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Brookfield East tennis players Emma Corwin and Emily Horneffer didn’t have to look far for inspiration growing up.

Corwin had two older brothers who starred for the Spartans boys team - Tim, a senior who plays for DePaul University - and two-time state champion, Felix, a junior at the University of Minnesota.

Horneffer was inspired by her brother, David, who finished second twice, won the WIAA State Championship this past spring and now plays at Kalamazoo College.

“It was really cool to watch him and everything he accomplished,” Emily Horneffer said. “He is definitely inspirational to me. It made me want to try harder.

“We would go out a lot and play and he kind of gave me lessons. We were never competitive; it's always just fun. I was so excited at the state tournament (last spring). He worked really hard and I was really proud of him. He comes to watch me and I go to watch him. We just hope for the best for each other.”

Corwin agreed.

“They are the reason that I love this sport,” said Emma, East’s No. 1 singles player. “It's in my blood because of them. They showed me what's it like to have a passion and reach a goal. Growing up I would hit in their group, but I was always the little weakling. Those ages I wasn't very good at tennis and they were playing in national tournaments.

“Both of them when playing high school tennis and now playing in college continue to have the same love of the game. It has really motivated me to continue working on improving and being a good leader for my team and eventually, go on to play college tennis as well.”

Dancing vs Tennis

Horneffer, who plays No. 2 singles, got started in tennis around 4 years old - or ‘whenever I could hold a racquet,’ - she recalled. Her parents, who both play tennis, entered her in local tournaments to get her started. But she found a different atmosphere in high school.

“I was really excited to play high school tennis,” Emily said. “There was team spirit and it was a lot more fun than individual tournaments.”

Photos by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

East tennis coach Linda Lied was happy to get her, because she was also a skilled dancer (pom pon).

“She is a very talented dancer,” Lied said. “She focused on dance. She was very competitive. At freshman orientation I told her ‘I would love to have you on the court.’ She was not sure about playing tennis.

“But David had a lot of influence and pushed her into giving tennis a try and the rest is history. She comes from a neat little family; she’s a good role model. It was a huge win for us.”

Lied could immediately see how good Emily was with a racquet in her hand instead of a pom pon.

“As a freshman he was very talented. Her strokes were pretty good, her movements were fantastic. She was fundamentally sound, but she needed match experience. We played her at 3-4 singles, at a level she can compete at.

But I couldn’t succeed if it wasn’t for what my brothers and coaches have taught me.”

- Emma Corwin, Spartans No. 1 singles player

“He had good composure, she was very stoic. She was amazingly mature. She was a smart young lady, who sees the court well. She knows the angles.

Horneffer was a special qualifier at state with a 24-4 record as a freshman.

“I never expected it at all,” she said. “I was really excited. The team did so well, it made my freshman year real easy. It was awesome and we got to the finals of state which was insane. It (state) was very intimidating. I've only played in tournaments, but it’s been at local courts. The big stadium (Madison’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium), it was a really, really cool experience.”

And Emily feels she will be better this time around.

“I think that experience last year helped me and I can definitely go in more confident with that under my belt. I need to work on my consistency on attacking balls; just going out and playing my best every time. I think that will come with time and experience.

“A majority of the game is mental toughness for sure. Going out and playing a match, you have to be so prepared.”

All in the family

Corwin, meanwhile, was surrounded by tennis growing up.

Emma’s father, Timon, was a college coach in Florida and he worked for the USTA.

“He told us ‘You guys can do this sport if you love it,’” Emma recalled. “He played college tennis and he got us into it when I was little. I loved hitting with my brothers. They were a little too good for me, but I kept saying I'm going to catch them, I'm going to catch them.”

Before coming to Wisconsin when she was 11, Emma played in a tennis camp every summer when she was 7-10 years old. She was able to play tennis year-round as an individual. She had a coach and had weekly group lessons.

“Sometimes I would sign up for a USTA tournament. That's what all my experience was. I would go to a tournament, I would win, then I would lose, lose.

