Panthers ready to turn program around

Oconto Falls High School sophomore Mitch Manns attempts to drive past Bonduel defenders during a scrimmage at Green Bay West High School on Monday. Manns is a returning letter-winner who will be looked at to help turn the Panthers into a winning team. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

The Oconto Falls boys basketball team has averaged 2½ wins per season the last seven seasons.

In the three seasons Mason Sefcik – the team’s lone senior this year – has been in the program, the varsity squad has won 10 games.

Sixth-year coach Kirk Hirst is sick of losing, and his players are, too.

“The ultimate goal, we want to turn the program around now,” Panthers junior Dakota Carriveau said. “It’s hard being that group that has to turn the program over, but someone’s got to do it and I think we can do it. We’ve got guys with a lot of talent and we’ve got guys with a lot of heart.”

Oconto Falls brings back three starters from a season ago and three other role players. The team is still young, but there’s some experience on the roster.


Suring School Board ponders 8-man football option

The Suring School Board needs to make a decision whether to continue the high school’s 11-man football team or switch to 8-man football starting with the 2019 season.

The Eagles posted a 4-5 record this fall, including a 3-4 league record in the MONLPC Small Division, a consolidation for gridiron purposes of the M&O, Northern Lakes and Packerland conferences.

Several members of those leagues with smaller enrollments have made the switch to 8-man football, including Gillett (5-4, 5-3) and the combined Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy team (3-6, 3-5).

Superintendent Kelly Casper told the board at its Nov. 8 meeting that the decision will be a two-year commitment. The conference has set a deadline for January 2018.

The WIAA has also made comments of putting football teams into districts, which would make a change to everything that has been discussed and done in the past, Casper said.


DNR to monitor walleye movement in and around Green Bay waters

External orange loop tag indicating fish has an internal transmitter that can be returned for $100 reward. (DNR photo)

Staff from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System have initiated large-scale telemetry studies to determine walleye and lake whitefish movement in and around Green Bay.

Researchers will implant transmitters into 300 walleye and 400 lake whitefish this fall. These transmitters are black cylinders that are surgically implanted into the fish and periodically send out a coded signal that is detected by acoustic receivers.

This research will provide important information regarding seasonal movements of these fish and help determine which spawning locations contribute to fisheries that target these two species.


High school girls basketball previews


Girls Basketball

Coach: Justin Daul

Last season: 14-10, 12-6 Marinette & Oconto Conference

Key players lost: Erin Balthazor, Victoria Loberger

Returning starters: Willow Pecha, Faith Sorlie, Taylor Yonker

Coach’s comment: “Our challenge is to manage our expectations, as we return a team that will make a run at the conference championship. Taking it game-by-game and getting better for the long haul and exceeding our expectations from years past! I look for the youth with two sophomores and two freshman to mix well with five seniors and a junior. I look for our team chemistry and leadership to be the best it has since I’ve been here!”


Girls Basketball

Coach: Shaun Wagner

Last season: 12-14, 7-10 Marinette & Oconto Conference


Girls basketball: Panthers look to step it up this season

Oconto Falls High School’s Sami Shallow looks to pass during a scrimmage against Laona/Wabeno on Monday at Oconto Falls. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

It may have been a rough 2016-17 season for the Oconto Falls girls basketball team, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Panthers return 10 players from last year, many of them earning significant playing time. Those 10 girls will be relied on to log quite a bit of minutes this season.

“Optimistic to get better, but we’re still young,” Oconto Falls coach Mike Kaczmarek said. “All the girls are going to get plenty of playing time.”

Oconto Falls has just two seniors — Kennedy Kratz and Olivia Steffens — but they bring back experience and leadership. The two combined for 8.4 points per game. They will be looked upon for much more than their in-game play.

“The major thing is just stepping up and practicing as hard as I can to just set a great example,” Kratz said. “Talking as much as we can to bring the team together, I think that’s our most important job this year on and off the court.”


