Athlete of the week: Gold medalist Marle Wendland

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) Stoney Kilmer says 'I remember the first time she came in she just wants to learn some self-defense and get in shape. I was watching her, after a day I walked up to her and I said you don't just want to learn, you want to box. And she said yes I do.'

Marle Wendland says,'I just thought I would kind of train and see how I did, and compete around here.'

Marle Wendland has done more than just compete locally, she is making a name for herself globally.

Kilmer says, ' I think we made history, I don't think anybody in South Dakota has done what we've done before."

Wendland captured a Gold Medal at the American Boxing Confederation's Youth Continental Championships in Colorado Springs.

Wendland says, ' I was really happy and excited. I kind of got chills standing on top of the podium with the national anthem being played and the flag being raised.'

The gold didn't come early as the match was decided by a split decision.

Wendland says,' So when they said split decision I got nervous because I didn't want to lose. But I go the decision.'

"It felt great. I was so happy.'

While the Northern Hills boxer sweated out the judges' decision, her parents had other moisture on their face after their daughter won.

Kilmer says, ' I'm sure that they shed some tears. As they watched, the anthem going with their daughter on the podium. the whole crowd chanting USA USA USA during the third round. How could you not.'

Wendland says, ' They were kind of teary-eyed and very proud of me.'

Wendland's boxing family was also full of emotion.

Kilmer says, ' I was extremely proud. My kids were sitting next to me. I started screaming, and they just jumped back.'

Now with a gold, the focus turns to another international bout, this time in Europe.

Kilmer says,' Budapest. That's in August, first, she needs some time off, or she'll burn out. Second, we will get ready and train for the world and get ready for another gold medal.'

Despite the success, the gold, and international competition. Wendland stays grounded to her roots and giving back

Wendland says, ' One of my friends jumped on me she was excited to see me, all my friends wanted me to bring the medal so they can look at it.'

Kilmer says,' We did a benefit with a girl in Rapid City who had cancer who has since passed away. She wanted her picture with a future Olympian and got a photo with Marle. That just meant the world to her, that's a lasting impression on a child who is no longer here. That hopefully inspired her to fight another day.'

Congratulations to Marle Wendland on being this week's athlete of the week. I'm Jeff Voss, Black Hills Fox Sports