Hall to induct Georgeff

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BDN photo Playing for Beloit Catholic, Bridget Georgeff was a 1,000-point scorer.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Bridget Georgeff says she occasionally receives a note from her daughter's third-grade physical education teacher informing her that her daughter, Brooklyn can be a tad too competitive in class.

"She doesn't like to lose," Georgeff said.

The proverbial apple, it seems, hasn't fallen far from the tree. Bridget's competitive streak was legendary, whether on the playground, the basketball court as a standout at Beloit Catholic High School or as an adult competing in duathlon races.

Her drive to finish on top helped her become an elite athlete and earned her induction into the Beloit Historical Society's Elliott-Perring Sports Hall of Fame. She will be inducted June 13 at the Rotary River Center in Beloit.

The big news about Georgeff is that she is no longer competing -at least officially. Her last duathlon was in 2017.

"All I do now is a lot of running on my own and crossfit five times a week," said Georgeff, 42. "I sometimes get the desire to compete, but I don't want to unless I'm at my best. I think if I went back I'd be disappointed."

That doesn't mean she's no longer competitive.

"I compete with myself in crossfit and I compete with other people there, but nobody knows it," she said with a chuckle.

She sees a lot of herself in Brooklyn, who just turned 9 and is already in her second season of travel softball. She's also an avid basketball player, just like mom.

Bridget's athletic career began in the neighborhood and at the YMCA where she usually played against boys.

"I loved playing sports all day every day and playing against boys makes you better," she said. "I really got into basketball. I don't know if it was because it was action all the time. I was the kind of kid who would rock myself to sleep every night."

Her first organized sports was in grade school at Our Lady of the Assumption School. She said she wouldn't describe herself as a "natural" in basketball.

"The natural part of it for me was the competitive part and wanting to work very hard," she said. "But I wouldn't say I was a natural basketball player. My shooting form now as an adult is good, but as a kid I just threw it up there and naturally followed through with my left hand. I just shot so much and if I was missing certain shots in a game, I'd either practice them that night or the next day."

She began to make a name for herself as a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard starting on the varsity at Beloit Catholic during the 1992-93 season. She earned Beloit Daily News All-Area Second Team honors.

She grew an inch and stepped up her game to become one of the area's elite guards as a junior. She led the Stateline scoring 17.1 points per game. She shot 52.7 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line plus dished off 5.5 assists.

The 18-5 Crusaders reached the Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 3 championship in 1994, but fell to Marinette Catholic Central, 59-43. Center Marissa Christianson led BCHS with 20 points while Bridget dropped in 11. They both were named to the All-Tournament Team. Her coach, Brad Witt, was named BDN All-Area Coach of the Year.

As a senior, Bridget was All-Area Player of the Year. She again led the area in scoring with 16.6 points, along with an area-best 44 3-pointers.

The Crusaders again had a strong 1-2 punch as Bridget teamed with sophomore Julie Schill, a Hall of Famer in her own right. The 17-7 Crusaders finished third in the Rock Valley Conference and headed back to Milwaukee for the WISAA finals. Marinette Catholic again handed them a 44-33 loss and Bridget repeated on the All-Tournament Team.

Bridget finished with 1,189 career points, earning a scholarship from Division II UW-Parkside. To prepare for the rigors of college basketball she began lifting weights in earnest. All that weight-training took its toll.

"When I went to Parkside I was in a big shooting funk," she said. "I think it was because I lifted weights so much and I didn't shoot around enough."

Bridget said the Parkside coaches tried to adjust her shooting form.

"Two point guards got hurt so I had the chance to play, but it was a struggle," she said. "The coaches switched everything with my shot and it was a big adjustment. I lost confidence."

Bridget chose to transfer to UW-Whitewater.

"When I went to Whitewater I was confident because I was going from Division II to III," she said. "But then we got to tryouts and while I made the team, I was in a funk again. My college career just did not pan out. I would go back in a heartbeat and try to re-do that,"

After graduation, Bridget married her former coach, Brad Witt. They had two children, Brooklyn and Brady, with both births causing her to take a break from her next athletic passion. running and cycling.

During a seven-year span from 2011-17, she raced duathlons, criteriums, road races and time trals. In 2012, she competed in the Duathlon World Championships in Nancy, France where she finished 12th overall. She was ranked 10th in the nation at the end of that season in the females ages 35-39 and 40-44.

By 2013, she was ranked eighth. In 2014 she was fifth, in 2015 fifth and in 2016 fourth. She was the Wisconsin Time Trial State Champion in 2016. In all, she won over 20 duathlons during her career.

In 2015, she finished eighth overall and third in her age group at the Duathlon National Championships. The following year she was the national runnerup for 40-44 females and finished 14th overall in the event in Portland, Ore.

"I was so close to a national championship in my age group," she said. "I got passed late in the run and I can still see the back of her calf. That's where they put your age division. That was devastating."

Now divorced and starting a new job in May at Aurora Health System, Bridget figures it's time to let Brooklyn be the competitor in the family and reap the benefits.

"You receive so many life skills playing sports, everything from teamwork and worth ethic to punctuality," she said. "Really, I think you learn more out of playing sports than anything. Kids need that."

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