Sports

Tue
20
Aug

Larsen going to Winona State

McKenna Larsen has one less thing to worry about as she begins her final year at Oconto Falls High School.

The OFHS senior has verbally committed to Winona State University, a Division II school in Winona, Minn., where she will play volleyball and softball.

“It’s a big relief,” Larsen said. “Going into senior year, it’s the last time to play with friends. I kind of wanted to, not get it out of the way, but it’s nice to have it off my shoulders.”

Larsen had scholarship offers from many schools, including Division I schools.

But the mix of academics and the ability to play two sports made Winona State a perfect option, she said.

“They’re giving me the opportunity to play both sports,” Larsen said. “I really took advantage of that. I really didn’t want to decide (on one sport), because I didn’t want to regret it. Now I get to go to a place and try both.”

Tue
20
Aug

Panthers golfers look for hot start

The Oconto Falls High School girls golf team will play three matches this week and three more next week.

After the Panthers played on a perfect day Friday for the Oconto Falls Scramble, temperatures are set to climb for the team’s marathon start to the golf season.

“It’s supposed to be in the 90s,” Oconto Falls coach Paul Luebke said. “That’s a whole different ball of wax. (The players) are going to have to go up against the elements. Mother Nature isn’t smiling on them.”

The start will be a key building block for a Panthers team that has a lot of young players and only one senior.

“We have a couple girls that came out from other sports or who didn’t do anything,” Luebke said. “They’re coming along. And I have seven freshmen. We have a good freshman group that came in. They just have to get used to golfing a lot. They have to get used to being out there with people from other schools.”

Tue
13
Aug

Gillett football aiming for rebound season

The Gillett Secondary School football team took a big hit last year.

After going 1-7, there generally are not many bright spots going into the following season. However, with 15 returning starters back, the majority of those who were underclassmen in 2012, Tigers coach Rick Kamps is optimistic his team will rebound nicely this season.

“We’ve got a nice nucleus of juniors and sophomores that were sophomores and freshmen last year, so that’s one positive that came out of it,” Kamps said. “I don’t like to do this, I never have played freshmen on the varsity because there’s a physicality between a freshman and a senior – you’re taking a boy vs. a young man. However, the one thing we found out last year is that times are changing. Some of those freshmen that are coming in, they can play.

Tue
13
Aug

Demo derby returns for second lap

A sell-out crowd of 1,200 watched the first-ever demolition derby at last year’s Oconto County Fair, and organizers are hoping for another crowd pleaser this year.

The track area was enlarged in 2012, providing room for the demolition derby for the first time in fair history.

“People go to races to see action, and they like to see cars crash,” said race organizer Dennis Piepkorn. “In a demolition race, that’s exactly what it is.”

Piepkorn, of Suring, has been involved with racing for 30 years, but it’s his first year organizing the fair derby. His No. 1 goal is to make the experience fun for the audience.

“I want to be there for the fans. I do it because I love it,” he said.

The Oconto County Fair derby is part of a points championship event, along with derbies at Gillett’s Fourth of July celebration and Suring’s Labor Day celebration.

Tue
13
Aug

Countywide dive team proposed

A countywide dive team may debut as early as 2014, at the request of the town of Brazeau, which is looking for support of the emergency team it solely operates now.

The Law Enforcement/Judiciary Committee on Aug. 7 considered contracting with the dive team for service or taking ownership. It invited Brazeau leaders to put together a proposal for a countywide team.

The town allocates $5,000 to run the dive team, which averages three emergency calls a year. Dive team members are volunteers.

Brazeau Town Chairman Ryan Wendt said it is difficult for the town to justify the cost, when all of Oconto County benefits.

“Right now, we’re basically a countywide service. If somebody calls … we’re coming,” Wendt said.

The nearest dive teams outside of Oconto County are Marinette and Brown counties. A county-based team would supply better equipment storage space and have the potential to add more members.

Thu
08
Aug

Meeting signals the start of fall sports season

Student athletes and their parents gathered Monday in the Oconto Falls High School Performing Arts Center to hear the latest on the fall sports season.

