Monthly Archives: May 2017

FOR TOSA WEST TENNIS, THE PRICE IS RIGHT

FOR TOSA WEST TENNIS,
THE PRICE IS RIGHT



Wauwatosa West tennis coach Kosta Zervas doesn't hesitate to sum up how much senior Nick Price has meant to the Trojans program.

"We don't get the players Brookfield gets," Zervas said. "A player like Nick comes around once in a coach's career, maybe twice. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of what he's done with our program. He's put a stamp on our program."

We're more than lucky to have him. He is the best player I ever coached with our boys team. He's been a fantastic addition to our program. He will always be one of the best players I've had the opportunity to coach. That's pretty cool."

Zervas was aware of Price long before he showed up at Tosa West.

"I heard about Nick when I started coaching at Tosa," he said. "I heard of him through the grapevine. There was this boy who plays at Whitman. He's a pretty good player. He plays tournaments. He's got a lot of ability.

"My expectations of Nick for our program was high. I didn't know what kind of player I was going to get, but I had high expectations."

It didn't take Zervas long to realize Price was something special.

"The first day of practice I saw him hit and I knew we had something special in Nick as a player. I was waiting for him to come to the program. We weren't as strong a team as we were now.

"I think our players were waiting for that. We knew we had a bona fide No. 1 player. You see it all the time. You see it all over the state. A lot of freshman come in and they're top dog. It wasn't a big issue for me. I did it for Nicole Meyer, our girls player. So Nick came in his freshman year and just got better as the year went on."

Price didn't disappoint Zervas with his performance, as he earned second-team all-conference honors, finishing with a 6-3 record and a second-place finish in the Woodland Tournaments his freshman season.

"As a freshman I was with all juniors and seniors," Nick recalled. "I'm this small kid with a bunch of older, more experienced guys. But they knew where I was and were very supportive of me from the beginning on.

But as Price improved, the pressure increased the last few years.

"My freshman year no one knows much about you," he said. "But my sophomore and junior years people start to know you and you get more expectations. I felt a little pressure.

"One thing about tennis, during matches you can take a lot of time in between changeovers. Oftentimes I would talk to my parents about staying positive. Talk to my teammates, just trying to keep it loose. You get support emotionally, not strategy-wise."

Price looked back at his sophomore season and his first trip to the state tournament.

"It was pretty awesome," he said. "It was great. I didn't expect much. My attitude was I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to play my hardest. My first win against Marquette was really excellent and one of the best matches I ever played."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

Price split two matches with Greater Metro Conference rival Marquette, beating Nick Yang (3-6, 7-5 (14) and losing to 8th-seeded John Massart (6-0, 6-0).

His junior season he once again finished as the conference champion and earned first-team all-conference honors with a 9-0 record and made his second straight trip to state.

Nick finished 1-1 at state, defeating Austin Sternbach of Kenosha Indian Trail (6-1, 6-1) and losing to third-seeded Ryan Risgaard of Neenah (6-2, 6-1), who finished third overall.

This season he got injured in the conference finals and finished second, but finished with a 31-5 career conference record. He advanced to the subsectional (May 22) and sectional (May 24). State is June 1-3 in Madison.

Like a lot of great athletes, Nick got started in his sport at a young age, playing at Highlander when he was 7 years old.

"My mom wanted me to try a sport with my neighbor," he recalled. "I took some lessons, worked with a lot of professionals. I also did some summer programs for Brookfield Highlander.

"I liked that it challenged me physically and mentally. And it's just fun. I had a lot of good friends who were playing it and those friends kept me engaged with it. I just love the challenge."

Although tennis is his major game, Price is a 3-sport athlete at Tosa West. He also played volleyball and baseball besides dominating on the tennis courts.

"If you're committed to one sport you're kind of with the same people," Nick said. "Playing multiple sports, you're engaged with other people, enjoying something with those others. Having a commitment to one sport takes away from having the enjoyment you can have with other sports."

Having played soccer and football in middle school, Nick switched to playing volleyball for the Trojans.

"I didn't know I was going to play volleyball (in high school)," he said. I was considering soccer, but a lot of my friends were playing volleyball. So that was the reason I tried it - I wanted to try a new sport."

