Spotlight is on seniors whose spring seasons have been taken away
Zachary Trescher admits he was not a very good golfer as a freshman at South.
He golfed just a few times before he entered high school but started to improve each season by hitting the course and practicing more.
As a junior, Trescher says he was named most improved golfer on the squad.
“He’s gotten better,” coach Sim Safford said. “He never really gave up.”
But Trescher says it is disappointing to have to miss his final golf season because now he feels he is actually pretty good.
“I wanted to see how far I could get, but I don’t get to now,” he said. “That’s sad.”
Teammate Josh Govek also made his varsity debut last season and the basketball standout is called a natural athlete by Safford.
“He’s a pretty good golfer … and I was looking forward to him this year because he’s not playing AAU basketball,” the coach said. “Last year, he’d play in a couple of meets. … Basketball was always first but senior year he doesn’t have AAU.
“He was going to dedicate everything for the meets and then we get this Corona stuff.”
There were two other seniors on the team, including four-year performer Noah Miesfeld, also “quite an athlete,” according to Safford, because of his soccer skills.
Connor Thun is a senior as well.
“We wouldn’t be the best team in the conference, but I know this probably would’ve been my best year in a long time,” Safford said.
Of the 13 seniors in the program, three had varsity experience from a year ago and each has a story to tell.
There’s Steven Yang, who was the only male on North’s dance team.
“He wasn’t out there as a novelty thing, he was very good,” coach Mike Vorpahl said.
“Steven is a guy who didn’t let other people persuade him from dancing, and when he was on the tennis court, he didn’t let things get in the way when he was playing against people,” Vorpahl said. “He was always very mentally tough.”
The coach’s nephew, Evan Vorpahl, is known for his music and he will attend Lakeland to pursue a career in that field.
“Already he’s been recognized at the state level for singing and at the national level,” his coach said.
Chalee Xiong competed at No. 1 singles, which meant having to face the top player from every other team in a talent-loaded Fox River Classic Conference.
“More than 10 were in the state tennis tournament, and he just took it as a challenge,” Vorpahl said. “Even though he may not have won a lot of those matches, he went out there with the same mindset of competing. He was a real competitor on the court.”
Xiong was also a captain and was called the hardest worker in practice by his coach.
“Loved and respected by his teammates,” he said.
Not a lot of athletes from the area were able to compete at state last spring.
Senior Madeline Green was one of them, but she will not get the chance to see if she could improve on her 17th-place showing in the pole vault.
“It’s definitely kind of difficult because it is my senior year,” she said. “I was looking forward to all the things track had to offer. It makes me very grateful I had the opportunity to go to state as a junior and have that experience.”
Green and senior teammate Nadia Versey had been attending Get Vertical Pole Vault in Milwaukee, a club devoted to teaching and improving athletes in the event, for some time.
“Right after last season, I know they both were saying they were ready to get back into it again because they want to get better because of what the outcome was from last year,” North coach Frantz Felix said.
At least Versey gets to pole vault next year at UW-Eau Claire (Green is attending Wisconsin).
“So it’s not the end of the world,” Felix said. “But she would like to see what she would have done in high school with the training that she was getting.”
Another key senior contributor from a group of 10 was Sierra Fish, a distance runner with a lot of heart according to Felix.
“She was the one athlete that gave her all no matter what the outcome would be for her,” he said. “She is always positive with herself and to her teammates.”
Among the senior boys, Cassius Rohadfox also made it to state last year and finished eighth in the shot put.
He says one of his best memories was asking Ryan Kinney to also come to La Crosse and watch him throw.
“That meant the world to me,” Rohadfox said.
Eric Roehrborn recalls secret Flickerball games and the time the team left an assistant coach behind at a meet.
Josh Walter says competing in track the past three years has shaped him to be a better person than he ever imagined prior to joining, and he will definitely miss the ice baths.
Elie Steenwyk was a two-sport athlete in the spring of 2018, but the Christian senior decided to give up soccer last year.
“She’s capable of doing both but didn’t do it her junior year because she wanted to concentrate on track and get much better because we had jumped to Division 2,” Kohler/Christian co-op coach Duane DuMez said. “So she saw the need for competing at a higher level, so she just wanted to concentrate on track.”
It worked, as Steenwyk finished third in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 at the Big East Conference championship meet last season.
Naturally, she was looking forward to improving her standing in her last year in the program.
“She was extremely excited,” DuMez said. “I ran into her during the course of this COVID thing, and she’d just come back from a run. She was hugely disappointed that she couldn’t run track.”
The only other senior from Christian on the track squad is Javier Clearbaut, who started as a sprinter before switching to mid-distance events.
“He as such a competitor, he wanted to try just about anything,” DuMez said. “Jumps or whatever. He ran the gamut and the last two years he joined the distance club.”
The coach says Clearbaut’s goal this year was to perform well at conference.
“I’m sure that his desires for upping the ante were obviously not realized,” DuMez said. “He was kind of disappointed with that.”
Thanks to five seniors on the team compared to only two last season, coach Scott Feltner was excited about the this campaign.
“In high school sports, senior players provide leadership, experience, as well as athletic talent to a program,” he said.
Vanessa Ziegler did not play, either, but was set to return for her third year in the program.
“My favorite memory (of Horen) was her game against De Pere last season where she had 23 clearances,” Feltner said. “She would have been one of my captains this season and maybe even competing for all-conference honors.
My favorite memories (for Urben) are her dominant performance against Pulaski last season and her goal against Manitowoc Lincoln. She has a rocket left foot and certainly would have been competing for conference honors. She would have been my other captain.”
Another highlight for Feltner is when Ari Methfessel scored two goals against Green Bay East last year.