EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Brynlee Nelson Sr., and Lauryn Bunn, Sr., Fennimore girls cross country
DARLINGTON — Fennimore seniors Brynlee Nelson and Lauryn Bunn were dominate at last Friday’s WIAA Division 3 Darlington sectional. The pair finished first and third out of 38 runners to advance to this Saturday’s WIAA Cross Country D3 State Championships.
Nelson used a spectacular kick over the final 800 meters to pass Kickapoo/La Farge junior Anelise Egge to win the individual sectional championship with a winning-time of 19:59.3.
Bunn, who ran in tandem with Nelson to stay close to Egge until the final stages of the race finished a close third at 20:11.2. Bunn, who placed 47th at the D3 state championships two years ago as a junior, will be making her second appearance at the state cross country meet.
Nelson, who is first-team All-SWAL volleyball player, will be making her first trip to state cross country in her first year out for the sport due to Fennimore volleyball opting to play in the alternate spring season in 2021.
Bunn and Nelson were on Fennimore’s D3 state championship 4x400 relay in track and field two years ago as sophomores.
The Fennimore girls placed third Friday with 45 points, behind sectional champion Lancaster (42, won on a tie-breaker) and Kickapoo/La Farge (42), just missing out on a team trip to state.
The top two teams at sectionals and the two five individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to this weekend’s D3 state meet, which will be held at West Salem’s Maple Grove Venues.
“The sectional meet was definitely a tough meet,” said Fennimore head coach Ryanne Carl. “Any time you have a small number of teams competing everything is really crunched.”
The Fennimore girls qualified for Friday’s Darlington sectional by finishing second at the D3 Boscobel Sub-Sectional last Monday, 14 points behind Lancaster.
This year the WIAA split up sectionals into sub-sectionals to reduce the number of runners in each race due to COVID-19. In past years, every team’s top seven runners qualified for sectionals and 16–20 teams would compete at each sectional.
“The girls were all given jobs and knew who they had to beat. Lauryn and Bryn ran so tough out front," said Carl. "Anelise Egge of Kickapoo, who placed sixth at the state meet last year and eighth as a freshman really went out and set the tone. Bryn and Lauryn worked so well together to trade off leading and working together to track Anelise down. Bryn put on her track spikes with about 800 meters left and went after Anelise and had a great finish to be crowned the sectional champ. Lauryn was not far behind and that really set the bar high."
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Riley Christensen, Sr., QB/LB, Belmont football
Christensen rushed for 178 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 carries, threw for a sixth score and had a team-high six tackles and an interception — all in the first half! — to lead undefeated Belmont (4–0, ranked #2 in 8-player football) to a dominating 70–7 victory over visiting Williams Bay last Friday night. The Braves will travel to Neenah St. Mary Catholic Friday night.
Nick Connolly, Sr., Iowa–Grant boys cross country
The IG senior standout clinched his fourth straight trip to the WIAA State Cross Country Championships with a second-place finish at last Friday's WIAA D3 Darlington Sectional with a time of 17:03.2.
Madison Devlin, Sr., OH, Platteville volleyball
Digman posted a monster double–double of 11 kills and a career-high 35 digs, and a team-high three aces in Platteville's five set victory over Dodgeville in Saturday night's WIAA Division 2 regional final. Devlin and the Southwest Wisconsin Conference champion Hillmen (12–1) will host defending Division 3 runner-up La Crosse Aquinas (7–3) in a WIAA D2 sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m.
Lilly Post, Sr., MH, Potosi volleyball
The 6-foot senior middle hitter posted a team-high 13 kills and a season-high 10 blocks in just three sets to lead Potosi (9–5) to an upset sweep of top-seeded Highland in last Saturday's WIAA D4 regional final, 25–21, 29–27, 25–21. It was the Chieftains first regional volleyball title since 2013. Potosi also led the team with 13 kills and five blocks in last Thursday's 25–16, 24–26, 25–12, 25–18 victory over regional semifinal Barneveld. Potosi will travel to Augusta Thursday night to face undefeated Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran.
Rhett Reuter, Jr., and George West, So., Darlington boys cross country
Reuter (17:30.8) and West (17:32.3) finished fourth and fifth individually on their home course to lead the Darlington boys cross country team to the team championship at last Friday's D3 Darlington Sectional and a team berth at this Saturday's WIAA D3 State Meet that will be held in West Salem.