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Prep boys golf: Madison Edgewood's James Gilmore in the 2018 WIAA state tournament

Madison Edgewood's James Gilmore hits toward the green on hole No. 10 during Division 2 team play at the 2018 high school boys state golf tournament on 6/4/18 at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wisconsin

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Middleton’s youth brigade: Middleton led area Division 1 teams at state last year, tying for sixth at 48-over-par 624. Prepare for a continuation of the Cardinals’ long history of success in Big Eight and WIAA competition. This year, the Cardinals feature the top-ranked sophomore player in Wisconsin, Jacob Beckman, and three juniors ranked among the top 18 in their class by the website Wisconsin.Golf. All four averaged between 78 and 79 strokes per 18-hole round last year. Tommy Kriewaldt is No. 11, Kip Sullivan is No. 15 and Carson Frisch is No. 18. Last year, Beckman and Sullivan shot 155 to tie for 28th individually at state, Frisch tied for 41st at 157 and Kriewaldt tied for 68th at 163. Sullivan was named first-team all-Big Eight, and Beckman, Frisch and Kriewaldt made the second team. Beckman, Frisch and Sullivan earned State Journal All-Area honorable mention.

Shooting for No. 14: The Madison Edgewood boys have been a model of excellence for decades. Last year, the Crusaders shot 310 in the Badger South Conference tournament to beat Oregon by eight strokes for Edgewood’s 13th consecutive conference title. The Crusaders went on to dominate the WIAA Division 2 state tournament, shooting a two-day 605 to beat runner-up Edgerton by 39 strokes for their second consecutive title and fourth in 10 years. Three top players were lost to graduation, but that doesn’t change the Crusaders’ goal of taking aim at conference title No. 14 and state championship No. 5 — which would break a WIAA record for most consecutive Division 2 championships (three).

Hope for rain: Madison Abundant Life, the defending Trailways Conference champion and WIAA Division 3 state runner-up, might have a tough time winning this year’s conference tournament – unless the event is rained out on Wednesday, May 15. That’s the day of the conference tournament — and the day the Challengers’ top two players, Boomer Zierath and Jack Rollins, are scheduled to take the International Baccalaureate exam. A sunny day will mean the top two Challengers will be absent from the conference tourney, coach Rick Zierath said.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jacob Beckman, so., Middleton: Ranked No. 1 in the state’s class of 2020 by Wisconsin.Golf, Beckman led the Cardinals to a sixth-place finish at team state last year, tying a group (including teammate Kip Sullivan) for 28th individually at 74-81-155. Shot 74 to tie for fourth in the Verona sectional.

Ethan Carrick, sr., Sun Prairie: After a strong summer, moved up to No. 19 in the class of 2019 Wisconsin.Golf rankings though he missed out on qualifying for state last year. Earned second-team all-Big Eight honors last year. Will head to UW-Eau Claire for his collegiate career.

Kasen Fager, sr., Mount Horeb: A first-team all-Badger North pick last year, Fager averaged 41.5 strokes per nine-hole round. The two-time letterwinner opened his season with a first-day 34 in the Wisconsin Dells Invitational.

Austin Gaby, sr., Verona: Ranked 37th among state seniors by Wisconsin.Golf. Tied for 45th individually at 158 and helped the Wildcats finish 11th in the team race. The first-team All-Big Eight and all-area honorable mention pick tied Oregon’s now-graduated Ryan Candell for medalist honors in the Verona sectional and shot 78 for third place in the Big Eight Conference meet, won by the Wildcats. Will play at UW-Stout next season.

James Gilmore, sr., and Karl Gilmore, jr., Madison Edgewood: James zoomed up to the No. 10 spot in Wisconsin.golf’s rankings for the class of 2019, and Karl moved up to the No. 16 spot in the class of 2020. James shot 152 at Division 2 state to tie for fifth, and Karl shot 166 to tie for 24th. Both shot 80s in the Platteville sectional. James won all-area second-team honors and Karl earned honorable mention.

Joe Guerrera, sr., Waunakee: After shooting a 3-over 75, made a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole last year to win a one-hole, three-way playoff to earn medalist honors in the Badger North Conference tournament. The Warriors won the conference team title by one stroke over Reedsburg. Shot 79 in the Verona sectional, missing out on a state trip.

