Bobcats honor top student-athletes

By BURT ANGELI

Sports Writer

FLORENCE, Wis. – The 45th annual Florence High School Athletic Awards Ceremony honored athletes and a retiring coach Wednesday.

Aly Young and Michael Sword, a pair of three-sport participants, received the female and male athlete of the year awards.

Young, who earned major volleyball and track honors, received the Virginia Ehrenreich Female Athlete of the Year. She was also cited for a “positive attitude, hard worker and joy to coach.”

Young was among five Bobcats who have lettered in at least two sports and made the honor roll for at least three marking periods over the past four years. She joined Emma Baumgart, Maddy Doll, Rhianon Franklin and Brooke Soderberg.

Sword, described as “dependable, honest, unselfish and true leader,” accepted the David Wenzel Memorial Athlete of the Year. He participates in football, basketball and golf.

The program also highlighted the retirement of volleyball coach Trudy Rochon, stepping down after 22 years with the varsity. The Bobcats won 15 Northern Lakes Conference and seven regional crowns in that span.

The Bobcats fell short of reaching two goals – Northern Lakes Conference and regionals titles – but they did achieve other important objectives.

“At the end of the day, it’s not all wins and losses that define a team,” Rochon said. “It’s who we are and who we were as a unit, and who these young ladies are as people. I will never forget all of you wonderful people.”

Rochon expressed appreciation to everyone involved with the school and program. Successful junior varsity coach Joan Canfield will take the varsity volleyball reins.

“My heart is not ready to be done with this game,” Rochon said. “I love this game. I’ve loved every moment.

“But it’s Joan’s turn. She had an amazing jayvee season and with an amazing group of girls.”

Canfield, friends with the outgoing coach for more than 20 years, jokingly described Rochon as like an “older sister.” The new coach also cited Rochon’s ability to develop character, honesty, sportsmanship, integrity, confidence and “most important, proud of who you are and where you’re from.”

“She’s had an unbelievable career,” Canfield said. “Trudy represented our school and community with such class. She’s been such a strong role model for the girls in our program.

In closing, Rochon said “thank you very much for all of the years of support and dedication. I will always, always, always be a Lady Cat.”

Other awards follow:

FOOTBALL – Lukas Gareau, offense; Dominik Testolin, defense; Freddy Noeske, most improved.

CROSS COUNTRY – Brooke Soderberg and Danny Jones, most improved.

VOLLEYBALL – Emma Baumgart and Aly Young, team spirit.

GIRLS BASKETBALL – Maddy Doll, pride; Aubree Dumke, hustle.

BOYS BASKETBALL – Connor Beaster, outstanding; Freddy Noeske, most improved.

WRESTLING – Shawn Paulson and Andrew Kelley, outstanding; Anthony Kligis, most improved.

TRACK – Emma Baumgart and Danny Jones, outstanding; Aly Young, Maddy Doll and Brooke Soderberg, coaches’ choice.

SOFTBALL – Keaghan Doda, outstanding; Kimberly Huotari, most improved.

NOTES: Florence Athletic Booster Club President Christy Boettcher presented Aly Young, Maddy Doll and Emma Baumgart with scholarships … Principal Brandon Jerue requested a moment of silence for the late Jack Kriegl, a highly-regarded Florence administrator who passed away recently … Maddy Doll will continue her basketball career at Lakeland College in Sheboygan, same school where Bobcats head coach Katie Kilton was a standout performer … Jerue, noting Rochon’s accomplishments: “Truly amazing.” … Northwoods Storm girls track coach Karen Harrrison summed up the weather-ravaged season as “frustrating, crazy and unpredictable. It was one for the record books.” … Athletic director Jim Uren, among the many he thanked, recognized Dickinson County Heathcare System for all they provide … Miranda Zygiel, on one of the perks of being the junior varsity girls basketball coach: “I had never been to Elcho before and went there twice.”