What a year for Catholic Memorial athletics. The Crusaders’ huge 2016 gave us many of the biggest storylines from the past calendar year, though the biggest belonged to a Waukesha South alumna.

Rio Grand. Waukesha South’s Gwen Jorgensen, whose 2012 Olympics experience in London was cut heartbreakingly short when she encountered a flat tire during the biking portion of the triathlon, went to Rio de Janeiro looking for a long-awaited atonement and got it Aug. 20. Jorgensen won the gold medal for the United States in the triathlon. It was the first time an American woman had even medaled in the event since 2004 and the first time a U.S. woman had ever claimed gold.

The kick, the rematch, the gold. After a 51-yard field goal by Eric Fridl rescued the Crusaders in Level 2 of the playoffs, Catholic Memorial hit another gear and capped the 2016 season with the WIAA Division 3 state championship. In the final, the Crusaders downed Notre Dame, 24-14, in a rematch of the 2015 game that went horribly wrong for CMH. It was the crown jewel of a fall season that featured state championships for CMH team sports in three consecutive weeks.

Scho goes national. A Waukesha West player was drafted into the NFL for the first time ever, when Joe Schobert was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns. At the University of Wisconsin, Schobert became the Big Ten’s best linebacker, and he helped the Badgers to win in the Outback Bowl as a junior over Auburn and USC in the Holiday Bowl as a senior.

Waukesha North beats Arrowhead. It was a moment that captivated all football fans in Wisconsin when the Northstars football program, down on its luck for years, defeated perennial heavyweight and four-time reigning state finalist Arrowhead in the Classic 8 Conference opener. North started the year 4-0 and ultimately fell short of the playoffs, but it was a big moment for coach Matt Harris and his personnel.

The Showalter Hire. Catholic Memorial had a bit of a coup on its hands in boys basketball when it landed former Germantown head coach Steve Showalter for its boys basketball coaching opening. Showalter had spent some time as a college assistant since leading Germantown to meteoric heights in Division 1 basketball, including three straight state titles, but Showalter elected to leave CMH before ever coaching a game when the Menomonee Falls position opened up. CMH then turned to Mike Serath, a former assistant in multiple programs, and the Crusaders have started the 2016-17 season on a strong note.

High five. No girls or boys soccer team in Wisconsin history had ever won five consecutive titles until now. The Catholic Memorial girls soccer team won its fifth straight and finished the year 23-1-2, downing Belleville/New Glarus in the Division 3 final, 5-0. Decorated senior Emily Cervantes closed her career with a state-record 13 goals in the WIAA postseason.

On a Crusade. Surely, you didn’t think Catholic Memorial’s title haul from 2016 ended there. The boys volleyball team rallied from two sets down to stun Marquette in the state championship match for the title, one week after the girls volleyball team won a third straight crown in convincing fashion. The boys golf team also hauled home a state championship last spring. And that still doesn’t account for the individual champions, such as Gabe Bautz winning the first wrestling title in CMH history or a big day at state track.

Speed demons. Let’s talk about state track, shall we? Memorial set a new state record in the 4x100-meter relay (Abbey Finnegan, Tatum Straw, Josie Schrubbe, Kathleen Hirsch) and also won the 4x200 with the same foursome on the girls side. On the boys side, the 4x100 also went to the Crusaders, with Matt Lechner, Max Cooper, Josh Karfonta and Dylan Schrubbe on board. Waukesha in general had a great day at the meet. After a number of runnerup and podium finishes, Emma Langer finally won gold when she won the 4x800-meter relay with teammates Brooke Lytle, Becca Langer and Sam Hanson. Emma now runs for the University of Wisconsin (while Becca and Lytle played key roles in West taking fourth at state cross country, with Hanson also part of that team). The Waukesha South 4x100 squad of Daeonna Johnson, Kaylee Gessay, Jestine Green and Armoni Brown took second at state in Division 1.

A pair of good shoes. Waukesha West’s soccer program continued to deliver big results, making state on both the boys and girls side. Both fell in the semifinal to eventual state champions by 2-1 counts, with the boys falling to Whitefish Bay and the girls to Homestead.

Earning their Wings. The Waukesha Wings hockey team won its first-ever state-tournament game when it defeated Madison Edgewood in the state quarterfinal. Waukesha, which won a 2-1 battle over Janesville in the sectional final to earn that trip to state, fell to Hudson in the state semifinal, 4-1.

Other stories

Waukesha South qualified for the boys team state tennis tournament, with a CMH doubles and singles entrant finishing on the podium in the individual meet. … Waukesha South’s Grace Dargiewicz took eighth at state cross-country, with teammate Libby Geisness in 40th. … Waukesha West’s Jarred Kelenic won a gold medal with the U18 Team USA baseball team in the Pan-American Games and was named Team MVP for the tournament. … Michael Juarez of Waukesha North took 17th at state cross-country and led the Northstars to state as a team. … Waukesha West graduate Erik Sowinski just missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic track and field team in the 800 meters. … Waukesha West’s Peter MacCudden ran for 2,000 yards in football and helped the Wolverines to Level 3 of the playoffs.