Volleyball was a new challenge for Price.

"I never played it. I had to completely learn it, get used to the sport," Nick said. "I played all over the place. started off as a center and worked my way to the libero. I played a bunch of different positions. I wasn't set on one thing. When I was on varsity and some of the experienced varsity players left, there were open spots."

Price, who is 6-feet, 160 pounds, played all over the infield in baseball, but he was also a pitcher for the Trojans, a position he compared to tennis.

"A lot of people don't like to pitch because you have to work through problems." he said. "I've always kind of liked that. You have to be mentally tough to pitch. I associate that with tennis as well. It's kind of where I get that.

"You're basically out there (on the mound) by yourself. You have to think how am I going to get out of this situation. You have to basically stay positive the entire time."

“A player like Nick comes around once in a coach’s career, maybe twice. He’s put a stamp on our program. He will always be one of the best players I’ve had the opportunity to coach. That’s pretty cool.”

- Coach Kostas Zervas

​Price then talked about the turning point of his sophomore season in tennis.

"I lost to Greendale three times and then I beat him," he said. "My confidence changed when I beat him. I became more aggressive. I just needed to figure out I needed to be more aggressive to win the matches.

Zervas also felt it was a key point in Price's career.

"I said I have a feeling about you today. This is your time. That was the turning point of his career. Maybe their senior underestimated Nick, but Nick beat him in straight sets. It wasn't even close."

And that carried over to state.

"I felt more relaxed going into my match," Nick recalled. "It was hard going in the first time, but it was easier my sophomore year. Before the match, I was more relaxed."

Zervas felt that one of the areas that helps Price be successful, is he's coachable.

"One of the things that stood out with Nick, I would speak with him and we'd some up with strategy and I wondered did he understand what I just said? We explained it and he applied it to his game.

"I got a kick out of watching him do the things we asked him to do. A lot of kids want to do their own thing. But Nick did the things that we asked him. I'm asking him to hit the ball across court and you ask yourself 'Can they really do it?' and Nick can actually do it. He's very coachable. He listens, he's respectful, our players would see how hard he worked and they said 'Oh I have to work as hard as well.'"

Both Zervas and his prize player agree on his strengths.

"He's steady. He'll wear guys down," the veteran coach said. "Some players want points quick. Nick will grind it out with the best of them. His consistency and his patience will really push him through a match.

Added Price.

"My defensive play is my key. Turning my defensive play into offensive play. Keeping the ball in play, being consistent, just wearing down opponents. Transitioning into offensive play."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

Price is the team captain and it is something he is proud of and takes an active part in his role.

"You need someone to look up to and I want to be that person," he said. "I want to make sure that everyone's comfortable when they need help with a certain shot. I have a lot more experience than the players on my team. I've done a lot more off-season stuff than they have. So I have a little bit more match experience. So being able to have teammates who are comfortable coming up to me, it makes the team better when you have strong leadership."

Nick recalled calling a team meeting this year after Tosa West lost to Greendale.

"I thought it was important to have a team meeting and figure out what's wrong because obviously our goal was to win conference. We needed to turn things around. I was able to talk to each player and ask them what they thought - what went wrong.

"I was comfortable talking to each player. I knew if I could get their opinion out everyone would be comfortable and fire up everyone as a team."

Zervas talked about Nick's attitude toward the team.

"He's a quiet kid, not very outspoken - but he leads by example. He's still playing with the guys, still goofing around with the guys," he said. "You'll find some real good players who won't go to practice. They might go and practice with their pro. But Nick stays with the team."

When asked about goals this season, Nick, not surprisingly put the team first.

"Winning conference was the biggest goal (West tied New Berlin Eisenhower for the West Division title with 5-1 marks)," he said. "As for me I would like to get to the round of 16 at state. That would mean beating a seeded player."


QUESTIONS FOR NICK PRICE

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  Pizza
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:  Popular & Rap music.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  Star Wars Series. Action and Thriller movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:  Dexter
  • FAVORITE CLASS:  Math.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Mexico.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Sleep or hang out with friends.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Wauwatosa East
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Beating Marquette opponent my first time at state my sophomore year.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?  Study business at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and play club tennis. 

















