Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Groom's Volleyball Career Journey

By Justice Udelhofen

Chloe’s volleyball come back story:

Freshman Year…
The new kid. First season playing volleyball, ever. Junior Varsity
Sophomore Year…
2nd year playing volleyball. JV
Junior Year…
3rd year playing. Varsity; bench.
Senior Year…
4th year playing. Varsity starter. Varsity beast.

Chloe Groom is a senior, one of three on the volleyball team. She was home schooled up until her freshman year, where us folks at Potosi high school were fortunate enough to have her. She was a little blessing to the class of 2020, shy, polite, funny, and smart. Just what we needed. Some people thought she was mute for the first year, but slowly she broke out of her shell and now she will talk your ear off. 
During an interview with Chloe, I got to listen to her story as she answered questions about her volleyball career and her comeback story. It is as follows: Freshman year was hard for her. “I hated it at first; I wanted to quit.” Can you blame her? A new school with new teammates. When it came time for the first game she was scared, because there was “just a lot of new stuff,” and excited, even though, “I’m pretty sure I didn’t play very much.” With some strong-willed sophomore players ahead of her, she learned from them and got better every day. Of course, having Avarie by her side sure did help! “She was like my rock that year. I had some troubling times, but Avarie was always there to help me. Then she quit and I was really mad, because I definitely could’ve used her help junior year.”
Building relationships is a big part of sports because you should feel comfortable with who you are playing with so that you can play as yourself and play fearlessly, which is why her first two volleyball seasons were so important; it took time to build those relationships. For Chloe, it took until basketball season her freshman year to feel comfortable with the girls around her. “[Sophomore year] volleyball season there were new freshmen, and I was kinda scared of Syd.” It took some time to adjust again. 
Chloe’s third season wasn’t a step forward like her first two seasons were. During her junior season, she rarely got to experience playing time in varsity games. “At first I thought it would be pretty decent, but it kinda went downhill.” She was grinding it out everyday at practice and getting better, “but you’ve gotta learn from it! That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
Chloe’s favorite year was “probably this one; we did all of the summer [working out and practicing] and all of the memories we’ve made. You build very good relationships when you have to run together.” Chloe was a huge asset to our team. “I’m getting to play quite a bit.” She plays all the way around on the court. As an amazing leader, she is constantly making others around her better by giving her all and encouraging everyone when she is on and off the court. 
This year has been an eye-opener for me as a teammate of Chloe. The way she leads and the amount of determination to succeed that she has is truly inspiring. I asked Chloe what volleyball has taught her about herself. “About myself? Well, I could’ve quit, but I didn’t, so I guess I have a little bit of perseverance.” Chloe stuck it out and it worked well for her; she practiced to get better, not to be the best. She worked out because she knew it would help her, not because she had to. 
Chloe has developed into a leader, a great teammate, and a very important part of the team!

