Editor’s note: Each day this week, the Baraboo News Republic will unveil its top 10 sports stories of 2017, as selected by its editorial staff.

4: Baraboo girls swimming takes seventh at state

The Baraboo girls swim team swam to a seventh-place finish at the WIAA Division 2 swimming and diving championships at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium on Nov. 10.

The Thunderbirds reached the podium in two events on the way to tallying a team score of 103, taking seventh behind Madison Edgewood (346), New Berlin Eisenhower (202), McFarland (194.5), Tomahawk (142), Whitefish Bay (134.5) and DeForest (134).

The T-Birds podiumed in their first event of the day, as the 200-yard medley relay team of Mackenzie Koehler, Taylor Bradley, Kirby Tock and Hannah Vittengl finished fourth with a time of 1 minute, 49.38 seconds.

“They had big goals, but they had good times, so they’re happy,” Baraboo head coach Lynn Keeling said of the 200-yard medley team, which entered the meet seeded second behind Madison Edgewood.

Edgewood set a state record with a time of 1:44.59 in the 200-yard medley relay, while McFarland (1:47.67) and New Berlin Eisenhower (1:48.56) also finished ahead of the T-Birds.

“I think we went out there and proved that we’re one of the best medley relays in the state and we’re a force to be reckoned with,” Tock said after the meet.

Tock used that momentum to place fourth in the 100-yard butterfly with a personal-best time of 58.02 seconds. New Berlin Eisenhower senior Bella Passamani won the event in 55.77 seconds.

“That was crazy. All those girls are so fast,” Tock said of the 100-butterfly field. “So it was just cool to stand up on the podium.”

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Koehler, Naomi Pelland, Tock and Vittengl came tenths of a second away from the podium. The quartet touched the wall in 3:41.54 to place seventh, just behind Whitefish Bay, which took the final podium spot in 3:41.40.

Bradley just missed out on a medal in the 100-yard breaststroke, using a time of 1:08.09 to place eighth overall and beat the school record set by Marlie Keeling in 2003.

Bradley also placed 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:19.66), while Vittengl added a 13th-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.46), and Koehler took 14th in the 100 backstroke (1:01.49) and 15th in the 200 freestyle (1:59.81).

Pelland, Danielle Crum, Bradley and Vittengl lowered their time from sectionals in the 200 freestyle relay, placing 11th at state in 1:42.51.

“We exceeded our expectations I think this year,” assistant coach Ashley Dietsch-Schreiber said of the T-Birds, who had 11 swimmers compete at state after starting the season with an inexperienced team that had lost nine seniors from the year before.

3: Seniors finish strong at state track meet

%5EpThe Baraboo senior class capped off the track season in fitting fashion.

%5EpEight of the 11 Thunderbirds that competed in the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet at UW-La Crosse in June were seniors.

Four of those seniors made their way on the podium — Josie Schaefer in the shot put and the discus, Kelsey Judge in the discus, Kyle Weiland in the 300-meter hurdles and Kody Weiland in the long jump. Schaefer and Judge had both placed at state before, while the Weilands stood on the podium for the first time.

Kyle Weiland crossed the line in 38.83 seconds in the 300 hurdles, finishing behind Eau Claire Memorial’s Drake Schneider (:38.05), West Allie Central’s Kelvon Johnson (:38.11) and Kimberly’s D.J. Stewart (:38.42).

“Senior year, ending it off on the podium feels great,” said Kyle Weiland, who set the school record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 38.74 seconds in the preliminaries.

Kody Weiland nearly topped his personal record in the long jump, using a mark of 23 feet, 3.5 inches to take fourth. The Baraboo senior was one of six athletes to reach the 23-foot mark on Friday, finishing behind Bay Port’s Cordell Tinch (24-02.25), Oak Creek’s James Carter (23-06) and Germantown’s Shon Pratcher (23-04.25).

“It’s awesome, it’s been the goal,” Kody said of climbing on the podium at state. “Just being up there looking at all the fans and everything, it’s something else.”

