The Fox Valley has had its share of incredible high school success stories.
One that really doesn’t get enough love is the Kaukauna wrestling team. The Ghosts secured their 12th consecutive Fox Valley Association championship on Saturday and netted six individual champions.
It was also the 18th FVA title in the past 19 seasons for Kaukauna, an impressive string of success that sometimes goes unnoticed in hoops-crazy Wisconsin.
Kaukauna has also won the past three WIAA Division 1 state team championships and appears to be in contention for a fourth title, with the Ghosts ranked No. 2 in Division 1 by wiwrestling.com. Stoughton is ranked No. 1, a program that the Ghosts have defeated in the D1 championship match the past two seasons.
The Ghosts’ program includes top coaches and a vibrant youth program that gives Kaukauna a deep roster once those athletes become high schoolers.
“I think these kids are really working hard. We’re doing more than we did 10 years ago,” Kaukauna coach Jeff Matczak said. “The expectations are still there, but I think filling out our lineup with 14 quality kids gives us a tremendous advantage.
“I love this sport and our kids love this sport and our families love this sport. We love these events and everything about it.”
One of the more intriguing changes to boys’ and girls’ soccer from last week’s WIAA Board of Control meetings was the approval of seeding at the WIAA state tournament.
Boys’ and girls’ team tennis was also approved to be seeded, with implementation slated for the fall of 2017-18.
Neenah girls’ soccer coach Jeff Zehren said the change is a “positive for soccer and the state tourney.”
“If, or when, you get to that point, it gives the teams that have played well all season to be rewarded for it,” Zehren said. “So how you did in the season and the sectionals will come into play and may help your team in most cases.
“This will attempt to have the two best teams play each other in the finals, rather than possibly the semifinals. Overall, this is a change I am all for.”
The WIAA boys’ volleyball state tournament has been seeded since 2012. The boys’ and girls’ hockey state tournaments have also been approved for seeding, with that implementation set for 2018.
Xavier received a first-place vote from me in the latest Associated Press boys’ basketball poll in Division 3. Appleton North also got my vote for No. 1 in Division 1 in the girls’ poll.
On the boys’ side, I had Kimberly ranked No. 3 in D1, Kaukauna at No. 9 in D2, Little Chute at No. 8 in D3 and Hilbert at No. 3 in D5.
I ranked Hortonville No. 5 in D2 in the girls’ poll and Freedom and Wrightstown No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in D3.
I also gave the Appleton West girls a No. 10 ranking in D1. The Terrors are 14-5 and, in my opinion, have played a pretty rugged schedule. West’s five losses have been to teams with an average record of 15-3, including twice to No. 1 Appleton North (19-0).
You can find how I voted in the breakout along with this week’s AP poll.
Reaching a grand
How about this recent string of 1,000-point scorers in area basketball?
Eight players have eclipsed the plateau this season, including two on the same night from Wrightstown: Danielle Nennig and Alisha Murphy.
Seymour’s Hailey Oskey, New London’s Leah Porath, Little Chute’s Tess Keyzers and Waupaca’s Victoria Nowak have also surpassed the 1,000-point mark.
For the boys, Tyler Petermann of Clintonville and Jack Halbach of Hilbert recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for their careers.
If there is anyone I missed, or any players closing in on that mark, shoot me an email at the address below.
Props to the Kimberly girls’ basketball team for having a little too much time on their hands last weekend. They had a humorous vignette of antics during their recent trip to the Milwaukee area set to the tune of the Backstreet Boys’ classic “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”
Follow them on Twitter @GBBKimberly to check it out. A big thank you to Papermakers sophomore Shea Dechant (@sheanut44) for giving me the heads-up on this.
And I know what you’re thinking: Did Kimberly get the job done on the court? Yes, it did. The Papermakers whipped Division 1-ranked Oak Creek 52-39 on Saturday.
One more nugget: Kimberly senior guard Kam Kroner’s one non-athletic talent? According to the team program, that would be “flaring my nostrils.”
And while Oshkosh North is technically not in our area, gotta give some love to the Spartans’ boys’ basketball Twitter account at @northhoops for some very entertaining “GAME DAY” snapshots of their players. The Spartans have set the bar high for the Fox Valley and our area teams.
Player Profile: Wrightstown wrestler Bryce Herlache gives us some insights on his season online Wednesday and in print Thursday.
Varsity Roundtable: The state’s only online high school sports talk show welcomes Jacob and Eric Barnett of the Hortonville wrestling team to the big show. Showtime is 7 p.m. Wednesday on postcrescent.com.
Livestream: The USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin livestream team of Brett Christopherson, Jim Rosandick and yours truly travels to Kimberly tonight for the second Kaukauna vs. Kimberly boys’ basketball showdown of the season. Coverage starts at 7 p.m. on postcrescent.com.
We will feature Kimberly football coach Steve Jones and his experiences at the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl as part of his recognition as a finalist for the NFL’s Don Shula high school coach of year award.
Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-7191 or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCRicardo
HOW RICARDO VOTED
Here’s how USA TODAY NETWORK WISCONSIN-Ricardo Arguello voted in this week’s Associated Press high school boys’ and girls’ basketball polls (area teams in bold):
1, Oshkosh North; 2, Stevens Point; 3, Kimberly; 4, Madison Memorial; 5, Brookfield Central; 6, Oak Creek; 7, Milw. Vincent; 8, Bay Port; 9, Muskego; 10, Arrowhead.
1, La Crosse Central; 2, Beaver Dam; 3, Waunakee; 4, Stoughton; 5, Milw. Pius; 6, Cedarburg; 7, Pewaukee; 8, Milw. Washington; 9, Kaukauna; 10, Onalaska.
1, Xavier; 2, Ripon 3; Lake Mills; 4, Bloomer; 5, Martin Luther; 6, Prescott; 7, Westby; 8, Little Chute; 8, Little Chute; 9, Madison Edgewood; 10, Southern Door.
1, Destiny; 2, Darlington; 3, Cochrane-Fountain City; 4, Young Coggs Prep; 5, The Prairie School; 6, Regis; 7, Laconia; 8, Stanley-Boyd; 9, Edgar; 10, Deerfield.
1, Columbus Catholic; 2, Seneca; 3, Hilbert; 4, Barneveld; 5, Bangor; 6, Shullsburg; 7, Gresham; 8, Almond-Bancroft; 9, Chippewa Falls McDonell; 10, Alma/Pepin.
1, Appleton North; 2, Milw. King; 3, De Pere; 4, Germantown; 5, Arrowhead; 6, Mukwonago; 7, Middleton; 8, Sun Prairie; 9, Hudson; 10, Appleton West.
1, Beaver Dam; 2, New Berlin West; 3, Pewaukee; 4, Stoughton; 5, Hortonville; 6, West De Pere; 7, Monroe; 8, Plymouth; 9, Waunakee; 10, New Berlin Eisenhower.
1, Whitewater; 2, Martin Luther; 3, Freedom; 4, Wrightstown; 5, Madison Edgewood; 6, Richland Center; 7, Valders; 8, Hayward; 9, Amherst; 10, Bloomer.
1, Oshkosh Lourdes; 2, Aquinas; 3, Melrose-Mindoro; 4, Wisconsin Heights; 5, Neillsville; 6, Laconia; 7, Howards Grove; 8, Marathon; 9, Mineral Point; 10, Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
1, Clayton; 2, Black Hawk; 3, Flambeau; 4, Newman Catholic; 5, Bangor; 6, Loyal; 7, Shullsburg; 8, Riverdale; 9, Chippewa Falls McDonell; 10, Tri-County.