Bull, Pettit, Hall, Willis stand out among talented bunch of Broncos

Brooklyn Bull poses with a sign her fans made for her in February at Elkhorn Area High School. Bull scored 17 points and broke an 11-year-old record to become the Broncos’ all-time leading scorer. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Tim Wester

Sports Correspondent

 

The Union Grove High School athletic program had plenty of unforgettable moments in 2018. The Westine Report revisits the unforgettable triumphs, failures, and tear-jerking moments in its top 10 for 2018.

 

Union Grove owns SLC basketball standings

      Southern Lakes Conference basketball was conquered by Union Grove last winter with both the girls and boys winning Southern Lakes Conference championships.

The unforgettable basketball season was easily the top sports story for Union Grove high school in 2018.

The Bronco girls finished 12-2 in the Lakes to win their school-record fourth-straight conference title. In the past four seasons, Bronco coach Rob Domagalski has led his team to a 49-7 conference record.

Not to be outdone was the boys squad winning their final 10 regular season games to finish with a blistering 13-1 conference record. Dave Pettit’s Broncos easily took home their first conference title since 2014.

Unfortunately for both programs, the regular seasons successes did not carry over into the postseason with each team suffering disappointing regional final home losses.

The Lady Broncos were upset by bitter rival Waterford, who rebounded from a rough regular season to knock off Domagalski’s team on the Broncos’ home court 51-45.

The boys, meanwhile, were victimized by Elkhorn 47-35.

 

Bull, Pettit break scoring records

Leading the way for both conference championship teams were two record-breaking players.

Senior Brooklyn Bull broke Kaleigh Veltus’ scoring mark of 1,134 points at Elkhorn Feb 12. The burden of the record was agonizing for Bull, who struggled with just five-first half points against the Elks before finally cranking things up with six straight points in the second half, including a runner in the lane that set a new school record.

A week later, it was Bronco senior point guard Jack Pettit’s turn, beating Jason Morgan’s school record 1,132 points during the Broncos’ 59-34 victory at Racine Lutheran.

Best of all, Pettit’s dad and coach Dave Pettit got to witness the record-breaking moment from the sidelines.

“It’s a heck of an accomplishment considering as a freshman he only averaged 5 points per game,” Dave Pettit said. “It’s a little bit of an exclamation point after people questioned the decision pulling him up to varsity as a freshman.”

While Jack got his “I-told-you-so” moment, Bull got the bragging rights after earning her scoring record a week before Jack. “I’ll probably text Jack and tell him I did it first,” said Bull after breaking the record against Elkhorn.

Both Pettit and Bull kept their talents in state with Brooklyn playing for UW-Oshkosh and Pettit at St. Norbert this season.

 

Willis medals at the WIAA State Wrestling tournament

Can a wrestler be considered a cagy veteran as a freshman?

That’s exactly what Bronco freshman grappler Cade Willis was last winter.

Willis (44-7) won his first two matches at the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament on his way to medaling with a fifth-place finish in the 106-pound weight class at the Kohl Center in Madison, Feb. 24.

“Although Cade is a freshman, he’s wrestled so many matches in club wrestling, he really had a lot of experience coming in,” Union Grove coach Andy Weis said. “And all that experience certainly paid off because the stage wasn’t too big for him.”

A self-described perfectionist, Willis undoubtedly wasn’t satisfied with finishing fifth at state and will strive to return to Madison as a sophomore and win a state championship. “Losses sticks with me more than the wins because the losses drive me to work harder and get better,” Willis said. “Losing makes me focus and work harder on improving technique.”

 

Lady Broncos shine on the pitch

      Union Grove soccer coach Sean Jung refuses to give ground against any program.

For five straight seasons, Jung was forced to watch Burlington hoist five straight championship trophies. Last May, Jung’s team finally changed the narrative, outlasting Burlington, 1-0 to win the Broncos’ first conference championship in school history.

“I got a little emotional there, it was the first title and the girls have been through a lot,” said Jung moments after winning the conference title.

“I broke down into tears last year after we lost 1-0 to Burlington, and I was crying on Joel’s shoulder, and then this year I’m crying on Daphne’s (Sieg) shoulder, and they got me pretty good. Daphne was the first player to grab me, she’s such a good kid, I had her in calculus all year. It was just an emotional moment.”

The Broncos weren’t done making history, eventually winning the program’s first WIAA Division 2 regional championship with a 2-0 victory at Greendale on June 2.

