By Paul Lecker
Edgar High School senior Austin Dahlke and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption junior Ainara Sainz de Rozas have been named the MarshfieldAreaSports.com & Zaleski Sports High School Athletes of the Year for the 2020-21 school and sports year.
Dahlke and Sainz de Rozas were chosen by MarshfieldAreaSports.com and Zaleski Sports staff for the awards, which are also sponsored by Awards ‘n’ More of Wisconsin Rapids.
The Athlete of the Year announcement is the culmination of our 2020-21 Athlete of the Month program in which 10 student-athletes won voting polls each month.
Varsity athletes from the following high schools are eligible to be nominated for the award: Abbotsford, Assumption, Athens, Auburndale, Colby, Columbus Catholic, Edgar, Granton, Greenwood, Loyal, Marathon, Marshfield, Neillsville, Owen-Withee, Pacelli, Pittsville, Spencer, Stevens Point, Stratford, Thorp and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
Dahlke was a four-sport star for Edgar, claiming all-Marawood Conference honors and team championships in each sport.
Dahlke, a University of Colorado football recruit, was a Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Small School all-state selection as an inside linebacker after finishing the 2020 season with 86 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Dahlke was a unanimous first-team team all-Marawood Conference pick at both running back and inside linebacker, and was named the conference Back of the Year. On offense, Dahlke rushed for 797 yards and 14 touchdowns, and had a team-best 11 catches for 206 yards as the Wildcats went 9-0 and won the Marawood title.
On the basketball court, Dahlke was a key cog in the Wildcats’ run to a Marawood South championship and a berth in the WIAA Division 4 state tournament, the first state appearance for the program since 1997.
Dahlke averaged 9.1 points and four rebounds per game, while making 50 3-pointers and shot a team-high 35 percent from long range as Edgar went 23-3. He was an honorable mention all-Marawood South selection and finished the season strong, scoring 13.2 points per game during the team’s postseason run with 12 3-pointers in five games.
In the spring, Dahlke was part of two conference championship teams for Edgar as the Wildcats tied for the Marawood South baseball crown and won the boys track and field title.
Dahlke hit .456 with 32 runs scored, 24 RBIs and nine doubles to help the Wildcats to the WIAA Division 4 sectional final, its first sectional appearance in program history.
Dahlke won the 200 and 400 meter titles at the Marawood Conference Track Meet, and was part the WIAA Division 3 state champion 400 and 1,600 meter relay champions.
Sainz de Rozas was a three-sport star at Assumption, reaching state in all three, which include a WIAA Division 5 girls basketball state championship.
Sainz de Rozas led the Assumption girls cross country team to its first-ever Marawood Conference championship by placing third at the conference meet in 20:06. She went on to finish second at the subsectional and fifth at the sectional to help the Royals qualify for the WIAA Division 3 state meet. She placed 33rd at state in West Salem as Assumption took ninth in the team standings.
She was a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 5 all-state first-team selection as the Royals won the D-5 state title as Sainz de Rozas played a huge role.
She scored 16 points in a state semifinal win over Chippewa Falls McDonell, then added 13 points, including four free throws in the closing minutes of the Royals’ win over Three Lakes in the state championship game.
Sainz de Rozas averaged 13.5 points, 1.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game for the Royals, earning first-team all-Marawood Conference South Division honors.
In track during the spring season, Sainz de Rozas won the Marawood Conference title in the 3,200 meters, placed fourth at sectionals and took eighth at the WIAA Division 3 State Meet at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in early June.
Winners of the monthly Athlete of the Month awards during the 2020-21 school year were: Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer player Alex Edwards (September), Marshfield girls swimmer Faith Risa (October), Marshfield football player Wyatt LeMoine (November), Mosinee girls basketball player Alexis Frieboth (December), Edgar girls basketball player Makenna Guden (January), Stratford wrestler Gavin Drexler (February), the Edgar boys basketball team (March), Assumption softball player Cristin Casey (April), Assumption softball player Ava Schill (May), and Pacelli softball player Hannah Trzinski (June).
Previous Athlete of the Year award winners are: Owen-Withee football and basketball player, and track athlete Albert Goerlitz (2014), Athens football, basketball and baseball player Seth Coker (2015), Marathon football, basketball and baseball player Ryan Gassner (2016), Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer, basketball and baseball player Tyler Fuerlinger (2017), Spencer football player, wrestler and baseball player Hunter Luepke (2018), Spencer football player, wrestler and track athlete Logan Zscernitz (2019), and Stratford football and basketball player Ben Barten (2020).