Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Brewers make front office movesWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers have promoted three front office personnel to senior-level positions.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers have promoted three front office personnel to senior-level positions.
Tom Flanagan was named today as the senior director of baseball operations. Mike Vassallo was promoted to the senior director of media relations. And Vicki Wise was named as the team’s accounting director. Flanagan has been with the Brewers for 23 years, and became the head of baseball operations in 2006. He helps assistant general manager Gord Ash in a variety of functions which include minor league player moves and negotiating players’ contracts. Vassallo is starting his eighth year in the Brewers’ media relations department, and vice president Rick Schlesinger says it has grown to become among the best in baseball. Wise has been with the Brewers for 17 years, and has been an accounting manager for the last seven.
The Big Ten football championship game on Saturday night will feature two star running backs who figure to be at their best – and have learned a lot from each other. Wisconsin senior Montee Ball is at his peak after a slow start this season. And Rex Burkhead of Nebraska is coming off a sprained knee that kept him out for a month. Both have been busy reviewing video of each other’s play. Ball says Burkhead is a physical, relentless back who loves giving blows to defenders. And Ball says it teaches him not to shy away from contact and to quote, “keep your feet churning.” Burkhead says he admires how Ball uses his blockers, and patiently waits for a hole he can attack. Ball was a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago who was named last night as the Big Ten’s running back-of-the-year for the second straight time. Ball set a new NCAA career touchdown record with his 79th last Saturday at Penn State. Burkhead has only appeared in six games, but he had a solid return in the second half last week against Iowa. He ran for 69 yards in that contest. Both rushers have strong back-ups which give their respective coaches lots of options. Nebraska comes into the league title game at 10-2 overall, while the Badgers are at 7-5.
League play begins tonight for men’s basketball teams in the Northern Athletics Conference. Lakeland College of Sheboygan is the only unbeaten team in non-conference play so far, at 2-0. Lakeland hosts Madison Edgewood in its NAC opener. Wisconsin Lutheran is at home against Aurora. Milwaukee School of Engineering travels to Watertown to face Maranatha Baptist. And Concordia-Mequon plays at Marian of Fond du Lac.
Tyler Tillema of UW-Stevens Point and Briana Radowicz of La Crosse have been named the WIAC men’s and women’s basketball players-of-the-week. Tillema, a senior guard, scored 18 points in a Stevens Point win over Saint John’s of Minnesota, and 20 against Buena Vista. He shot 59-percent from the floor in the two games with an average of six rebounds, five-and-a-half assists, and three-and-a-half steals per contest. Radowicz, a senior guard, averaged almost 22 points in three games last week. She set new career scoring highs twice, including a 24-point performance in La Crosse’s win over Loras of Dubuque. Radowicz also had a career-high seven steals in that game.
UW-Eau Claire has moved up to third-place in the national Division-Three men’s hockey poll from U-S College Hockey Online. The Blugolds are 9-0-1, and they were ranked fourth a week ago. Saint Norbert of De Pere moved up one place to fifth with a record of 8-2-1. UW-Superior moved up one spot to 12th. River Falls remains 14th. And the Milwaukee School of Engineering is back in the rankings at Number-15. Stout and Stevens Point also received votes. Oswego of New York is the men’s No. 1.
In the Division III College Online women’s poll, River Falls and Superior are tied for sixth place. The Falcons moved up one spot from a week ago, and they’re at 4-1-2. Superior held steady at 6-3. Stevens Point also received votes. Plattsburgh is at No. 1
Green Bay offensive coordinator Tom Clements says the Packers have not had enough long drives this season. And the return of receiver Greg Jennings for Sunday’s home contest against Minnesota could help. According to Pro Football Focus.com, Jennings caught about half of his passes last year from the slot receiver position. That’s where he’s more likely to find a gap in the Cover-Two defense that the Vikings rely heavily upon. Clements says Jennings plays both the slot and the outside receiver posts – and he moves around so the Packers can make full use of his skills. He says Jennings appears ready to return, and hopefully it will be a help. Jennings has only played in parts of four games for Green Bay since he sprained a knee last December 11th against Oakland. This year, he has missed seven straight contests after suffering a groin injury in late September against New Orleans. And he’s coming off surgery for what turned out to be a torn abdominal muscle. Jennings’ only touchdown catch of the year came against the Saints, right before he left that game. The Packers will start practicing tomorrow for the Minnesota game. And coach Mike McCarthy expects Jennings to be a full participant in that workout.
Two nationally-ranked and undefeated men’s basketball teams square off tonight when UW-Whitewater plays at Illinois Wesleyan. Whitewater is ranked third in the NCAA’s Division III by D3hoops.com, while Illinois Wesleyan of the CCIW is ranked at Number-seven. Whitewater is off to a 3-0 start, with victories over Beloit, Aurora, and Carthage. Illinois Wesleyan is 4-0, with wins over Loras, Coe, Illinois College, and Wabash. Two other WIAC men’s teams also have non-conference games tonight. UW-La Crosse plays at Bethany Lutheran in Mankato, Minnesota. And UW-Platteville is at Augustana. In the only Wisconsin Division III women’s game tonight, Maranatha Baptist travels to Milwaukee to play Alverno in a Northern Athletics Conference match-up.
This one has to be obvious. Jack Taylor of Grinnell is the Midwest Conference men’s basketball player-of-the-week, after scored a national record 138 points in a 75-point victory over Faith Baptist Bible College last Tuesday. Taylor, a sophomore guard from Black River Falls, followed up his big night with a 21-point showing against William Penn on Sunday. It still gives Taylor an average of 51-and-a-half points a game for the season. Monmouth forward Marla Willard was named the top women’s player.
Jake Schwarz of Lakeland College in Sheboygan is the Northern Athletics Conference men’s basketball player-of-the-week. Schwarz, a senior forward, scored a game-high 30 points in a 92-80 Lakeland victory over Beloit. Eight of those points came within the final two minutes of the first half. Also, Devon Gorman of Alverno is the NAC women’s player-of-the-week. The junior forward had 21 points and 12 rebounds in Alverno’s 19-point victory over Concordia-Mequon. Gorman shot 57-percent from the floor, while making both of her three-point attempts.