BREWERS FANS, ENJOY THE MOMENT

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently in first place in the National League Central Division. Say it again. The Milwaukee Brewers are currently in first place in the National League Central Division.
If anyone thought this would happen with Memorial Day right around the corner, I would like to take them to the Black Jack table at Potawatomi Casino.

Since he has been hired, I have been a fan of David Stearns, Brewers general manager. Like most fans I understand what ‘rebuilding’ means. It’s those fans who don’t know what it means who bother me.

Stearns has done a nice job of finding some talented stopgaps at the corners in Eric Thames at first base and Travis Shaw at third. They have already surpassed what I thought they would bring to the table.

I would pay to watch Orlando Arcia field a baseball. If he hits .260 this year I would be thrilled – maybe surprised is a better word – because this kid gets paid to FIELD a baseball.

I said that Jonathan Villar had a career year last season and I stick to my guns. He reminds me of Carlos Gomez without the flair for the dramatic. His base running skills are dangerous to the opponents as well as the Brewers, unfortunately. Villar is definitely a stopgap until some of the many talented minor league middle infielders who Stearns has accumulated are ready.

Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana is a respectable outfield. We all know everyone wants to trade Braun. But with all the talented outfielders at Triple A, I wouldn’t hesitate to move Santana as well. I am a Broxton fan. There aren’t a lot of outfielders who can run down a baseball like Keon. And he has worked hard on improving his batting style.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the outstanding catching combo of Manny Pina and Jett Bandy. Offensively AND defensively, they have surpassed my expectations.

I love Craig Counsell’s ability to move players around. Hernan Perez, Eric Sogard and Nick Franklin give the team flexibility and they know what to do with a bat in their hand. Jesus Aguilar was also an example of a good pick up by Stearns and his staff. Although limited to one position, he is an offensive threat off the bench and a solid fill in for Thames, who also adds versatility by having the ability to play the corner outfield positions. I think one of these guys (Franklin?) might be cut when they add a starter on Friday.

NOW LET’S GET REAL
This team is not going anywhere with the current starting staff. If anything holds this rebuilding back, it will be the lack of front line starters on the current team.
The fact that Matt Garza is the best starter on this staff (2-0, 2.43 ERA) since returning from the disabled list says a lot. I like to watch Zach Davies pitch, but if he is not nicking the corners (and more importantly getting the call), you’re looking at home run derby. Junior Guerra had a fine season last year, but he is no better than a fourth starter – if he can put together another good year at 32 years of age.
I’m not a fan of Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson. When they walk out to the mound you have no idea what to expect.

Little by little – this season – the Brewers need to work the young guns into the rotation. In any order – Josh Hader, Luis Ortiz, Brandon Woodruff, Jorge Lopez, Aaron Wilkerson, Corbin Burnes or Cody Ponce, just to name a few. Hopefully at least two of these guys see some starting action this year.

Corey Knebel has been off to an amazing start in the bullpen and Stearns has done a nice job of bringing in Carlos Torres (last year), Jared Hughes, Oliver Drake, Neftali Feliz and Rob Scahill. Locals Jacob Barnes and Wily Peralta round out the bullpen.
The poor starting pitching – if someone goes into the seventh inning is shocking – and will eventually will wear out the bullpen.

DON’T DO THIS
If the Brewers are still in a possible playoff mode at the end of July, please don’t trade a minor league ‘stud’ to add a pitcher and stray from their plan of rebuilding.
The Brewers ‘rebuilding’ is ahead of schedule which is nice. But they are still rebuilding, so don’t mess up a good thing.

SAXTON WILLIAMS LOOKS TO CONTINUES SPARTANS SUCCESS

SAXTON WILLIAMS LOOKS TO CONTINUE SPARTANS TRACK SUCCESS



For someone who initially only practiced with his middle school track & field team, Saxton Williams has gone on to have a record-breaking career at Brookfield East.

Thinking back to when he first participated in track & field, Williams thought back to 7th grade at Pilgrim Park Middle School.

"I went out for track in 7th and 8th grades so I could stay in shape," Saxton said. "But I only practiced with the team because I played basketball with my AAU team."

So why did he get involved with track & field his first year at Brookfield East?

