Herrick steps down, Demons lose entire varsity lineup

Schilleman is all bundled up for the Demons’ first action of the season Tuesday at Ives Grove. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk


The next time you see Nick Schilleman, ask him to fly.

Tell him to walk, on water, and chew gum at the same time while counting backwards with his eyes closed.

Heck, go as far as forcing him to bench press 400 pounds.

While none of these things are impossible, nothing is, they are significant challenges that probably aren’t going to happen.

However, the reason Schilleman may not bat an eye is the intense, bearded Burlington High School coach has taken on a head coaching job that could be considered less than ideal.

Consider coach Wayne Herrick retired from coaching, and the Burlington Demons boys varsity golf team lost all five of its starters.

A two-year assistant under Herrick, Schilleman played high school golf in Rhinelander, his hometown, and jumped at the difficult challenge.

With only a few returners and a host of newcomers, why would the technical education teacher say yes?

“I was pumped,” said Schilleman, who donned a winter cap, jacket and camouflage gloves during Tuesday’s season-opening Southern Lakes Conference Major at Ives Grove.

“I was the JV coach the last two years. It’s kind of a rebuilding year, we lost a lot of kids from last year. We had some good freshmen on JV, and I want to see how they will turn out.”

With an invite already cancelled due to inclement weather, Schilleman got to see his guys play their first nine holes of the season Tuesday.

He said the biggest change so far has been longer meets and being the guy in charge of everything.

“Being in charge of the practice instead of just running the practice is different. Scheduling, chipping, putting, sand trap, what exactly to work on what day, we try to mix it up.”

Four-year stud Justin Meseberg is playing college golf, and he culminated a brilliant career with a state appearance last season.

Also, Danny Capozzi was formidable at No. 2.

Schilleman has had to stress fundamentals of grip, stance and swing with his younger guys. But overall, golf is mental and involves some luck.

“You have to be mentally tough,” Schilleman said. “There’s a lot of luck, and there’s some technique and swing.”

This year, it’s time to push the reset button and see what the team has, Schilleman added.

Eric Fettig, Ben McDermit, Ben Golon, Brian Fremgren and Owen Kramer, a freshman, are in the mix for playing time right now.

Schilleman said Fremgren, a sophomore, is going to be “awesome.” Fremgren didn’t play last year.

The rust showed in the Demons’ scores Tuesday, as Burlington finished last with a 477.

Fettig paced the squad with a 108.

McDermit followed Fettig with a 112, followed by Kramer (126), and Fremgren (131).

For now, Schilleman simply wants to get his guys some swings.

With continued temperatures in the 40s and the howling winds of this Wisconsin spring, it may not feel comfortable.

“Hopefully, we can get some swings,” Schilleman said. “So they can figure out, ‘This club goes this far.’ Some guys that haven’t shot for nine months, they don’t even know how far their driver is going or anything.”

“Some just forgot what their numbers are. They have a rough idea.”

Lake Geneva Badger is the defending SLC champion.

The Badgers won Tuesday’s meet by 15 strokes with a 311, ahead of second-place Union Grove.

Schilleman, who has been in Burlington for five years, hopes to see progress.

“If they’re getting lower on the scoreboard, that’s all that matters,” he said.

“It’s going to be a rebuilding year.”