Meet The Gazette's 2018 Female Athlete of the Year finalists

July 2, 2018 | 6:40 pm
Chapter 1:

Today, The Gazette reveals its 2018 finalists for its high school Athlete of the Year awards.

The awards were inspired by the longtime sportswriting career of Jack Ogden.

Athletes of the Year are chosen based on exceptional athletic and academic achievement. This is the 36th year of the awards, which began in 1983.

Read on to learn more about this year's male finalists.

Winners will be announced next Sunday.

Chapter 2:

Autum Barthelman, Sigourney

Sigourney's Autum Barthelman was a 12-time state medalist in track and field, including back-to-back championships in the Class 1A 100-meter hurdles and the shuttle hurdle relay.

She led the Savages to the 1A state title in 2017.

A first-team all-stater in softball last year, she led Sigourney to a fourth-place finish at state.

She entered this season with 147 career stolen bases (in 149 attempts).

A four-year starter in basketball, Barthelman led the team to two South Iowa Cedar League divisional titles.

The school’s career leader in points (1,327) and steals (380), she averaged 19.6 points and 4.9 steals last winter in earning third-team 2A all-state honors.

Barthelman will play softball next year at Kirkwood Community College.


Video: Athlete of the Year finalist Autum Barthelman

Chapter 3:

Kendra Cooper, Lansing Kee

Lansing Kee's Kendra Cooper was the ringleader of a cast that transformed the girls’ athletics programs at Kee.

She pitched the Hawks to Class 1A state titles in 2016 and 2017 and a runner-up finish as an eighth-grader in 2014.

She brought a 67-14 career record into this season, including 20-1 as a junior, when she also accumulated 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.

She is a four-time first-team all-stater in softball.

The 1A state discus champion (132 feet, 10 inches), Cooper also was a valuable relay runner. Kee’s distance medley was third at state.

A four-year starter in basketball, she led the Hawks to the state quarterfinals in 2016 and 2018 and averaged 10.6 points per game last season.

Also started four years in volleyball and accumulated 17 varsity letters.

Cooper will play softball next year at Luther College.


Video: Athlete of the Year finalist Kendra Cooper

Chapter 4:

Ashley Joens, Iowa City High

Iowa City High's Ashley Joens was named Miss Iowa Basketball after a brilliant career in which she set 15 school records, including points in a game (45), season (798) and career (2,158), as well as career rebounds (900).

She guided the Little Hawks to a 26-1 record and a Class 5A runner-up finish at the state basketball tournament.

She averaged 30.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game as a senior in earning 5A first-team all-state honors for the fourth consecutive year.

She was selected as The Gazette’s girls’ basketball player of the year in 2017 and 2018.

Joens is signed to play basketball at Iowa State University.


Video: Athlete of the Year finalist Ashley Joens

Chapter 5:

Mikayla Nachazel, Springville

Mikayla Nachazel was part of a great athletic run for Springville that netted three Class 1A state basketball titles (2016-18) and a 98-10 mark.

Earned first-team all-state honors three times.

She is the school record-holder in scoring (1,662 points) and No. 4 in rebounds (645).

A four-year starter in volleyball (she is the school career leader in kills with 775), Nachazel led the Orioles to a four-year record of 125-32 with three state tournament berths and two trips to the semifinals.

Also a participant in track and softball.

Nachazel will play basketball at Minnesota State University at Mankato.


Video: Athlete of the Year finalist Mikayla Nachazel

Chapter 6:

Allie Wooldridge, Center Point-Urbana

Center Point-Urbana's Allie Wooldridge was a two-time first-team all-state basketball player after earning second-team honors as a sophomore.

She led the Stormin’ Pointers to the state semifinals in 3A in 2016 and 2017 and in 4A in 2018.

She is the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, assists and blocks, and second in points (1,297).

A four-time letterwinner in soccer, she led CPU to state each of the last three years, including semifinal berths in 2017 and 2018.

She finished her senior season with a team-high 21 goals.

All-conference selection in volleyball as a senior, posting a .450 kill efficiency for a 32-11 squad.

Wooldridge will play basketball at Drake University.


Video: Athlete of the Year finalist Allie Wooldridge