Whitefish Bay girls gymnastics
Three WIAA state Division 2 titles in four years, including last year's crown and four WIAA sectional and North Shore Conference titles in a row.
Now's the time for a fresh start for the Blue Dukes, who lost numerous experienced hands to graduation last season and look to a new beginning under veteran coach Mary Liniewski.
"It's going to be a very different season," said Liniewski, whose team has won two dual meets so far this young campaign, "but the kids are where they need to be. They have risen to the occasion. They stood in the shadows of all those seniors, now they're all in the light."
The team has no experienced seniors and is captained by junior Paraskevi Limberatos (bars, vault and floor exercise). She will get help from fellow juniors Lucy Anzia (all-around), Eileen Demet (vault and floor exercise), Molly Serebin (balance beam) and Rachel Marks (bars and beam), as well as by freshmen Mary Claire Potter (all-around) and Sara Kenlay (all-around).
"We turned in a score of 129.55 in our first meet," Liniewski said, "and I think we can manage about seven more points maybe even exceed that. This is a good group. They really enjoy gymnastics and are good students of the sport."
"And I really don't know of the pressure is off. We still do have high expectations. A state title would be very difficult to achieve with this team, but we're still fighting for each 0.1 of a point and Mary Claire Potter could be something special. She's showing some real promise.
"We have a lot of potential with this group and we're enjoying a new set of challenges."
Homestead girls gymnastics
The busy early slate has been profitable for the Highlanders. They turned in a score of 135.47 in defeating area rival Shorewood in a dual meet on Dec. 13 and then despite having a number of juniors taking ACT exams, they claimed sixth in the powerful Emerald Invite at Waterford on Dec. 8.
Earlier, they defeated Menomonee Falls/Germantown in a dual meet.
"We're a little rough around the edges," coach Mike Giles said. "Inconsistency in our training has led to some rough spots, but we are turning in some good efforts."
The Highlanders closed out the 2012 portion of their season against Port on Tuesday.
In the dual meet win over Shorewood, Brittany Emond won the beam (9.05), uneven bars (8.85), floor exercise (9.075) and the all-around title. She was also third on vault (8.85).
Tori Puhl claimed the vault with a 9.15. Other good efforts include Amanda Hopkins second on vault (9.0), beam (8.65) and floor (8.975) and Ellie Trau taking second on bars (7.895).
At the Waterford meet, Homestead turned in a short-handed team score of 122.35, as Puhl was seventh on vault (9.225) and 14th in floor exercise (8.6). Trau also turned in a 7.725 on bars.
Against Falls/Germantown, Homestead turned in a score of 130.275, as Emond won the all-around (34.9) and also took the bars (8.65), beam (8.6) and floor exercise (8.925). Hopkins won the vault with a 9.1 mark. Monica Caputa was second on vault (9.0) as was Hopkins in floor exercise (8.525).
"We're actually looking forward to the break to get some good solid training in," Giles said.
Nicolet girls gymnastics
The Knights lost a close one to Menomonee Falls/Germantown on Dec. 12, 125.75 to 122.265. In the vault, Aleah Ellis finished second while Rachel Rabenn was third. Hayley Raj won the beam competition, while Ellis also won the all-around with a score of 32.22.
In junior varsity competition, Chantel Drake took first on the floor and third on vault along with Erin Kenney finishing third in the all-around. The team hosted Shorewood in a dual earlier this week to close out the 2012 portion of its schedule.
Homestead boys basketball
The first thing that first-year Highlanders coach Kevin McKenna will do following this campaign is completely revamp the schedule. The Highlanders have had three three-game weeks already in this still young season and will have played 14 games before the month ends.
"On top of all that, because of our trimester schedule, we've also had exams," he said. "We've tried to compensate with shorter practices, but since Jake (Laihinen) and Luke (Worthington) have gotten back (from the state championship football run) I think (as of Monday) we've had exactly one more practice than we've had games.
"We need to work on our stuff, Homestead stuff, not what the other team is doing and we simply haven't had time for that."
Homestead, which is at Milwaukee Lutheran on Friday, had another game week end on a sour note, as they fell to Marquette, 61-59, in the NY2LA Tourney the school hosted Saturday.
Earlier in the week, they defeated Cedarburg, 59-44, and McKenna's former coaching home, Grafton, 63-35, in a pair of North Shore wins that kept the Highlanders (7-4 overall) tied for second in the NSC with Whitefish Bay at 4-1.
In the NY2LA game, Homestead fell behind by 12 to Marquette, rallied, but came up a little short. They had the ball at the foul line with 3.5 seconds remaining, shooting one shot. They tried to bang the ball off the rim to see if they could get the rebound, but it didn't work out.
Laihinen led the way with 15 points while Joseph Binyoti and Worthington had nine apiece.
McKenna was not thrilled with the effort against Cedarburg on Friday.
"That was not indicative of the final score," he said. "Except for two good outbursts (including one in the first quarter) I thought that they complete outplayed us."
Worthington had 20 points to lead Homestead while Laihinen had 13.
McKenna said it was good to see some old friends at Grafton on Dec. 11. He said he had a good four years there and he was happy that he was able to make the team a little better every year.
Homestead took a 27-14 halftime lead as Laihinen scored 20 points and Jarrod Walton nine.
"Our focus is going to be on team play and toughness," McKenna said. "We just don't have a lot of that right now."
