The 2018-19 Hutchinson High School sports season is over, and for seniors that means the end of their time as a Tiger. Two of those athletes are Liza Wortz and Christian Kurth, who were named the 2019 Hutchinson Athletes of the Year.
Each year, HHS honors its top male and female athletes during its annual senior awards night, which was on June 2. The top senior athletes are voted on by the varsity head coaches of each sports team. To be considered for this award, athletes must have participated in two or more sports, be selected as a captain, earn all-conference honors, and must not have had any Minnesota State High School League violations.
“There’s a lot of other great athletes in my grade,” Wortz said, “so I was honored to be picked as female athlete of the year.”
“It was one of those things that you always kind of hope for,” Kurth said. “You work your butt off all season for all those years. You don’t think about it until you’re done, so once I finished up sports, then I was kind of hoping for it or thinking what my chances of getting it (were).”
Wortz is a familiar name to Hutchinson sports fans. She has played varsity basketball since her freshman year and helped the Tigers reach state that season, which she said was her favorite memory as a Tiger. She’s also been a stalwart player on the softball diamond, where she covered third base this past season.
She was motivated to work toward the award after her sister, Tori, won it two years ago.
“When Tori got it I was like, ‘Well, now I have to get it,’” she said.
Kurth has also invested a lot in athletics as captain of both the football and wrestling teams this year. He held down the middle linebacker and fullback positions on the gridiron and had back-to-back state wrestling appearances, placing third at 182 pounds in March. He also played baseball before picking up track and field this past spring, finishing as one of Hutchinson’s top throwers.
Though Hutchinson football didn’t win a state title during his tenure, Kurth said that his favorite memory was playing linebacker during his sophomore season with his brother, Chandler.
Both athletes are continuing their athletic careers into college. Kurth will play football for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the fall, while Wortz is committed to rejoin her sister on the basketball court at St. Cloud State University.
Though their time in a Tigers uniform is over, both shared words of encouragement and thanks to the people who follow them and those who helped them along the way.
“For all younger kids, don’t really worry too much about the things that are going to happen in the future,” Kurth said, “just worry about the now and how you can better yourself for tomorrow.”
“Hutch is a very supportive community and it’s really fun to play for,” Wortz said. “The coaches and teammates are better than I could ever ask for. They’re like family to me.”