Meet The Gazette's 2016 Female Athlete of the Year finalists
The Gazette's Athlete of the Year finalists not only represent some of the best talent in Eastern Iowa, but the entire state.
A lengthy list of nominations was narrowed down to five candidates by the staff.
This marks the 34th year the awards are given to graduating high school seniors. It began in 1983 as a tribute to the journalism career of the late Jack Ogden, a former Gazette sports editor and sportswriter.
Female finalists are Stephanie Jenks and Amanda Ollinger of Linn-Mar, Megan Maahs of Western Dubuque, Alyssa Wiebel of Benton Community and Arika Wooldridge of Center Point-Urbana.
Winners will be announced next Sunday.
Stephanie Jenks, Linn-Mar
An 11-time state champion in track and field — four each in the 3,000- and 1,500-meter races and three in the 800.
Also captured 10 individual titles at the Drake Relays. Set the all-time Iowa best (9:24.67) in the 3,000 as a sophomore. Ranks No. 2 in Iowa in the 1,500 (4:27.76) and No. 8 in the 800 (2:09.64).
Won an individual state cross country championship as a freshman before forfeiting her eligibility so she could run against college runners. Also an accomplished swimmer and an elite triathlete.
Will run at the University of California.
Megan Maahs, Western Dubuque
The all-time girls’ basketball leader at Western Dubuque in points (1,253), rebounds (1,010) and blocked shots (248).
Led the Bobcats to three state tournaments, including runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2015.
Averaged 16.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game as a senior.
A four-time letterwinner in volleyball, she led the Bobcats to the state tournament last fall, averaging 3.84 kills per set.
A 10-time state qualifier in track, including four times in the 400-meter dash. Best finish was seventh as a sophomore.
Will play basketball at the University of Northern Iowa.
Amanda Ollinger, Linn-Mar
Transferred from Cedar Rapids Jefferson to Linn-Mar midway through her junior basketball season. First-team all-stater last season after leading Linn-Mar to the Class 5A state semifinals, averaging 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest.
Finished her basketball career with 1,343 points and 780 rebounds.
Four-year varsity letterwinner in volleyball (three at Jefferson, one at Linn-Mar).
Led the big-school class in kills as a sophomore (6.11 per set) and as a junior (5.27). Finished her career with 1,744 kills.
Will play basketball at the University of Iowa.
Alyssa Wiebel, Benton Community
Will finish her high school as a 14-time letterwinner (five in softball, four each in basketball and track, one in cross country).
The 2016 Gatorade Iowa softball player of the year, she is the school record holder in batting average, home runs and batting average (both season and career).
Hit 21 home runs as a junior as the Bobcats reached the Class 3A state final.
Third Benton player to score more than 1,000 points in her basketball career and a third-team all-state basketball player.
Part of Benton’s school-record sprint medley relay team in track.
Will play softball at Illinois State University.
Arika Wooldridge, Center Point-Urbana
Leaves CPU as a 15-time letterwinner.
Tops the school’s basketball leaderboard in career points (1,640), rebounds (665) and blocks (103).
Stormin’ Pointers posted a 79-20 record during her four years, including 24-2 and a Class 3A state semifinal appearance as a senior. Four-time all-stater, including first-team status as a senior.
Led her team to state in volleyball (and a 31-8 record) as a senior.
Scored 15 goals in her senior soccer season as CPU advanced to state (it reached the 1A semifinals in 2013).
Also participated in softball and track in the early part of her high school career.
Will play basketball at Winona State University.