Afternoon State Sports Briefs: UW-Madison to host D-I cross country regionalWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin men’s cross country team will run for its 11th straight NCAA regional championship tomorrow. The Badgers will host both the men’s-and-women’s regional meets, with the top runners advancing to the nationals in Louisville on November 17th.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin men’s cross country team, the defending Division I champions, will run for its 11th straight NCAA regional championship tomorrow. The Badgers will host both the men’s-and-women’s regional meets on the Zimmer Course at University Ridge, with the top runners advancing to the nationals in Louisville on November 17th.
This is the first time since 1974 that the UW has hosted the Great Lakes Regional. The Badgers won their 14th straight Big Ten title, while the Wisconsin women placed fifth at their league meet. The Badgers placed fourth at the women’s regional a year ago. On the men’s side, Wisconsin will have a total of eight runners competing tomorrow. Marquette and UW-Milwaukee have 12 each, and UW-Green Bay will send 10 men to the regionals. On the women’s side, Green Bay has the most competitors among the Wisconsin schools with 15. Marquette has 12, and the Badgers and UWM have 11 each.
Defending national champion UW-Whitewater is the preseason favorite to repeat as the WIAC men’s basketball titlist. The Warhawks received all but three of the 18 first-place votes from the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Whitewater is ranked third in the national pre-season poll from D3hoops.com. Senior Luke Knoble is back for the ‘Hawks, after made almost 63-percent of his shots from the floor last season. 15th-ranked Stevens Point received the other three first-place votes in the WIAC preseason poll. The Pointers are projected to take second, followed by La Crosse, Platteville, and River Falls.
Two players from Saint Norbert College have been named to the All-Conference volleyball first team in the Midwest Conference. Senior defensive specialist Catherine Guido made the eight-player top squad along with her Green Knights’ teammate Danielle Remy, a senior middle hitter. Guido was second in the conference with about five-point-eight digs per set. Remy led the league with a .291 hitting percentage. Breanne Brocker of Saint Norbert made the All-Midwest second team, along with Kelly Sloyan of Carroll, Emily Gary of Ripon College, and Kathyleen Rowland of Lawrence. Outside hitter Kathleen O’Connor, a junior at Cornell, was named the league’s player-of-the-year. Jeff Meeker of Cornell was named the coach-of-the-year.
The Horizon League is the only NCAA Division I men’s basketball conference to return all five of its all-league first team members from a year ago. That includes 7-1 center-and-forward Alec Brown of UW-Green Bay – who’s being touted by some as a possible first-round NBA draft pick when he leaves school. Green Bay coach Brian Wardle says Brown is the type of player who’s not often seen in the Horizon League – one with both size and a very high skill level. Wardle said Brown is a strong leader on the floor, and he always plays like he has a chip on his shoulder. University of Detroit head coach Ray McCallum said a lot of young-and-talented Horizon League players had great seasons a year ago. He said the players are getting better, and so is the coaching. Before Butler left the conference this past spring, the Bulldogs were often the only team from the Horizon League to make the NCAA Tournament. But coaches say the Horizon still has some top-flight talent – and it’s spread throughout the league. They’re hoping to that several teams will be good enough to make the Big Dance this coming March. Green Bay opens its regular season on Saturday night at Northern Iowa. UW-Milwaukee plays its season opener tomorrow night at home against the University of Mary.
This is the time of year when the NFL starts moving games to different time slots, so the matchups with the biggest playoff implications will be on the Sunday Night stage. So far at least, the Green Bay Packers have not been affected by the first two rounds of “flexible scheduling.” The league says the Packers’ next game at Detroit will still begin at noon on November 18th as originally scheduled. And the league announced its Thanksgiving weekend schedule a week early so teams could make their holiday travel plans – and the Packers are still in the Sunday Night time slot on November 25th against the Giants at New York.
Madison golfer Jerry Kelly has been a model of consistency on the PGA Tour. He has won over a million-dollars in each of the last 11 years – and he’s been among the Top-80 money-winners on the Tour for each of the last 13 years. Both those streaks are in jeopardy this weekend, as Kelly competes in the final Tour event of the year, the Children Miracle Network Hospitals Classic which begins today in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Kelly would have to place either first or second to surpass the million-dollar mark in earnings for 2012. He’s 137th on the money list – and he needs to move up 12 spaces just to continue his full-ride exempt status which he’s had since 1996. The 45-year-old Kelly does have a one-time career exemption for being in Top-25 in career winnings. But he says he’d rather save it. Kelly’s best finish this season was in early July at the Greenbrier Classic, when he was 12th. He’s the only Wisconsin player in the Tour finale this weekend.
UW-Stevens Point and UW-Eau Claire will begin their NCAA Division III volleyball tournament runs this evening. Both are part of an eight-team regional in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Pointers are up first at four this afternoon, when they play Northwestern of Minnesota. Tonight, Eau Claire will play its first round match against Wartburg. Eau Claire won the WIAC volleyball tournament last weekend. The Blugolds are 25-11, and will play a Wartburg team that’s 35-5. Stevens Point was an at-large selection to the 64-team national field. The Pointers are 29-7, and will face a Northwestern squad that’s 26-8. Two other matches are up today, and all four winners will advance to the second-round tomorrow. The regional final is set for Saturday. Eight regional winners will advance to the national quarter-finals a week from tomorrow in Holland, Michigan.
University of Wisconsin women’s hockey goal-tender Alex Rigsby and Madison area native Amanda Kessel have received weekly honors from the WCHA. Rigsby was named the league’s defensive player-of-the-week for posting a pair of shutouts last weekend against Minnesota State. The junior from Delafield has not given up a goal in collegiate play in almost 190 minutes. Kessel, a junior at the University of Minnesota, was given the league honors on offense. She has one goal and three assists when the Gophers swept a pair from Minnesota-Duluth. Neither Kessel nor Rigsby will be racking up the numbers for their respective teams this weekend. Both are in Finland as members of Team USA in the Four Nations Cup, along with the Badgers’ Brianna Decker.
If you ever wanted some great Packer memorabilia, now’s your chance. 1960’s legend Paul Hornung said today that he’ll auction off some of his college and pro football treasures. They include an exact replica of the Heisman trophy he won at Notre Dame in 1956 – and re-issues of three Green Bay Packers’ championship rings from 1961, ’65, and ’66. Hornung is also putting a lot more on sale – and it will all be auctioned off next Wednesday online by SCP Auctions. Hornung issued a statement this afternoon that his health-and-finances are good – and those matters have nothing to do with why he called the sale. He said he has some charities that have been near-and-dear to him for a number of years – and he wants them to benefit from some of the things he’s been honored to receive. The auction will run from Wednesday to December first. More information, including a list of the sale items, is at SCP Auctions.com.