STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- Thirty-two senior students attending Wisconsin public and private high schools have been named winners of the 2004 WIAA Scholar Athlete Award, presented by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). That brings to 604 the number of young men and women honored since the program was launched in 1984 to honor scholastic and athletic excellence. This year's 16 boys and 16 girls will be recognized at award ceremonies on Sunday, May 2, in Wausau. Featured speaker at the event will be Casey FitzRandolph, a Verona High School graduate who won a gold medal in speedskating at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT. He is the current U.S. National long track sprint champion and the current American record holder in the 500 meters and the 1,000 meters. The WIAA Scholar Athlete Award program has been underwritten since its inception by Wausau Insurance Companies, which will host the awards ceremony at the Westwood Conference Center in Wausau. Every year, each of the WIAA-member high schools in the state is invited to nominate one boy and one girl for Scholar Athlete honors. There were 679 nominations for the 2004 statewide award from 370 schools. Both the number of nominees and the number of schools submitting them are the highest recorded since the program began. The 2004 winners, the communities in which they live, and their high schools are:
Philip Brunner, South Milwaukee, South Milwaukee High School *
Justin Drabowicz, Wauwatosa, Wauwatosa East High School
Brendan Olinyk, Wisconsin Rapid, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School
Daniel Swanson, Menomonie, Menomonie High School
Josh Chelf, Irma, Tomahawk High School
Brian Hankel, Racine, St. Catherine's High School
Daniel Hegg, Amery, Amery High School
Walter Langkau, Eagle River, Northland Pines High School
Gregory Bubolz, Stratford, Stratford High School
Paul Greene, Pittsville, Pittsville High School
Themba Hinke, Stanley, Stanley-Boyd High School
Padrick Judd, Cushing, Grantsburg High School
Jacob Owens, Stevens Point, Pacelli High School*
Dylan Randolph, Drummond, Drummond High School
Craig Rusch, Hilbert, Hilbert High School
Trenton Vanderhoof, Shell Lake, Shell Lake High School
Kristina Fiedler, Eau Claire, Eau Claire Memorial High School
Katie Howery, DeForest, DeForest High School
Stacey Schwerman, Waukesha, Kettle Moraine High School
Emily Watson, Milton, Milton High School
Ann Detmer, Lodi, Lodi High School
Jennifer Spears, Green Bay, Notre Dame*
Jennifer Stoll, Pewaukee, Pewaukee High School
Stephanie Woldt, Appleton, Fox Valley Lutheran High School*
Melissa Fremstad, Osseo, Osseo-Fairchild High School
Lindsey Geissler, Thorp, Thorp High School
Anna Lindsey, Washburn, Washburn High School
Courtnie Paulus, Belgium, Ozaukee High School*
Katie Graves, Albany, Albany High School
Brittany Holterman, Racine, The Prairie School*
Rebekah Nelson, Delavan, Williams Bay High School *
Chelsea Simon, Hustisford, Hustisford High School
*indicates that the student is that school’s first statewide winner.
All of the other 647 students nominated will be presented with a medal at their school recognizing the achievement of each as their school's top male or female scholar athlete. This year's list of winners turned up these items of interest:
* Of the 370 high schools submitting nominations this year, seven had statewide WIAA Scholar Athletes for the first time.
* Ten of this year's 32 Scholar Athletes had a grade point average of 4.0. Another 12 compiled a GPA between 3.7 and 3.99.
* One of the 2004 WIAA Scholar Athletes had already earned 14 varsity letters in athletic competition in their first seven semesters of high school; seven had earned 11 letters and another five had earned 10 letters. No winner earned fewer than 7 letters.
* Milton High School has produced a statewide winner for the seventh time. This year's Scholar Athlete from that school is Emily Watson of Milton. Previous winners were Katon Bethay in 2002; Jaqueline Wagner, 2001; Kristi Roherty, 1999; Mark Knauer, 1997; Kathie Kruizenga, 1993; and Brenda Dieck, 1990.
* Menomonie High School's Daniel Swanson of Menomonie is the 5th WIAA Scholar Athlete from that school. Previous honorees were Grant Peissig, 2003; Ryan Thomas, 1997; Adam Roach, 1994; and Chris Schrantz, 1993.
* Pewaukee High School has its fifth WIAA Scholar Athlete. She is Jennifer Stoll of Pewaukee. Previous winners from the school were Jessica Keber, 2002; Bryan Bremberger, 2001; Burress McCombe, 1994; and Stacey Stoll (no relation), 1990.
* Tomahawk High School had a winner for the fifth time. This year's WIAA Scholar Athlete is Josh Chelf of Irma. Previous school winners were Zachary Hagar, 2003; Erin Potts, 1997; Beth Baus, 1996; and Peter Steinhafel, 1990.
* Wauwatosa East High School's Justin Drabowicz is that school's fifth WIAA Scholar Athlete. Previously earning statewide recognition were Dan Felkner, 1998; Karolyn Wanat, 1995; Laura Kletti, 1988; and Bret Larget, 1985.
* Washburn High School is another school that has produced five WIAA Scholar Athletes. This year, Anna Lindsey earned that distinction. Previous winners were Quinn Vandenberg, 1997; Reid Fischer, 1991; and Michael Nachtstein and Mary Rapps, both of whom were named Scholar Athletes in 1984, the year the program was launched.
Douglas E. Chickering, executive director of the WIAA, said the Scholar Athlete Award program was launched in 1984 to demonstrate the positive impact of interscholastic athletic activities. "Self discipline, time management and teamwork are just a few of the benefits that these young men and women talk about when reflecting upon the impact high school athletics has had on their lives. Many point out that the athletic experience has helped make them more well-rounded individuals."
To qualify for the WIAA Scholar Athlete Award, a nominee must have earned at least four varsity letters through the first half of his/her senior year and must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This year's nominees in four WIAA categories included 168 from 91 schools in Division 1; 182 from 99 schools in Division 2; 191 from 99 schools in Division 3; and 138 from 81 schools in Division 4. The divisions are those used by the WIAA for basketball and volleyball tournament participation.
At the May 2nd awards ceremony, at which the winners' parents and coaches will also be guests, each 2004 WIAA Scholar Athlete will receive a medallion and certificate, and will take with them a special plaque for display in their school's trophy case.