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All-state football honors lead to rare opportunities

Earning all-state honors has opened up the doors to special football opportunities for a trio of Somerset High School seniors.

Burt Geurkink, Evan Kowalski and Tony Martin have had exciting opportunities come their way following the success of the 2007 Spartans, which reached the semifinals in the WIAA Division 4 state playoffs.

Geurkink and Martin have been selected to play for Team USA in the 2008 U-19 Global Challenge-Kawasaki Bowl in Japan on Saturday, March 22.

Geurkink and Kowalski have been named to the North roster for the 2008 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star Game. The All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, July 19 at UW-Oshkosh. Somerset coach Bruce Larson has also been selected as one of the assistant coaches on the North squad.

Global Challenge Bowl

Geurkink and Martin were chosen for this game by Jeff Scurran, who will be head coach for Team USA. Scurran is one of the instructors for Bigger Faster Stronger and he has seen the Somerset athletes in action several times.

"Jeff has enjoyed Burt and has an appreciation for how hard Tony works," Larson said.

The two Spartans are among 40 players nationally chosen for Team USA. There are five players from Wisconsin on the team. The game will be played in Kawasaki, which is just outside Tokyo.

Team USA will be facing Japan's national U-19 team, which Scurran calls "the best Japanese U-19 team ever."

Geurkink and Martin will leave on March 13. They will practice in San Diego for several days before flying to Japan. They will return home on March 24.

The timing of the game couldn't be better for the Somerset athletes because they will be gone during the school's spring break week.

Anyone interested in helping offset the cost of the trip for Geurkink and Martin should contact Coach Larson at 247-3355. For more information on the game, check this Web site:

All-Star Game

Geurkink and Kowalski will both be playing on the North's defense for the 2008 WFCA All-Star Game, where Coach Larson will be one of the assistant coaches. Geurkink will line up at defensive end while Kowalski will be playing cornerback.

By being first team all-state selections, Geurkink and Kowalski were strong candidates to make the team. Each school is limited to a maximum of two players in the All-Star Game.

Coach Larson had a simple explanation on why these playing were drawing their honors.

"Good things happen to kids who work hard, that's the way it is," Larson said.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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