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EISENHOWER’S PLOCKELMAN NO LONGER UNSUNG

​EISENHOWER'S PLOCKELMAN
​NO LONGER UNSUNG

On Friday, Jan. 5, New Berlin Eisenhower senior forward Hannah Plockelman probably got rid of the 'unsung hero' tag forever.

That's because Plockelman was the hero in a 50-37 victory over Pewaukee which kept the Lions unbeaten (6-0) and in first place in the Woodland West.  The 6-foot Plockelman scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and added 2 assists and 1 steal. She even was the guest on Spectrum Sports post-game show.

The Lions are 10-2 overall and Plockelman leads the team in scoring (13.9 points) and rebounding (8.1) and is second in assists (2.2).

Hannah was a member of the Lions State Championship team as a sophomore, averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Then last year as a junior starter, she led the team in rebounding (6.2) and was third in scoring (7.5) and steals (31).

As for the 'unsung hero' tag?

"She was second team all-conference last year so people noticed it," Coach Gary Schmidt said of Plockelman's improved play. "It's just the way she goes about doing business. She's improved her game. I like the fact that people notice what kind of athlete she is. I don't see how she shouldn't be first-team all-conference and she should get some all-state recognition too.

"From a coaches perspective (being an unsung hero), that's awesome. She's kind of a hidden gem. I think that's a tribute to the way she has mastered her game. She just keeps getting better and better."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Senior forward Hannah Plockelman leads the Lions in scoring and rebounding this season and is starting to share some of the spotlight..

Plockelman gives the Lions a multi-pronged attack with sharp-shooting Julia Hintz (13.2 points), Katie Ludwig (7.3), 6-feet, 2 inch Erin Hedman (6.3) and Olivia Canady (5.8). Hintz, Ludwig and  Canady are excellent 3-point shooters, which opens up the lane for Plockelman and Hedman.

Plockelman understands her new role this year.

"I'm more involved in the scoring aspect," she said. "In the previous years I just played defense and passed the ball but this year I'm more involved."

When asked if she feels more pressure in her new role, she talked about the talent on the team.

"I feel a little pressure, but I feel if I don't have the best game, my teammates will make up for it," she said. "We're a really deep team and everyone has a lot of strength.

"If teams focus on Erin or me, then that leaves Julia open," Hannah said. "Julia is also good at going to the basket and then dishing the ball off to us also. Katie and Olivia are also good outside shooters."

Plockelman is also a key player when it comes to defense.

"I guard the taller people and I have to make sure to box out and get rebounds," Hannah said. "I'm always working hard, I'm being aggressive. I've gotten stronger in these past years underneath the basket to get rebounds. It's very important if you're playing bigger girls, to get around them or you don't get the rebounds."

She not only wants to be out there, not just for her, but for her team. That’s part of being a good leader. It’s all about somebody else. She always reaches out to everybody. She’s just a great kid to have around.”

Lions coach Gary Schmidt

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Eisenhower coach Gary Schmidt has been thrilled - but not surprised - by Hannah Plockelman's progress the last few years.

Schmidt knew he had something good when he first saw Plockelman in the Eisenhower youth program.

"In fifth grade, even though she was very tall, she also showed skills, and I was pretty excited knowing she was going to be in our program for the long hall. Right back when she joined our feeder program, I knew she would be something special for us."

Schmidt then talked about one of the key strengths her coaches mentioned to him.

"When all coaches feel that they have kids who are coachable - you could just tell when she went to camps - the coaches said how good she was on the court and how she listened," he said. "That right there spoke highly of her. Not only from her effort but how well she knew the game of basketball. She really worked hard. That's why I'm impressed with her. The way she was in fifth grade and the way she is now. That tells a story - that any kid could get good if they really wanted to without a doubt."

Schmidt didn't hesitate when asked about Hannah's strong points.

"Her athleticism No. 1 and her basketball instinct No. 2," he said. "One of the things I've been most impressed with her is her speed, how quick she can get to the ball and get to the basket. I think she's very hard to defend.

"And yet she is so good to get up and get the rebound. She has quite the strong presence out there when it comes to basketball and where to be on the court. This is something you can teach to some and some kids you can't. Because of her athleticism she gets to some of the spots so quick. Her speed possesses that.

"I also think she is one of best defensive players in the state. I mean that sincerely. I also think she's one of the best rebounders.

Plockelman also talked about her quickness and defense.

"I have a quick first step, so if I have a taller and slower person guarding me I can drive past them in the lane and get to the hoop," she said. "I feel I'm good at anticipating on defense, so I'm good at being able to get to the gap or be on help side if my teammates need me.

"Defense is probably the most important thing to me. Coach says you should never have a bad game on defense."

Both coach and player almost agree on what she needs to work on.

"I need to work on my shooting," Hannah said. "I usually drive to the basket instead of taking the jump shot. I feel that I've never really been a big shooter from the perimeter, which I regret.  Coach doesn't discourage me. He encourages everyone to shoot."

But Schmidt wants her to work on the end of the shot.

"Finishing. We have to get her to be better at that," he said. "She's a great finisher as we speak. If I can find one flaw it's finishing. I would like to see her finish better around the hoop."

Not surprising, leadership is a key part of Hannah's makeup.

"It's extremely important. I think everyone is encouraging and stepping up when we have to," she said. "I think I can encourage people and pick them up when they're having a bad game. I like helping out (when younger players ask her questions). I like to see them succeed too. Once they understand it, they are really happy. That makes me happy too because they are improving and helping me too."

Schmidt is pleased with her leadership skills also.

"She leads by example," he said. "I can't think of a better kid who leads by example. She's very coachable. She listens, she responds, she never takes any time off. She's just a gamer.

"She not only wants to be out there, not just for her, but for her team. That's part of being a good leader. It's all about somebody else. She always reaches out to everybody. She's just a great kid to have around."

Schmidt was asked about Hannah's personality off the basketball court and his answer wasn't surprising.

"She's extremely polite," he said. "You can tell mom and dad (Jennifer and Mike) did a great job in raising her. She's always respectful. She treats people fairly. I never hear a bad word come out of her. She's always positive. To sum it up, she's the real deal. She treats people the way people should be treated."

Schmidt then asked if ​he could add one more thing about Hannah.

"There are two reasons people coach high school basketball," he said. "The love of game and the love of coaching kids. To have good kids is a coach's dream.

"I enjoy Hannah as much off the court as I do on. She's disciplined the way she looks at life. I'm the one who is honored to coach her."​

HANGING WITH HANNAH PLOCKELMAN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Cheeseburger
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Popular Music
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​'Safe Haven';  Comedy, Horror.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Grey's Anatomy'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​AP Biology
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Phoenix, Arizona
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Pewaukee, New Berlin West
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Winning State Championship her sophomore year. 
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend UW-Parkside, play basketball and be a nurse practitioner

WORK ETHIC, HUSTLE KEYED TYLER TOROSIAN

WORK ETHIC, HUSTLE KEYS VIKINGS'
TYLER TOROSIAN'S SUCCESS

To say that New Berlin West's Tyler Torosian got the 2017-18 basketball season off with a bang would be an understatement.

Torosian scored a school record 44 points in a 101-95 win over Milwaukee Golda Meir in the season opener on Friday, Nov 24, in the Fresh Coast Classic at the Klotsche. He broke Charlie Averkamp's record of 42 points.

The Vikings trailed 39-33, but rallied to tie the game at 88 and send it into overtime where they outscored Golda Meir, 13-7, to win the game.

Torosian hit 13 of 18 shots from the field, 3 of 4 from 3-point range and was 9-of-12 from the free throw line. He also led the team with 10 rebounds.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Senior forward Tyler Torosian set a school record in the opener this season, scoring 44 points as the Vikings defeated Milwaukee Golda Meir in overtime. He also led the tream with 10 rebounds.

"I don't think anyone was really expecting it," Tyler said. "I wouldn't say it was out of no where, but it wasn't like we were running a whole lot of plays for me. I started outworking everyone, getting rebounds, hitting a few 3s. I got to the line 12 times. I made my free throws, just put in shots all around.

"Everyone knows - even myself - that I'm capable of having a game like that. It's more of a 'We know he can score so we can trust him when he has the ball down low.' It's more of a trust thing."

Torosian talked about his role on this year's Vikings team.

"I play a forward. I'm not the big guy, but I play the wing," he said. "We cycle it through guys, extend the floor, get up the floor, shoot the 3, drive the hoop. I do just a little bit of everything."

Tyler began playing basketball at an early age and knew it was the game for him.