The meeting, which is a new part of the process for Panthers athletes, covered several topics, including eligibility requirements, academic standards, health reporting and Panther Pride fundraising efforts.

Jerry Moynihan, entering his third year as Oconto Falls athletic director, felt it was time to introduce more interaction between coaches, parents and staff.

“It’s just a start of some of the changes that I think will help our communication for the whole department,” Moynihan said. “It’s important to get everyone on the same page. Sometimes there’s misinformation. It’s best sometimes to hear it straight up, this is what we expect.”

One area that Moynihan addressed was student athletes with F grades and their eligibility.

Thu
08
Aug

Oconto Falls sends 3 to all-star games

Jacob Mogged will play in the state American Legion all-star game, and teammates Colton Giese and Hunter Magnin will play in the Fox Valley American Legion all-star game.

The Wisconsin American Legion Baseball All-Star Game will be held Aug. 18 at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Mogged, Oconto Falls’ second baseman, will be one of 27 players on the South team and 55 players overall selected to play in the game.

“You know Jacob, he’s coming back from playing college baseball,” Oconto Falls coach Chris Hillberg said. “He offers up a lot of leadership. He’s got a solid approach to the game.”

Mogged led the team in hitting and was eighth overall in Fox River Valley American Legion play with a .400 batting average.

“He’s been our No. 3 hitter the last two seasons,” Hillberg said. “He’s just very solid defensively. … Just does a real nice job on the baseball field.”

Wed
31
Jul

Oconto Falls Legion comes up short

The Oconto Falls American Legion baseball team came up one game short of making the Class AA state tournament, losing a regional semifinal 3-2 at Sturgeon Bay on Monday.

Because Kewaunee County, which is hosting the state tournament and has an automatic bid, made the regional final, the semifinal winner was guaranteed a spot in the state tournament.

Sturgeon Bay’s Lucas Stephenson ended Oconto Falls’ hopes, scoring the game-winning run on an Oconto Falls error in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie.

John Thompson brought home Colton Giese on an RBI single in the top of the third inning for Oconto Falls to start the scoring. Sturgeon Bay answered with a RBI single from David Vandreese in the bottom half of the inning.

Oconto Falls scored another run on Tyler Magnin’s single in the fifth inning.

Sturgeon Bay once again had an answer, scoring Jason Lindemann on an RBI single by Casey Giesseman in the sixth.

Wed
31
Jul

Partners in speed

A new race car business has roared to life out of Kozak’s CARQUEST in Oconto Falls, and owner Jim Kozak said he is ready to expand the business.

“It’s the challenge of trying to make it grow,” Kozak said. “It’s fun to start a business.”

Kozak started his first automotive business in 1985 with Kozak’s NAPA Auto Supply on Main Street in Oconto Falls. The business was then sold in 1998 to corporate CARQUEST, which owned it until 2009 when Kozak bought the business back and moved to the current location on East Highland Drive.

In addition to selling auto supplies, Kozak said the shop developed into a dealership for racing parts as his son Derek found an interest in racing at an early age.

“He started racing go -carts when he was 8,” Kozak said. “He won three national championships. We were competing against the top guys in the nation, and it was fast.”

Wed
24
Jul

AIM Pro Walleye fishing tourney returns to Oconto

Pro angler Gary Parsons and Chris Hansen earned the $20,000 payout at last week’s AIM Pro Walleye Series tournament in Oconto.

The boat caught a total weight of 137.13 pounds over the three-day tournament. The first-day catch of 55.31 pounds put Parsons and Hansen in the lead, but a 31.82-pound catch on Day 2 left the duo needing a big day Saturday. Saturday’s catch of 50 pounds was enough to clinch the top prize.

John Schneider and Nicholas Schertz took second place with a total weight of 134.85 pounds. Third place went to Tom Gatzke and Chad Schilling, who had a total weight 132.49 pounds. The second place payout was $8,500 and third place took home $6,300.

Other anglers in the top 25 received lesser payouts from the $120,000 total purse.

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