2023 fall sports, activities summary

By Bob Skubal

Retired coach, historian, author of ‘History of Tomahawk Sports’

TOMAHAWK – The hot, smoky, dry summer had no impact on the Tomahawk High School (THS) fall sporting season, and schedules went off without any major issues.

Before we take a look back on the events of the fall co-curricular season, there are a few noteworthy items that this writer would like to mention.

First, it is noted that Tyler Jablonski signed a letter of intent to play baseball at UW-Stout, and that Paige DeKiep signed a letter of intent to swim for UW-Green Bay. It is also noted that Madilyn Hanse is playing volleyball at UW-Stevens Point.

Bob Garrou was inducted into the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association George Martin Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is the third member of the Tomahawk wrestling program to be inducted, joining Alyssa Lampe and this writer. Garrou has just completed his 34th year of coaching wrestling in Tomahawk.

The Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin announced that Sawyer Hanna, Drew Albert, Austin Lamer and Carson Childers were 2023 Academic-All State honorees.

Bonnie Kahn was selected to coach Special Olympics track and field athletes in Berlin, Germany. She has coached Special Olympic athletes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Los Angeles in recent years.

The WIAA approved new weight classes for wrestling starting in the 2023-24 season. The new weight classes will be 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 160, 175, 190, 215 and 285.

The WIAA changed the state hockey tournament overtime procedure. Games tied at the end of regulation will proceed with an eight-minute sudden victory overtime period. If the score remains tied following the first overtime, there will be a three-minute rest period before teams play a second eight-minute, sudden-victory overtime period. If the game is still tied, the remainder of the existing overtime procedure will be implemented.

Starting in the 2024 football season, Tomahawk will go into the Great Northern Conference (GNC), along with Wausau East. Hayward and Ashland will go from the GNC to the Heart of the North Conference.

Special thanks to Connor Ahrens and Scot Neu on their excellent reporting of the cross country and football competitions, respectively. Their hard work makes it easier for me to keep up the history of Tomahawk sports.


Let’s start the fall review with the football program, headed by first-year varsity coach Dewey Reilly.

Reilly was assisted by Jason Olsen, Tony Derleth, Cooper Kelley, Aaron Evans, Jeremy Zimmerman, Dave Long and John DuPlayee.

Team members were Ty Eckstein, Rex Reilly, Ryan Larson, Landyn Seymour, Tiegen Sarazin, Brayden Lamer, Caleb Dickens, Blake Younker, Jack Amelse, Tyler Sundquist, Jack Derleth, Waler Horabik, Zach Germano, Jonah Dickens, Beau Stromberg, Brayden Larson, Mason Riebe, Nathan Reimer, Connor Jones, Harmon Hoffman, Jason Watkins, Maron Hensel, Logan Norman, Landon Hoff, Matt Walbeck, Marcus Patterson, Brett Marheine, Ethan Gibeault, Kaiden Kapellusch, Fletcher Baumann, Ashton Greil, Ryan Sundquist, Andrew Samundsen, Nathan Norman, Michael Samundsen, Tanner Wanta and Patrick Samundsen.

The team went 6-6, and it was the first time since 2015 Tomahawk did not have a losing record, when, under the direction of John Larson, the Hatchets went 7-4. The 2023 Hatchets also managed to make it into the playoffs for the 13th time in school history, where they lost to Southern Door in the first round by a score of 48-7.

The season started with Tomahawk losing to Rhinelander 22-21 (Rhinelander kicked a field goal with three seconds left in the game), defeating Lakeland 7-0, defeating Wauwatosa Kingdom 35-14 (Kingdom Prep was penalized 23 times for 165 yards; Brayden Larson scored three TDs and had a 59-yard interception out of the end zone, while Marheine had three sacks) before receiving a forfeit from Eagle River.

Tomahawk then lost four in a row with a score of 28-20 to Crandon in overtime, 48-14 to Oconto Falls (Reilly rushed 17 times for 124 yards, while Ryan Larson and Brayden Larson scored TDs), 38-30 to Crivitz in a double overtime game (Reilly rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries and scored two TDs) and Coleman 42-14 (Dickens had 104 yards on 12 carries and one TD).

The last three regular season games saw Tomahawk defeat Westfield 7-0 (Tomahawk held Westfield to 66 total yards, and Brayden Larson had five interceptions for a new school record), receive a forfeit from Menominee Indian and defeat Clintonville 29-20.

Final conference standings were Oconto Falls 7-0, Crivitz 5-2, Coleman 5-2, Crivitz 4-3, Tomahawk 3-4, Clintonville 3-4, Eagle River 0-6 and Menominee Indian 0-6.