Matthew Hach, sr., New Glarus: Ranked 35th among state seniors by Wisconsin.Golf. Hach stood out in the WIAA Division 3 state tournament, shooting a pair of steady 78s for a sixth-place tie at 156. Also shot 78 in the Capitol Conference tournament, tying for sixth. Earned all-area honorable mention. Will play for Madison Area Technical College next year.

Lukas Heckmann, sr., Lakeside Lutheran: The defending WIAA Division 2 state individual champion after shooting 68-79-147 to beat Madison Edgewood’s Drew Arndt by three strokes. Also the State Journal’s All-Area Player of the Year after averaging 37.56 strokes per nine holes. Shot 72 to win the Platteville sectional and 71 to win individual honors and lead the Warriors to the Capitol Conference tournament title. Ranked ninth in the class of 2019 by Wisconsin.Golf. Will play next year at the University of New Orleans.

Zak Kulka, sr., Beaver Dam: Tied for 41st at Division 1 individual state last year, shooting 157. Tied for medalist honors in the Badger North Conference tournament, shooting 75, but lost in a playoff. Shot 78 in the Janesville Parker sectional, good for third place. Earned all-area honorable mention. The UW-Green Bay recruit is ranked sixth in the class of 2019 by Wisconsin.Golf.

Sean Murphy, sr., Waunakee: Murphy is ranked 12thin the class of 2019 by Wisconsin.Golf after winning the summer Junior Masters tournament. Tied for 45th at Division 1 state, shooting 158, after shooting 74 to tie for fourth in the Verona sectional. Earned repeat all-Badger North first-team honors and all-area honorable mention, averaging 39.2 strokes per nine-hole round. Will play at UW-Eau Claire next year. “Sean’s strengths are his consistency, his short game, his mental toughness and his work ethic,” coach Betsy Zadra said.

Kyle Wille, sr., and Joe Forsting, sr., Edgerton: Led the Crimson Tide to a runner-up finish in the Division 2 team race last season, finishing 18th (162) and 13th(160), respectively. Wille shot 80 and Forsting 81 in the Platteville sectional. Both will play at Iowa Central Community College next season. Both earned all-area honorable mention last year and are ranked 25th and 30th, respectively, in the senior class by Wisconsin.Golf.

Boomer Zierath, sr., and Jack Rollins, sr., Madison Abundant Life/Country Day: Led the Challengers to a runner-up finish at Division 3 team state last year, shooting 163 (tied for 14th) and 161 (13th) at state. Rollins won the Trailways Conference tournament with a 79, one stroke ahead of Zierath, as the Challengers totaled 355 for an 11-stroke victory over Williams Bay. The two, both all-area second-team picks last year, are ranked 47th and 48th, respectively, in the class of 2019 by Wisconsin.Golf.

 

CONFERENCE CAPSULES

BADGER NORTH

Waunakee, coached by Betsy Zadra, claimed the No. 10 ranking in the season’s first coaches’ poll. The defending Badger North Conference champions have high expectations for a banner year, fielding a lineup rich with accomplished, experience seniors. Sean Murphy (39.2 average last year) leads the way, but the Warriors’ low team scores are equally credited to Jacob Werlein (40.2 last year), Joe Guerrero (40.0) and Ryan Johnson (41.1). All are seniors who finished in the top 10 individually in the Badger North tournament last year; Werlein is a four-year letterwinner and the others are three-year letterwinners. Also ready to contribute are senior Jack Wubbolding (42.5), senior Zach Deering (40.4) and junior Mason Miller (43.7). “We would like to have our seniors end their high school careers playing at University Ridge in June,” Zadra said.

Mount Horeb, under third-year coach Nolan Krentz, beat eventual Division 2 state runner-up Edgerton by three strokes in the Walworth Big Foot regional last year, but took fourth in the Platteville Sectional to miss out on a state berth. The Vikings also took third in the Badger North race. “We expect to move up the standings and contend for a conference title this season,” Krentz said. Back is No. 1 player Kasen Fager (41.5 strokes per nine-hole round last year) and other seniors moving up a spot to make up for the graduation of Tyler Crubaugh are No. 2 Tommy Winkler (41.8), No. 3 Will Kealy (42.8) and No. 3 Ben Leis (42.4). If some new varsity players can step up to contribute in the fifth position, the Vikings will be ready to challenge.

