Kailee Kamps of Belmont High School tallied 11 varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and track & field and became the third recipient of the Pat Richter Award presented by WisSports.net as the Triple Play Triple Threat Female Athlete of the Year.
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 and is sponsored by the local community telephone companies of Wisconsin. 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 Andie Varsho of Marshfield (2009-10) and Kendall Wienkes of Highland (2010-11).
Due to Belmont’s low enrollment numbers, it is imperative that each sport gets participation from as many student-athletes as possible.
“Being from a small school you need the numbers and it would really hurt the program if you would drop out and quit,” said Kailee. “I always told myself once you start something you have to finish it no matter what it is.”
She started with volleyball in the fall of 2008. Under coaches Michelle Wedig and Megan Richardson she earned three varsity letters as a setter and outside hitter. During her junior and senior seasons she earned honorable mention and first team all-conference honors, respectively, in the Six Rivers Conference.
Her time on the volleyball court her freshman year assisted in her transition to the hardwood of basketball where, unlike in volleyball, she was a varsity athlete all four years. The size of the student population meant that most of the girls on the volleyball team would also be going out for the only female sport, other than gymnastics, offered during the winter season.
“Right away coming into volleyball you learn about playing together to be successful and helping out your teammates, and I think that made basketball easier coming in freshman year because most of us had already played together and we understood how important team chemistry was,” said Kailee.
That chemistry led to 56 wins over the past four seasons—including a 21-4 record in 2012—and the school’s first ever Six Rivers Conference championship, tying the league title with Potosi. Unfortunately, the Braves season ended in a regional finals loss to Potosi, 56-60, in the playoffs. The three-time first team all-conference guard/forward averaged a team- and conference-high 18.6 points per game along with 7 rebounds and over 3 assists and steals on her way to conference Player of the Year honors.
She ended her career with over 1,400 career points and was a first team all-state selection among Division 5 athletes from the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as a senior.
Though Kailee has experienced much success in her first two sports, she had this to say when asked about her favorite high school sport: “I would have to say track and field. It’s not necessarily a team sport because it’s all up to you. When you do really well and succeed, you know you did it by yourself and that feels really good.”
And by herself she did.
Kailee and fellow senior Amanda Adams were the only Belmont athletes to qualify for the track and field state championships this past June in La Crosse. Amanda failed to place in the 300m hurdles and triple jump, but Kailee, the 2010 discus champion, was runner-up in both throwing events for the second consecutive season. This comes a year after Kailee was one of just four athletes on the Belmont roster—this year there were seven.
Coach Jason Weittenhiller from an interview in April 2012: “Luckily track is an individual sport. Even with only four girls, you can still have success. We weren't going to win any team titles [in 2011], but we did get 50 % of our team to state and 100 % to sectionals.”
In her four letter-winning seasons Kailee qualified for the state meet three times, finishing in the top-3 in both the shot put and discus each season. She finished second to Algoma’s Kennedy Blahnik each of the past two years. The Minnesota recruit ended her career with personal bests of 45’-7.25 in the shot put and 147’-5 in the discus.
Coming from such a small school and town—the village of Belmont has a population of 823 according to the belmontWI.com website—Kailee and her schoolmates are, in a sense, expected to compete in multiple sports. The school only houses 10 combined male and female sports, including girls gymnastics, which could be greatly affected if students didn’t decide to compete in more than one in a given school year. Though year-long training and competition can be taxing, mentally and physically, Kailee and her teammates found ways to remain focused on their sport and their studies.
“Being from a small school it is kind of expected of you considering the small numbers, but what people don't know is that high school sports are really fun,” she said. “You are busy all the time, you get to hang out with your friends, and most of all have fun.”
She added: “For me high school sports were basically my life for the last four years. There was never a time I wasn't lifting, in the gym shooting hoops or throwing, or at camps, clinics, and leagues. I can say that high school sports have helped shape me into the well rounded person I am today.”
Her accolades include: WIAA Scholar Athlete; Senior Year Award winner; Four Year Science Award; Four Year History Award; Spanish 4 Award; Physics Award; Distinguished Honors (4 years); National Honors Society; class president and left school with a 3.98 GPA.
“I can say that I wouldn't be where I am today if it hadn't been for my family, friends, and coaches pushing me to be the best that I could possibly be these last four years. This award tells me that my hard work has paid off and that anybody can do anything they set their mind to.”
To view our initial profile of Kailee as part of our Triple Play Triple Threat Athlete of the Week series, please click here.