"I started in first grade when my dad (Greg) introduced it to me," he recalled. His dad played at New Berlin Eisenhower and at UW-Whitewater."It was a fun game. He played NBAA for three years and from fourth to eighth grade I played on the school's select team.

He’s a gym rat, a serviceable big man,” Mattox said. He likes running, he can dunk, pick and roll. What I like about him the most is he has the versatility to guard multi-positions. He is a tough kid with a nose for the basketball.”

--- Coach Brandon Mattox

"I was always a little taller than everyone, so I had somewhat of an advantage. I just like the competitive nature of it. I was never really into football or any other sports."

Despite his height - he is currently 6-feet, 5 inches tall, he pointed out a lot of his success comes from the way he plays the game.

"A lot of my buckets are from outworking other players," he said. "My rebounds are from out muscling guys, getting up the court. That's just how I've always played. Just trying to get easy buckets."

Mattox and Tyler arrived at New Berlin West at almost the same time.

"His first year was my first year. I knew his dad," Mattox said. "Tyler hadn't grown into this body yet. But he was coachable and he wants to play well."

After playing on the freshman team, Tyler made the varsity as a sophomore, played in 21 games and averaged 5.5 points per game, shot .577 percent from the field and .767 from the free-throw line.

He started 6 of 22 games as a junior, averaging 4.9 points and this year he has played well following his huge opener.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Work ethic, hustle best describes the 6-foot, 5 inch Tyler Torosian's success on the basketball court.

In 9 games, he leads the team with a 20.7 points average and 14 steals and is second in rebounds (6.8). He continues to shoot well, hitting .595 from the field, .350 from 3-point range and .692 from the free-throw line.

He has scored in double figures every game, following the opener (44 points) with totals of 13, 14, 26, 10, 17, 10, 23 and 29. He has also been consistent in rebounding, grabbing 10 7,7, 5, 6, 7, 2, 9 and 8.

When the Vikings defeated Greendale, 57-48, on Dec. 8, it was their first win against a Woodland West opponent since Mattox took over and Torosian had 26 points in the game.

"He's a gym rat, a serviceable big man," Mattox said. He likes running, he can dunk, pick and roll. What I like about him the most is he has the versatility to guard multi-positions. He is a tough kid with a nose for the basketball.

"He has a knack for getting involved. I had no idea he had set a school scoring record in that first game. We did not run one play for him. He has no ego, he just wants to play. He's a team guy, I love coaching him. I told him to be physical, that's OK. He does have to be more consistent at the free-throw line. That part of his game must continue to evolve."

Torosian was candid when he talked about his strengths and weaknesses.

​"I'm good at finishing around the basket and I'm a decent rebounder for not being big and wide (he weights only 180). I'm pretty good at that. I also enjoy running the court in transition.

"But I need to work on my all around defense. I feel that's not the strongest part of my game. I'm working on quickness, keeping guys in front of me, trying to guard smaller defenders."

One thing Mattox doesn't have to worry about is Torosian slacking off.

"I love the game so much, I try to get better at it everyday," Tyler said. I like shooting around after practice, just going hard all the time. I try to out work everyone else, getting better, working in the off-season, lifting weights, putting shots up. I'm working on basketball all the time."

For a big man, Tyler loves the transition game.

"I enjoy running the court instead of being in a half-court setup," he said. "When I'm up the court, passing everyone else, even when they have a guard back, it's hard for the guard to stop someone who is 6-5, if they're smaller - even 6-1 - it's hard to stop me."

Both Tyler and Joe Robey are team captains and Tyler is happy to take on the responsibilities.

"Being a captain you need to bring leadership," he said. "With me and Joe - we're two of the four seniors - we have to make sure to hold guys accountable for what's going on. For stepping up when the team needs us, being an overall leader.

"It's important to me being a captain. I've always been a quieter guy. This year has been a little bit of a change, taking charge, leading the rest of the guys. We're a younger team. We have like five juniors, five sophomores.

"I wouldn't say I'm the most vocal guy, but I think I lead by example in practice, running drill to drill, not walking around, making guys follow by example."

But earlier this year, Mattox saw a different side of Tyler when New Berlin West was trailing West Allis Central by one point at half time.

"We were losing and I felt we played a really bad half," Tyler said. "We should have been up. We really weren't rebounding well at all. They were just out hustling us. I just wanted to get guys pumped up to go out there and just win it."

West went on to beat the Bulldogs, 68-63, outscoring them, 41-35, in the second half.

Mattox laughed when I asked what kind of kid was Tyler off the court.

"He's kind of a goof ball," he said. "He has this big Russian fur hat he wears. He's playful, but real laid back. He's a different kid. I love coaching him. He's very social. I think he has a bright future."

Torosian has been happy with the direction of the program under Mattox.

"I think the program as made tremendous steps since I was a freshman," he said. "We only on two games when I was a freshman and now last year we had our first season with double digit wins in four or five seasons.

"Coach Mattox is just doing a great job. We're just trying to change the culture. He knows what he's talking about. He's a great guy. Before every game he preaches about wanting it more. You want to lay everything out there. It's good motivational stuff."​

HANGING WITH TYLER TOROSIAN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Pizza
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​Mainstream Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​​Horror.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Walking Dead'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Phoenix, Arizona
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV, sleep  or hang with friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​New Berlin Eisenhower
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Scoring a school record 44 points in this year's opener.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend UW-Whitewater, play basketball and study Business

ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS COULD BE KEY TO LANCERS’ SUCCESS

ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS COULD BE
KEY TO LANCERS' SU​CCESS

If the Brookfield Central boys basketball team hopes to defend their Greater Metro Conference Championship and make a return trip to the state tournament in Madison, a lot will depend on the Lancers top returning senior - Andres Peralta-Werns.

When people who aren't close to the program think of the Lancers, they think of two juniors - point guard Gage Malensek or forward and defensive stopper Cole Nau.

But the play and the enthusiasm of Peralta-Werns will play a key role in the Lancers success.

The 6-foot-3 inch, 190 pound swing man (guard/forward) averaged 16.7 points per game in the early going, shooting .455 from the field and .333 from 3-point range. He was second on the team last season, averaging 15 points per game and was third in rebounds (3.7). 

Where as Peralta-Werns is known for his long-range shooting, he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop and improved his defense as well, putting together a well-rounded game.

Brookfield Central coach Dan Wandrey saw good things from Andres early in his career.

"I always thought he had a lot of ability, especially offensively," Wandrey said. "His sophomore year when he played with us on the varsity, he had a handful of explosive games. Really, what I was most impressed with with Andres was from his sophomore until his junior year he really focused in on what we asked him to do.

Photo by Alan Herzberg , SportsPhotoLLC --- Senior Andres Peralta-Werns has improved his game the last three seasons, adding defense and taking the ball to the basket to his long-range shooting arsenal.

"He's a better defender, a better rebounder, he has a better shot selection and he takes better care of the ball. You saw the improvement he made last year averaging 15 points a game, his most impressive year as he had some of his best games. He's been really good that way."

Andres considers that one of his strong points.

"One of my main strengths is I'm very coachable and I'm good at adapting to what people want me to do," he said. "People don't really know this, but I spend - right now as a senior - I spend 2-3 hours a day with my dad (Glen) playing basketball.

"He is a really good coach. He is one of these people I can't correct because he's right about what he says. When people tell me something I have a mindset of what they want now in a basketball perspective. I can comprehend what they're saying."

Ironically, Wandrey first became aware of Peralta-Werns because of his sister, Alejandra, who played for him when he was the girls coach.

"His sister played in the girls program when I was coaching there, so I knew him from middle school," Wandrey recalled. "When I accepted the boys position, he was in eighth grade. I had the opportunity to watch him play a little bit then. He made our JV team right away as a freshman. I knew who he was because of the family connection. Obviously it's not on your radar when you're coaching girls."

Andres started playing in the fifth grade with the Jr. Lancers. He only made the 'B' team, so he went out for club basketball. He played with the Ballers, a Menomonee Falls team, until early ninth grade. He played on a 17U team when he was only in eighth grade.

"I wanted to try and get better and make the 'A' team eventually. I played in the summer and a couple times played in the fall before basketball season. It was a really good way for me to work on my abilities. I wanted to get the experience and stuff, get better, scoring, running up and down the court. When I got into high school, playing club was more for recruiting purposes. Everyone wants to see you play AAU and also wants to see you play high school."

He has an uncanny knack for being able to score. In some ways he reminds me of Andrew Bruggink who played for us a few year’s ago. They kind of came to us as shooters – Andres was a really good 3-point shooter, a really good long-range shooter. As people started taking that away, he improved the other parts of his game.”

--- Dan Wandrey

Wandrey was very complimentary about Peralta-Werns' skills and compared him to a former GMC Player of the Year.

