History of Tomahawk: Women’s Hockey

Bob Scubar

Retired coach, historian, author of The History of the Tomahawk Movement

TOMAHAWK – Women’s hockey came to THS for the 2005-06 season.

Don Nelson is the head coach, assisted by Jean Hintz. Team members include Rachel Janz, Jessica Verbist, Megan Barr, Sidney Peterson, Kelly Hintz, Katie Calhoun, Lizzy Hilgendorf, Shelly Slater, Martha Toede, Nikki Maki, Claire Hoffmann, Sydney Sykes, Joselyn Janz, Vanessa Barr, Hannah Barr, Jennifer Sargent , Kelly Gorecki, Jessica Smith and Kate Nelson.

The girls’ first game saw THS lose 5-4 to Medford. Nikki Maki had two goals and Kate Nelson had 31 saves for the Nets. Maki scored the first goal for the women’s team.

In their second game, the Tomahawks lost 11-0 to Mohini, with Nelson making 55 saves. The later game against Mosini didn’t get better either, with the Tomahawks losing 13-0 and Nelson making 66 saves.

The Tomahawks’ only victory that season was a 6-2 victory over Rhinelander with a hat-trick from Nicky Markey. The season will end with a 1-14 Tomahawk.

2005-06 Women’s Hockey. Front Row: K. Nelson; Center: R. Janz, J. Verbist, M. Barr, S. Peterson, K. Hintz, K. Calhoun, L. Hilgendorf, S. Slater, M. Toede; Back: Coach Hintz, Coaches N. Maki, C. Hoffman, S. Sykes, J. Janz, V. Barr, H. Barr, J. Sargent, K. Goretski, J. Smith, Nelson.

For the next two seasons, Tomahawk has struggled to find a pillar of victory. Pat Steffen assists Don Nelson. In both years, THS will have a 0-41 record. Some of the highlights of those seasons were Kate Nelson’s 11-0 68 saves against Appleton, 47 10-2 saves against Hayward, and 47 saves against Mossini. Made 58 saves in the 11-1 game and 50 saves against Baraboo. Sock City lost 0-9. Another highlight came in the 10-4 loss to Lakeland when Nikki Maki scored a hat-trick.

The 2008-09 season saw the Tomahawks go 9-12. Don Nelson and Pat Steffen with Brittnee Edwardsen, Katie Hanson, Kelsey Hilgendorf, Samantha Vincent, Chelsea Bremer, Brooke Williams, Katy Martin, Kacey Iwen, Kate Nelson, Lizzy Hilgendorf, Kendall Nelson, Liz Tourdot, Taylor Laack, Jennifer Sargent, Shanna Dennis, Holly Jakes, Kara Kruger and Janelle Smith. After losing 7-1 to Baraboo and 5-4 to Reedsburg (with two goals each from Kacey Iwen and Kendall Nelson), THS will beat Lakeland 3-2 in overtime (Kendall Nelson started just 22 in overtime). hit the game-winning ball in seconds to complete her hat-trick). Other victories that season were a 4-3 win over Rhinelander, a 4-3 win over Medford (Kendall Nelson’s hat-trick), a 10-1 win over Lakeland (5 goals from Casey Evan, 5 goals from Kendall Nelson). Nelson hat-trick), Marshfield 3-1, Rhinelander 6-4 (Kendall Nelson hat-trick), Medford 2-0, Webster 3-2, 4-0 beat Medford.

2008-09 Women’s Hockey. Front Row: J. Smith, T. Laack, K. Krueger, K. Hilgendorf; Middle: B. Williams, S. Smith, K. Nelson, K. Nelson, K. Iwen, B. Edwardsen; Back: Coach Steffen, Coaches C. Bremer, J. Sargent, N. Maki, E. Hilgendorf, S. Dennis, E. Tourdot, Nelson.

Don Nelson returned for the 2009-10 season with Lonnie Calhoun as an assistant. Although THS went 3-21, their offense became more productive. Kendall Nelson and Kathy Ivan scored hat-tricks in the 13-6 loss to Ritzburgh. Kendall Nelson scored a hat-trick in a 12-4 loss to Webster. Casey Ivan scored four goals and Kendall Nelson scored a hat-trick in the 7-10 loss to Medford. Casey Evan scored six goals in a 10-4 win over Lakeland. THS Women’s Hockey will have their first plenary players, Kendall Nelson First Team, Casey Evan First Team, and Tyler Luck receiving honorable mentions. Statewide honors also went to Kendall Nelson-2nd Team and Kacey Iwen-honorable mentions.

Don Nelson will be in his sixth and final season in 2010-11. He was assisted by Tracy Piscula. THS will have three more victories, with some season highlights being an 11-7 loss to Central Freeze (Reedsburg co-op; Iwen scores 5 goals) and a 5-4 win over Rhinelander/Antigo (Iwen scores a hat-trick for Nelson) winner), 5-3 to Middleton (Nelson hat-trick), 7-3 to Beaver Damm (Nelson hat-trick), and 5-4 to Rhinelander (Nelson hat-trick) scored his fifth hat-trick of the season). All conference credits go to Kendall Nelson-1st Team and Kacey Iwen-2nd Team. Statewide honors for Kendall Nelson—2nd Team and Kacey Iwen—honorable mentions. Kendall Nelson finished the season with a team-leading 37 goals.

Pat Stephen took over as head coach for the 2011-12 season. Greg Vallier and Ron Nerva assist him. 6-4 win over Rhinelander this season (Nelson scored 5 goals), 12-4 win over Lakeland (Nelson, Nelva and Ivan scored a hat-trick), 7-3 beat Medford (Nelson scored 5 goals) ), 6-1 over Beaver Dam, 10-2 over Lakeland (Evan hat-trick), 5-4 over Rhinelander/Antigo, 1-0 over Eagle River (first victory in school history). Other notable games were a 5-4 loss to Medford (Nelson hat-trick), a 10-5 loss to Stevens Corner/Wisconsin Rapids (4 Nelson goals), and a 6-4 loss to the Eagles River (a hat-trick by Nelson).