"Me and my friends wanted to do it together. I really didn't like it my freshman year. The workouts were too hard; I was really tired after practice," he laughed.

"When I came back for my sophomore year, my (event) coach at the time (Jason Kasmarick) was one of the key guys (to fire him up). They (the coaching staff) were looking for me to grow this year. That really made me take a step up because they saw my potential. I could be really good. That made me start to like track. I was surprised at first, but I'm glad they saw that in me."

Head track & field coach Mike Steiner first saw Williams on the football field as he was the freshman coach.

"I could see at football practice that he had certain skills which would allow him to be a good track athlete," Steiner said. "That was my first encounter with him. I saw his speed, saw his athleticism, which really caught my eye as a potential track athlete."

It didn't take Steiner and the coaches long to know they had something special come track season in the spring.

"Within a day or too, you could see he was going to be really good," Steiner said "He's going to be special. He's got ability that most kids don't have. We knew after the first practice he had some special talent."

So what exactly did Steiner see?

"He's fast. That jumps out at you," he laughed. "His stride length points to a good potential in the events he's good at. His physical attributes, if you are a track coach, you would recognize them.

"He has the ability to run and run fast when he's tired. That equates into the longer spring races that he's really good at. He's probably considered an elite, 200, 400 sprinter. His times don't say he's the best, but we don't run the season in those events."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

He has been to state three straight seasons.

As a sophomore at the state tournament he teamed with Peter Raymonds, Tommy Schwarz and Drew Bullen in the 4x400 relay and finished third and again with Mario Carr, Raymonds and Bullen in the 4x200 relay, taking fifth.

His junior year was even better, as the Spartans won the state championship and Williams and his relay teammates had two state titles and a second place finish.

Williams, Avery Barnes, Will Schmidt and Bullen took first in the 4x200 relay and Williams, Carr, Barnes and Bullen won the 4x400 relay. Williams, Morris Seaton, Schmidt and Bullen finished second in the 4x100 relay.

Williams talked about his first state-tournament experience.

"I was really nervous (as a sophomore)," he said about his first time. "I was out there on the track. On day one I was really nervous. Then day two came and I was still really nervous and my coaches could see it. They were right outside the fence and watching me run. I calmed down, but it was my first time as a sophomore and I was really nervous."

Having that experience under his belt helped him last season.

"It helped a lot because coming back my junior year we had a lot of newer guys going to state," he said. "So I could lead by example and show them like it's not really that big a deal. You just do your job and you'll be fine. There was nothing to be nervous about."

He’s competitive and he can hunt kids down. We get the stick (baton) to him in a relay and he can catch a kid. That’s a unique skill the kid has…But in flat-out track terms, he’s fast. That’s his strength. He’s fast.”

- Coach Mike Steiner

Williams will be busy during the regular season, taking part in the 100, 200 and 400 runs, the long jump and the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays. This week he won the 100, 200 and 300 meter events at the Greater Metro Conference Championships.

"His long jump has shown big improvement this year," Steiner said. "He didn't work on it a lot last year. He has worked on it more this year and he's jumping well.

"He's been in all the relays, all of the opens, he's put good times out there. He's one of the better track athletes in our league. He's good. He's got three school records and a state record."

Williams enjoys running on the relay teams and said it meant more when they won as a team.

"Everybody has to trust that each guy does their part," he explained. "To know their role and what they're there to do. I like to help the team. So If I'm on a relay and we win, I feel I helped the team more than if I win an individual event."

Winning two state relay titles and finishing second in a third was very satisfying.

"It felt good because we put a lot of work into that season and you go out on top," Saxton said. "Going there (at state) we had a target on our back because we were good the year before. Everyone knew we were going to be good. We knew we were better because we had more people. We knew if everyone would go up there and perform well we'd win and it would be unbelievable."

Having lost several key people, Williams said other teams have talked friendly trash before meets.

"This year everybody is saying we're not going to be as good because we lost a lot of key guys," Saxton said. "When they see us at track meets or see me warming up, they come over and kind of trash talk - it's not serious it's funny. Everyone is out there to compete, but everyone is out there to beat us."

Steiner talked about one of Williams key strengths - something the average fan might not think about.

