EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Emma Lawrence, Sr., Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg girls track and field
Benton senior Emma Lawrence capped her illustrious prep athletic career by helping Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg win the WIAA Division 3 girls state title over the weekend at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse. Lawrence won individual state titles in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, placed second in the 200 and fifth in the triple jump to account for 32 of the team’s 40 points. Shullsburg senior Brianna Leahy finished second in the D3 shot put (42’4.25”) to score eight key points as the Zephyrs held off Algoma 40–39 for the team title.
Lawrence came into Saturday’s finals seeded first in both the 100 hurdles (15.0) and 300 hurdles (44.60) after setting program records in both events following a spectacular preliminary performance. She lived up to those seeds by winning the 100 hurdles in 15.23 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 45.11 seconds, while placing second in the 200 at 26.07 and fifth in the triple jump at 35’9”.
“It’s crazy. I don’t even know that I’m feeling,” said Lawrence, who finished her prep track career with 11 state medals and three individual state titles. “After the 100 hurdles I was really pumped up, but I wasn’t able to soak that one in because it was bang, bang, bang. I was going to do whatever I had to do to win the 300 hurdles. I feel like every hurdle I hit, every injury and pain I felt, was worth it for what I’m feeling right now.”
Saturday’s performance was even more special for Lawrence since she did it all on the track she will be calling home the next few years. She will attend UW–La Crosse this fall to compete in both volleyball and track and field.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Gavin Gillitzer, Jr., P, Prairie du Chien baseball
GIllitzer struck out 13 Fennimore batters and allowed just one unearned run on three hits to lead the SWC champion Blackhawks (18–2) to a 9–1 victory over the visiting SWAL champion Golden Eagles in last Wednesday’s WIAA Division 3 regional final. Tuesday morning Gillitzer was again victorious on the mound, leading Prairie du Chien to a 6–2 sectional semifinal victory over Osseo-Fairchild. The Blackhawks’ season came to an end later on Tuesday with an 8–2 sectional final loss to SWAL runner-up Mineral Point.
Grady Rielly, Sr., Darlington boys track and field
Rielly became the first Redbird in more than a decade to win an individual state championship after winning the Division 3 boys110-meter high hurdles with a winning time of 15.23 seconds Saturday at the WIAA State Track and Field Meet in La Crosse. Rielly also finished second in the 300 hurdles with a school record time of 39.63. Rielly became the first Darlington athlete to win an individual state track title since Stephanie Winters won the D3 girls pole vault in 2007.
Madison Rizner, Sr., Richland Center girls track and field
Rizner capture the Division 2 girls triple jump state title with a winning jump and new personal-best of 38’0.75” Saturday at the WIAA State Track and Field Meet in La Crosse. Rizner’s winning jump was nearly two feet further than runner-up Xana Leum of Viroqua (36’2.5”), who enter the state meet as the top seed. Rizner, who will be competing in track and field and volleyball next year at Winona State University, also placed seventh in the D2 girls high jump Friday after clearing 5’2”.
Jacob Wedig, Sr., Belmont boys track and field
Wedig was crowned the Division 3 boys shot put champion Saturday after a winning toss of 56’7.75” at the WIAA State Track and Field Meet in La Crosse. A day earlier he placed 10th in the discus with a throw of 144’8”.