Seniors Reflect on Their Football Careers

By Ty Dressler

The smell of freshly cut grass, the pregame music blaring, and cars parked all the way down the highway. These are the things that make the atmosphere at a small-town football game one of a kind. “The only show in town” brings the whole community together every Friday night during the fall. It is a special time of year and many young kids look forward to playing for the hometown team under the lights their whole childhood. In time the kids grow up and get to experience what high school football is really like. And it is everything they thought it would be. But their time with the football team comes and goes, and eventually, they take off their helmet for the last time.
Potosi-Cassville 2019 Senior Football Players 
On November 2nd the Potosi-Cassville football team lost a snowy WIAA Level 2 Playoff game. For the 14 seniors, this marked the end of a long road. Although organized football doesn’t begin until 7th grade in Potosi, kids start playing during school recess and with their neighborhood friends much earlier. Senior Trevor Pluemer recalled playing football outside his house when he was 5 years old: “I remember going outside, rounding up my friends to play football, and pretending to be like the big kids.” 
When 7th grade arrived the young boys were finally able to put on a helmet and pads for the first time. Although middle school football is not quite Friday night lights, it still gives players a little taste of what high school football will be like. A little taste is all it takes to get the players hooked for life. Senior left guard Austin Uppena said, “When you start playing middle school football it gives you your first experience with success. That little bit of success drives you to want to work harder and become something when you’re older.” 
Some may think football season is simply from August through November. But players prepare for the season all year long. Potosi-Cassville football players are expected to lift 120 days in the offseason. The weightlifting program is a major factor that makes the football program successful. For a lot of kids, going into the weight room for the first time is an exciting experience. “You’re pumped up, but you’re also really nervous because there are older kids in there lifting twice as much as you and have been lifting for years. As soon as you touch a weight it becomes a competition with yourself as well as your teammates. If you took away the work, then the season wouldn’t be as special because you wouldn’t have anything invested,” said senior quarterback Ben Udelhofen.  
Then that special time of the year finally comes around. Players, coaches, and fans can practically feel the anticipation of the upcoming season in the air. The lines are painted on the field, pads and helmets are passed out, and practices can begin. At last, football is here. At the beginning of the year practices are hours long and are often in smoltering heat. But nobody cares. Everyone is just excited to be playing football. After all the offseason workouts, offseason camps, and weeks of practice, Friday night football is finally here. “The hay is in the barn.” The lights are turned on and players are ramped up and ready to go. Many players have been waiting an eternity to play under those lights. Senior Danny Kliebenstein described playing on a Friday night for the first time as “breathtaking.” He continued, “You finally go from watching from the sidelines to getting to be a part of the action.” Once the games start, the seasons seem to fly by. There are jersey Fridays, homecomings, team meals, playoff games, and so much more that make this time of the year come and go so quickly. Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the games were over, and years of work came to an end. All the weightlifting, film sessions, practices, pep rallies, and bus rides were gone in an instant. 
Many players mentioned that they will miss “Mr. Siegert’s old man quotes.” Some seniors said they will miss getting to hit people. But practically every senior said what they will miss most is the comradery with their teammates and all of the traditions that football let them be a part of. What this year’s senior class will miss most is seeing each other every day on the old gridiron, just trying to get better. Although high school football was only four years long, the memories this year’s senior class made will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Potosi High School Musical: Shrek

By Avarie Breitsprecker

Every year our school performs a musical. In the past few years we have had a new director almost every time, but this year, Mrs.Boneske, who is also our choir teacher, has taken on the role as director of this year’s show, Shrek. “We wanted to pick a show that includes lots of people to give as many people a part as possible.” She wanted to do a show the majority of people are familiar with to boost ticket sales. “I think having Mr. and Mrs. Boneske directing has been a good experience and a learning experience,” said Stevie Kliebenstein, who plays Shrek. 
The casting process consisted of coming to auditions, filling out a form, and writing down any scheduling conflicts there may be. “That helps us better decide how to put the schedule together,” said Mrs. Boneske. Doing this helps them get to know people better, and to figure out who wants to be center stage and who doesn’t. She went off of who had really good attitudes and were going to be committed to being there every day. Once the parts had been cast, the actors had to learn their lines. “I have been running my lines and music with cast members as well as listening to recordings of my music and different performances from other schools,” said Kliebenstein. Mrs. Boneske also wanted it to be available for people in sports, because a lot of people in the musical are in a sport.
At this point, they are starting to practice in costumes, use set pieces, and running through an act at a time. The first show will take place a week from Thursday, so Mrs. Boneske is buckling down and trying to focus on fixing the smallest of details.

Each year, there is either a pit band playing music or music is played over the speakers. “We are going to have live musicians for this production,” said Mrs. Boneske. They have seven people lined up this year, and instead of being backstage where nobody can see them,  they are going to be on the floor, “hopefully we can stay together a little better,” exclaimed Mrs. Boneske. This year the musical will take place in the auditorium on Thursday, November 14 at 7pm, Saturday, November 16 at 7pm, and Sunday, November 17 at 2pm. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Vesperman Farms: Fall Paradise

