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Wrapping up another year, and the Prep Spotlight

Stratford comes within one game of equaling Manitowoc's state record 48-game winning streak in football, but LaCrescent's (Minn.) Eriah Hayes beats the Tigers with a last second field goal. Stratford rebounds from that loss, however, to win its f...

Stratford comes within one game of equaling Manitowoc's state record 48-game winning streak in football, but LaCrescent's (Minn.) Eriah Hayes beats the Tigers with a last second field goal. Stratford rebounds from that loss, however, to win its fourth straight WIAA state championship.

  • Brandi Dolgner becomes the fifth sister in her family to star in volleyball at Waupun. The Warriors, however, are denied a sixth straight Division 2 state title, losing to Catholic Memorial in the semifinals.
  • Despite the return of the state's best player, running back Johnny Clay, defending Division 1 state football champion Racine Park fails to make the playoffs. Clay later signs to play at Wisconsin.
  • Menominee, Mich. beats Marinette 39-7 in the 100th Anniversary of the M&M football game.
  • Arcadia's Max Ferguson completes 24-of-29 passes for 433 yards and five TDs in a 39-13 win over Westby.
  • Osceola sophomore Lindsay Danielson edges Hayward junior Kelsie Passolt for the top spot in the WIAA Division 2 state golf meet.
  • Mellen wins its first-ever Indianhead Conference volleyball title, tying Washburn for the top spot.
  • Just months after a life-threatening car accident, Northwestern's Rita Ronchi defies all odds by returning to cheer on her volleyball teammates and to be elected Homecoming Queen.
  • Green Bay East beats Green Bay Preble 59-48 in the wildest football game of the season. Josh Robbins and Matt Gajewski combine to rush for 563 yards and seven touchdowns to lead East's offense.
  • The Ladysmith Lumberjacks' football fortunes turn 180 degrees as they enter the WIAA playoffs with a 9-0 record. Two years earlier they had finished the regular season 0-9.
  • Despite being unranked during the regular season, the Stanley-Boyd girls' volleyball team pulls the upset of the year as they claim the WIAA Division 3 state title.
  • The state loses a great young teacher and coach when 36-year-old David MacArthur dies while deer hunting. One of his students at Colby High School says it best, writing on a tribute board, "Coach Mac had the heart of a champion."
  • Homestead rolls to the Division 1 football title by outscoring five opponents, 191-14.
  • Sam Pearson's 32 points help Mellen hold off Bayfield in a crazy early-season game in which five Bayfield players foul out, leaving just two on the court at the final buzzer.
  • Despite 31 points from Racine St. Catherine's James Haarsma, Milwaukee Bay View beats St. Cats to snap the Angels' 49-game winning streak.
  • Gabi Hungerford of Wild Rose pulls off a quadruple-double in a win over Tri-County, totaling 34 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, and 10 steals.
  • Despite the fact that he threw an amazing 11 no-hitters in high school at Chetek, despite the fact that he coached baseball at Chetek for more than 30 years, and despite the fact that he was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003, the Chetek School Board can't come up with enough "yes" votes to name the school baseball field in his honor.
  • Concordia Prep, a controversial prep school in Ladysmith, closes its doors after being open for less than a year.
  • A brawl after the Bradley Tech-Bay View basketball game causes the Milwaukee Public Schools to temporarily ban their fans from future games.
  • The WIAA considers adding a fifth division in basketball.
  • The state's winningest basketball coach, Jerry Petitgoue of Cuba City, gets his 700th career win.
  • Hayward's Jim Thompson signs to play football at Minnesota while classmate Josh Turnbull signs to play hockey at Wisconsin.
  • Fond du Lac knocks off second-ranked Stevens Point, top-ranked Eau Claire Memorial, and perennial power Superior to capture the WIAA state hockey title.
  • Milwaukee Vincent, whose longtime coach, Chris Griffin, died unexpectedly during the previous season, wins the Division 1 girls state basketball title.
  • Despite being seeded only third in their regional, the Flambeau girls roll to a second straight D-4 state title, and despite stalling tactics by both Milwaukee King and Milwaukee Vincent, Oshkosh repeats as the Division 1 boys' basketball champion.
  • Six-foot-11 freshman Evan Anderson of Stanley-Boyd announces he will transfer to Eau Claire North next year.
  • Three state track and field athletes die during practice.
  • Readers of this column select Ernie Nevers, Jim Leonhard, Bud Grant and David Greenwood as the best male athletes ever from northwestern Wisconsin and Martha Richards, Amanda Leonhard, Aubrey Meierotto, and Jolene Anderson as the best-ever females.

Whew! That's quite a lot, wouldn't you say? It's hard to believe so much can happen in just a few months. As always, with the school year coming to a close it's time for me to give this column a rest, only this time it'll be for a bit longer than just the summer.
A year ago, following my retirement after 34 years at Spooner Middle School, I was given the opportunity to begin leading school tours of the historic east coast; places like Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, Gettysburg, New York, and Boston. The half-dozen tours I've led so far have been very enjoyable, but it's been a struggle to meet newspaper deadlines while being a thousand miles away.

Also, I was asked to serve as the Wisconsin representative for My Wonderful World, a National Geographic-led campaign to boost Geographic Literacy. Those two activities have allowed me to continue teaching, but in a slightly different way. In addition, I was just given the opportunity to begin coaching again. I've accepted the position as the girls' varsity basketball coach at Shell Lake, a Division 4 school just down the road.

I've decided that for now, those activities deserve my full attention, so I will not be continuing this weekly column in the fall.

That said, I want to thank the newspapers that have allowed me to be a voice for high school athletics and I especially want to thank all of you who have read and responded to what I've written. I have met more great people and have seen more great high school athletes in the past five years than I can count. Best wishes to all of you.

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Carlo Kumpula is a longtime Spooner teacher, coach, official and fan who writes the Wisconsin Prep Spotlight, a weekly column about high school athletics. Comments and requests can be made to: ckumpula@charter.net

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