"He has an uncanny knack for being able to score. In some ways he reminds me of Andrew Bruggink who played for us a few year's ago," Wandrey said. "They kind of came to us as shooters - Andres was a really good 3-point shooter, a really good long-range shooter.

"As people started taking that away, he improved the other parts of his game. Is he a finished product? Of course he's not; he's only a senior in high school. You look at the way he's played this year and what I've seen in the off-season in the summer. He can finish getting to the rim and he has a nice mid-range game."

Peralta-Werns is always look to improve and he talked about what he needs to work on.

"Two things I want to get better at are athleticism and defense," he said. "Everyone loves to score. That's something that everybody in this generation picks up. They can shoot the ball or dribble the ball or make good passes. But a lot of people forget about the defensive side of it. I'm not the most athletic guy so any time we play a team I always try to get up there and compete at the level they've at."

Wandrey see an important area Andres can help the Lancers with.

"I think an important key for us with him is to be a better rebounder," he said. "When I say better, what I mean most is consistent, because he shows he can do it. We just need him to do it a little bit more regularly. He's gotten a little bigger, a little stronger and I think that helps him in those areas too. His ability to go to the basket - that's something he really improved on."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- When you think of Andres Peralta-Werns, you think of his impressive long-range shot.

Wandrey then had an interesting theory, comparing Andres to a good golfer.

"Just offensively, having that knack to score. He has a great short memory, but not in a bad way. Good scorers and shooters like good putters have short memories," Wandrey said. "I play golf.    If I miss a 3-foot put on the second hole, I don't want that hanging around me for the next 15. Andres has it. The game over at Tosa East last year sticks in my mind. He shot a very poor percentage, but late in the game, we're down by one or two points and he takes the ball to the rim and makes a basket and then makes a 3-pointer after going like 3-for-15. He makes that basket and it's one of the most important baskets of the game.

"In a good way that short memory - 'I'm not going to let it get to me' - is a good thing too."

Andres then spoke about something that is important to him - leadership.

"It's a thing that everyone should have, everyone should take ownership on what they should do," he said. "Overall perception is everyone's part of the team, so no one can blame others.

"I like working with young players. My dad told me respect the people that are older than you and respect people who are younger. When they're older, they're going to remember you (and how you treated them). When they look up to you, they want to say I want to be just like him. You don't want them to have any negative view on you and they also don't want to pick up any negative habits."

Wandrey feels Andres is on the right path.

"What I like about Andres is he is a very pleasant person, just a great kid," he said. "I wasn't sure how to take him when he was a freshman. He was always 'Thank you coach, Yes coach.' As I watched him, he's been on the team now where we've had a couple freshman when he was a sophomore - we have a couple freshman now when he's a senior. I think this is a great form of leadership - he treats those guys well. He wants them to be successful. He wants them to be an important part of our team. He looks for ways to help them and make them feel comfortable and I think that's really important.

"Even though your captains aren't seniors, I've talked to my seniors and said 'It doesn't mean you can't be a leader.'

Andres’ personality is another way he influences the Lancers.

"In some fun quirky ways at the end of practice, Andres is the guy who 'claps it up,' gets everybody fired up. He's got that vivacious personality of being up and keeping the crowd up with him."

HANGING WITH ANDRES PERALTA-WERNS

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Tamales
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   ​R & B
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'White Men Can't Jump.'  Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Friends'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   ​History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   ​Sinoloa, Mexico, mom's hometown
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Watch TV or go watch other sports
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Any MPS school
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Fans reaction when team came out before game in sectional final.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college​, play basketball and study Physical Therapy

‘COACH’ JOHN RICHTER – LANCER SENIOR WORKING TOWARD HIS GOAL

'COACH' JOHN RICHTER
LANCER SENIOR WORKING TOWARD HIS GOAL

One of the key seniors on the Brookfield Central state-runner-up football team never made the roster, threw a pass, had a reception or made a tackle. Unless you are familiar with the Lancers program, you probably never heard of John Richter.

Richter was an official assistant coach on the Lancers team this year, something he knew he wanted to do ever since he started playing football in the Jr. Lancers program.

"Ever since fifth grade, my first season of football, I got the idea I wanted to become a coach. Then from there it spring boarded itself. Through juniors (Jr. Lancers) I would help out. I would be the scout team's quarterback because I knew the other team's offense.

Richter slowly eased himself into the position his first three seasons at Central, while playing JV his first two years.

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Brookfield Central coach senior John Richter takes in the atmosphere  before the state championship football game this fall.

"My freshman year I approached coach (Jed) Kennedy about staying on the sidelines in the games because I told him what I wanted to do (be a college coach)," Richter said. "My sophomore year I played on JV and I stood on the sidelines (for varsity games) and I did a couple blitz charts showing what kind of stunts the opponents were using and then got that info to coach (Joel) Nellis (offensive line coach)."

Richter then looked to make a complete switch from playing to coaching his junior year.

"It was the Friday before we started - the July 4th weekend - I had this idea," he said. "I knew I didn't want to play. I wanted to start my football coaching career. I wanted to jumpstart it early."

So Richter contacted Kennedy and set up a meeting.

"I called coach that night and we talked it through," he said. "I met with him and he told me to practice for a week. I went through the first week of training camp and I told him I really didn't want to do this (as a football player). I wanted to start being involved coaching-wise. So that's when that started. I helped out with anything that they needed. In terms of what they couldn't do, I would help them with."

Kennedy knew Richter was part of the youth program.

"He was really little, not very big (John is 5-feet, 11 inches, 135 pounds today)," he said. "His goal was to be a college football coach and he felt this way the best way to set himself up. So he latched on to the coaching role.

"I talked to his dad (Dave) and we thought it was a win-win for everybody."

Kennedy had never run into a situation like this during his coaching career.

"This is a first," he said. "I don't know if there has ever been a kid to have the passion, the knowledge, the will to be a coach. If you looked at the body of work he has done, you would think he was a coach for a long time.

"Even in his first year of coaching, he didn’t dip his toe in the water, he jumped in head first. It was an unbelievable experience. He sent me a message after the season was over thanking me for everything over the last four years.

"But the reality was I was really the lucky one and our staff were really the lucky ones to work with John. He was just unbelievable. He's mature beyond his years."

He is very mature, extremely unselfish. He is Lancer Blue all the way through. There isn’t a student in the student body who doesn’t know who John Richter is. It’s unbelievable. I told him ‘Some day I’ll be working for you.’ “It’s a question of whether he’ll hire me or not.”

--- Coach Jed Kennedy

Kennedy explained that Richter did everything that a coach would do.

"He attended staff meetings. He was instrumental in putting the no-huddle stuff together," Kennedy said. "He made bands for the no huddle. He was involved in the practice plans, the administrative duties with the offense. Except for the fact he looked like a high school kid, you would have never known."

Kennedy made it clear to his coaching staff that John was not a manager. His goal was to be a college coach when he grows up and he wanted to get the experience about how it works. How one program does it.

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotos --- John Richter ran the scout teams ever since he was in the Jr. Lancers program in fifth grade. That's when he knew his future was in coaching.

thrivethemes2017*

What was even more important was how would his teammates accept him as a coach. The answer wasn't surprising.

"These were guys I have been playing sports with since I was third-fourth-fifth grade," John said. "I think they all have seen how hard I worked at it. And I have been so open about what my goals were, they knew this is what I want. They were all supporting me. It's really cool. It's fun watching them under the lights, but they all support me on my side of the game, especially during the week when I'm working."

Richter recalled meeting coach George Machado, the new quarterback coach and has quite the background himself.

Richter then spoke out about what he needs to do to be successful.

"He brought me in with coach Machado in March and told me I would spend the majority of the time working with him. I ran with that, helping him. He is very influential in the passing game. I also worked with coach (Chris) Freiman (wide receiver coach).

"I did everything from making the wristbands which we wear in the game on the 'no-huddle' plays. I did all the defensive make-up for the staff. I would help out in practice with the quarterbacks and offense, running drills and stuff like that. I would help coach Machado with that. I would be with him, talking through what the plan of attack was."

Kennedy pointed out Richter's strong points on the job.

"His organizational skills, his communication skills, his unselfishness," the veteran coach said. "He made us a better football team. Our coaches' support says the most. They refer to him as coach Richter. They accepted him as a coach from day one. It never had to be addressed because it was never an issue."

Richter also talked about his strong points.

"I'm a very driven individual," he said. "I set goals for myself. If I write them down, I have a better chance for succeeding  - every goal I have for the next four years and college and what I want to pursue. I have them written down and I have ways to attack it so I can try and get it because I know the percentage of people who make it in the field is so small, so I have to work even harder."

