure from the practice that has been in place since 2004, where the defending Super Bowl champion would host the first game of the season. In this, the 100-year anniversary of the NFL, the league opted to break tradition and instead highlight the two storied, flagship franchises.

Objections voiced about a Pack-Bears kickoff opener were brief and mild, questioning only how good of a game it might be, given the Bears’ emergence as an NFC power and Packers’ state of flux, coming off two losing seasons with a new coach and some departed veterans.


Gresham softball team trying to fill voids

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Gresham senior Tiana Ferguson prepares to take a swing while in the batting cage during an indoor practice on March 27. Ferguson will likely split time between second and third base this spring.

Coming off a strong season, the Gresham Community High School softball team will need to do a little rebuilding if it hopes to turn in a similar season in the Central Wisconsin Conference-North Division

Gresham finished the 2018 spring season with a 7-5 overall record, including a 7-3 mark in CWC-North play to take second. Of the three all-conference first team picks it had, the Wildcats will need to replace two of them.

“We lost a big senior group last season who have been playing together since they were seven,” Gresham coach Amanda Reindl said. “We will have to replace a lot of starters this season — with three pretty inexperienced pitchers, it will be a struggle to build up their stamina. We have a lot of new girls this season, very young, who will have to step up and fill some big shoes.”


Top performances fuel Shawano track and field teams in Watertown

Behind several top-five finishes, the Shawano Community High School track and field teams enjoyed strong days of action at the Watertown Indoor Invitational on Saturday.

The boys tied for fourth with 53 points, while the girls scored 48 points and finished sixth.

The boys and girls team each had a first-place finisher. Nathan Krizan won the shot put (44 feet, 4.5 inches) for the boys, while Odessa Arce claimed the top spot in the 1,600-meter run (5 minutes, 47.40 seconds) for the girls.

Elliott Lowney earned a pair of second-place finishes for the boys in the 200 (25.76) and 400 (56.78). He was also on the 4x400 relay team (4:12.12) that placed third — Carter Schmidt, Ethan Chelberg and Caden Nelson rounded out the relay team.

Chelberg also took fourth in the 1,600 (5:09.38), while Reef Anthony placed fifth in the pole vault (11-00).


High School Highlights


Merrill 2

Shawano 1

The Hawks came up just short of a nonconference road win over the Bluejays on Saturday.

Lindsey Roloff netted Shawano’s lone goal, scoring in the 59th minute of action.

Goalie Peyton Buerman made 31 saves while defending the net for Shawano.

Kaukauna 10

Clintonville 0

The Truckers could not slow the Galloping Ghosts in a nonconference road tilt on Thursday.

Clintonville goalie Blanca Gallastegui made four saves.


Clintonville teams place in top 3

Led by strong finishes, the Trucker girls placed second and boys third at the Seymour Indoor Invite on Thursday.

Elly Arndt won the 55-meter dash (7.94 seconds) and high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) to lead the girls. Lizzy Weatherwax placed first in the 400 (1:11.12) while Allysin Booth was the top finisher in the 55 hurdles (9.41).


Baseball capsule: Menominee Indian



Head coach: Karl Peters

Last season: 2-12 overall; 1-11 in Central Wisconsin Conference-East Division play

Playoffs: Lost 12-0 to Brillion in regional quarterfinal

Key athletes lost: Warren Wilber (all-conference second team), Isaac Graham

Key returning players: Richard Wayka (all-conference second team), senior, shortstop; Mequan Corn Jr., senior, center field; Leone Peters, senior, right field; Riley Utecht, junior, infield; Jameson Besaw, sophomore, pitcher and first base; Ashton Corn, sophomore, utility; Connor Latender, sophomore, second base; Sequoia Schlicting, sophomore, outfield.

Coach’s comment: “To continue developing into a tough, explosive team able to compete with any other team. The biggest challenge that we need to overcome is our ability to grind the tough games out.”


Girls soccer: Shawano drops home-opener to Lakeland Union

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Brianna Mott, left, prepares to fire a shot on goal during the first half of Thursday’s nonconference game against Lakeland Union. Mott connected on the shot to put the Hawks on the scoreboard.

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Isabel Colon, left, keeps the ball away from a Lakeland Union defender during the second half of Thursday’s nonconference game. Shawano came up on the short end of a 3-1 final.

