By Art Kabelowsky Special to Published Oct 22, 2009 at 6:06 AM

We're just a couple of days away from setting the field for the WIAA state boys soccer tournament, which will be held Oct. 29 to 31, at the Uihlein Soccer Complex near 74th St. and Good Hope Rd..

Wisconsin teams and players enjoy a lofty regional and national reputation, for many reasons. One is the solid play of spring and summer club teams in national competition; another is the success state preps have had in college.

And the state's greatest wealth of talent, by far, rests in the Milwaukee area. When's season preview listed the top five teams in Wisconsin, each was from the area - Milwaukee Marquette, Arrowhead, Brookfield East, Brookfield Central and Whitefish Bay.

Since joining the WIAA in 2000, Marquette has won six Division 1 championships, including a 5-0 victory over Muskego in the final last year. Area teams have won the Division 1 title 19 times since the first state tournament was held in 1982.

In the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association's state rankings of Oct. 12, Marquette (13-4-2 overall as of Oct. 12) was first in Division 1, followed by Brookfield East (15-2-2), Muskego (19-1-1), Arrowhead (15-2-3), Brookfield Central (10-4-2) and Kenosha Tremper (18-1-3). Kettle Moraine (14-5-1) was ranked 10th and Hartford (20-2) and Menomonee Falls (14-7-3) received votes.

Catholic Memorial (13-4-2) was ranked first in Division 2, followed by Port Washington (13-6-3) in fourth, New Berlin West (14-7-1) in fifth. Kettle Moraine Lutheran (17-2) was ranked second in Division 3, followed by Racine St. Catherine's (12-5), Racine Prairie (12-4-1) and University School (14-3-1).

Each of the players on ESPN's list of the state's top eight players comes from the area.

The University of Wisconsin has commitments from Brookfield East forward Luke Goodnetter (yep, that's his name), and Arrowhead goalkeeper Max Ventsch. Whitefish Bay midfielder Charlie Hoover is headed for Marquette, Homestead forward Gabe Genovesi will play at Akron, and Marquette High has two recruits in forward Mike Roettgers (St. Louis) and midfielder Jack McDermott (Xavier).

All of their teams are still alive in the post-season, though that won't be the case after Thursday night, when Brookfield Central plays a 7 p.m. sectional semifinal at Brookfield East. The winner advances to a 2 p.m. Saturday sectional final against either Arrowhead or Menomonee Falls, who meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Arrowhead.

Also Thursday, Whitefish Bay plays host to South Milwaukee at 7 p.m. and Oak Creek takes on Marquette at Quad Park (38th and St. Paul) at 7 p.m. The winners meet at Whitefish Bay at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Other area teams still alive in Division 1 sectionals are Muskego, Waukesha West, Kettle Moraine, Hartford, Kenosha Bradford and Kenosha Tremper. Still kicking in Division 2 are Catholic Memorial, New Berlin West, Port Washington and Grafton. Area Division 3 survivors are University School of Milwaukee, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Racine St. Catherine's and Shoreland Lutheran of Somers.

Also this weekend, every prep cross country runner in Wisconsin will compete in sectional races, aiming to qualify for the state meet at The Ridges Golf Course outside Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 31.

In the boys meet last year, Catholic Memorial took second in Division 2 and Port Washington's Mark Allen was the individual champion (15 minutes 55 seconds for 5,000 meters). Whitefish Bay won the Division 1 team championship last year, and area runners swept all three divisional titles: Arrowhead's Gabby Levac in Division 1 (14:42 for 4,000 meters), Morgan Sickels of Catholic Memorial in D2 (14:28) and Molly Seidel of University Lake School in Hartland in D3 (14:37).

This fall, most sectionals are scheduled for Saturday, though Wisconsin Lutheran's Division 2 race will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at McCarty Park. Area sectionals on the Saturday slate:

Division 1: At Arrowhead, 11 a.m.; at Brookfield Central, 11 a.m., at UW-Parkside (hosted by Racine Horlick), 10 a.m., and at McCarty Park (hosted by Whitnall), 10 a.m. Division 2: At Pewaukee, 9:30 a.m. Division 3: At UW-Parkside (hosted by Racine Prairie), 1 p.m.

In the latest Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association boys state rankings Marquette was second in Division 1, with Brookfield Central fourth, Arrowhead fifth and Germantown ninth. Shorewood was first, Wisconsin Lutheran third, Port Washington fifth and Pewaukee 10th in Division 2, and Racine Prairie was tied for fourth in Division 3.

