All Posts by Sky Skibosh


Milwaukee Brewers General Manager – ‘Dealing’ Dave Stearns as I call him – fired up the MLB Hot Stove League by making a trade with the Miami Marlins for All-Star Outfielder Christian Yelich and then an hour later signed former Brewer Lorenzo Cain as a free agent.
A couple things came to mind with these moves.
In order to get a talent like Yelich – and if you don’t know how good this kid is you don’t follow baseball too closely – they had to trade Lewis Brinson, their top prospect in the deal.
The Brewers have control of Yelich, 26, through the 2021 season with a club option for 2022. He is a career .290 hitter with 59 HR, 293 RBI and 72 stolen bases in 643 games with the Marlins (2013-17).
He batted .282 with 18 HR, 81 RBI and 16 stolen bases in a career-high 156 games last season. He ranked among the National League leaders in runs (T7th, 100), at-bats (8th, 602), hits (9th, 170), doubles (9th, 36) and walks (10th, 80).
Yelich led Major League center fielders last season in fielding percentage (.997) and ranked second in starts (155) and fourth in total chances (372) as he committed just a single error all year. It marked his first full season as a center fielder after winning a Gold Glove Award in left field in 2014 and being named a Gold Glove finalist in both 2015 and 2016.
Nobody wanted to trade Brinson because of all the hype that came with him. But the key is he is still a ‘prospect.’
When I worked for the Brewers I can go back to what will always be considered – ‘The Trade.’
On Dec. 12, 1980, the Brewers acquired catcher Ted Simmons, pitcher Pete Vuckovich and closer Rollie Fingers from St. Louis in exchange for outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green and pitchers Lary Sorensen and Dave LaPoint.
Whereas Lezcano, Sorensen and LaPoint were major leaguers, but Cards GM Whitey Herzog told Brewers GM Harry Dalton he wouldn’t make the trade without the great David Green, one of the top ‘prospects’ (there’s that word again) in baseball.
The head of the scouting department and the baseball operations personnel almost came to blows at the winter meetings over including Green in the deal before Dalton stepped in.
Lezcano went on to play 72 games with the Cardinals, San Diego, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Sorensen played with the Cardinals one year, two years with Cleveland, Oakland, Chicago Cubs, Montreal and San Francisco, having one season over .500 (12-11) with the Indians.
LaPoint played with the Cards, Giants, Detroit, Padres, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburg and New York Yankees and won 14 games twice.
Green played six years in the majors, five with Cards and one with the Giants, finishing with a .268 batting average 31 homers and 180 RBIs and had off-the-field problems that cut his career short.
The Brewers got two MVPs (Fingers, Vuke) and an excellent hitting catcher (Simmons) in the deal.
I have nothing but respect for the four prospects Stearns traded and I hope they have good careers.
But I’ll always remember David Green.



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."​


  • 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
  • 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


For a guy who wanted to be a high school basketball coach, Dave Steinbach put together quite the tennis coaching career.

Steinbach, who has coached boys and girls tennis at Central since 1982, recently informed Don Kurth, the Lancers athletic director, he is stepping down as boys coach.

“The impact Dave Steinbach has had on Brookfield Central is hard to quantify,” Kurth said. “As a  teacher, coach and mentor, Dave has taught and coached thousands of kids spanning five decades, and in 2018, he is as relevant as ever.

“His no cut tennis program has set the standard for all others. We are lucky to have had Dave lead our kids over the course of his career. He is a class act, and his presence in our boys tennis program will be missed.”

Taking a look at the depth of Steinbach’s boys teams’ accomplishments is amazing. He is the only tennis coach in Wisconsin to win 500 matches for boys and 500 matches for girls.

His boys teams compiled a 513-147 (.777) won-lost record, winning 10 Greater Metro Conference championships and four state championships. They were runner-ups six times. They also won 19 sectional titles while finishing second eight times.

On the individual front, he had 61 singles players qualify for state and 60 doubles teams.

Steinbach, who will turn 82 years old this month, explained his decision to step down from coaching the boys program at this time.

“I have to give credit to the parents and the athletes, my assistant coaches (44 over the years) and the administration over the years,” he said. “My coaching successes have been dependent on them.”

