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Seubert, Denfeld named Central Wisconsin athletes of the year (video, photo)

Everest's Drew Litrenta most inspirational

May 15, 2013
 
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Marathon High School’s Collin Seubert and Edgar’s Holly Denfeld live in towns roughly 12 miles apart, both are three-sport athletes and both will attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall.

On Wednesday, Seubert and Denfeld were linked another way when they were named the Gannett Central Wisconsin Media boys and girls high school athletes of the year.

Each was presented an award during a ceremony at The Grand theater in Wausau. More than 300 turned out for the ceremony, which was presented by Marshfield Clinic, in association with Eastbay and Hovda Orthodontics. Gannett Central Wisconsin Media, in its fifth year of the awards program, comprises Daily Herald Media in Wausau, Daily Tribune Media in Wisconsin Rapids, News-Herald Media in Marshfield and Stevens Point Journal Media.

Seventy-seven student-athletes from the area were honored after their schools nominated them for recognition. A committee of five people then selected the top male and female athlete from central Wisconsin, and Seubert and Denfeld each received a $1,000 scholarship.

“I have probably not said five sentences to the guy before,” Denfeld said of Seubert.

But, considering the two will attend the same school, Denfeld said she asked to sit next to Seubert for the ceremony because, “I should probably get to know him sooner or later.”

Also presented with awards were D.C. Everest’s Drew Litrenta, as the most inspirational athlete of the year, and Wausau West wrestling’s Troy Fabry as the coach of the year.

Litrenta drew some of the biggest cheers of the night and had a guest list of about 20 people who turned out in support of him. The Everest student, who has a mild case of cerebral palsy, was elected the captain of the boys cross country team because of his leadership qualities rather than athletic performance. A manager for the Evergreens’ boys hockey team, Litrenta gives the pregame speeches, and he runs the 400- and 800-meter races on the track and field team.

Fabry led the Warriors to the WIAA Division 1 team title this season. The always-intense, third-year coach let his emotions show again as he got choked up when describing a team as being a family, and that the student-athletes on hand Wednesday were examples of doing things the right way.

Three students identified themselves as class valedictorians in their biographies for the program, and another was the salutatorian. Seubert, who was a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman, said there is a system to balancing academics and athletics and finding success in both.

“I am going into industrial engineering and that’s all about making things efficient,” said Seubert, who will play basketball at MSOE. “I plan my schedule efficiently, I guess. I go to practice, I go home and get my homework done, eat and then sleep. That’s about all I do. You have to find time to do things you enjoy, too, and spend time with your friends and family. You just have to balance your time.

“I think athletics has helped me academically. I’m a firm believer in that if you know how to succeed in one thing, you’re bound to succeed in others,” he said. “If you know the key to success in one thing, you can use that same logic in another.”

The team of the year was the Amherst football squad, which won the WIAA Division 5 state championship in coach Mark Lusic’s third season in a remarkable turnaround for the program.

“Each kid on their exit interviews (last year) came in and said, ‘I want to go to state.’ One of our coordinators talked about how you have to believe it, and they believed it,” Lusic said. “They put a heck of an offseason together, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team. They came together through the ups and downs. Fifty-five guys came together and they showed up for work every day.”

Tim Johnson can be reached at 715-845-0731. Find him on Twitter as @timmyjo11

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