More than 300 athletes from 30 sports honored at Milwaukee High School Sports Awards show

Milwaukee High School Sports Awards
Milwaukee High School Sports Awards

Michael Turner was named the Courage Award winner Friday at the Milwaukee High School Sports Awards show, presented by Festival Foods.

The show, which honored more than 300 of the best athletes from the Milwaukee area in nearly 30 sports, was presented with the support of UScellular, Boundless Adventures, Golfweek and USA Today Sports.

Turner's life changed forever after a tackle during a Hartford football playoff game in 2022. A junior at the time, Turner collapsed on the sideline shortly after a violent hit to the head and then had a seizure. What was later diagnosed as Secondary Impact Syndrome nearly claimed his life. Although he did not return to playing last fall, Turner was on the sideline. His pregame pep talks and notes to teammates during games, as well as interactions with fans in the student section, inspired everyone he has come in contact with.

Former Pewaukee High School, University of Wisconsin and NFL star Derek Watt was the guest speaker at the Sports Awards event. In all, 37 awards were handed out. They included:

Boys coach of the year, presented by Festival Foods

RYAN WALZ, WISCONSIN LUTHERAN

In his 16th season at the helm of Wisconsin Lutheran boys basketball, Walz faced a multitude of challenges from replacing four starters, injuries to key contributors and a schedule loaded with talented teams. How he and the Vikings responded could be summed up in a single word: perfect. The second 30-0 season in WIAA state history included wins over reigning Division 1 champion De Pere, 2024 D1 runner-up Arrowhead, 2024 D3 state champion St. Thomas More and a sweep of three-time reigning D2 champion Pewaukee. In the third and final meeting of the season against the Pirates, in the D2 state title, the Vikings played their best game of the year to finish a perfect season. Wisco set WIAA state tournament records for team field goal percentage and team assists in the title win, a testament to a coach who pushed his team to catch excellence in the pursuit of perfection.

Girls coach of the year, presented by Festival Foods

CAITIE RATKOWSKI, DIVINE SAVIOR HOLY ANGELS

Ratkowski led the Dashers to a second straight Division 1 state volleyball championship this past season. The powerhouse Dashers went 47-1 on their way to the program’s fifth gold ball, defeating Oconomowoc in another epic five-set classic. The 47 victories were the most by a Division 1 champion in more than 20 seasons. Four of her players were named to the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association first or second teams, including girls volleyball player of the year recipient Sophia Wendlick. This was the fourth gold ball for Ratkowski, who helped the Dashers to their first gold ball as a player 2001.

Boys athlete of the year

KON KNUEPPEL II, WISCONSIN LUTHERAN

Knueppel was the primary catalyst of one of the most successful seasons in WIAA state boys basketball history, leading the 30-0 Vikings in points, rebounds, assists and blocks. He was the sole returning starter, tasked with raising not only his own level of play, but that of his teammates as well. Knueppel answered that call emphatically throughout the season, capped by 11 points and 11 assists in the D2 title game win over Pewaukee. The Vikings’ all-time career points leader set the bar not just with his scoring, but his leadership throughout a historic high school career.

Girls athlete of the year

MAGGIE WANEZEK, BROOKFIELD EAST

Wanezek has been one of the standout performers in a historic stretch for Brookfield East swimming and diving over the past half-decade. Not only did she finish high school with 10 individual state titles, but her performances were among the best in state meet history. Her 100-yard backstroke win eclipsed a record she set twice, giving her four of the top six times in the event. Her contributions to 200 medley relay teams have helped earn four of the top five times in that event, and she also swam on the three fastest 400 freestyle relay teams in state history. Wanezek also owns top-five state performances in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley. The Wisconsin commit also is competing at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Boys team of the year

ARROWHEAD TRACK AND FIELD

Arrowhead boys track and field won a historic fourth straight WIAA Division 1 state title this spring, combining with its girls program to become the first D1 school to take boys and girls titles in the same year. Senior Logan Hicks led individual performers with state-record times in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Arrowhead also shined in the relay events, winning the 400 and 800 relays. Presley Bencz, Ryan Heiman and Jackson Schulz set the table in those relays for Harper Hughes to anchor. In the 400, Hughes replaced injured teammate Sam Vargas, who was a critical component of the run to state. Dominic Burg, Remington Landmann, Tyler Heiman and John Kubisch also contributed podium finishes in a true team effort to bring home the four-peat.

