The top sports stories in Waukesha this year including championships from familiar places at Catholic Memorial, a tremendous season for Classic 8 football and an old face making a national name for himself at Wisconsin.
There can be no dispute that the Classic 8 was the best football conference in the state of Wisconsin, with an unprecedented three state qualifiers. That included Catholic Memorial in Division 3 and Waukesha West in Division 2, though both fell short of the gold ball (as did Arrowhead in Division 1).
Go with the Scho'
As local players go, it's a rise that rivals that of Pewaukee's J.J. Watt. Waukesha West product Joe Schobert, once ticketed to be a preferred walk-on at North Dakota State, made the most of his last-second opportunity to play for the University of Wisconsin. As a senior with the Badgers, he was named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, All-Big Ten and second-team All American. Is the NFL next?
The Catholic Memorial girls volleyball team continued its reign as one of the state's powerhouse programs, taking home the Division 2 state championship in Green Bay with a convincing final performance.
Another kick in the wall
Just as dominant as CMH girls volleyball is CMH girls soccer, which added another state championship to its mantle with a Division 2 crown against Notre Dame at Uihlein Soccer Park in June.
Stars of the party
In Classic 8 boys basketball, Waukesha North took dead last in the regular season for 2014-15. And yet, in the playoffs, the Northstars made a dramatic run, becoming the only league team to reach the sectional with wins over New Berlin Eisenhower and Pewaukee before falling to eventual state qualifier Greendale. In that game, students from all three Waukesha public schools attended to root for the Northstars.
It all adds up
Waukesha North girls basketball player Jessica Kelliher capped her spectacular career with 2,012 points, the 15th most in state history, and scored 763 points as a senior for the seventh-highest single-season scoring mark in Wisconsin lore.
Waukesha West's girls basketball team opened the year as the No. 1-ranked team in Division 2, dropping down a division after toiling in Division 1 for years. Led by four-year starter Dani Rhodes, the Wolverines were off to a good start in their quest to reach Green Bay. West shared the Classic 8 Conference title with state-qualifer Arrowhead in 2014-15.
Emma Langer and Becca Langer took the top two spots for Waukesha West at the state cross-country meet in Wisconsin Rapids, helping the Wolverines placed eighth as a team (along with Brooke Lytle, Erica Liesen, Samantha Hanson, Emma Raasch, Brooke Studnicki). Emma Langer also took second in the 800 meters at the state track and field meet, finishing behind only record-setting Cami Davre of Whitefish Bay. The Langer sisters teamed with Maddie Frey and Hanson to take second in the 4x400, as well, and added second with Hanson and Megan Bur in the 4x800. Hanson added fourth in the 800.
End of the road
Joe Novak's highly-decorated distance running career at Catholic Memorial came to a close when he took a fall to start the 1,600 meters at the state track meet and placed fifth to accompany a second-place showing in the 800. He also ran on the second-place 4x400 unit with Eric Fridl, Austin Ciezki and Mike Oechsner. Meanwhile, the 4x100 girls team from CMH had a great day, taking second with the team of Emily Kolterman, Abbey Finnegan, Rachel Mlsna and Mady Rondeau.
Rusch steps down
After 24 years as head coach at Waukesha South football, Dave Rusch has elected to step down. Rusch returned to the sideline in 2014 after a battle with cancer.
Former Waukesha goalie Jake Kupsky got drafted by the San Jose Sharks. ... The Catholic Memorial boys golf team took third at state. ... Elijah Pitchford of Waukesha South, one of the state's best in the triple jump, takes second at state. ... Catholic Memorial's Tommy Matoska, who won the Division 2 state tennis doubles championship in 2014, took second with new partner Christian Erickson after a three-setter in the championship match in Madison.