EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Friday morning throughout the calendar year.
Lancaster freshman Lydia Murphy has been front and center of this year's resurgence of the Lancaster girls cross country team. Murphy and the Arrows continued to shine at last week's SWC cross country conference meet and with her latest exploit earned this week's Mast Water Technology Athlete of the Week honor.
Murphy won the individual girls SWC title finishing ahead for runner-up Brittany Rhyner of Dodgeville/Mineral Point by more than 37 seconds. The freshman sensation ran away with the title in a winning time of 19:54 and in the process led the Lady Arrows to the conference crown, dethroning the Dodgers.
The Lancaster ladies finished the meet with a team score of 41, finishing ahead of second-place Dodgeville/Mineral Point by 13 points. Platteville finished third (55) and Prairie du Chien was fourth (105), followed by River Valley (128) and Richland Center/Ithaca (144).
“Our girls’ team has worked very hard all summer and into the fall to improve themselves and the team,” said Lancaster coach Taylor Reynolds. “I have been so impressed with their work ethic and determination. We have performed well throughout the season, but bringing home a conference championship has been a real highlight,” Reynolds added. “Our conference meet has many tough and talented teams, and winning this race is not an easy task. The girls did a nice job getting into good position early in the race, and I was pleased with how well they battled late in the race and down the home stretch. I am very proud of all the cross country kids and their efforts.”
“Lydia Murphy winning the individual title added to the day’s success,” Reynolds added. “Lydia is a great kid and a pleasure to coach. She’s driven to work hard and be successful. I told her to just go out and run, no need to overthink. She established a nice rhythm early and held it the entire way. Winning this race is a big accomplishment. I am very proud of her."
Murphy and the Arrows will look to keep their recent run of success going when they compete at Saturday's WIAA Division 2 Darlington Sectional. The top two teams qualify for next week's WIAA State Championships as well as the top five individuals not on a qualifying team.
Vince Momot, Sr., Platteville cross country
Momot won a second straight individual SWC boys cross country title last Thursday at the SWC conference meet in Richland Center. Momot, a two-time state qualifier, held off runner-up Dustin Hatfield of River Valley and in the process led the Hillmen to a third straight SWC team title.
Jaden Komprood, Sr., Darlington cross country
Komprood finished as the runner-up for a second straight year at the SWAL cross country conference meet behind two-time champion Dakota Kauffman of Boscobel. But Komprood's second-place finish led the Redbirds to an eighth straight conference team title.
Dakota Kauffman, Sr., Boscobel cross country
Kauffman won a second consecutive individual SWAL cross country title with a time of 16:43, beating runner-up Jaden Komprood by 10 seconds.
Mitch Knockel, Sr., Platteville football
The senior defensive end scooped up a fumble and raced untouched for a 26-yard touchdown early in the first quarter of Friday's SWC finale to give the Hillmen an early 14–0 lead of Lancaster. Knockel was also in on a number of tackles as Platteville went on to defeat the Arrows 28–26 to clinch a sixth straight playoff appearance.
Nic Wood, Sr., Lancaster football
Wood's unbelievable run continued last Friday night, albeit in a losing effort. Wood rushed set new single-game school records for rushing yards (349), carries (39) and all-purpose yards (384) in a 28–26 loss at Platteville. Since becoming Lancaster's fullback in Week 4, the senior sensation has rushed for 1,358 yards and 17 TDs in six games. As a starting wing back, Wood rushed for just 114 yards on 13 carries in Lancaster's first three games.
Colten Henkel, Sr., Fennimore football
Henkel closed out his prep football career with a 225-yard, four-TD performance in a 48–16 victory over Riverdale last Friday. The Golden Eagles finished the year 4–5 overall and 3–4 in the SWAL.