2016 was an absolutely terrific year if you happened to be a fan of the Rock County Fury girls hockey team or the Clinton Cougars football team.
Both squads enjoyed unprecedented success. The Fury, a Beloit Memorial co-op team, qualified for the WIAA State Tournament in Madison for the first time in their history. The Cougars not only won the Rock Valley Conference South championship, they reached the semifinals in the WIAA playoffs, a first-time-ever achievement.
It came as no surprise when the Cougars’ do-it-all speedster Jordan Jones was named the BDN All-Area Football Player of the Year and Jeff Spiwak was named Coach of the Year.
Another team enjoying tremendous success was the Beloit American Legion baseball team, which not only finished second in the state tourney, but qualified for the Great Lakes Regional.
Here’s a rundown on some of the biggest highlights of 2016:
5 - Clinton’s boys basketball team rolled to a 102-77 win over host Big Foot. Sophomores Caleb Gracyalny (24 points), Zach Krause (22) and Terrell Walker (21) all had big games.
...Ronny Galvan’s jumper with 2.4 seconds left lifted Beloit Turner to a 69-67 win over host Brodhead. Justin Hansen led the Trojans with 23 points.
7 - Beloit Memorial’s boys swimming team won the first Rock County Challenge, pulling out the win thanks to a victory over Janesville Parker in the final event.
...Brodhead’s girls basketball team nearly pulled off an upset at home, but fell to top-Ranked Whitewater, 57-56. Sophomore Erin Nyhus led the Cardinals with 21 points. Kaylie Moe had 20.
16 - Lana Wieseman became the top female scorer in Beloit College history, scoring 32 points in a 62-58 loss at Illinois College. She hiked her total to 1,486 career points, topping the 1,462 of Stacey Schmidt (1988-92).
22 - Beloit Memorial’s boys basketball team hit 10 three-pointers in a 76-65 win at Janesville Craig. Dre’mond Long had four treys and Drew Freitag had three.
...Alec Fruin returned from a back injury and netted 30 points in Turner’s 81-50 rout of host Clinton.
23 - Down by 28 points, Beloit College’s men rallied for a 99-98 victory over Grinnell, which didn’t score in the final 5 minutes and 21 seconds. Rudy Bentley led the way with 29 points.
26 - The Rock County Fury girls hockey team knocked off fifth-ranked Metro Lynx, 5-2, at Edwards Ice Arena. Goalie Molly Gross had 40 saves.
...Tegan Rock’s lone field goal was the game-winner as Beloit College’s women’s basketball team snapped a seven-game slide by topping host Carroll University in two overtimes, 80-79.
...Turner’s wrestlers won their first Rock Valley Conference title since 2003, taking the South Division crown by beating host Brodhead-Juda, 39-27.
28 - Harrison Hearne was named the new head girls tennis coach at Hononegah.
12 - Hononegah’s girls basketball team capped off an undefeated NIC-10 season with a 60-48 win over Rockford Auburn.
13 - Beloit Memorial’s 400 freestyle relay team of Nathan Sill, Adrian Sowicz, Jackson Prowse and Andre DeKok qualified for the WIAA State Meet.
17 - Beloit College’s men’s basketball team upset Ripon, 85-77, in the finales for seniors Steve McAfee and Rudy Bentley. McAfee had 31 points and 14 rebounds for his 19th career double-double. Bentley had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Buccaneers women fell, 64-42, despite 20 points and 11 rebounds for Lana Wieseman, who finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,639 points.
20 - Turner wrestlers Tyler Burt and Tony Bivens both qualify for the WIAA Division 2 State Meet.
...Hononegah’s Fernie Silva captures the IHSA Class 3A State championship at 152 pounds in Champaign, Ill.
23 - Turner’s girls basketball team edged East Troy, 41-38, in overtime, leading to a shot at No. 1-ranked Whitewater.
