Badger co-op seeks sixth straight title

By Jason Arndt

With a sixth consecutive conference and sectional title at stake for the Lake Geneva Badger co-op swimming program, representatives from Westosha Central and Wilmot Union high schools look to play a critical role, according to coach Glenn Biller.

Lauren Pryor

The Badger co-op team, which also includes Williams Bay and Walworth Big Foot, boasts more than a dozen representatives from Westosha Central and Wilmot.

“We have got a lot of girls from Wilmot and Westosha and we would not be the same without them, that is for sure,” Biller said.

Among the representatives include senior captains Lauren Pryor of Wilmot and Westosha Central’s Emma Cavener.

The other captain is Big Foot senior Grace Gillingham.

As the Badgers vie for another Southern Lakes Conference championship, Biller is counting on Pryor and Cavener along with the Wembers of Westosha Central, which also brings back junior Claire Koeppel.

Both Pryor and Cavener have been in Biller’s program for four years, and he believes the two offer different leadership qualities, and bring a differing set of strengths.

“Lauren is a four year swimmer for us, so she has a lot of experience on the swim team. She also has a strong background in club swimming. She knows the ins and outs of the program,” Biller said. “Emma is one of our team captains and she has been on our team all four years, she is a hard worker.”

Last year, Pryor was at her strongest in the butterfly, according to Biller.

For Cavener, Biller sees her competing in distance events.

Adding to the mix are the Wember sisters, juniors Easten and Eden, along with senior Elise.

Eden, a state qualifier in the 200 freestyle relay last year, could bring the same intensity she possessed as a sophomore.

“Eden is a strong swimmer, and she is coming off a great season last year,” he said. “We are looking for all of the Wembers to contribute this year.”

While Elise saw regular time on varsity, Biller expects to see more from Easten entering the 2017 campaign.

Koeppel, meanwhile, offers the swim team versatility, and could have a formidable season in distance swim events.

“Claire is our big distance swimmer,” Biller said. “But, she is a good all-around swimmer, she can swim every stroke.”

Other contributors vying for varsity spots from the area include Wilmot junior Jenna Kerkman, and from Westosha Central, senior Rachel Senft and junior Megan Zeller.

Additionally, Lake Geneva Badger has representatives in the junior varsity ranks, including freshmen Sofia Bryan (Westosha Central), Maddie Hershelman (Wilmot), Abby Horton (Wilmot) and Elli Zerr (Wilmot).

Joining Hershelman is her sister, junior Emily Hershelman.

As the Badgers take the plunge, they face a difficult task to replace graduated seniors, including conference player of the year Theresa VanSchyndel, Katelyn O’Brien and Molly Dover.

Despite the losses, Biller believes they can still contend, with one school standing in the way.

“This is a special year, in the last five years, we have won sectionals and won conference titles,” said Biller, who sees Burlington as the team’s biggest threat this season.


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