by Marlys Kruger
It seems this column gets written less frequently the longer I work at The Messenger but the sports business along with all the school and community activities keeps me plenty busy. As I begin my fifth year (I think that’s about right) with the paper, I can look back at another successful year of athletics from our local teams. Although some teams may have ended their seasons on a disappointing note, they can all still be proud of their accomplishments this past year.
Starting with fall sports, the Colfax boys were an underdog at the conference cross country meet but came together to win the meet for the fourth straight year. The girls won their sixth conference championship in seven years and placed second in the sectional with Dempsey Fogarty claiming the individual title in both races as the team earned the chance to race at state. They placed fourth, which tied them for their best finish with the 2010 team.
Elk Mound saw Ben Holzwarth win a conference title and qualify for state for the second straight year while the girls, led by a couple of freshmen, continued to improve in their fourth year of competition.
The Colfax girls won the conference volleyball title with just one loss while Elk Mound tied for second in the always tough D-SC. Colfax ended their season with a loss to powerhouse Grantsburg, while the Mounders, after taking down another powerhouse, La Crosse Aquinas, lost a regional championship game to Arcadia.
The Vikings’ football team made a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 after a must win game over Boyceville in the final regular season game, and lost to Edgar, a team that tied for the Marathon Conference Championship. Elk Mound took their lumps under a new head coach with a lot of underclassmen, finishing 1-8 for the season.
In their first year of girls’ golf, Colfax saw Whitney DeMoe qualify for the state meet after playing on the boys’ team in previous seasons. Time will tell if they have enough girls to continue the program as two of the three players have now graduated.
Winter sports gave us two conference championships and a state qualifier with the Elk Mound boys cleaning up in the D-SC with a perfect record, then won the regional and sectional before dropping an overtime game in the first round at the state tourney. It was the first time in 20 years the Mounders had reached the state level. The Colfax boys were playing under a new head coach, and with just one senior, ended the season with a 13-9 record.
In girls action, the Vikings won their sixth straight D-SC Championship with an undefeated record, but discovered how hard it is to get back to state when their season ended with a regional loss to Mondovi, a team they had defeated twice in the regular season. The Lady Mounders continue to improve in the conference and overall, ending the season with a 15-8 record, winning their first regional game against Mauston, then dropping a contest to state qualifier Neillsville.
The Colfax wrestling team which combines with Bloomer, filled more of their weights this year to make their matches more competitive, but did not advance anyone to the state meet as Brady Simonson was the only one to get to the sectionals.
Spring sports was a washout in many respects as bad weather for the second year in a row forced plenty of double headers or cancelled games for baseball and softball. After winning the conference and regional in 2013, the Elk Mound boys started slow but came on strong at the end of the season with a lot of underclassmen on the field, placing second at 9-3 in the Large D-SC, then lost a second round regional game 2-1 in extra innings to Stanley-Boyd. Colfax was an early season favorite to be a contender for that same conference title with a lot of letterwinners returning, but finished in fourth place and were 8-10 overall. They beat Boyceville in a first round regional game, then lost to Chetek-Weyerhaeuser.
Softball action saw the Mounders playing for a new head coach as they finished second in the D-SC, behind Pepin-Alma yet again. After losing a ton of seniors from last year, the Mounders finished 15-8 overall and lost in the regionals to Eau Claire Regis, who surprised a lot of people when they went on to sectionals.
Although there were a lot of rainy days for track meets too, there were some bright spots for both schools with Colfax sending some individuals and relay teams to state with the 4 X 800 bringing home a fifth place medal and Heidi Lieffort earning a second place medal and setting a school record in the pole vault. The Mounders sent one boy and one girl to the big show and sophomore Jonah Bauer certainly made his name known when he won the 100m dash.
The Mounders seemed to have plenty of players competing for spots on the newly-formed golf team and were pretty competitive in conference play. Next year they will be able to compete in the regional tournament. Colfax had just five golfers on the team, and with three of them freshmen with very little experience, the team struggled this spring. Trevor Seston did manage to make it through regionals to play at the sectional meet, however. Both teams also played in some miserable weather conditions which involved long delays in some meets.
A little bird informed me at the Colfax fair, Colfax is looking at starting a trap shooting team this year. I haven’t gotten any details yet but there have been a few informational meetings and there seems to be a lot of kids interested in the program. Another sport for me to keep track of!
Yikes-with fall sports practices all beginning in early August (they seem to start earlier each year), that means only weeks before we start over again. I’m sure we will have a lot of successful teams again in the upcoming year so be sure to follow them in The Messenger if you can’t get to the games!