By Bradley Reynolds

A farm turned into a child’s fall paradise; Vesperman Farms has been a staple for the ultimate fall experience for the whole family. When you think of a farm, you think of getting your hands dirty and doing the hard work, yet people love this farm so much. Picking pumpkins and getting lost in the corn maze; why do hundreds of families and our own 4k and kindergarten classes flock to this iconic fall hotspot? 
Kyle Vesperma, the owner of Vesperman Farms, wanted to stay involved with the family farm that has been running for 119 years and counting. In 2003, he made the first of many famous corn mazes. What all started from a simple corn maze and pumpkin patches, that he has been doing all his life, has turned into a must-stop spot for fun family activities. Kyle never thought it would have grown this big. Hosting wedding reception was definitely not planned, but five years ago they built a very nice barn which is used as a rustic event center. Located right outside of Lancaster at 8149 Stage Road, Vesperman Farms brings in tens of thousands of people each year, and there's no questioning why.
Many reviews say that Vesperman Farms is a very welcoming place, filled with fun for the whole family. If you ask people what their favorite thing about Vesperman Farms is, everyone would have a different answer: the corn maze, petting zoo, apple cider doughnuts, the pumpkin launcher, or just the fun atmosphere. Kyle Vesperman said he thinks it is the apple cider doughnuts. There is still more to come on the farm, so don’t lock in your favorite just yet. No major plans for buildings yet, but they will continue to manufacture more homemade ice cream. 
On October 11th, our 4K and kindergarten went to Vesperman Farms. It was a blast. Potosi kindergarten student Calvin Reynolds had a few words to say about the wonderful experience: “I absolutely loved the fun activities. My favorite was definitely the petting zoo with all the goats. We got the goats to eat out of our hands, it was awesome.” The excitement in his voice was intense. You could tell he and his peers sincerely enjoyed their class field trip to Vesperman Farms.
Our Chieftain News team went there on October 28th and also experienced a great time. Kyle greeted us and was also featured in the news. Overall it was a wonderful experience; all the fall-themed games and activities make this place a highly recommended stop when summer passes and the weather gets a little colder. We encourage everyone to go there. Thank you Vesperman Farms for welcoming Potosi students.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mrs. Hutchcroft Teaching New Classes

By Chloe Groom

Recently, there have been many changes in the Potosi School District concerning the staff. One of these changes has been with Mrs. Hutchcroft who was previously our DAC (District Assessment Coordinator), she has stepped away from that role to focus more on her role as a teacher. She was given this opportunity because of the retirement of Mr. Jerry Downs, our former history teacher. 
She says, “I am ecstatic to be back in my classroom full time working with kids.”  This has been a very positive change for Mrs. Hutchcroft because she is back to doing what she loves. “I get so much energy from the kids and being able to work with the kids and help them to learn and grow.” She has previously taught government, geography, psychology, and sociology, and has picked up teaching world history. She is very excited to be teaching the history class again and very excited to use the skills she picked up from being the DAC and incorporate them into her teaching. “I get to use the insight that I learned being the DAC and know those areas that they have some weaknesses in, I can do some activities in my classroom.” 
By doing this she is hoping to help strengthen her students’ weaker areas when it comes to testing. This will not only help the kids better understand what she is teaching, but will also benefit them when they take the ACT. This change has not just affected Mrs. Hutchcroft; it has affected how she teaches, and how her students are preparing for the ACT. 
Another person that this change has affected is Mrs. Foote, our new District Assessment Coordinator. Last year, Mrs. Foote came to our school to be our counselor. This year, with Mr. Downs’ retirement and Mrs. Hutchcroft teaching new classes, Mrs. Foote has stepped in to be our DAC. With this year's junior class preparing to take the ACT, it will be interesting to see if things will be different than they have been in past years or if they will remain the same. “Being the School Counselor for grades 6-12 is still my first priority,” says Mrs. Foote. However, with this change, she may have to sacrifice some of her extra time to being the DAC. 
“Does being the DAC mean that I might have to work late some nights or come in on the weekends? Yep, but what education professional doesn’t today?” She is very dedicated to her job, and her team, which made this role change something that she was willing to do. “I don’t view being the Potosi School’s District Assessment Coordinator (DAC) as being positive or negative, but rather simply the role that I currently play. Being part of a school is being part of a team. You simply do what must be done to ensure that at the end of the day you have helped the team complete the mission.” 
“I’ve hit some snags this year such as elimination of some tests, the addition of some new tests, and the loss of our computer lab making testing accommodations trickier, but I keep telling myself that once I have a full year behind me, learn the new testing platforms, and get the kinks straightened out, I will get better and things will be smoother. I am happy to be a staff member at  Potosi Schools and am honored to serve my students and colleagues in whatever role helps.” Obviously there will be some ups and downs, but her dedication to her job and team will help her to stay motivated through it all. 