“I really started playing tennis when we moved to Wisconsin when I was 11. It wasn't until eighth grade I started traveling in the Midwest and growing my confidence. I never did big national tournaments, but the more I played, the better I got.”

Lied recalled when Emma came out for the team.

“She was a bubbly kid, a really sweet girl. She enjoyed the high school program. She liked the team environment, cheering on her teammates and them cheering her on.”

Emma agreed.

“I was so used to playing for myself, it's a different sport for me (in high school). It's so fun. I love high school season; being able to cheer people on when they play tennis.

“I like being the last match out there. I like everybody watching my court and cheering me on. That fires me up. It's a different competition because it's now just the girls in Wisconsin. But now I have a team behind me wearing the same uniform, playing for our school.”

Corwin went to state seeded 10th and took a 22-6 record with her.

Lied saw the improvement over the years.

“Her sophomore year she had some tight matches that she did not come out on top,” Lied said. “She played a good match, but was not winning. Then as a junior, you could see the switch go on.

“She had a disappointing individual tourney, but when we finished at Team State she came on and beat two girls she lost to - and beat them solidly. She is really amazing and can be a rock star.”

Corwin didn’t hesitate to talk about an important part of her success.

“My demeanor. I miss a shot and it's not the end of the world,” she said. “I'm like 'C'mon Emma let's do this.' Every single points counts. I'm going to go and make it all count. I'm not going to lose my focus. I'm confident in my abilities. I don't need to worry.

“Mental toughness that's what makes my game. I can have the best forehand in the state. I could have the best serve. I can be pretty competitive, but none of it matters if I can't hold my composure and it all gets to my head. If I can't handle losing a game love-40, then I can't handle any of this. You have to be mentally tough. You can't be so emotional. You have to put it aside.”

Being a senior and the Spartans top player, Corwin welcomes the leadership mantle.

“I feel that I've always been a leader - in classes, on the court,” Emma said. “Not just because I'm in the No. 1 singles spot, it's who I am. I want this team to succeed. I know what it takes to get to team state. We've done it.

“During practice I'm trying to get the most out of it. I have fast runs doing our lines run. I'm on time. I want everyone to follow my lead because I know the right path. I think you should follow me because I've done this and I've had success and I want our team to have success.”

Emma remembered when she turned her game around.

“Passion is the leading part of my game,” she said. “When I was in seventh grade I went to a big tennis tournament in Illinois. I lost and lost and I came back and was sitting on a bench with my coach and I was crying.

“My coach asked me ‘Do you love this sport?’ and from that moment the results didn't matter. I kept playing and getting better and better. I do love this sport. It's my passion that motivates me to get better. I don't run fast if I'm thinking how poorly I'm hitting my forehand. I'm running fast saying ‘Go Emma, this is your time, let's do this.’

“But I couldn't succeed if it wasn't for what my brothers and coaches have taught me.”


  • FAVORITE MUSIC/GROUP: Folk, Alternative.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Stranger Than Fiction.
  • FAVORITE CLASS: English, Art.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?  Music, Take a bath.
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT: Taking second in Team State last fall.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Play tennis in college.


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Parmesan cheese.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE:  Hairspray.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: Grey's Anatomy
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT: Beat Eau Claire in Team State semi-finals last fall.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?  Teach high school English.


Whenever you try to interview Brookfield East's All-State running back/linebacker Sam Santiago-Lloyd, one of the first people he wants to talk about is Max Aslin and his offensive line buddies who open the holes for him.

"We just want to make sure Sam's got an open lane," Aslin said. "With Sam behind us, it makes my job a lot easier. A running back as good as Sam, seeing the holes even if they're small. As long as you keep trying, Sam has a good chance to break one."

When talking about the 6-foot, 3 inch Aslin, there is never a question about his effort - on or off the field. Ask Jake Hoerchner, East's new offensive line coach and former player at North Dakota University.

