EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Brianna Kirsch, So., Lancaster girls golf
VERONA — Following a soggy and wet first day, and a steady performance on the second, Lancaster sophomore Brianna Kirsch finished third overall at this past Monday and Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 State Girls Golf Championship held at the University Ridge Golf Course.
Kirsch made her second consecutive trip to the state meet, after finishing 13th overall at last year’s state meet as a freshman.
Coming into this year’s D2 state championship, there were six golfers also returning to University Ridge, who had finished ahead of Kirsch at last year’s state meet. One of those was Prescott junior Ava Salay, who finished second at state a year ago, and comfortably won this year’s individual D2 state title with a two-day total of 148 (+4).
Kirsch climbed from 10th at day one to finish third with a two-round score of 165 (+21), three strokes back of runner-up Payton Schmidt of Jefferson.
Monday’s opening round at the state meet was held under a steady drizzle that unfortunately comes with the early October weather in Wisconsin.
During Monday’s opening round, Kirsch shot an 18-hole score of 87, which put her tied for 10th of 39 competing golfers. On the front nine, Kirsch shot a 10-over-par round of 46 with two pars, five bogeys, one double on the par-3 eighth hole and a triple on the par-5 ninth. She began the back nine with a par on the par-4 10th, then strung together a run of five straight bogeys before parring out on the last three holes for a five-over-par score of 41.
Going into Tuesday’s final round, Kirsch was just nine strokes behind Salay of Prescott and St. Croix Central’s Sally Vangsness, both of whom shot rounds of 78 the day before.
Starting on the back nine on Tuesday morning, Kirsch was 1-under par after her first four holes, picking up a birdie on the par-5 11th, and pars on holes 10, 12 and 13. She bogeyed the par-4 14th and followed up with pars on 15 and 16, before taking a bogey on hole 17 and a double on 18 to finish with a three-over-par round of 39.
With only the front nine left to play, Kirsch had jumped six spots on the leaderboard, and had moved into a tie for fourth place. She was now sitting just two strokes behind Vangsness, who shot a 47 on the back, five strokes behind Payton Schmidt of Jefferson, and 12 strokes behind Salay.
On the front, Kirsch started out with a bogie on the par-4 first hole, then parred holes two and three. She followed up with bogeys on holes four and five before knocking down a birdie putt on the par-5 sixth.
She concluded her round with a bogey on seven and parred out on holes eight and nine for a three-over-par round of 39.
Kirsch qualified for this year’s state meet with a third-place finish at the Wisconsin Dells Sectional, held at Trappers Turn Golf Course on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
On the par-72 course, Kirsch shot an 11-over-par round of 83, which was just one stroke behind Hallie Tulip of Arcadia/Independence and Payton Schmidt of Jefferson, who shared medalist honors. Playing the Arbor Course first, Kirsch shot a six-over-par round of 42 with five pars, two bogies and two doubles.
On the Lake Course, Kirsch started out with a par on her first hole, and followed up by draining a birdie putt on the par-4 266-yard second hole. She finished out the remaining seven holes on the back nine with three pars, two bogeys and two doubles, leaving her with a five-over-par round of 41.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Derek Digman, Jr., QB/DB and Jesse Martin, Sr., WR/DB, Platteville football team
Derek Digman threw for 199 yards and a career-high five touchdowns — three to Jesse Martin as part of his 13-catch, 132-yards receiving night, and two to Devin Digman as part of his 63 receiving yards, while leading Platteville with 88 rushing yards. “Derek has been playing really well lately,” said Platteville head coach Jason Weittenhiller. “Derek puts a lot of extra time in behind the scenes. He spends a lot of classroom time learning coverages and our concepts that attack those coverages. He's also watching Hudl and truly prepared when he hits the field on Friday nights. Devin and Jesse are also big reasons behind Derek's success. A few of Derek's touchdowns were passes that those two just went up and got. Both Jesse and Devin are running hard routes and making plays for us.”
Nora Jillson, Fr., Boscobel girls cross country
Freshman Nora Jillson won the girls' individual title at last Saturday's Riverdale Invitational with a winning time of 19:24.2, nearly 25 seconds faster than runner-up Kaylee Peterson of Richland Center/Ithaca (19:49.0) to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a first-place team finish.
Ty Palzkill, Sr., WR/DB, Belmont football
Belmont senior wide receiver Ty Palzkill hauled in eight receptions for 118 yards and three touchdowns in a 68–20 Senior Night victory over Sturgeon Bay last Friday night. Palzkill scored on touchdown receptions of on catches of 17, 7 and 26 yards from senior cousin Waylon Palzkill.
Raquel Reuter, So., Darlington girls cross country
Darlington sophomore Raquel Reuter earned the girls’ individual title at the Wisconsin Rapids’ Jim Newman Invitational by winning the 5,000-meter race with her time of 19:47 at Ridges Golf Course on Saturday, Oct. 9. Reuter, who set the Darlington girls’ 5,000-meter school record with a winning time of19:05.12 at the 2021 Dana Waddell Invitational hosted by Marshall High School at McCarthy County Park in Cottage Grove on Tuesday, Sept. 14, is the first Darlington girl to win an individual title at both the Platteville Invitational (small schools medalist Oct. 2 with a time of 19:43.7) and Wisconsin Rapids Invitational.