Panthers return to state after 1-year away

Oconto Falls head coach Lon Ludemann told himself he wasn’t going to count running positions and keep a tally of competing teams at his spot at the final turn with 400 meters remaining in the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet Saturday in Waupaca.

When the time came, he couldn’t help himself.

“I knew we had six guys in there before Medford had five,” Ludemann said. “So with a 400 left, I knew in my mind we had a chance (at qualifying for state). If you can put six in front of their five, even if you can put five in front of somebody’s five, you have a pretty good chance, so I walked up the hill thinking, ‘At least we have a chance.’”

The Panthers posted a score of 111, good for second place, just four points ahead of Medford, to qualify for the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids. Lakeland ran away with the sectional title with 45 points.


High School Highlights


Oconto Falls 3

Little Chute 0

Senior libero Bailey Magnin posted 14 digs, while setter Emma Huberty tallied 21 assists in Oconto Falls’ road sweep of Little Chute, 25-13, 25-17, 25-15, Oct 19.

Hitter Shelby Coron had 12 kills, and Sarah Sprout added nine more for the Panthers (25-11, 6-3 North Eastern Conference).

Coron also recorded eight digs in the victory.


Suring cruises to 1st playoff berth since 2012

Win and they’re in.

It was that simple for the Suring football team to qualify for the WIAA playoffs. And the Eagles made no mistake about their postseason intentions.

Suring scored 30 second-quarter points and took advantage of Gillett mistakes as the Eagles won 52-9 in Gillett on Friday.

The win punched Suring’s first ticket to the playoffs since 2012. It will be the first opportunity for this year’s senior class to play in late October.

“We’ve been working for it since my freshman year and we haven’t gotten in,” Suring senior quarterback John Christensen said. “It’s just great to get in now.”

Said Suring coach Mitch Taylor: “This is huge. They’ve worked hard for this.”

Suring got back on track after losing its previous three games. It won the first five games of the season, but needed a win in the regular-season finale to get above .500 at 4-3 in the Marinette & Oconto Conference and advance to the playoffs.



Oconto Falls placed six runners in the top 20, including Evan Konitzer and Noah Ludemann in the top 10, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Freedom for the top team spot Saturday at the North Eastern Conference cross-country championship at Riverside Golf Course in Clintonville.

Konitzer (16 minutes, 54 seconds) finished in third place, 48 seconds behind first-place finisher Travis Reiter of Freedom.

Ludemann (17:37) finished ninth. Teammates Brody Schindel (17:57) took 13th place, Evan Roberts (18:09) 15th and Aaron Kurth (18:19) 18th to round out the team score at 58.

The Irish posted a score of 56 for the win. Luxemburg-Casco, Fox Valley Lutheran and Little Chute rounded out the top five.


Suring takes M&O conference title

Times Herald Photo by Chris Caporale

Megan Wolfe blocks Wausaukee’s Courtney Messar during Gillett’s straight-set victory over the Rangers. The Tigers finished the Marinette & Oconto Conference tournament Saturday in fifth place.

The last time Suring won the conference title in girls volleyball, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States. Yeah, it’s been a long time.

The Eagles ended a 32-year drought Saturday, winning the regular-season Marinette & Oconto Conference championship by going 5-1 in the conference tournament held in Oconto Falls.

“It was our goal from Day 1, and we’re just so happy we got it,” Suring senior middle hitter Katie Stegeman said.

Suring coach Tonia Kruschke said for the players to attain one of their main goals is quite an accomplishment.

“You’ve got to believe in yourself and your teammates and what’s getting done on the court,” Kruschke said. “We have that with this group of girls – they’re not fighting, they’re not bickering, they’re not blaming. We win as a team, we lose as a team, and that’s been our motto.”

Peshtigo won the conference tournament title on Saturday. Suring, Crivitz, Coleman and Gillett rounded out the top five.



It was a rough start to the Marinette & Oconto Conference tournament for Gillett.

The Tigers went just 1-3 in pool play Saturday and had to drop down to the silver bracket.

“We started out so slow today,” Gillett coach Keri Hicks said. “We were sleeping, and I don’t know where my team was.”

