NUIC Winter Sports Preview
By Al Zipsie
Boys Basketball- East Dubuque under coach Eric Miller has a record in the NUIC in the last three years of 91-9. Last year they lost in the Super-Sectional and finished 31-2.
They lost many of those players to graduation who led them to that stellar record the last three years. They are off to a 4-0 start this year led by junior guard Declan Schemmel. Last year East Dubuque won the NUIC West and Polo the East. Both Conferences should be wide open this year to see who steps up.
Will Gustafson, a junior who was the Gordy Nesemier player of the year as the MVP in football in the South is ready to lead Aquin in basketball. Polo lost some key players but have Tucker Mumford and Jace Coffey who just led Polo to the 8 man state football championship. Dakota is among the favorites in the East with Josh Clark, Wyatt Rockey, and Evan Flynn all back from last year. Lena-Winslow is fresh off a state football championship Friday. Once they get the basketball legs they should be tough led by senior Sean Ormiston who had six touchdowns in the state championship win. Last year Isaiah Bruce, the MVP of the NUIC North Dick Dehaven Award winner in football sat out the season after an injury. We will see what Bruce the Iowa bound football player will choose to do.
Forreston lost some talent but brings back junior Ethan Greenfield. Orangeville has Carter Kleckler, Zach Baker and Garret Rodebaugh all-conference football players to hope for a solid basketball season. Trey Selmar who was all-conference as a sophomore will lead Milledgeville. Eastland has sophomore guard Kellen Henze. Pecatonica has the duo of Kobee Magee and Austin Carlson. Durand returns senior guard Justin Smith and started the season 4-0.
In the West hoping to challenge East Dubuque will be Scales Mound with some height and young talented players including Sam Townsend. Galena is led by Connor Einsweller and Warren has Ethan Williams the quarterback for the Blackhawk/Warren football Coop that won a Wisconsin state championship.
Girls Basketball-Eastland was the state runner up last year in 1A and return many solid players hoping to make a run for the state title this year.
Back for Eastland are first-team all-conference players Erin Henze and Lydia Coatney and second-team Karlie Krogman. Aquin will challenge them they are off to a 6-0 start this season and have all-conference senior Abby Barr, all-conference junior guard Addie DeMichelle and a strong supporting cast of KK Bald, 6'1 junior Maggie Hildebrand, and Alyssa London. Dakota is led by junior all-conference Tabytha Toelke and second-team Laura Rankin.
Durand has Jenna Steder, Orangeville Allysa Ostendorf. Lena-Winslow with Madilyn Schultz, Sadie Mowery, and Jaden Julius. Ashton/Franklin Center with Camdyn Penick as they play without all-state graduated senior Jaynee Prestegaard. Amboy is led by Mallory Powers. Stockton is off to a 5-1 startled by high scoring Tiana Timpe and Elizabeth Eifeller. East Dubuque has Paige Middendorp. Forreston Alexus Houston and Taylor Greenfield. Galena should be solid again with the duo of Sami Wasmund and Mackenzie Muehlipp.
Henze and Timpe were all-state 1A Honorable Mention last year. And Barr and Toelke are also considered to be among the top girls basketball players in the state.
Wrestling. Lena-Winslow/Stockton and Dakota may be the best two teams in 1A wrestling. The problem is only one gets out of Regionals. The Individual Regionals champion with the most team points is the only one who advances in the dual meet tournament.
Seven of the last eight years one of those teams has been in the state championship match.
Dakota won it from 2013-16 and Lena-Winslow/Stockton in 2017 and last year. In 18 they ran into the eventual state champions Aurora Christian in the Sectional. LW/S was also the state runner up in 2012. It's a shame only one of those teams will get a shot at the state dual meet. Both Lena-Winslow/Stockton and Dakota are loaded again this season. The meet they should be in is the state championship.
Dakota always faces large schools and a tough schedule that makes them better in the long run. They started out 3-0 Saturday in a quad meet at Lake Zurich. Back for the Indians is Andrew Wenzel who was the state champion last year as a sophomore at 170. Also back are many state caliber wrestlers in Evan Riggle, Maddux and Phoenix Blakely, Connor Elmer, Lucas Sutherland, Aiden Nardin, Martin Snyder, Tyler Simmer, Kade Wales, Quinton Heilemeier, Cody Meade, Dalton Riggle, Ethan Rood, and Riley Jones.
Lena-Winslow returns a pair who finished fourth in the state last year in Jason Hermann 145 and Case Harmston at 160. They are also very deep with Zach White, Jaden Rice, Simon Rillie, Marey Roby. Winston McPeek, Tanner Kalkbrenner, Andrew Haas, Gennings Dunker, Gavin Keefer, and Jack Setterstrom. Saturday, January 18th is the dual with Lena-Winslow and Dakota part of a tri at West Carroll.
Ethen Doty of Eastland is back for the West Carroll wrestling Coop. Last year as a sophomore Doty went unbeaten at 45-0 and won the 126-pound state championship. Elijah Dertz from Eastland is also on the West Carroll team in the upper weights. West Carroll also returns Briar Nevills and Trapper Hartman. Polo has Connor Eubanks. Marcus McKenna and Alex Davies. Durand has Matt Nevada.
While the NUIC is known for football with 21 state championships. The wrestling in the NUIC is also a powerhouse with 13 state championships. Dakota won it in 2006, 2013 through 16, was second in 1994, third in 2005 and 07 and fourth in 1989. Dakota's Pete Alber and Lena-Winslow/Stockton's Kevin Milder are wrestling coaching legends in the state.
Lena-Winslow/Stockton has state titles in 2017, 19 and a state runner up in 2012. Now West Carroll in the consolidation with Mt. Carroll and Thomson, Savanna has the most state championships in wrestling with six in 1974, 75, 77, 79, 80 and 82. They also finished third place three times.
For a look at all-time NUIC state hardware go to Facebook NUIC Sports. Dakota wrestling history is at Facebook Dakota wrestling history.