When asked, Richter was quick to answer his favorite part of the job.

"Obviously the Friday nights, I really like the reward (being on the sidelines for the game)," he said. "My first three games I was a floater, just helping out on the sidelines with that. After week three - coach (Kennedy) doesn't wear a headset, so I would wear the phones and I was the voice between coach Kennedy and the (coaches) booth in the pressbox.

"So coach Kennedy would call the play, I would be right next to him, talking through it, asking what they (coaches in booth) see and relay the message to coach Kennedy. I was on the phones with coach Machado, coach (Jacob) Ruf (offensive line coach) and coach Nellis (offensive line coach)."

"The key thing I learned - how badly you want to succeed," he said. "It's like a grind for five months. Finding a way to get to the players that you know they can understand. It's can be a successful game plan. You can have all the ideas. But to run them in a game is a whole different animal."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Brookfield Central senior John Richter and a group of Lancers fans celebrate another victory in the playoff run.

Richter also like the prep work.

"I really like the meetings and the plan of the attack for the week. If I can continue this (as a career) I can figure out a plan for the week. I really enjoyed it. I wouldn't say much, I would sit back and listen and take in as much as I could."

Richter also learned the difference between being an assistant and calling the plays himself.

"They would give me scripts to call plays during practice," he said. "Before the game I would run some drills - they gave me routes to run. But the best way to learn is to actually do it. So they also gave me the opportunity to call the JV game against West Allis Hale.

"When you're the one actually making the calls, it's a completely different game. You can always talk about it, but until you're really in it, you don't realize it - thinking ahead for play calls and like seeing and subbing - so many different things.

"That's experience that you can't buy. You have to be hired to get that experience. To give me that experience as a 17 year old senior in high school it was unbelievable. I would never have imagined that when I was starting four years ago."

Richter is constantly doing things to get better, know he has a lot to experience yet.

"I watch a lot of videos on You-Tube that you can look to for leadership and motivation," he said. "Coach Kennedy is probably the best leader I ever met on getting a group of guys to buy into an idea. In this day and age, it is extremely hard to do. You have to find that common goal to work toward and get everyone to achieve it.

"You could see that in basketball (last year) and football getting to state. I've been extremely blessed at Central to have such good leaders in my life. I think it is extremely important.

"Coach Kennedy changed my life. I knew I wanted to be a coach, but I never imagined the opportunity I would get at Central and when he gave me those opportunities it motivated me that much more to want to do it.

"He's influential in the community. Learning from him and seeing how he interacts with everyone. It has be helpful to learn. And he has so many resources and connections we have been able to meet. It's been awesome."

Richter then spoke out about what he needs to do to be successful.

"The key thing I learned - how badly you want to succeed," he said. "It's like a grind for five months. Finding a way to get to the players that you know they can understand. It's can be a successful game plan. You can have all the ideas. But to run them in a game is a whole different animal."

​​ Kennedy had high praise for his prize student.

"He is very mature, extremely unselfish. He is Lancer Blue all the way through. There isn't a student in the student body who doesn’t know who John Richter is. It's unbelievable. I told him 'Some day I'll be working for you.'

"It's a question of whether he'll hire me or not," Kennedy said, laughingly.

HANGING WITH JOHN RICHTER

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Pizza
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Zach Brown Band, Country Music
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Rudy,' 'Hoosiers', Action movies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Friday Night Lights'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Math & History
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Hang with friends, watch film
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Brookfield East
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Finishing second at State this fall.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend  University of Wisconsin (Business) or University of Minnesota (Sports Marketing). Would like to be involved with the football program and eventually coach college football.

Ike’s Jake Belongia Brings Passion To Lions

IKE'S JAKE BELONGIA
BRINGS PASSION TO LIONS

If you're a New Berlin Eisenhower football fan, you know it's not surprising to find senior Jake
Bolognia right in the middle of the Lions' best season in years.

Eisenhower improved with 12-0 with a 7-0 win over Catholic Memorial on Nov. 3 and advanced to the Level 4 playoffs on Nov. 10, playing Whitefish Bay at Kettle Moraine.

In the win over CMH, Belongia opened a scoreless second half with a 70 yard kick-off return and then scored the game's only touchdown on a 2-yard run two plays later for the win.

Belongia has played on teams with his current teammates since he was with the New Berlin Generals in third grade.

"I had a lot of up and downs, but I strive to get better all the time," the passionate senior
said before the win over CMH. "We haven't won a Level 2 playoff game since 2002. We haven't been a level 3 team since 2002.

"We haven't had an undefeated team going into the playoffs since 1986. I've been with these guys since I was in third grade and now we now want to be state champs. We want to
go all the way. It's been a dream and we want it to be a reality."

One win over the North Shore co-champion Blue Dukes (11-1) on Nov. 10 and that dream can become a reality.

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- New Berlin Eisenhower senior Jake Belongia leads the Lions in scoring with 20 touchdowns so far this season.

Belongia has been a big part of the Lions' success, splitting his time between running back and outside linebacker.

Coach Matt Kern talked about Jake's strengths at running back and outside linebacker.

"Speed is definitely one of them; how hard he runs," he said. "You hear it from everyone who watches our games. He runs with a certain intensity. He runs through arm tackles; he's a tough, tough kid.

"On defense he has great leverage. He's a really good natural tackler. He has that speed to chase down from the edge. He's good in coverage. He really understands our defense and he plays it smartly. He combines all those things to become a very good defensive player."

Belongia is second in rushing with 877 yards in 111 carries, an average of 7.9 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns. He is also a threat through the air, catching 26 balls for 306 yards and 7 touchdowns, an average of 11.8 yards per carry. His combined 20 touchdowns leads the Lions.

Jake, he’s really emerged as a strong senior leader. He’s a vocal leader in the locker room. Guys have a lot of respect when he has something to say.”

---Coach Matt Kern

"My strength is running low to the ground," he said. "If you run higher, you can easily be tackled. But me and Jack Himmelspach (his running mate) do a great job at staying low to the ground, making hard cuts and just running straight downhill.

"We don't pitter-patter in the hole. We hit the hole and we go. I give that up to my coaches because they taught me that. We run the ball really hard.”

But Jake, who is a solid 5-feet, 9 inch, 185 pounds, is also proud of his defense.

"I'm good at holding the edge and that's my job," he said. "I keep that outside arm free. I take on blocks really hard and I don't let them affect me. I try to hit back when I see a big lineman coming at me. I try to hit him first."

Belongia wants to play football at the next level, so he knows he has things to work on.

"When I see a hole I should get more cutbacks," he said. "I've been running to the outside. I put my head down and get as many yards as I can so I don't lose yardage.

"As an outside linebacker, I want to work on pursuing to the ball when someone pops me. I want to make the tackle also."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- One of five captains on this year's team, senior Jake Belongia has been New Berlin Eisenhower's vocal leaders this season.  

Belongia then showed why he is such a team guy.

"I love blocking, even though it's underestimated," he said. "I love when Jack (Himmelspach) gets the ball, running down the field and blocking for those guys so they can get yards and score touchdowns."

When asked why he stuck with football, Jake, who also went to state in wrestling and track and field, had a simple answer.

"It's a team sport. You don't just rely on yourself," he said. "You have your teammates
to fall back on. I think it's the best sport on this earth and I love playing it."

Jake then pointed out how the teamwork applies on defense.

"You have to do your own job. You have to hold that edge," he pointed out. "Keep your
outside arm free. Middle linebackers have to rely on me - if there's a breech on the outside that's on me. And it's on them to fill the hole when I hold the edge. They have to come up and tackle the running back. I count on them as they count on me. There's a lot of teamwork involved."

Belongia then talked about  ups-and-downs of playing both ways.

"There is a little more pressure on me, but I love it, though," he said. "I want to be on the field every second of every single game no matter what. I love to make plays and just be on that field.

"Physically, it can get tough at times, especially at the beginning of the year when I'm not as
conditioned. But now with these later games, I feel I can be out there more, I don't get as tired. I can keep up with it."

Jake is one of five Lions captains along with Bryce Miller, Joe Lang Stefan Halusan and Dylan
Abbott. Leadership is important to him.

"It's everything to me. I know the guys look up to me," he said. "I want to lead them and
I think they know I try my hardest on the field. I do my best to not only help
myself, but to help them. Not only the varsity kids, but the JV kids so they
can come up and make an impact on our team.

"It's all about the future and I want to teach them things other people have taught me. I
definitely don't want to just tell them, I want to show them. If they do something wrong in practice I'm going to show them what to do."

Kern has seen Belongia grow as a leader over the years.

