Bonduel runners make Academic All-State teams

Award honors academic excellence among athletes
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Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School cross-country runners that were selected to the Academic All-State boys and girls teams include, from left, back row, Will Beaumier, Charlie Mews, Colin Ewing, Craig Rusch, Coach Diane Schnell, Breanna Schnell, Erin Timler and Madison Kurey; front row, Carter Kurey, Jacob Moede, Jared Wondra, Kaitlin Thompson, Ashlyn Schnell and Kara Troxel. Not pictured is Abby Owen.

After both teams qualified for state for the first time in Bonduel High School program history, the boys and girls cross-country teams received another honor as Academic All-State selections.

All seven varsity runners on each of the two state teams earned the team awards, and 11 runners picked up additional individual awards for personal academic achievement.

The purpose of the award is to honor those who “represent excellence in both areas — on the course and in the classroom,” according to the Wisconsin Cross-Country Coaches Association.

“This is the real reason we have high school sports,” head coach Diane Schnell said. “I’m so proud of them and so proud they represent our community. They show what the school can do for them and what they can do for the community through school. This award is telling people it’s so much more than just the sport.

“Maintaining a high GPA when you’re doing multiple sports, you’re trying to juggle that with homework and extra curriculars and life, it’s extremely tough, so this award is very special to see them receive.”

Selection for the Academic All-State Awards are limited to runners who participate in the state meet and meet certain academic criteria.

To qualify for the team award, the average of the top-five GPAs on each team must equal 3.4 or above. Individual awards are given to runners with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.

The girls team not only earned the award, but topped the list with an average GPA of 4.0 along with Xavier, Rosholt and Brookefield East out of 52 teams selected in Divisions 1-3.

Girls team members include Ashlyn Schnell, Abby Owen, Breanna Schnell, Kara Troxel, Erin Timler, Katlin Thompson and Madison Kurey. All also received individual awards.

The boys team averaged a 3.77 GPA and includes Jacob Moede, Jared Wondra, Colin Ewing, William Beaumier, Craig Rusch, Carter Kurey and Charlie Mews. Moede, Wondra, Weing and Beaumier each also earned individual awards.

For the runners, academic excellence and athletic performance often fit hand-in-hand.

“It’s important for me to be good in both,” Moede said. “It’s the two top aspects of my life — physical and mental. Physically keeping yourself active is healthy and it’s helping your brain and that helps in schoolwork, so I think being in a sport definitely helps you be more competitive academically too.

“Grades have always come first for me, so keeping up my good grades is the most important thing to me,” Ashlyn Schnell added. “Sports teach you to work harder and be determined and that also helps a lot with school, so they just kind of naturally go together.”

Coach Schnell, also a substitute teacher, sees how the two fit together for her student-athletes.

“I see them struggle and work hard in school, and then I see the determination, drive and perseverance they have on the team,” she said. “I see all of these traits in the classroom that they carry to the team.

“I think the reason athletics and academics overlap is because it’s a personality trait. I think the people that excel in one thing generally excel in other things. That’s definitely true for these scholar athletes.”

Moede and Ashlyn Schnell also represent Bonduel as the two school nominees for this year’s WIAA Scholar Athlete Award, which honors the top student-athletes amongst all sports and high schools in the state. Both seniors were selected after earning at least four varsity letters, maintaining a high GPA and taking first at the team sectional meet last season.

“It’s an honor to be one of two people chosen at Bonduel to get it,” Schnell said. “It’s an honor to be seen as excelling in both school and sports, not only at Bonduel, but potentially across the state.”