Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Fed-Ex Playoffs resume tomorrowWisconsin Sports
-- The PGA Playoffs resume tomorrow, when the second of four Fed-Ex Cup tournaments begins – the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston.
BOSTON - The PGA Playoffs resume tomorrow, when the second of four Fed-Ex Cup tournaments begins – the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston.
Wisconsin has two players in the hunt for the title, which will be determined in three weeks at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Steve Stricker of Madison is 16th in the Fed-Ex standings. He hopes to rebound from a 54th place finish in last weekend’s playoff opener, which dropped him out of the Top-10 in the point totals. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson comes in at Number-39. He’ll begin his first round just after 11:30 tomorrow morning, while Stricker tees off around 7:15. The Top-70 in the standings will advance to the third event next weekend near Chicago.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will open its Big Ten Conference season on January third at home against Penn State. The league announced its schedule this morning. And it has Bo Ryan’s Badgers playing four times in 11 days – a stretch that begins Jan. 12 at home against Illinois, and ends January 22nd in Madison against Michigan State. Wisconsin will play its final two regular season games on the road at Michigan State on March 10th and at Penn State on March 10th before playing the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago the following week. The Badgers will open their season with a home exhibition against UW-Oshkosh on Nov. 7, followed by their formal opener against Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 11 in Madison. Wisconsin plays Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, and Northwestern only once this season. They’ll play the other schools twice.
Aurora is the preseason favorite to win the women’s soccer title in the Northern Athletics Conference. Aurora is a six-time defending champion – and no other school has taken the crown in the NAC’s short history. The Spartans have four all-conference first team players back, including the reigning defensive player-of-the-year Anya Vincenti. Marian of Fond du Lac is picked to finish second, followed by Edgewood, Dominican, and Concordia-Mequon.
Carol Cayo of the Milwaukee School of Engineering is one of 30 semi-finalists for the NCAA’s Woman-of-the-Year award. Cayo graduated this past spring with a three-point-nine-eight grade-point average in industrial engineering. And she has received numerous athletic honors in basketball, tennis, and outdoor track. In her senior year, Cayo was named the Player-of-the-Year and the top defensive player in women’s basketball – and she received all-conference honors in tennis. The list of candidates has been narrowed down to 10 in each of the NCAA’s three divisions. Three finalists will be named from each division in September – and then the winner will be honored Oct. 14th during a ceremony in Indianapolis.
College football begins tonight for two teams in Wisconsin’s Division-Three conferences. Benedictine of the Northern Athletics Conference will open at Wheaton of the CCIW. Both schools are from Illinois. Two Wisconsin teams will make their debuts tomorrow night. Three-time defending national champion UW-Whitewater opens at Washington of Saint Louis. And Saint Norbert of De Pere is playing John Carroll in Dublin, Ireland tomorrow night. Most other Wisconsin small college teams will be in action on Saturday.
Five athletes and the third-winningest volleyball coach in WIAC history will be inducted this fall into the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall-of-Fame. Lisa Herb coached the Eau Claire volleyball team for 22 years before leaving in 2006. Her teams went 627-208, winning three-of-every-four matches. Herb also coached the Blugolds to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, making the Sweet-16 round seven times. The athletes to be honored were each named to their All-Conference teams at least twice during their Blugold careers. They are basketball players Randy Wade and Allison Berg Larson – Russ Knutson in football, John Jahnke in baseball, and Roxi McKenzie Tucker in volleyball. They’ll be inducted at a banquet on October 13th, after being recognized at Eau Claire’s football game against UW-La Crosse.
Miguel Sano of the Beloit Snappers has been named the Midwest League’s Prospect-of-the-Year. Sano and Beloit reliever Corey Williams were named to a 13-member Midwest Post-season All-Star Team. No Wisconsin Timber Rattlers were named to that squad. Sano, a 19-year-old third baseman, is the top prospect of the Minnesota Twins. He has batted .260 in 126 games for Beloit with 27 homers, 98 RBI’s, and eight stolen bases. Sano leads the Midwest League in homers and RBI’s, and he’s third in slugging percentage. Toronto Blue Jays’ prospect Kevin Pillar of Lansing is the Midwest League MVP. And Lansing’s John Tamargo Junior is the manager-of-the-year. He led the Lugnuts to the Eastern Division crown in the first half of the season.
C.J. Wilson has won the starting job at right end on the Green Bay Packers’ 3-4 base defense. Wilson beat out second-round rookie Jerel Worthy. Wilson, a third-year pro, topped the depth chart throughout training camp. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac calls Wilson a “very solid player.” He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2010 from East Carolina – and he has moved up the ranks after making the team as the Number-five defensive end in his rookie year. Wilson has only been inactive once in his two seasons. That was during the regular season opener in 2010. The Packers will host Kansas City in their exhibition finale tonight. And while Wilson won’t have to worry about keeping a job, many other young players will use this game as their final audition to try-and-make Green Bay’s 53-man regular season roster.
The NFL is reportedly heading to court today to try and get 140 concussion-related lawsuits dropped. Several ex-Packers – many of whom played on the 1996 Super Bowl championship team – are among an estimated 18-hundred plaintiffs. The league says the lawsuits should be dropped because they’re a subject for arbitration under federal labor laws. League attorneys say it’s an issue of player safety which doesn’t belong in the courts. But the players say the matter should be decided by judges – and they believe the case belongs in the court system. Among the plaintiffs are ex-Packers Dorsey Levens, Mark Chmura, Leroy Butler, Don Majkowski, Santana Dotson, Tiger Greene, Tootie Robbins, and MacArthur Lane.
Eight Brewers’ minor league prospects will play in the Arizona Fall League. They include five right-handed pitchers – Kyle Heckathorn, Johnny Hellweg, Santo Manzanillo, Jimmy Nelson, and Nick Bucci. Outfielders Brock Kjeldgaard and Khris Davis are also on the fall roster, along with first baseman Hunter Morris. They’ll all play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Wisconsin’s two teams in the Class-“A” Midwest League will square off again tonight near Appleton. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host the Beloit Snappers. That’s after the Snappers got by the Rattlers 6-5 in 12 innings last evening. Also, Clinton – the winner of the second-half Western Division title – hosts Burlington. Eastern Division leader Bowling Green plays at Lake County. Peoria is at home against Cedar Rapids. Dayton entertains Great Lakes. West Michigan is at Fort Wayne. And Lansing plays at South Bend. Bowling Green has still not clinched the East. They have a four-game lead over Lake County with five games left.
Jarrett Boykin calls tonight’s Packer exhibition finale against Kansas City his “Super Bowl.” It’s his final chance to convince Packers’ GM Ted Thompson to keep six wide receivers for the regular season roster – with the final one being himself. Boykin has led the Packers in receiving yards during the pre-season – but that’s no guarantee that he’ll join the likes of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones during the regular season. Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley also started camp with an edge over the undrafted rookie Boykin. But observers saw Boykin keeping up with Borel and Gurley, who got more familiar with the Packer offense during their year on the practice squad a season ago. Whether Boykin can break through the numbers game remains to be seen – but Boykin says he’ll do his best and go all out against the Chiefs tonight. Coach Mike McCarthy has urged players on the bubble to “make a statement” and impress the coaches tonight. They’ll have plenty of chances, because most starters will only play for one series against the Chiefs, if that. Cut-down day is tomorrow, when the Green Bay roster must fall from 75 to its regular season limit of 53.