"Jake, he's really emerged as a strong senior leader," he said. "He's a vocal leader in
the locker room. Guys have a lot of respect when he has something to say."

When asked to sum up his career, Kern added the following statement.

"By the time he leaves here, he is going to be one of the most decorated athletes this school
has had."

HANGING WITH JAKE BELONGIA

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Steak
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Hip-Hop, Country
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Fury.'  Action movies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'ESPN'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Social Studies
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Cancun, Mexico
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:   Sleep or workout
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Pewaukee
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Winning Conference this year and reaching Level 3.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college and play football and study Nursing

SPARTANS’ ZOE WOODS JACK OF ALL TRADES FOR EAST SWIMMERS

SPARTANS' ZOE WOODS
JACK OF ALL TRADES FOR EAST SWIMMERS

​For those of you who follow baseball - the Milwaukee Brewers in particular - Brookfield East girls swimming coach Michael Rose has his own version of Hernan Perez.

Perez is the Brewers utility man, a player so multi-talented that he is too valuable to play only one position. This past season Perez played every position but catcher for the Brewers and was a key part of their success.

Junior Zoe Woods is the equivalent of Perez on the Spartans swimming team.

Woods made it to state in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke and was part of the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay teams as a sophomore. She also swims the 200 free and 50 free and she is a state level 100 butterfly swimmer.

"She's my utility player," Rose said. "She has swum pretty much every event since she's been here. We'll put her in odd positions. Last night she swam the 200 medley relay and then came back and swam the 200 free. The week before she swam the 200 free relay, the 100 back, the 400 free relay, swimming three of four events and anchored our relays there.

"She's just super competitive and willing to do whatever we need her to do. She isn't afraid to race (against some of the best swimmers in the area). She gets upset when she loses - she's very competitive - but a lot of times that's kind of the person you want on your relays and stuff.

"It's not the person who always wants to win - it's the person that never wants to lose. She's willing to do whatever and she can do whatever. Right now she has to decide what races he's most comfortable in. She should qualify in whatever events she swims. She tapers really well."

Last weekend (Oct. 28) at the Greater Metro Conference meet, Zoe won the 200 freestyle in 1:57.50 which is quite a good, untapered time. She was also third in the 100 backstroke at 100.9 which is also good. It was a very tight race."


Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotosLLC --- Brookfield East junior Zoe Woods is the Spartans version of baseball's utility player, taking part in several individual events and acnhoring the relay teams.

The Spartans open the sectional on Saturday, Nov. 4, - the diving event is on Friday, Nov. 3 - at Waukesha South/Mukwonago and swimming is the next day. State is set for the following weekend, Nov. 10-11, at the UW Natatorium in Madison.

Zoe shared her thoughts on swimming in several events over her career.

"I like the 200 free and I haven't swam that the past two years," she said. "I think that's my favorite now. I've always liked the backstroke, but lately I've grown out of it. I do like freestyle a lot now. I like sprints."

Rose has Woods anchoring some of the relays and she talked about the responsibility that puts on her.


Kids like that stand out because they are so much better when they hit the water. Even if they don’t do anything, they just dive in and blow past everybody.”

---Coach Michael Rose

"It's kind of scary if it's close, but I like it," she said. "There's a lot of pressure but you want to impress people at the same time. He (Rose) has a lot of faith in me. I can bring home the relays. When it's close, all the adrenaline is pumping and you just go faster."

Zoe talked about the different mindset when being on the relay team.

"For relays they're definitely more fun because it's a team effort," she said. "I have a different view on the race. You don't want to let the other people down, so everyone's together.

"As an individual it's all you. If you end up doing not so well (in individual races), it's all on you. If you do well it's just for you to celebrate."

Zoe first got into recreational swimming in third grade in Pennsylvania before moving here when she was 5 years old and joined the Elmbrook Swim Club.

"I met a lot of friends and practice was really fun for me," she recalled. "I used to like dance too. Then  I got my first state qualification - that's when I got serious about swimming. Then over the year I've had more accomplishments."

Rose actually coached Zoe before high school with the Elmbrook Swim Club, so he knew what was coming.

"I coached Zoe when she was 8-9 years old at Elmbrook - she stood out even then as she has great underwater ankle flexibility," he said. "She was good at dives and streamling stuff.

"Kids like that stand out because they are so much better when they hit the water. Even if they don't do anything, they just dive in and blow past everybody. She was with me only for a year and she was talented enough that she moved up right away by the time she was 11. 

"When they are little, they tend to get really good, really fast. She was never going to be a super big girl, so she was going to keep a swimmers physique. The feel for the water and the underwater stuff she had was an unusual talent for a little kid. She was just comfortable in the water and she managed it very well."




Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhoto LLC --- Zoe Woods finished first in the 100 freestyle and third in the 100 backstroke.

Rose then continued to talk about her strength and what she needs to work on.

"She is really strong, which is great for underwater. She swims really strong, very powerful. If you watch her when she dives, she has incredibly flexible ankles. Swimmers are allowed to swim 15 meters underwater. The fastest swimmers use it all. Zoe is very fast."

With the post-season before year as well as her senior year, Rose talked about what she has to work on - which wasn't much.

"She has to just keep working like she has been working," he said. "She can get down on herself or get disappointed if things don't go perfectly, but this year's been better. She stays happy all the time. This has been a really happy season for her. She's been really upbeat."

Zoe also talked about her strengths and what she needs to work on and she was a little more critical of herself than Rose was.

"My underwater streamlining is really my strength. I streamline underwater almost 15 meters," she said. "While some people have already started swimming, I'm underwater still kicking. My first stroke is like their fifth stroke.

"But I have to work on my reaction time for starts. I'm a little slow on that. Also believing in myself that I can do it. Sometimes I doubt myself when I'm on the blocks. I need to work on having a positive attitude toward every race."

Although he is not a captain this year, Zoe has her own ideas about leadership.

"Because I am one of the better swimmers on the team, the JV girls kind of know who I am," she said. "They see me during the meet. I try to be nice to them. I will give them advice. I go to them or they come to me. I like to be nice to everyone on team, cheering for everyone, caring for everyone, leading cheers."

One of the things she learned was making sure the JV girls felt included.

"I learned that we need to include everyone," she said. "Sometimes they don't come to our carbo crams because their meet is at the same time or because they don't know anyone. As a team in the future we need to work on bonding, everyone together, to be friends, know each other."

Rose has seen Zoe improve her leadership skills.

"I think she's grown as a leader," he said. "She takes a while to get to know because overall she's pretty quiet. I think she's more outgoing with the kids. Since she was a little kid, my experience with her with me and other adults who coached her was she was pretty quiet.

"I've had her in class, she sits by me and we're spent quite a bit of time talking and I'm getting to know her much better. I think she's loosening up that way. She's a really good 'in the pool' leader more than anything. She leads by example, how she swims, how hard she works."

Since neither of her parents (Jim and Kris) swam, Zoe is surprised by her success.

"So it's kind of shocking for me that I've had the natural talent for that."


HANGING WITH ZOE WOODS

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Mac & Cheese, Rasberries
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Pop
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​'Get Out,'  Horror
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Riverdale,' 'Criminal Minds'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Math
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Hilton Head, SC
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Lay in bed with my laptop
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   ​Menomonee Falls
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   ​Set a record in the 200 medley relay at sectional.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college, swim and study Sports Marketing

ANDREW & AUSTEN SCHWEINERT – CENTRAL’S TWIN TERRORS

ANDREW & AUSTEN SCHWEINERT
CENTRAL'S SOCCER TWIN TERRORS

It's not surprising that having a father who played soccer at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and then had a brief stint with the Milwaukee Wave on the professional level, that his twin sons would also take up the game and excel during their careers.

But that is exactly what Andrew and Austen Schweinert did, as they followed in the footsteps of their father, Peter, who played at UWM (1984-88), was named co-captain and earned all-conference honors and then played 36 games with the Wave in 1989-90 season.

Both players always had a ball around because of their father and they played their first organized soccer when they were 4 years old in a rec league. And they each had some interesting ideas on why they liked the game.

"I like being part of the team. I like the idea that you really have to earn your points," Andrew said. "Basketball and football are high-scoring games. In soccer you really have to earn your goals. It feels good to do something as a team and win. And my dad really pushed me in soccer. I'm glad that he pushed me to try soccer and I just loved it."

Austen had an interesting reason.

"I like the fact that you use your feet," he said. All the other sports are just hand and eye coordination. Playing with my feet is something I love to do. I was a pretty hyper kid when I was younger. I was just running around. Being with Andrew we're super competitive and we'd play against each other all the time."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC --- Senior Andrew Schweinert wins a battle for a loose ball against Marquette. Andrew, a midfielder, runs the show for the Lancers, setting up the attackers and directing the defenders.

