Wisconsin’s sports stars in 2021

Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have more than usual numbers of Wisconsin natives shining through their ranks. Add to that the Summer Olympics being held in 2021, and it’s easy to identify a wave of Wisconsinites with huge athletic years in 2021. These are some of the best.

1. Molly Seidel (University Lake School), Kenny Bednarek (Rice Lake) and Madelynn Bernau (Waterford)

Seidel surprised the world by taking third place in the Summer Olympics marathon in Japan, Bednarek won silver in the 200 meters and Bernau won bronze in trap shooting while representing the United States.

2. Steve Stricker (Edgerton)

The must-have player in the Wisconsin golf scene had to wait a year as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team to see his men go head to head at Whistling Straits, along the shores of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan County . It was worth it; the United States crushed Europe 19-9, giving the United States their third victory in the last 10 Ryder Cups.

3. TJ Watt (Pewaukee)

In a year where his older brother (and future NFL Hall of Fame member) JJ signed a high-profile offseason deal with the Arizona Cardinals, it was TJ who stole the show. The Pittsburgh Steelers star linebacker has signed a lucrative five-year contract to stay in Pittsburgh (with $ 80 million guaranteed and a contract worth a total of $ 112 million). He also finished second in the league’s Defensive Player of the Year vote unveiled earlier this year (for the 2020 season), and he got back into the race for the next one with a big 2021 season. .

4. Cole Caufield (Stevens Point)

Caufield’s eventful year included winning the Hobey Baker Award in 2021 as the nation’s top men’s hockey player, and after finishing at the University of Wisconsin he joined the Montreal Canadiens for a mad race to the top. ‘at the Stanley Cup Final. Caufield scored four playoff goals and eight assists, and he also won a gold medal with the United States at the IIHF World Junior Championship.

5. Braelon Allen (Fond du Lac)

At just 17 years old, Allen moved up to join the Badgers for this season, then saved a exhausted UW fullback with a sensational freshman season, posting seven straight 100-yard rushing games as the Badgers turned their backs on their backs. season. For a player who initially came to campus as a potentially defensive prospect, the year has taken an unexpected turn.

6. Chris McIntosh (Pewaukee)

McIntosh rose to the position of chief athletic director at the University of Wisconsin, his alma mater, where he played football and worked under AD Barry Alvarez.

Following: 5 things to know about new University of Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh

7. Tyler Herro (Whitnall)

His second NBA season with the Miami Heat wasn’t as popular as his rookie year, but his numbers improved nonetheless, and then he took a step forward at the start of the 2021-22 season, averaging over 20 points per game as one of the best bench players in the league.

Following: Tyler Herro isn’t the only Wisconsinite set for a big NBA season (plus a look at where the former Milwaukee Bucks play)

8. Tyrese Haliburton (North Oshkosh)

Haliburton was named a finalist for NBA Rookie of the Year and was on the All-Rookie team with the Sacramento Kings.

9. Jordan Poole (King of Milwaukee)

The Warriors got off to a flying start and Poole is the team’s third-leading scorer with 17.9 points per game, with starts in every game. Poole’s teammates include his starting colleague Kevon Looney (Milwaukee Hamilton) and Marquette University alumnus Juan Toscano-Anderson.

10. Johnny Davis (La Crosse Centrale)

Davis became a star at the start of the 2021-22 UW men’s basketball season, winning the Maui Invitational MVP title in the same year he won a gold medal with Team USA in the Cup. of the FIBA ​​U19 world. He scored 10 points in an NCAA tournament second-round loss to Baylor in March to cap off his freshman year.

11. Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels)

The Dallas Wings star was named the WNBA Second All-Star Team and won the WNBA All-Star Game MVP honor after his team defeated a team of Olympics-qualified players.

12. JP Feyereisen (river falls)

Feyereisen was dealing with his home state, the Milwaukee Brewers, registering a WHIP of 1.086 and an ERA of 3.26 in 21 games. But then he was traded to Tampa and played a key role in the reliever box for a team that posted the American League’s best record, with a 2.45 ERA.

13. Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West)

His overall numbers in his first big-league season weren’t spectacular, but he had a promising September and remains one of baseball’s most exciting young players, competing for a Seattle Mariners team. who surged before falling just short of the playoffs. .

14. Joe Pavelski (Stevens Point)

Playing with the Dallas Stars, Pavelski became the 10th American NHL player to score 400 career goals.

15. Nick Bellore (Whitefish Bay)

After a decade in the NFL, the multi-faceted Bellore was named to his first Pro Bowl as a special teams contributor and signed a two-year, $ 4.4 million contract to stay with the Seattle Seahawks.

16. JJ Watt (Pewaukee)

OK, we can’t forget the older Watt, who moved to the wilderness after a decade with the Houston Texans. However, an injury ended his season after seven games.

17. Ryan Ramczyk (Stevens Point)

The New Orleans Saints offensive tackle signed a five-year, $ 96 million extension ($ 60 million guaranteed).

18. Gavin Lux (Kenosha Indian Trail)

Lux may not have lived up to expectations that he would be a Rookie Candidate of the Year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he still played in 102 games for the National League powerhouse, with a .242 with a .692 OPS, including seven circuits. . He continues to be one of the biggest emerging names in baseball.

19. Daulton Varsho (Marshfield)

Quite quietly, the first UW-Milwaukee alumnus in the big leagues had a solid season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing 95 games and beating .246 with a .755 OPS, including 11 home runs and serving in the both receiver and fielder. One of his home runs was a walk-off type, and he’s also had a hit this season.

20. Quinn Meinerz (Hartford)

The UW-Whitewater offensive lineman became a darling of the NFL Draft’s surge and backed him up with superb play once he was taken by the Denver Broncos in the third round, spawn a path to a starting role.


  • Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Sussex Hamilton). The top-level basketball rookie has chosen to stay home and play for his father at UW-Milwaukee, and he will be one of the top prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft.
  • Leo Chenal (Grantsbourg). The UW junior linebacker recorded 17 tackles for a loss and 106 total tackles with two forced fumbles, earning him the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award.
  • Jake Ferguson (Madison Memorial). The tight end was named to the Big Ten’s first team in what was likely his last season with the Wisconsin football schedule.
  • Natisha Hiedeman (Green Bay South West). The former Marquette University student was part of a Connecticut Sun team that had the best WNBA regular season record.
  • Jalen Johnson (Nicolet). The basketball star was taken to the first round of the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Nate Oats (Maranatha Baptist in Watertown). Oats was named SEC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year for his work in leading Alabama to a 16-2 league record and conference crown, and the Crimson Tide are still among the top teams in the country this season.
  • TJ Otzelberger (St. Thomas More). The NCAA basketball coach was hired by the UNLV from the State of Iowa in March, and he now has the Cyclones on a scorching 12-0 start on December 30.
  • Scott Servais (Westby). He nearly led the Seattle Mariners to the playoffs and was second in the AHL Manager of the Year vote. In September, he agreed to a long-term extension.
  • Kevin Zeitler (Lutheran from Wisconsin). The veteran offensive goaltender is having a Pro Bowl-worthy season for the Baltimore Ravens.

Who did we miss? JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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