Phoenix Horn is trying to make a name for herself in girls wrestling.
The Burlington High School junior won the championship at 120 pounds Dec. 23 in the Badger State Girls Tournament at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. She was the only Burlington wrestler in the tournament and singlehandedly scored 20 points to give the Demons a fourth-place tie with Cudahy and Oshkosh West.
Horn pinned Claire Andries of Waunakee in 3:33 in her first match and followed that by pinning Natalie Ramirez of Milwaukee Ronald Reagan in 1:01. In her final match, she duplicated the pin time of her first match in beating Samantha Guzman of Random Lake.
Horn, a member of the Demons’ junior varsity team, has been wrestling for just about a year and a half, and last January won the 113-pound title at the Wisconsin Challenge Championship Series (the junior varsity state tournament) held at Wausau West.
Horn also was a member of the Wisconsin Junior National Team last year and competed across the country.
She wasn’t expecting to do as well as she did in Madison.
“I didn‘t think I would pin all the girls,” Horn said. “I felt strong going in and I just wanted to do my thing on the mat and hope for the best. It was fun.”
Horn learned much of her technique from Kevin Bird, a former All-American at UW-Parkside whose sons Jared, Josh and Jaden have gone through Higher Level Wrestling in Burlington.
She practices with the Demons team and she said everyone is very supportive.
“The guys are awesome and they don’t make it awkward,” she said.
Burlington head coach Jade Gribble is impressed with Horn’s dedication.
“She’s doing a great job and she’s coming along,” Gribble said. “She’s a hard worker, she’s absolutely dedicated to the sport and it’s a pleasure to coach her.”
Gribble said there have been only two other female wrestlers for Burlington since he became coach in 2004 — Cassie Friend and Nancy Lightfield.
Wrestling isn’t Horn’s only sport. She played soccer for the Demons as a freshman and ran track last year. She’s debating between track and soccer for this spring.
Nick Klug’s senior season in basketball has been cut short.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who earlier this season passed Tony Romo to become Burlington’s all-time leading scorer in boys basketball, will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his foot.
He sustained the injury during the football season, but finished the football season and continued to play and fight through the discomfort of the injury, Burlington coach Steve Berezowitz said.
Previous X-rays showed nothing, but there was no improvement, so Klug finally went in for an MRI and CT scan. Those showed a fracture on the top of his foot that X-rays could not detect, and his doctors said the injury will need “significant time” to heal, Berezowitz said, adding that Klug would not be able to finish his senior season.
His last game was Dec. 19, when he left in the first half of Burlington’s 66-56 victory over Waterford.
“I just feel bad for Nick,” Berezowitz said. “He was really looking forward to having a storybook senior season.”
Berezowitz said the Demons will carry on, and they have, winning both of their Southern Lakes Conference games and losing a pair of games at the Sentry Classic in Stevens Point over the holiday break.
“The team feels the worst for Nick, as they know what a team player he has always been,” Berezowitz said. “As a group, we are starting over to find our new identity.
“This group of kids has had some bad luck with injuries the last few years, so I don’t think this will stop them from trying to reach their best.”
How does the closing of a restaurant in Madison have an effect on someone from Racine?
Just ask Case girls and boys swim coach Frank Michalowski.
At least twice a year since 1993, Michalowski and his teams have stopped at Ella’s Deli, an iconic restaurant and ice cream parlor on the east side of Madison best known for the carousel that sits outside the building.
Michalowski first discovered Ella’s in 1993 after bowling in the Badger State Games, then he started bringing his swim teams to the restaurant after the WIAA State Meet.
“We’ve been there every year,” Michalowski said. “I have many memories there.”
He said his best memory was in 1999, when his boys swimmers chipped in and bought him the Masterpiece Sundae, which features 32 scoops of ice cream and sherbet, along with several toppings and whipped cream, and expected him to eat the entire thing himself.
“They put it in front of me, gave me a spoon and chanted my name,” Michalowski said.
Michalowski managed to finish the sundae, with help from his swimmers. “I just said to them, ‘grab some spoons and get started,’ “ Michalowski said.
He is lamenting the closing of the place, although there is hope that someone will put together the $1.2 million purchase price to keep it open.
“We’ll have to try and find something, but I love that place,” he said.
By the numbers
Five Racine County basketball players are among the leaders in the WIAA Boys 3-Point Challenge, part of the WIAA State Tournament in March.
The Challenge is based on 3-point shooting percentage in all five divisions of basketball. The top two players in each division, based on shooting percentage (minimum of 75 attempts), will be selected for the Challenge March 17 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
In Division 1, Case brothers and teammates Owenn and Logan Schmidtmann are fourth and ninth, respectively, through Jan. 2. Owenn is shooting 38.3 percent (18 of 47) from beyond the arc and Logan is shooting 34.4 percent (11 of 32).
In Division 2, Riley Hale of Union Grove is sixth (25 of 57) and Richie LePine of Waterford is seventh (18 of 41), both at 43.9 percent.
In Division 3, Tyrese Hunter of St. Catherine’s is 10th at 43.8 percent (14 of 32).
In state statistics at www.wissports.com, Nobal Days of Park and Caroline Strande of Racine Lutheran are among the state leaders (through Friday).
Days, a junior center, leads the state in rebounding with 15.6 per game and also is tied for sixth in assists with 7.0 per game.
Not to be outdone, Strande, a sophomore guard, is ranked in the top 15 in three categories. She is 15th in scoring (23.3 per game), tied for 15th in rebounding (12.0) and tied for seventh in assists (6.0).
Burlington senior Jessa Burling is third in steals with 7.6 per game.