By Pat Garry, Staff Writer
As fall activities wrap up, the winter sports season unravels. Student athletes are chomping at the bit to get the competition underway, and coaches again look forward to successful journeys.
Kimball girls’ basketball
The upcoming year brings some seasoned experience with six seniors from last year’s team; Holly Berscheid, Erin O’Brien, Ashley Schindele,
Sidney Schreiner, Rachel Utecht, and Julia Zipoy. Returning juniors include Novalee Bechtold, Katie Decknatel, Kim Kesanen,
Cailyn Kuechle, and Bailee Schiefelbein. The Cubs closed out last season with a heart-breaking loss, 49-46, to Albany in the Section 6AA semifinals. This season, Kimball returns two leading scorers from a year ago: seniors Erin O’Brien, and Ashley
Schindele. The Cubs are fortunate to have both an inside presence, balanced with good perimeter shooting, while also bringing a high-level of pressure defense. Kimball opens the regular season at home against Royalton Tuesday, Dec. 4. Coaching Staff: Varsity, Jeremy Kuechle; Junior Varsity, Joe Stangle; C-Squad, Brooke Merten; 8th Grade, Becky Holtz; and 7th Grade, Barry Strand. “The first two weeks of practice will set the tone, the girls will work hard to get in basketball shape, they will be challenged, and we will work very hard to do all the little things well. Executing the fundamentals of the game will be a must. We have a new team and it will be exciting to see which players bring the intensity, rise up, and earn a spot on the Varsity roster. I look forward to seeing the girls compete, push each other, support each other, and bring some fun and exciting basketball to the court this year,” explained Coach Jeremy Kuechle.
Kimball boys basketball
Coach Jay Klein leads the Kimball Cubs boys’ basketball team which returns four letter winners from last year; Drew Gustafson, Noah Jurek, Thomas Pearson, and Riley Miller. Other contributors this year are seniors Casey Gohmann, Donnie Johnson, Zach Streit, and Jake Traurig. The juniors include David Baker, Brian Binsfeld, Chase Gustafson, Tyler Stang, and Noah Young. Sophomores looking to step in and help include Riley Albers, Hunter Hickman, and Jack Knaus.
“We lost about 80 percent of our scoring from last year so we have a lot of holes to fill. It is a great group of players and should be a very fun season. I look for EV-W and Pierz to be two of the top teams in the conference. In the section it will be Melrose, Albany, Cathedral, EV-W, and Annandale among the top teams,” said Coach Klein. Coaching Staff: Neil Helgeson, JV; Jordan Schleper, C-squad; Jake Gagne, eighth grade; and Barry Strand, seventh grade.
EV-W boys basketball
Eden Valley-Watkins boys’ basketball Coach Adam Langer aspires to have a competitive squad once again this year. His tentative roster includes: Justin Streit, senior post, returning starter; Gavin Klocker, senior guard, returning with bench-play experience; Mitchell Utecht, senior forward; Andrew Fyle, senior forward; Alex Foehrenbacher, senior forward; Luke Jansen, junior guard, returning starter; Adam Stommes, junior post, returning with bench-play experience; Kobe Beattie, junior guard, returning with bench–play experience; Carson Geislinger, junior guard, returning with bench-play experience; Dylan Utecht, junior guard; Jack Evens, junior post; Jayce Stenger, junior forward; Joshua Streit, sophomore forward, returning with bench-play experience. Key players lost to graduation include Dominic Schlangen, Landon
Schlangen, and Matthew Notch. “Our seniors from last year did a great job teaching this group what it takes to be successful. The players who were a part of our run last year should help us develop as a team throughout the season and hopefully have us playing our best basketball come playoff time; just as we did last year.” exclaimed Coach Langer. Coaching Staff: Adam Langer, head Varsity coach; Jacob Anderson, JV coach; and David Luhman, C-squad coach.
