EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
By A.J. Gates and Jason Nihles
Noah Kirsch, Jr., Lancaster boys golf
WISCONSIN DELLS – This past Monday and Tuesday at the WIAA Division 3 Boys State Golf Tournament, Lancaster junior Noah Kirsch became the first golfer in school history to capture an individual state title, since Emmett Terwilliger did it back in 1959.
Kirsch shot a 36-hole score of 147 to finish +3 in the two-day tournament held at Trapper’s Turn Golf Course in Wisconsin Dells. The nearest competitor finished seven strokes behind with a 154.
Terwilliger, who was just a sophomore in 1959, earned medalist honors at the state meet with a 36-hole score of 168 at Lawsonia Golf Course in Green Lake.
Between the two state titles won by Terwilliger and Kirsch, Lancaster’s Zach Hentrich and Nathan Farrey each earned state runner-up honors in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Kirsch, who shot a four-over-par round of 76 on Monday, entered Tuesday’s final round in second place behind Parkview junior Trey Oswald, who held a two-stroke advantage after shooting a first-round 74.
On Monday, Kirsch shot a three-over par round of 39 on the front nine, recording four pars, four bogies and a birdie on the par-3 fourth.
On the back nine, he shot an impressive one-over-par 37, despite taking a double on the par-4 18th.
Aside from the 18th though, Kirsch owned the back nine on Monday, parring seven holes and picking up a birdie on the par-4 14th.
While trailing Oswald by two strokes after the first day, Kirsch was just one stroke ahead of three other players tied for third, including Durand senior Dawson Kurth.
On the second day of competition, Kirsch got right to work with three straight pars to begin his round. Oswald stumbled out of the blocks to take a bogie and double on the first two holes, quickly giving the lead up to Kirsch.
On the front nine, Kirsch continued to play steady golf, finishing with a two-over par 38 after taking a double on the par-5 ninth. In his first eight holes he recorded six pars, a bogie on the par-3 fourth and a birdie on the par-3 sixth.
Like he did the day before, Kirsch owned the back nine at Trapper’s Turn, shooting an astounding three-under-par 33 with six pars and three birdies.
With his sights set on an individual state title, Kirsch wasn’t about to be denied judging by his finish on the back.
Shooting a one-under-par round of 71 on the second day of competition made for little doubt who was going to take home this year’s D3 individual state title.
Kirsch advanced to the WIAA State Meet after claiming medalist honors at last Wednesday’s Division 3 Mineral Point Sectional held at Dodge/Point Country Club.
Kirsch fired a one-over-par round of 71 at the sectional meet, finishing six strokes ahead of his next closest opponents in Carson Kroll of Mineral Point and Trey Oswald of Parkview, who finished tied for second place.
On the front nine, Kirsch recorded an even-par 34 with seven pars, as well as a birdie on the par-5 third hole and a bogie on the par-3 fourth.
He finished up his round with a one-over-par 37 on the back nine, shooting six pars, two bogies and a birdie on the par-5 16th.
As a team, Lancaster finished third of 12 teams competing at the sectional meet, missing out on a team state birth by 10 strokes with a score of 344. Winning the sectional team title was Mineral Point with a 327, while Fennimore advanced to state with a team score of 334.
Rounding out Lancaster’s top four scorers were Ian Klaas with an 89, Matt Hughey with a 90 and Dan Kelley at 94, while Isaac Dhyanchand’s 102 was not needed.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Bentley Cutts, Fr., P, Iowa–Grant softball
Cutts went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, then came on to pitch in the bottom of the seventh to close out Iowa–Grant's 9–6 victory over SWAL co-champion Mineral Point in a WIAA Division 4 regional final Wednesday afternoon. The freshman, who only earned a varsity spot at the beginning of June gave up a two-run homer to the first batter she faced, Ella Chambers, as Point cut the IG lead to 9–6, but Cutts after a catcher's interference, Cutts stuck out the next two Mineral Point batters. Cutts had a two-run single in the first to plate IG's first two runs, then added an RBI single in the fourth to make it 7–1. Cutts also earned the win in the Panthers' 3–2 regional semifinal victory over Riverdale Tuesday afternoon striking out six and allowing just two hits in three scoreless innings of relief.
Alayna Digman, Sr., throws, Platteville girls track and field
Digman won the girls shot put (35’10.25”) and discus (122’2”) to help the Platteville girls finish second at last Tuesday's SWC Conference Meet, then won both events at at Monday's WIAA Division 2 Prairie du Chien Regional to advance to Thursday's D2 Whitewater Sectional. The top four finishers at sectionals will advance to state.
Devin Digman, Jr., throws, Platteville boys track and field
Digman was a double champion for the Hillmen, sweeping the boys shot put (46’6.5”) and the discus (139’8”) at last Tuesday's SWC Conference meet to help the Platteville boys win their fifth straight conference title, 20th conference title in the past 21 years and 73rd conference title since 1907. Digman also won both events at Monday's WIAA Division 2 Prairie du Chien Regional to advance to Thursday's D2 Whitewater Sectional. The top four finishers at sectionals will advance to state.
Mya McCarthy, Sr., P, Iowa–Grant softball
McCarthy, who was recently selected to play in the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association All-Star game delivered a clutch two-out, walk-off RBI single to lift the Panthers to a 3–2 win over Riverdale in a WIAA D4 regional semifinal Tuesday. McCarthy then went 2-for-4 with a run scored and was the winning pitcher, striking out four in 6 1/3 innings in IG's 9–6 regional final victory over SWAL co-champion Mineral Point Wednesday.
Bristol Ogden, Jr., 3B, Belmont softball
Ogden went 3-for-5 with four RBI in Belmont's 9–5 extra-inning victory over top-seeded Argyle in Wednesday's WIAA D5 regional final. Ogden ripped a key two-run double in the Braves' four-run top of the ninth inning to give Belmont an 8–5 cushion.
Liam Stumpf, Sr., P/IF, Mineral Point baseball
Stumpf pitched six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits while striking out three, and helped his own cause by going 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and two runs scored in the top-seeded Pointers' 5–2 WIAA Division 3 Regional Final victory over SWAL runner-up Cuba City Wednesday night. Stumpf also went 2-for-3 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored to lead the SWAL champion Pointers (25–3) to a 12–2 regional semifinal victory over Fennimore, another SWAL rival Tuesday afternoon.