CWC undergoes major realignment

The addition of three schools to the Central Wisconsin Conference prompted a major realignment, effective this fall, for a majority of sports.

Pittsville, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran (Mosinee) and Northland Lutheran (Kronewetter) bring the number of schools in the CWC this year to 21. For most sports, the conference will be split into three divisions: North, South and East. For football, there will be Large and Small divisions.

For volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, Gresham, Bowler, Marion, Tigerton, Manawa, Northland Lutheran and Wisconsin Valley Lutheran will be in the CWC-North.

Pacelli, Port Edwards, Almond-Bancroft, Wild Rose, Pittsville, Rosholt and Tri-County will compete in the CWC-South.

Menominee Indian has moved from the CWC-10 to join most of the former CWC-8 members in the CWC-East: Bonduel, Wittenberg-Birnamwood, Amherst, Weyauwega-Fremont, Iola-Scandinavia and Shiocton.


Safety, technology could affect racing attendance

To say that our world has changed since 1990 would be an immense understatement.

Some news that recently came down regarding the Luxemburg Speedway and the fact that it needs to cancel two weeks of racing due in part to low attendance got my mind going.

In 1990, when I began to regularly attend racing at the Shawano Speedway, I distinctly recall having to get to the track early to get a seat; not just for special races, but for a weekly show. I have read newspaper clippings from the 1960s and early 1970s that talked about a weekly crowd of over 4,000 spectators.

Currently, there are numerous tracks that would be happy to get 1,500 fans in the stands. So, what has changed?


Copp takes over Bonduel girls program

Bonduel business teacher Duke Copp is putting together two of his interests as he takes over the girls golf program this fall.

Copp, who coached girls basketball for more than a decade and spent time around golf courses during his 21 years as an accountant, will finally get a chance to coach on a golf course starting next week.

Copp, who will also remain in place as the boys basketball coach, is taking over for Taylor McAdams, who resigned due to a new job.

“I’m interested in coaching,” Copp said. “I love golf.”

Although Copp hasn’t coached golf before, he has stayed in touch with the athletes by talking to them either in class or in the hallways of Bonduel High School.

He knows sort of what he’s getting into with returning members Mariah Diemel, Jessie LaBerge and Kylie Guenther. Diemel, a senior this season, and Guenther, a junior, each qualified for sectionals as individuals last fall.


Pole-sitter Eckert finds victory lane at Sun Drop Shootout

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Rick Eckert won the 50-lap feature and its $10,000 prize Wednesday at the Sun Drop Shootout as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series came to Shawano Speedway for the eighth consecutive year.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Nick Anvelink won the Last Chance Showdown to earn his spot in the Late Models feature with the World of Outlaws. Anvelink started toward the back of the field and finished 20th out of the 24 racers.

Rick Eckert started on the pole and took the suspense out of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series’ visit to Shawano Speedway with a wire-to-wire victory Wednesday.

Eckert was able to hold off Don O’Neal on restarts on laps 27 and 30 and a late charge from Chris Madden for the $10,000-to-win Sun Drop Shootout for his second victory of the season.

“The track was top-dominant early in the night,” Eckert said. “They had it extremely wet, which it turns to make a really good race in the feature, so if you’ve got a bad part of the night, you want it to be the first part. You want it to be racy later.”

Madden finished second and O’Neal third. Shane Clanton, who won the last two shootouts, placed fourth, and Mike Marlar finished in fifth.

Madden was pleased with the way his car ran, especially late in the competition.

“We still managed to run down two seconds the last eight laps or so, but I wish he just had a few more laps,” Madden said.


Summer of ‘17 gets thumbs up for hits, misses

Next summer’s waiting-for-football sports entertainment will be brought to us by World Cup soccer.

Provided the world manages to not blow itself up by then, the international tournament will be held at several venues throughout Russia. The 2018 World Cup may not bring the U.S. its first men’s championship but should make for some fertile tweeting ground.

Last year’s waiting-for-football moments in sports included Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and his night of life-threatening peril. Lochte regaled the world with tales of the great bravery he showed while being robbed at gunpoint, and other cool stuff that didn’t happen.

This summer’s waiting-for-football sports entertainment was provided by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers, regarded in the preseason as one of the biggest long shots in the league to win the World Series, surprised everyone by leading the National League Central for most of the first half of the season.


Clintonville Legion finishes as state runner-up

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Members of the Clintonville Legion baseball team show off their state runner-up trophy after dropping the Class A championship game to West Salem, 10-3, Sunday. West Salem went undefeated over the five days and scored 37 runs.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Clintonville Legion shortstop Hunter Vollmer backpedals to catch a pop-up during Sunday’s Class A Legion state championship game. Clintonville fell to West Salem 10-3.

West Salem’s dominance was obvious for five consecutive games last week at the Class A American Legion state tournament in Clintonville.

Sunday was no different, as West Salem posted a 10-3 victory over Clintonville in the state championship game.

