Since Sconnie Sports Talk’s inception in April 2015, we’ve been committed to providing our readers with content that is not only informative, but creative – we want to cover the stories that our readers aren’t hearing about. In 2016, our first full year of operation, our pieces have covered everything from the Milwaukee Bucks’ up-and-coming D-League team to the potential comeback of Wisconsin Varsity Baseball to Badger Football and Basketball and everything in between. After a turbulent year, here are our best stories from a wild 2016.

10. Wisconsin downed by Penn State in Big Ten Championship by Margaret Naczek

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Luke Schaetzel, Sconnie Sports Talk

“You train all the blood, sweat and tears in the offseason for this,” Biegel said. “As a competitor, as a football player what’s the best thing to do to get the bad taste out of my mouth it’s going out there it’s going back to drawing board, going back to the slate working hard. That’s what we have at Wisconsin.”

9. Zak Showalter, men’s basketball seniors carry legacy into final season by Nick Osen

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Ariana Baldassano, Sconnie Sports Talk

To be successful, teams need leadership, and these seniors are ready to step up when necessary, especially after losses.

“Obviously we’ve been in some of those situations, where we’re coming out on the wrong side of a win,” Showalter said. “But last year, we were coming off those a lot more. Obviously, you don’t want to have those games, but you can take something from those games, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

8. “Dear WIAA: ‘U-S-A!'” by Alec Schmitz

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The best part about sports for a lot of athletes is the atmosphere in the gyms while they compete. It is the loud “O” from the opposing student sections while you’re on offense that makes it fun. It’s getting “air ball” yelled at you that can make you feed off the opposing crowd. Student sections are meant to have an impact on the game.

7. “Packers: Davante Adams will bounce back in a big way” by Eli Weiner

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Image courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Last year’s offense stunk for myriad reasons, but Jordy Nelson is back, Cobb is healthy, Lacy has lost weight, the Packers added Jared Cook, and Ty Montgomery is back as well. Adams now gets a fresh start, without an injured ankle or lofty expectations, and he has the benefit of being the third or fourth most important target in a loaded offense. It’s the perfect recipe for a major bounce-back season.

 

6. Title IX should not limit exploration into return of Wisconsin varsity baseball by Zach Rosen

Sconnie Sports Talk reached out to Professor Robert M. Jarvis, Nova Southeastern University law professor and co-author of Baseball and the Law, for a lawyer’s opinion on the issue. He understands the concerns about Title IX and costs that come with bringing the program back, but spelled out a plan that may work.

“Adding baseball would push UW further out of Title IX compliance,” Professor Jarvis told me. “To add baseball and remain relatively Title IX compliant would require adding another women’s sport. While it is impossible to say what new women’s sport would be added, it is likely (based on what other Big Ten institutions have done) that it would be a sport like field hockey, lacrosse, or rugby.”

5. Warren Herring on life, Wisconsin and the NFL by Margaret Naczek

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Image courtesy of UW Athletics.

“Madison stole my heart,” Herring said of his decision to change his decision of where to play collegiate football. “Great sports tradition, great teammates, great friends, and it was close enough to home where my family could travel a lot to watch.”

The ultimate deciding factor for Herring, however, was one instilled in him from his parents.

“The biggest thing was education. My parents always stressed how important it was to get a degree, and having one from UW speaks volumes.”

4. “Wisconsin’s top dog: Rose Lavelle” by Ana Spinuzza

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Image courtesy of Cincinnati Magazine.

That loose mentality and selflessness on and off the field has taken Lavelle far. Ranked as one of the top players in the country, Lavelle reached the apex of women’s soccer. Lavelle was only one of two college players called up to play for the USWNT in 2015, accompanied with University of Virginia defender Emily Sonnett.

“Even when I was growing up, I always envisioned myself being on the National Team,” Lavelle said. “Being a part of the National Team was always my biggest dream,” she continued. It’s crazy that it’s turned out the way it has and that my dream is actually becoming a reality.”

3. “Family first: How Nigel Hayes became Nigel Hayes” by Zach Rosen

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Hayes and his mother, Talaya Davis, after accepting an award from the City of Toledo and the Mayor.

Nigel Hayes and Mama Davis are extremely close. Hayes is very protective of his mother, and Davis is just as protective of her son. They tell each other everything, including things most parents would not talk about with their children. Hayes even tells his mom to calm down sometimes, showing his maturity and understanding of situations.

“He is just so smart, and he has just grown up,” Mama Davis said. “He tells me sometimes things that I just have to sit back and say, ‘You know, he’s right.’ I know some older people don’t like to listen to their kids, but he’s got a lot to say.”

2. “Alex Erickson eyes the NFL” by Alec Schmitz

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Defying expectations, Erickson not only made an NFL roster, but impressed as a return man for the Bengals. Photo by Leon Halip, Getty Images.

As a boy born and raised in Wisconsin, of course the Vikings had to ask him a few questions about the Packers.

“One of the coaches asked me if I was a Packers fan growing up, and I said ‘Yeah, but I think I would look good in purple and gold,’” Erickson said.

And then he looked down at his lunch thinking, then he smiled and mumbled to me, “I think I’d look good in any of the 32 colors.”

1. “The Legacy of Albert ‘Ab’ Nicholas” by Zach Rosen

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Image courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In 1981, J.D. Thorne, a lawyer at ELM Law and former University of Wisconsin-Madison baseball player, met with a client at Turner Hall in downtown Milwaukee. 

As Thorne was walking out the door, he heard a group of 20 gentlemen talking Badger football. He went to the host asking who they were, and the host told him it was the Milwaukee W Club, a group of letter winners from the UW-Madison. Thorne told the host he was a letter winner in 1968, and he should also be in that room.

The next Monday, Thorne joined the group and became part of the exclusive club. It was there that Thorne first met Albert “Ab” Nicholas, who was an All-American and two-time All-Big Ten Wisconsin basketball player, money manager at the Nicholas Company, big time UW-Madison booster, and generous philanthropist.


Thank you to all of our readers, supporters and fans that have been so gracious to us in 2016. We look forward to furthering our commitment to you in providing outstanding content in 2017 in beyond.

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