Now the Schweinerts and their Brookfield Central soccer teammates need two sectional wins to make their second straight trip to the WIAA State Tournament.

After going 3-2-2 and tying for third in the Greater Metro Conference as freshman, the Lancers lost seven seniors and finished seventh (1-5-1). But last year they bounced back (14-2-5 overall) and finished undefeated (4-0-3) and tied for second in the GMC and eventually made their way to state, where they lost to eventual state champ Marquette, 3-0, in the first round.

Austen, who earned GMC honorable mention honors his first two years, and Andrew were named to the All-GMC first team last year.

Central coach Dan Makal knew he had something special with the Schweinerts and teammate Alex Mirsberger who was featured in Preps2Pros.net earlier this fall (http://preps2pros.net/2017/09/14/chip-on-his-shoulder-has-keyed-lancers-alex-mirsberger/).

"As they started getting older, we started graduating some of our guys," Makal said. "We were a really young team and they were asked to play a lot of minutes. With Alex Mirsberger too,  those three really had the varsity experience. They played almost every minute for four years."

As a midfielder, Andrew has a lot of responsibility - setting up the attackers and being the first line of defenders.

"My goal is to get the ball to him (Austen) and he scores all the goals," Andrew said, while laughing. "I feel I have to be a vocal leader, I have to direct players in front of me to help defensively, win balls for our team defensively and then start our attack going forward."

Makal talked about his strong points.

As they started getting older, we started graduating some of our guys. We were a really young team and they were asked to play a lot of minutes.With Alex Mirsberger too,  those three really had the varsity experience. They played almost every minute for four years.

--- Coach Dan Makal

"His rhythm (on the game flow) and balance. He does the nebulous stuff," Makal said of Andrew, who has already accepted a scholarship to Loyola University. "He kind of makes us click. He gets the ball and he can choose where it goes - how we go about and attack.

"It takes a lot of patience, a lot of thought. If there is a situation where we are attacking a bunch, every good band has a bass and a drummer and they're going to have to listen to each other. They're the core of the rhythm section. Andrew feeds off the back line, feels what happens back there, releasing some pressure. He'll also look to put defensive situations out before they get to our back line. He's the first preliminary line before the defenders. Even though we defend with everybody, that's really his role."

Photo

Photo by Al Herzberg, SportsPhotos --- Senior forward Austen Schweinert led the Brookfield Central offense with 18 goals in only 14 games during the regular season.

Austen, who has 18 goals, gets more of the headlines.

"He's an attacker. His ability is to get on the ball. He's a playmaker," Makal said. "We ask him to be athletic; it's good that he has that quality. Being athletic is a plus and it helps Austen's ability to take someone on.

"There are a lot of players who are just soccer players, they are not multi-faceted. He has that ability to take someone on. Being athletic is a plus. He can pass the ball, get the ball back and score a goal."

Austen knows what is expected of him.

"I love scoring and I love to score as many goals as I can," he said. "I'm also the creator and I want to help my teammates score goals if I can. (When I do score) the feeling is indescribable. Obviously, nothing beats scoring other than winning."

Both players also know their strong points and the best way to help their team be successful.

"I'm a really technical player," Andrew said. "I can see the field really well. I can make good passes, help my teammates out.

"I feel that I'm a pretty good defender, like a two-way player. It helps that I'm a pretty big guy (6-feet).  I like applying a lot of pressure on my first touch, connecting on passes. That's my strength."

Austen knows his job is to put the ball in the net.

"One of them (his strengths) is definitely scoring," he said. "I'm pretty good at finishing. I'm pretty good at dribbling. I love dribbling, actually. Sometimes they get mad at me for doing too much (dribbling). Personally I'm not good at defending. (Andrew) is a much better defender. But attacking-wise, I feel I'm very, very good."

Both players know they have things they can get better at. Andrew needs to work on his footwork and acceleration. Austen feels he is too much of a one-way player and wants to work on his timing, explosiveness off the ball and his defensive work.

Both players, plus Mirsberger are team captains, something that is important to them.

"I think it's huge. I think being a leader is a big honor," Andrew said. "They look up to me. I have to be a good role model to them. It's something I want to do, both vocally and leading by example.

"Given my position on the field, I have to be a vocal leader - bringing guys up when they fail to do something, encouraging them to do better and then praising them when they do well. In a game - making a tackle and making a pass - I feel I can lift guys up that way."

Austen pointed out there are two freshmen and a handful of sophomores on the team.

"Especially for Andrew and I with it being our last year, we have to lead these guys. They're the future of our program and we want to give them a heads start on other teams who might not have freshmen. I think it's important that we have to show them the ropes, what it's like to play here. I definitely think Andrew is more of a vocal leader than I am, I definitely like to lead by example.

Both talked about growing up being twins and the natural rivalry.

"You can't really avoid it. The guy looks just like you," Andrew laughed. "It's like looking in a mirror. We push each other to get better. Both want to be the best we can be. We push each other to be better than the day before. There is always a natural rivalry. For example, his favorite team is Arsenal and mine is Chelsea."

"He's pushed me harder," Austen added. "The competition is great. I probably wouldn't be where I am today without the competition between us."

Both players looked back as their varsity career was coming to a close.

"This is a super important fourth year. It's crazy how time flies," Andrew said. "I remember every senior saying just wait until you are in our shoes, it just goes so fast. It's finally playoff time our senior year. I loved my time playing with BC and I just want it to go as far as possible."

Added Austen.

"I'd love to have my season end with a state championship trophy," he said. "I want to go as far as we can. It's scary how fast time has gone. Looking back it's been really great, but it would be a lot nicer if we got the trophy."

Then one final friendly shot when I laughed and asked who was better looking.

"Me," said Andrew. I'm obviously going to say myself," Austen said. "And the girls are going to say me as well. But he can say what he wants."

It just never gets old.

HANGING WITH ANDREW SCHWEINERT

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  Cheeseburger
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Hip-Hop, Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Dodge Ball.' Action & Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'The League' & "How I Met Your Mother
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Math
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Cancun, Mexico
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Play FIFA
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Brookfield East
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Beating Arrowhead to go to state last year
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend Loyola University on a soccer scholarship and study business.

HANGING WITH AUSTEN SCHWEINERT

  • FAVORITE FOOD:  ChIcken
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Hip-Hop, Rap
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Kicking & Screaming, Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'The League' 
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Science
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Cancun, Mexico
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Hang out with friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Brookfield East
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Beating Arrowhead to go to state last year
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college on a soccer scholarship and study business.

MARIA KORKOS-JULIA VITALE: THE MAKING OF A DOUBLES TEAM

MARIA KORKOS-JULIA VITALE:
THE MAKING OF A DOUBLES TEAM

Did you ever wonder how a coach puts together a doubles team? I did. So I asked Brookfield East girls tennis coach Linda Lied.

Lied’s team has been to Team State six times, including the last four in a row. Four girls also made it to Individual State this season - Emily Horneffer (who was featured in Preps2Pros.net last fall) and Allison Brankle made it in singles, Brankle as a special qualifier.

But this feature is about the doubles team who also qualified with Horneffer - Maria Korkos and Julia Vitale - two girls as different as you can get, but who worked well together on the tennis court.

Neither Korkos nor Vitale played on the varsity as freshman, in fact. Vitale wasn't even on the tennis team, as she was in the Spartans volleyball program.

Korkos, a senior, played three seasons on the varsity, getting promoted her sophomore year. She went to state three times in her career as part of the East doubles team, with three different partners.

She initially qualified for state as a sophomore with Sabrina Zhong, going 1-1 after finishing the year with a 17-7 record.

"As the year rolled around, they kept getting better," Lied said about Maria's sophomore year. "A lot of it was due to her. Sabrina was real quiet and Maria is the opposite of that. Maria would say 'We are not going to lose this.' and Sabrina would play up to the level with her. They were a great little doubles team and they did very well. When we put them on the court, we knew they were going to win."

Then as a junior she teamed with Carly Wolff, went 1-1 at state and finished the year with a 10-3 record. This season she teamed with Vitale, lost in the first round at state - 6-2,7-6(4) - and finished with a 14-8 record.

They each took a different road to get where they are today.

Korkos, one of three varsity captains along with Brankle and Horneffer, started out as a youngster, playing at the Western Racquet Club right up until high school.

"I knew Maria since she was little since we were members of the Western Racquet Club," Lied said. "She came to my camp as a 7th or 8th grader and I got to see her play. Her freshman year I had her on JV, but I did call her up for one match to play singles at the time. I knew she was real tenacious, feisty, liking to win. I wanted to get a chance to see her.