"He's competitive and he can hunt kids down," Steiner said. "We get the stick (baton) to him in a relay and he can catch a kid. That's a unique skill the kid has. I think his ability to run kids down is a definite strength. He's explosive. He has some natural ability as far as explosiveness.

Steiner added that Saxton is quick to make adjustments.

"He's still progressing. His block starts are still a work in progress, but he's pretty coachable," he said. "When we tell Saxton what to do, he'll do it. He's coachable and when you are an athlete that is a definite need that a coach is looking for. You want your kids to be coachable."

Then Steiner laughed and added.

"But in flat-out track terms, he's fast. That's his strength. He's fast."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

Being a senior and one of the best players on the team, Williams had a talk before the season about leadership with his coach.

"Steiner talked to me before the season and said I have to be that go-to guy this year," Williams said. "He knows in the years past I don't like the limelight. I'm more of a being in the background guy.

"I was like shaking my head 'no' and he was laughing because he knows that's a whole another thing for me. But I know I have to do it. Other guys will be looking to me to be a leader so I have to do it."

Saxton says he tries to connect with his teammates off the field as well.

"A lot of guys in the program, I talk to them outside the program when we're in school," he said. "I ask them how they've done in the previous week. Sometimes in practice when we're doing drills I will help them and show they how to do this or how to do that. Take them through it step by step. We have a connection. I don't just tell them 'do this do that.'"

Steiner explained that losing so many people through graduation has dropped the leadership role on Williams.

"He leads by example at times; kids look up to him because he's good," he said. "He has a presence that the younger kids recognize. He's in a different environment. The kids around him have graduated and he's worked to try to take on that leadership role. No matter who it is, we work to try and develop those leadership skills and it's always a work in progress."

When asked about his goals, Saxton showed he was a team-first athlete.

"As a team I just want us to be successful," he said. "I want us to win the triple crown (conference indoor, relays, outdoor). That's a huge thing for us. Even if we don't win state, it will be nice to go there again.

"As an individual - I just want to help my team win."


QUESTIONS FOR SAXTON WILLIAMS

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  Hamburgers
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:  Chris Brown, Popular music.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   Iron Man 2, Action Movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:  The Office
  • FAVORITE CLASS:  English.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Mexico.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Play basketball.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Menomonee Falls
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Setting state record in 4x400 relay.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?  Study business and participate in track & field in college. 

















EAST’S ROBERT KRILL – STRIVING TO BE THE BEST

EAST TENNIS ACE ROBERT KRILL  STRIVING TO BE THE BEST



To give you an idea how good Brookfield East senior Robert Krill is, he could have been playing for the University of Wisconsin - Madison tennis team this spring. But fortunately for the Spartans, he is their No. 1 singles player instead.

"He could have graduated early," East coach Linda Lied said. "Madison's coach (Danny Westerman) was willing to do that (take him on the team). If not, he was fine with Robert going out and having a great senior season."

Lied would like to see Krill, who talks more about team goals than individual goals, get that individual state championship this spring. He will be attempting to go to the 2017 Boys Tennis State Individual Championships on June 1-3 in Madison for the fourth straight season.

He went to state his freshman year as the 11th seed and finished fifth, losing to teammate David Horneffer.

His sophomore season he was a third seed and finished fourth, being knocked off by eventual state champion Jake Van Emburgh of Middleton.

Finally, last season he went into the tournament as a second seed and lost to top-seed and teammate Horneffer (4-6, 6-2, 7-5) to finish second.

"I asked him don't you want to get that state championship before you graduate," Lied said.

Having such talented teammates his first three years helped Krill develop and improve over time.

"It was nice as a freshman having guys who were really good," he said. "I could switch between 3 and 4 singles. Having guys who were really good on the team, we always got to practice together and get a lot better.

"There was less pressure to win matches because you could really count on your teammates knowing they were going to go out there and win too. I felt like there was a little bit less pressure. But obviously, every single match there is still pressure to win.

"Going out there and practice, you know you are going to get a good hit every single day. There are some teams where there is one kid who is far better than the other kids on the team. Over the last couple of years it's been so nice being able to play with Felix Corwin, David (Horneffer), Doug Francken and even more players like my brother (Patrick). It's been nice because you know every single day when you go to practice that as long as you're working hard, you are going to get better."