DeForest returns four of its top five players from last year, and seventh-year coach Scott Siemion’s Norskies hope to improve on last year’s overall seventh-place conference finish. Back are No. 1 Joe Brethouwer, No. 2 Sam Galvin, No. 3 Jack Creger and No. 4 Kyle Jennings. “Our team should be able to build on the lower finish from last season and rebound, hopefully, to a top-four finish. We need to develop more consistency from shot to shot,” Siemion said, adding that Brethouwer is the team’s most consistent player.

Beaver Dam features one of the area’s very best individual players in senior Zak Kulka, a state qualifier and first-team all-conference player who averaged 77 strokes per 18-hole round last year. But the Golden Beavers need to develop their other four varsity players before they can present a challenge for the top of the conference team standings, second-year coach Chris Smith said. Senior M.J. Hallman will handle the No. 3 spot, and sophomore Ben Nortman and senior Casper Rubelke will hold the third and fourth places in the lineup. “I expect our team to finish in the middle of the Badger North,” Smith said.

Reedsburg lost three of its top four players to graduation, giving Will Fuhrmann his chance to move up and lead the Beavers. He shot 78 in the Badger North Conference meet last year, as Reedsburg finished just one stroke behind champion Waunakee in the team race. Fuhrmann opened this season with a nine-hole round of 37 to open the Wisconsin Dells Invitational. Among the other returnees are Kip Cunningham, Carson Beyer and Kip Crary.

Baraboo coach Landon Brownell welcomed 14 freshmen into the fold as practice began, giving the school a total of 29 players, the best in Brownell’s eight years running the program. No. 1 player Hunter Dersham has graduated, but junior Dane Hinz is ready to take over at the top after qualifying for WIAA sectionals each of the last two years. He shot 79 in the Verona sectional last year and is ranked 34th in class of 2020 by Wisconsin.Golf. Taking over at No. 2 and No. 3 will be seniors Jack Rath and Noah Anderson, and the team’s high numbers will create quite a competition for the other varsity places, Brownell said.

Portage coach Ed Carlson’s team won the program’s first WIAA regional championship in 11 years last season, but four seniors graduated from that squad, leaving a bit of a rebuilding project for the Warriors this season. Still, the team has eight seniors and two juniors, with seniors Marcus Herwig and Dayne Hensler expected to lead the pack. Herwig led Portage with an 83 in an early meet at DeForest.

Sauk Prairie, coached by Sean McGann, aims to move up from last year’s eighth-place finish in the Badger North. “We lost two players from last year, but they were our No. 4 and no. 5 players,” the coach said. Back are senior Jake Vieth (91.4 strokes per 18 holes last year) and junior Tyler Ramaker (96.0). Vieth shot an 83 in the Stoughton Invitational last week. Also back are junior Aaron Frey and senior Spencer Breunig.

BADGER SOUTH

Madison Edgewood, led by 16th-year head coach Joe Ring, won its 13th consecutive Badger South championship and second straight WIAA Division 2 state title last year. That gives the Crusaders four state titles and four runner-up finishes in 11 state trips. Three seniors were lost from last year, and Ring says “this year is a great chance for new players to step up … We will have a lot less experience across the team.” The only returning senior with varsity experience will be James Gilmore (79.5 strokes per 18-hold round last year). Also back is varsity veteran junior Karl Gilmore (81.9 average). Stepping up to challenge for varsity spots will be Brody Andes (79.1 average), Ethan Arndt (84.8), Charlie Jaye (88.4) and Michael Thao (93.0).

Monona Grove, coached by Dan Zweifel, finished fifth in last year’s Badger South Conference race, but advanced to the WIAA sectionals and missed out on a state trip by four strokes. This year, the Silver Eagles will have to replace Jake Schroeckenthaler, a three-time state tournament qualifier, and three other graduated seniors. This year’s edition of the Silver Eagles will be young, with sophomore Drew Munn and Connor Bracken and freshman Jacob Fredrickson expected to lead the crew. Munn is the only returning varsity player.

Oregon returns three starters from a team that took sixth in the Verona sectional last year. Individual state qualifier Ryan Candell has graduated, but coach Sara Mess returns three other members of last year’s top five, led by senior John Klus. Klus averaged 78 strokes per 18-hole round last year and earned all-Badger South first-team honors. Senior Sam Schroeder (84) and junior Zach Kapalczynski (86) also return. Challenging for the other spots will be junior Colton Eyers and senior Justin Yaun.

