Parade, ceremony at BHS highlight historic titles

Members of the Burlington and Catholic Central volleyball teams pose with their state championship trophies Monday night at Burlington High School. (Jake Hill/SLN)


By Jason Arndt

A “Titletown” united.

That’s what happened on Monday, when the Burlington area celebrated not just one, but two WIAA state girls volleyball championships after Burlington captured its second straight title in Division 1 and Catholic Central won in Division 4.

At a joint celebration held in the Burlington High School gym Monday, Mayor Jeannie Hefty referred to the City of Burlington as “Titletown.”

The Lady Demons, who have qualified for state five straight years, successfully defended their state championship with a 3-1 defeat of Oconomowoc Saturday evening.

Earlier in the day, Catholic Central swept defending champion Clayton in three sets.

By historical standards, the last time both schools captured titles in their respective divisions was in 2012.

Hefty, who touted community unity, commended both schools for their achievements before hundreds of Hilltopper and Demon fans on Monday.


Unique experience

Catholic Central senior Grace Spiegelhoff, who attended St. Mary Grade School the last time both programs won state titles, did not believe history would repeat itself.

“I never thought it would happen again because I actually remember 2012 when it happened and I was in grade school,” she said.

Additionally, none of municipalities in Wisconsin can hold the distinction of having two state champion girls volleyball teams in the same season.

“It is something unique, not everyone can say one town won two state championships,” she said.


Dynamic performances

At the joint celebration, Burlington co-coach Dan Lynch said his team watched Catholic Central play its state semifinal match against Newman Catholic on Nov. 2.

Catholic Central, which set a state record for most aces in a match, swept Newman Catholic in three games.

“We had a chance to watch Catholic Central play in their semifinal game and you guys were a dynamic team,” Lynch said.

Burlington sophomore Samantha Naber said watching the Hilltoppers play offered a new perspective, considering both teams typically played at the same time during the regular season.

“We watched their semifinal and it was really interesting to watch them play because we are a different division, so I’ve never really seen them play volleyball,” she said.

After Catholic Central won its state championship the next day, the team returned home, where the Hilltoppers watched the Demons defend their Division 1 title against Oconomowoc.

While the Demons dropped their first set, Catholic Central senior Krista Krien said she and the rest of her teammates knew Burlington would bounce back, which the Demons did by taking the next three sets.

“We were definitely very excited when we saw them come back,” Krien said. “I don’t think any of us really doubted that they could do it again.”


Demons-Toppers reunion

Before entering high school, some players competed for Burlington Elite, a local club volleyball team.

Naber remembered some of them as former teammates.

“I know some of the girls, I have actually played with them on Burlington Elite,” she said.

Although they play for separate schools, Naber said both programs share a common trait – passion.

Another trait involves the same work ethic.

“I think it was just great that we both can come together and know that we are both really good at volleyball and share that passion,” Naber said. “They have worked so hard and we have worked so hard.”

Spiegelhoff agreed, adding her team always wishes the best for the Burlington program.

“We know the players on that team, so it was nice to see everyone be successful,” she said. “We all care for each other and we are all one big community.”


Leaving with a bang

Burlington senior Maddie Berezowitz and Krien, meanwhile, saw their team’s state championships as a way to leave on top.

“It was probably one of the coolest opportunities to be able to get together,” Berezowitz said. “We knew all of these girls when we were younger and to be able to come out tonight together was pretty spectacular.”

“Honestly, I could not have pictured a better state experience,” Krien said.