Photos by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

"He's a guy that finishes," Hoerchner said. "He goes from the snap of the ball to the whistle and that's what I like the most about Max. He is willing to put in all that extra work, effort and he is willing to go that 100 percent whether it's a walk through or going full go.

"He is always giving it his all. That's something I really noticed these first couple of weeks. His effort is everything, so I think that's what's gotten him this far and it's going to get him through the season."

Aslin is in his third season on the varsity - he was on special teams as a sophomore and was second-team All-Greater Metro Conference his junior year. East's offensive line, which returns Aslin at right guard, senior Max MacGillis at right tackle and junior Adam Streich at left guard. Juniors Matt Johnston is at left guard and Everett Cartier at left tackle.

"It's an experienced and balanced group," Hoerchner said. "It makes my job easy with two big guys (Aslin, 285, MacGillis, 300) and then it takes six guys to take Sam down."

His footwork; he doesn’t move like a 300-pounder does. He has just as good as footwork as some of our running backs. That’s huge for him when he can get off the ball that fast and you’re able to overpower some of the big ‘D-lineman’ in this conference.”

- Jake Hoerchner, offensive line coach on Max Aslin

New head coach Ben Farley, who was a member of retired Tom Swittel's staff, talked about the adjustment Aslin and his teammates are making.

"We have a healthy balance of experienced guys who have been in big games," he said. "It's the same, but we put in some new things in the system and we're balancing that experience, getting out of our comfort zone, learning new things. improving every single day."

And leading the pack is Aslin, who has already had an offer to attend Air Force Academy.

"His leadership, his physical present - he's a tough kid," Farley said. "I see him being a big part of our football team, especially in the leadership role.

"I am amazed how mature Max is. In our senior group, we do not have a ton of guys who will scream at you. But Max will step up and I respect that. He is also a guy who can come to me or come to his position coach, have an honest conversation and you respect it and trust him."

Hoerchner emphasized Aslin led by example as well as verbally.

"He's the first one to step up for a drill and demonstrate," he said. "He has led the way as far as communication and everything, not only up front with the offensive line, not only with the offense, but with the whole team.

"He's one of those guys that anyone feels comfortable coming to if there's an issue with another player or something that we're doing in practice. If there is a concern, he's kind of a spokesperson for the team. He's been a leader with everything all summer."

Aslin is as excited about his leadership role as he is facing small defensive backs when he reaches the second level on the football field.

"I like to take on a leadership role," he said. "I usually do the warm-ups. I like to motivate people, keep them going because sometimes guys like to go a little slow. You got to bring up the intensity and get ready for game day.

"I talk to a lot of players, tell them what they are supposed to be doing, give them tips and stuff like that. I make sure they can improve their game."

When asked if his teammates look up to him he was quick to respond.

"I think so. A lot of people ask me questions about things when they don't know what to do," he said. "It makes me feel good knowing I can help the program in the future and sustain the success we've been having."

Aslin's leadership skills are huge, of course, but don't forget what he does on the field.

Hoerchner smiled when asked what Aslin's strength was.

"His strength is his strength," he laughed. "He is a strong, big kid. He's 6-3, probably (close to 300 pounds (actually 285). As a 17-18 year old that's pretty impressive. He's a monster in the weight room. His footwork; he doesn't move like a 300-pounder does. He has just as good as footwork as some of our running backs.

"That's huge for him when he can get off the ball that fast and you're able to overpower some of the big 'D-lineman' in this conference. He's going to have a lot of success."

Aslin was happy to see Farley get the head job after Swittel retired.

"It helps a lot because he knows the program, he knows what we value, he knows the defensive side and he brought new people to refocus the offense," he said. "He knows the in and outs of practice time, the schedule and he knows to make sure we're not on the field too much. He makes sure we're ready to go by game day."

After going 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the GMC, the Spartans (2-0) open conference play on Sept. 2 against West Allis Central, Aslin is raring to get the important part of the schedule going.