Fort Atkinson coach Matt Reel’s team has a young lineup, and poor weather has hampered the Blackhawks’ efforts to gauge top players and prepare for the season’s start. Elijah Gilson, Drew Hebbe and Luke Ellingson are expected to battle for the No. 1 position.

Milton, led by veteran coach Kirk Wieland, will be led by senior A.J. Gray, who is ranked 36th in the class of 2019 by Wisconsin.Golf and will play for Madison Area Technical College next year. However, the rest of the Red Hawks are young and unproven. The group of hopeful contributors includes freshman Zack Bothum, sophomore Brayden Kline, senior Alec Revels and junior Cole Zagelow.

Monroe, coached by seventh-year veteran Braden Rindy, took last in the Badger South tournament and sixth in the final conference standings last year. Returning leaders are senior Jack Rogerson (averaged 85 over 18 holes last year) and junior Noah Becker (82). Also back are junior Collin Allen (102) and sophomore Brennen Boyce (108). Rindy hopes his team can build up to contend for a top-four finish in the South.

Stoughton finished sixth in the conference tournament last year and eighth in the final standings, and none of the Vikings advanced past the WIAA regional round. Second-year coach Stephen Stokes says he has a “very young team’’ this year, with only one returning player (junior Jake Livingston, 48.5 average per nine holes last year). Also challenging for a top lineup spot is senior Carter Hellenbrand, and senior Dawson Dunn and sophomore Eagan Olson should be able to lock up varsity spots.

Watertown coach Scot Meyer, who last coached the Goslings from 2001 to 2006, is back as head coach. Third-year varsity player Griffin Meyer returns (he averaged 45 per nine holes last year), and seniors Caden Fredrick and Calvin Marks saw limited varsity experience last year.

BIG EIGHT

Middleton, under 14th-year coach Tom Cabalka, is no stranger to Big Eight Conference and WIAA state tournament success. While the Cardinals won the Big Eight dual-meet title last year, they finished third in a hard-fought conference tournament before going on to win their regional, take second in their sectional and finish fifth at Division 1 state. Six letterwinners — more than needed to fill a five-player lineup — return this year, and the four who were varsity regulars last year averaged between 78 and 79 per 18-hould round. The Big Four should be sophomore Jacob Beckman and juniors Carson Frisch, Kip Sullivan and Tommy Kriewaldt. “We should be competitive, especially if (the returnees) improve on their average,” Cabalka said. “We’re still young, with the four being three juniors and one sophomore, but all played at state last year.”

Verona coach Jon Rebholz saw his Wildcats knock off Janesville Parker and Middleton to win the Big Eight Conference tournament last year, and then defeat Middleton again to win the Verona sectional as Austin Gaby earned medalist honors with a 72. The Wildcats then shot 647 at Division 1 state to finish 11th overall and third among Big Eight qualifiers. Gaby finished 45th at individual state, taking home all-state honorable mention, and returns to lead the lineup. Also back is a solid and proven junior in Cale Rufenacht, the Wildcats’ No. 3 player last year ranked 36th in the state class of 2020 by Wisconsin.Golf. Also back is Ryan Mirwald, who challenged for a top-five spot much of last year. Three-time state qualifier Garhett Kaegi was lost to graduation. “We will be a little light on depth this year, but we do have some quality experience at the top of our lineup,” Rebholz said.

Sun Prairie coach Steven Braatz returns a wealth of talent from last year’s team, which took fourth in the Big Eight overall. Leading the way is fourth-year varsity player Ethan Carrick, a second-team all-Big Eight player last year. The UW-Eau Claire recruit enjoyed a strong summer season and moved up to No. 19 in the class of 2019 Wisconsin.Golf rankings. Also back is consistent junior Mickey Keating, an honorable mention all-Big Eight pick who is ranked 28th in his class by Wisconsin.Golf. The Cardinals also feature senior Madison Area Technical College recruit Ethan Churchill. Senior Cade MacMiller and juniors Ryan Batterman and Sam Chapman should battle for lineup spots.

Janesville Parker, coached by Sam Van Galder, took second in the conference tournament last year and made its first state trip since 2012, but the Vikings graduated four of their top five players and returns only one senior in Jay Gorman. Juniors Kadin Kleman and Zack Milner also have some varsity experience, and juniors Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Roberts are expected to contribute.

Janesville Craig has a new head coach in Brent Corey and will be led by seniors Daniel Thomsen and Connor Kelly (an all-conference honorable mention pick last year) and junior David Lux.

