Ryan Voltz, Madi Szymanski named Alpena High’s Athletes of the Year
ALPENA — Ryan Voltz and Madi Szymanski are very familiar with the names adorning the trophies which honor Alpena High School’s Male and Female Athlete each year.
On Monday, the two seniors joined some select company when they were named Alpena Male and Female Athlete of the Year respectively for 2022 during the school’s annual senior sports banquet.
The two of them will have their names etched alongside former Wildcat standouts, some of whom were former teammates.
Szymanski, a track and cross county standout who will run at Northern Michigan University next year, said she was surprised to win the award and join a list that includes many former Alpena runners.
“I’m super honored to have gotten the award. Looking at everybody’s name who’s on it who’s won it before me, it’s an honor to get to put my name on that list and I’m really grateful that my hard work has been recognized in that way,” Szymanski said.
Voltz, who is also headed to Northern Michigan to study sports science, earned his award after being a key contributor in football, basketball, and track over multiple seasons.
“I am very honored to win it and very humbled. It feels good to have my hard work recognized,” Voltz said. “But I wouldn’t have gotten it if not for my teammates and coaches pushing me to be the best I can be.”
Despite batting injuries, struggles, and even the COVID-19 pandemic during her high school career, Szymanski will graduate with a decorated resume. In cross country, she was an all-conference runner who qualified for the state finals three times. In one of her proudest moments as a Wildcat, Szymanski earned all-state honors in November after finishing 22nd in the Division 1 race at Michigan International Speedway.
“That’s something I’ve wanted since freshman year. I’ve had lots of injuries and lots of struggles and it’s been hard,” Szymanski said. “But I’m most proud of that because of how hard I worked to be able to do that.”
In track, Szymanski hopes for a big finish this spring too. She competed in the 3,200 run at last year’s state finals and finished 14th. This spring, she’s already set a new program record in the 1,600 run and has her sights set on qualifying in the 3,200 run again.
“I really only had one other track season, but I’m grateful to be here, grateful that I’m healthy and excited to see what I can do,” Szymanski said.
Voltz was thrust into action on the gridiron as a sophomore and helped Alpena go 4-5 and contend for a playoff spot in 2019 as the team’s quarterback. He returned from injury last fall to quarterback Alpena again for the majority of the season and also earned all-Big North Conference honors as a punter.
On the court, Voltz was a key contributor for the Wildcats, averaging seven points and 4.6 rebounds as a senior. He earned an all-Big North honorable mention in March and scored nine points in a Senior Night win over Traverse City Central.
That win, Voltz said, was one of his proudest moments as a Wildcat.
“Traverse City Central is one of our biggest rivals. We had a student section, the fans were electrifying and it was so good to beat them, especially when they beat us (11 days prior),” Voltz said.
This spring, Voltz has been a standout hurdler and discus thrower for Alpena and hopes to end his Alpena career on as high a note as possible.
“The time I’ve spent (as an Alpena athlete) has been amazing,” Voltz said. “It’s been very memorable and special. I dreamed about being a part of (Alpena) varsity sports since I was little and it’s surreal to think it’s almost over.”