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December 7, 2012

Badger State products piling up recognition

WisconsinHigh.com hasn't taken a look On Campus for a while, so here is a glimpse at what some Badger State products have been accomplishing recently at the collegiate level:


Former La Crosse Aquinas standout James Knutson was one of nine Luther College players who earned all-Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference recognition this fall.

The 5-foot-11-inch, 225-pound Knutson was an honorable mention selection in 2012 after finishing third among Norse defenders with 72 total tackles, including three sacks. He led the team with 14 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He finished the 2011 campaign with 60 tackles and a team-best 4.5 sacks

Knutson lettered and was a team captain in football, hockey and baseball at Aquinas, where he was a three-time first-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference honoree on the gridiron. He earned first-team all-area and honorable mention all-state honors.

Cross country

University of Wisconsin-Stout's Tim Nelson and UW-Oshkosh's Christy Cazzola, both seniors, have been named the 2012 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's and women's cross country athletes of the year.

Nelson is an Augusta (Wis.) High School alumnus who claimed the prize for the second straight season, the first to accomplish that feat in the WIAC. He won the NCAA Division III title with an 8,000-meter time of 24:26.8, leading the race from start to finish. Nelson also won the Midwest Regional and became the 13th runner in league history to win multiple conference crowns (24:34.2).

Cazzola is a Kaukauna (Wis.) High School graduate. She earned the award for the third consecutive year after winning the D-III title with a 6,000-meter time of 20:53. Cazzola also became the first individual in WIAC history to win three straight individual conference titles and the second to claim three overall first-place finishes.


The Winona State volleyball team received commitments from four prep standouts, including Walworth-Big Foot (Wis.) High School's Sydney Racky. The outside hitter earned all-Rock Valley Conference honors each of the last three seasons while leading the Chiefs to a sectional championship. She was voted her team's most improved player as a junior.

"Sydney isn't big in stature, but she certainly plays big," Warriors Coach Dave Simon said. "She is so quick and such a dynamic jumper that she just explodes off the floor and the ball explodes off her hand. She has a competitive nature that is second to none."

Winona State posted a 20-11 overall record this past season, the first time since 1993 that the program had reached the 20-win plateau.

Myanna Ruiz of Racine Park (Wis.) High School has signed a national letter of Intent to play for Susie Johnson at UW-Milwaukee.

The senior claimed Southeast Conference player of the year honors for the second straight season this fall. She is a four-time first-team league honoree and was Park's MVP and an all-Racine County choice her last three years after earning second-team honors as a freshman.

Ruiz was on the AAU All-American team after her 16-1 Wisconsin Juniors volleyball club squad finished fifth in the nation.

"Myanna is a really good athlete," Johnson said. "She is fast, jumps high and is a real fighter who can play multiple positions. We're excited to bring her in and even more excited to see where she fits in. I am also really happy to bring in someone from my hometown of Racine. She's a great addition to our program."

Ruiz will join a Panther team that features two-time all-league honoree Rachel Neuberger (Muskego).

Northern Illinois University senior Mary Kurisch (West Salem) received all-Mid America Conference honors, the league announced today.

Kurisch is a repeat first-team pick and recently became NIU's 19th member of the 1,000 kill club. The middle blocker has career highs in kills (2.47), assists (0.36), aces (0.18), blocks (0.87) and points per set (3.19).

Women's swimming
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee turned in a dominating showing at the Iowa Hawkeye Invitational last weekend. Freshman Rachel Margis of Racine Park was named the Horizon League diver of the week, while junior Emily McClellan of Delavan-Darien was named women's swimmer of the week.

McClellan punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships after recording an A-cut time in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.44. She also won the 200 breaststroke with a B-cut time of 2:10.64. Both times were meet records.

The Delavan native also broke the school record in the 200 individual medley with another NCAA B-cut time at 1:59.3, good enough for second place. McClellan also helped the 400 medley relay (3:42.20) to a second-place showing.

Margis captured 12th on the three-meter with a score of 258.5. She also was the top finisher for the Panthers on the one-meter after posting a score of 222.95.


Winona State recently added eight players to its roster, including 2012 Wisconsin player of the year Evie Schaller, an infielder from Chippewa Falls.

Schaller led Chippewa Falls to the WIAA Division 1 state championship, setting state tournament records for home runs and RBI in a single game and tournament. She has posted a .459 batting average with 36 homers and 128 RBI in three seasons while earning All-State honors the last two years.

"We feel Evie will make an immediate impact on the program as soon as she walks on campus next fall," WSU Coach Greg Jones said. "It's not often we can bring in someone with the offensive prowess and statistics she has been able to accumulate in just three years of high school softball."

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