By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News
Starting with boy’s basketball, the team began the Cody Stelmach era this season. Stelmach was a graduate of Denmark High School in 2009 and played college basketball at St. Norbert in De Pere. Stelmach coached the junior varsity team at Denmark last season before being promoted to the varsity position last offseason.
Stelmach came into the program with one goal: Build a foundation. With eight returning seniors, Stelmach knew he had the experience and leadership it took to do so.
Coming off of a three win season last year, the team’s goal was to turn it around and live by coach Stelmach’s motto: Win The Day.
The team started off slow with four straight losses, all non-conference, before winning three straight games to open conference play.
From there, it was a roller coaster ride of a season with injuries, illnesses, and lots of adversity, but the team was able to triple their regular season wins from last season to nine total, finished 9-15 in the regular season before entering the playoffs.
The Vikings would start their playoff run in Kewaunee, a team they lost to three weeks prior to the match-up. Despite that fact, the Vikings got a playoff win on the road, the first in several seasons. Three days later, Denmark would travel to Manitowoc in a regional semifinal match with Olympian Conference champion Roncalli. Unfortunately the sharp-shooting Jets would find a way to swoop over the Vikings in order to move onto the Regional final and end the Vikings ten-win season.
Although they fell short, they’re excited for next season. Cody Stelmach gets to add onto the foundation he built and that’s something the Vikings haven’t experienced since the Bob Gaulke era.
The Lady Vikes had a very exciting season although it ended rather bitter. With several returning stars in Jennifer Nehls and Britney Petersen, the Vikes were determined to leave their mark.
They would do just that.
Head coach Kory Fredrickson was back for his second season at the varsity level with assistants Dan Peterson, Cindy Rish, and Mark Olson also returning.
The Vikings were a different team at home and on the road at first, and would click some games and some games would fall apart. Things got going strong when they really began to matter.
A 12-4 conference record came well deserved for the Vikings. To begin the month of February, they went on the road and knocked off Bay Conference champion West De Pere while Jennifer Nehls came up huge. Nehls was named WisSports.net’s Player of the Week that week.
As the Vikings continued to roll, they were named the second seed in Regionals. They began regional action topping Sturgeon Bay by 59 points. Fifty. Nine. Points. In. The. Playoffs.
And that was just the beginning.
The Vikings would top Southern Door and Roncalli to claim the Regional title, while Petersen and Nehls both continued to dominate on both sides of the ball and the Vikings’ bench was phenomenal throughout the run.
The following week would unfortunately end the Vikings quest to state, falling to Valders in the sectional semifinal at Sheboygan South High School.
Many key pieces will return for the Ladies next season, including four starters, while four seniors will depart.