Michael McDonnell recently learned he has received a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship, which will support his graduate studies. Submitted photo
Michael McDonnell recently learned he has received a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship, which will support his graduate studies. Submitted photo

ELMWOOD AND SPRING VALLEY, WI – With 2019 here and 2018 having passed into history, as those past 12 months fade away completely from our collective memories let’s continue this opportunity to look back at 2018 with the “Year in Review Part III” of the news from the pages of the Sun-Argus newspapers starting with last June.

It was in the June 7, 2018 edition of the Sun-Argus that we reported that, “Michael McDonnell of SV to receive prestigious National Science Foundation Fellowship” It turns out that good things do happen after midnight.

Just ask Michael McDonnell of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, a UW-Eau Claire physics and mathematics major who received a middle-of-the-night email from the National Science Foundation telling him he is among an elite group of students selected to receive a prestigious fellowship that will fund his graduate studies.

“It was about 2 a.m. when I got the email about the NSF fellowship,” says McDonnell, a native of Spring Valley who graduated from UW-Eau Claire on Saturday, May 19, 2018. “I knew the results were being announced that night, so my anticipation kept me awake. When I found out I was accepted, I don’t think I slept for more than a few hours. I was just so elated.”

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees in the United States.

The fellowship program provides three years of financial support within a five-year period, with $34,000 in an annual stipend going to the student and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution.

McDonnell is among the 2,000 students nationwide receiving the fellowship award through the NSF program. He was selected from more than 12,000 applicants.

“Receiving the NSF fellowship has opened up so many doors regarding graduate school for me and has made me thankful for the excellent mentors I’ve had at UWEC,” McDonnell says.

Among the doors that opened for him is the University of California, Berkeley.

In the fall, McDonnell will begin his Ph.D. studies in the graduate program in physics at Berkeley.

Only about 40 graduate students from colleges and universities around the world are accepted into the Berkeley graduate physics program each year.

In the June 14, 2018 edition of the Sun-Argus a couple of exciting sports items were reported; the first was “Elmwood Expos hold inaugural game at new Sportsman Field.”

First game on new field was a close loss to PC with a great turnout by fans. The Elmwood Expos have a new great ball diamond and park in Sportsman Field thanks in part to a fantastic arrangement with Elmwood Rod & Gun Club for a donated piece of land on a 20-year renewable lease.

Expos player John Crownhart of John Crownhart Bulldozing and Excavating designed, laid out and did the 6000 cubic yard cut and fill work over the last two years. It turned out fantastic. John created a true jewel, a magnificent ball diamond from the rough of marshy land!

The Elmwood Expos had their inaugural game against the Plum City Blues before a huge community crowd that didn’t seem to mind the 2-0 loss as they enjoyed a good baseball game in nice weather at the beautiful new ballpark last Saturday, June 10.

There were many other contributors to thank for the completion of the new field including Fairmount Santrol who donated the red rock infield dirt, and Pax Building Services who donated the materials and labor to build the dugouts and others.

The Crain-Ottman American Legion Post who donated the flag and flagpole positioned just beyond the Centerfield fence had their Color Guard do the honors to present the Colors as talented local singer Teresa Kern sang the National Anthem to open the game for some serious baseball. It was a great start for the diamond that has been created from the rough of the marshy land into a new jewel for the Elmwood Expos and a real asset for the community.

The game announcer said, “It’s the greatest day in the history of the Elmwood Expos!”

In that same issue of the June 14, 2018 Sun-Argus was this other exciting sports item, “Tyler Leach claims second State title - Large SV contingent in Madison to support the 2018 D3 State Golf Champion” As reported briefly in the June 7 Sun-Argus, Spring Valley High School Honors graduate Tyler Leach had one more honor to accomplish as he wrapped up his high school career. He did that competing again at University Ridge Golf Course in (Verona) Madison where he won the State Individual Championship in the WIAA 2018 Wisconsin Boys Division 3 Championship Tournament that was held over two days on June 4 and 5, 2018.

Tyler Leach has led the Cardinals Golf team as a varsity player for the last four years and he has been to the State Tournament every year for the last three in Madison.

Leach joins an elite group of Wisconsin High School golfers that have won the State Individual Championship twice, winning it first as a sophomore in 2016. Prior to 2018 there have been 13 other individuals that have been medalists twice. Only two have been medalists three times. The WIAA goes back to 1923 to determine the beginning of its boys spring golf tournament program.

Tyler was rated T9 going into the tournament and shot an impressive 80/70 on 36 holes for a 6 over par 150 to win the 2018 Wisconsin Boys Division 3 Championship defeating number one rated Doyle Kelly of Saint Mary’s Springs who shot a 75/76 on 36 holes. Kelly was 7 over for a 151 total losing to our new State Champion from Spring Valley, Wisconsin by one stroke.

Leach has signed a National Letter of Intent to golf for Marquette under scholarship.

There was a large contingent of Spring Valley supporters on hand in Madison for Tyler as he played a calm measured game of golf not wanting to know what the rest of the field was doing and not looking at the leader board.

Those in support of Tyler from his family and Spring Valley included (and pictured) are: Jason Richardson, Kristi Richardson, Kyle Shafer, Michelle Shafer, Bob Sorenson (grandfather), Landin Sorenson (cousin), Gary and Jean Gitzlaff (aunt and uncle), Lee and Jan Leach (grandparents), Taylor Leach (sister), Wendy Leach (mom), Jerry Miller (member at SVGC), Chris Afdahl (member at SVGC), Marsha Brunkhorst (member of SVGC and Spring Valley Village President), Matt Ducklow (Head coach of the Golf Team), Guy Leach (assistant coach and father), Friends-Nathan Hannah, Blake Johnson, Calvin Kotval, Colton Kotval, Josh Hannah, Julian Davis, Kari Hybeen, Trevor Stangl, Caleb Olson, and Sergio.

That takes us through last year in the Sun-Argus and next week we will continue with more of the Spring Valley/Elmwood 2018 Year in Review.