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Spring a productive season for area athletes

Falls and Germantown score well in multiple sports

June 23, 2014

There were no state champions in this WIAA spring season for athletes from Germantown nor Menomonee Falls, but one could argue it was one of the most productive and profitable campaigns for the two area schools in sometime.

A quick glance alone reveals an underlying excellence for both athletic programs, as the success was not limited to one or two sports but came across a broad spectrum of activity, revealing the work of sound youth programs, dedicated athletes and strong coaching.

Here are best moments in rough order of importance of the top spring events in the northwest area:

· The WIAA State Tournament quarterfinal between the Germantown and Menomonee Falls girls softball teams. Again, these traditionally strong programs did the job again. This was the North Shore Conference champion Warhawks' third-straight state tournament berth and the Greater Metro Conference champion Indians' second straight. The youthful Warhawks got a late home run from Katelyn Schultz to pull out a 5-2 win and earn a bit of revenge on a first game of the season defeat to the more experienced Indians. Germantown has made state semifinals in 2012 and 2014, while Falls did it in 2013.

· The state runner-up finish of the Germantown boys tennis doubles team of Eric Stodola and Ben Wait. The Warhawks have been building for years but always butted their heads against the glass ceiling of state powers Homestead, Whitefish Bay and Nicolet. No more — Stodola and Wait earned the third seed in the WIAA state tourney and dropped only a three-set thriller in the state championship match to a duo from Brookfield East. It's the highest state finish for a state tennis entry from either Falls or Germantown and is a credit to the hard work of Warhawk coach Jeff Stodola and his staff.

· The resurgence of the Menomonee Falls boys track team. The Indians have slowly been reloading ever since the huge class of 2010 graduated, and behind state 100-meter third place finisher Christian Almonte and their fourth-place 4x200 relay team, Falls succeeded smashingly this spring. They won six major meets including the GMC indoor and relay titles, as well as a WIAA regional crown. This group was full of high-character, overachieving types who qualified an impressive seven entries for the state meet.

· The continuing excellence of the Menomonee Falls and Germantown girls soccer teams. It is truly unfortunate that both these teams got stuck in the true WIAA "sectional of death" as the 21-3 Indians, who set all kinds of program records for wins (21) and conference wins (six) fell in a 1-0 decision to DSHA in a sectional semifinal game after earning the top spot in one of the final state coaches polls.

The Warhawks, meanwhile, with their four collegiate scholarship players, took an early lead against the same Dashers in the subsequent sectional final before injuries sapped their depth in the midfield and caused them to drop a heartbreaking 2-1 sectional final decision. It was their second-straight loss in the sectional final to the eventual state champion. The day will come soon when both Falls and Germantown find themselves in the WIAA state tourney!

· The youthful exuberance of the Germantown girls track team. The Warhawks graduated nearly everyone of importance off a good team from last year, but behind a couple of key seniors (Jayne Bertieri and Khia Kurtenbach), and up to a dozen fantastic freshmen, Germantown became highly competitive and even outright successful, breaking school relay records and winning the Cedarburg True Team Invitational and taking second in the North Shore Conference Relays. Under joint coach Greg Siegert, the Warhawk boys also had their moments, winning the Cedarburg title and earning a surprising WIAA regional crown.

· Germantown's Phillip Johnson also gave area golfers something to cheer about as he was a repeat WIAA state tournament qualifier and tied for a respectable 14th in the annual state test held at University Ridge in Verona June 9 and 10, carding a 36-hole score of 151 (76-75) as Oak Creek's Kaylor Steger claimed the individual crown with a 142 (68-74). Johnson earned a scholarship to the University of Dayton.

· And though not technically an event, it was also announced this spring that Germantown volleyball and basketball star Jon Averkamp earned WIAA Scholar/Athlete honors. A total of 16 senior boys and 16 senior girls are honored each spring for a combination of academic and athletic excellence. Averkamp, who is heading to St. Cloud State in Minnesota this fall on a basketball scholarship, also came out for the baseball team for the first time since his freshman year and is having a positive impact as a pitcher/first baseman.

· And one more item of note. This spring marks the final go-round for veteran Falls head girls track coach Andy Eisenbach after more than a decade at the helm coaching high-level hurdlers (multi-time state placewinner Callie Burrows) and state record-holding triple jumper Air Force cadet and athlete Mikayla Robertson. Eisenbach has a young and growing family and has been working toward an administrative position for some time. We thank him for his good humor and his dedication and wish him good luck!

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