"We laughed about that first match. She had a great first set then she became complacent. The girl kept some balls back and Maria was mad at her. And she said I just want to be done. I said no, you are done when you win this match. She won that match and she's been winning ever since."

That desire to win is what got Maria turned on to tennis.

"I definitely have a  competitive edge to me," she said. "Especially when I got into high school. I want to win and that got me going. I'm definitely the most hyped person on the team. I get really excited for matches, being able to accomplish my goals.

"My accomplishments, my winnings motivated me to keep playing. When I got to varsity, coach put me right into doubles and the strategy of it intrigued me. Singles has a lot of power and I don't necessarily have power, while doubles is played at the net. So I liked the switch."

Vitale, on the other hand, also started young, playing on the Elm Grove courts.

"I started when I was a little toddler, I used to play with my dad (Steve)," Julia said. "Then I played in some of the Elm Grove tennis programs. My dad always won, but now it might be more neck and neck."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC --- Senior Maria Korkos has been to the individual state tournament three years years in a row with three different partners.

Julia, who also plays the outfield for the Spartans softball team, played volleyball as a freshman, but got cut her sophomore season.

"When I got cut from volleyball my sophomore year I went to tennis and just kept going with it," she said. "It seemed to fit better than anything else."

So Vitale was pretty much a mystery to Lied when she showed up.

"Julia came out her sophomore year after being cut from volleyball," Lied recalled. "What we do, when they come in off of volleyball, we just presume they are not a tennis player and put them on our JV Blue (No. 2 JV team behind JV Red). The coach called me and said Julia can't be on JV Blue, she's too good. I said 'Great, we'll send her up to Red.' The 'Red' coach was very high on her.

"When she came out this year for tennis I was immediately impressed with her. So really she came to my attention this year. It was a great jump up for her from Red up to varsity. Every day at practice she kept doing things I was hoping for No. 1 doubles to do."

The player Lied was hoping to team up with Maria at No. 1 just wasn't clicking, she was intimidated by it, so her next best player was Julia."

Lied then talked about what made Maria and Julia a good doubles team.

"For doubles, the first and most important thing is chemistry," she said. "Julia is probably one of the nicest people you will meet in the world. And then you have the little feisty Maria, who has that little 'Greek' in her and wants to win.

"The chemistry I was a little concerned about because Maria can be intimidating and I didn't want Julia not to play her best tennis because she was afraid Maria would get mad at her. But that's when Maria's seniority came into play - really she is a nice little girl too. That's when I said you girls have to fit and talk to each other and understand each others' personalities. They need to work well together and I watched them do that.

(Maria) really has all her teammates’ backs. She’s energetic, She’s feisty, she’s all of those. If you want to describe her in one word. She’s ‘driven.’ Julia is just a sweetheart; just genuinely nice. There is not a mean bone in her body. She comes out, willing to work hard. But when her match is over, I’m sure her opponents will tell you she is really nice.”

--- Coach Linda Lied

"Maria can get really excited and Julia is not as competitive - her mother (Cathy) says 'I don't have a competitive bone in me and neither does Julia' - but the two of them (Maria/Julia) found a way to become competitive together. They've done some really great things this year. They're getting better, every time they hit the court."

Lied then talked about the strategy of playing doubles.

"The net is instinct. But you have to know where the ball is going to be," she said. "I find that if I can find some good athletes - Julia is a very good athlete and so is Maria - and put two good athletes in there and teach them what to expect - then they become instinctive and really go after it. When they get confidence, then they really do take charge and they are at the net cutting balls off.

"You have to have a plan on the serve and the return. But as far as doubles for anything in tennis it's a really different game. You immediately have to constantly react to your opponent. In tennis all you have is the player on the return and that's just reaction."

Both players enjoy playing doubles.

"I like team sports and doubles tennis is the closest thing you can get to it," Julia said. "Doubles has different strategy. Doubles is more of a race (to the net), while singles is about I want to try to get this shot."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC --- Junior Julia Vitale, a former volleyball player, and current outfielder on the softball team, teamed with Maria Korkos to qualify for state in her first season on the varsity.

Korkos also pointed out the doubles strategy.

"You have to know where the other person (opponent) is at all times and where your partner is. We have pretty good hands, so we're both pretty good at the net. We usually end up by the net because we think that is the best way when to end up with points."

Korkos is one of three captains, along with Brankle, the other senior, and Horneffer, a junior.

"Maria is definitely a 'take-charge' captain. That's her personality," Lied said. "She's the one to scold a fellow player ('Why don't you have your shoes on. Why didn't call us and tell us you were going to be late.'). Maria has always been a take charge person since her sophomore year."

Brankle keeps everyone organized and Horneffer observes and waits for her time next year. Lied also talked about Vitale's role next season.

"Julia one of only two seniors back. She's a sweet and kind girl. When she takes the court she will be ready to go. But she will be her own type of leader."

Lied then talked about both girls off the court.

"Maria is a really sweet girl, but she is one of the first ones to go at me if I'm being a little harsh ('Coach, come on. She's fine'). She really has all her teammates' backs. She's energetic, She's feisty, she's all of those. "She wants to do very well in school. If you want to describe her in one word. She's 'driven.'

"Julia is just a sweetheart; just genuinely nice. There is not a mean bone in her body. She comes out, willing to work hard. But when her match is over, I'm sure her opponents will tell you she is really nice. Anyone would notice - she is just a sweetheart."

And Korkos and Vitale have indeed given the Spartans a sweetheart doubles team this year.

HANGING WITH MARIA KORKOS

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Pasta
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Alternative
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Ferris Bueller's Day Off. '  Superhero & Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Stranger Things'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Science
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   Greece
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:   Read, Hang with family & friends
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Brookfield Central
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   First match at Nielsen Tennis Stadium sophomore year at state
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college, study Engineering and play club tennis

HANGING WITH JULIA VITALE

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Spaghetti
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Justin Timberlake, Alternative
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  'Spy', Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Big Bang Theory'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   English
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:  Door County
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:   Play violin, hang with friends.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Brookfield Central
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:  Lost first set to Brookfield Central, but rallied to win the match, including 7-5 in third set this year.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college and study Graphic Design

SOPHIA SUN SHINES ON LANCERS GOLF TEAM

SOPHIA SUN SHINES
ON LANCERS GOLF TEAM

Brookfield Central senior golfer Sophia Sun spent the past two summers practicing her craft at - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While the rest of the prep golfers from all over the state spent their summers on the golf course, sharpening their game, Sophia has spent the last three summers, including the last two at MIT, studying Neurosciences.

"I haven't spent a summer at home the last three summers," Sun said. "I was at a math class in Texas and then two summers at MIT. I did research in Neurosciences at a Harvard lab. It did take away from my game and I wasn't able to practice as much when I was there, but it was a really great opportunity."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC --- Brookfield Central senior Sophia Sun spent her last three summers away, including the last two at MIT studying Neurosciences.

Sophia talked about her slow starts for the Lancers the past few years.

"My first or second mini-meet I had my highest score - which was a 47. The rest of my scores were 40 and below. It was hard to get in that round because I wasn't used to being in a competitive setting. Even when I did get to hit balls over the summer - it was at the range not on a course."

Coach Brian Scrobel talked about Sophia's adjustment when she returned home at the end of the summer.

"It was a difficult thing for Sophia the last two years - she's brilliant in the classroom - and spent time in Massachusetts at MIT at these match camps," he said. "That has taken a lot out of her golf preparation. When she is in the classroom in the summer, most of the people are working on their golf game.

"She always has to play catch-up. Last year when she came back her practice was accelerated for her to get back into 'golf shape.' It happened this year. She struggled a little, but we got her back to that comfort level and she's certainly done a nice job of getting comfortable again.

Despite her slow starts, it didn't effect Sun's overall performance the last four years.

She earned second-team All-Greater Metro Conference her first three years (2014-16) and she earned first-team all-conference honors this fall.

During her career the Lancers won the GMC Championship all four years and also qualified for state (3rd, 6th tie, 7th, 7th) with Sun a member of those teams.

This year she tied for 18th with 81 first round and tied for 23rd with an 87 for an overall score of 168.

Playing all 18 holes she was with 51st with a 184 last season. She only played the first 9 holes her first two years at state. She tied for 73rd with a 100, splitting her appearance with Alyssa Borowski (110) her freshman season (2014). In her sophomore year (2015) she was 71st with a 99 on the first 9 holes, teaming up with Alex Lee (106).

Like a lot of athletes, Sophia first got exposed to her sport through her father (Jian).