25 - Huntley ended NIC-10 champion Hononegah’s season, 49-38, in a Class 4A sectional final at Huntley.
27 - Payton Staman of Hononegah takes first place in diving at the IHSA State Meet.
...Brodhead’s girls basketball team fell to Marshall, 76-55, in a WIAA regional final at Marshall. Kylie Moe tallies 20 points and Amber Pickel 14 in their Brodhead finales.
...Parkview freshman Jackson Hauri finished fifth at 106 pounds in the WIAA State Meet.
...Beloit College’s Steve McAfee lands on the All-MWC First Team.
28 - Rock County Fury defeated Metro Lynx, 3-2, to clinch a first-ever trip to the WIAA State Tournament in Madison.
1 - Beloit College senior Lana Wieseman was named the Midwest Conference Player of the Year in basketball. The 6-foot-1 forward led the Bucs in scoring (20.7), rebounding (7.3), field goal shooting (52.8) and blocked shots.
...Beloit Turner dropped nine three-pointers on its way to a 76-35 home rout of Big Foot in a WIAA Division 3 boys basketball regional. Alec Fruin led a balanced attack with 18 points.
2 - Max Miller’s 29 points and 20 rebounds paecd Hononegah to a 67-52 victory over Rockford Lutheran in an IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal at Harlem High School.
4 - The Rock County Fury’s memorable run to its first WIAA State Tournament ended with a 6-1 loss to a powerful Hayward team at the Alliant Energy Center. Fury goalie Molly Gross, from Beloit Memorial, had 32 saves.
...Trayon Tyler dropped 27 points and Rockford Auburn downed Hononegah, 58-48, in a regional final at Harlem. Falling in WIAA regional semifinals were Beloit Memorial, 70-62 at Muskego and Turner, 78-65 at East Troy.
9 - Playing in Kissimmee, Fla., the Beloit College softball team pounded out a team-record 25 hits in a 19-3 win over Mitchell College. Maddie Terlap and Emalie Thern each had four hits.
17 - Hononegah’s girls track team captured the NIC-10 Indoor Championships at Auburn High School. Nicky Althoff led the way with a first in the 400 and thirds in the 200 and 800.
...Kylie Moe of Brodhead was named the Rock Valley Conference South Division Player of the Year in basketball.
18 - Big Foot’s Brooke Wellhausen won the 400 meters and Jackson Enz took the 55 hurdles in the small school Nelson-Daniels Classic at UW-Whitewater.
19 - Beloit Memorial’s girls finished third and Hononegah’s boys were first in the large school Nelson-Daniels Classic at UW-Whitewater. The Indians’ Ryan Polfliet was named Athlete of the Meet after winning the long jump, placing third in the high jump and participating on a second-place relay team.
20 - The Rock County Raptors hockey team finished second in the WAHA State Tournament in Hudson, Wis., falling to defending champion Menomonie/Marinette, 9-1, in the finals.
23 - Hononegah’s Fernie Silva headed up the 2015-16 BDN All-Area Wrestling Team as Wrestler of the Year. The Indians’ Jason Glodowski was named All-Area Coach of the Year. 24 - Player of the Year Kylie Moe of Brodhead headed up the 2015-16 BDN All-Area Girls Basketball Team. Also on the First Team were Hononegah’s Ellie Welsh and Jordan King, Big Foot’s Megan Courier and Turner’s Ashley Himmelmann.
25 - Turner’s Alec Fruin headed up the 2015-16 BDN All-Area Boys Basketball Team as Player of the Year. Rounding out the First Team were Justin Hansen of Turner, Zach Krause of Clinton, Josh Donaldson and Max Miller of Hononegah.
26 - Beloit College’s Kam Sallee ripped a long fly to left that was originally called a home run against Monmouth. The home plate umpire overruled the base umpire and called it foul at the Ballpark at Strong Stadium. No matter. Sallee four pitches later the ripped another ball over the fence in left and Beloit won, 5-1.