“I have many facets in my life. Coaching is the one I controlled the least. If you don’t have good players you don’t win. for example, in one of my other facets, I umpired. Nobody had more control than me. I’ve broken my life down to 10-12 tennis facets and two coaching ones – girls coaching and boys coaching.”

But obviously, Steinbach had something to do with this team’s success.

“Now the fact that we have a big program – that’s me,” he said. “I decided not to cut. So many of these kids have more talent than I had when they were 14 or 15. If someone had told me I couldn’t play tennis, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone else.”

When then athletic director Jack Charlesworth offered Steinbach the tennis coaching position in 1982, Steinbach said he had to have a non-cut program.

“I coached basketball for 17 years and I was forced to cut,” Steinbach recalled. “When Jack Charlesworth asked me to coach the boys tennis team I told me I would do it if I wasn’t forced to cut players.

“I told him it’s a lifetime sport and if I cut a player he would never play tennis again. So he agreed. The first year we had 32 kids on the team. Kids heard we weren’t going to cut and pretty soon we had 34, then 36. Then the next year I had 45. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. Once year we had 132 kids come out, but we ended with 120 – 12 didn’t finish that year.”

Steinbach points out he is the longest employed Elmbrook employee, having begun teaching at Dixon in 1960. He began coaching at Burleigh Junior High, Brookfield East’s feeder program, in 1965. Since the high schools were three-grades at the time, he coached freshman football, track and basketball.

“My real goal was to coach varsity basketball but (Laverne) Luebsdorf was at Brookfield East and he was going to be there forever and Bill Graf was at Central and he’d be there forever,” Steinbach said. “I was a good freshman (basketball) coach.

“Tennis would be my best option to be a varsity coach. I wanted to see if I could be a good varsity coach. Those two guys (Luebstorf, Graf) were entrenched and there was nothing I could do.”

Steinbach did plenty to keep busy as he also refereed football and basketball too. He also was a referee in a state championship football game.

“I was also game manager in 1982, which is like an assistant athletic director,” he said. “I did it for all the sports.”

Another reason he stepped down from coaching boys in the spring first was the weather.

“We’re leaving for Arizona and California this month,” Steinbach said. “I’ve been cutting certain facets out of my professional life. I stopped teaching tennis at UWM. I stopped officiating the Big Ten 10 years ago. I’m trying to eliminate some of the facets. Playing facets I eliminated a long time ago (he was a state-ranked player tennis in the 35 and 45 age category, but an injury stopped him from competing at 55).

“I’m eventually going to have to get out of coaching, but I didn’t want to do it all in one shot. I don’t want the program to lessen. In March I’m involved in the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament in Palm Springs. We’re always in California from end of February through March then coming back to Wisconsin in April. Well I eliminated that first.”

Other than the Grand Slams, Indian Wells is the biggest tournament in the world.

“I supervise the fitness area for the pros,” Steinbach said. “I get to see all the coaches and their pros to see what they do for their pre and post match fitness. I can bring it back to my team. They think being a good tennis player just happens in the court and not in the weight room.”

Steinbach has won 72 different awards on some level, topped off by winning the United States Professional Tennis Association Award twice (boys and girls). He also won the prestigious ‘Starfish’ Award (boys and girls) presented by the United States Tennis Association.

He was also named to the Brookfield Central Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

Steinbach smiled when asked the difference between coaching boys and girls.

“The first 15 minutes of the practice,” he said. “For the girls it’s social time. You let them talk about what happened in school. Then when it’s tennis time that’s all done with. Otherwise you are going to have them talking when they should be concentrating on tennis. Most schools don’t have girls as good as we have. Brookfield Central girls are very competitive. When boys come out you’ve got to work them right away, they’re so hyped.”

Steinbach also pointed out another difference.

“Girls don’t like challenge matches,” he said. “Boys can play challenge matches and the next day they’re buddies. Girls – if they get beat – hold it. Girls would rather me tell them who they’re playing or what position they’re playing. Boys would rather say ‘let me play him and see if I can beat him or not.'”