" I think we have a lot of pieces coming back," he said. "And a lot pieces replacing the pieces we might have lost. I think we're going to have a lot of success this year in the GMC."

And surely, Aslin will literally and figuratively be a big reason.


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Ribs,anything with meat.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Marvel Action, especially Captain America.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: Modern Family.
  • FAVORITE CLASS: Math/Science.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Air Force Academy, Colorado.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? Watch Netflix.
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY: Brookfield Central
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT: Sam Santiago-Loyd's winning TD over Brookfield Central in playoffs.
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Want to be a physical therapist.


When it comes to setting goals, Brookfield Central junior golf Emily Balding doesn't fool around.

Last season Balding, who was only a sophomore, set her goal as being the best golfer in the Greater Metro Conference.

"Definitely that was a goal of mine last year, so when it happened, it wasn't really a surprise because that's what I was working for," the soft-spoken Balding said.

She went on and finished tied for 21st at the WIAA State Meet, shooting an 85 and an 81 for a 166 total.

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

"She hit the ground running in our program," veteran coach Brian Scrobel said. "Her freshman and sophomore years were very successful and she's about ready to have a successful junior year."

So, Emily, what's on the agenda this year?

"I would like to be the Player of the Year again," she said, never hesitating. "I am also hoping my team will qualify for state and ideally I would like to play well at state, maybe take Top 10."

That is a realistic goal, since the Lancers also return juniors Emma Whitefield, a first-team selection last year, and second-team selections, Lexi Romero and Sophia Sun, both juniors.

"Emily is very quiet, very calculated, goal driven," Scrobel said. "She has those goals and works very hard. I've had very few golfers who work as hard as she has. She has those goals."

Emily's parents introduced her to golf when she was 9-years old. She took a lot of lessons and she eventually took a liking to the game.

"I liked it a little bit," she said. "It was a little frustrating for me at first, but I enjoyed it when I hit a good one."

She began playing in tournaments when she was 11 and the summer before her freshman year she played in her first 18-hole tournament. But Emily had a decision to make going into her freshman year.

"I love to swim," she said. "I swam competitively for nine years, so I had to decide between swimming and golf. I quit swimming and decided I was going to play golf. I was a lot better at it than swimming, I think. I quit swimming to play golf because they are at the same time (fall season)."

Scrobel recalled the first time he heard of Emily was at an open house atWisconsin Hills Middle School.

"Her parents came up to me and introduced themselves," he said. "Her father talked about how his daughters are very active in golf and I told him a little bit about our program.

"I told him it was his lucky day he came to this school, but he said it wasn't luck. He called ahead and some friends in the area told him about the program and he chose to come to Brookfield Central. Emily was in our junior program (Jr. Lancer Academy) with a lot of success (as an eighth-grader)."

Scrobel was immediately impressed with Emily's play.

You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don’t have that passion, you’re never going to have that drive to want to get better.

Brian Scrobel, Lancers golf coach about what drives Emily Balding

"Her ability to hit the ball. Her ball striking, her putting, just her passion for the game, jumped out right away," he said.

Balding's confidence also shows in her leadership skills.

"I think I'm going to be captain this year and I feel like I'm a leader," she said. "I definitely play more golf than the other girls. I like to boost their confidence and encourage them a lot. Sometimes they are not confident in their games and I try to remind them that they are very good golfers and they should be confident.

"I practice a lot every day - I work hard to improve my game - so they'll see that and hopefully they'll practice hard too."

Scrobel also spoke about Emily's ability to lead.

"There are two things about her," he said. "Her confidence in herself allows her to have more of a vocal leadership role in the team. The other one is she does everything we ask and she works very hard. She's very diligent for her golf lessons. She signs up for a lot of tournaments. I want everyone to see our most successful golfer has done A, B and C to be good."

Despite her success, Emily is far from perfect.

"My strength is my short game, definitely, especially my putting," she said. "But I have to work on the mental part of my game; staying confident. If you have a bad shot, you have to remind yourself to stay positive."