3 - Beloit Memorial’s girls traack team tied for first place in the Case Classic at UW-Parkside. Yolanda Johnson was a double winner in the 400 meters and 55 hurdles.
6 - Beloit College’s men’s lacrosse team flattends Concordia-Chicago at Strong Stadium, 29-4, scoring the second-most goals in school history.
7 - The Beloit Snappers’ pitching is dominant on a cold night as they posted a 2-1 season-opening victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Pohlman Field. Kevin Friedrichs picked up the win.
...The Beloit Knitro girls soccer team not only lost to host Elkhorn, 5-0, the team experienced racial taunting from some
9 - The Brodhead-Juda boys track team captured first place in the Clinton Relays.
12 - Facing Janesville Parker ace Hunter Van Zandt, Beloit Memorial’s baseball team rallied for a pair of runs in the seventh inning for a 3-2 victory at Pohlman Field.
14 - Hononegah High School announced that long-time assistant coach Brian Zimmerman would be the team’s head coach for the 2016 season.
21 - Beloit Turner’s softball team and ace Kailyn Packard knocked off No. 4-ranked McFarland, 2-1, in Beloit.
27 - For the 11th year in a row, Beloit Memorial’s girls swimming team received the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association’s National Gold Award for academics.
1 - Beloit College’s men’s track team captures first place in its own Beloit Relays. Jacob Gray set a record for the Bucs in the 5000 meters while Emma Koenig also broke the women’s mark in the same event for Beloit.
6 - East Troy’s track teams continued their dominance in the BDN Invitational at Turner. Brodhead-Juda’s Cora Purdue had a terrific meet to earn the girls track MVP, setting the 800-meter record.
...Hononegah’s boys track team won the Northern Illinois Invitational it hosted at Beloit College’s Karris Track and Field at Strong Stadium.
8 - A split with Ripon College gave the Beloit College baseball team a berth in the MWC Championships. The Bucs clinched the co-title with a 10-0 rout in the first game.
9 - Hononegah’s baseball team posted its 20th win of the season as Kyle Blunt baffled visiting Rockford Jefferson, 10-0.
12 - Beloit College’s Dave DeGeorge was named the Midwest Conference baseball Coach of the Year.
13 - Ryan Kaveney pitched nine innings to boost Beloit College’s baseball team to a 3-1 victory over South Division champion Grinnell in its opener in the Midwest Conference Tournament. In a second game against co-North champ St. Norbert Kaveney’s two-out RBI single lifted the Bucs to a 4-3 win.
...Hosting the Big Eight Conference Championships, Beloit Memorial’s girls finished a solid second.
14 - Beloit College’s baseball team finished a perfect 3-0 in the MWC Tournametn in De Pere, downing Grinnell, 6-2. The MWC title was the school’s second, having also won in 2009.
...Missouri No. 1 won the title in the annual Team World Horseshoes Championship hosted by the Beloit Horseshoe Club at the Telfer Sports and Activity Center.
18 - Beloit College’s baseball team was routed by UW-Oshkosh, 17-2, in the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional in La Crosse.
19 - St. Scholastica deals Beloit College an 8-1 loss in NCAA D-III Midwest Regional baseball and ousts the Bucs from the tourney.
20 - Hononegah sends the quartet of Destiny Sandlin, Katrina Meyers, Abby Butkowski and Nicky Althoff to compete in the IHSA State Track and Field Championships in Charleston, Ill.
...Hononegah pitcher Kyle Blunt pitched his second straight one-hit shutout, beating Belvidere North, 3-0.
22 - The No. 14 ranked UW-Whitewater baseball team swept two games from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to advance to its eighth NCAA D-III College World Series. Hononegah grad Daytona Bryden had a terrific twinbill, going a combined 7-for-11 and five runs scored.
23 - Beloit Memorial’s girls captured the WIAA Division 1 Janesville Parker Regional crown as Raevin Peek won the high jump and Eva Laun-Smith won the triple jump.
