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Kimberly's Danny Vanden Boom has been selected as the 2016-17 male recipient of the Pat Richter Award from WisSports.net as the Triple Threat Athlete of the Year presented by Mayo Clinic.
The Triple Play Triple Threat of the Week is an honor given on WisSports.net to the top senior boys and girls three-sport athletes in the state. At the end of the school year, those awarded with the weekly honor are eligible for the Pat Richter Award, which will go out to the top boys and girls three-sport athlete of the season.
Hugh V. "Pat" Richter is one of Wisconsin's most storied student-athletes in state history. He was a three-sport athlete at Madison East High School, competing in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to fame at the University of Wisconsin, earning nine varsity letters in three sports and would later become the Athletic Director at Wisconsin.
Past winners of the award include Nate Stanley of Menomonie (2015-16), Alec Ingold of Bay Port (2014-15), Matt Ferris of Xavier (2013-14), Jester Weah of Madison Memorial (2012-13), Kyle Cody of McDonell Central (2011-12), Hank Kujak of Blair-Taylor (2010-11) and Donnie Hissa of Northwestern (2009-10).
There has always been a strong correlation between athletic success and academic success, and several senior athletes exemplified that, but perhaps none as much as Vanden Boom.
A true winner on the field, he was a part of three state championships teams while earning Academic All-State recognition in two sports.
As the son of former Wisconsin Badgers football player Matt Vanden Boom, Danny had big expectations placed on him early on, and he delivered in a big way.
On the gridiron, he quarterbacked the Papermakers to back-to-back Division 1 state championships, leading second half comebacks in title game wins over Arrowhead and Franklin. As a senior, he was named WFCA First Team All-State and the Gatorade Player of the Year after throwing for 2,166 yards and 31 touchdowns, taking home the Dave Krieg Award as top senior quarterback from WSN. He threw for 2,499 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior.
While the football season pushed into the start of basketball practices, he made a very successful transition to the hardwood, following up a Second Team All-Conference junior year by grabbing First Team laurels in the tough Fox Valley Association as a senior.
Vanden Boom averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds per game for head coach Lucky Wurtz as the team finished 21-5, advancing to the sectional finals.
In his junior season, Vanden Boom was a First Team All-State pick as a shortstop, also seeing time on the mound. He stepped into a much larger pitching role as a senior and continued to flourish.
He went 7-3 with a 1.36 ERA, striking out 35 batters in 51 1/3 innings. He was one of the team's top hitters as well, batting .325 with 16 RBI en route to First Team All-Conference recognition.
Unfortunately a foot injury suffered in the sectional finals prevented him from participating in the state tournament, where Kimberly won the Division 1 state championship.
A winner through and through, Vanden Boom will head to the University of Wisconsin as a football preferred walk-on, though it is likely he'll quickly earn a scholarship with the Badgers.
Not surprisingly, he identified football as his favorite sport.
"Football is my favorite because it is the ultimate team sport," he told WSN's Mark Miller during his initial Triple Threat feature. "There is an unbelievable amount of preparation that goes into every season, every game, every play and the rewards of seeing your work with your teammates payoff is a beautiful thing."
Playing on the Kimberly football teams under Steve Jones that have won four straight titles and 56 consecutive games overall, he identifies building relationships with teammates and coaches and competing as a team as the best part of high school sports.
What is the most challenging part?
"Time management and fatigue," he said.
A 4.0 student who was an Academic All-State choice in baseball and football and earned WIAA Scholar Athlete accolades he sees the value of high school athletics.
"Ideas such as teamwork, persistence, and having a great work ethic are things that are stressed each day of my high school career," he wrote in his Scholar Athlete essay.
To view our initial profile of Danny as part of our Triple Play Triple Threat Athlete of the Week series, please click here.