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Athletes of the Month

Richland Hospital Recognizes the
Following Outstanding High School Athletes

Richland Hospital Sports Medicine is proud to honor local athletes with our Athletes of the Month and Athletes of the Year Awards.

In order to be considered for the award, student athletes are required to be nominated by a coach or an athletic trainer, be in good academic standing, and be a varsity team member. Further, the school the student attends must be a participant of the Richland Sports Medicine program. Qualifying schools include Richland Center, Riverdale, Ithaca, and UW-Richland. Each coach and athletic trainer is asked to submit nominations based on whatever criteria they feel is outstanding about the nominee. Athletic performance can be for an individual game performance (i.e. no hitter in baseball/softball, Triple double in basketball, defensive effort, etc.) or for the entire month. Coaches and athletic trainers can also nominate for leadership, commitment, and work ethic. Any athlete can be nominated for any reason. After all submittals are made, a committee of seven members rank the athletes according to the information provided in the nomination.

All Athletes of the Month are automatically nominated for the Athlete of the Year Award which is presented at the end of the school year. Each Athlete of the Month also receives a plaque created and donated by Main Street Trophy Plus / Jim Greeley Signs & Awnings of Richland Center.

View Athletes of the Month for:


January 2017 Athletes of the Month

Gavin Burch

Ithaca, Junior, Wrestling

January 2017 Athlete of the Month, Gavin Burch
Gavin Burch is a junior wrestler at Ithaca. In the month of January, he went 13-2 with 6 pins and a technical fall. He was undefeated at the Lancaster Duals, placed second at the Ithaca/Weston Scramble and place 3rd at the Sauk Prairie Invite. Gavin is one of the role models in the practice room and is one of the guys who runs the drills during workouts. The young wrestlers look for Gavin’s experience and his extra hard work out of the practice room to make them stronger wrestlers.

Gavin is an honor student and is very involved in many activities at Ithaca. He is a very avid and successful motocross racer during the summer. Teachers speak very highly of Gavin and also see him as a respected leader in the hall ways.


Brooklyn Liegel

Richland Center, Senior, Basketball

January 2017 Athlete of the Month, Brooklyn Leigel
Over the years, I’ve nominated several dozen athletes for this award. Brooklyn Liegel’s nomination might be one of the simplest tasks of all of them. Brooklyn is the epitome of a student-athlete. She is a top-notch student in the classroom, as well as being a top-notch athlete. When I look at student-athletes that we want representing our team, our school, and our community, it would be extremely difficult to find a better representative, than Brooklyn. Her commitment to excellence has catapulted her to new levels, both on and off the court. She is one of the top students in her class, academically, and one of the top senior basketball players in the state. Her game has continued to improve throughout every year of her basketball career. On January 6, Brooklyn scored her 1,000th career varsity point. She would finish the game with a season-high, 29 points. Brooklyn’s leadership ability and dedication to the game has helped the Hornets enjoy a 15-1 record and is currently ranked 4th in Wisconsin, for Division III basketball teams, according to the most recent AP Basketball Poll. Of all the nominations I have written, I would be hard-pressed to find a more deserving winner of this award than Brooklyn Liegel. She has excelled in every aspect–becoming a top-notch basketball player, a top-notch student, and most importantly, one the best people you will ever meet.


December 2016 Athletes of the Month

Caleb Johnson

Riverdale, Junior, Wrestling

December 2016 Athlete of the Month, Caleb Johnson. Riverdale, Junior, Wrestling
Caleb Johnson has had a great month of wrestling for the Riverdale Chieftains. He capped off the month with a 4th place finish at the Bi-State Classic. During the month of December Caleb went 11-3. All three of his losses have come to top two ranked wrestlers from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Last year Caleb wrestled in the 145 pound weight class and was a sectional qualifier. At the conclusion of last season, Caleb made a commitment to the weight room. This season he is wrestling at the 195 pound weight class. He is a proven example that hard work both inside and outside the wrestling room will pay off. Caleb has taken on a leadership role with the younger wrestlers. Kids respect him and his continuing commitment to get better.


Riley Crook

Ithaca, Senior, Girls Basketball

December 2016 Athlete of the Month, Riley Crook. Ithaca, Senior, Girls Basketball
Senior Riley Crook has really gained confidence during her senior year and has had a great December as she nearly averaged a double -double for the month. She averaged 9.8 points per game and 12 rebounds per game. She set a season high 16 points against a very tough Seneca team and a season high 17 total rebounds against Hillsboro. Riley has provided our team with both scoring and rebounding stability. She leads the team through her skills and actions on the court. The team is able to run and functions offensively at its best through Riley’s dominate play. I look forward to watching Riley continue to dominate the paint throughout the season.


Macey Klebesadel

Riverdale, Senior, Girls Basketball

December 2016 Athlete of the Month, Macey Klebesadel. Riverdale, Senior, Girls Basketball
Senior Macey Klebesadel has really stood out as the leader for the Chieftains both offensively and defensively this season. She is the “silent leader” and has many youngsters that look up to and respect her. She constantly hustles which leads to making big plays for her team. She is one of the team leaders in steals and rebounds and Riverdale is headed for an exceptional season this year because of her efforts. Macey is also an exceptional honor student active in volleyball, softball, the R-Club, and Student Council. She leads in the classroom and on the court. Basketball is her favorite sport and she plans to play next year in college. Macey is a well-deserved recipient for the month of December.