Brown Deer girls basketball
After falling to 1-5 overall with a tough loss to Pius XI in a Woodland Conference game on Dec. 11, the Falcons found their footing later in the week, routing Young Coggs, 75-13, in a nonconference game on Dec. 12, and then outlasting Cudahy, 38-31, in another Woodland tilt on Friday.
"We needed to get a couple of wins (after Pius)," coach Vinnie Murray said, "and though the Pius game was tough, I thought we played better there than in the Young Coggs game, and against Cudahy, we were on the verge of pulling away on several occasions, but we just couldn't get that far and we were battling foul trouble."
Still, the Falcons entered the week with a modest two-game winning streak, one that will get tested seriously this week. They took on powerful Pewaukee on Tuesday and then visit defending Woodland champ New Berlin Eisenhower on Friday.
"That'll be our last really hard week for awhile," Murray said
Against Cudahy, the Falcons earned a 23-16 lead after three quarters and then eased its way home despite foul trouble to Allison Laurent and Jasalyn Lee. Lee still finished with 12 points while Sabrina Wimmer had eight.
"We would get up 10 or 11 points and then something would happen to make it close again," Murray said.
The game against Coggs was deliberately scheduled to go in behind the tough Pius game and it had the desired effect as Brown Deer cruised. Valerie Whiyee led the way with 21 points while Wimmer had 17, Lee 13 and Laurent 12.
Whiyee had 11 points in the 58-28 loss at the hands of Pius.
Whitefish Bay wrestling
The final round was not good for the Blue Dukes as they lost all six matches, but they still managed to earn a credible seventh in the 18-school E.H. Stech Tournament in West Allis last weekend.
"The last round sort of clouds my mind," coach Dale Loebel said. "It wasn't a mental issue, or a toughness issue. I'm just not sure what it was. Still, we had three finalists and six kids place so it's hard to complain."
The Blue Dukes took on North Shore power Port Washington on Tuesday and then will be at the powerful Oshkosh-on-the-Water Tournament on Dec. 27-28.
"We're all coming down a weight class after the holidays," Loebel said. "It'll feel good. It'll be like where we'll be in February."
Bay scored 107 points in the Stech as Franklin won with 166.
Earning runner-up spots were Max Carlin at 120 pounds (3-1 for the tourney, 9-3 overall); Joey Davey at 132 (3-1, 11-5) and Rashadeem Gray at 170 (3-1, 11-1). The Blue Dukes grapplers lost the three finals matches by a combined total of six points.
Others earning places for Bay included Jack Ludke taking sixth at 126 (3-3, 11-8); Miguel Gomez claiming fourth at 138 (3-2, 9-8) and Ben Lehrmann taking fourth at 160 (4-2, 15-4). Loebel liked the efforts of Ludke and Gomez and thought that Carlin had a great final with Muskego's Austin Quartullo (3-0 loss).
Loebel also thinks it's just a matter of time before his big guys, Kelly Jackson at 195 and Will Shanley at 220 round into good shape.
Homestead boys hockey
The Highlanders routed Grafton, 9-2, in a North Shore Conference game on Dec. 11, as Ryan Mezera had three goals and two assists, Adam Connolly two goals and two assists, Evan Heimerl two goals and one assist and Thomas Fazio four assists.
Ryan Stendler and Zach Maasen each had a goal apiece.
Homestead, which will visit border rival the WNS Storm at the Kern Center in Milwaukee at 2 p.m. Saturday, enters the week with a 2-5 overall mark.
Shorewood boys swim
The Greyhounds, fresh off their title in the Woodland Conference relays, defeated New Berlin, 102-81 in a dual meet Dec. 12.
"I thought the meet was another step into the right direction as far as improvement goes," coach Rob McCabe said. "These boys are getting better in all areas of the sport. Their stroke techniques and race skills have clearly advanced in a positive manner. As we continue to progress in conditioning and fitness I think this team will continue to surprise their competitors."
Shorewood took on Wauwatosa on Wednesday and then will be off until the Metro Swim Officials Invite at Homestead on Dec. 27.
Kirill Korolev turned in two wins and season best times in the 200 free (1:51.29) and 500 free (4:59.42), while freshmen Joe Lock in the 100 breast stroke (1:12.63) and Michael Perry in the 100 butterfly (55.58) won individual races for the first time.
McCabe was also pleased with the one-two finish in the 200 medley relay as the team of Devon Brusnahan, Lock, Henri Carignan and Philip Clausen was first (1:54.98) and the crew of Tommy Chamberlain, Carlo DeSando, Andrew Clokey and Joe Stephenson (1:57.85) was second.
Shorewood boys basketball
The Greyhounds had a rough week, falling to Greendale, 63-43, on Dec. 11 and Greenfield, 61-48, on Friday.
With the two defeats, the Greyhounds fell to 2-4 in Woodland play and 3-5 overall. They took on Pius XI on Tuesday and host Wauwatosa West in their final preholiday game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
In the loss to Greenfield, the Greyhounds were outscored in every quarter by just small margins but could never get over the hump as Donovan Freeman had 20 points and Carmen Purvis 13.
Greenfield overwhelmed Shorewood with 10 3-pointers while the Greyhounds had just one.
Against Greendale, Shorewood trailed just 34-33 at the break but was then outscored 29-10 in the second half by the Panthers. Alec Grimmer and Purvis had eight points apiece for the Greyhounds.
- Steven L. Tietz
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