...Turner’s Hannah Miller broke the school record in the triple jump in the WIAA Division 2 Monroe Regional.
25 - Turner ace Kailyn Packard tossed a 9-1 six-inning no-hitter with 14 strikeouts against Edgerton as a torrential downpour ended the WIAA Division 3 regional softball game at Turner.
26 - Eva Laun-Smith and Jaliyah Elliott qualified for state in three events apiece as Beloit Memorial won the WIAA Division 1 Stoughton Sectional.
27 - Hononegah’s Ryan Polfliet high-jumped 6-2 to reach the finals in the IHSA CLass 3A State Meet in Charleston.
1 - Seth Smith’s walk-off two-run home run in the ninth inning lifted host Beloit Turner’s baseball team to a 4-2 victory over Edgerton in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal.
2 - Evansville scored eight times in the seventh inning to pull out a 13-11 slugfest over Turner in a WIAA Division 2 regional final on the Trojans’ home diamond.
...Beloit Memorial’s baseball team lost to Madison West, 7-3, in a regional final at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex.
3 - Eva Laun-Smith of Beloit Memorial placed fourth in the triple jump at the WIAA Divison 1 State Track and Field Championships at UW-La Crosse’s Memorial Stadium. The Knights had a solid day qualifying for the finals in other events.
4 - Beloit Memorial’s girls had mixed results at the state meet, with a third-place finish by sophomore Adela Diaz in the 300 hurdles their best of the day. Jaliyah Elliott was fifth int eh 100 and seventh in the 200.
9 - The Beloit Historical Society Elliott-Perring Sports Hall of Fame inducted six new members: Mark Edwards, Paul Morrow, Tammy (Grover) Hahn, Tim Wofford, Jack Merlet at James Lindsey. Dr. Daniel Green was honored as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
12 - Beloiter Cam Roegner, a Bradley University pitcher, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after being selected in the 22nd round of the Major League draft.
21 - Beloit Turner elected to promote longtime softball assistant Regan Peters to head coach and not retain Bob Sulser.
23 - Athletic Director Chuck Seils announced he would be leaving Beloit Memorial to become Madison West’s new A.D.
25 - Beloit native Bill McCrary, who played with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League, was honored by the Milwaukee Brewers and inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Wall of Fame in Milwaukee.
2 - Spencer Waite of Beloit captured the title in the 2016 Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois (SWANI) Golf Tournament at Krueger-Haskell, firing a round of 67.
20 - Cade Johnson struck out the final batter to preserve Beloit’s 6-5 win over Janesville in an AAA Region 7 Legion baseball tournament game at Janesville’s Riverside Park.
24 - The 19U Beloit Legion baseball team routed Genoa City, 11-5, to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
...The 16U Stateline Fury Red fastpitch softball team won the USSSA National Championship held in Overland Park, Kansas.
25 - Professional golfer Will MacKenzie appeared at the Beloit Health System Pro-Am at The Beloit Club.
...After struggling most of the month, the Beloit Snappers had a rare doubleheader sweep of the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Pohlman Field, 5-1 and 2-1.
30 - The Beloit 19U American Legion baseball team (29-7) finished second in the AAA state tournament in Marshfield to advance to the regional tournament. Madison Impact won the title.
31 - Andy Hagen defeated his older brother Nick in a one-hole playoff Sunday to win the Beloit City Golf Tournament by one stroke at Krueger-Haskell Golf Course.
2 - The School District of Beloit looked to a familiar face to fill its empty Athletic Director position, luring Steve Ferger back for a third time on an interim basis.
3 - The Beloit 19U Legion baseball team cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Kentucky state champion (Shelbyville) in Great Lakes Regional action at Edwardsville, Ill. C.J. Grahn tossed a shutout.
4 - Host Edwardsville dealt the 19U Beloit Legion baseball team a 7-5 loss in Great Lakes Regional play.