Photo by Tom 'Sky' Skibosh

Robert's older brother, Patrick, was a two-time state doubles champion (2014, 2016) and is currently playing club tennis at Madison. He also has a sister Maggie, who is in 7th grade at Pilgrim Park.

Robert talked about how Patrick affected his game.

"When we first started off he took a little time off to start other sports while I just kept with tennis," he said. "Then about two years later he felt the only sport he wanted to commit to was tennis.

"We never really competed too much - we played a few times in USTA matches - and we would practice a decent amount. It was always good to have someone like that who you know you can hit with. If I ever needed someone to hit with and everyone else was busy, Patrick and I always got the best out of each other."

Tennis ran in the Krill family as his dad, Pat, and mom, Christin, played tennis growing up.

"When I was younger (5 or 6 years old) they put a racquet in my hand and ever since then I loved the sport," Robert said.

"Every sport was just for fun, but I kind of loved tennis ever since I was young," he said. "It was a sport I always wanted to compete in and it was a sport I always wanted to play. When I was 8 years old I started playing my first tournaments and ever since then I started playing in some bigger tournaments and just kept playing and playing."

He helps kids, takes it upon himself and works with others, gets their confidence up. He is not only my star player, he’s my third coach.”

- Coach Linda Lied

Robert talked about what drew him to tennis.

"I kind of like it because it's a sport where you're out there on your own," he said. "I always thought that that was cool. I grew up in that atmosphere and then I started playing the sport with people I grew up with. I really liked everything about the sport.

"When I was younger I played soccer too, but my parents both had tennis backgrounds growing up and they always wanted me to be playing tennis. In fifth grade I wanted to focus more on tennis than soccer, so I just stuck with that."

He plays tennis year around, playing indoors in the winter with the United States Tennis Association (USTA). During high school season you aren't allowed to play in the USTA tournaments, but when not in the high school season Robert usually has tournaments every month, as well as in the summer.

His success in tournaments has helped his confidence in high school, as he is a three-time All-Greater Metro Conference selection.

"Having played in tournaments, you have to go out into those matches already being confident and getting the results you want," he said. "Obviously winning helps out and makes you more confident too."

Robert talked about the strong part of his game and Lied agrees with her prize pupil.

"I just feel like I'm an all-around player. I feel like I can do a little bit of everything," he said. "I don't really think about it when I go out there. I just go out and play and figure out the match. Whatever my opponent does, I do what I can do to just go out there to win. I don't think to much (about strategy), I just do whatever I have to do to win."

When asked what was the strongest part of his game, Lied quickly responded.

"His brain," she said. "He is one of the smartest pIayers I have ever watched. His consistency in points; he makes smart points and he is all for the team. He's a hard worker during practice."

But both Krill and his coach know he has some things he needs to work on.

"There is still a lot to work on, but I feel there is nothing major to be done," he said. "It's practicing hard and working on the little things here and there."

Lied added "every aspect of his game will be tweaked - his fitness, his strength. The next step he needs to develop is his ball striking."

Lied remembers Robert when he was about 6-7 years old as her family and his were members of the Western Racquet Club.

"Little Robert had a lot of energy and he was on our radar," she said. "He was a smiley kid with a great positive attitude and was fun to watch. He was a little guy and you could see his passion with tennis."

Photo by Tom 'Sky' Skibosh

Now as a senior and the team's top player, Lied talked about Patrick's role with the Spartans.

"He's focused when he gets on the court, gets the job done," she said. "He knows what we work on and then he gets out and cheers his teammates on. He's the best. He wants the kids to have fun. He's a great teammate.

"He helps kids, takes it upon himself and works with others, gets their confidence up. He is not only my star player, he's my third coach."

Despite his talent, Krill is the definition of a team player, which he showed when asked about goals for this season.

"I just want to go out and practice every single day and try and get better," he said. "But more importantly when I'm out here with the team, I want to push them to get better too.

"As a team I hope that every single time we step out on the court, we can just find something to get better at. I feel we got a talented group of guys this year and if we work on it we can do some good things."

Patrick and Max Fisher are this year's team captains, a role he feels strongly about.