Kody Weiland took 11th in the triple jump (43-03) and 14th in the 200-meter dash (:22.54), while Kyle Weiland added an 11th-place finish in the long jump (22-3.75) and a 15th-place finish in the triple jump (42-05.25).

The Weilands joined Evan Vodak and Connor Grogan to put together a school-record time of 1:29.51 in the 4x200-meter relay. The T-Birds came up three spots short of qualifying for finals, finishing 13th while Menomonee Falls took the final qualifying spot with a 1:28.97.

“You can’t do anything more than run the fastest time in school history at the state meet,” Leaver said.

The Baraboo boys tied for 23rd, while Kimberly claimed the boys’ title.

On the girls’ side, three Baraboo seniors competed in the shot put. Schaefer won the title with a throw of 48-07 inches, while Judge (37-03) took 16th and Hannah Braun (34-08) placed 20th.

Schaefer also won her second straight discus title with a throw of 163-08, while Judge took fourth with a throw of 130-03.

“I’m pretty excited, that’s better than I did last year and it’s just exciting to get back to hitting 130 (feet) again,” Judge said. “With my first few throws, my first three, I wasn’t speedy to my finish like I should have been. And on my last few I adjusted that and started to really getting some torque.”

“Those girls deserve to be up there (on the podium),” Baraboo girls coach Annie Hinkhouse said of Judge and Schaefer. “They’ve worked so hard these last four years and I know it’s tough when there’s a lot of pressure there for Josie, and a lot to Kelsey too when they’re coming back there multiple years.”

Baraboo’s 4x100-meter relay quartet of Kaylee Mueller, Jamie Runnels, Hannah Crowe and Emily Kieck took 17th at state with a time of 50.27 seconds.

“The girls did exactly what they needed to,” Hinkhouse said of the sectional-title winning relay team. “I know they wanted to be a little faster in their time but I’m proud of them, they put it out there.”

Crowe also placed 21st in the 300-meter hurdles (:48.00).

The Baraboo girls tied for sixth as a team, while Milwaukee King took home the girls’ championship.

2: Larson leads Baraboo boys swimming at state

%5EpNoah Larson and the Baraboo boys swim team found their way on the podium four times at the 2017 WIAA Division 2 state boys swimming and diving tournament at the UW-Madison Natatorium on Feb. 17.

Larson, who is now playing football at North Dakota, reached the podium in two individual events and two relays. The senior fell just short of defending his state titles in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. Larson swam right next to Cedarburg’s Will Hobbs, who was the runner-up in both events when Larson won a pair of state titles in 2016.

Hobbs got the best of him this time, winning the 50 freestyle in 21.06 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 46.3 seconds. Larson touched the wall in 21.14 seconds to tie Riccardo Romersi for second in the 50 freestyle, while Larson took second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.9 seconds.

“Noah had a really good meet tonight,” Baraboo coach Heather Frank said after the meet. “It’s hard to come in and to not be first like he was, but one of things I said to him was, ‘Did you give it everything you had?’ and he said ‘I did everything that I could have done.’”

“I was a little disappointed,” Larson added. “(Will’s) a really good swimmer and he worked really hard and beat me.”

Larson served as the anchor on both of Baraboo’s podium-climbing relay teams. The quartet of Josh Hackbarth, Paul Hainz, Rowan School and Larson took sixth in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:30.8. Hackbarth, Aidan Lohr, School and Larson added a sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, touching the wall in 3:19.99 to beat their sectional time by more than three seconds.

“I was super excited to see that they pulled together in that last relay and took down a gob of time,” Frank said of the 400 freestyle.

Lohr, Jasper Swallen, School and Hainz placed 13th in the 200 medley relay (1:44.78), while Lohr took ninth in the 100 backstroke (:55.09) and 11th in the 200 individual medley (2:02.53), and Hackbarth took 14th in the 200 freestyle (1:51.16).

Baraboo took seventh place out of 31 teams, compiling a score of 111.5 to finish behind Monona Grove (381), Ashwaubenon (232), Grafton (208), Edgewood (174), Cedarburg (169) and Nicolet (159).

Regional Sports Reporter