Illness forced Jade Williams to miss the final game of her high school hockey career.
It is not the end of her career, far from it. Williams has her college plans sorted out, with plenty of hockey charted out for her before she leaves for Marian College.
On the first weekend of April, Williams and her sister, Bailey, will be part of the Wisconsin Selects team that will be playing in the U19 national championship tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. The sisters will head directly from Buffalo to Europe, where they will be part of a United States team that will play in Finland, Estonia and Sweden.
The national tournament in Buffalo will be the first hockey Williams has played in two months. She was sidelined by a case of mononucleosis in early February, forcing her to miss her final high school game, the Western Wisconsin Stars' loss to Hayward in the opening round of the WIAA playoffs.
Williams received all-state honors for the second straight season at the end of the 2018-19 season, and that success, and her outstanding leadership, earned her The News Female Athlete of the Season award for the winter season.
The role for Williams this season was far different than in her first three high school seasons. Until this season, Williams was the primary scorer for the team. With a major influx of talented freshmen, Williams was able to concentrate on her other skills. She said with her college plans already set, she was more concerned with helping her younger teammates develop.
Williams is one of the few girls in the history of the program to score 100 points in her career. She finished with 105 career points, including 25 as a senior.
Because of the mono and an enlarged spleen, Williams hasn't been able to skate since the diagnosis. This will be the second straight year that Williams played at nationals.
The Stars went 14-4-1 this season under Williams' leadership. She said she quickly felt a bond with the younger girls on the team.
"This is the best season I had all through high school. Having other kids who could score made it a lot more fun," Williams said. She said with the younger teammates she worked on passing, which is a skill she wanted to hone as she prepares for the college game.