"I just feel that being a guy who has been around for awhile I feel I have learned a lot the last couple years," he said. "I know how important it is for our team bonding - being friends and having fun and still working hard. It's the best of both worlds. I'm just trying to have an environment where everyone is getting the most from everyone.

"I hope that I leave an example people can follow. That's what I strive to do. I just try to communicate with everyone and just get the best out of everyone. I try to encourage people. I just think that as long as everyone on the team is happy and having fun and working really hard too - you can get both of those things."

Lied is just pleased to have Patrick and happy he stayed for his final season.

"It's fun to watch someone who loves to play the game," she said. "The kids love him. That's quite a testament. He's kind of goofy, but he makes sure someone knows they had a match.

"He's a great kid. He will be very missed. Not because he's a great tennis player, but because he's a good kid."

QUESTIONS FOR PATRICK KRILL

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  Chips & Guacamole.
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:  All types.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   Comedies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:  The Office
  • FAVORITE CLASS:  Science
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Boston, MA.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Hang out with friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Marquette.
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Winning team state title as a freshman.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?  Accepted scholarship to play tennis at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and study business.

















CENTRAL’S BRANDON TALASKA WORKING HARD TOWARD HIS GOAL

CENTRAL'S BRANDON TALASKA WORKING HARD TOWARD HIS GOAL



Believe it or not, if it wasn't for the Easter Bunny, Brookfield Central senior Brandon Talaska might not be on his way to college in the fall on a golf scholarship.

Talaska - one of the big three on the Lancers golf team along with junior Zach Mindel and sophomore Jack Anderson - was first exposed to golf when he went to his grandma Gladys' house for Easter Sunday when he was 4 years old.

"My grandma had a set of kids clubs in my Easter basket," he recalled. "Every time I went out there I would hit balls in the yard. Once I was old enough, around 7 or 8, she would take me to the Par 3 course."

At the time, Talaska didn't realize he would fall in love with the game of golf.

"I played a lot of baseball growing up," he said. "That was my sport. But once I finally got out to the big courses - my first ever round of golf was at Greenfield Park right by my house. I remember that day. I was 12 years old and after that day I would ask my dad (Robert) almost every week 'Can we go golf?' Can we go golf?' I started to really, really love the game. I just kind of faded away from baseball and wanted to play golf."

While many kids growing up playing baseball imagined themselves in the major leagues hitting the walk-off homer or making the game-winning catch, Brandon had similar dreams about golf.

"I liked the idea of imaging myself on TV when I was playing with my dad," he said. "I would have to putt in to win this, win that, stuff like that. We played a lot in the summer starting when I was in fifth grade."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

Brookfield Central golf coach Brian Scrobel had his eye on Talaska since his middle school years.

"When Brandon was a student at Wisconsin Hills Middle School I knew he had a lot of passion for golf," Scrobel said. "I followed up on that and encouraged him to play in tournaments in the summer and be active in his role as a golfer.

"I knew he was going to come out for the team because I knew he really liked golf. My motivation for him was to make sure he was getting lessons, making sure he was active in the Wisconsin Summer PGA Tour to play in tournaments and things like that. He was certainly very receptive to all that."

Talaska made the varsity as a sophomore and was in the Lancers' top five golfers.

He is called 'Bubba" because his signature is a Ping visor he wears like professional golfer Bubba Watson. But Talaska doesn't come close physically to the 6-foot, 3 inch PGA star.

"He placed very well and did a lot of good things," Scrobel said. "He also made third-team all-conference."

But then an unusual thing happened in the winter of Brandon's junior year. He wanted to increase his strength and spend a lot of time in the weight room.

"He never hit it really long his junior year," Scrobel said. "I guess we don't know what happened. He had gone through a tremendous about of work to lengthen his game. He spent as exorbitant amount of time in the weight room to get stronger. He was very diligent, very passionate about his fitness level. He lost weight. He got stronger, he really re-created his body.

“That’s the message to all the kids in the program. You own your game. It’s a results business. We need to be able to get on the board and lower the scores and you are what you post. He’s proved that this year.”