Girls team of the year

UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MILWAUKEE TENNIS

For the second straight season, the University School of Milwaukee girls tennis program took home the Division 2 team tennis title under head coach Matt Flack. This past fall marked the 11th title in program history, with the Wildcats sweeping the individual singles, doubles and team titles. Girls tennis player of the year recipient Angela Wang won the singles crown, while Isabel Werner and Mia Darr captured the doubles. The team won 6 of 7 matches against Xavier for the second straight year to win the team title the following weekend. It was the first time since the WIAA went to two divisions that a D2 program swept all three titles.

Lifetime achievement award

BILL YOUNG, CATHOLIC MEMORIAL

Catholic Memorial football coach Bill Young is one of three coaches in state history to win at least 400 games. Young’s teams have 41 seasons with a winning record and have won nine state championships in 18 title game appearances. During Young’s tenure, the Crusaders have won 15 conference titles over three conferences, including 12 undefeated conference seasons. Young was named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s football coach of the year in 2021 after leading the Crusaders to a 14-0 season and state title. He was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017.

School Spirit Award, presented by Festival Foods

MILWAUKEE REAGAN

This award was voted on by the community and included a $1,000 donation to the winning school's athletic department

Football defense, presented by UScellular

CARL PEVEY, CATHOLIC MEMORIAL

Pevey dominated the line of scrimmage for the Crusaders on their way to another Division 4 state semifinal appearance last fall with 117 total tackles and 35 tackles for loss. He tied for third in the state with 14 sacks and forced three fumbles. The Northern State University recruit also had five games with double-digit tackles and was named the Parkland Conference defensive lineman of the year. He was also named to the Associated Press all-state high honorable mention list.

Football offense, presented by UScellular

TYLER HATCHER, SUSSEX HAMILTON

Hatcher helped lead the Chargers to 12 wins and their second straight Division 1 state semifinal appearance. The Carroll University recruit accounted for almost 4,000 yards of total offense with 51 total touchdowns. Hatcher and the Chargers won the Greater Metro Conference title for the second straight season, and Hatcher was named to the Associated Press all-state high honorable mention list.

Boys track and field, presented by Boundless Adventures

BRYCE RULAND, WATERFORD

After briefly losing his 2023 discus throw state record to Ben Smith of Hortonville, Ruland launched a 212-foot, 1-inch throw to repeat as state champion in Division 1. His total performance for the state meet, which included another attempt of 208-2, set the standard not just for Wisconsin, but the nation in 2024. The Waterford graduate is committed to Iowa to continue his athletic and academic career.

Girls track and field, presented by Boundless Adventures

ANISA BARNETT, HOMESTEAD

Barnett was one of the best jumpers in the state in her junior year, resulting in state titles in the Division 1 long jump and triple jump this spring. She cleared 40 feet in the triple jump to win a sectional title, which extended her own school record this season, on her way to back-to-back triple jump state titles. Her jump of 19-8 at the state meet was the best long jump in the state this season. Barnett also anchored the 400-meter relay team that set a school record at state.

Boys basketball

KON KNUEPPEL II, WISCONSIN LUTHERAN

Knueppel, who has committed to Duke, led the Vikings to the second 30-0 season in WIAA state history last winter, a season that culminated in a Division 2 state title. In the title game, Knueppel set numerous WIAA state tournament records, including his assist total of 11. He was named Woodland West conference player of the year, Gatorade player of the year and Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball. He is the all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,978 points.

Girls basketball

NATALIE KUSSOW, ARROWHEAD

Kussow helped lead the Warhawks to their first state championship in girls basketball since 1991 last winter. She was named the Classic 8 Conference’s player of the year after a season in which she averaged just under 24 points a game and had career-high 47 points against Edgewood. Her two-game total of 59 points at the state tournament was the third-most in Division 1 history. She had 26 points in the 69-59 championship game victory over Neenah.

Gymnastics

KAYLEE STOEGER, MUSKEGO

Stoeger finished second in the WIAA Division 1 all-around at state this winter, her second top-three finish at state in as many seasons. She also led the Franklin/Muskego co-op to its second team title in three seasons with a team-leading all-around score. Stoeger will attend Waukesha County Technical College this fall.

