EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Kayci Martensen, Sr., Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton girls cross country
DARLINGTON – The SWAL conference has produced the crème de la crème of cross country runners in the state of Wisconsin and Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton’s Kayci Martensen has been mentioned along with the all-time SWAL greats since her freshman season.
However, Martensen joined an elite group of SWAL runners last Thursday afternoon when she became just the fourth four-time conference championship with her record-setting performance at the 35th annual SWAL Meet held at Darlington High School on Oct. 14.
Martensen pulled away from the pack early and left the field in her dust, establishing a new girls’ 5,000-meter course record time of 18:09 on her way to her fourth career individual conference title.
“She works hard and is so humble. It was good to see her go after it. I felt she ran a great race and looked strong,” said Wildcats’ head coach Paul Reynolds. “Being only the fourth runner to win four times in a tough conference like ours says a lot about Kayci."
Boscobel freshman Nora Jillson was a distant second, finishing nearly two minutes behind Martensen in 20:04. Wildcats’ sophomore Hanna Martensen was third overall in 20:06 to join her sister of the SWAL All-Conference team.
Seniors Sophia Daugherty and Isabelle Matthews placed 23rd and 26th, respectively, in 23:55 and 25:04. Junior Ashlyn Pitzen pulled in 28th in 25:51 to complete the team scoring for the Wildcats, who finished fourth as a team with 81 points. Boscobel placed all five team scorers in the top 15 to capture the SWAL girls’ title with 35 points. The host Redbirds edged Albany, 64 to 65, to finish second.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Logan Drone, Sr., QB/DB, River Ridge football
Senior quarterback Logan Drone may had solidified his bid for the conference player of the year award, by rushing for 176 yards and three TDs on 19 attempts, while also completing 3 of 9 passing attempts for 136 yards, one touchdown and one interception in River Ridge's 25–0 victory over Black Hawk/Warren. Drone rushed for scores of 2, 3 and 74 yards, while also hooking up with junior wideout Braden Crubel on an 89-yard TD strike in the second quarter. He also had eight tackles to aid the River Ridge defensive shutout. The win gave Ridge a share of its first football conference title in 17 years.
Easton Evenstad, Sr., RB, Darlington football
Evenstad accounted for 233 yards and 4 TDs in Darlington's 48–26 SWAL victory over Lancaster last Friday night. Evenstad rushed for 156 yards and four scores on 11 carries, and caught three passes for 77 yards.
Nora Jillson, Fr., and Levi Glasbrenner, Sr., Boscobel cross country
Jillson (20:04.7) finished second out of 66 runners in the girls' race, while Glasbrenner (18:03.2) placed fifth out of 77 runners in the boys' race to lead the Bulldogs a sweep of the team titles at last Thursday's SWAL Cross Country Championships at Darlington High School.
Brody Kielley, Jr., DT/OL, River Ridge football
River Ridge not only held Black Hawk/Warren scoreless in last Friday's Six Rivers Conference showdown, but the Timberwovles also limited the Warriors to 115 yards rushing on 28 attempts, while giving up just three pass completions for 34 yards. In charge of clogging up the middle, Kielley concluded the game with a team-high nine tackles, including one sack to help River Ridge (7–2, 5–1 SRC) clinch its first conference title since 2004.
Rachel Miller, Sr., OH, Highland volleyball
Miller slammed a team-high 16 kills and had 16 digs and two aces to lead Highland to a 21–25, 25–14, 25–21, 19–25, 15–7 Six Rivers West-title clinching victory at Potosi last Thursday night. Miller had three clutch kills in Highland's 13–5 closing run in the decisive fifth set. The Cardinals (22–4) finished 11–1 in the SRW, while Potosi (22–6) finished 10–2.
Hailey Weigel, Sr., MH, Platteville volleyball
Junior middle hitter Hailey Weigel set the tone for Platteville's 25–16, 25–22, 25–18 SWC victory over Richland Center last Thursday night with one of her best matches of the season, finishing with a team-high 11 kills, three blocks and three aces. The win allowed Platteville (21–14) to clinch its fifth straight SWC title outright. The Hornets finished second in the SWC at 7–3. “Hailey Weigel is an outstanding athlete,” said Platteville head coach Denise Berntgen. “ She played really well Thursday night. She saw the court and played smart which is something we have really been focusing on in practice. What she lacks in height she makes up for in her vertical. She is a hard worker which makes her a solid all around player for us.”