Krueger, Walstrom receive top honors

Nathan Krueger, left, and Jay Walstrom shared the David Wenzel Memorial Athlete of the Year honor during Florence High School's 48th annual awards ceremony Wednesday. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

FLORENCE, Wis. — A record-breaking football pass combination shared Florence High School’s male athlete of the year award Wednesday.

Jay Walstrom and Nathan Krueger, both highly regarded by their coaches, received the David Wenzel Memorial during the 48th annual Florence High School Athletic Awards Ceremony in the school auditorium.

Both male student-athletes met the criteria with ease — play three sports while being a consistent starter in two. Coaches then vote on the award.

Florence’s Ginny Ehrenreich Memorial Female Athlete of the Year was not presented because no girls met the criteria.

In football, Walstrom caught 45 passes to break the season record. Krueger was the Bobcats quarterback, erasing the school standard with 80 pass completions in 2016.

Florence principal Brandon Jerue read comments about Walstrom and Krueger prior to announcing the award.

“It’s kids like this that make you feel good about the future,” said one Florence coach who also cited Walstrom for his strong work ethic. “He has a desire to succeed and willingness to put the best interests of the team first, all while being a humble and generally kind person. He is very competitive and has great deal of community and school pride.”

In addition to his football record, Walstrom was chosen as the team’s MVP on offense. He also earned team defensive player of the year honors in basketball. Walstrom lettered in track and field.

“Jay is a very upbeat individual who prides himself in his academics and athletics,” said another Florence coach. “He understands that in order to be successful you must put in the work outside of practice.”

The senior class salutatorian has perfect attendance through high school. He plans to attend Northwest Wisconsin Technical College and become a physical therapy assistant.

“Jay is a natural leader by example and puts others before himself,” said another coach. “He’s a respected team captain and true student-athlete.”

Krueger stood out in basketball and baseball as well as football.

“He kept control of the huddle and showed great respect for his teammates,” said a Florence coach of Krueger. “He was a dependable leader who had excellent practice attendance and attitude.

“He always respected the authority of game officials

and played to win in the true spirit of sportsmanship. He also honored our school and community with his dedication, talent, love of sports and his competitive will to win.”

Described as a “truly gifted athlete,” Krueger claimed most outstanding in baseball and led the basketball team in scoring.

“Nathan has a vested interest in getting better,” another Florence coach said. “He studies the game and always asks how to get better, and really motivates himself in a true definition of a competitor.”

Krueger, who recently signed a baseball letter of intent to Quincy (Ill.) University, is a four-year letter-winner in baseball with a .394 career batting average.

Walstrom and Krueger also accepted Florence Athletic Booster Club scholarships. Booster club president Bryan Bomberg said candidates must achieve a 3.0 GPA and play two varsity sports.

Walstrom and Krueger joined Glenn Berry, Lance Davis, Devin Dumke and Jarrod Millan as Florence’s four-year scholar athletes.

Dumke also received the K. Casey Constantini Memorial Scholarship. He also earned awards for most improved and leadership in cross cross and track, respectively.

Here are the team award recipients:

FOOTBALL — Dylan McLain, most improved; Joe Glime, MVP defense; Jay Walstrom, MVP offense

CROSS COUNTRY — Devin Dumke, most improved; Glenn Berry, MVP

VOLLEYBALL — Victoria Marefke, team spirit; Shayla McLain, most improved

GIRLS BASKETBALL — Savannah Vassar, most improved

BOYS BASKETBALL — Jay Walstrom, defensive player of the year; Glenn Berry, MVP

WRESTLING — Shamus McLain and Tristen Mascarette, most outstanding

BASEBALL — Nathan Krueger and Dylan McLain, most outstanding

SOFTBALL — Jenna Springer and Kaylee Lund, most improved

TRACK — Devin Dumke, leadership; Jarrod Millan, coaches award; Caleb Jones, MVP

GOLF — Logan Doll, most outstanding