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2019 Scholar Athletes - Boys

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2019 Scholar Athletes - Boys

Division 1

Austin C. Thyes, Sheboygan North High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
8 varsity letters accumulated in soccer, basketball and golf...All-conference first team in soccer 2 years and golf 1 year...Team MVP in soccer 1 year.

Essay
Throughout high school, I have learned many life lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My basketball coach always said if you "take care of your schoolwork, basketball will take care of itself." I took care of all my schoolwork so I could focus on athletics and it has really paid off. I learned the value of hard work throughout my basketball career. I was not very good at basketball as I made the B team my freshman year and didn’t even start. I was thinking about quitting but I decided to stick with it. I was almost cut from JV but because of my hard work and hustle, there was a spot for me. I stayed after practices, played during the summer, and improved tremendously. I started for the varsity team this year and I couldn't be more proud of myself. One of the things I am most proud of is being named captain of soccer, basketball, and golf my senior year. I learned how to lead my teammates by always having a positive attitude and trying my hardest. This also means I have to set an example in the classroom as well as on the court. I am proud to say I have graduated with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian honors. By instilling the values of hard work, leadership, and education into my life during high school, I hope to take these lessons with me for the rest of my life.

 

Malik Tiedt, Burlington High School – 4.00 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
7 varsity letters accumulated in volleyball and tennis...All-conference first team in volleyball 3 years...Team MVP in volleyball 4 years.

Essay
Playing volleyball and tennis throughout the past four years has provided me with experiences I will forever remember. Through athletics, I have learned a substantial amount of leadership, teamwork, integrity, and support. The event that most significantly impacted my life took place last summer. My family was in the middle of relocating due to unfortunate circumstances when my volleyball teammates and their parents showed up to support us in whatever way possible. Their help was unforeseen, but knowing that the entire volleyball community stood by my family’s side gave me a remarkable appreciation for the brothers I had on the court. Many of my team members may have seen the event as simply a good deed, but it was able to bring us together; it emphasized that being part of a team is not just dedicating our time to improve athletic mastery, but also to form encouraging relationships. I was not surprised to see that my team was most successful in the season following the event; it proved that encouragement led to a greater sense of camaraderie and success. I hope to bring this lesson with me for the rest of my life. When I first played sports, I assumed that the most successful teams brought home the gold trophies and first place medals. However, through years of both success and failure, I learned that the most vital part of being on a team, whether it be athletic or not, is providing encouragement and support for other.

 

Kevin Meicher, Middleton High School – 3.83 GPA

Athletic Snapshot
Accumulated 7 varsity letters in football and wrestling...Individual state champion in wrestling...All-conference first team in football 1 year...Team MVP in wrestling 4 years.

Essay
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he  stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Developing a disciplined lifestyle, recognizing the importance of teamwork, and leaving a lasting impression on others helped me embrace challenging situations that I encountered in high school sports, in the classroom, and eventually will encounter later in life.  As a wrestler, I take responsibility for what happens in every match.  A disappointing loss allows me to appreciate what it means to win a championship.  My confidence and mental fortitude results from countless hours of practice, physical training, self-evaluation, and competing in the off-season.  In football, team chemistry is critical to achieve a common goal, but each teammate can be different in their personality, attitude, and experience level.  As a team captain, I learned to motivate my team as a whole - celebrating successes, as well as facing the consequences of mistakes without setting anyone apart from the rest.  Lastly, if I am not remembered for my successful career as a football player and wrestler, I hope I left a lasting impression on students who I tutored in math and science.  I found great fulfillment in helping others conquer their fears and gain self-confidence with subjects in which they struggle.  I have always been passionate about being the best I can be, and I hope to enjoy the rewards of my high school experiences long after I graduate.

 

Ryan Krueger, Marshfield High School – 3.85 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 9 varsity letters in football, hockey and baseball...All-conference first team in football 1 year...Team MVP in football-offense 2 years, hockey 2 years and baseball 1 year.

Essay
The greatest lesson that I take away from my academic and athletic experiences in high school is that a goal worth pursuing doesn’t always come easily and that one must be tenacious in their pursuits towards that ambitious goal. Throughout my secondary education, I would set my academic goals before the first day of class. Those goals included achieving an A- average and passing all of my AP tests at the end of the year. Class assignments and exams provided me with accurate feedback of the success of my efforts. If these marks didn’t coincide with my goals, then I knew I needed to reassess my efforts and find specific areas to improve upon. The lesson of tenacity and ambition was also synonymous with my athletic pursuits. I would set goals for numbers to hit in the weight room and individual and team achievements to accomplish in football, hockey, and baseball. My tireless efforts wouldn’t always lead directly to success, however I do not give up on a goal worth fighting for. I embrace the challenge and continue to battle. The tenacious determination that I developed in my high school academic and athletic careers will lead me to successfully set and achieve ambitious goals later in life. I have already set my goals high by committing to the University of Minnesota Duluth to play college football and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management. I will constantly embrace and overcome the challenges that lie ahead in college and beyond. 

 

Division 2
 

Owen Jelinek, Lodi High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
8 varsity letters accumulated in football, basketball, and track and field...Member of state champion football team...Member of state champion relay team...All-conference first team in football 1 year...Team MVP in track and field 1 year.