All-Conference honors went to Jonah Dickens and Walter Horabik, first team offense; Ethan Gibeault, second team offense; Brayden Larson, Caleb Dickens, Ethan Gibeault and Brett Marheine, second team defense; Brayden Larson and Andrew Samundsen, honorable mention offense; and Jonah Dickens and Rex Reilly, honorable mention defense.


Next let’s take a look at the volleyball program, coached by first-year varsity coach Katie Denton, assisted by Katie Pintens, Aubrey Fryar, Lauren Schauer and Jess Denton.

Team members were Sara Gebauer, Cadee Benaszeski, Cayley Scholz, Emerson Lange, Samantha Gebauer, Chloe Buckwalter, Sadie Liebelt, Siennah Calkins, Claire Albert, Sophie Olsen, Ashley Beck and Macy Jankiewicz.

Their season started at UW-Whitewater, where Tomahawk won the silver bracket with wins over Clinton, Kenosha Tremper, Jefferson and Whitewater while losing to losing to New Berlin Eisenhower, New Berlin Heritage Christian, Milton and Lakeside Lutheran. Next came a dual meet against Ashland, which Tomahawk lost 3-1. At the DCE Invite, they went 2-2 with wins over Wausau East and Wausau West and had losses to DCE and Merrill.

The next two duals saw THS defeat Antigo 3-1 and lose to Marathon 3-1. The third tournament of the season was the Merrill Invite where THS went 1-4. They defeated Medford 2-1 and lost to Chippewa Falls, Athens and Wittenberg-Birnamwood twice. An exciting dual meet was seen against Lakeland, where Tomahawk won a hard-fought battle 3-2 with scores of 23-25, 25-22, 17-25 28-26 and 15-9 (Buckwalter had 29 assists and 16 digs, while Jankiewicz had 13 kills, five blocks and two aces).

At the first conference tourney at Antigo, Tomahawk lost 3-1 to Medford and defeated Eagle River 3-0 and Rhinelander 3-0. Conference champion Mosinee then defeated THS 3-0. At the Hatchet Quad, Tomahawk defeated Antigo 2-1 and lost to Wausau Newman 2-1 and Prentice 2-0. THS then won three of four duals, when they defeated Eagle River, Medford and Rhinelander while losing to Wittenberg-Birnamwood. At the second conference tourney, Tomahawk defeated Antigo and Lakeland and lost to Mosinee.

Final conference standings were Mosinee 12-0, Tomahawk 9-3, Lakeland 8-4, Medford 6-6, Antigo 5-7, Rhinelander 1-11 and Eagle River 1-11.

All-Conference honors went to Macy Jankiewicz, first team; Siennah Calkins, second team; and Chloe Buckwalter, Claire Albert and Sammy Gebauer, honorable mention.

In the first round of the playoffs, THS defeated Rhinelander 25-13, 25-20 and 28-26 before losing to Mosinee 3-0, giving Tomahawk a season record of 18-19.

Girls’ swimming

Our next team to look back at is the girls’ swimming team, coached by third-year varsity coach Melissa Nieman, assisted by Kurt DeKiep.

Team members were Madeline List, Paige DeKiep, Maggie Lashua, Abigail Roberts, Emma Hoff, Morgan Kretzschmar, Dorain Stefan, Kenadie Gilbert, Lily Krueger and Kaylee Roberts.

Their season started at the Fun in the Sun Meet at Antigo, where the Hatchets took 10th place of 12 teams. The remainder of their regular season was dual meets, which saw Tomahawk defeat Mosinee 82-70, Antigo 94-54 and Lakeland 75-72, while losses were 117-44 to Medford, 138-21 to Rhinelander, 104-48 to Colby/Abby and 107-60 to Ladysmith.

Final conference dual meet standings were Rhinelander 7-0, Medford 6-1, Ladysmith 5-2, Colby/Abby 4-3, Tomahawk 3-4, Mosinee 2-5, Lakeland 1-6 and Antigo 0-7.

At the conference meet held in Antigo, Tomahawk placed fifth with 86 points, while Rhinelander easily won conference with 466, compared to second place Medford with 255.

Final conference points were Rhinelander 30, Medford 26, Ladysmith 22, Colby/Abby 18, Tomahawk 12, Lakeland 10, Mosinee 8 and Antigo 2.

Making All-Conference was Paige DeKiep in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, earning first team All-Conference honors.

At sectionals, Tomahawk placed 11th of 14 teams with 89.5 points while sectional champions Rhinelander scored 424.5.