In the girls state rankings, Whitefish Bay was first in Division 1, followed by Homestead in second, Waukesha West in third, Arrowhead in fourth and Kenosha Tremper in seventh. In Division 2, Pewaukee was second, Wisconsin Lutheran third, Shorewood fifth, Catholic Memorial sixth and Port Washington seventh.

For sectional assignments and results as they are reported to the WIAA, visit this link

The girls volleyball post-season begins Thursday for Division 1 teams, and resumes for Divisions 2, 3 and 4 schools on Friday. Regional finals in all divisions will take place Saturday, followed by sectionals next week and the state tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 5-7.

Area teams in the latest Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association state girls rankings: In Division 1, Muskego is first, followed by Watertown, Divine Savior Holy Angels, Burlington and Menomonee Falls. Nicolet is seventh, Homestead is ninth and Milwaukee Pius and West Bend East are tied for 10th. In Division 2, Waupun is first, followed by Catholic Memorial and Kettle Moraine Lutheran. In Division 3, Racine St. Catherine's is ranked sixth and Racine Lutheran eighth. Burlington Catholic Central is ranked first in Division 4.

Back at the Nielsen Tennis Center in Madison, favorite and defending champion Homestead will take part in the Division 1 state team tournament Friday and Saturday, with Divine Savior Holy Angels and Nicolet also in the eight-team field. Defending champ University School leads the Division 2 field.

Madison Memorial senior guard Vander Blue, the top-ranked high school basketball player in the state, decided this week to make a verbal commitment to attend Marquette University. When he signs a letter of intent next month, it will make him the third Memorial product to join the Marquette program in the last six years.

Blue's announcement Tuesday sent Marquette basketball fans into full "nyah-nyah" mode, while marking the end of a long and frustrating saga for fans of the rival University of Wisconsin Badgers. That's because Blue made a verbal commitment to play for Bo Ryan and UW back in the spring of 2008. But after his teammate and close friend, Jeronne Maymon, signed with Marquette, Blue rescinded his UW commitment in May, 2009 and re-opened the recruitment process.

Blue is ranked anywhere from 22nd to 35th on the list of best seniors in the nation by various scouting organizations.

Blue said in a press conference that Marquette and Wisconsin were his two final choices. His friendship with Maymon was a determining factor, but Blue added that he seemed to get along well with other MU players during his visit and felt at home.

Blue, who is 6 feet 3 inches, averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season as Memorial cruised to a 26-1 record and beat Racine Horlick, 56-41, in the Division 1 state championship game. Blue's teammate Maymon, a 6-6 forward, was named the Associated Press state player of the year and joined Blue on the AP's first all-state team.

At Marquette, Maymon is looking like the top prize in Williams' freshman class, stepping in as another former Spartan, Wesley Matthews, departs. Matthews, a 6-foot-5 guard, is currently averaging 7.6 points and 21 minutes per pre-season game in the Utah Jazz training camp.

Milwaukee's Keith Stewart, a former all-state guard at Milwaukee Messmer who played college basketball at Purdue, Marquette and the University of California-Irvine, has been named head coach at Madison West. Stewart, 39, was an all-state player in 1988.

Stewart told's Mark Miller that the Regents' second game of the season, against defending state champion Madison Memorial, will be played on his 40th birthday on Dec. 5.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control recently approved an operations budget of $7.9 million for the 2009-'10 school year.

The Stevens Point-based organization administers sports programs for 507 high schools and 98 junior high and middle schools, and will hold high school state championship competitions in 25 sports.

Income from tournament ticket sales, media rights and school fees cover the association's budget. Discounting the junior highs and middle schools, the WIAA budget reflects an average expenditure of $15,581.85 per high school.


Art Kabelowsky Special to

Art Kabelowsky has spent 33 years in the sports writing business, the last 12 with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Art was named the Journal Sentinel's Prep Editor in July, 2000, directing its high school sports coverage until he accepted the paper's offer of a voluntary buyout last August.

A graduate of Sussex Hamilton High School and UW-Whitewater, Art has also worked for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse and Decatur, Ill. He has been sports editor in Fort Atkinson and La Crosse.

Art spent five years as a beat reporter covering the La Crosse Catbirds of the Continental Basketball Association and has also covered a Rose Bowl, countless Green Bay Packers games and more than 25 years' worth of state high school basketball tournaments and football finals.

He lives on the northwest side and has spent the last few months volunteering as an assistant football coach at Milwaukee Riverside High School.