Several Truckers set to compete in college athletics

4 headed to Ripon College
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

CLINTONVILLE — Clintonville High School’s class of 2020 has several athletes in it that plan on playing collegiate sports in the coming years.

Basketball, track and field

Elly Arndt hopes to make the women’s basketball and track and field teams at Ripon College.

“I’m super excited to play both basketball and track, especially after not having a senior year track season (because of the coronavirus pandemic),” said Arndt. “It’s always been a goal of mine to play sports in college.”

In her final basketball season, Arndt made the North Eastern Conference second team. As a junior in track, Arndt qualified for sectionals individually in the 100-meter dash and high jump and as a member of the Truckers 4x200 relay.

Arndt said she’s been in contact with the coaches of each team (Lauren Busalacchi for basketball and Bob Wood for track and field) and a few girls from each team.


Benjamin Papendorf is also headed to Ripon College, where he’ll play football. Dylan Danforth and Dan Rohrer will also play collegiate football, at Carroll University (Waukesha) and University of Wisconsin-River Falls, respectively.

Papendorf decided to attend Ripon because of it’s smaller setting, which “allows the coaches to work more closely and develop the players and the team as a whole.”

Papendorf said Tom Burkhalter — who has since stepped down as Clintonville’s head football coach — made the recruitment process easy. Burkhalter not only sent out Papendorf’s stats and film, but also spoke to the university on his behalf. Papendorf said it led to Ripon contacting him as a junior.

“Words cannot even begin to express how excited I am to have four more years of football,” said Papendorf, who visited the campus a couple times and also participated in team Zoom meetings. “It feels like a dream come true to know all the hard work has paid off, and I’ve got a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I am looking forward to the increased competition and sharing the field with some extremely talented athletes.”

Unlike many soon-to-be college athletes, Rohrer’s journey to college athletics hasn’t always been clear.

“I’m not going to say it is a dream come true because when I started playing football, I was scrawny and had no muscular strength so I always thought I would sit the bench in middle school and high school,” Rohrer said. “But in eighth grade, I had an injury (torn tendon in left middle finger) that would not allow me to play — I was part of the team but I started weightlifting.

“My freshman year I lifted for so long that my mom (Julie) would actually drag me out of the gym. But because of that, I played three years of varsity football at outside linebacker and loved it.”

Danforth could not be reached for comment.


After big senior seasons on the basketball court, Erin Viergutz and Aiden Polzin will be continuing their careers at the college level.

Viergutz is headed to Concordia University (Mequon), citing the people at the school for making it feel like home.

“It’s extremely special,” said Viergutz of getting to play collegiately. “Basketball is hard work, and I am glad I committed. I am excited my basketball career isn’t over yet.”

Viergutz, who landed on the NEC first team as a senior, is looking forward to building a bond with a new team and also playing a faster tempo. After visiting the campus, she’s been on Zoom calls to get familiar with the team.

Viergutz thanked coaches Nick Yaeger and Chris Wagenson for helping her improve as a player and her parents (Connie and David) for supporting and building up her confidence.

Polzin, who was a unanimous pick to the NEC first team as a senior, will play for Lakeland University (Plymouth). He liked every aspect of the college, and feels a great connection with head coach Sam Schroeder, a graduate of Shawano Community High School.

Polzin said his recruitment process started in his sophomore year, but he waited until after his senior year was up to make his final decision. “Coach Schroeder just stood out to me from day one.”

The Clintonville athlete said competing in college sports has been a dream of his since fourth or fifth grade. “Just playing against older men, and harder competition. And also competing for a national championship is something I’m looking forward to.”


McKinzie Fields is headed to Ripon College to play volleyball.

“Playing volleyball in college is definitely special to me because I have always wanted this and have always put the time and dedication into playing and working to become better,” said Fields.

She said she’s been in contact with coach Katie Astrauskas and a few of her soon-to-be teammates and is looking forward to the team becoming a new family to her.


Jetlyn Michonski will wrestle for the Adrian College (Adrian, Michigan) women’s team, being reunited with her sister Lacey in the process.

“It is extremely special to me knowing that all of my hard work has finally paid off and others have noticed it,” said Michonski. “It’s an amazing thing and I’m excited for the next four years.”

Michonski said Adrian head coach Cliff Cushard has been following her high school career since freshman year. The Clintonville wrestler visited the campus a couple times and got the opportunity to practice with some of the team’s wrestlers. Cushard drove seven hours to watch Michonski wrestle on senior night, with the wrestler signing her letter of intent afterward.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting all of the new people, especially being a part of an all female team of wrestlers who all share the same love and commitment to the sport as I do,” said Michonski. “I am also really excited to travel to compete.”

Soccer, track and field

Madison Hohn will continue her soccer career at UW-Stevens Point. She’s also considering trying out for the track and field team.

“Soccer has always been my love and I’m very glad to be able to continue playing, especially since my senior season was taken away,” said Hohn.

Hohn had multiple schools looking at her, but after visiting the UWSP campus multiple times, she reached out to coach Dawn Crow about potentially playing. Hohn played under Crow for Team Wisconsin in the Olympic Development Program, and was offered a spot on the UWSP team.


Abby King is going to attend Ripon College, where she will play softball.

“It is so special to me that I get to continue this sport in college,” said King. “With not being able to have a final season in high school (because of the pandemic), it was amazing to be able to have the opportunity to play again and continue my love for the game at a collegiate level.”

King, who made the NEC second team in her junior season, said she’s been in contact with head coach Steve Wammer and that he was very helpful. King ended up committing to Ripon when she was on her second tour of the school.

King is excited to get the chance to keep improving as a player and also form new friendships with her new team.