Though there have been many role changes in this School district in the past year, it has overall been a positive change for all staff and students. The adjustments have been a smooth process, because of the positive and team-like environment of Potosi. 

Mr. Lynn, World Traveler

By Ryan Kruser

Educator, business tycoon, globetrotter, and coffee connoisseur. These are some of the labels given to Mr. Zack Lynn, but when you ask him what he does outside of the classroom he’ll tell you he’s a Russian spy. 
As a child Mr. Lynn went on vacations with his family like a lot of other families. Unlike other families, the Lynns moved to Germany in 2006 just because the family thought it was the right thing to do at the time, and Mr. Lynn got his high school diploma from the International School of Stuttgart. Mr. Lynn came back to the United States in 2008 because the Euro/Dollar exchange was getting too expensive. Back in the States, Mr. Lynn attended college at Guilford University in North Carolina and then entered the transfer portal and ended up at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. After college, Mr. Lynn found a job as a business teacher at Potosi High School, where he currently is now. 
Growing up in large places wasn’t Mr. Lynn’s cup of tea, and that was why he moved to southwest Wisconsin. Living in a small area hasn’t kept him from traveling the world though. Mr Lynn has been to 20 different US states and 30 different countries. Traveling to places like Scotland and India has opened the world of food to Mr Lynn. As a quick go-to supper, Mr. Lynn will often eat curry and other domestic foods, but the food isn’t the only thing Mr. Lynn has picked up from the places he has been. Mr. Lynn also has currency from other countries and other memorable items. 
This past summer Mr. Lynn traveled to South Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and North Carolina, where he went to some museums, memorials, historical sites, and more. He started the trip by going to South Dakota where he saw Mt. Rushmore, the Crazyhorse Memorial, and the Presidential Wax Museum. From South Dakota, he went to Indiana where he visited the Buddhist Center of the Midwest and saw the largest collection of mechanical puzzles in America. The next stop was Ohio. In Ohio, he went to the Official Museum of the Airforce, the largest collection of neon signs in America, and a German villag,e which reminded him of his time in Germany. After Ohio, he drove down to West Virginia where he went to Point Pleasant, a city where, in the ’60s, a figure called the “Mothman” was seen by several eye-witnesses. In Point Pleasant, you can visit the “Mothman” statue and museum. While he was in West Virginia he stopped by Greenbrier Bunker, which was a massive bomb shelter for members of Congress in case of emergency years ago. To end the trip, he went to North Carolina where he visited some old friends. 
Even though Mr. Lynn has traveled to over 30 different countries, he can still pick his favorite place he has been to. Most people would say places like France, Ireland, or Fiji, but Mr. Lynn’s favorite place is the Czech Republic, also known as Czechia. The Czech Republic is a small country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west. The Czech Republic is known for its beautiful castles and medieval buildings, and that is why the small country of Czechia is Mr. Lynn’s favorite place. Mr. Lynn said, “The medieval buildings turned into coffee shops were really neat.” It isn’t surprising to hear Mr. Lynn say this, knowing how much he enjoys his coffee. 
This upcoming summer Mr. Lynn plans to travel to China and Mongolia, two countries he has never been to. He plans to fly to Beijing and go to the Forbidden City, a former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty. He also plans on going to the Great Wall, which is one of the largest tourist destinations in the world. From China, he plans on flying to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In Mongolia, he will attend a Naadam Festival. A Naadam Festival is a festival with a bunch of games including wrestling, horse racing, and archery. After the festival, he will hire a tourist guide and travel into the wilderness of Mongolia. Another vacation he has planned for the near future is Russia, but that won’t happen until the summer of 2021. 

