Markie Ash of the Wisconsin Valley Union and Colin Ahern of St. Mary's Springs were named Girls' and Boys' Hockey Players of the Year, respectively, at the Wisconsin High School Sports Awards dinner/ceremony held Friday evening at the Lambeau Field Atrium.
Ash scored 54 points (29g-25a) while leading her first-year Union squad to a 17-7-2 record and a Sectional 2 runner-up finish, falling just short of a state trip in the team's inaugural campaign.
The senior from Waupaca closed out her four-year career with 249 points (145g-104a) while playing for Waupaca for three years and the Union during her senior year.
Ahern, a senior goalie from Fondy Springs, led his squad to a state appearance as he had a stellar year, compiling a .942 save percentage while allowing only 1.34 goals/game.
For his career, Ahern had a .901 sv% and a GAA of 2.73 while competing in 103 games as a Ledger.
GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers often is the star of the show, but the two-time NFL MVP shared the spotlight Friday night with some of the best high school athletes in the state at the Wisconsin High School Sports Awards at the Lambeau Field Atrium.
“I can tell you this, when I was most your ages, I was not sitting in this room,” Rodgers told the prep athletes. “I was not a high school player of the year in anything. Let that be an encouragement to maybe those who didn’t win, and also a warning to those who did win that there is always someone like myself who is watching the show on TV and not invited who are thinking, ‘I’m going to try to beat that kid out at some point.’”
Rodgers was asked what words of advice he would give to himself as a teenager knowing now what he didn’t then.
“R-E-L-A-X,” he said, to some laughs and cheers. “In high school, I was heavily recruited by Claremont McKenna, Occidental, Lewis & Clark. You probably have not heard of any of those schools. I would just say trust the process. … Just believe in myself. I had the same confidence I have now back then, but didn’t have quite the opportunities in front of me that many of you do have with these scholarship offers and future kind of laid out for you.
“I just had to work. It was 6 a.m. mornings and two workouts a day, just doing the things that I thought it would take to get to the next level. For me, it was junior college. Then it was Cal Berkeley. I was a backup, then obviously drafted here and was a backup. Just trust what got you there and believe in yourself. The greatest thing you can have as a quarterback, an athlete, is confidence. I never lacked confidence. It’s something when you have it, when you exude it, people start believing in you.”
Rodgers had one more piece of advice for the young people in the crowd. He wanted them to know it’s never too early to start thinking about the future.
“With every choice comes consequences,” he said. “If you have ever seen 'The Butterfly Effect' you know that one decision can affect so many lives. For the older folks in the room, 'Back to the Future.' … 'Back to the Future II' was just on the other night, when Biff gets the (Gray Sports) Almanac. One decision can have severe consequences. Either positively or negatively. You have to start thinking about decisions you are making today.
“I think about kids I went to high school with, junior college, Cal. They were really talented, and one mistake inhibited them from achieving their ultimate goal.”
The Wisconsin High School Sports Awards is a red carpet event that honored standout athletes, coaches and teams from the Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids areas for their achievements during the 2017-18 school year.
Colin Ahern, Sr., St. Mary’s Springs
Alec Elkin, Sr., Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha
Michael Janke, Sr., D.C. Everest
Bryce Poshak, Sr., Green Bay Notre Dame
Max Techel, Sr., Wausau West
Zach Welsch, Jr., St. Mary’s Springs
Markie Ash, Sr., Wisconsin Valley Union
Pistol Cowden, Soph., Wisconsin Valley Union
Liisa Cramer, Sr., Appleton United
Mia Dunning, Jr., Bay Area
Alyssa Heim, Jr., Warbirds co-op
Maddy Jablonski, Soph., Fox Cities Stars