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Five Division 1 Team Pre-Season Previews

03/10/2019, 9:15pm CDT
By Bob Tomlinson

Oregon, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Baraboo, Madison West

Here are five more Division 1 team profiles for your reading pleasure. The season gets started tomorrow (March 11th) so we will see how many coaches who have not returned Survey Forms follow through and submit one.

Oregon

Division 1 – Enrollment this year is 1149 – Sectional 5 at Badger
Conference – Badger South
Head Coach – Scott Mirkes – First Year
Coach Scott Mirkes enters his first year at helm in Oregon and will welcome three all-conference players to the team in sophomore Megan Bloyer, and juniors Kenadee Nelson and Said Gaberell. “We have a young team with just one returning senior. That being Brooke McCallum, ” said Mirkes. “They all gained experience as varsity players last year.” He says that he believes that the Panthers will have to be more consistent in their mental approach and improve their defense in order to move into the upper tier of teams in the always strong Badger South Conference. He sees Watertown, Monroe and Fort Atkinson as the top three teams to chase in the conference. In the sectional Mirkes says that Westosha Central, Wilmot and Burlington are tough teams.

Madison West

Division 1 – Enrollment this school year is 2249 – Sectional 3 at Verona
Conference – Big 8
Head Coach: Kayden Schumacher – 1st Year -
Assistant Coaches: Kim Rentmeester, Abigail Rucksdashel
Head Coach Kaycen Schumacher was previously an assistant coach at Lawrence University in Appleton. WI under coach Kim, Tatra. Previoussy played basketball and softball at Lawrence University.
When asked who the favorite in the Big 8 would be this season the answer was:  “ I’m not really sure. We are really focusing on improving ourselves this season. The year-in-and-year-out favorites over the years have been Sun Prairie, the defending Division 1 state champions and Verona and that is no exception this year according the other Big 8 coaches. Other teams that could contend are Madison East perhaps LaFollette and Janesville Craig. “Our strengths this year will be our enthusiasm and work ethic,” said the new head coach. “We are going to be working on building up the program and becoming fundamentally sound all-around the board.”

Fort Atkinson

Division 1 – Enrollment this year is 957 – Sectional 5 at Badger
Conference – Badger South (Milton, Oregon. Monona Grove, Edgewood, Monroe,Watertown Stoughton)
Head Coach : Brian Bosch – 2nd Year (16-6)
When Fort Atkinson Head Coach Brian Bosch took over the program in 2018 he was replacing an icon in the southern part of the state in Jeff Agnew. Bosch guided Fort Atkinson to a 16-6 record and kept the program highly respected. He returns first team all-conference players Kat Brandt, Autumn Congdon and Sara Vander Mause along with second teamer Kiarra Kostroski. Vander Mause was also a first team all-district player while Brandt and Congdon were named HM all district. “I expect us to be able to created offense in a variety of different ways,” said Bosch when asked about his team’s strengths this season. “We are shorter on numbers than we have been in recent years and will need to learn on the go. We have some decent talent but not a ton of experience at the varsity level.” The coach views Monroe and Watertown as the favorites in the Badger South and at the sectional level he sees Wilmot, Elkhorn and Westosha Central right up there.  

Baraboo

Division 1 – Enrollment this year is 939 – Sectional 3 at Verona
Conference – Badger North (Portage, Sauk Prairie, DeForest, Mt. Horeb, Reedsburg, Portage Beaver Dam)
Head Coach – Dan Lewison – 1st Year
Assistant Coaches: Steve Proctor, Derek Smith, Rusty Schider, Rob Nelson
First year head coach Dan Lewison must replace 11 players lost through graduation. However, last year’s group could not muster but five victories against 13 defeats so Lewison isn’t trying to defend any titles with this year’s group of players. Both starting pitchers were among those 11 players that graduated. The Thunderbirds return Honorable Mention all-conference performer Haley Hannegan. Other players to watch on this year’s club are Addie Filus, Jade Parchem and Kyrsten Mathis. “For us to be successful, we have to develop a “team first” attitude all the while knowing that we will be inexperienced with young players in many positions. Lewison does have a young stable of pitchers to work. One of those is a sophomore who pitched well in the 16-U division all summer while the other three are 9th graders. All are righthanded.  Lewison has assembled an excellent group of assistant coaches with a lot of years of experience in baseball as well as fastptich softball. Lewison sees DeForest, Portage and Waunakee as the Badger North favorites and in the sectional he views Sun Prairie as the clear-cut favorite with a push from DeForest, Tomah, Waunakee and Madison East.

Beaver Dam

Division 1 – Enrollment this school year is 1067 –
Conference – Badger North
Head Coach Abby Schmitt – 2nd Year – 1 regional title
Assistant Coach is Ashley Stobbe
Head coach Abby Schmitt enters her second year at the helm of the Golden Beavers and has a 15-5 record from 2018 to bank on. They won the regional title last spring and can also use that success as a springboard in the upcoming season. She returns three all-conference players in Grace Madeiros, Grace Scharfenberg and Pagie Schumann. The Golden Beavers were a member of the now defunct Little Ten Conference which was broken up with Beaver Dam moving into the Badger North and Watertown moving to the Badger South. Schmitt views DeForest and Portage as the conference favorites and adds Waunakee to the list of teams that could be the favorites in the sectional. Of course she also views her own team as one that is capable of winding up on top.

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