At this rate, Mr. Lynn will travel to every state in the US and every country (that is safe) in the world, and who knows, Mr. Lynn might even travel to the moon or even a different planet. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Friday, September 27th, 2019

By Ty Dressler

7:00 am - An alarm clock goes off. A tired Potosi High School Senior wakes up and hits the snooze.

7:09 am - The alarm goes off again. The highschooler wakes up for good this time and starts the day. He showers, gets dressed, eats breakfast, brushes his teeth, and heads off for school. But today’s school schedule is different than every other day, because this is homecoming Friday. That means a half-day full of school activities and pep rallies. But first, the student must get through two class periods before the fun begins.

7:54 and 35 seconds am - The student flies into the school parking lot and rushes to his first hour class hoping to avoid a tardy.

7:55 - 8:43 am - First Hour - But actually 6th hour. The band is practicing for the pep rally and parade. Other students are in class. Some of the cool teachers let their students have free time or watch a movie, in the spirit of homecoming. Other teachers continue with lessons. 

8:46 - 9:34 am  - Second Hour - But actually 7th hour.  The band is still getting ready. The rest of the school is still in class. At this point, it is 47 minutes away from the homecoming activities, and not a lot is being accomplished in classes. Yet some teachers still persist with lessons… 

9:37 - 10:15 am - Pep Rallies - The entire school (K-12) is brought into the auditorium. Everyone is filled with school spirit. The football and volleyball coaches speak about the way their seasons are going. They call their players up on stage. When the names are called, elementary students erupt with cheers as their favorite players are brought up on stage. Senior Ryan Kruser described the feeling as, “being on top of the world.”

10:15 - 11:00 am - The Volleyball Games - 

Round one: the teachers vs. the senior girls. The Teachers dominate in every aspect of the game and come away with the win. 

Round two: the teachers vs. the very talented senior boys. The senior boys are predicted to win and are the clear fan favorites. Both teams battle very hard. However, with some illegal hits and some blown calls, the teachers come away with a win in a very controversial game. 

Round three: the senior boys vs. senior girls: practically a civil war as the 12th grade is split into two, as each side battles for its last chance at homecoming glory. The senior boys give it all they have, but since they are just coming off a hard-fought game against the teachers, they run out of steam quickly. The girls capitalize on the boys’ mistakes and come away with the W. 

11:00 - 11:45 am - The Powder Puff Football Game - Even on a rainy homecoming Friday, the girls still head outside for the annual powder puff football game. The senior/junior team comes out of the gates fast and the game looks like it could be a blowout. However the freshman/sophomore team gives a noble effort, and the final score is 24-8 to the seniors/juniors. Senior Justice Udelhofen said, “It was cold, but it was all worth it because we won.”

11:45 - 12:15 pm - Lunch and High School Dismissal

12:15 - 2:00 pm - Miscellaneous - The Freshman meet up in the shop to work on their float. Some students go home to catch a quick nap or do some homework. Others run off with their friends and do other shenanigans… 

2:00 pm - The Homecoming Parade - The whole school reunites in the St. Thomas Church parking lot to get ready for the parade. Final touches are put on floats, trucks are getting in line, and the football players are hopping on their bikes. The floats go through Maine Street and the whole town gathers to watch.

6:00 pm - The Football Game - Potosi/Cassville takes on the Pittsville Panthers. Kickoff is moments away. Players are warmed up and are now in the locker room waiting for Mr. Siegert’s pregame speech. Mr. Siegert enters the locker room, only to tell his players that there will be a 30-minute rain delay. Lightning strikes keep coming and the 30-minute delay keeps resetting. 

Roughly 7:00 pm - The Football Game - The rain and lightning stop, and the football game can begin. The Chieftains and the Panthers finally get to play. With all the rain, the nice grass field quickly turns to a field of mud within a few plays. The game turns into an old-fashioned brawl. Senior quarterback Ben Udelhofen said that the field conditions, “Really limited our game. Trying to throw the ball was like trying to nail jelly to a tree.”  Senior running back Ryan Kruser carries the ball a season-high 31 times for 165 yards. The Chieftains shut the Panthers out and win 16-0. 

