Girls swimming: Versatility brings excitement to Vikings swim team

Returning letterwinners for the Stoughton High School girls swimming team (front, from left) are: Sophie Pitney, Averie Ness, Raleigh Schigur, Annie Hudkins and Shaylee Kooima; (back) Allie Niemeyer, Eva Anderson, Greta Welsch, Olivia Lenz, Savanna Smith and Alex Asleson. [Photo by Jeremy Jones]

Stoughton girls swimming lost two major contributors in Katherine Rude and Mari Grady and two-year letterwinner Victoria Griffin.

Vikings head coach Elise McLaury is confident this year’s team, however, has the talent to fill those gaps quickly.

In addition, the team welcomes the return of sprint standout Greta Welsch, who was a two-time state qualifier before opting for club swimming last season.

That should make the team’s sprint events that much stronger with Eva Anderson and Sophie Pitney healthy after essentially missing the last part of the season. 


Girls tennis: Stoughton looks to serve some upsets

Returning letterwinners for the Stoughton High School girls varsity tennis team (front, from left) are: Anna Nelson and Ting Thompson; (back) Kendra Halverson, Payton Kahl, Sarah Benoy and Kaitlyn Hedman. [Photo by Jeremy Jones]

Last year, freshmen Sarah Benoy and Payton Kahl became the first Stoughton girls doubles team to reach the WIAA Division 1 individual state tennis tournament since 2002.

Despite their success a year ago Benoy and Kahl won’t be playing together to start the season. 

Benoy, who head coach Ryan Reischel said spent the offseason working on developing a harder spot and more top spin, will make the move to No. 1 singles.

Kahl will remain at No. 1 doubles with fellow sophomore Kendra Halverson, who was the Vikings’ lone returning singles player at No. 4 singles.

Gone from last year’s lineup are No. 1 singles player Marissa Despins, No. 2 singles player Molly Staatz, and No. 3 singles player Natalie Clerkin. 


HTL: Utica looks for first title since 1991

Max Gartzke (24) celebrates driving in Utica’s game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday with teammates Dane Schultz, Bryan Wilberg (7), Mike Lund (5) and Andrew Zacharias (14). The A’s trailed 7-0 entering the bottom of the eighth inning but came back to win 8-7 in the 10th. Utica’s victory advanced the A’s back to the Final Four for the first time since 2008. [Photos by Jeremy Jones]

Max Gartzke didn’t reach base until the ninth inning, but the Utica left fielder made both his basehits count Sunday as he scored a run and knocked in the go-ahead run for the host A’s in the Southeast Section champion game.

Gartzke’s RBI single over shortstop in the bottom of the 10th inning highlighted a 8-7 comeback against Albion – a game which saw Utica trailing 7-0 through seven-and-a-half innings.

“I was looking to stay alive because I was down 1-2 in the count,” Gartzke said of his walk-off single against relivever Mike Nanstad. “It was a hanging curveball right at my eyes.”


Girls golf: Vikings still expect to be strong

The Stoughton High School varsity girls golf players (from left) are: Kelsey Taebel, Tayler Wise, Emma Crowley, Ashli Stolen and Kailey Taebel. [Photo by Dave Taebel]

adger South Conference title last season, the Stoughton High School girls golf team came five strokes shy of a state berth.

But this season will offer new challenges as three-time state qualifier and top-5 finisher Becky Klongland begins a new chapter with the University of Wisconsin-Madison women’s golf team.

But that doesn’t mean the Vikings aren’t ready to compete with Edgewood and teams in its sectional this year.

Stoughton still returns four of its five varsity starters from the playoffs, including seniors Ashli Stolen, Tayler Wise and Kailey Taebel. Sophomore Kelsey Taebel, who made the starting five in the final weeks of the season in 2013, is also back.


A beautiful day for a race

More than 160 people participated in the second annual Viking Booster Trek on Aug. 2.