Off the tee Emily wants to keep the ball in the fairway and hit it solid.

"I think a 220 drive is my best," she said. "But I think, 200-208 is a good job."

Scrobel smiled when I asked about her strengths.

"I'm not trying to avoid the question," he said. "But the best part of her game is her all-around game. She doesn't hit it real far, but she hits it far enough. Her irons, she plays very well, her short game is always there when she needs it. When she is in the zone, she really has a strong putter. She putts from all over the green."

So what's her next step?

"To get to the next level she needs to develop her course management," Scrobel said. "Her ability to play well even though she is not hitting the ball really well. To have that mental toughness to get through some situations like that. She's already shown growth in those areas and I can't see anything she needs to do to continue to make those strides."

Emily says she does not feel any pressure to play well because she is the Lancers' top golfer.

"I don't feel any pressure. It's just a positive thing (to build on)," she said. "The best way to support my team and help them do well is to do my best. Sometimes I do get caught up in thinking I have to make this putt for the team, but usually I play better when I just try to do my best. and that helps the team in return."

Scrobel then talked about what makes Emily a true success.

"Passion drives success in any action of your life," he said. "For an athlete - whether its basketball, soccer or golf - passion inside helps you want to practice, it's what drives you. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don't have that passion, you're never going to have that drive to want to get better. Passion is the key."

Emily talks about winning the GMC Championship again and looks forward to another year with her teammates.

"We're like sisters," she said. "We just love each other."

Scrobel pointed out that Emily is more than just the team's best golfer.

"She's kind, caring, compassionate, she truly cares about her teammates," he said. "She's funny. People enjoy being around her. She's just a great kid.

"We're fortunate to have her in our program."


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Strawberries. Meal: Stir fry.
  • FAVORITE MUSIC/GROUP: Adele, Shawn Mendes, Bruno Mars
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Action, comedy.
  • FAVORITE TV SHOW: Grey's Anatomy
  • FAVORITE CLASS: Spanish. Born in Peru and mom is from Peru.
  • FAVORITE PLACE YOU VISITED: Amazon Rain Forrest in Peru.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? Listen music, read books on fantasy magic (Sarah J. Mass)
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY/ATHLETE: Brookfield East. Jordan Spieth
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT: Shooting a 71 (best score) at Pleasant View by Middleton
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? Keep playing golf through my life. Might want to be a doctor.


Reggie Jennings remembers it well.

Brookfield Central and Oshkosh North were playing to a stalemate late into the third quarter of the Level 1 playoff game last Oct. 23 at Central.

"It was raining all game," Jennings recalled. "I came off the edge - it was a screen - and I tipped a pass late in the game and Nick Leszcynski caught it and ran it down to about the 20. We scored after that and went on to win, 13-0."

Photo by Alan Herzberg, SportsPhotos LLC

Jennings, who finished the game with a team-leading 8 tackles and 1.5 sacks, is a returning junior linebacker who has already been offered a scholarship by Wisconsin. He is hoping for some more moments like that this season.

"Our team is looking good right now," he said before a recent August practice. "We just have to go out there and play ball."

The Lancers are the defending Greater Metro Conference champion, so they will have a target on their back.

When asked about that and being defending champs, Jackson flashed a big smile and said, "It's always great to be one."

Coach Jed Kennedy knows Jennings and his Lancers will have to work hard defending their title.

"We have graduated a lot of folks," Kennedy said. "If you look at our offense, we probably graduated 97% of our offense. But that's what makes it fun; that's what makes it a challenge.

"We need to find new pieces to plug in there. I think by the end of the year we have a chance to be a good football team."

Jennings will have a lot to say about how good Central's defense is this year.

Jennings plays outside linebacker, next to his good friend Leszcynski, who plays on the inside. They both move around in the defense, defending on how the offense lines up.

"Being an outside backer is pretty tough," Jennings said. "You have to stop the run, stop the pass; you have to be able to blitz. He have to be quick, strong, powerful. It's pretty much the hardest position to play.