10:30 pm - The Homecoming Dance - Due to the football game being delayed, the dance is also pushed back. Even with the delay, the Potosi High School student body is still able to have a good time. Homecoming King Trevor Pluemer said, “It was an awesome way to spend my Friday night, and all the dancing is a great way to stay in shape.”

12:30 am - Then the highschooler heads home, while thinking back on four years of homecomings. He thinks about all the houses he TP-ed over the years. He thinks about all the football games and all the dances. But most importantly he remembers all the memories with his friends. Then he smiles and crawls into bed.

ACT Insights from PHS Staff

By Justice Udelhofen

The ACT is mandated testing that covers four academic skill areas; English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning, used for college admissions in the United States. In Potosi, you take the ACT as a junior and, boy oh boy, is it stressful; at least it was for me. Some of the staff here at Potosi has explained how the ACT is approached in staff meetings, how they implement  ACT standards into their teaching, what the district goals are, how to meet those goals, and what the results have been.
Mrs. Foote is the new District Assessment Coordinator (DAC), taking on new roles this year, as our previous DAC Mrs. Hutchcroft returns to teaching full time, “which is something I love and want to do, so it somehow fell into my lap.” 
Mrs. Foote shared her opinion that teachers, “should be addressing [ACT standards] in how they assess their curriculum.” She explained that teachers have been looking closely at ACT standards during their inservice times, but she said, “It shouldn’t even be in inservices, it should be always!” Essentially Foote says that though the topic must be talked about during inservices, the teachers should always be assessing students through the tests they take, the way they learn, and so on.
Mrs. Hutchcroft talked about the changes she has made, personally, to her curriculum. Even though she is not a core subject, “I can do the reading, writing, and those activities, and strengthen.” She is all about, “what can I do to help our kids be better, and how can I be better?” The way that teachers are presenting their materials in class is aligned with the Common Core Standards, “which in theory are aligned with ACT standards,” said Mrs. Foote, to emphasize her point that every day, in everything a student does, teachers should be paying attention and adjusting their curriculum to better prepare the students for the upcoming ACT or the next level, such as college, or whatever lies next for the students.
The ACT standards, “definitely affect what I teach, but they probably affect how I teach more,” Mrs. Hucthcroft stated. For the most part, teachers must hit and teach certain concepts, but the way in which they deliver their content can make a huge difference to students. “I’m taking the ACT standards and looking at which ones I’m currently covering, and then I look at which ones are hit a lot on the test and how they mesh up, so I can make adjustments,” Mrs. Hucthcroft explained. Making adjustments in the classroom is a huge part of helping students be successful when it comes to taking big exams, such as the ACT. 
The school’s goal for the ACT is to have every junior to be at or above the state cut level the score that distinguishes between passing and failing. “Wisconsin tends to do very well on the ACT, so our state cut scores are always a little higher than the national cut scores,” Mrs. Foote states before sharing the results with me. The results for the testing class of 2018-2019 are as follows: 27 students were tested, and 52% of those met the college benchmarks for readiness in English. 52% of the people in the state also met this benchmark, so we were even with the state. For math, 33% of our students met the benchmark, and in the state, 31% met the benchmark. In reading, 37% of our students met the benchmark, and in the state, 38% met the benchmark. In science, 41% of our students met the benchmark and only 33% in the state met the benchmark. In our school, 22% of students met all of the benchmarks and in the state only 21% met all the benchmarks. “So if you just look at that figure, we’re doing okay,” said Mrs. Foote.  
Mrs. Foote claims, “Apparently Potosi’s high school kids need to read more! But couldn’t everybody stand to read more? It’s becoming a trend among everybody; we don’t read enough.” Reading benefits students in all areas of the ACT, so Mrs. Foote recommends reading more as a simple way to continue to improve scores.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Brady Curtis Reflects on Athletic Career