Boys hockey

COOPER SIMON, MENOMONEE FALLS

Simon was one of the catalysts in the Brookfield Stars’ run to the WIAA state title game. He scored 20 goals, including the game-winner in a comeback 5-4 overtime victory over top-seeded Chippewa Falls in the Division 1 semifinals. Simon was also one of just nine skaters with 35 or more assists and was named on the all-state first team.

Girls hockey

CHARLOTTE FETHERSTON, DIVINE SAVIOR HOLY ANGELS

Fetherston was one of the most productive forwards in the state last winter. She was one of just eight skaters to score at least 29 goals and also register double-digit assists. The second-team all-state selection scored two or more goals in 13 games and finished high school with 82 goals, 48 assists and 12 postseason goals. She'll attend Williams College to continue her hockey career.

Boys swimming and diving

JACK SULLIVAN, NICOLET

Sullivan concluded his WIAA career by completing a state four-peat in the 200-yard freestyle and repeating as champion in the 100 freestyle. Both finishes set state meet records, with his 100 time eclipsing the final standing state record that was set before the turn of the century. He is committed to Notre Dame.

Boys wrestling

CONNOR MIRASOLA AND COLE MIRASOLA, WEST BEND WEST

Connor and Cole Mirasola each finished two of the more decorated wrestling careers in state history both collectively and individually this winter. Connor became just the 28th four-time WIAA state individual champion, while Cole joined a select list of three-time state champions. They became just the third brother duo in WIAA state history to win seven combined titles. The Mirasola twins are committed to Penn State.

Girls wrestling

CARLEY CESHKER, LAKE GENEVA BADGER

Ceshker won this award for the second straight season after her second straight state championship, in a different weight class. After capturing the top spot on the podium at 126 pounds as a freshman, Ceshker jumped to 138 this season and won to cap a 26-0 season. She pinned three of her four opponents at state as the top overall seed, with two of those falls coming inside of the match’s first minute.

Baseball

PAYTEN JIBBEN, OAK CREEK

Opposing players knew all season that they were in for a battle with Jibben staring them down, whether he was on the mound or at the plate. After a junior season in which he was the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association’s Division 1 player of the year, Jibben followed with an equally dominant senior year. Through regional play of the WIAA state tournament, Jibben had accumulated an 8-0 record and sub-1.00 ERA on the mound. At the plate, his average has stayed just over .500 with only five strikeouts in his first 85 plate appearances. He was recognized as the Gatorade Wisconsin baseball player of the year earlier this month and led Oak Creek to state for just the second time in program history. He is committed to Illinois.

Boys golf

CODY SCHMIDT, GERMANTOWN

After finishing tied for 57th at state as a junior last year, Schmidt won the WIAA Division 1 individual state title this spring. The senior shot 74-71 to finish 1-over at Blackwolf Run. Schmidt began his strong postseason with a medalist score of 72 at the Nicolet regional to lead a team regional championship. At the Waukesha South sectional, he qualified individually for state with a score of 72, one stroke shy of the medalist. Schmidt is committed to Carthage College.

Boys lacrosse

JONAH STAMMER, HOMESTEAD

Stammer led Homestead to the first conference title in program history, as the Highlanders swept the North Shore this spring en route to a sectional final appearance. Individually, Stammer led the state with 216 ground balls in the regular season. He was also the second-best faceoff winner in the state by percentage, winning 83.1% of 326 opportunities. The senior was named to the Wisconsin Boys Lacrosse Coaches Association’s all-state second team, as well as the North Shore’s player of the year this spring.

Girls lacrosse

MIA DARR, UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MILWAUKEE

Darr capped her junior year as a three-sport athlete with another stellar season on the lacrosse field. In the first WIAA-sanctioned lacrosse season, she helped the Wildcats advance to the state championship game. Darr finished with 125 goals and 24 assists, and her 149 total points were the second-highest total in state history for a season. She was unanimously named the Wisconsin High School Girls Lacrosse Coaches Association’s player of the year and was also named as a USA Lacrosse All-American.

