It wasn’t an easy decision among a standout group of scholar-athletes.
In the end, however, Tremper’s Cameron Huss and St. Joseph’s Elizabeth Alia stood out as the most accomplished.
On Saturday, the Holy Rosary Sports Night committee selected Huss as the Male Athlete of the Year and Alia as the Female Athlete of the Year.
The duo will receive the Alan Ameche Award and the Turco/DeSimone Scholarship as the guests of honor at the 67th annual Dinner of Champions on Feb. 9 at Holy Rosary’s Petretti Gymnasium.
Alia embodies the definition of a multi-sport talent.
By the time she graduates, she’ll have earned a clean sweep in the letters department, with four each in soccer, volleyball and basketball.
On the soccer field is where Alia stands out the most.
As a sophomore in 2018, she led the Lancers in goals, assists and points. She totaled seven goals and three assists for 17 points during the postseason in helping lead St. Joseph to the WIAA Division-4 state title.
Alia was again the team leader in all scoring categories as a junior, and she was named honorable mention All-State by the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association.
On the basketball court, Alia is a team captain and this season is averaging 5.2 points per game for the 4-0 Lancers.
Alia had never even played volleyball until her freshman season at St. Joseph, but by her senior year this fall she had become a starting middle hitter/blocker and helped lead the Lancers to their first regional title in more than a decade.
“Throughout my years in coaching, I have always admired athletes who are humble, driven to succeed and team oriented. Elizabeth checks all these boxes,” St. Joseph president Bob Freund wrote in his letter of recommendation for Alia.
“My observation of Elizabeth is that she is coachable, a wonderful teammate, possess a tremendous work ethic and always competes with a smile on her face. She has exhibited a willingness to continually improve her skill set and try to elevate it to an elite level.”
The athletes were chosen based on athletic achievement (75 percent), scholastic achievement (15 percent) and extracurricular and civic participation (10 percent).
Just 12 points away from reaching 1,000 for her career, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that St. Joseph senior Katie Matrise would reach the milestone at some point Tuesday night.
It was just a question of how and when it would happen.
Matrise answered both with 10 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first half when she drove to the basket for a layup to punch her ticket into the prestigious club. Matrise finished the night with 30 points to give her 1,018 — and counting — in the Lancers’ 80-64 Metro Classic Conference victory over visiting Racine St. Catherine’s at Madrigrano Gymnasium.
“It’s honestly surreal,” Matrise said. “I don’t have that many words. It was such a goal for me for so long, and I just feel so grateful that I finally accomplished it.
“I was thinking before the game, ‘I wonder how I’m going to get it, a jump shot or maybe a layup?’ I guess it just happened like that.”
Less than four minutes into the game, Matrise already had six points, including a 3-pointer off an inbounds play. She added another trey from the top of the key and a free throw to set up the milestone layup.
The fast start was nice to see and likely helped maybe calm a few pregame butterflies, St. Joseph coach Jason Coker said.
“You could tell she was antsy, she was nervous,” he said. “She did a great job. She came out right away like we hoped she would. She is our spark plug and our leader. It’s important to see her come out like that right away.”
Coker couldn’t have been more pleased or proud for what Matrise accomplished.
“The last year and a half, she’s been a fantastic player to coach,” he said. “She’s really even a better teammate, if that’s possible. She always helps the younger kids.
“Coming into this game, all of her teammates were really supportive and excited. I think there were times where they were more excited than she was.”
Matrise was quick to credit her teammates for all of their contributions.
“I couldn’t have done it without them, because basketball is such a team sport,” she said. “They’ve helped me so much to get this goal, and I’m really grateful for them.”
Matrise joins a long list of former St. Joseph stars among now in the 1,000-point club.
Former teammate Sidney Cooks, who graduated in 2017 and is now at Mississippi State, is second all-time in Kenosha County among girls behind 2019 Shoreland Lutheran graduate Chelby Koker with 1,920 points.
Koker, now at Northern Illinois, scored 2,448 career points.
Other former Lancers in the club are Julie Pignotti (2004) with 1,389 and Erin Higgins (2009) with 1,246. Jamie Gray, who graduated from Bradford in 2000 but also played at St. Joseph, scored 1,441 career points.
Being mentioned in that group is special, Matrise said.
“It’s so cool to be in that club with such great players,” she said. “I just looked up to them for so long. It just feels so good to finally be with them, too.”
The St. Joseph fans in attendance included plenty of family, friends and classmates, but Matrise’s No. 1 fan — her father, Frank Matrise Jr. — was missing, at least physically.
Matrise died earlier this year, and while he’s certainly missed daily, his daughter said she knows her father was with her every step of the way Tuesday night.
“My dad was my biggest fan, and he’s still my biggest fan,” she said. “I know that he’s watching down, and he’s so happy I got this. He probably had the best seat in this house out of everybody. I know he’s got the biggest smile on his face.”
TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 16, 2019) - Having to fend off more competition than in years past, the North Central College women's triathlon team captured their third-straight USA Triathlon Division III National Championship, with Madelyn Scopp taking home the individual title.
The Cardinals won the team title with 10 points, while Trine University scored 25 for second, and Millikin University rounding out the top-three squads with 28.
The Cardinals were put in good position to start the race, with 2017 Individual Champion Grace Miller coming out of the water after the 750-meter swim ahead of the rest of the field, completing the swim in 11 minutes, five seconds.
A group of Cardinals were not too far behind, as Annika Cotner, Molly Olk, and Scopp came out of the water in 15th, 21st, and 23rd, respectively. Nicole Huff was the final Cardinal competitor out of the water in 31st.
"Basically getting out of the swim is the starting line," said Head Coach Jenny Garrison about the importance of the swim. "It is just where you're going to set yourself up for the rest of the race."
All through the bike, Miller and Trine University's Amira Faulknere joceled for first while the other competitors were a far way behind.
Although, Cotner and Scopp looked to make a big move together, working as a team to move up on the front two student-athletes. They sat third and fourth coming through the end of the 20-kilometer bike, having made up a lot of ground.
That ground was all that Scopp needed to catch the top-two racers, as that is the part that she excelled at during the whole year. She ran nearly a full minute faster than the second fastest runner. She completed the five kilometers in 20:45. She passed her teammate Miller and Trine's Faulknere and finished with the individual title.
Also making a big move during the run was Cotner, who took advantage of the run to move up to third place, where she ultimately finished.
Miller, who has struggled with a knee injury through the year, fell back a few spots in the run but was the Cardinal's final scorer, coming in sixth for her final collegiate race.
The Cardinal's final top-ten performance came from Molly Olk in eighth (1:17:11), while Nicole Huff (1:19:03) took 12th.
"They had a solid everything race," beamed Garrison. "They're all such hard workers."
The Cardinals look forward to 2020, where they attempt to make it four championships in a row.