Gillett grad continues running at UW-Stevens Point

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point cross-country and track and field runner Max Zeitler, left, graduated from Gillett in 2015. (Photo by Kylie Bridenhagen)

After two solid seasons on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point cross-country team, Max Zeitler was expected to come in this year and be one of the team’s top performers.

However, his times weren’t as good as last season, and he didn’t qualify for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship meet.

“I didn’t train as much as I should have over the summer and all that,” Zeitler said.

Zeitler, who graduated from Gillett in 2015, got a job over the summer, and it didn’t give him time to work out and prepare for the fall sport.

Zeitler’s coach, Brett Witt, was hoping he would be one of the top upperclassmen on a young squad. He was a little disappointed Zeitler wasn’t one of his top runners.


Oconto Falls grad fulfills dream of running in college

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point cross-country and track and field runner Bailey Wolf was a 2016 graduate of Oconto Falls High School. She qualified for the WIAA Division 2 state meet with the Panthers all four years, and continues her success at UW-Stevens Point.

Bailey Wolf was always a confident runner while at Oconto Falls.

She made four trips to the WIAA Division 2 cross-country state meet, but when she got to the collegiate level, Wolf had to really step up her running.

Wolf, who graduated from Oconto Falls in 2016, had a great freshman season on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point squad and placed 39th in the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional.

Wolf was the Pointers’ No. 2 runner most of her first season. The shift from high school to college running happened very smoothly.


Sylvia Hansen finishes third at state meet

Gillett High School freshman Sylvia Hansen finished third with a time of 19 minutes, 35.21 seconds at the WIAA State Championships Division 3 race on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. (Photo by ATF Media)

One just finished her first year competing on varsity cross-country with a third-place finish in the state tournament. The other finished her high school career finishing 33rd on the same course.

At the end of the day, Sylvia Hansen and Lauren Herzog of Gillett High School both had days they will never forget at the 2017 WIAA State Championships on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

Hansen, a freshman, finished the challenging Ridges Golf Course with a time of 19 minutes, 35.21 seconds, good for third place in a field of 151 runners. In her first year, Hansen became the first Gillett cross-country runner to take the podium.

“I am really surprised about how well I did,” Hansen said with a smile afterwards. “I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did and I am really happy. My coach told me to treat it like any other race and just be there in the moment.”


Oconto Falls runner competes at state

Oconto Falls High School junior Brody Schindel placed 109th with a time of 18 minutes, 17.01 seconds in the WIAA State Championships Division 2 race on Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids. (Photo by Lon Ludemann)

Brody Schindel represented Oconto Falls cross-country at the WIAA State Championships with a 109th-place finish in 18 minutes, 17.01 seconds on Saturday.

“It wasn’t my best race of the season,” he said. “We don’t get to choose the weather. We never really ran in that cold of weather before. Considering what we had to run in, I thought I did all right.”

Kavanaugh FitzPatrick (15:52.88), from Lakeland, took first place in the race out of 152 runners in Division 2.

Schindel isn’t new to the challenging Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The junior returned to the race as an individual qualifier in Division 2 after advancing with his team last year.

“I knew the course a lot better because of that,” Schindel said, “but running alone was more difficult because there was nobody I could run with. The experience was still great though, even though I didn’t run as I’d hoped. I liked being able to represent my team.”


NEC, M&O announce all-conference honorees

Here’s a look at the 2017 fall sports all-conference selections announced so far.


North Eastern Conference

Oconto Falls High School

Senior defensive lineman Dan Ausloos clinched a spot on the second-team defense.

Junior punter Keeshawn Katers received honorable mention.


Gillett High School

Sophomore running back Bo Krueger and sophomore offensive lineman Logan Block were selected to the second team on offense.

Senior defensive back Sam Davis and senior linebacker Willy Reynolds clinched spots on the second-team defense.

Honorable mentions include senior running back Nick Hertwig, junior defensive lineman Adam Anderson and junior defensive lineman Tyler Lockstein.



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