By Vern Cahak
Great Northern Conference championships in hockey, football, baseball and golf highlighted an extraordinary year for Antigo High School athletes in the year 2015.
The hockey team, coached by Antigo alumnus Matt Borneman, was the most impressive as it went undefeated in the conference with a 13-0-1 record and finished the season with an outstanding 22-3-2 overall mark.
Coming off Antigo’s best season in history during the 2013-2014 season, AHS is 45-5-4 in the last two campaigns under Borneman’s mentorship.
A 4-3 victory over Wausau East in overtime for the WIAA Regional title and a 2-0 shutout win over Stevens Point in Sectional action were the most prestigious triumphs. Jed Weix scored the game-winning goal against East while third period goals by Weix and Alex Nagel gave the Robins their win over SPASH, which followed an early season 3-2 win over the Panthers, but a 7-2 defeat to powerful Wausau West ended Antigo’s tournament run.
Nagel was easily Antigo’s scoring leader with 70 points on 39 goals and 31 assists. He tallied 27 goals and 23 assists for 50 points in conference play. Tyler Husnick chalked up 35 assists and nine goals for 44 total points. Elijah Wickersheim ranked third with 35 points on 11 goals and 24 assists. Rounding out the top six were Zack Levis, 30 points (11 and 19), Weix, 26 (13 and 13), and Adam Schmidt, 23 (13 and 10).
The Robins posted nine shutouts. Goalie Ryan Schmidt recorded 187 saves for a .940 save percentage.
Co-championships were earned by both the Red Robin football and baseball teams.
In his inaugural season as head Antigo coach, Tom Schofield was selected as conference Coach of the Year, as he led the Robins to a 5-1 league record and a 7-3 overall showing.
AHS running back Max Nowinsky was named unanimously the co-offensive Player of the Year.
Nowinsky rushed for 1,078 yards and scored 74 points during Antigo’s season. He led the conference in ground gaining with 663 yards in 82 carries for an 8.1 yards per carry average. His 60 points in league play tied for first place.
Nine of Nowinsky’s teammates received All-Conference recognition, including five on the first team, two on the second team and two honorable mentions.
Linebackers Ben Jansen and Cody Below were unanimous choices on the first team defense while tight end Hunter Kirsch and linemen Matt Elbe and Jake Fleischman were first team offense.
Antigo players named to the second team were Alex Nagel, both as quarterback and defensive back, Kirsch, defensive line, Jansen, offensive line, and Alex Jagla, defensive line. Nagel missed Antigo’s last four-plus games with an ankle injury.
Elijah Wickersheim and Matt Winter received honorable mention as defensive backs.
Injuries to key personnel likely cost the Red Robins an outright conference title and an extended run in the playoffs.
Antigo’s most crucial victories of the season were a 34-30 decision over Mosinee and 14-0 shutout over Merrill. The Robins also edged Rhinelander 20-14, in the Bell Trophy Classic for their ninth consecutive win over the Hodags.
The AHS baseball team, under the leadership of Coach Dan Bastle, tied Mosinee for the GNC crown with a 10-2 record and upset D. C. Everest, 5-0, in the Regional tournament championship game behind the shutout pitching of Nick Greening. A Sectional loss to Bay Port ended the season.
Jake Husnick paced the Red Robin offense with a hefty .522 batting average in the conference. He collected a league leading 24 hits in 46 at-bats and his average ranked second in the GNC. Two other Antigo players ranked in the top six. Brady Tatro hit .450 and Arin Verhagen .444, followed by Hunter Kirsch at .436. Kirsch led the team in runs batted in with 17 and Weix had 15.
Other outstanding hitters were Nick Greening with a .390 average, Weix, .356, Max Nowinsky, .348, Cam Noskowiak, .333, and Luke Osborne, .313.
Coach Steve Fermanich’s golf team took conference honors, led by Jack Shinners. Rounding out the team were Zach Falk, Sam Brettingen, Luke Schroeder, Jackson Charlesworth and Matt Arndt.
Both the AHS male and female basketball teams posted winning records in 2014-15. Coach Jesse Shaw’s boys chalked up a 7-5 GNC record and finished 15-7 overall. A heartbreaking 50-49 loss to Hortonville in the Regional tournament ended the season
Six-foot, five-inch senior Jack Lund led the team in scoring with 347 points, an average of 15.8 points per game. He was edged out for the Great Northern Conference scoring title by a single point, 192-191.
Sophomore Matt Arndt was runner-up in scoring with 262 points for a 12.5 average. He had 135 points in league play, good for sixth place. Cameron Noskowiak was third on the point list with 189.
Two of Antigo’s victories were over Wisconsin Valley Conference teams. The Robins beat Wausau East, 61-56, and upset D. C. Everest, 54-53.
Coach Jim Kondzela’s AHS girls placed third in the GNC with an 8-4 record and won 17 of 22 games overall. Two of the Red Robin victories were over a very strong Mosinee team, which came within one game of a state berth. The team also beat non-conference big schools, Wausau East and Wausau West.
Laurissa Belott was Antigo’s top scorer with 110 points in conference action. Other scoring leaders were Sarah Duff with 94 points, Mandy Petts with 92 and Abi Warren with 85. Duff ranked second in league rebounding with 92 boards.
An awesome hitting display led by Laurissa Belott carried Coach Sandi Robrecht’s softball team to a highly successful season. The Red Robins tied for second place in the GNC and finished 16-9 overall.
Belott recorded a sensational .629 batting average with 22 hits in 35 times at bats in the conference. For the season, she collected 39 hits in 79 at-bats for a .494 average. Alison Kondzela posted the second best batting average with .466 on a team-high 41 hits in 88 trips to the plate. She averaged .512 in the conference and drove in 34 runs. Also cracking the .400 mark were Kara Wilhelm with .415 and Jordan Nagel with .402. Wilhelm led the team in home runs with 11 and runs batted in with 36.
Antigo’s gymnastics team qualified for the WIAA state tournament for the 12th successive year by placing second in the sectional. Tyler Tatro took fourth place in all-around. Other contributors were Emily Bastle, Alivia Weix, Kim Swan and Ali McCann.
The Red Robin volleyball team finished second in the conference with a 9-3 record before losing to Tomahawk in the playoffs. Marisa Hartman was a first team All-Conference selection while Brittney Bastle and Billie Novak were named to the second team.
Distance runner Colin Koss took the spotlight on the AHS track and cross country teams. He qualified for the state meet in both sports. In cross country he was named to the All-Conference first team. On the female side, Hannah Zenkovich and Sarah Duff were state qualifiers.
On the wrestling mat Will Dixon and Josafat Garcia Morales placed second in the conference meet and Dixon, Garrett Becerra and Brandon Lucht were Sectional qualifiers.