Meet The Gazette's 2019 Female Athlete of the Year finalists


Today, The Gazette reveals its 2019 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 37th year of the awards, which began in 1983.

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

Winners will be announced next Sunday.

Heather Boeckenstedt, Dyersville Beckman


An all-state selection in volleyball and softball, but she may have made her deepest imprint in track and field.

She was a two-time Class 2A state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and a member of the Blazers’ state-winning shuttle hurdle relay twice.

Beckman (44-4) advanced to the state volleyball semifinals last fall, and Boeckenstedt was a second-team Class 2A all-stater, collecting 3.09 kills and 2.87 digs per set.

She will be a five-time letterwinner in softball and was a first-team all-state pick as a junior after hitting .517 with 43 runs and 62 stolen bases.

Lettered as a junior in basketball.

Will play softball, and perhaps other sports, at Coe College.

Kaylee Donner, Cedar Rapids Jefferson


Part of a senior class that led a volleyball revival at Jefferson, sending the J-Hawks to the state tournament in 2017 and 2018.

Arguably the state’s best libero, she earned Elite all-state honors after averaging 4.18 digs per set. A two-time first-team selection in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

A basketball player through her junior year, she bypassed her senior season and instead went out for bowling and won the Class 3A state individual title with a two-game series of 476.

A four-year starter in softball, she was a third-team all-state selection as a junior as the J-Hawks finished third in Class 5A. Jefferson was seventh in 2017.

Will play volleyball at the University of Northern Iowa.

Emily Jasper, Cedar Rapids Xavier


Advanced to state competition in three sports in her senior year, capping it with a Class 1A tennis doubles title along with Miyako Coffey.

Jasper also picked up singles and doubles victories as Xavier topped Waterloo Columbus, 5-2, for the 1A state team title.

The Saints were 4A state runners-up in volleyball, and Jasper averaged 1.32 kills per set with a .304 kill efficiency.

In basketball, she earned third-team all-state honors after the Saints reached the state quarterfinals. She averaged 12.2 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game.

Will attend Saint Louis University, but will not compete in varsity athletics.

Jaime Kofron, Tipton


Swept the discus and shot put titles at the Drake Relays as a junior and senior, and also claimed Class 2A state titles in the discus in 2018 and 2019 (runner-up in the shot put both years).

Her career bests were 46-4 3/4 in the shot, 147-8 in the discus.

A vital member of Tipton’s Class 3A state runner-up volleyball team, she averaged 1.62 kills per set with a team-best .324 kill efficiency as the Tigers went 39-4, earning all-River Valley Conference South Division honors.

Also an all-division selection in basketball after averaging 7.0 points per game.

Will compete in track and field at the University of Iowa.

Grace Martensen, Benton Community


A five-time state champion in track and fieldthree in the 100-meter hurdles, two in the shuttle hurdle relay.

Three runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes and a 13-time state placewinner.

A four-year starter in softball, she was first-team all-Wamac West as a sophomore and junior, and a member of Benton’s 3A state championship team in 2016. Hit .466 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs as a junior and sported a 14-10 pitching record.

A two-time first-team all-division volleyball player, averaging 3.48 kills and 2.54 digs per set as a senior.

Will compete in track and field at the University of Northern Iowa.