by Ben Udelhoven

What a ride it was for Brady Curtis in his final year of high school sports.  After all of the years of blood, sweat, and tears, it was over in what felt like a “blink of an eye” according to Brady.   From starting basketball in fifth grade and football in seventh, to finishing up his senior year, Brady Curtis has reflected on his past filled with sports.  
Brady starting playing basketball in fifth grade and fell in love with it instantly.  In fact, in seventh grade Brady scored a last second basket to win the league championship.  His freshman year, Brady’s team went 17-5 with Brady being their leading scorer. The next year Brady was a varsity starter as a sophomore and made it to the regional championship game.  Brady earned All Conference-Honorable Mention. His junior year, he led the team in scoring and earned 2nd Team All-Conference, and most important of all, an undefeated season and conference championship.  And just like that, it was time for Brady’s senior year. Once again Brady led his team in scoring, and went on to win his second straight conference championship and lettered for his third year. Brady also won a deserved Conference Player of the Year award.  “I am very happy with my personal accomplishments and accolades, but I would no doubt trade them for more team accomplishments,” said Brady. Despite winning two conference championships in his basketball career, Brady came up short of winning a regional championship.  “Even though we never got past regionals, we still had a blast playing every day and we all cared for each other, and that is what really matters,” Brady added.
After playing it in the backyard in his youth, Brady was introduced to organized football in 7th grade.  “I remember being nervous for my 7th grade year, but little did I know the fun was just beginning.” Brady had two very successful years of middle school football and played some key roles.  His freshman year, he played running back for a successful 7-2 JV team. His sophomore year, he was brought up to varsity and was the starting running back and a receiver. His team went on to make the playoffs that year.  The next year, Brady played a big role in the offense again and earned Honorable Mention All-Conference. He also earned All-Area Honorable Mention and his team went on to level 3 in the playoffs. Finally, the time came for Brady to start preparing for his senior season.  Brady did not take a day off in the weight room and easily met the team goal of 120 days in the weight room. In Brady’s final year of football, he earned First Team All-Conference for both offense and defense. He also earned All-State Academic Team and All-Area Second Team recognition.  To top it off, Brady has the all-time record at Potosi for receiving yards.
After all of those workouts, practices, and games, it is over just like that for Brady.  Everything he has been doing for the last six years of his life comes to a close. After being asked what he would go back and change if he could, he responded with “Not a thing; I had so much fun over these past few years with some of the most fun people I know.”  Brady was also asked what advice he would give to an incoming freshman who is about to go down the same path, and he said, “Take every opportunity you get to better yourself, and the biggest thing is have fun while you do it because that is how you become good at something.”  Sports are a great teacher that can teach you some important lessons and Brady certainly received his fair share of knowledge through experience.