However, Gillett beat Wausaukee, 25-17, 25-21, and then downed Niagara, 25-21, 17-25, 15-8, to place fifth. The Tigers also finished tied for fifth with Wausaukee in the final conference standings.

“We play inconsistent at times,” Hicks said. “We played with (tournament champion) Peshtigo, it was 25-22, 25-19. We can play with people if we’re playing well, it’s just a matter of being at that level.”

Gillett lost to Niagara, 25-12, 25-20, in the first round of pool play. Against Crivitz, the Tigers lost, 25-23, 15-25, 15-8. In the next round, Gillett beat Oneida Nation, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11. In the final pool-play match, the Tigers fell to Peshtigo.


Herlache’s big day downs Panthers

Oconto Falls was held scoreless through three quarters before finally getting on the board with a Mac Winkler rushing touchdown in Friday’s 39-7 home loss to Wrightstown.

The Panthers controlled the time of possession, holding the ball five minutes longer than Wrightstown (5-3, 4-3 North Eastern Conference) despite being outgained in yardage, 413-125.

Oconto Falls (2-6, 1-6 NEC) finished the game with 125 yards, including 70 on the ground and 55 through the air, led by Winkler’s 12 rushes for 41 yards.

Quarterback Connor Scray added 20 rushing yards to go with his 19 passing yards on four completions.

Wrightstown’s Bryce Herlache scored four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving. Quarterback James Hansen found Matthew Van Eperen for a TD, and Ben Rosera added a 24-yard rushing TD as Wrightstown scored all of its points in the first three quarters.


Panthers making final regular-season push

In the hunt for a top-three finish in the North Eastern Conference, the Oconto Falls volleyball team was looking for a little home cooking Thursday against Denmark.

The Panthers came up big at the end of sets as their hitters played well in a 3-1 victory (25-17, 20-25, 25-20, 25-19) over Denmark on senior night.

“It’s a pretty good win for us,” Oconto Falls coach Rochell Otto said. “We were pretty even-steven with them conference-wise, so it was nice to beat them and go ahead of them.”

The Oconto Falls players had had their sights set on Denmark for quite some time.

“We were really looking forward to playing them because we lost to them last year in four sets,” Oconto Falls junior outside hitter Sarah Sprout said.

Sprout had a nice match with 10 kills and 17 digs. Shelby Coron registered a match-high 24 kills and 23 digs. Fellow senior Jenny Krueger added six kills, and Bailey Magnin scored 24 digs. Emma Huberty led the way with 39 assists.


Lions host punt, pass and kick competition

The Oconto Falls Lions Club, in collaboration with the Oconto Falls Youth Football program, hosted a local NFL punt, pass and kick competition for the first time Sept. 17 at ST Paper Stadium.

The competition attracted 112 boys and girls, ages 6-15. First-place finishers advanced to the sectional competition to be held Oct. 23 in Kimberly.

Following are the top finishers in each division:

Boys 6-7: first place, Jack Falk; second place, Landon Timm; third place, Dawson Duncan.

Girls 6-7: first place, Isabella Schmutzer; second place, Neala Horkman.

Boys 8-9: first place, Luke Gilbertson; second place, Jameson Beaman; third place, Hunter Bozile.

Girls 8-9: first place, Amelia Danielczak; second place, Kylie Thompson; third place, Greta Collar.

Boys 10-11: first place, Alex Haines; second place, Armando Rost; third place, Conner Wilquet.


Lena boy advances to state punt, pass and kick contest

Colt Miller, of Lena, took first place in the 8-year-old division of the Knights of Columbus diocesan punt, pass and kick contest Sept. 25 in Hilbert.

Miller is now eligible to compete in the state contest, scheduled for Oct. 29 at West De Pere High School. There were 11 other contestants in his age bracket at the diocesan contest.

Others competing in the diocesan contest from the Lena Knights of Columbus Council were Macy Herald, in the 9-year-old girls division, and Dane Comins, in the 9-year-old boys contest.

Other boys competing were Evan Vanderzanden in the 10-year-old age bracket,Wyatt Dean in the 11-year-old bracket and Mason Simonson in the 12-year-old age bracket.


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