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ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Jessica Routier / Skylar White
IG grad Routier in 1st place at NFR, White set RR records with 32 pts, 8 3P
Jessica Routier
Jessica Routier, a 2001 graduate of IowaGrant High School, is currently leading the barrel racing event at the National Finals Rodeo after 7 of the 10 rounds.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.

Jessica (Mueller) Routier, 2001 Iowa–Grant graduate, professional rodeo

     LAS VEGAS — Jessica (Mueller) Routier is living out her rodeo fantasy this week in Las Vegas. The 2001 graduate of Iowa–Grant High School and mother of five is one of 15 barrel racers competing in this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

     Routier did not place in last Thursday’s opening round, but has been on fire ever since. She finished sixth in Friday’s Round 2 with a time of 13.76 seconds to win $4,230.77, then placed second in both Saturday’s Round 3 (13.62, $20,730.77) and Sunday’s Round 4 (13.58, $20,730.77) to win an additional $41,461.54 for less than a half-minute of work. Routier also placed sixth ($4,230.77) in Monday’s Round 5 and finished second again in Tuesday’s Round 6 with a time of 13.73 to win another $20,730.77. The top six in each round earn prize money.

      After Wednesday night’s Round 7 Routier (she did not place in the top 6) was still clinging to a first-place with a combined time of 96.52 seconds, just ahead of Carman Pozzobon (97.91). With just three rounds left in NFR, she has also climbed to fourth in the season-long championship standings with $169,358.08 in total earnings for the year.

     Routier and her seven-year-old mare Fiery Miss West, or “Missy,” entered the NFR ranked eighth in the world with $98,704.23 in earnings for the year. 

Barrel racing is an event for women in which a mounted rider makes a series of sharp turns around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The fastest time

to compete the pattern is the winner.

     Routier will be back in action for tonight’s eight round performance, which begins at 8:45 p.m. Central time. The broadcast can be seen on TV or online on the CBS Sports Network.

     Routier won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association barrel racing championship in 2003 while attending National American University. She finished second the next year and sixth in 2005. Routier currently lives in Buffalo, S.D. She and her husband Riley Routier have five children, son Braden, 12, and daughters Payton, 10, twins Rayna and Rose, 3, and Charlie, 2. Routier is the daughter of John and Shelly Mueller of Montfort.


Skylar White, Jr., G, River Ridge girls basketball

     BENTON — It was a record-setting performance last Thursday night for River Ridge junior guard Skylar White, who led the Timberwolves to a 92–34 rout of host Benton in a Six Rivers West girls basketball game.

     White set two new school records last Thursday night by scoring a career-high 32 points, which broke the previous mark of 31 set in 2002 by Stacia Nemitz, and by knocking down eight 3-pointers, bettering the previous mark of six in a game set in 2015 by Roni Zinkle.

     With the win, White’s Timberwolves improved to 5–1 overall and 2–0 in Six Rivers West Conference play, while White brought her scoring average up to 20.7 points per game. She also led the T’wolves with six of the team’s 20 steals. 

     White also led Ridge to a 73–18 victory over Seneca on Tuesday night. River Ridge will now travel to Potosi/Cassville Friday night for another Six Rivers West tilt.



HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):

Brady Curtis, Sr., G, Potosi boys basketball

     Curtis scored a game-high 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting and had seven steals and five assists in Potosi’s 76–44 rout of Black Hawk Monday night. He also scored a game-high 19 points on 7 of 8 from the field and had two steals in the Chieftains’ (2–0, 1–0) season-opening victory over Highland last Tuesday.

Stryker Fitzsimons, Jr., F, Darlington boys basketball

     Fitzsimons recorded a pair of double-doubles to lead Darlington to victories over #2 Mineral Point and #9 Cuba City last week. He finished with 19 points and 11 boards in Tuesday night’s 63–43 victory at Point, then scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Friday night’s 50–44 victory over the visiting Cubans to go along with two assists and two steals.


Carter Lancaster, So., F, Darlington boys basketball

     Lancaster poured in a career-high 28 points and pulled down 13 boards in Tuesday’s 63–53 win over #2-ranked Mineral Point Pointers (2–2, 1–1), then added 16 points and seven rebounds in Friday’s over the Cuba City Cubans (2–1, 1–1).


Tony Liebfried, Jr., 285, Cuba City/Benton/Southwestern wrestling

     Liebfried is 11–0 on the season in the 285-pound weight class with tournament titles at the Black Hawk Invitational on Dec. 1 and the Sugar River Scramble last Saturday. He went 5–0 Saturday at Sugar River to win the 285-pound title and help the Cubans finish fourth out of nine teams.


Isaac Lindsey, Sr., G, Mineral Point boys basketball

     Lindsey hit six three-pointers, including a pair in a key 8–0 run midway through the second half, and finished with 28 points (22 in the second half) to lead Mineral Point (3–1, 1–1 SWAL) to a comeback 82–71 victory at Fennimore last Friday night. Fennimore led by eight, 28–20, late in the second half. Lindsey also scored 15 points in a conference-opening loss to Darlington last Tuesday night.

Brooks Tiedeman, Sr., G, Benton boys basketball

     Tiedeman went over the 1,000-point mark for his career and finished with 20 points in Benton’s 74–62 win at Iowa–Grant on Monday night. He also scored 11 in last Tuesday’s 66–47 loss at Shullsburg.