"My dad was so involved in golf and I would just go the range with him," she recalled. "I would grab the 7-iron - and that's all I would hit - his big steel 7-iron."

Scrobel first met Sophia at Wisconsin Hills Middle School.

"We had a golf unit in phy ed and she had a pretty natural golf swing," he said. "We kind of talked about whether she had played golf before - and she hadn't - she was a swimmer in middle school.

She is one of those charismatic people that no matter what she is going to do in life, she is going to be successful. She is going to make everyone else around her successful just because of the way she makes them feel.”

--- Coach Brian Scrobel

A lot of power comes out of that 5-foot, 4 inch frame.

"Technically, my long game (is my strength)," Sophia said. "I can hit it pretty far off the tee. A lot of time I can drive it really far and then just wedge it on the green. Every time I hit my driver down the fairway, it looks like my ball goes far. When I'm pushing my cart down the fairway I realize how much farther my ball goes, especially this year. Last year I hit like 200 max. This year I hit it 245, which is a lot for me.

Sophia also works on the mental part of the game.

"Staying in the right mindset," she said. "I think 18 holes is pretty long. So concentrating on every shot is important."

Looking back, Scrobel remembered when he first thought Sophia was going to be something special.

"The thing about Sophia is she is so intrinsically motivated," he said. "Everything she does, she does with laser-like focus and a tremendous amount of passion which equates to becoming a strong golfer.


Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC --- Sophia Sun earned All-Greater Metro Conference honors four years, including first-team her senior season.

"As a coach she is a joy to have at practice," he said. "She is able to be focused. She is able to laugh and giggle and make everyone else around her feel better, even when they've struggled a little bit.

"She is one of those charismatic people that no matter what she is going to do in life, she is going to be successful. She is going to make everyone else around her successful just because of the way she makes them feel. She is a very good personality to have out there."

Having closed out her career this week at her fourth and final state tournament, Sun found time for some reflection.

"There are a lot of times I get sentimental," she said. "Oh it's our last conference match or it's our last tournament at state that I will ever play competitively. I'm looking forward to making the most of it all.

"Golf will always be a part of my life. I'm always going to look forward to playing with my dad. He always says it will be nice when I can play golf with business people."

Just don't beat them too bad, Sophia, if you want to make a sale.


HANGING WITH SOPHIA SUN

  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Blueberry Bagels
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Pop
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Good Will Hunting.'  Comedies
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Grey's Anatomy'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Math
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED:   New York
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:    Going outside, listening to music
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:   Franklin
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:   Beat Franklin at 2016 sectional in a playoff to qualify for state.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE:   Attend college and study Neuroscience

IT’S NOT ‘A DAY AT THE BEACH’ FOR WAUWATOSA EAST’S CHLOE TOME

IT'S NOT ALWAYS  'A' DAY AT THE BEACH FOR TOSA EAST'S CHLOE TOME

Wauwatosa East junior Chloe Tome plans on spending her time in college on the beach - when she's not in the classroom, of course.

Tome (pronounced toe-me) won't be listening to music and sunbathing, but she will be playing beach volleyball.

Tome is an outstanding volleyball player for the Red Raiders. She started as a freshman and earned honorable mention All-Greater Metro Conference honors.

Then last season she was captain, Most Valuable Player, first-team All-GMC and honorable mention All-State and All-Area as an outside hitter.

"When they told me (I was first-team all-conference) I was so excited," Tome recalled. "I was ecstatic. I had no idea. I never played to be first-team all-conference but it showed my hard work is paying off. They the All-State and All-Area honors came in and that was just really cool."

But Tome spent a good portion of the summer playing beach volleyball and was successful at it. Chloe and her partner, Elizabeth Gregorski of Appleton Xavier, compiled a 17-1 record and finished second in USA Beach Volleyball Tournament. She also finished 11th out of 20 teams with Grace Manns of Fort Atkinson High School in August.

And that is her goal after high school - attend college, receive a scholarship to play beach volleyball and study engineering or journalism. She has already made visits to schools in California and Florida.

Playing beach volleyball has helped her indoor game.

"Beach helps me so much; being in the sand is so deep, it's harder to move and jump," Chloe said. "So when I do come indoor my vertical increases. I'm so much faster and my hits are stronger because I can jump so much higher.

"It really helps me with reading because there are two of you (in beach) and there is a lot more court to cover. So you have to be able to read (the court) or else you're never going to get there and it helps in indoor."

The fact that Chloe has had a successful path in volleyball is not surprising, since her father - and her coach - Gary Tome - was an All-American Club Volleyball play at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and he mom, Erica, was an outstanding basketball player.

"I like that my dad played and me and my dad are really close," she said. "And my mom is really close. My mom played, but she was a really big basketball player, though.

"I like the randomness of the game. You are never sitting, you are constantly moving. Anything can happen and upsets are so likely. It's so competitive and I love team sports. I don't like individual sports."


Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- Junior outside hitter Chloe Tome was first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-state and all-area last year.

Chloe got an early start in her career.

"I've been involved ever since I can remember," she said. "I grew up in volleyball and I started playing when I was 5. My dad got me into it. After school (Longfellow) I started playing beach and then I started playing club when I was 11 until high school.

Gary knew he had something special in Chloe at an early age.

"Even when she was little she had a little different mindset on the court. She kind of had an edge," Gary said. "She played with a chip on her shoulder. She always wanted to take the big swing, always wanted to make the hard pass.

“One of her biggest pluses is her competitiveness. I never have to say anything to her. She’s just a competitor. Whether it’s a mundane drill in practice or under the big lights. She has a good IQ and I can challenge her in different ways”

--- Coach Gary Tome

"She had that energy, she was a real competitor. With all the teams she's played on she's had that fiery attitude. ever since she was little she's kind of had it."

Chloe likes being the outside hitter. It's suits her game just fine.

"I like being able to play defense and offense because I'm the one who can be able to terminate and put the ball away," she said. "I can also be the one to help set up the play and I can fix plays.

"So I think that's a big strength - being able to read where the hit is going to go, get there before it goes down. So it's a really good all-around position. I enjoy that."

She does want to improve her game, though.

"I would like to get better at blocking because I get used too much,"  she said. "They (the opponents) hit it and it goes off my hands. If I was stronger blocking, I could get more. But I think I can grow that way. and in my overall game, just grow. Get physically stronger, smarter and watch video (of my game)."

Photo by Tom "Sky" Skibosh --- An outstanding beach volleyball player, Chloe Tome finished second in a national tournament last summer.

Gary also talked about Chloe's strengths and the areas she needs to get better at.

"One of her biggest pluses is her competitiveness," Gary said. "I never have to say anything to her. She's just a competitor. Whether it's a mundane drill in practice or under the big lights. She has a good IQ and I can challenge her in different ways.

"However, she needs to be a really cerebral hitter. It's up to her to become more of a dynamic athlete. She needs to keep getter stronger, getting more explosive."

Chloe was then asked the million dollar question. What's it like to play for your dad.

"I love it because I know I'm getting a good coach," she said. "I've had so many great coaches and I've learned something new from all of them. But my dad being there can always connect with me on more personal levels.

"He knows me when I'm struggling or he knows my little hitches that I have to get out. He's coached me since I could walk. I have had other coaches for club, but he has been my official beach volleyball coach.

"He's the one who brought me into the game so I train with him unofficially and he was my official indoor coach. He came here before my freshman year so he could coach me and my siblings (12-year old twins Max and Lilly).

Chloe knows that her father won't play favorites.

"I really like it because in our conference - which is a very tough conference and I know he is the one who will really push me and drive me to get me into college to play this sport. I know he is going to lead me there and challenge me.

"It can be hard sometime with me playing and I'm his daughter. It makes me work harder to prove I'm not just playing because my dad's the coach. He's instilled this in me - 'If you slack, you won't play.' I really enjoy it."

Gary, of course, has been asked the same question.

"When she asked me if it was OK we do this, I told her she is just another kid," he said. "But I've showed her some 'tough love.' I expect more.

"My feedback is the same. As a freshman she beat out seniors but I  thought it was because she clearly established herself. It's been great. I get to see her everyday as opposed to coaching somewhere else where I never see her. It's exciting! I get the best seat in the house to coach everybody."


HANGING WITH CHLOE TOME

  • FAVORITE FOOD:​ Any kind of chicken
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:  Popular Music and Rock
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  'Unbroken' - Humorous and Inspirational movies.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:  'Friends'
  • FAVORITE CLASS:  Science
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Hermosa Beach, California
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? Hang in friends or siblings
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY:  Wauwatosa West
  • MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:  Beating Tosa West before a packed house last year.
  • WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE: Attend college, playing beach volleyball and studying Engineering or Journalism.
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