The Broncos eventually were victimized by an unbalanced sectional bracket that featured four state-ranked teams that each had championship aspirations. One of them was New Berlin Eisenhower who eliminated the Broncos 2-0 in WIAA Division 2 Sectional Semifinal.

 

Brown nabs 11th at state golf

After finishing 34th last season at the WIAA State Golf Championship junior Connor Brown made a few rules for his return trip last spring.

The first rule was to not let a bad hole affect his entire performance. The second rule was to stay consistent and remain confident.

Brown followed both rules to near perfection, shooting a six-over-par 150 to finish 11th overall at the two-day tournament June 4-5. “I think I did pretty good overall,” Brown said. “I wanted to get a top ten finish, so I was just one off of that.” The two-time state qualifier has even higher aspirations for next spring. I definitely want to be back next year, but I still have to get there first,” Brown said. “If I do get there, I think I have a shot to be one of the six medalists.

 

Another state trip

      After taking up golf 18 just months prior to taking her first shot at the WIAA State Tournament at University Ridge Golf Course, Veronica Parco exhibited tremendous poise. Parco

tied for 40th overall with a two-day total of 31-over-par 175 Oct. 9. It was expected that an inexperienced sophomore golfer would battle nerves on Wisconsin High School’s biggest golf stage, but Parco seemed unfazed by the gravity of the moment.

Parco plans to work on her putting this offseason to help polish her game and prepare her for another run at state in 2019.

 

Leaps and Bounds

      After making her 16th high jump at the WIAA Division 1 Mukwonago Sectional, Union Grove senior Hannah Bounds wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

Bounds ended up crying tears of joy after her 17th jump of 5’2 punched her ticket to the WIAA Division 1 State Championship at UW-La Crosse.

Bounds tied Jade Griffin of Racine Park for third in the high jump, setting up a heart-pounding jump-off that took three jumps before Griffin missed her 5’2 jump to send Bounds to state. “The jump-off was really taxing, but I pulled through it,” said Bounds, who is making her first trip to state. “My 17th jump was one of my best jumps and after it was finally over, both Jade and I just started crying as we shook hands and congratulated each other. That’s when me and my family knew I made it.”

Bounds went on to finish 18th at the state championship at UW-La Crosse. June 2.

 

Tennis dynamic duo

After learning she was being moved to doubles earlier this season, Union Grove junior Kayla Maurer assumed Broncos’ coach Mike Brannen was joking with her.

Maurer, who prefers to play doubles, started the season playing singles tennis only.

But Maurer quickly realized Brannen wasn’t joking after mover her to No.1 doubles with senior Chloe Woods. The duo quickly developed a synergy on and off the court that helped them finish 12-5 overall and qualify for the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament in Madison last June.

Chloe Woods and Kayla Maurer put the finishing touches on a memorable season at the state tournament.

Woods and Maurer dismantled Hartland Arrowhead 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, Oct. 11 before falling in three sets to Stevens Point 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 Oct. 12.

 

Hall zooms to state cross country

      There isn’t a more taxing course for runners than the WIAA State Cross Country Championship at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Personal bests are almost an afterthought on this course with unforgiving 90-degree hills and other demanding challenges. The course, along with a lack of sleep and side cramps proved to get best of junior Kevin Hall, who finished 157th at the State Cross Country Championship Saturday, Oct. 27.

“Things did go as I intended that day,” Hall said. “I went to bed at a reasonable time but, I woke up at 5:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so by the time I started the race I was already pretty tired and then I had side cramps.”

Getting to state was a reward in itself for Hall, who battled hamstring and groin injuries for most of the spring that reduced him to just three track and field events.

After grueling training and rehab, Hall overcame his injury and put together a rewarding season that ended on the state’s biggest stage.

 

Let’s hear it for the boys

After losing its final five regular season games, the Union Grove boys soccer team crawled into the postseason searching for answers.

Fortunately for the Broncos, things turned around at the perfect time.

Union Grove outscored its two playoff opponents 19-0 on its way to earning its first WIAA Division 2 Regional Championship in school history.

The Broncos then came painstakingly close to taking the program to an even higher level in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal marathon at ninth-ranked New Berlin Eisenhower Oct. 25.

Union Grove and Eisenhower battled to a second overtime period before a costly Bronco mistake gave Eisenhower the opening and the game-winning goal to outlast the Grove 3-2.

 

 

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