Paige DeKiep qualified for state in two events. She tied for first in the 50-yd. freestyle and was second in the 100 yd. butterfly, while the remainder of the team swam 11 personal bests. At state, DeKiep was fourth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 50 freestyle. Overall, she scored 27 points at state, placing Tomahawk 21st of 36 teams.

Cross country

Up next are the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams.

Connor Ahrens was in his second year as head coach of both programs, with assistance from Bill Turgeon, Stephanie Ahrens, Kurt Cordova and Kurt Reinke.

Members of the girls’ program were Faith Derleth, Halle Derleth, Liam Dickrell, Jennie Frederickson, Summer Gaedtke, Elise Gibeault, Kailynn Hanse, Elizabeth Lee, Norah Mann, Kambyl Mattke, Abigail Micke, Reese Molitor, Alli Palmer, Rachael Reilly, Abbie Rosenmeier, Robin Schmidt and Lydia Shaney.

The girls’ season started at the Hodag Invite, where THS was first of 13 teams, then second of 14 teams at the Wausau Nine Mile Invite. At the Menomonie Invite, Tomahawk was seventh of 14 teams, followed by a seventh-place of 19 teams in Divisions 2/3 at the Smiley Invite at Wausau East. The Three Lakes Invite saw THS place second of nine teams. The last competition before conference was the Medford Invite, where Tomahawk took second of five teams.

At conference, held in Mosinee, Tomahawk was conference champions for the 21st time in school history and earned their first conference title since 2014.

Team scores at conference were Tomahawk 36, Medford 42, Lakeland 78, Rhinelander 92, Eagle River 120, and both Antigo and Mosinee did not have complete teams.

Making All-Conference were Alli Palmer and Elise Gibeault, first team; Rachael Reilly, Halle Derleth and Lydia Shaney, second team; and Robin Schmidt and Faith Derleth, honorable mention.

Because of Tomahawk defeating six-time conference champion Medford for the title, Connor Ahrens was voted GNC Coach of the Year.

Sectionals were held at Colby, with the Hatchets taking fourth of 14 teams with 148 points and seeing their season come to an end.

Members of the boys’ program were Elias Albrent, William Boneck, Dominic Boos, Owen Dickrell, Gerard Gorell, Presley Gutbrod, Jeremiah Johnson, Ryan Montag, Trey Morrison, Elliot O’Connor, Bruce Peetz, Nathan Rosenmeier, Andrew Voermans and Samuel Zastrow.

The boys’ season also started at the Hodag Invite, where THS took sixth of 17 teams, followed by fifth of 16 teams at the Wausau Nine Mile Invite. At the Menomonie Invite, Tomahawk was 12th of 14 teams, followed by 12th of 25 teams in Divisions 2/3 at the Smiley Invite at Wausau East. At the Three Lakes Invite, Tomahawk was first of 10 teams. The last competition before conference saw Tomahawk second of five teams at the Medford Invite.

At conference, held in Mosinee, Tomahawk was third.

Conference scores were Lakeland 24, Rhinelander 76, Tomahawk 77, Medford 81, Eagle River 99, while Antigo and Mosinee did not have complete teams.

Making All-Conference were Presley Gutbrod, Sam Zastrow and Domonic Boos, all second team.

At the Colby sectionals, Tomahawk was fifth of 16 teams with 148 points and seeing their season come to an end.

One-act play

I would also like to congratulate members of the one-act play on a job well done. They have now qualified for state eight years in a row.

Michele Balda was the director, with Nancy Herbison and Makayla Zipp working as assistant directors.

Students involved in this year’s production included Murphy Koth, Sadie Ruder, Isabella Marino, Juliana McGovern, Galen Schmit, A J Schertz, Aubrey Graeber, Xan Sutton, Arawen Alberg, Trey Morrison, Cedar Hoffman, Kiannah Mullen, Greta Kurth, Johnathan Feltes, Shyann Boos, Caroline Klesmith, Cheyanne Schade, Apollo Davis, Madeline Long and Mariah Sparbel.

GNC Choir and Band Festival

Also, congratulations to the All-Conference musicians performing in the GNC Choir and Band Festival held in Minocqua.

Representing Tomahawk High School, under the direction of Cory Colburn, were Xan Sutton, Galen Schmidt, Try Morrison, Elliot O’Connor, Douglas Scott, Robin Schmidt, Bella Marino, Murphy Koth and Arawen Alberg.

THS athletes who have passed

Finally, I would like to pay respects to THS athletes who recently passed away.

They are Gene Lokken, Class of ‘48; Dick Pickett, Class of ‘61; Gordy Erickson, Class of ‘63; Dan Herbst, Class of ‘89; and Tyler Cole, Class of 2025.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

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