5 - The 19U Beloit Legion baseball team had the potential tying run cut down at the plate to end the game and its season in a 1-0 loss to Madison Impact at the Great Lakes Regional in Edwardsville. Beloit finished 30-9.
9 - Former Beloit Memorial standout pitcher Cameron Roegner posted his first victory as a pro as a member of the Helena Brewers.
...The Beloit Snappers were no-hit by a pair of Clinton LumberKing pitchers, 2-0, in Clinton, Iowa. It was the team’s seventh straight loss and 10th straight overall on the road.
11 - Rehabbing Milwaukee Brewers outfield Domingo Santana played eight innings and went 0-for-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch in the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ 4-3 loss in 13 innings to the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field.
19 - High school football opened with contrasting results for Beloit’s teams. Turner pounded Edgerton at home, 26-13, while Beloit Memorial suffered 27-14 loss to visiting Madison West.
26 - Turner’s football team broke the school record for most points in a game and most all-purple yards (666) in a 56-20 victory over Whitewater. Turner rushed for 425 yards, with Sam Behm (177) and Ethan Burns (169) each going over 100 yards for the second straight week.
1 - Beloit College’s cross country teams swept a season-opening meet at the Kielselburg Forest Preserve in Roscoe, with Emma Koenig and Alberto Torres taking the individual titles.
2 - In an early showdown in the Rock Valley Conference, Evansville-Albany tripped up host Turner, 27-15.
5 - The Beloit Snappers finished on a high note, knocking off the playoff-bound Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 4-3, at Pohlman Field. Trace Loehr hit his first home run of the season in at-bat 355.
6 - Bailey Cronin of Beloit Memorial continued to run well in the early season, finishing first in a six-team meet at Leeson Park,
10 - Kam Sallee booted a school record-tying 52-yard field goal as Beloit College knocked off Knox College, 42-32.
13 - South Beloit’s first-year boys soccer team edged Christian Life 3-2 in double overtime to improve to 3-2 overall. Rodrigo Ruiz put in the winning goal.
16 - QB Jordan Enz powered the Big Foot Chiefs to a 20-10 victory at Turner, passing for 130 yards, running for 183 and amassing 144 yards in punt and kickoff returns.
17 - Beloit College rolled up 725 yards in total offense in walloping host Grinnell, 72-17. Mason Dixon made his season debut after missing two games with an ankle injury and ran for 131 yards.
23 - Clinton posted its fifth straight victory, dismantling Turner 56-18 and rushing for 299 yards.
...Hononegah piled up 505 yards as Dominic Ballano rushed for 200 yards and Christian Fausel added 173 in a 35-27 win over Belvidere on Homecoming.
24 - Beloit College held a 28-7 lead, but Cornell College roared back to knock off the Bucs 46-41 and spoil their Homecoming. At halftime, the college honored Hall of Honor inductees Josh Hinz, Brenda Erdman Miller, Marc Montoya and Bob Hodge. The college’s 1984 MWC North champion football team was also saluted.
26 - Beloit Memorial’s boys soccer team dominated its now annual matchup with Stateline rival Hononegah, 5-2, in Rockton.
27 - Long-time Midwest League President and Beloit Snappers (Brewers) co-founder George Spelius passed away at age 83.
...Beloit Snappers pitcher James Naile received a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove.
...Brodhead-Juda’s cross country teams swept the team titles in the Rock Valley Conference South Division. Taking an individual title for the Cardinals was Michael Hatter.
4 - Beloit Memorial’s boys soccer team posted its first victory ever over Madison La Follette, 2-1, at Jacobson Field. Jorge “Coco” Castellanos scored the game-winner.
6 - It’s a milestone week for Beloit Memorial’s soccer team as it followed its win over the Lancers by beating Middleton for the first time, 6-4, at Jacobson Field.
10 - Alberto Martinez set the single-season scoring record for the Beloit Memorial soccer team at 32 goals in an 11-1 romp over Stoughton at Jacobson Field.