Girls soccer

ANNA SIKORSKI, MUSKEGO

All Sikorski has done since she got on a high school soccer field is win. As a freshman at Divine Savior Holy Angels, Sikorski led a state title-winning effort in WIAA Division 1. After transferring to Muskego for her sophomore year, Sikorski was part of a second title. In her junior season with Muskego, Sikorski again led the Warriors to a D1 title. The Kentucky commit has been named to the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association’s all-state first team each of her three previous seasons, including being named the state player of the year in 2023. Gatorade also recognized her as the Wisconsin girls soccer player of the year last season. She and Muskego competed in the state tournament again this weekend.

Softball

JACLYN SHOWALTER, ARROWHEAD

Showalter was one of the most dominant hitters in the state during her final high school season. The Wisconsin recruit led the state with 20 home runs with 49 runs batted in, 43 runs scored and 23 walks. Showalter helped lead the Warhawks to 18 wins and a second straight appearance in a sectional final. She finished high school with 61 homers, 30 doubles and 180 runs batted in.

Boys tennis

ADRIAN YIN, BROOKFIELD ACADEMY

The third time was the charm for the senior ace as Yin won his first Division 2 state singles title earlier this month. This year marked the fourth time that Yin qualified for state and the third time he advanced to the title match. In each of his four appearances, Yin was a top-three seed in the bracket. He also assisted in the Blue Knights winning their third straight D2 team state title, winning both of his matches as Brookfield Academy completed a three-peat.

Boys cross country

KYLE KIEPER, KETTLE MORAINE LUTHERAN

Kieper was one of the most improved runners in the area this season. After a 76th-place finish at state in 2022, he climbed to third overall in the Division 2 state meet last fall. The junior also won the East Central Conference meet to highlight a standout season for the Chargers.

Girls cross country

ELLA ANSCHUTZ, MUSKEGO

After leading a 2022 Division 1 state title team with a sixth-place finish as a freshman, Anschutz cut nearly a minute off her time at state last fall to win an individual title. The sophomore’s dominance was on display all season, highlighted by a Classic 8 Conference meet win by 58 seconds.

Girls golf

AVA ROESCH, DIVINE SAVIOR HOLY ANGELS

Roesch, a sophomore, finished sixth overall at the Division 1 state meet to lead DSHA to its first team title. The Dashers won their first Greater Metro Conference title since 2011 last fall, led by the all-conference first-teamer Roesch. She was also named to the Wisconsin Golf Coaches Association’s all-state second team.

Boys soccer

RYAN BERGHAUER, BROOKFIELD EAST

Berghauer led a nationally ranked Brookfield East program within a penalty shootout of a Division 1 state title last fall. The senior defender's propensity for the well-timed header helped earn him recognition as the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association’s player of the year. Berghauer is committed to the UW-Milwaukee for this fall.

Girls swimming and diving

MAGGIE WANEZEK, BROOKFIELD EAST

Wanezek brought a superb high school career to a close with her ninth and 10th individual state titles at the Division 1 state meet. Among those titles was a state record-breaking time in the 100-yard backstroke, her third time setting that record. Led by Wanezek, Brookfield East won two team state titles during her career, and also has a runner-up finish. Wanezek is committed to Wisconsin.

Girls tennis

ANGELA WANG, UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MILWAUKEE

After finishing as the Division 2 state individual runner-up as a freshman, Wang won the state title last fall and finished with a 23-1 record. She also helped the Wildcats win their second straight state championship at the team state tournament by winning both of her matches at No. 1 singles. In two seasons with the Wildcats, Wang has won 51 of her 54 matches.

Boys volleyball

VINNY COELLO, CATHOLIC MEMORIAL

Coello is the recipient of this award for the second straight season. The Pepperdine recruit was named the Classic 8 Conference player of the year last fall and was also named to the Badger Region Volleyball Association’s all-state first team for the second straight season. The senior helped lead the Crusaders in a thrilling five-set sectional final loss against the Waukesha Fusion, in a season in which he registered 367 total kills.

Girls volleyball

SOPHIA WENDLICK, DIVINE SAVIOR HOLY ANGELS

Wendlick helped lead the Dashers to 47 victories and their second straight Division 1 state title las fall in another five-set classic against Oconomowoc. The Creighton recruit was named to the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association all-state first team and was also named the girls volleyball athlete of the year in the Greater Metro Conference with 585 kills.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Over 300 athletes in 30 sports honored at Milwaukee H.S. Sports Awards

Advertisement