The pandemic put the breaks on many sports seasons and events in 2021, but there were still many teams and athletes whose accomplishments merited mention in an unprecedented year in sports.
The Sturgeon Bay Co-op boys swimming team – led by Brock Aune’s third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and sixth-place finish in the 50 freestyle – finished 12th in the Division 2 state meet.
The Southern Door boys basketball team, under new coach Pete Claflin, won its sixth consecutive Packerland Conference title with a 14-2 record. The Eagles, led by Honorable Mention All-State senior Ryan Claflin, made it to the regional final before losing 60-59 to Kohler. Coach Claflin was named Coach of the Year in the Packerland Conference.
Gibraltar’s Abbi Sitte and Southern Door’s Nicole Norton were both unanimous All-Conference selections by the Packerland coaches. Sitte scored 16.6 points and grabbed 6.0 rebounds for the 16-7 Vikings. Norton scored 16.5 points and added 4.2 rebounds for the Eagles.
Southern Door wrestlers Grant Englebert and Griffin Slezewski both qualified for the Division 3 state meet. Englebert, Alec Guilette, Kyle Conard and Riley Philipps were named to the Packerland All-Conference team.
Sturgeon Bay native and University of Minnesota swimmer Max McHugh entered the NCAA national meet with the best time in the 100 breaststroke and third-best time in the 200 breaststroke. Unfortunately, the meet was canceled because of the pandemic.
Former Sturgeon Bay football standout Chris Greisen was named head coach at West De Pere High School.
Eight local student-athletes were named Packerland Conference scholar athletes. Brady Ash and Ben Fitzgerald represented Gibraltar; Caden Kacmarynski and Evan Lardinois represented Sevastopol; Brock Aune and Sam Dean represented Southern Door; and Adison Benzinger and Jake Schneider represented Sturgeon Bay.
For only the second time in 78 years, it looked as if residents would be unable to enjoy Door County League baseball when the league canceled the season. A few weeks later, however, Nor Door Athletics agreed to create an abbreviated season. In the end, Jacksonport defeated Kolberg 7-6 to win the title.
After three previous tries, Sevastopol’s Olivia Stenzel won a spot on the podium at the Division 3 girls cross-country meet with a seventh-place finish. Stenzel teamed up with Jolene Luedtke, Kylie Newton, Bea Dramm and Rachel Wilke to place fifth as a team. Stenzel also won her fourth consecutive Packerland Conference crown.
Opting to play football in the fall, Southern Door finished 4-4. The Eagles lost to Brillion 14-6 in the opening round of the Division 4 playoffs.
Local high schools embarked on winter sports seasons despite a rise in COVID-19 cases in the area.
Former Southern Door history teacher and football coach Rich Fahey was remembered as a passionate educator and coach who was well respected by athletes, students and colleagues.