Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Kohl says he'll continue to own BucksWisconsin Sports
-- Herb Kohl says he’ll continue to own the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks after he leaves the U.S. Senate at the end of next year.
MILWAUKEE - Herb Kohl says he’ll continue to own the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks after he leaves the U.S. Senate at the end of next year.
The Wisconsin Senator announced today he would not run for re-election next fall. And that raised questions about his ownership of the Bucks, whom he bought from Jim Fitzgerald in 1985 to keep the team from moving to Minneapolis. About two dozen Bucks’ staffers attended Kohl’s news conference in Milwaukee. He reminded people that he was part of the effort to create an expansion team in 1968. Kohl said he enjoys owning the Bucks. And when it’s time to sell, Kohl vowed that the new owner would be committed to keeping the team in Wisconsin. He also raised concerns about the future of the Bradley Center, one of the league’s oldest arenas. He said he wanted to find way to quote, “build a modern complex” so the Bucks can be part of Milwaukee’s landscape for generations.
Kohl also talked about the Bucks 35-47 record this season, and another trip to the NBA Draft Lottery. He said no one in the organization is happy with what happened. But he said coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond are quote, “as competitive as they come,” and he’s optimistic that next season will be better. A year ago, when the Bucks made the playoffs, Hammond was the NBA’s executive-of-the-year, and Skiles was second in the voting for coach-of-the-year. Hammond said Kohl is committed to winning, and he doesn’t believe the Bucks’ operation will change very much after Kohl leaves Washington.
The Green Bay Gamblers will open the U.S. junior hockey league finals tonight at home against Dubuque. The Gamblers are trying to become the first team since 1994 to win back-to-back Clark Cup championships. Both teams are 4-0 at home during the playoffs. The Gamblers have won nine-of-their-last-10 playoff contests since trailing two-games-to-none in last year’s title series. Forward Alex Broadhurst leads the Gamblers in scoring during the post-season with seven points including a goal. Green Bay goal-tender Ryan McKay is 5-1 in his first two playoff series, with a league-low one-point-three-four goals-against average. Dubuque is a low-scoring team, with just 19 goals in seven playoff contests – but they’ve only given up 10.
After sweeping Cedar Rapids at home, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are hitting the road to play Clinton tonight in the Midwest League. The Timber Rattlers are now above .500 at 16-and-15. They remain in fifth place in the Western Division, seven games behind first-half leader Burlington. The Beloit Snappers are at home against Quad Cities. The Snappers crushed Kane County 10-3 last evening. Beloit is still third in the West at 19-15, five-and-a-half in back of Burlington. Burlington has a four-and-a-half game edge over second-place Cedar Rapids. Great Lakes enters the weekend with a one-and-a-half-game lead over Lansing in the Eastern Division. Burlington hosts Cedar Rapids tonight. Peoria plays at Kane County. Lake County hosts West Michigan. Lansing entertains Great Lakes. Dayton is at Fort Wayne. And South Bend plays at Bowling Green.
The WIAC has announced its top outdoor track athletes of the season. The league’s coaches selected Sam Flood of UW-Stout as the top men’s performer of last weekend’s conference track meet. He won both the 100-and-200-meter dashes with the league’s best times of the season. Daniel Drewek of Stout was named the top field performer, after winning the pole vault and the decathlon in the conference meet. Josh Buchholtz of La Crosse was picked as the coach-of-the-year for leading the Eagles to their 21st straight league crown. On the women’s side, Christy Cazzola of Oshkosh was named the top track athlete from the league meet. She won both the 800-and-15-hundred meter events, and her time in the 800 was meet record at 2:08.02. Jessika Smith of Stout was the field performer of the meet. She won the heptathlon – and also the long jump with a school-record leap of 18-feet, 11-and-a-quarter inches. Pat Ebel of Oshkosh was named the coach-of-the-year for leading the Titans to a team victory at the WIAC meet.
Steph Brunette of Saint Norbert College has been named the Midwest Conference North Division player-of-the-year. Ripon sophomore Stephanie Rieuwpassa is the division’s top pitcher. And Kim Tatro of Lawrence has been named to the North coach-of-the-year. Brunette, a senior, is sixth in the NCAA’s Division-Three with a .535 batting average – and she also led the conference in runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, and total bases. Rieuwpassa won 11 games for Ripon, and led the Midwest Conference with a one-point-one-eight ERA while holding opponents to a .201 batting average. Both players were also named to a 12-member all-North Division team. Tatro won her sixth coach-of-the-year award, and her first since 2006. In the South Division, Lauren Bergstresser of Monmouth and Aubrey Pendegraft of Lake Forest are the co-position players-of-the-year. Megan Butler of Monmouth was the honored pitcher, and John Goddard of Monmouth is the South coach-of-the-year.
Wet grounds are delaying today’s start of the WIAC baseball tournament in Stevens Point. The opening game between second-seeded Whitewater and Number-three Oshkosh was delayed by two hours until noon. The host Pointers will then play the winner. Those three teams are playing for the right to represent the conference at the NCAA Division-Three tournament. The double-elimination tournament continues through tomorrow. The Pointers won their first outright regular season crown since 2002.
The Midwest Conference baseball tournament also started this morning in Beloit. South Division champion Grinnell opened against Ripon, and North Division champ Beloit started playing Monmouth. The double-elimination tourney runs through tomorrow.
The Northern Athletics Conference baseball tournament is scheduled to begin late this afternoon in Loves Park, Illinois, near Rockford. Top-seeded Chicago opens against Benedictine. And then, third-seeded Concordia-Mequon faces Number-two Aurora. The double-elimination tourney goes until Sunday.
Three Wisconsin teams will play their first matches this afternoon at the NCAA Division-Three men’s tennis tournament. UW-Eau Claire is up first at the Saint Peter regional in Saint Peter, Minnesota. The Blugolds will play Grinnell at noon, and Concordia-Mequon will then take on the host Gustavus Adolphus. UW-Whitewater is at the Saint Louis regional. The Warhawks will take on Westminster College of Missouri this afternoon. All today’s winners will advance to the second round tomorrow. Meanwhile, the only two Wisconsin teams in the national women’s Division-Three tournament were facing each other late this morning. UW-Whitewater and Edgewood are part of a regional in Chicago.
The University of Wisconsin has record-setting discus throwers going into the Big Ten track-and-field meet which is starting today at Iowa City. On the men’s side, freshman Dan Block has broken the Badger discus mark four times. And he’s the top seed going into his league competition. Block most recently threw 192-feet-six inches at the Wisconsin Twilight Invitational last weekend. The Wisconsin men have won 10-of-the-last-15 Big Ten outdoor conference meets. On the women’s side, sophomore Taylor Smith has the school record for the discus at 172-feet-10-inches.
The Midwest Conference outdoor track meet began this morning at Monmouth College in Illinois. Monmouth virtually owns the competition. The Fighting Scots have won the last five men’s-and-women’s team championships.