EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Rachel Schauer, Fr., 160 pounds, Fennimore wrestling
OCONOMOWOC — Fennimore freshman Rachel Schauer became the first girls wrestling state champion in school history Sunday.
Schauer went 3–0 with three pins to win the 160-pound title at the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Women’s High School Folkstyle State Tournament at the Thunderdome in Oconomowoc.
The WIAA will not sponsor a girls-only wrestling state tournament until the 2021–22 season. The WWF Girls High School Folkstyle State Tournament is a fill-in state championship tournament until then. One hundred girls in 14 weight classes competed in this year’s WWF Girls High School State Tournament.
This year, and in year’s past, all female high school wrestlers like Schauer had to compete with and against the boys during the WIAA regular and postseason for a chance to reach the WIAA state tournament.
This winter Schauer went 1–4 in JV and exhibition matches with the Fennimore High School team wrestling against the boys. But against girls, Schauer has been unstoppable this year with a perfect 6–0 record.
On Dec. 30 she went 3–0 with three pins to win the four-person 158–164 pound title at the Tour of America Holiday Classic at the Wisconsin Dells Center Woodside Dome.
Sunday, Schauer was just as unstoppable en route to winning her state title in her seven-person 160-pound bracket. First, she scored a 32-second pin of Viroqua’s Madi Zube in the quarterfinals. Then, she pinned Kickapoo/La Farge’s Emilee Swanson in 1:24.
Schauer wore a Boscobel singlet during her first two matches to honor her friend and fellow wrestler, Barbara Hurley, 14, (a freshman wrestler from Boscobel) and her younger brother Frederick, 12, who died in a house fire in Blue River Jan. 23.
In the championship, she faced Fond du Lac’s Emily Reynolds.
Reynolds scored a first-period take down, but Schauer got and escape and a takedown of her own to grab a 3–2 lead before the end of the period.
She chose the down position to start the second period, and got a reversal 32 seconds in. She put Reynolds on her back and recorded the pin with a chest crusher at the 2:39 mark.
“After she gave up that early takedown she didn’t panic,” said Southern River Gladiators’ head coach Ethan Soderstrom. “A lot of kids now days will give in and crack at the first sign of trouble, but Rachel kept a level head and kept her composure.
“The only hiccup was that early take down due to a high stance, She corrected that and the rest of the match was dominated by Rachel.
“She heard me yell about her poor stance that cost her the take down and she listened. She stayed aggressive and she kept fighting. What she did phenomenally throughout the entire state tournament was she took coaching after each match and improved and got smoother as she went along. She tweaked a few things and kept adapting. And she won a state championship.”
Schauer trains at the Southern Rivers Gladiators Wrestling Club in Lancaster, which is owned and operated by Soderstrom, a former two-time state champion at Lancaster High School.
Schauer trained four days a week, Monday through Thursday (weight training on Wednesdays) at SRG the past four weeks after her season with the Fennimore High School team ended after the Golden Eagles’ final team dual, Jan. 21. She often trained three days a week at SRG during the season, even after team practices ended.
“I think it’s pretty special,” said Fennimore interim co-head coach Jeff Muench. “Rachel has obviously put in the time, first in our wrestling room with the high school team, then put in the extra work training with her club team. Now she got the chance to step out and wrestle with the girls and it’s pretty cool that she is our first high girl high school state champ. We are very proud of her.”
Just a 15-year-old freshman, Schauer has plenty of wrestling ahead of her.
“I told her before, that if she keeps this training and attitude and work ethic the sky is the limit for her down the road, weather that is college wrestling or even the Olympic Trials,” added Soderstrom. “As for the near future, not to boost her up too much or put too much pressure on her, but I think Rachel has more high school state titles in her.”
Schauer is the daughter of James and Ruby Schauer of Fennimore. James was a heavyweight wrestler for the FHS wrestling team during high school.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Chandler Kelly, Sr., F, Shullsburg boys basketball
Kelly scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half of their WIAA Division 5 regional final showdown with rival Benton to lead the Miners out to a 38-18 halftime lead. They would go on to win 71–34 for their third regional championship title in five seasons. Kelly also scored six of his 11 points in the second half of the Miners' regional semifinal game against Belmont to help the Miners pull out a 45–35 win.
Adam Larson, Sr., Fennimore boys basketball
Larson finished with a game-high 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocks to lead the Golden Eagles (16–5) to a 51–44 victory over previously undefeated River Ridge (22–1) in the WIAA D4 regional final last Saturday night. In the process, Larson became the school’s all-time leading scorer in boys and girls basketball. Larson, who recently passed his older brother Reid Larson (1,640 points) and uncle Kevin Larson (1,547) for the FHS boys record, passed 2012 graduate Breland (Prochaska) Scharschmidt (1,678 points) as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Larson now has 1,699 points entering Thursday night’s WIAA D4 sectional semifinal at The Prairie School in Racine.
Kaylee Marty, Sr., G, Black Hawk girls basketball
Marty helped lead the #1-ranked Black Hawk Warriors to their fourth straight WIAA Division 5 state tournament appearance with a pair of all-around efforts during their two sectional games at home last week. Marty had 14 points, three rebounds and two steals in top-ranked Black Hawk's 55-39 sectional final win over Albany and 15 points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds in the Warriors' 68-30 sectional semifinal win over Almond-Bancroft.
Carter Olson, Jr., PG, Cuba City boys basketball
Olson went 13-of-19 from the field with two 3-pointers and was 4-of-5 from the free throw stripe to finish the game with a career-high 32 points in the Cubans' 119–59 win over Parkview in a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal game last Friday. He also had a team-high eight assists and four steals against the Vikings. On Saturday, Olson pumped in 13 of his game-high 25 points in the opening half to lead the top-seeded Cubans (20–2 overall) out to a 33–20 halftime lead on Mineral Point. Olson also tallied four assists and three steals on the night as the Cubans claimed their second straight regional title with a 73–49 win over the rival Pointers.
Curtis Stone, Sr., G, Darlington boys basketball
Stone scored all 13 of his points in the second half to help the #5-ranked Redbirds pull away from New Glarus for a 94-66 WIAA Division 3 regional final victory. It was the second straight regional title for the Redbirds. Stone also had four assists and three steals, while tallying a season-high 19 points with seven assists, six boards and two blocked shots in Darlington's 75-61 regional semifinal win over Bellevlle.
Lucas Sullivan, So., 113/120 pounds, Mineral Point wrestling
Sullivan scored a 15–5 major decision over Coleman's Raymond LeMieux in the final match of the WIAA Division 3 Team State Championship dual to lift the Pointers (7–0) to a dramatic 33–32 victory and a Team State championship last Saturday at Wausau West High School. Earlier in the day, Sullivan opened the Pointers' 36–17 semifinal victory over Random Lake with a 16–5 major decision over Mark Szombathelyi. Sullivan (15–2) finished second at the WIAA D3 Individual State Tournament a week earlier.
Blair Watters, Jr., F, Mineral Point girls basketball
Watters scored 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting, grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and had three assists in a dominating 65–33 victory over SWAL rival Fennimore (15–8) in Saturday's WIAA Division 4 sectional final. Watters also had 11 points, six rebounds and three steals in the Pointers' (16–5) 63–60 sectional semifinal victory over Waterloo last Thursday night.