- Coach Brian Scrobel on Brandon Talaska

"With that being said, part of his golf game which suffered a little bit was his short game and his putting. He was longer off the tee with his irons but he wasn't able to save par and get up and down like he did his sophomore year. His scores reflected that and he had a hard time holding on to that position. Last year he didn't even get into our top five.

"He went from having a 43.1 average to 43.9. He kind of went backwards a little bit. But it certainly wasn't for a lack of trying. He dedicates himself to golf. More than anyone else he was frustrated by not being able to see the results."

Even though he spent time in the weight room that winter, Talaska focused on his golf game.

"There was no way I was neglecting my golf game," Brandon was quick to point out. "I was going to the range at least three times a week. Once spring started to roll around I would see my (personal golf) coach. If it wasn't one thing going wrong it was another.

"I couldn't find my stride. I wasn't totally imploding, I was just shooting a little bit under bogie golf. It was like I'm still close, but I'm not there. It was really frustrating. There was a lot of stress going on about my game."

But true to form Brandon started to get his game together on the varsity reserve team. He was the medalist in the varsity reserve Greater Metro Conference tournament and made all-conference.

And then Talaska began setting his sights on next season.

"The varsity reserve season ends before the varsity's, so when the varsity guys were getting ready for state, I'm at Brown Deer my home course, then go straight to the gym. I knew if I had any chance at the future, I needed to do something about it. I was really determined about coming back."

Talaska impressed Scrobel with his strong finish.

"He has shown a lot of resolve," Scrobel said. "I'm sure he was upset about last year, but he didn't pack it in. He just said I'm going to fix that. He made a splash during the summer, because of him not liking how last year ended, it made him better.

"That's the message to all the kids in the program. You own your game. It's a results business. We need to be able to get on the board and lower the scores and you are what you post. He's proved that this year."

Scrobel then talked about Talaska's strengths.

"His passion for the game. He develops a plan," he said. "He works diligently on his fitness. He has tried to re-create himself. He has good length off of the tee and now his iron play is out of this world.

"His iron is high, he hits everything straight. His swing is very efficient right now. There is not a lot of moving parts. He's been making a lot of putts. We played at Blackwolf run and he had six birdies. He's unbelievable. He's doing a lot of really, really good things."

Talaska is modest about his game.

"My strength in my short game, my putter, but all around the board my game's pretty similar; there's not too much of one thing that stands out," he said. "Over the past two years I've really worked hard to get my distance out. My sophomore year I would hit my 150 club, which is a 7-iron. It's a baby 9-iron now. In my mind, every par 5 is like a birdie.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh

Scrobel knows that Talaska will be golfing next season for Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. He talked about what Brandon needs to work on. "He'll still let an errant shot turn into a double (bogey)," the veteran coach said. "We want to clean up those messes. We say we can always live with a bogey, you can always recover from a bogey, but doubles and triples are hard to recover from. His level of play has gotten so much better, we're just trying to eliminate the big numbers."

Scrobel then pointed out Brandon's role this year.

"He used last year as motivation, that when the summer season started he was awesome," he said. "He qualified in rounds in the low 70's. This summer he was really, really playing very well. He is certainly one of our top three this year.

"What we look for from him is stability. He has the ability to shoot low scores. We want him to be comfortable. We want him to be like our rock; that there's no wavering whether he's hitting the ball well or not, we can always count on his game to get him points where he is helping our team score.

"He knows that he does not have to carry this team. We have three golfers who are all ridiculously talented and have a line of very good scores and that relives some of the pressure."

Talaska's personality also affects the team in a positive way Scrobel said.

"He's a great kid. I'm really proud to have him in our program. He's an absolute joy to be around. Kids love hanging out with him. His charisma is one of the things that allows us to feel relaxed and get ourselves in a good place.

"At the same time holds himself accountable to be a good golfer. He is a student of the game, knowledgeable about the game. Those factors together will allow him to be very successful this year."

QUESTIONS FOR BRANDON TALASKA

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  Buffalo Wings
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:  Rap.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  'Star Wars 3' , Horror Movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:  The Office
  • FAVORITE CLASS:  Pyschology
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Phoenix, Arizona
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Xbox
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Marquette.
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT:  Winning regional as a freshman.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?  Accepted scholarship to play golf at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. Would like to study Pyschology.