For the Female Athlete of the Year of season 13, we have one repeat nominee from season 12 along with another swimmer, a basketball player, and a volleyball player. The Female Athlete of the Year is presented by Edgewood Clinical Services.
Rachel Stege: Neuqua Valley Girls Swim & Dive
The 2019 NSW Female athlete of the year returned for her junior season this fall and there was no drop-off for the IHSA record holder in the 500 yard freestyle. In fact the Neuqua Valley swim star took her performance to another level. At the state meet at New Trier in November, Stege broke her own record in the 500 free prelims with a time of 4 minutes, 44.87 seconds en route to a 2nd straight first place medal. She also won the 200 yard freestyle with another state record breaking time of 1 minute 46.66 seconds. The Wildcat then helped NV win both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays for the 2nd straight season as Neuqua Valley repeated as the girls state swimming and diving champions. In addition to her two new state records, Stege also broke two long standing school records, passing Neuqua legend Melissa Marik for the most state championship medals in a career and a single season. Marik took home 3 in 2005 and 6 in her career while Stege earned 4 at this year’s meet and now holds 7 in her career, with her senior season still to come. She may very well be one of the most decorated athletes in IHSA swimming history when her Neuqua Valley career comes to a close.
McKenna Stone: Metea Valley Girls Swim & Dive
Another record setting junior swimmer is our next Female Athlete of the Year nominee. Before her freshman season even began, there was a palpable buzz around the potential of McKenna Stone. The Metea Valley product lived up to the hype in her first two seasons, racking up 8 state medals during that time, all of them top six finishes. After setting both school and pool records in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly earlier in the season, Stone joined the 200 and 400 free relay teams and the 200 medley relay for the sectional and state meets, in addition to the 100 butterfly. The relay teams earned three state medals, 7th in the 200 medley, 4th in the 400 free and 2nd in the 200 free relay. But the big moment of the day was Stone’s performance in the 100 fly, where she became the first Mustang in program history to win an individual state championship medal. Stone touched the wall first with a time of 53.38 seconds, winning by a full second over Paige Collins from Naperville Central. Just another new record for the wall at the Metea Valley pool.
Hattie Monson: Benet Academy Girls Volleyball
Surprisingly there is only one senior nominee on the female side, it’s also surprising that this is the first time that Benet Academy volleyball’s Hattie Monson has been nominated over her phenomenal four year career. Despite being one of the state’s top liberos over her first three seasons, it fully came together for Monson and the Redwings in her senior year. After a third place finish at state last season, the BA girls lost only once the entire season, going 41-1 en route to the 2019 3A state championship. Monson’s fearless defense led the way as the captain dug out 370 balls in 2019 to help save points for her team. There isn’t an accolade that Monson has not collected in her career, All-Conference, All-State, All-American, she was even a member of the US National Under 18 team that won gold in Honduras in the summer of 2018. While the Benet girls volleyball roster is always jam packed with talent, it was Monson, the four year starter and Notre Dame commit who provided the fire that led to the program’s 4th state championship.
Greta Kampschroeder: Naperville North Girls Basketball
Our final nominee is another junior who burst onto the scene as a freshman and has only continued to thrive ever since. There have been some fantastic girls basketball players in the Naperville area in the past 20 years, but few have showcased a complete skillset like Naperville North star Greta Kampschroeder. Standing six feet tall, the Huskie guard is about as complete a player as you could hope to see at the high school level. She can shoot, pass, defend, rebound and handle the ball at an elite level. Kampschroeder averaged over 17 points per game and 8.8 rebounds during her junior campaign, helping the Huskies to a 25 win season that included a perfect 10-0 record in the Dupage Valley Conference and the program’s first regional championship in 15 years. The mix of veteran players like Nikki Kwilosz, Sarah Lockridge, Kara Rivard mixed well with up and comers like Sarah Crossett, Alison Kickel, Layla Henderson and Abby Drendel.
Already a 1,000 career point scorer, Kampschroeder was named 1st team All State by the Illinois High School Coaches Association in 2019 for the 2nd consecutive year. ESPN has her ranked as the 12th best junior prospect in the country, which is good news if you are an Oregon State fan. Earlier this year, Greta made a verbal commitment to play for the Beavers once she graduates in 2021. These types of accolades have only been seen in this area by the likes of Kathleen Doyle of Benet Academy, Lindsey Wisdom-Hylton from Neuqua Valley and Candace Parker from Naperville Central and all three of them were eventually drafted into the WNBA. While it’s still too early to start thinking about playing in the pros, it’s definitely not to soon to say that Greta Kampschroeder is one of the best we’ve ever seen.
Check out other Season 13 Award Show Nominees!