When game time arrives, there are certain athletes that coaches want on their side: They are intense, competitive and eager for the challenge.
Madison Edgewood’s Brita Hovde is all those things.
“When it is go time, she would be one of my picks,” Madison Edgewood girls basketball coach Lora Staveness said.
Hovde completed a memorable senior year as a singles player for Edgewood’s WIAA Division 2 state championship tennis team; a key contributor for the Crusaders’ Division 3 state championship girls basketball team; the leading scorer for Edgewood’s Division 3 state tournament semifinalist in soccer; and as a WIAA Scholar Athlete.
“I definitely knew in all three seasons that we had a chance at state and winning it,” Hovde said. “My class of girls from freshman year was super-athletic. I knew we would do pretty well in sports.”
For her efforts, Hovde was selected as the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Girls Athlete of the Year.
“The most fun part for me is being on the team,” Hovde said. “I’ve made a ton of new friendships. You meet a lot of different people. Athletics also is a good way for me to get my energy out.”
Hovde always has been athletic and competitive, a self-described tomboy who played a variety of sports with and against boys since she was in third or fourth grade. It didn’t matter whether it was soccer or baseball with the boys, swimming or playing lacrosse as a youth, Hovde was in the middle of the action.
That love of athletics and competition continued throughout high school.
“Brita is an amazing competitor,” Madison Edgewood girls soccer coach Chris Martinelli said. “She won our team’s ‘Most Competitive Player’ award for the second straight year.
“She is a classic example of a kid who challenges and inspires her teammates and opponents to play at a high level through her competitive spirit.”
Hovde, a first-team All-Badger South Conference choice and honorable-mention All-State selection in soccer, totaled 20 goals, including five game-winners, and 11 assists this spring.
She scored Edgewood’s goal off a header in the Division 3 state semifinal against Winneconne. The match ended in a 1-1 deadlock, but Winneconne advanced to the title game after a penalty-kick shootout.
Staveness described Hovde as “a nice kid, with a big heart,” whose competitive drive was frequently on display.
The hard-working Hovde brought the fire to the basketball team, Staveness said.
“She’s a tremendous competitor. … She just plays so hard and is intense,” Staveness said.
The 5-foot-7 Hovde had the offensive game of her life — “an out-of-body experience,” she called it — during the Crusaders’ state semifinal victory over Wrightstown at the state tournament in March at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
Hovde came off the bench and during a 4-minute, 43-second span scored 12 consecutive first-half points en route to a game-high and career-best 14 points, rallying the Crusaders from an early seven-point deficit. That propelled Edgewood to a comfortable semifinal victory; the Crusaders then defeated Greendale Martin Luther for the school’s first WIAA title in girls basketball.
Hovde knew her role in basketball, particularly on a team featuring standouts Estella Moschkau, Katie Meriggioli and Caitlin Link.
“I was not the most skilled player on the court — Estella, Katie and Caitlin were especially good,” Hovde said. “I liked to bring the energy, bring hard work and get into people’s faces. I knew my role wasn’t to be the leading point scorer.”The basketball championship meant much to the Crusaders.
“That was super-exciting, especially for ‘Stav,’ ” Hovde said about Staveness. “That was a huge deal for her, Edgewood and Edgewood girls basketball. That was an emotional moment for the team — the first title ‘Stav’ won with Edgewood. She is very beloved at the school. We were all really happy for her.”
Hovde, the Badger Conference tennis tournament champion at No. 3 singles, won both her matches in helping the Crusaders sweep Stevens Point Pacelli in the semifinal and Eau Claire Regis in the final at the Division 2 state tournament last fall.
The Crusaders earned their second consecutive title.
“All of us seniors were relieved and super happy,” Hovde said about the five seniors on the team. “We were together for an amazing four years. We won three years there and were runner-up my sophomore year.
“We had done a lot together, so it was emotional at the end, with everything coming to a close. But it was fun, definitely a lot of fun.”
Hovde found that athletics and her other activities, including student government, helped her with time management. She said she wasn’t a naturally gifted student, so, as in athletics, she relied on hard work to do well. That was exemplified by Hovde’s selection as one of 32 individuals statewide who received the WIAA Scholar Athlete Award.
Hovde will attend the University of Colorado, where she plans to study business, participate in club or intramural sports and possibly ski.
Little wonder Staveness said Hovde is the kind of student-athlete that coaches love to have on their side.
“You want more kids that play the three sports, that love life, they care about academics, they have a family that is really supportive of them and they are good to their teammates,” Staveness said. “In the moment, they are really competitive, but when they step outside the lines, they are a normal kid.”