EDITOR'S NOTE: The SWNews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Madison Albert-Nelson, Sr., Platteville/Lancaster girls swimming
BARABOO — Platteville/Lancaster senior Madison Albert-Nelson made it a perfect four-for-four. Nelson broke her own school record in the 100-yard butterfly at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 Baraboo sectional to place fifth and earn her fourth straight trip to the WIAA State Championships in the event.
“Maddy qualifying all four years is a testament to her hard work and focus,” said Platteville/Lancaster head coach Matt Wunderlin. “I remember when she was in seventh grade and told me that she wanted to make swimming her sport. She was serious, and the results show. It is an inspiration to everyone about what can happen when you put your mind to something and commit to it. I’m very proud of her.”
Nelson touched the wall at 59.07 seconds, besting her previous record of 59.63, set a week earlier at this year’s Southern Lakes Conference meet. Nelson is seeded 10th out of 16 state qualifiers in the Division 2 field in this year’s 100 butterfly. She placed 13th at state in the 100 fly a year ago (1:00.34). She also placed 10th as a sophomore (1:00.37) and 13th three yeas ago as a freshman (1:02.10).
“Maddy swam some great races, but as we evaluated them, we think she can go even faster at the state meet,” said Wunderlin. “I think we can tweak her stroke a bit to go even faster, and if she can stay aggressive, she’ll be a contender.”
Albert-Nelson also placed eighth in the 500 freestyle at Saturday’s sectional with a time of 5:31.91. The final qualifying time was 5:28.57 in the event. She also teamed with freshman Shaena Prestegard, fellow senior Erin Walker and sophomore Maddy Sargent to place 10th in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:50.34. Albert-Nelson, Walker, Prestegard and sophomore Carolin Gates placed 10th in the 200 medley relay (2:04.59).
HONORABLE MENTION (In alphabetical order):
Black Hawk/Warren football offensive line
Seniors Nick Hull, Gunner Foecking, Ried Raisbeck, Avery Baumgartner, Nick Whitcomb and junior Skylar Neff allowed the Warriors to rush for a season-high 430 yards and six touchdowns in the Warriors' 49-7 WIAA Division 7 Level 3 playoff win over River Ridge on Friday night.
Izzy Carroll, Sr., MH, Platteville volleyball
Carroll was named the SWC Co-Player of the Year for a second straight season, sharing this year's honor with River Valley senior Ali Hoffman. Caroll led the Hillmen to a 35–7 overall record, a perfect 10–0 mark in SWC play, a third straight conference title and a WIAA Division 2 regional title. The talented senior finished her final year with a team-high 355 kills, a .298 hitting percentage, 75 blocks, 49 aces, 42 assists and 426 digs.
Lucas Flannagan, Sr., RB/DB, Black Hawk/Warren football
Flanagan had is first rushing touchdown of the season and added a spectacular 49-yard interception return for another score in Friday's playoff win over River Ridge. After picking off the pass near midfield, Flanagan headed up field with the ball until being bottled up by several T'Wolve tacklers. Flanagan worked his way out of the pile without being tackled and raced into the end zone for his second TD of the game.
Jaylen Rufenacht, Sr., RB/DB, Black Hawk/Warren football
Rufenacht had a 91-yard touchdown run on the Warriors' first play from scrimmage to open the scoring and then capped the scoring with 69-yard TD run in the Warriors' 49-7 WIAA Division 7 Level 3 playoff win over River Ridge. Rufenacht finished with 234 rushing yards to join teammate Cayden Milz– who added 132 yards and three TDs (15, 5 and 4) in the game– over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Milz had rushed for 1,498 yards and 21 TDs so far this season, while Rufenacht has tallied 1,047 yards and 16 TDs on the ground.
Hailey Stich, So., OH, Cuba City volleyball
Stich was named the SWAL Most Valuable Player after leading the Cubans (25–9, 11–1 SWAL) to this year's conference title. Stich tallied team highs in kills (342) and digs (351) and was second on the team in service aces (45) and also had 15 blocks.
Skylar White, Sr., MH, River Ridge volleyball
White was recently named the Six Rivers West volleyball Player of the Year after leading the Timerbwolves to a 22–1 record, a berth in the WIAA Division 3 sectional finals, and a perfect 12–0 mark in league play to help Ridge win another conference title. White finished the year with a team-high 463 kills, 36 blocks and 36 aces, and was second on the team with 255 digs.