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After tying in its first game of the season and losing in the second, the University of Wisconsin-Superior women's soccer team earned its first win Thursday evening at the Superior High School soccer fields. But despite the Yellowjackets' 6-0 win over Finlandia, everything didn't go exactly as planned. UWS took the field at the scheduled time to warm up, but when the 2 p.m. gametime arrived, the Yellowjackets' opponents were still nowhere in sight. "They thought it was a 3 p.m. game for some reason," UWS coach Chris Perez said.
Kaitlyn Nielson passed the ball to a teammate with ease in the Superior High School gym during the volleyball team's practice Monday. A few plays later, the senior libero aimed a solid hit from the back row into a gap to end the volley. Nielson has been playing volleyball since sixth grade, and she has found her niche in the back row. As with all athletes, Nielson had made adjustments throughout her career to improve.
In the 2006 season, the Northwestern High School volleyball team had the advantage of being underestimated by many of its opponents. But the Tigers will have no such advantage this year. "I think we have a big target on our back," said Charlie Hessel, NHS head volleyball coach. That big target is likely due to the fact the Tigers finished the regular season with a 23-4 record, advanced to the section semifinals in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) tournament and were the Heart O' North Conference champions.
Ashlee Olson and Sara Strand, this year's Superior High School volleyball team captains, had very different opinions Monday evening. "I'm excited," Olson said. "I'm scared," Strand said, with a nervous laugh. The differences continued, with Olson saying: "I love heights," and Strand quickly taking the other side by saying she hated heights. The two were discussing the SHS volleyball team's then upcoming excursion on the ropes course at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The trip, which took place Tuesday, was a team-building exercise for the Spartans.
With only weeks left before the start of the school year, the disarray at Northwestern High School is not a welcome sight. Mounds of dirt are piled where parking lots once were, and old culverts lie twisted and crumpled on the ground. Yet behind all of the dust, trucks and backhoes is a stretch of green grass: the Tigers' football field. The field itself is in fair condition, but with construction workers moving rapidly to complete their tasks, it isn't a safe place to practice.
The Northwood-Solon Springs football team has struggled in recent years, but this season optimism is high with the feeling that the team has finally taken a turn for the better. A total of 36 players turned out for this year's team, which, according to assistant coach Jason Schulz, is the highest that number has been in the past three to four years. "The junior high program has helped over the years," Schulz said. "They like football now; it's not foreign to them." Indeed, many of the players going out for this year's squad were in the junior high program not too long ago.
It is becoming a common story in high school baseball: a promising young pitcher seems headed for a successful career when he instead injures his arm and finds himself sitting on the sidelines. With the pressures to play through pain and not let the team down, many pitchers don't stop until an injury has progressed from something treatable to a severe condition that may plague them for the rest of their lives. Some are able to continue playing baseball, but others are not so lucky.
The Northwestern High School girls golf team is almost exactly the same as last year, only with a little more experience. "They believe more in themselves," NHS coach Stacy Burfield said. "Last year, I think a lot of them didn't come in with high expectations.
Growing up in Kaukauna, Wis., Robert Mrotek watched his two older brothers take part in martial arts. After a short time he, naturally, wanted to start too. At age five he told his parents he wanted to begin taking martial arts lessons, but they said no -- he was too small. Ironically, it was Mrotek's slight frame that eventually convinced his parents to let him begin taking karate lessons. Describing himself as a "little, tiny dweeb with asthma," Mrotek said he became a human punching bag during his early days in school.
Bobby Unser, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and winner of 35 career Indy races, was in Superior to spend time with a friend and to have AMSOIL work on his motor home Tuesday afternoon. "Oh, I like this part of the world," 73-year-old Unser said. "It's really nice." "But I'm not going to kid you," Unser continued, "the only time I've ever come up here has been for that guy right there." Unser pointed a finger at a smiling Al Amatuzio, the founder of AMSOIL, standing nearby.