All conference honors go to Kendall Nelson-1st Team, Erika Vallier-2nd Team, Kacey Iwen-2nd Team and Nicole Nerva Honorable Mentions.

Kendall Nelson and Kacey Iwen will finish the regular season with 54 points (45 goals and 9 assists) and 49 points (16 goals and 33 assists), respectively, as the second- and ninth-highest scoring players in the state. Nelson was voted the Great Northern League Player of the Year.

Statewide honors go to Kendall Nelson – 2nd Team, Kacey Iwen – Honorable Mention and Nicole Nerva – Honorable Mention.

Nicole Nerva was named to the Wisconsin team at the 2012-13 US Hockey National Championships in San Jose, California.

Greg Vallier took over as head coach for the 2013-14 season. He was assisted by Brock Lombardo and Chris Bembinster. Team members include Erika Vallier, Nicole Nerva, Chelsea Garinger, Melanie Consolver, Erin Sparks, Emma Somers, Leah Foster, Balie Conrad, Loerstem McCormick, Tacoda Shore, Lauren Bembinster, Sydney Calhoun, Jordan Parker-Calhoun and Sam Jorgensen. An 11-win season saw a competitive team. THS will have a 7-7 record at the meeting. Notable achievements include a 3-0 win over Lakeland, a 3-0 win over Medford, a 6-2 win over Lakeland (Nerva hat-trick), a 4-0 win over Medford (Vallier hat-trick) , 4-1 over Lakeland, 7-5 over Wupaca (Valier has 5 goals), 5-1 over Beaver Dam (Valier has 5 goals), 5-2 over May Telford (Nerva hat-trick), 4-1 over Wupaka (Nerva hat-trick), 3-2 over Stevens Point/Wisconsin Rapids and 3-1 over Cedarburg Lakeshore Lightning. Erin Sparks made 46 saves for the Nets in a 9-3 loss to Eagle River. Appleton United lost to Appleton United 2-0, Appleton beat Tomahawk 50-4. Games like this show the value of the greats on the Nets.

Honors for all sessions go to Erika Vallier-1st Team, Erin Sparks-1st Team and Nicole Nerva-2nd Team.

Statewide Honors Mentioned by Nicole Nerva-2nd Team and Erika Vallier-honorable

The 2014-15 season was the only winning season in women’s hockey until they teamed up with Lakeland and Mercer in 2016-17. Led by Greg Vallier, Chris Bembinster and Brian Cole, THS is 13-11-1. Team members include Nicole Nerva, Leah Foster, Erika Vallier, Madi Ungerer, Dacoda Shore, Erin Sparks, Jordan Parker-Calhoun, Melanie Consolver, Chelsea Garinger, Kiersten McCormack, Bailie Conrad, Lauren Bembinster, Taylor Tomaszewski, Sydney Calhoun and Rylie Flohr.

Highlights include a 6-0 win over Lakeland, a 7-0 win over Medford (Angler’s hat-trick), a 12-0 win over Webster/Salem, a 10-1 win over Lakeland (Vallier has five goals) Ball), 4-3 v. St. Point/Wisconsin Rapids, 4-0 v. Siren/Webster, 1-0 v. Marshfield, 5-1 v. Medford (Vallier hat-trick), 5-1 v. Beaver Dam, 4-1 Over Lakeland (Vallier hat-trick), 4-1 over Baraboo, 3-0 over Stevens Point/Wisconsin Rapids, 3-1 over Lakeland. Other interesting games were a 0-0 draw with Stoughton (the Tomahawks lost a 2-0 shootout, but the game was officially declared a draw), a 3-2 loss to Eagle River (the Sparks have 47 saves), a 3-2 overtime loss to Rhinelander/Antigo and a 4-3 overtime playoff loss to Stevens Corner/Wisconsin Rapids.

The choices for all meetings are Erika Vallier-1st Team, Erin Sarks-1st Team and Nicole Nerva-2nd Team.

The 2015-16 Tomahawks went 0-16. Special accomplishments this season were a 4-0 loss to Lakeland (the Sparks had 52 saves at the Nets) and a 2-0 loss to Lakeland (the Sparks had 64 saves at the Nets). Even without a win, THS would have two league-wide options, Erin Sparks-1st Team and Rylie Flohr-honorable to mention. Erin Sparks will also be selected to the state’s second team.

The 2016-17 season saw the Tomahawks drop to the point of working with Lakeland and Mercer. Rick Sparks is one of eight coaches the team will have. This combination of schools produced a 14-10-1 record. Erin Sparks will have 50 nets against Viroqua and Central Storm (DCE/Mosinee/Wausau West/Wausau East).

Erin Sparks was voted the Great Northern League Player of the Year. Sparks was selected as the goalie for the all-state first team. This is the third time she has been selected for statewide honors, as she has been on the state’s second team for the past two years.

In the 2017-18 season, THS was in their second year as a co-op with just two players on the team — Rylie Flohr and Serena Henke. Under the leadership of head coach Steve Bucklu, the girls will become conference and regional champions. They’ll have an 8-1 record, while second-place Eagle River is 6-2-1.

2018-19-saw no girls show.

In 2019-20, THS partnered with Rhinelander, Antigo, Lakeland, Three Lakes, Mercer and Wabeno. Serena Hanke was the only skater on the team from Tomahawk.

In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, there will again be no courses for girls. Will the show go the way of boxing? Only time will tell, but it seems so.

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