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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman Standout Gets Statewide Notice In 3 Sports; Delzer Is Second

One of the most decorated athletes in Coleman history, Mitch Champagne, has been selected as the Peshtigo Times top performer.

Champagne might be small in size at 5’8 and 165 pounds, but he made a big impact on the playing fields. You name the sport and Champagne was good at it. Really good!

A 3-sport athlete for four years in high school, Champagne stood out among the state’s finest players year to year. Champagne was a key member of a talented senior class at Coleman that won four state championships....3 straight in wrestling along with the 2012 baseball title.

“I think what sums up Mitch the best was the quote he had after Coleman won the state baseball title, ‘we won it as a team’. It didn’t matter the sport, Mitch never put himself in front of the team. Special kid who was part of a special class,” said Coleman football coach/athletic director Jeff Bronson.

On the gridiron in the fall of the year, Champagne helped spark Coleman to an 11-1 overall finish, a second straight undefeated campaign in the M-O Conference and to Level 3 in the WIAA football playoffs.

He was also named the league’s most valuable back for an unprecedented third straight year along with being a first-team all-state selection.

With the ball in his hands this past fall, Champagne burned opposing defenses for 1952 yards, 29 touchdowns while averaging over 13 yards per rush. Champagne uncorked some of his best performances in the post-season...rushing for 434 yards in the opening two playoff games.

In his final prep football game, Champagne was a marked man and “held” to 73 yards on 26 carries in a frustrating 13-8 Level 3 loss to Shiocton.

“In terms of Mitch, the simplest thing to say is that he is special. He is humble, a hard worker, and always puts the team first. Throughout his career, he knew that he would have success if the team had success,” Bronson added.

“He is a complete back. Besides his ability to run, he can catch and block. On film, there is always two plays per game where Mitch comes in late in the play to help a teammate gain more yards by blocking a defender. Mitch simply plays bigger than his size. This showed on defense too where in a few games, his tackles took the aggressiveness and confidence away from the opponent.”

Cutting weight in order to wrestle at 145, Champagne again displayed his talents on the mats with a 44-2 readout and runner-up finish in the WIAA Division 3 individual tournament. Add in a third straight team state title and you can see why Champagne was voted the M-O Conference’s most valuable wrestler.

Champagne ended his wrestling career with 159 wins, the most for any four year Coleman wrestler.

“Mitch is an outstanding athlete, and on the wrestling mats he has proved that throughout his career. He has all the tools you love to see in a wrestler...quick, explosive, strong and a great technician. Not to mention he handles all his successes with great pride and dignity,” Coleman wrestling coach Kevin Casper said.

“This year Mitch was 44-2 and runner-up in state. State qualifier as a freshman, 4th as a sophomore and 3rd in his junior year. Just an all around great person and young man, one that we all are very proud of.”

When it was time to roll up the wrestling mats, Champagne capped his high school career as a key member of a state baseball championship.

He batted over .460 during a 4-year varsity career and the last two seasons owned a better than .500 average. He is a two-time all-state selection through the WBCA and was named to the first team in the M-O Conference for 3 straight years.

“Mitch is one of the best athletes to come through Coleman. He is outstanding in everything he does and as an individual, every coach would love to have a team of Mitch Champagnes. He does everything you ask,” Coleman baseball coach Kent Casper said.

Whether it was manning his leftfield position or batting leadoff for Coleman, Champagne was a force during an impressive 28-1 season. The season began with a 4-3 loss to Freedom, but ended with 28 straight wins and the state title.

“He was the sparkplug of our team and every coach feared him. On offense his speed and bat were big weapons, because once he got on first base, you knew he would be on second and third shortly. The last two years he has become one heck of a baseball player, confident and comfortable,” Kent Casper concluded.

While Champagne was the overwhelming choice as the top athlete, Oconto Falls senior Riley Delzer was runner-up. The muscular Delzer stood out in a pair of sports...football and wrestling.

On the football fields, Delzer did the “dirty work” upfront as a blocker for coach Duane Rogatzki’s Panthers.

The effort by the 6’2, 230 pound Delzer didn’t go unnoticed as he was a two-way first team selection in the trenches on the all-Bay Conference team. Delzer was also awarded the lineman of the year honor in the circuit.

Delzer continued to flex his muscles during the winter months, capturing the 220 pound state championship for the second straight year and finishing with an impressive 42-1 readout.

Number three on the list was another Coleman Cougar in junior Isaac Nowak. Not a household name, but just like Delzer, a hardworker in football and wrestling.

The 6’2, 200 pound Nowak opened the holes for Champagne and the rest of the Coleman backfield during a record-setting 11-1 football campaign. Stepping onto the wrestling mats, Nowak brought home a Division 3 state title in the 195 pound bracket to become the 28th individual champion for Coleman. He put together a plush 43-2 mat mark.

Quite possibly the most dominating wrestler in the state, Oconto Falls junior Jacob Morrissey, was voted the fourth spot.

Ranked the number one wrestler at 170 pounds all season, Morrissey didn’t disappoint the voters, repeating as the Division 2 state champion with a 43-1 mark. The talented grappler owns a 132-3 career record and includes a runner-up finish as a freshman and back-to-back state titles.

Rounding out the top five athletes was Lena’s Craig Huberty, who might be the most talented of the group. The biggest problem Huberty dealt with was a lack of a supporting cast. That lead to most teams focusing on stopping Huberty and when they did, his teams struggled.

This kid pretty much had it all...size, speed and strength.

Standing at 6-feet and weighing 205 pounds, Huberty was a rare three-way M-O football selection...first team linebacker and punter along with a second team running back.

Displaying unbelievable jumping ability, Huberty was a second team pick in basketball while making his way to the state track meet in the shot, discus and anchoring the state-qualifying 800 relay team.


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