Introducing your state champion Sevastopol Pioneers football team.
Yes, 2018 was the year when that sentence became possible to write, as the school that once lost every conference game for a decade took home the hardware in the inaugural Wisconsin eight-man football championship after a 38-30 victory against Luck. Nathan Stenzel led the way with 319 total yards and three touchdowns for the Pioneers, who overcame a 16-0 deficit.
The Pioneers’ run to the title was the standout among many memorable achievements by local prep athletes in 2018.
On the pitch, the Sturgeon Bay boys soccer team dominated the year once again. The Clippers returned to state for the seventh time in 10 years, led by Packerland Conference Player of the Year Eli Dietzel.
As the year came to a close, the Southern Door boys basketball team appeared unbeatable as it set a conference record for consecutive victories, with 29. That came after finishing 16-0 in conference play during the 2017-18 season — a campaign that ended with the team’s first regional title in 20 years. The program also added two more names to the list of 1,000-point scorers: Derik LeCaptain and Kyle Daoust, who was also named conference Player of the Year.
Not to be outdone, the Southern Door girls won a regional title of their own in dramatic fashion. Gabby Atkins drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to top Oostburg — a moment to remember for Atkins, who was also unanimously named to the Packerland Conference’s first team.
But back to LeCaptain. You may not be able to find a Door County athlete who has had a better prep career than this Eagles standout. He’s one of just 13 county hoopers ever to score 1,000 career points, but his best sport is football. The senior running back was named Defensive and Offensive Player of the Year after running for more than 2,000 yards this season, earning a preferred walk-on spot at the University of Minnesota.
Grapplers Jeremy Jorns of Sturgeon Bay-Sevastopol and Griffin Slezewski of Southern Door made trips to state on the wrestling mat.
A mid-April snowstorm dumped 30 inches of snow on parts of Door County, canceling dozens of events and resulting in a much-abbreviated spring sports schedule. Sturgeon Bay took first in short seasons for softball as well as boys track and field, and it tied for first in baseball.
The Sturgeon Bay Powerlifting Club’s Brenna Zuehlke won the 165-pound weight class with a 771-pound total. Her squat of 286 pounds tied the state record, and her total broke the state record by more than 20 pounds.
On the cross-country trails, two Door County runners outpaced the rest. Gibraltar’s Evan Henry closed a decorated high school career by placing fifth in the Division III state boys cross-country meet, and Sevastopol sophomore Olivia Stenzel placed 20th among the girls.
Gibraltar volleyball netted its first regional title since 2010, and Southern Door’s Tehya Bertrand claimed Player of the Year honors after leading the Eagles to a second-place finish in the Packerland Conference.
After April’s record-breaking snowfall, Door County Half Marathon organizers had to plow the course in May, but come race day, the skies cleared to create a picture-perfect day that greeted the 2,500 runners who participated in the event. Rodee Schneider returned to the top of the podium for the third time, and Katelynn Williams won the women’s division.
In July, more than 2,000 athletes competed in the Door County Triathlon. Vant Lammers finished first among the men, and Katie Horner paced the women in a grueling competition that included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.
Door County residents Mike Snell and Aaron Shepit made history on the lanes Feb. 1 when each bowled a perfect game — the first time when two bowlers had rolled 300 games on the same night at the Sister Bay Bowl.
Sister Bay’s historic Door County League Baseball reign came to an end. After a record-tying four consecutive league championships, the Bays fell to Egg Harbor in a playoff game to decide the regular-season champion. The Bays rebounded to take home the playoff trophy.
In broomball, Johnson’s Park took home the Hilander Cup, and on the sand of the Northern Door Volleyball League, PC Junction earned its third-straight championship.