Last year the Eagles were 1-20, which was their first win in two years. “We were a young team then and still are now, but the ninth graders took a huge step forward in developing themselves to be good wrestlers,” said Coach Dan Berg. EV-W returns one state entrant, Taylor Ludwig, who won the section at 126-lbs. Look for Taylor to take a bigger step this year and get to the state tournament; and win a match or two. Taylor’s brother Trevyn, a senior, took third for the second year in a row, losing a true second match. Zach Nistler is now a junior and he took third last year in sections at 138-lbs. Ethan Kay took third in last year’s sections and was very close to becoming a state entrant. Other wrestlers who bring back Varsity experience are Gavin Mathies, who took fifth in sections, Connor Lincoln and Sam Nistler, who took fifth in sections as a seventh grader at 120-lbs., Rylan Schueller and Carter Mathies, who took sixth at 160-lbs., and Peyton Thul.
Some kids who may see some time on Varsity or JV this year are: Teagyn Ludwig, Gavin Caron, eighth grade; Nick Stetzel, ninthgrade; Jared Carlson, ninth grade; Austin Schlangen, ninth grade; Jackson Geislinger, ninth grade; AJ Rasmussen, tenth grade; Brandon Altenburg, ninth grade; Armando Walker, ninth grade; Ian Nistler, ninth grade; Austin Molitor, eighth grade; Jamin Hunt, eighth grade; Sonnie DeHeer, seventh grade; and Isaac Ortiz, seventh grade. “I look forward to the year and to see how these wrestlers mature and develop into what they want to be,” Coach Berg said. This year marks Berg’s 11th year as head coach. He is assisted by Heath Kramer, Jeff Forcier, and Joe Holdvogt.
In his inaugural season, Kimball head Varsity wrestling Coach David Joseph takes the baton from former Coach Mike Schindler.
“I am excited to take the reins from Coach Schindler. He has poured his heart and soul into this for a long time, and I look to pick up right where he left off. I’m very thankful for his investment in the program, community, and me. We are very excited for the upcoming season.” Coach Joseph exclaimed.
Overall, the Cubs are a young team, but they are not afraid of hard work. The kids honed their skills in the off season, working with former Kimball standout and current Minnesota Gopher, Mitch McKee. “We have some big shoes to fill as we lost state entrants Payton Schiefelbein and Ben Zipoy to graduation,” said Coach Joseph. Unfortunately, the Cubs must also endure a couple of devastating pre-season injuries. Senior standout Zach Schiefelbein and State entrant Austin Donnay, both suffered non-wrestling mishaps that will potentially sideline them for the season. “Those two young men are great athletes but they are even better people. We look for them to continue to provide strong leadership for our team, whether they step on the mat or not. They will both battle adversity well and set a good example for our team and our community,” Joseph added. To hopefully fill the void, the Cubs look to senior sensation Michael Donnay and last year’s lone Cub to earn All-State fourth place honors, Zack Holtz. Coach Joseph has a solid, young crop of wrestlers coming up through the ranks, and he expects them to take the next step and make some serious noise this year. Sophomores Brandon Guggisberg and Alex Nelson have been making tremendous strides, and they are hungry to put themselves on the map. Freshmen Nick Bowen, Carter Holtz, Ashton Hannan, Cody Leither, and Lucas Jurek, all have impressed in their willingness to put the extra time in the weight room and practice room this summer. The younger guys who have been working include Chase Anderson, Jack Bollman, Caden Guggisberg, Logan
Kuseske, and Brett Schiefelbein. A few of Schindler’s former, elite wrestlers join the coaching staff. This includes three-time state champion and Kimball’s all-time winningest wrestler Quinten Berres, two-time state champion Jordan Joseph, and four–time state place winner Marcus Hamer. Devon Kelley also continues his coaching career with the Cubs, along with Jesse Lesnau and Joe Anderson.
The 2018-19 season promises to be a highly competitive and fun–filled experience for participants and fans alike. Full schedules are available for perusal on the individual school’s websites or by visiting the MSHSL website at http://mshsl.org/mshsl/index.asp.