Bridgette Alexander has had an eventful summer.
The Milton High graduate and soon-to-be University of Kentucky senior swimmer took home a bronze medal in the 200-meter backstroke at the World University Games in Taipei.
That accomplishment helped Alexander earn one of six 200 backstroke berths on the U.S. National squad, which was announced Friday.
The World University Games was Alexander’s first international meet. Finishing third and earning a bronze medal was memorable.
“It was awesome,” Alexander said Friday night. “Bonding with athletes from other countries that have the common goal of making the Olympic team and sharing the same love for the sport. That was cool.
“Also, meeting other people from around the world and seeing how they do warmups and things, it was really eye-opening.”
Just as in the Olympics, the World University Games athletes traded pins and caps with fellow competitors.
“I learned a lot,” Alexander said. “Sometimes you don’t come out of a race with your best time—I actually didn’t record my best time—but I performed well enough to get third, which was great. I learned you have to just go with the flow.”
The 12-hour time difference was one of the hurdles she had to overcome, which is something international meets teach athletes.
With her accomplishments in the Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships, the World Championship trials and the World University Games, Alexander earned her spot on the U.S. national team.
“I’ll be representing the United States the whole next year in different meets,” Alexander said.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all great news this summer. Alexander was going to surprise her parents by coming home this weekend.
Then on Thursday, her 75-year-old grandmother died, which put a damper on her homecoming.
Alexander returned to Lexington, Kentucky, on Monday, where she begins preparation for the 2017-18 college season, which begins Oct. 4 in a home meet against Vanderbilt.
Getting the gang back together
Andrea Wieland took over the UW-Whitewater women’s golf team last season after coaching the Milton High golf team for 12 seasons and finishing second in the WIAA Division 1 state meet in 2010 and 2011.
Two of her former Red Hawks players are on the 2017-18 Warhawks squad.
Maddie McCue returns for her junior season. Last year, McCue ranked sixth on the Warhawks with an 87.3 scoring average and earned a spot on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll.
McCue, who transferred to Whitewater after spending her freshman season on the North Dakota team, will be joined by former high school teammate CheyAnn Knudsen this season.
Knudsen played her freshman year of women’s golf at Carthage College but transferred to Whitewater. Knudsen concluded her freshman season by taking third at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championship. She led the Lady Reds with an 80.1 scoring average and was named All-CCIW.
“When she was in high school, she debated whether she was going to go to Division I at South Dakota or Carthage,” Wieland said. “She decided to go where she was going to have an impact and be a little closer to home. A lot of that had to do with the coach at Carthage.”
That coach left Carthage after last season, and with Wieland now the coach at Whitewater, the move to the Warhawks was a natural one.
The Warhawks opened the season by winning the Carthage Invitational. Whitewater’s Ashley Hofmeister finished first with a 159 two-round total. Knudsen finished fourth with a 162, and McCue was sixth with a 163.
Warhawks expected to have successful fall
Both the UW-Whitewater volleyball team and the women’s soccer team have been picked to win WIAC titles by coaches and sports information directors.
The volleyball team is out to repeat its 2016 WIAC championship. Coach Stacy Boudreau’s squad finished 29-7 and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Area players expected to contribute are senior Sydney Racky, a third-team preseason All-America pick and Big Foot High graduate, and sophomore outside hitter Rachel Butterfield, a Milton High product.
The Warhawks open the season ranked No. 12 in the nation as they look to extend their NCAA Division III tournament streak to 26 seasons. They currently have the third-longest active streak.
The UW-Whitewater women’s soccer team became the first WIAC team to register back-to-back 20-win seasons last year. Winners of the six of the last seven regular-season titles and four of the last five tournament trophies, Coach Ryan Quamme has eight starters returning from last season’s 22-2 squad.