Trepanier commits to wrestle at Lindenwood

Senior Nate Trepanier is not the first Oconto Falls wrestler to continue his career at the collegiate level.

Trepanier, who signed a national letter of intent Nov. 9 to wrestle at Division 2 Lindenwood University in Missouri, has stood out from the rest, as shown in his WIAA Division 2, 145-pound state title run last year in which he did not concede a single point to his three matches opponents in Madison.

“The more a guy comes at you with strength and speed and technicality, the easier he can defeat you it seems,” Oconto Falls head coach Marc Kinziger said. “It’s his uncanny ability to scramble.”

Trepanier is coming off an undefeated season (47-0), which he capped with a 3-0 victory over North Eastern Conference rival Ben Klister, of Wrightstown, in the state title match.


4 Panthers named to NEC’s 2nd team

Photo by Josh Thompson Media
Oconto Falls running back Mac Winkler was one of four Panthers selected to the North Eastern Conference's second-team all-conference.

Oconto Falls walked away from the 2016 football season with four selections to the North Eastern Conference’s second team.

They are running back Mac Winkler, offensive lineman Zachary Lemere, defensive lineman Daniel Ausloos and outside linebacker Dalton Curl.

Ausloos is a junior. The other three Panthers honored are seniors.

Winkler, who finished the season fourth in rushing in the conference with 823 yards, was hampered by an ankle injury until the sixth game of the season.

Lemere helped Oconto Falls gain 91 first downs and 1,788 total offensive yards in eight conference matchups. Those numbers ranked eighth in the nine-team NEC.

The Oconto Falls defense allowed 3,156 yards to North Eastern Conference foes, the highest mark in the league.


Tigers try to keep high expectations in check

Times Herald photo by Chris Caporale
Gillett senior Erin Balthazor looks to find a cutting teammate while working on the swing offense at practice Monday. Balthazor is just one of two seniors on the roster, with center Victoria Loberger being the other.

Last winter, the Gillett girls basketball team got caught looking ahead.

The result: a few extra home losses that didn’t leave head coach Justin Daul too happy.

“If we can just take a schedule and blanket every other part of the schedule except the game that’s at task, and come to that game with a great approach, all of the goals that are in the back of our minds will come to fruition at the end of the year,” Daul said.

Daul hopes to rely on the leadership of his two seniors, point guard Erin Balthazor and center Victoria Loberger, to keep that from happening. Both players were honorable mention selections in M&O all-conference balloting last winter.

The Tigers finished in fourth place in the Marinette & Oconto Conference last season with a 9-7 record. They were 12-12 overall.


Panthers stand tall at state meet

Photo by ATF Media

Oconto Falls High School freshman Evan Roberts sprints to the finish line against Sparta’s Kole Nelson and Notre Dame Academy’s Reid Milton at the state cross-country meet Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. Roberts was the team’s fifth runner in with a time of 18 minutes, 15 seconds.

For the first time all season, the Oconto Falls cross-country team had four runners finish within 30 seconds of each other.

From the team’s No. 2 runner, Noah Kokko-Ludemann (17 minutes, 45 seconds), to No. 5 Evan Roberts (18:15), the Panthers stayed close enough to take ninth place (227 points) at the Division 2 state meet Saturday at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

“That was one thing we talked about. … Because there are so many people in that race, and so many good people in that race, I was concerned about them losing each other,” head coach Lon Ludemann said.

Senior Evan Konitzer (16:55) continued his role as the team’s top runner, placing 29th, but scoring 11 points based on the 18 individual qualifiers who finished ahead of him.

Kokko-Ludemann followed 50 seconds behind Konitzer, leading the pack of Panthers to the finish line. Justan Konitzer (18:06), Brody Schindel (18:12) and Roberts rounded out the scoring for Oconto Falls at 227.


Board approves Gillett’s move to 8-man

Photo by JT Media

Gillett Secondary School is planning on moving to eight-man football next fall.

With enrollment and participation in the high school football program declining, the Gillett School Board approved a proposal on Oct. 20 to move from 11- to eight-man football.

“We feel we should make a transition to eight-man football,” Gillett Secondary School Principal Steve Linssen told the board.

The district needed to decide prior to Nov. 1 to meet a WIAA deadline for next year and to alert the Marinette & Oconto Conference of the plan.

The switch has the support of Gillett’s head football coach, his predecessor and the athletic director.

“Best fit for the program long-term,” coach Steve Andrastek said. “A more viable option.”

Gillett went 0-9 this season and 0-7 in the Marinette & Oconto Conference. The Tigers had qualified for the playoffs in the two previous seasons, including winning a playoff game over Wild Rose in 2014.


2 Panthers chosen to first NEC volleyball team

Oconto Falls High School outside hitters Shelby Coron and Sarah Sprout were named to the all-North Eastern Conference first team this fall.

Coron, a unanimous selection, finished the season with a team-high 470 kills and a .296 hitting percentage. The senior added a team-best 43 aces.

Sprout, a junior, pitched in 244 kills, averaging 2.6 kills per set. Her .247 hitting percentage was third on the team with those over 10 kills.

Bailey Magnin earned second-team honors for the Panthers. The senior libero did the majority of the passing, leading the team in both digs and serve receptions. She had 352 digs and 440 service receptions.

Sprout was second on the team in both categories, and Coron followed in third in both passing categories.

North Eastern Conference

All-Conference Teams

First Team


Seymour’s serving keeps Panthers out of system

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale

Oconto Falls High School libero Bailey Magnin passes a ball in serve-receive Saturday in the Panthers’ WIAA Division 2 regional final loss to Seymour. Magnin had 21 digs.

The third-seeded Seymour volleyball team used its serving and hitting to keep No. 1 seed Oconto Falls out of system en route to a 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 sweep Saturday in a WIAA Division 2 regional final in Oconto Falls.

“They had some nice servers,” Oconto Falls head coach Rochell Otto said. “I’ll give them the credit, but we’ve still got to pass the ball better. Other than that, it wasn’t a huge difference. I think we were evenly matched, but unfortunately we made a few more errors.”

The Panthers and Thunder went back and forth, with nine ties throughout the opening set. OFHS senior middle hitter Jennifer Krueger had four kills and two blocks in the set.

With Oconto Falls leading 21-17, two bad passes and an ace brought Seymour back into the game before Seymour’s Jenna Krause had two kills in the final three points to seal the win.


Gillett turns to Willson to take over boys program

Just over a month before the start of the boys basketball season, the Gillett School Board on Sept. 20 hired Kelly Willson as its new head coach.

Willson has coached for 20 years, including a stint as head coach at Mercy High School in Red Bluff, California, and with freshman and junior varsity programs at Green Bay West and Oconto Falls before taking a few years off.

“I’ve been wanting to coach for a while, my own program, and just the opportunity,” Willson said. “And the Gillett community deserves a winner.”

The Tigers went 2-21 last season, including a 2-16 mark in the Marinette & Oconto Conference.

Willson replaces district Superintendent Todd Carlson, who returned to coaching in 2015 while the school looked for a more long-term candidate.

Carlson said he enjoyed his time working the sidelines.


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.


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