HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEWS
After the move of fall sports to spring last season, things are back on track as practice began today for swimming and tennis, one day after golf got underway.
Here’s a look at what to expect in each sport.
The North/South co-op team finished third out of four teams in the alternative fall state tournament held in mid-May.
The weather was better by then, but senior Ava Wittstock said most of the season was pretty awful. One meet, it was snowing and raining, and she had three long sleeves on to go with a vest, a jacket, and leggings under her pants.
“Yeah, it was pretty bad,” she said.
Wittstock finished tied for 11th place at state along with then-senior teammates Zjeneexa Vang and Taylor Peper.
Junior Hannah Miller came in 20th and returns, but Kayla Hendrikse (25th) also has to be replaced.
“Losing them is going to be hard because we went to state two years with them,” Wittstock said. “It’ll definitely be an adjustment, but I think we’ll do good. It’ll be good to have new girls on the team and be able to push each other to get right back up there. I think of it as a big opportunity because having an alternate season, it was really weird. We had never played before in spring and everything was different.”
As a result, Wittstock says she will never complain about how hot it gets while golfing.
“No, I honestly don’t think I will ever do that,” she said. “It’s so much more fun. At times, it wasn’t even enjoyable to be out there (last season) when you can’t even control how you’re hitting because your hands are frozen. You’re trying to have a good outlook on it but nothing is going your way. It’s so much more enjoyable to play in fall than it is when it’s completely gross out.”
Chicago native Madeline Makhlouf was hired as new coach – and social studies teacher – but first moved to Sheboygan last week after wrapping up school work at Marquette University.
“It’s kept me busy,” she said. “I’m excited to meet the girls and I’m excited for the season to start to get on the tennis courts.”
This will be Makhlouf’s first varsity job, but she played high school tennis for three seasons in Illinois and has coached a variety of youth at different levels.
“Hopefully that will be useful,” Makhlouf said.
Just as long as she does not have to endure anything else new in her life anytime soon.
“I think that’s enough, thankfully,” Makhlouf said.
Seven seniors are on the roster, including four who competed in the Alternative Fall State Championship in April.
“It’s kind of like the last hurrah for this team that’s been together,” coach Sam Hopp said.
Senior twins Cordelia and Louisa Damkot are back.
Cordelia won a sectional title at No. 2 singles, and Louisa (No. 1 singles) advanced to state for the second straight time.
The No. 1 doubles team of seniors Estelle Leonhard and Emily Fisher also made it to the tournament as special qualifiers.
Since there is so much continuity, Hopp says he expects good results. But he admits the conference is a lot tougher and will be led by Ashwaubenon, which has been to state the last two seasons.
“It’s basically a slug fest,” he said.
The Golden Eagles are not as experienced and deep as the team that set three school records and missed a fourth by less then 1 second in the Alternative Fall State Championship in April.
“I’ll admit, I lost a good senior crew,” coach Chad Prisinger said. “But that’s how swimming goes. You lose some and you get some.”
Junior Julia Renzelmann was seeded 10th in the 200-yard freestyle at state but took fifth thanks to her new record time of 1 minute 56.24 seconds.
She was also on the eighth-place 200 free relay with junior Libby Cleveland that set a record with a 1:40.09.
Those two, as well as junior Katie Spence, placed 12th in the 200 medley relay in an almost-record time 1:40.09. Kierra Perez also set a record in the 500 free but she is now at St. Louis University. Gigi Gotzmer has to be replaced as well.
“I’m looking forward to a real season again,” Prisinger said. “It’ll be fun to have relay meets again and invites again, and just a true season.”
Most of the team is back, highlighted by the return of senior Jessica Hittman. She’ll be joined by Sidney Straley and Jennifer Hittman in welcoming several freshmen to the squad.
“We are still a young, growing team, but our roster is more full this season than last,” coach Lillian Stenz said. “We are excited to grow together this season and in the future.”