Afternoon State Sports Briefs: UWRF preseason favorite in WIAC softballWisconsin Sports
-- UW-River Falls is the preseason favorite to repeat as the WIAC softball champions.
RIVER FALLS - UW-River Falls is the preseason favorite to repeat as the WIAC softball champions.
The Falcons received four first-place votes among the league’s sports information directors. Eight starting position players are back for River Falls. Senior Rose Tusa is also back, after winning the WIAC’s Pitcher-of-the-Year award last season. Whitewater is picked to finish second in softball this spring. The Warhawks received two first-place votes in the poll. Eau Claire is picked to take third.
Pat Ebel of UW-Oshkosh has been named the NCAA Division III's assistant coach-of-the-year in men’s indoor track-and-field. The national coaches association presented the award, after his throwers scored 28 of the 32 Oshkosh points in the recent national men’s meet. Oshkosh finished third as a team at the nationals, behind North Central and second-place Eau Claire. Ebel is also the head coach of the Oshkosh women’s track team.
Adam Grambow of Ripon College is the baseball position player-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference. Grambow, a junior third baseman, had four homers and 11 RBI’s in the Red Hawks’ recent 10-game trip to Winter Haven Florida. He batted .333 with 13 total hits. Nick Duke of Illinois College is the baseball pitcher-of-the-week. In softball, Stephanie Rieuwpassa of Ripon is both the position player-of-the-week and the league’s honored pitcher. The junior went 4-1 in five starts in a spring trip to Clermont Florida. She tossed a shutout and two other complete games, with 11 walks and 43 strikeouts in 31 innings. Rieuwpassa also batted .379 during the eight-game trip with three doubles, a triple, a homer, nine RBI’s, and three stolen bases. Her on-base percentage for the week was .438 with a slugging percentage of .655.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to get within three games of .500 tonight when they play the Trail Blazers in Portland. Kaleb Canales will make his home debut as the Blazers’ interim coach, after Nate McMillan was fired last Thursday. Portland is 21-24, and is coming off a 2-5 road trip. The Blazers are also trying to whip up new chemistry after two of their more popular players – Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby – were traded in separate deals last week. Portland lost at Oklahoma City on Sunday, 111-95, in which Jamal Crawford scored 23 points for the Blazers. Former Marquette guard Wesley Matthews from Madison is averaging 12 points a game for Portland – and he scored 18 in a win over Chicago last Friday night. The Bucks have won five straight to get within a half-game of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks have speeded up their game, scoring an average of 113 points in their last five wins – well above their season scoring average of 97.5. And new Bucks’ shooting guard Monta Elis has averaged 30 points in his last four trips to Portland’s Rose Garden. But the Bucks themselves have lost five straight at the Rose Garden, and eight of nine to the Blazers overall.
It’s been a week since Golden State traded Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee. And Warrior fans are still so upset about it, they booed the team’s co-owner last night during a halftime ceremony in which the Warriors retired Chris Mullin’s No. 17. Joe Lacob could hardly get a word in as the crowd chanted “Mon-tay” – the high-scoring shooting guard that Milwaukee acquired. It probably didn’t help that the Warrior fans saw Ellis score 18 points against his old team on Friday night – or that Bogut, the key acquisition for the Warriors – could be out for the year with a broken foot. Mullin and fellow Golden State legend Rick Barry tried to calm the crowd – but every time Lacob began to talk, the boos came back even louder. He returned to his court-side seat in the second half, when co-owner Vivek Ranadive gave him a hug. But the damage had been done, as a night to honor Mullin almost got lost in the background. Mullin later told reporters the 7-foot Bogut will be a great addition to the Warriors. He called Bogut a “talented center who can pass, score in various ways, and block shots.”
The Milwaukee Brewers will play Los Angeles this afternoon at the Dodgers’ Spring Training facility in Glendale Arizona. Left-hander Chris Narveson will face Dodgers’ right-hander Chad Billingsley in a 3:05 start. It’s one of the few exhibitions to be televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin, and it can be heard for free at Brewers-Dot-Com. The Brewers are 7-9-and-1 in the Cactus League, after beating Texas 5-3 yesterday. Narveson will make his fourth start of the spring but an 0-1 record but a solid ERA of point-nine-six. Billingsley has no record, and a four-and-half ERA in exhibition play. Brewers’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez is expected to be in the lineup after having yesterday off. He’s still looking for his first RBI of the spring – and he has asked manager Ron Roenicke for more playing time during the final two weeks of Cactus League games.
Kody Novinska of Rice Lake has been named the boys’ state high school hockey player-of-the-year. The coaches association honored Novinska, a senior forward who had 28 goals and 40 assists this season. Novinska was also named for the fourth time to a 24-member All-State first team. Joel Marshall of Verona was named the association’s coach-of-the-year, after he led his team to the state semi-finals. The Reedsburg-Wisconsin Dells team was named the academic state champions. Their players had a combined grade-point average of three-point-eight-six.
D3hoops.com has named Chris Davis of UW-Whitewater as its player-of-the-year in the NCAA’s Division-Three. And Warhawks’ head coach Pat Miller was named the coach-of-the-year. Both led Whitewater to the national championship this past weekend with a victory over Cabrini in the title game. Davis, a senior forward, also made D-Three’s All-American first team. Senior forward Aris Wurtz of Ripon College made the third team. On the women’s side, Sam Barber of Stevens Point and Diana Jacklin of Carthage were named to the All-American second squad – along with Cedarburg native Morgan Herrick of Chicago. Ellen Plendl of Eau Claire made the third team. Olivia Lett of Illinois Wesleyan is the Division III women’s player-of-the-year, and Michael Meek of George Fox is the top women’s coach. Meanwhile, Barber and Jacklin named as honorable mentions by the coaches in their Division-Three All-American teams. Also given honorable mentions by the coaches were Carol Cayo of Milwaukee School of Engineering and Krista Pelky of Saint Norbert.
Madison school officials say they’re reviewing the school district’s athletic code, after a controversy over the discipline given to three high school basketball starters at Madison Memorial. Jamar Morris, Brendan Ortiz, and Junior Lomomba are charged with retail theft in two separate incidents in January at the Boston Store in Madison’s West Towne Mall. Prosecutors said Morris and Lomomba paid only a few dollars to get hundreds in merchandise. All three were suspended for one game, and they were eligible to play in last week’s boys state high school tournament. The Wisconsin State Journal said it angered coaches and fans from other teams who did not feel the punishment was strong enough. School Board president James Howard said he felt the three should have not have played – and unlike the past, he said the Board should vote on proposed changes to the athletic code instead of those in the athletic department. Madison Superintendent Dan Nerad says he’ll recommend changes in time for the next school year. Madison Memorial, one of the state’s top teams for a number of years, lost to eventual Division 1 champion Germantown in last Friday night’s state semi-finals.