West Salem, which scored 37 runs over its five wins, used a five-run seventh inning to break open the game.

“My guys barrelled up. We hit the ball hard,” West Salem head coach Sean Gavagahn said. “Crooked numbers kill, and we put two crooked numbers up there. That hurts.”

Clintonville pitcher Chad Bork allowed 10 runs on 14 hits.

Facing good-hitting teams throughout the tournament, Clintonville head coach Randy Finger emphasized one thing to his pitchers.

“Keep your pitches low because when you leave them up against teams like that, you see what happens in these tournaments,” Finger said. “And it’s one or two pitches, and we win that game one way or the other.”


Van Straten earns 100th victory at Shawano Speedway

Photo by A&H Photos Travis Van Straten picked up his 100th feature victory at the Shawano Speedway by winning the IMCA Stock Car feature at the Shawano Speedway on Saturday.

Photo by A&H Photos Jordan Barkholtz won for the fourth time this season in the IMCA Sport Mods feature on Saturday at the Shawano Speedway.

On July 14, 2001, IMCA Stock Car Rookie Travis Van Straten scored his first career feature win at the Shawano Speedway. Sixteen years later Van Straten, now one of the top IMCA Stock Car racers in the nation, scored his 100th feature win at Shawano.

It was the seventh win of the year for the three-time defending track champion. In other action, Nick Anvelink won his third Late Model feature, Marcus Yarie won his second IMCA Modified feature, Jordan Barkholtz won his fourth IMCA Sport Mod feature and Lucas Hacker secured his second Mighty Four feature.

Late Models

Troy Springborn took the lead at the start of the Late Model feature and quickly began to separate himself from the rest of the pack. Behind Springborn, Joe Reuter battled past Doug Blashe for second. As green flag laps ticked off, Anvelink steadily worked his way toward the front, first passing Ron Berna, then Blashe and Reuter to get to second.


BABA Roundup



WP — Mitch Pleshek; LP — Dan Buettner

Gresham: Mike James went 3 for 4. Mitch Pleshek was 2 for 4. Zach Schutt batted 2 for 2. Ryan James had a double.

Shawano: Wes Carlson was 3 for 4. Josh Ebert had a double.


WP — Aaron Waukau; LP — Joe Weyenberg

Neopit : Mike Pecore went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Aaron Waukau was 3 for 5 with a double. Bob Peters hit two doubles.

Marion: Jake Westphal 3 for 5 with a double and triple. Ricky Nettles 2 for 4 with a double. Ryan Mortensen 2 for 5. Dave Jueds 1 for 3 with a double.


WP — Jake Madsen; LP — Melvin Chevalier

Menominee: Mequan Corn was 2 for 5.

Clintonville: Ryan Ebert went 2 for 3. Jon Dunlavy was 2 for 3. Parker Mindel batted 3 for 6.



WP — Paul Sellner; LP — Aaron Hoffman


Clintonville stays alive in state tournament

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Clintonville Legion’s Nick Schoen, left, slides into home plate on a wild pitch that gave the Diamondcats a one-run lead in an eventual 8-5 victory in the Class A state tournament at Olen Park.

Clintonville’s bats were silent for the majority of the first three innings while the Diamondcats fell behind Iola, 4-0, in the American Legion Class A state tournament at Olen Park.

Things changed in the fourth inning, as the first seven batters reached base and the Diamondcats scored six runs to an 8-5 victory Friday.

The win kept Clintonville’s state title hopes alive in the double-elimination tourney.

“These guys never die,” Clintonville head coach Randy Finger said. “Everybody overlooks us, and that’s OK with us. We’ll play the underdog the whole tournament.”

In the fourth, Clintonville scored its first run on a walk to Kyle Finger, back-to-back singles and a throwing error. Logan Liesenfender hit a fly ball to left field, which got lost in the sun and dropped in to score another run to make it 4-2.

Iola head coach Brian Korb saw the misplayed ball as the turning point of the game.


Gresham holds off Lobos for tourney title

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Lobos pitcher Ben Bystol makes a throw to first base after fielding a bunt attempt in the first inning of Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Gresham Gophers in the championship game of the Lobos Tournament.

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Gresham first baseman Ryan James backpedals to get under a ball during his team’s 2-1 victory over the Shawano Lobos in Friday’s championship game of the Lobo Tournament. Mike James is backing him up.

Ryan James doubled in two runs in the first inning, and that was more than enough support for Gresham Gophers pitcher Cody Riemer.

Riemer pitched a complete game and allowed just one earned run Friday as Gresham won the championship game of the Shawano Lobos Tournament 2-1 over Shawano at Bill Krenger Field at Martzke Park.

The Gophers, playing as the home team, got all of their offensive production in the bottom of the first inning after Joe Ejnik walked and T.J. Arrowood doubled to right field past a diving Drew Radies. James, the very next batter, doubled deep to center field to score the two runs off Shawano starter Ben Bystol.

Bystol settled down, keeping Gresham off the board for the remaining five innings.


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