November 2016 Athletes of the Month

Caleb Coleman

Richland Center, Senior, Wrestling

Caleb Coleman, November 2016 Athlete of the Month
Caleb is a senior captain for the Hornets. He has been one of our top wrestlers again this year. He is the type of person that leads by example. Always working hard whether it’s in the weight room or in the wrestling room. We have not had any matches in November but we are looking at him to be one we can count on this season. He is working hard to reach his goals this season. Caleb is a competitor who is striving to be the best he can be while making his teammates around him better as well. He is always encouraging them and helping them to get better. Caleb’s work ethic, determination, leadership are just a few of the things that impress me so much. I look forward to watching Caleb grow throughout the season.


Cassidy Whitney

Richland Center, Senior, Basketball

Cassidy Whitney, November 2016 Athlete of the Month
Cassidy entered her senior year with high expectations after spending the majority of her junior year recovering from an ACL injury. As a coach, there were some unknowns about Cassidy’s ability to return to pre-injury form for her senior year. Any doubts were quickly smashed by her performance in the first three games of the season. Cassidy was second on our team in points scored, first on assists, and committed just 4 turnovers in three games, while playing point guard for our team. Her play helped the Hornets get off to a 3-0 start, while beating La Crosse Logan, Cuba City, and Prairie du Chien. Due to her exceptional leadership and attitude, she was also named as one of the team’s captains. Cassidy has overcome adversity and is helping her team and teammates become successful.


October 2016 Athletes of the Month

Brian Mathews

Riverdale, Senior, Cross Country

Kathleen Peckham, October 2016 Athlete of the Month
This month Brian won our meet in Boscobel, took second in Riverdale, finished in the top four at conference qualifying him for all-conference honors, and the went on the qualify for state where he looks to repeat as a podium finisher. He has done all this despite fighting injuries in the middle of the season. Brian has worked tirelessly to prepare, recover, and succeed. On top of this Brian is also succeeding in the classroom despite a difficult senior classload.


Kathleen Peckham

Richland Center, Senior, Volleyball

Brian Mathews, October 2016 Athletes of the Month
4 year letterwinner
Conference Champions this year 9-1 record Season record 28-10
3 time captain
1st team all-conference 2016
Surpasses the 1,000 dig mark for her career leads the league, #1 in digs
#7 in the conference in kills
#2 in the conference in aces

Great all-around student athlete. Excels both on and off the court, very involved in many extra-curricular activities, including just competing in the Wisconsin Piano Contests (not technical name) in Madison. Leads by example, was voted by her teammates to be a captain for the past 3 years. Her efforts on and off the court are second to none. She is a fantastic role model for all athletes and always makes the right decisions. Her presence on the court was vital to our reaching the team goal of a conference championship this season.


September 2016 Athletes of the Month

Dawson Mueller

Riverdale, Junior, Cross Country

Dawson Mueller, September 2016 Athlete of the Month
Dawson is an integral team leader. He helps our middle school students be ready, feel part of the team, and succeed. Has lead our team in two straight meets, both at Brookwood and at North Crawford. He is a super nice person, easy going, and very coachable. He worked hard this summer and that has carried through during the year.


Madison Rizner

Richland Center, Junior, Volleyball

Madison Rizner, September 2016 Athlete of the Month
Madison is a junior Middle Hitter. In September, the Hornet volleyball team has gone undefeated in conference play (6-0) and have finished 1st in the Holmen tournament, 2nd in the RC invite and the Baraboo tournaments. Their current record is 22-4.

Madison is leading the team in hitting percentage, kills and blocks.

She is a team captain and is a leader on and off the floor. Madison is a presence on the floor and every team we play have tried to find ways to stop her, so far none have, they have only been able to try to contain her. Last Thursday, the hornets took a 2 match conference lead with a come from behind victory against River Valley 3-2. Madison led the team with 21 kills and 6.5 blocks that night.


Jacob Zorea

Richland Center, Sophomore, Cross Country

Jacob Zorea, September 2016 Athlete of the Month
Jacob is another new athlete on the RC/Ithaca Cross Country team that has really impressed me. He has quickly shown improvement this past month and has a desire to be better. He’s a very mature young man who quickly has become one of our most dedicated athletes. Jacob volunteers a lot for his community. He reads for younger children at the library and volunteers to help at many other events. On top of that he has a perfect GPA and takes piano lessons. Jacob takes on so many activities he misses practice from time-to-time, however, he always runs when he can’t make it and even returns to practice if time prohibits. He also has been struggling with some hip issues the past few weeks, but has yet to miss a meet. Anyone can tell he’s hurting at these meets, but he’s just a tough kid who wants to help his team and get better. He engages well with his teammates and even pushes his brother, Jonah, who runs for the middle school CC team, to be better. The Zorea boys are a great duo to have on the team.


August 2016 Athlete of the Month

Riley Crook

Ithaca, Senior, Volleyball

August 2016 Athlete of the Month, Riley Crook
Riley Crook is a senior setter and co-captain of our varsity volleyball team. She is the type of athlete that puts in the extra effort to better herself without being asked. Several nights, she stayed after practice to work on her hitting and accuracy of her setting with our hitters. In addition, Riley leads our team through any new task given and has been a positive role model on and off the court. As the “quarterback” of our team, she has really taken our younger sophomore players under her wing. She gives encouragement as well as advice on where to hit within certain coverages. She knows the floor and knows how to respectfully challenge and motivate her teammates. Having her on the court during every rotation makes us a better team. Riley is a true team player and her passion for the game is present at all times. Also, she was willing to get up early and assist the first week of August at our elementary and middle school volleyball camps. She worked well with younger players and really taught some valuable skills and lessons about the game.

During the month of August, our team played in one triangular, one tournament, and one non-conference game. She averaged 15 assists, 4 kills and 6 ace serves in those three outings. More important than any stats, Riley expresses an enthusiasm for the sport of volleyball and her positive energy is contagious. It has been a pure joy to watch her and coach her over the last four years at Ithaca.