EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Kennedy Rankin, Jr., MH, Dalington volleyball
It took an historic performance for Darlington hand the Cuba City volleyball team its first conference loss of the season. In the middle of it all was Darlington junior Kennedy Rankin, this week’s Mast Water Technology co-Swnews4U.com Athlete of the Week.
Rankin recorded a game-ending block in the opening set and tallied nine of her match-high 20 kills in a game two win to lead the Redbirds to a 3–2 victory over the league-leading Cubans last Thursday night, snapping a 28-match losing streak to Cuba City.
Not only had Darlington never beaten Cuba City since the two schools became conference rivals in the old SWAL II back in 2003, the Redbirds had never even won a single set against the Cubans in their 28 head-to-head matches.
That all changed last week when visiting Darlington (9–3–1, 4–2 SWAL) jumped out to a 2–0 lead, then pulled out a thrilling 15–10 victory in the decisive fifth set to knock off the Cubans (12–12–1, 5– 1) 25–21, 25–22, 23–25, 21–25, 15–10.
Last Tuesday Rankin recorded 11 kills in a 3–1 loss at Southwestern. Saturday she led the Redbirds to a perfect 3–0 record at the Monticello Invite with 28 kills and 13 blocks in victories over Williams Bay, Monticello and Albany.
Brooke Marcue, Sr., Lancaster girls’ golf
Lancaster’s Brooke Marcue had an exceptional week on the links to force a split of this week’s Mast Water Technology Swnews4U.com Athlete of the Week award.
First, the senior took top honors at last Wednesday’s SWC–SWAL conference golf meet at the Darlington Country Club, with an impressive round of 84, as Lancaster finished third out of four teams. The next closet competitor was Southwestern/Benton/Cuba City junior Bailey Bussan, who shot an 87 to help the Wildcats claim the conference title.
Then Marcue again took medalist honors, finishing first out of 42 golfers at this Wednesday’s WIAA Division 2 Edgewood Sacred Heart regional with a round of 90, one stroke better than Edgewood freshman Grace Welch (91). Marcue’s Flying Arrows finished fifth as a team and failed to advance, but the senior standout will continue her final prep season at Monday’s WIA Wisconsin Dells sectional. The top two teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team will advance to the WIAA State Championships, which will be held Oct. 10–11 at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Evan Gates, Jr., FB, Lancaster football
Gates rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of Lancaster’s 35–8 victory over Richland Center Saturday afternoon as the undefeated Arrows improved to 6–0 overall and 2–0 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference. Gates scored on runs of 66, 41, 41 and 6 yards and averaged 17.2 yards per carry. The junior workhorse now has 1,166 yards and 18 touchdowns in six games, fifth-best in the state.
Caitlyn Gilbertson, Sr., MH, Belmont volleyball
The senior middle hitter slammed a match-high 22 kills and made six blocks to lead Belmont to a 23–25, 23–25, 25–11, 25–23, 15–9 come from behind victory over Highland last Thursday night. The Braves improved to 7–7–1 overall and moved into third place in the Six Rivers West at 4–3.
Hunter Matye, Sr., WR/DB Shullsburg football
Matye caught six passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Miners to a 51–13 victory at River Ridge last Friday night. Matye caught touchdown passes of 7, 27 and 27 yards in the win. He also made a team-high eight tackles.
Jared Payne, Sr., Seneca–Wauzeka/Steuben football
Payne completed 5 of 9 passes for 105 yards and four touchdowns to lead Seneca/Wauzeka–Steuben to a 60–20 Homecoming victory over winless Wonewoc–Center/Weston.
Kordell Stillmunkes, Jr., RB/DB, Cuba City football
Stillmunkes rushed for 199 yards and scored four total touchdowns in Cuba City’s 45–13 Homecoming victory over visiting Palmyra–Eagle. Stillmunkes scored on runs of 1 yard and 41 yards, returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown and caught a 34-yard TD pass from sophomore Andy Clendenen in the second quarter.