Madison Memorial will be led by sophomore Silas Pickhardt, ranked 22nd in the class of 2021 by Wisconsin.Golf, and senior Matthew Sorenson, an all-Big Eight honorable mention pick last year. Pickhardt earned medalist honors in Monday’s 19-team Madison Edgewood Invitational, shooting a 2-over-par 74.

Madison West is led by Joe Cranley, who shot 88 at Monday’s Madison Edgewood Invitational, with support from a group including Steve Wilke and Marcus Flynn.

Madison La Follette will be led by Garret May and George Philbin. They shot 91 and 92, respectively, at the Madison Edgewood Invitational earlier this week.

Madison East and Beloit Memorial have incomplete lineups at this point of the season.

CAPITOL

Columbus tied for the overall Capitol Conference title last year and qualified for the Division 2 Platteville sectional. This year, coach Bruce Zahn’s Cardinals seem to have the most experienced lineup in the talent-rich conference, and hope to win the conference title outright this year. Senior Adam Zahn, a three-time letterwinner and two-time second-team All-Capitol player, opened with a 77 in his first round of the Wisconsin Dells Invitational, as did junior Austin Lietha, a two-time letterman who earned first-team all-league honors last year. Senior Jeremy Toutant and junior Hayden Ott both have earned letters every year since they were freshman, and senior Dan Smedema was the No. 1 player on the junior varsity last year. Ott shot 82 and Toutant 84 in the first round of the Dells meet.

Cambridge is seen as Columbus’ top challenger in what coach Travis Galston predicts will be “a very competitive conference race.” The Blue Jays are led by senior Ryan Janson, an all-area honorable mention pick and two-time first-team all-Capitol player last year who shot 75 for fourth in the conference tournament and missed a state berth by one stroke. Another key player is junior Drew Jeffery, who showed great improvement last year and shot 77 in the conference tournament. The Blue Jays finished second behind Columbus in the season-opening Elkhorn Invitational last week.

New Glarus coach Jon Goodness enters his seventh year hoping to lead the Glarner Knights to a run at the Capitol title, led by four returning players from last year’s team, which surged after taking sixth in the Capitol to finish sixth at WIAA Division 3 state in its first-ever team state appearance. Matt Hach, who led New Glarus at state last year with a two-day total of 156 (sixth place), is back for his senior season. He averaged 41 per nine holes last year. Also back are seniors Jacob Krantz (47 average) and Jared Martinson (47 average) and sophomore Ty Ready (48 average). “Our guys peaked at the right time (last year) … I would like to see more consistency with our play during the regular season,” Goodness said.

Lakeside Lutheran boasts one of the state’s finest players in tested senior Lukas Heckmann, who shot a 69 in the first round of last year’s Division 2 state tournament and held on to win the championship. Heckmann’s brother, Isaac, is the best of four letterwinners lost to graduation, leaving senior Griffin Torgerson and junior Abel Krauklis as the top returnees. As a result, coach Andrew Willems expects a rebuilding season for the defending Capitol Conference tournament champion Warriors, with the goal of a top-five finish in the standings before Heckmann goes on to chase what would be a repeat individual state title.

Lodi tied Columbus and Watertown Luther Prep at the top of the conference standings last year, sporting a better record in mini-meets but losing to the Warriors by two strokes in the conference tournament. Coach David Zilker’s Blue Devils have an all-new top of the lineup this year, though, led by seniors Jackson Furniss and Collin West, sophomore Peyton Breunig and freshman Haley Thoeny. “We’d really like to try and win our conference again,” Zilker said.

Watertown Luther Prep faces a rebuilding climb this year, after finishing in a three-way tie atop the league last year. Senior Bryce Guse is expected to fill the No. 1 position for the Phoenix.

Lake Mills finished seventh in the eight-team conference last year, but returns senior Harper Untz and junior Sam Anhalt to the lineup. Sophomore Joey Toepfer and junior Eli Wagner also are expected to make the varsity lineup.

Wisconsin Heights has a complete lineup this year after finishing last in the league in 2018 and fielding an incomplete squad for the conference tournament. Sophomore Alton Robinson returns as the No. 1 player.

Monticello/Belleville, a new program, enters the fray this spring led by sophomore Peter Gustafson and junior Jackson Trainor.