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."​


  • 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


I am fed up by the arrogance which is Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.
How many times have I heard McCarthy talk about “We think about Super Bowls in Green Bay.”
But then Murphy talks about making the playoffs 8 years in a row. Who cares, Murph. Green Bay cares about Super Bowls.
People are asking for the heads of Thompson, who feels his job description doesn’t include answering questions from the media, and/or McCarthy.
But that’s not going to happen.
Aaron Rodgers got hurt and everyone is off the hook. Maybe Dom Capers will be sacrificed to quiet the crowd, but don’t expect much more.
It’s time to stop using Rodgers as a crutch. If you lose one player – yes, he is a Hall of Fame player – your season shouldn’t turn into crap.
Brett Hundley is McCarthy’s project – and I thought Mac did the right thing by playing him to see what he has learned. But you won’t see people standing in line to give up a high draft choice for him.
It does look like Thompson made good draft picks in running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. But if you aren’t going to use them because McCarthy wants to throw, throw, throw with Rodgers, obviously people aren’t on the same page.
People say get Rodgers more weapons – yet the ones he has, he doesn’t use.
As for Murphy, he sits on the top of the heap, handles building the neighborhood around Packer Stadium and makes money for the team which they don’t spend on personnel. It would be nice if he made some decisions in the football area. Saying Thompson can be the general manager as long as he wants shows how ignorant/arrogant Murphy is.
Personally I don’t think Murphy-Thompson-McCarthy are in the same book, let alone on the same page. And who suffers? The fans.
I tweeted when Rodgers got hurt that the Packers would win maybe two games the rest of the year. With two games left – vs. Minnesota and at Detroit with Hundley at the helm – they beat my prediction of two wins by one – beating Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, the latter two in overtime.
People say I’m negative. I think I’m a realist and I don’t see things changing.
And why should the Packers care. People are lined up to get season tickets and will be for years.
Not much to worry about if your names are Murphy, Thompson and McCarthy.



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."


  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Tamales
  • 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
  • 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



With the girls and boys basketball seasons underway, here are a few observations, some based on games I saw, others I what I have talked with coaches about or read about.


Sophomore Anna Mortag, who stepped up her game last year when Brookfield Central lost Claire Haynes to a back injury, has continued her performance and has taken over the top spot in the Lancers program.

The Lancers will be a work in progress this season, as Mortag has an inexperienced supporting class for the most part. She is averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds in Central’s 0-3 start (Franklin comes to town on Dec. 3). They meet Brookfield East on Friday.

Junior guard Emma Ticcioni averages 8 points and 7 rebounds a game and senior guard Jenny Cape averages 5 rebounds and does a good job team running the show.

Freshman guard C.J. Romero stands only 5-1, but she averages 3 points, 3 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.  Against Germantown, she lead the team with 9 rebounds.

If the Lancers are going to get better, they need to shoot better, rebound better and play better defense or coach Mallory Liebl will have gray hair before the season is over.

For the first time since covering Liebl, I saw the mild-mannered coach yell at her team during a timeout and then slam her clipboard to the ground afterward.

It will be interesting to see what they do against Brookfield East on Friday.


Junior Gage Malensek (16.5 points) and senior Andres Peralta-Werns (15.5 points, 5 rebounds) led the Lancers in their 1-1 start. Junior Cole Nau (10.0 points, 3 assists) and freshman David Joplin (5.5 points, 5.0 rebounds) have also chipped in.

The Lancers host Brookfield East on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Look for my feature on Peralta-Werns on Dec. 14 on


Port Washington nipped New Berlin West, 59-58, in overtime on Saturday afternoon at West, as senior guard Joe Robey stood out with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals.

Sophomore Desmond Polk had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists and senior Tyler Torosian had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

Coach Brandon Mattox should have a fun team to watch this year.




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.


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.


  • 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


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."


  • FAVORITE FOOD:   Steak
  • FAVORITE MUSIC:   Hip-Hop, Country
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   'Fury.'  Action movies
  • FAVORITE CLASS:   Social Studies
  • WHAT YOU DO TO RELAX:   Sleep or workout
  • 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



​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."


  • FAVORITE FOOD:   ​Mac & Cheese, Rasberries
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:   ​'Get Out,'  Horror
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW:   'Riverdale,' 'Criminal Minds'
  • 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