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Fennimore freshman wins 160-pound state title at WWF Women's High School Folkstyle State Championships
Fennimore freshman Rachel Schauer won the 160-pound title at the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Women’s High School Folkstyle State Tournament Sunday in Oconomowoc.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 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):
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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
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Kaylee Marty, Sr., G, Black Hawk girls basketball
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Carter Olson, Jr., PG, Cuba City boys basketball
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Curtis Stone, Sr., G, Darlington boys basketball
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Lucas Sullivan, So., 113/120 pounds, Mineral Point wrestling 
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Blair Watters, Jr., F, Mineral Point girls basketball 
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