EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Payton Heinberg, Sr., Darlington boys cross country
BOSCOBEL — On a blustery day at Boscobel’s Ryan Zimple Memorial Cross Country course, senior Payton Heinberg and the Darlington boys’ cross country team blew away the competition.
Heinberg captured the boys’ individual sectional title for a third year in a row while leading the fourth-ranked Redbirds to their 11th consecutive sectional team title at Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Boscobel Sectional meet held at Zimple Farm.
Heinberg covered the 5,000-meter course in a winning-time of 16:43.2 to claim his third career sectional championship head of SWAL rivals junior Ian Barry (16:52) of Fennimore and Iowa–Grant sophomore Nick Connolly (16:58).
The Redbirds placed all five of their team’s scoring runners in the top 15 to easily outscore the competition with 45 points. Boscobel tied with Wauzeka–Steuben for second place with 94 points, but the host Bulldogs earned another state berth thanks to their sixth runner finishing 11 spots ahead of the Horents’ sixth runner.
The 2018 WIAA State Cross Country Meet will be held Saturday ah the Ridge Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. The Division 1 boys’ race will kickoff the competition, starting at noon, followed by Heinberg in the boys’ Division 3 race at 12:45 p.m.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Courtney Busch, Sr., Setter, Cuba City volleyball
Busch passed out 42 assists, tallied six kills, 12 digs and two aces to lead Cuba City back from a two-games-to-none deficit in a thrilling 23–25, 18–25, 25–23, 25–18, 15–5 five-set victory over third-seeded Belleville in a WIAA Division 3 regional final last Saturday night at Cuba City High School. Busch and the SWAL champion Cubans (30–7) will face top-seeded Wisconsin Heights (22–10) in a sectional semifinal match tonight at Mineral Point High School at 7 p.m.
Nick Jansen, Sr., RB/LB, Benton/Scales Mound football
Jansen rushed 29 times for 135 yards with five touchdowns and a two-point conversion and had seven tackles and a quarterback sack in the sixth-seeded Zephyrs' 35–7 upset win over third-seeded Fall River.
Kayci Martensen, Fr., Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton
Martensen will have a chance to run for an individual WIAA cross country state championship after running away with the girls’ individual title at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 River Valley Sectional. Martensen clocked a course record time of 18:20.2, finishing 45 seconds ahead of runner-up and defending sectional champion Madelynn McIntyre (20:05), a sophomore from Brodhead/Juda. In the process, Martensen, became the first runner in Benton history to qualify for the state cross country meet.
Annie Spurley, Jr., Iowa–Grant volleyball
Spurley slammed a co-team-high 15 kills and had two blocks and five digs to held sixth-seeded Iowa–Grant upset second-seeded Benton (24–3), 25–21, 21–25, 25–20, 25–15 in a WIAA Division 4 regional final last Saturday night. Sparely also had 11 kills and six blocks in Iowa–Grant’s upset of third-seeded Seneca last Thursday. Spurley and the Panthers will face top-seeded and undefeated River Ridge (22–0–1) in a D4 sectional semifinal tonight at Belmont High School at 7 p.m.