After opening the season with a shutout win, the Shawano Community High School girls soccer team was looking to keep things rolling in its home opener on Thursday.

Lakeland Union had other plans, as the visitors took control of the game early and went on for a 3-1 nonconference victory over Shawano.

“We had a couple injuries that kind of hurt us throughout (the game),” Shawano coach Bob Croschere said. “Overall, we just played a little slow. We need to pick up a few things and fix some stuff, but that’s kind of what these early games are for.”

Shawano (1-1) had a couple of opportunities to net a goal in the opening minutes, but for the most part, it was Lakeland Union that was in control.

The Thunderbirds (1-0) attacked early and often, getting several shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of play. Shawano junior goalie Peyton Buerman defended the net valiantly, denying the visitors from getting on the scoreboard.


Bonduel softball team hoping for bounce back season

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s Claire Gehm, center, makes a throw during the team’s outside practice on Tuesday. Gehm figures to serve as one of the team’s top pitchers in her freshman season.

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Bonduel’s McKenzie Wollenberg makes a throw to first base during the team’s outside practice on Tuesday. Wollenberg is the lone returning all-conference selection from last year’s team.

Coming off a 5-14 season, the Bonduel High School softball team is eager to turn things around.

While looking at the record alone might make one think the Bears were not that competitive last season, that was far from the truth. Bonduel was the victim of several tight losses, with a few losses coming by just a run.

Bonduel, which went 2-10 in Central Wisconsin Conference-East division play last year, returns several experienced players this spring. Even so, there will still be an adjustment period.

“We will have a lot of players at new positions this year and getting those kinks worked out will take some time,” Bonduel coach Chris Reinke said.

As of Tuesday, when the team practiced outside for the first time, Reinke said the program would include just 14 players total. Six of those players are seniors, while four are freshmen. The Bears also have two sophomores and two juniors in the mix for playing time.


Athlete of the Week: Jonathan Rojas

Leader Photo by Morgan Rode Menominee Indian senior Jonathan Rojas competes in the 45-meter dash at the Alfonso Indoor Invitational at Antigo High School on March 19. Rojas won the event with a time of 6.15 seconds.

Athlete: Jonathan Rojas

Sport: Boys track and field

School: Menominee Indian High School

Year: Senior

The indoor portion of the track and field season is a time for athletes to knock off some rust before competing outside. It didn’t take Menominee Indian’s Jonathan Rojas long to get into a groove, as the senior has excelled in the early portion of the season.

In the team’s first meet of the season, the Alfonso Indoor Invitational at Antigo High School on March 19, Rojas won both the 45- and 200-meter dashes. He posted a time of 6.15 seconds in the 45 and 28.72 seconds in the 200.

At a bigger Northland Pines Indoor Meet on March 21, Rojas placed sixth in the 200 and 11th in the 55. He posted a time of 26.31 seconds in the 200 and 7.27 seconds in the 55.

Q: When did your interest in track and field begin?


College Highlights

Zook continues to shine

Shawano Community High School graduate Brianna Zook continued her strong collegiate softball season at Bryant & Stratton College (Wauwatosa).

The Bobcats had a busy week on the diamond playing doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Bryant & Stratton’s 15-2 game one loss to Joliet Junior College Tuesday, Zook drove in a run on a double before scoring a run.

In a 5-3 loss to Kishwaukee in game one of a doubleheader Wednesday, Zook drove in all three of the team’s runs on three hits. Zook drove in another run in an 11-3 Bobcats win in game two.

Hoffman enjoying success in limited at-bats

Gresham graduate Mackenzie Hoffman has produced in limited opportunities for Edgewood College’s (Madison) softball team this spring.

Hoffman has played in eight games, earning five starts.

In five at-bats, she has hit a double and single and driven in two runs. She’s also stolen one base.


Spring hearing ballots will offer online voting option

If you’d like your views considered on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spring hearing questions but either can’t or don’t want to attend a hearing in one of the state’s 72 counties, you are in luck this year.

Residents for the first time will have three days to go online and vote on the hearing questionnaire. Residents attending the April 8 hearings will have two options: use the paper ballots there or receive a special verifiable number so that they also may complete the ballot online. Those who attend the hearings but choose to receive the verifiable number and vote online will have their votes counted with the in-person results. The other online results will be kept separate.

Voting for Conservation Congress delegates and citizen-input issues can only be done in person, according to the DNR.


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