Every once in a while there are a couple of special athletes who compete at a high level and are recruited to play at a high level university. Lakeland Union High School honored two special student-athletes on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Ashley Peterson and Kyle Bengtson received scholarships to continue to play their respective sports at the next level.
Peterson received a scholarship to run cross country and track at the University of Wisconsin-Madison next year.
Peterson has been the cross country Great Northern Conference Runner of the Year three years in a row, most recently winning the 2019 GNC meet with a time of 21:21.9.
“(I’m) happy for Ashley. This is awesome. This is what she’s wanted. She’s been talking about this for over a year,” cross country and track and field coach Dan Claussen said. “It’s kind of neat that she ended up going where she initially wanted to go.”
Including conference, Peterson won a total of four cross country meets and participated in the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis in September.
Another accomplishment for Peterson has been her three trips to state in cross country. In 2018, Peterson finished sixth at state with a time of 19:01.4, giving her a spot on the podium. This year at state, she finished 15th with a time of 19:34.5.
Peterson has also found success on the track. In 2019, she was first team all-conference in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:12.19. She qualified for state in both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, where she placed top five and on the podium in both runs.
“Since sophomore year it’s been a dream of mine to go to Wisconsin,” Peterson said. “I just thought it’d be super cool because I’ve grown up as a huge Badger fan and my family is a Badger fan. I’m really excited to be a Badger and I think it’ll be a lot of fun and exciting.”
Bengtson received a scholarship to play golf at the University of Green Bay next year.
Bengtson was one of the leaders of a Lakeland golf team that won every conference meet and participated in the state golf meet this past spring.
Within that 2019 season, Bengtson was Lakeland’s top golfer, finishing with a total score of 524 in the Great Northern Conference and scoring a total of 63.50 points.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” Kyle Bengtson said. “(I needed to) step up my game to reach the next level to get to a D1 and play for a D1 school for my college years (and) hopefully train myself to try and be on the pro tour, so this is really awesome.”
That 63.50 point total was the best in conference, earning him the Player of the Year.
Bengtson was first team all-conference in 2018 as well and second team in 2017, consistently putting up great scores and continuing to get better.
Some of his other great accomplishments this past season include winning a regional title at Medford and finishing tied for third at sectionals.
Bengtson saved his best for last. He finished fifth in the WIAA Division 2 state meet with a score of 3-over.
Then in the summer, Bengtson won the Wisconsin PGA Junior Tour’s College Showcase Tournament at Whistling Straits in Kohler. He shot an even-par round of 72 in the final round to finish 2-over for the championship.
“It’s absolutely remarkable. His accomplishments speak for themselves,” golf coach Scott Howard. said “I’m really proud to see him on this next level and it’s going to be fun to watch him the next four years.”
Look to see Peterson on the track and Bengtson on the golf course when spring sports start in March.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]