"I just contain outside and play ball. I enjoy contact. That's the best part about football."

When asked if he likes separating the offense from the ball, Jennings eyes got big.

"Yeah, pretty much," he said. "I love quarterbacks."

Jennings has a lot of responsibility in Central's defense according to Kennedy.

"What probably makes it the hardest position in our scheme is he's got to be able to rush the passer; play the run on the line of scrimmage, yet guard receivers down the field when we're in man. So you are going to have to have a lot of athletic ability and football ability to do both of those things."

Kennedy then talked about Jennings' strengths on the field.

"He's a great pass rusher," he said. "He is so athletic, so strong. The second thing is he tackles in the open field unbelievably. His ability to make plays in the open field is as about as good as I ever had."

Jennings first began playing youth football with Milwaukee Custer as a sixth grader before moving over to the Jr. Lancers.

It didn't take Jennings long to know this was the route to go for him.

"From the first day of practice, I loved it," he said. "I always wanted to play football."

Jennings is coming off an outstanding sophomore season, making All-Conference as he led the team with 31 individual tackles, 16 more than his buddy Leszcynski. He led the team with 64 total tackles, 10 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks and two fumbles.

Despite all these impressive stats, Jennings moves aside questions about personal goals like he does offensive linemen.

"I really don't have personal goals," he said. "I just think about it as a team and every year our goal is the state championship."

Kennedy speaks highly of Jennings - on and off the field.

"I think he's just a great kid," the veteran coach said. "He obviously has all the on the field things we're looking for. But he also has all the off the field stuff too - he's a great team guy, he's humble, he has all those other qualities too."

Everyone knows how tough August practices can be with the hot, humid weather. But Jennings had some interesting thoughts on the early workouts.

"For me, I really like seeing how the team 'molds' (comes together) under these conditions," he said. "It's great to watch and see how the season is going to go from this. I like to see us compete. That makes us a better team. If a guy goes out you want to see who steps up and is able to play."

People will game plan to stop him and he is going to have to get better at all those things.

- Jed Kennedy Central coach on Reggie Jennings

He also had an answer for the heat.

"We got misters (fans that spray water) and we got pretty good water girls," he said.

Being perhaps the best player on this year's team, his teammates look to Jennings for leadership, as he is the first junior in Kennedy's three years who was voted a team captain.

"He's a quiet leader. He's not a rah-rah, get you fired up guy," Kennedy said. "He's a guy that leads by going out there every day, working hard and doing what you ask him to do. I've been a believer in that your best players are your hardest workers and Reggie is one of our hardest workers."

Jennings had good things to say when asked what it's like to play for the emotional Kennedy.

"It's amazing. You are going to run through a wall for him. That's what you are going to do; run through a wall for him."

Jennings success last season will make him a marked man his time around.

"He's not going to be a surprise anymore," Kennedy said. "People are going to know who he is. He was the first junior in the state to be offered (UW). People will game plan to stop him and he is going to have to get better at all those things."

Knowing Reggie Jennings, he will be up to the challenge.


  • FAVORITE FOOD: Lasagna, any kind of pasta.
  • FAVORITE MUSIC/GROUP: Anything smooth and mellow. Billy Joel,Uptown Girl, Britney Spears. Oops I did it again.
  • FAVORITE MOVIE: Forrest Gump
  •  FAVORITE TV SHOW: Sports, Comedy, anything with a good storyline.
  • LEAST FAVORITE CLASS: Social Studies
  • FAVORITE SPORTS RIVALRY: Marquette (preps), Michigan-Ohio State(college).
  • MOST MEMORABLE SPORTS MOMENT: "Last year against Oshkosh North in the first round of the playoffs. It was raining all game. It was in the third quarter - it was a stalemate (0-0). I came off the edge, it was a screen and I tipped a pass late in the game and Nick Leszcynski caught it and ran it down to about the 20 and we scored after that" 13-0
  • WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE: My next step is college.
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