EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Nick Connolly, Jr., Iowa–Grant boys cross country
Iowa–Grant junior Nick Connolly won his third race in a row, finishing fourth overall (out of 156 varsity runners) and first in the boys small schools division with a time of 16:57.8 on an incredible sloppy course Saturday at the 52nd annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational at UW–Platteville’s Veterans Memorial Park.
Connolly's victory helped the Iowa–Grant boys dethroned Darlington to win the small schools team title. The Panthers held off Darlington by 11 points, 49–60 to win their first Platteville Invitational title since 2000. The Darlington boys had won 11 straight small school titles at the Platteville Invitational.
Two days earlier, the Iowa–Grant boys won the 10-team Kickapoo/La Farge Invitational by three points over Westby, 56–59. Connolly ran a personal-best time of 16:41.5, while Aide finished third at 17:53.9.
Connolly also won the boys small schools title while leading the Iowa–Grant boys to the team title at the Reedsburg Invitational two Saturday's with a time of 17:11.5.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Beau Kopp, So., QB, Cuba City football
Kopp completed 20-for-41 passes for 284 yards with three touchdowns, including the game-winning score on a 13-yard pass to Mitchell Vosberg in overtime, and rushed for 22 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries to lead the Cubans to a 28–21 overtime victory over the Onalaska Luther Knights. He had TD pass of 26, 16 and 13 yards along with a 3-yard TD run. The victory also kept the Cubans' (2–5, 2–3 SWAL) playoff hopes alive.
Kristin Muench, Jr., Lancaster girls cross country
Muench finished second behind only sophomore teammate Bridee Burks (19:44) in the girls small school division at Saturday's 52nd annual Dick McKichan Platteville Invitational with a time of 20:29.4. Muench, along with Burks and sophomore Anna Murphy (4th, 20:43) led the Flying Arrows to the girls' small school team title over Albany, 44–63.
Jaren Hill, Sr., RB, Richland Center football
Hill rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner from 33 yards out with 3:50 left in the game to led the Hornets (1–6, 1–4) and first-year head coach Andy Troxel to their first victory of the season. Hill scored from 11 yards out early in the second quarter, then scored again with 9:41 to make to pull the Hornets within five at 18–13.
Hayden Wagner, Jr., DB, Lancaster football
Wagner returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns to spark Lancaster's sparkling defensive effort in last Friday's 50–6 SWAL Homecoming victory over winless Iowa–Grant (0–7, 0–5 SWAL). Wagner picked off a Ross Havlik pass less than a minute into the game and returned it 30 yards to give the Arrows an early 8–0 lead. He intercepted another pass late in the second quarter and returned it 35 yards for another score to make it 43–0 with three minutes left in the half. Wagner and the Lancaster defense held Iowa–Grant to –9 yards and 0 first downs in the first half.