11 - Big Foot’s volleyball team knocked off Turner to finish 9-1 in the RVC South and wrap up its eighth straight division title.
13 - Turner’s football team dropped its finale at McFarland, 34-6, to finish 3-5 and lose out on any chance of qualifying for the WIAA playoffs.
14 - Clinton’s football team rushed for 570 yards in thumping Whitewater, 48-20, and clinching its second straight Rock Valley Conference title with an 8-1 record.
16 - Mike Nolden caught three touchdown passes to lead Beloit College to a 24-14 win at Ripon and the Buccaneers snapped a three-game losing streak.
28 - The Clinton football team rallied in the second half and defeated Arcadia, 14-7, in a WIAA DIvision 5 Level 2 playoff game at home.
29 - Oak Park Fenwick ended Hononegah’s football season in the first round of the IHSA 7A playoffs, winning 31-10 in River Grove, Ill.
...Beloit Memorial senior Bailey Cronin took 52nd place in the WIAA Division 1 State Cross Country Championships in Wisconsin Rapids.
...Beloit College hosted the MWC Cross Country Championships at the Beloit Club and had a trio earn all-conference honors: Ellie Waddle, Alberto Torres and Daniel Arkes.
4 - Clinton rallied for a 20-17 victory over Lancaster in the WIAA Division 5 football playoffs, running its record to 11-1.
5 - Beloit Memorial junior Heaven Wells qualified for the WIAA Division 1 State Swimming Championships as she broke a school record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59:02.
11 - Clinton’s football team saw its state title dreams end. The Cougars fell to Cedar Grove-Belgium, 42-35, in a WIAA Division 5 semifinal at Slinger.
12 - Juan Moran, a former Beloit Memorial cross country runner, won the Tunnel Hill 100-mile “ultra” marathon race in Vienna, Ill.
13 - Senior wide receiver Mike Nolden closed out his career catching 11 passes for 122 yards, but Beloit College fell to Illinois College in its season finale, 38-17.
15 - The Beloit Turner girls won their third straight in the unofficial “Battle of Beloit” as they handled Beloit Memorial, 58-41, at Barkin Arena. Kenzike Krismanich dropped in 26 points for Turner while Aniah williams had 15 for the Purple Knights.
16 - The Beloit Snappers announced they will have a new manager for 2017 with Scott Steinmann named by the Oakland A’s to replace Fran Riordan.
20 - Beloit College’s men’s basketball team knocked off visiting MSOE, 74-59. to run its record to 2-0 as Cody Risseeuw scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half.
24 - The Mouse Tavern edged the Hog Cabin Saloon, 7-0, in the 69th annual Turkey Bowl football game at the E.J. Dalton Beloit Boys & Girls Club field.
26 - It was a good day for Beloit Memorial hockey teams. The boys team swept its own tournament, beating Milton and then Green Bay East. At Black River Falls, Beloit’s co-op team, the Rock County Fury edged the Western Wisconsin Stars in the finals, 3-2.
...Tony Cassioppi of Hononegah captured the heavyweight title in the 26th annual Moore/Prettyman Wrestling Invitational at Barrington High School.
1 - In a rematch between the Rock County Fury and the team they defeated last season to reach state, the Metro Lynx, neither team could prevail. The game ended in a 3-3 overtime tie at the Edwards Ice Arena.
2 - Beloit College senior WR Mike Nolden was selected to participate in the Bowl of Stars on Dec. 17 in Mexicali, Mexico, as a member of Team Stars & Stripes.
6 - Clinton’s Jordan Jones was named Player of the Year and Jeff Spiwak Coach of the Year to head up the 2016 Beloit Daily News All-Area Football Team.
20 - Tim Schmiechen, the head coach of the Beloit men’s soccer team since 1990, announced he was stepping down to devote his full energy to his position as Director of Athletics and Recreation.