Friday, May 24, 2019

FFA National Soil Judging Is a Unique Experience

by Austin Uppena

Hundreds of buffalo and prairie dogs, the search for armadillos, red dirt that stains everything it touches, very good food, and really crazy weather. These are the memories I recall the most from my trip to the National Soil Judging Contest in Oklahoma.
On Sunday, April 28th, 2019 at 11:30am my father pulled the school van out of the high school parking lot on the way to Oklahoma City with myself, Nick Edge, Brittany Horner, Evan Bloyer, Marissa Mayers, and Megan Roesch. The advisors/chaperones on the trip, Tracy Brunton, Jason Edge, and Mike Uppena, were thrilled to put up with us in the car for the next 12 hours. On the way there, we kept busy by sleeping, snacking and making fun of each other; also on the way, Evan Bloyer made a vow to see an armadillo.
The van arrived in Oklahoma City at 11:30pm. We found our hotel and went right to sleep. The next day, Monday the 29th, we had a free day to explore and sightsee. We started off the day visiting the biggest Bass Pro Shop in the world. The Bass Pro Shop was located in the Bricktown district, which is known for its river walk, exquisite restaurants, and state of the art triple-A baseball field. We went to a nice restaurant after the Bass Pro Shop and got to eat amazing food and have some sweet tea, which is better in the south. Everyone would have gone to a triple-A baseball game afterward, but it got rained out, so we went back to our hotel. For supper, we headed to Nick Edge’s Uncle’s house. John Edge fed us brats, hot dogs, burgers, and razorback. While we were there, we practiced soils, rode his rangers around his land, and played basketball.
On Tuesday the 30th, our group ate really good food and practiced in multiple soil pits. In a soil judging contest, you categorize the soil by texture, structure and usage. You also judge the quality of the land and find the slope of the land, which is how many feet the land rises in 100 feet. The first thing we practiced was finding the slope. Our supervisors helped us and made sure we knew what we were doing. After doing slopes we headed over to the actual pits to practice judging Oklahoma soil.  A pit is a hole about waist deep. You use the pit to help determine factors like how well crops could be grown and how well water drains in the area. When soil judging, you must also judge the area around the pit which is called the pit area. The pit area is very important in determining what the land can be used for based on the things you find there, like whether it can be used for pasture, cropland, tree production, or if it would be best suited for wildlife habitat. You should also be looking for any kind of water features like lakes, streams, or rivers. Water can change the determination of what special features you may need to install on your land, like riparian buffers or dams. There were six different pits to practice at and we tried them all to make sure we were as good as we could be. It started to absolutely downpour on us just as we were leaving to go back to our hotel. That night, we ate at IHOP. While we were eating the weather was very crazy. The sky was orange and there was a weird, unsettling feeling in the air. There were tornadoes in the counties surrounding us, so I guess we were lucky they didn’t get close to us.
Wednesday, May 1st was another practice day. On Wednesday however, there were only two pits to practice. These pits had sandy soil which can affect how the water gets used in the soil. Sandy pits can be a little harder to judge because we don’t see them very often in a contest in Wisconsin, especially in the Southwest corner of the state. Practicing these pits was very important because the contest on Thursday had a few pits with sand in them. Our group finished the day off by mini golfing, then eating at a famous steakhouse that is over 100 years old. However, after mini golfing and before eating at the steakhouse, we did a group study session where we looked over the official soils book and judged pits on paper.
Thursday, May 2nd was the day of the contest. It was a very busy day that started at 6:30 in the morning. We woke up and scrambled to get to the contest registration site. After our team got registered, we waited for all of the other teams to register so we could travel to the contest site as a group - all 160 teams had a police escort for the 45 miles to the contest site. The contest was located on an Indian reservation Northeast of Oklahoma City. It was very interesting to learn about the Native Americans, how a reservation is run, and see what a reservation looks like. There was a lot of land left to nature. As we were driving through the reservation there were hundreds of buffalo and prairie dogs. It was very cool to see these animals because we don’t have animals like them in Wisconsin. There were, however, no armadillo yet for Evan to see.
Once we arrived at the contest site, we were divided into groups, and each group was given a pit to judge with 20 minutes at each pit. After every 20 minutes, the groups rotated until everyone had judged each pit. We were given lunch while the judging cards were scored. After eating, we changed into FFA official dress and went to Remington race track back in Oklahoma City. We were given a tour of the facility, learned all about horses, and what happens before, during, and after a race. Afterwards, we got to visit the National Cowboy Heritage Museum where the awards ceremony would be taking place later that night. We roamed around the museum until it closed, then waited for the ceremony to start. We placed 75th out of 104 FFA teams; not as good as we would have liked, but still pretty good for learning how to judge Oklahoma soil in just a few months. Teams that placed high have been judging contests very similar to the National Contest for years.
We traveled 4 hours north to Emporia, Kansas to stay the night and reduce our travel time on Friday. Friday morning we woke up at 6:15, ate breakfast, and climbed into the vehicle we would be trapped in for the next eight hours. We slept most of the way and bothered each other during the time we weren’t sleeping. We wanted to throw Marissa out of the van and Evan could not cross seeing an armadillo off of his bucket list, unfortunately.

The trip to Oklahoma was a great learning experience for everyone involved. We worked hard to learn Oklahoma soil and had fun doing it. There were so many landmarks, animals, and unique places our group got to see. There was really never a time besides the seriousness of the contest where we weren’t laughing or smiling. The most important thing we took from the trip were all of the memories we made because of the special opportunity we had to go to Oklahoma.

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