ROCK VALLEY

Edgerton dominated the Rock Valley Conference last year, going undefeated in league mini-meets and winning the conference tournament by 54 strokes over runner-up Beloit Turner. The Crimson Tide then went on to take second in the WIAA Division 2 state tournament, behind Madison Edgewood. The team is off to a zooming start this spring, as Edgerton finished second (11 strokes behind Verona) in the 12-team Stoughton Invitational and sixth in the 19-team Madison Edgewood Invitational. The team leaders will be seniors Joe Forsting (13th individually at state) and Kyle Wille (18th at state). But the Crimson Tide has some strong support players, too, including Clayton Jenney (87 at Stoughton) and Braden Hurst (88 at Stoughton).

McFarland is out to challenge Edgerton’s reign atop the Rock Valley field after taking second overall in the conference (and third in the conference tournament) last year. The Spartans finished in third, just four strokes behind the Crimson Tide, in the Stoughton tournament, led by an 82 by Brian Semmann, an 85 by Zach Maurer and an 87 from Carson Lehnherr. Jake Scheffel also will be a key part of the varsity lineup. All are returnees from last season.

Jefferson has a very young lineup under coach Jeff Schmidt, but Mitch Vogel is expected to step up and lead the Eagles’ lineup. Vogel shot 89 at the season-opening Stoughton Invitational. Overall, the 12-player program roster includes eight freshmen and sophomores.

Evansville appears to be facing a rebuilding year after taking sixth in the overall conference standings last year. The Blue Devils have an all-new lineup this year, led by Jaden O’bel.

SWAL

Mineral Point, under 10th-year coach Cory Sokol, crowned three first-team all-SWAL players and one second-team pick last year after winning the conference tournament by 15 strokes, the Pointers’ fourth consecutive title. Graduation has taken a bit of a toll, but the Pointers have two very solid returnees in junior Simon Mitchell (two-time first-team all-conference) and left-handed senior Danny Pittz, a three-time letterwinner. Mitchell, who shot 77 for second in the conference tournament last year, was a WSGA State Match Play tournament qualifier last summer and is ranked 32nd in the state junior class by Wisconsin.Golf. A newcomer to watch is freshman Ollie Mitchell, who has extensive tournament experience. Seniors Brady Palzkill, Matthew Berg, McKenna Reichling and Logan Schmitz will battle for varsity slots.

Barneveld coach Nate Wood returns two top-five players from last year’s team, which took third in the SWAL race and hopes to challenge for the top spot this year. Back are senior Ethan Harpold (48 average per nine last year) and junior Owen Pechan (45 average). Up from the junior varsity are juniors John Wagabaza and Alex Ignatius and sophomore Morgan Larson.

SOUTH CENTRAL

Wisconsin Dells is young, but hopes to challenge a senior-heavy Mauston team for the South Central Conference title. Coach Seth Neilsen’s team should be led by junior Riley Eck and freshman Caden Jacobson, whom Neilsen sees as a preseason first-team all-conference pick. Another highly regarded freshman is Grant Marsich. The Dells has been relocated to the Adams-Friendship regional this year and has its sights set on a sectional berth.

SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN

River Valley will hang its hopes on Luke Aron, Simon Ehlinger and Eli Johnson, with support from Alex Harreh and Cole Shaffer.

Dodgeville will be led by Tyler Bradley, Ethan Loy, Eli Hardy and Alex Hoehne.

TRAILWAYS

Madison Abundant Life/Country Day coach Rick Zierath brings back four letterwinners from last year’s WIAA Division 3 state runner-up squad, which went 6-1 in Trailways South duals, won the conference tournament, took WIAA Division 3 regional and sectional titles and brought home the state tournament runner-up trophy. The top returnees are Boomer Zierath and Jack Rollins. What’s more, Blake Perkins has improved after spending a summer working with noted coach Dennis Tiziani. Senior Declan Young returns to the program after taking two years off to play AAU basketball, and freshman James Rollins, Jack’s brother, is expected to step into the varsity lineup.

Pardeeville returns two letterwinners from last year’s top five, but coach Mitch Beckett said a number of other experienced players are back and “expectations are high” in the Trailways North, where Palmyra-Eagle and Markesan are favored. “This is probably the most experienced team we have had in five years,” the coach said. Senior Jackson Pargman qualified for sectionals as a freshman and will hold down the No. 1 spot after shooting 88 in the conference tournament last year. Seniors Andrew Bartaczewicz, Blake Falstad and Jackson Parker all have some varsity experience.

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Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.