70 years, 3 generations, and 1 family connected to it all, Athens’ conference title drought is broken

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 11:02 PM CST
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ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) -The last time the Athens Blue Jays won a conference championship in boys basketball, Lambeau Field did not even exist, the Braves were still in Milwaukee, and now 89-year old Robert Peter was a key part of the team.

“We had a good team, played well together, won the conference,” says Peter.

But after that, a seven-decade drought endured, until this year’s team broke down the dam.

Peter has a special connection to a certain modern-day Blue Jay.

“It’s so special and realizing that the last person to win it was my grandpa, that just makes it even more special,” says Cobie Ellenbecker, a senior forward for Athens and Peter’s grandson.

Even better: Conference championships don’t skip a generation in this lineage, because Cobie’s father, and Peter’s son-in-law, Aaron, is Athens’ co-head coach.

“It’s special, and I think in the years to come it will be more special looking back at it,” says Aaron Ellenbecker.

But for the celebration to feel right, Coach Ellenbecker wanted to connect the current champs with whoever he could find from the 1950 team.

“I just made a phone call to the school secretary Lauri Heier,” says Aaron Ellenbecker. “And said ‘Hey, can you look who was all on the team?””

After Athens regular season home finale against Phillips, two living alum from 70 years ago, Peter, and Eugene Weise, celebrated a new group of Blue Jays joining the conference championship club.

Peter and Weise are still friends to this day, but the moment everyone had eyes on, was between grandpa, and grandson.

“Cobie is our grandson,” said Peter. “We appreciated his playing, he played well.”

“All I could do was smile,” said Aaron Ellenbecker. “It was pretty cool.”

“It’s just awesome to see my grandpa, my dad, and now me. It’s just, it’s amazing,” Cobie Ellenbecker says.

Three generations, and now three conference champions. Although the thought of the next Athens conference title coming in 2090 doesn’t sound like something Cobie or Aaron Ellenbecker are on board with.

“I would not believe it,” said Cobie Ellenbecker.

Aaron Ellenbecker said simply: “I sure hope it doesn’t go that long.”

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