The Stoughton Sports Booster held a community 5K fun run/walk, and more than 30 volunteers helped make the event possible. 

All proceeds of the event went to the Viking athletic programs of Stoughton High School.

The first five finishers were Ben Knapp, Pat Schneider, John McCune, Matt Meinke and Ryan Sperle. Jill Guenther was the first female finisher.

[Photos by Bob Christofferson]


HTL: Utica a game away from Final Four behind Bates grand slam

Kyle Bates hit a grand slam to propel the Utica Association to a 9-5 win over the Fort Atkinson Generals Sunday at Jones Park. Bates pitched seven innings and picked up the win Sunday. He struck out three and walked two, lifting Utica to the Southeast Section championship game. [Photos by Josh Smith/Jefferson Daily Union]

Kyle Bates powered the Utica Association to a 9-5 Southeast Section win over host Fort Atkinson.

Bates helped Utica jump out to a 9-0 lead with a fifth inning grand slam. He also tossed seven innings on the mound, striking out three.

The victory helped Utica avenge a 3-2 loss to the Generals at home in which two ill-advised throws cost the A’s a Southeast Section victory.

Albion’s 10-4 victory over top-seeded Stoughton earned the Tigers a showdown with the A’s at 1 p.m. Sunday. The winner advances to the Home Talent League Final Four. Utica advanced to the Sectional Final via a 9-5 victory at Fort Atkinson. 

In two games head-to-head during the regular season, both games went down to the wire. Utica handed Albion two losses during the regular season.  


HTL: Questionable call seals Merchants’ fate

Eric Gerber walks off the field Sunday after flying out to center field for the final out in a 10-4 loss as Albion celebrates in the background. [Photo by Jeremy Jones]

Working ahead in the count, playing solid defense and scoring timely runs was a blueprint that helped the Stoughton Merchants to a 14-2 regular season record and a top seed.

Playing on the edge in several games throughout the season, including a 6-5 win over Albion the last time the team met, Stoughton finally got cut on Sunday.

The top-seed and host throughout the Southeast Section playoffs, the Merchants fell, 10-4, following a decisive call in the seventh inning.

Trailing 4-3 entering the top of the seventh inning, Stoughton saw Aaron Lasowski and Adam Gregory single with one out and Josh Eastman hit by a pitch to the load the bases.


Wrestling: Kraus earns USA Wrestling All-American honors

Stoughton High School junior Collin Kraus earned All-American honors at the USA Wrestling Cadet Freestyle National Tournament held in Fargo, N.D.  

Earning his third career All-American honor, Kraus battled through a 90-man bracket to earn eighth place. 

Also competing at the event Zach Hasselberger, who finished with a 4-2 record in Junior Freestyle, and sophomore Garrett Model, who finished with a 3-2 record in Cadet Greco-Roman. 

[File photo by Anthony Iozzo]


HTL: Merchants lock up home-field advantage with win over A’s at Utica Fest

Rory Menzer celebrates scoring one of eight runs the Stoughton Merchants scored in an 8-2 win over the Utica A’s on Aug. 2. [Photo by Jeremy Jones]

Stoughton ace Jeremy Dunnihoo went the distance while Dave Hanson, Rory Menzer and TJ DiPrizio each drove in a pair of runs Saturday as the Merchants locked up home field advantage throughout the Southeast Section playoffs.

Dunnihoo, one of only a handful of players new to the Merchants rivalry with Utica (growing up in the Fox Cities), allowed nine hits and walked six, but only allowed one earned run en route to the 8-2 victory.

“I’ve kind of learned about the rivalry the past two years,” said Dunnihoo, who made his pitching debut in Utica on Saturday. 


Photo Gallery: 10U squad against Monroe

Tyler Conklin leads off from third base last Saturday against Monroe.

The U10 Stoughton squad participated in the Oregon Youth Baseball tournament last weekend along with the U11 team. The U11 team made the semifinals of the tournament.