FVA Schools Win Record 7 State Titles in 2016-17
The 2016-17 school year was a banner year for the Fox Valley Association with a record seven state team championships. The league won boys titles in football, wrestling, track and field and baseball and captured girls crowns in volleyball, basketball and softball. All of the titles were won at the Division 1 level.
The previous record for most FVA state championships was just last year in 2015-16 when the league captured six state titles (the three Appleton schools also combined to win a co-op boys hockey state title). FVA schools won four state titles on seven different occasions (1977-78, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1990-91, 1994-95, 2013-14).
Kimberly led the way in 2016-17 with three state titles, winning football for a fourth straight year and claiming boys track and field and baseball titles less than two weeks apart. Kaukauna won two titles with a fourth straight team wrestling crown and a softball title. Appleton North went undefeated in winning the girls basketball title and Neenah delivered a girls volleyball championship. The league also had two runner-up finishes - both coming from Neenah in boys and girls tennis.
Kimberly won its third WIAA state baseball championship with a 4-2 win over Sun Prairie on June 15 in Appleton. The Papermakers also won a Division 1 title in 2007 and a class B crown in 1989. Kimberly was making its third appearance in the championship game over the past four years, having also finished runner-up in 1988, 1993, 2008, 2014 and 2015.
Cade Hunstiger allowed five hits over six innings pitched, while Drew Lechnir drove in three runs for Kimberly. Lechnir finished two-for-four and his two-run single in the sixth inning broke a 1-1 tie. In the three state tournament games, the Papermakers allowed only five runs and committed just one error. They finished the season with a 23-8 record.
The title was Kimberly's third in all sports during the 2016-17 school year, having also captured crowns in football and boys track and field. The Papermakers now have 27 state titles all-time, including nine in the past four years. It was the 13th state baseball title won by an FVA school since the league was formed in 1970.
Kaukauna rallied past Wilmot 3-1 on June 10 for its second WIAA softball Division 1 state championship, having also won the crown in 2010.
Kaukauna allowed only two runs in six tournament games and fell behind when the Panthers scored in the top of the first inning. However, the Ghosts tied the game in the bottom of the inning and then added single runs in the third and fifth innings to earn the win. Sidney Miller had two hits for Kaukauna and Taylor Kuske drove in two runs. Senior pitcher Haley Hestekin struck out 11 batters in the complete game win.
The Ghosts finished the season 29-2 and avenged both of their regular season losses with a 2-0 win over FVA champion Oshkosh North in the quarterfinals. Kaukauna reached the title game with a 3-0 semifinal win over Stevens Point.
It was Kaukauna’s 19th state championship in any sport and ninth since 2010.
Kimberly edged Oak Creek by one point to capture its third boys track and field state championship and second in four years. The Papermakers totaled 41 points and won the school's 26th state championship in any sport and its eighth in the past four years.
Boyd Dietzen was Kimberly's lone individual champion by taking the discus title. Dietzen was also fourth in the shot put. The 3200-meter relay team of Jack Fitzgerald, Isaac Benz, Alex Jansen and Rowen Ellenberg placed second, while D.J. Stewart was third in the 300-meter hurdles and Logan McCormick was third in the discus.
Kimberly also won the Division 1 boys track and field title in 2014 and claimed the Class B crown in 1960. The only other FVA school to win a boys track and field title was Neenah in 1971. Appleton won the state title in 1937.
Appleton North finished off an undefeated season and captured its first state girls basketball title with a 49-34 win over De Pere on March 11 in Green Bay. The Lightning went 28-0 and were making their second straight trip to state.
The game was tied at 27-27 with 12 minutes left when the Lightning took control with a 13-2 run over the next six minutes. Appleton North never trailed in the game, though it was tied three times.
Appleton North is the eighth FVA squad to win a state girls basketball title. Kimberly won four titles, Oshkosh West won twice and Neenah won once. The championship is the fifth in any sport in Appleton North's history since its opening in 1995. The Lightning also have been part of two hockey co-op titles.
Kaukauna made it four straight WIAA Division 1 team wrestling state championships with a 35-27 triumph over Stoughton on March 4 in Madison. It marked the third straight year the Galloping Ghosts beat Stoughton in the title match. Kaukauna finished the season 22-0.
Stoughton led 21-17 through the first nine bouts starting at 113 pounds as the opening weight. However, the Galloping Ghosts turned the tables by winning the next four matches. The victories included a pin, technical fall, major decision and a decision to give Kaukauna a 35-21 lead to clinch the match heading into the final match.
It is the fourth title overall in 15 appearances in the state team tournament for Kaukauna. The title also marked Kaukauna's 18th in all sports, including the eighth since 2010.
Kimberly rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat Franklin 29-14 and win its fourth consecutive WIAA state football championship on Nov. 18 in Madison. The Papermakers finished 14-0 in each of those seasons while extending their state-record winning streak to 56 games. Kimberly forced five Franklin turnovers in the game and became the second school to win four straight football titles, joining Stratford, which won six straight from 2003-08.
It was Kimberly's sixth state football title - all coming in the last 10 years. The past three titles have been in Division 1 after winning three Division 2 crowns. The title was Kimberly's 25th all-time in any sport and the school's seventh in the last four years.
Neenah captured its first WIAA state girls volleyball championship since 1978 with a three-set sweep of Burlington on Nov. 5 at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
The Rockets were making their 14th trip to state and fifth appearance in the title match. Neenah won the match by scores of 25-17, 25-23, 25-10. The Rockets scored the last five points of the first set and opened the third set with an 11-2 run.
Neenah finished the season 45-4 and won 28 of its last 29 matches. The Rockets avenged their only loss during that span by beating FVA rival Appleton North in a five-set thriller in the quarterfinals. They followed with a sweep of Sun Prairie in the semifinals.
It was Neenah's 32nd overall state championship and its second in two years with girls tennis winning in 2015-16. The title was the fifth by an FVA school in girls volleyball. In addition to Neenah's 1978 crown, Appleton East won in 1986, Kaukauna won in 2010 and Kimberly took Division 2 in 1990.
Welcome to the official website of the Fox Valley Association. With 10 schools totaling an enrollment of over 15,000 students, the conference spans the length of Lake Winnebago from Kaukauna to Fond du Lac. The Fox Valley Association is one of the oldest athletic conferences in Wisconsin with seven of its eight original members still intact from its founding in 1970.
Fox Valley Association schools are members of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and the conference sponsors 20 championship sports.