Essay
My Junior year football season, my team had a collective goal of winning a state championship. By the end of the season we were at Camp Randall. After winning the state championship in overtime, I went from teammate to teammate hugging them, each one crying, telling me, “We did it, man. I love you.” I won’t remember plays from that game, but I will remember the love and trust I felt with that team. The value of the relationships we made meant more than winning and achieving our goals. This moment taught me the meaning of team and how important a team is. Through my high school career, athletic moments like these, along with academic challenges have left me with values I will hold for all of my life. The most important values I have learned are this meaning of team and toughness. In basketball, I was taught that toughness was not reacting to a bad call, but rather working harder at the things you can control or doing the little things that go unnoticed. Your toughness is measured in how you respond to a setback and what you’re willing to do to succeed. In academics, toughness is spending the time that other people don’t to study and accepting challenging things as opportunities to grow rather than to fall short. Toughness is the growth mentality that sets some high school student athletes apart. Remembering these examples of toughness and the meaning of team will guide the rest of my life.


Gervase Thompson, IV, Northwestern High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
9 varsity letters accumulated in football, basketball and baseball...All-conference first team in football 3 years...Team MVP in football-defense 2 years.

Essay
I cannot imagine my high school experience without sports. The many hours spent on the field/court and in the classroom, have taught me a great lesson: perseverance. As a kid, I was never “supposed” to be one of the top students academically in my class or an all-state football player. In elementary school, I was not the smartest in the class or the most athletic kid. In high school especially, a few football coaches helped me see how playing hard and persevering through every obstacle on the field directly related not only to how I could become a better player and person but also how to face challenges and find success in the classroom. On the flip side, facing a variety of challenges in classes and in sports has clearly shined a spotlight on the impact that a coach’s positive encouragement has had on me as a student/athlete. In fact, I believe that my high school team’s successes and my personal growth as a player and leader have a direct connection to the faith and encouragement that a few coaches had in me and my teammates. Persevering in sports has impacted my pursuit of knowledge in the classroom and contributed to me learning to work hard and manage my time. Being a three-sport athlete, I have to use my limited after-school study time wisely following sports practices or games. As a student athlete, I know that the time I invested in both sports and academics was invaluable.

 

Shane Liegel, River Valley HIgh School – 3.85 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 10 varsity letters in football, wrestling, and track & field...Three-time individual state champion in wrestling...All-conference first team in football 3 years...Team MVP in football-defense 2 years, football-offense 2 years, and wrestling 2 years.

Essay
Growing up in a family who is driven by athletics, I have learned to use my athletic experiences to bring out my best academic experiences. One of the greatest life lessons brought unto me by my teachers, coaches, and parents is in the value of working hard. No matter who you are or where you come from, you need to continue to work hard in order to see a positive end result. Three state wrestling championships aren't what I see that will define me in the future, rather the steady discipline and dedication from waking up early, going to school, followed by hours of practicing to come home and having to study. There is much more to life than winning. There's going to be times when you fail whether it be in the classroom or in the field and I've come to accept that. I know it’s more about how you respond from the setback rather than the setback itself. Participating in sports was a way of being able to represent my community in the best way possible and give back to those who have offered me so much in my four years at River Valley. I have gained many skills from competing in sports.  While taking AP classes and participating in various clubs, and practicing my sports, I have learned the importance of time management and how to divide my time between sports and academics.

 

Andrew Pahnke, McFarland High School – 3.85 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 7 varsity letters in cross country and track & field...All-conference in cross country 4 years...Team MVP in cross country 4 years and track & field 3 years.

Essay
I lost this past year in state cross country and received second place. After the race, I was emotionally numb trying not to be vulnerable. When interviewed,  I avoided the topic of my personal performance.    Lying in my bed later that night, my mind could not relax. With what felt like liters of lactic acid corroding my muscles, I reflected on that day for hours. I lost. Somebody else won, yet I realized everybody cheered for me. My parents were cheering for me, my teammates cheered, and my opponents themselves cheered. Don’t get me wrong; I was disappointed. I was furious at nobody but myself. I was proud of the person I’d become through this sport. I had made friends of competitors and people I could never imagine meeting without athletics. Academically, I have taken the most strenuous classes offered by my school. Last year, I had the choice to either take an easy literature course or a second semester of physics. I was not a natural physicist: it showed. I pushed through; I spent late, sore nights after races and workouts grinding my physics homework. I finished with a B; however, I fought for that B as hard as possible, and I’m just as proud of that as my A’s in AP Biology and AP Calculus. Losses provide more wisdom than wins. They provide the feedback to become the best one can be. Winning without challenge provides nothing more than a gilded pat on the back.

 

Division 3


Cade Christensen, St. Mary’s Springs High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
9 varsity letters accumulated in football, basketball and baseball...Member of 3 state champion football teams...All-conference first team in football 2 years, basketball 2 years and baseball 1 year...Team MVP in basketball 2 years and baseball 1 year.

Essay
The greatest lessons that I have been taught through being a student athlete are hard-work, dedication, and commitment. The hard-work began with a passion to try to be one of the best three-sport athletes to step foot at St. Mary’s Springs Academy. I dedicated myself to countless hours of extra shooting in the gym, weight-lifting, and playing on summer teams to better my skills. This commitment was far from easy because I had to make sacrifices to stay committed to the athletic goals I had set. These same three lessons were applied to my academics. There have been numerous occasions where I had the opportunity to socialize with my peers, but I instead chose to work on my studies. Academically, I could have chosen to make my last year of high school easy; however, I chose to take the most rigorous courses offered by my high school. As a four-time captain, my teammates look to me as an example because of my hard-work, dedication, and commitment. I was taught that someone is always watching what I do as a student athlete. High school sports impact the whole community, not just the team that I am on. Knowing that someone is always watching me, whether it is a grandparent, fellow student, younger child, or a future employer, I should carry myself in a way that would make everyone affiliated with me proud.  These valuable lessons learned through academics and athletics will lead to success in my future educational and employment opportunities.

 

Grayson Vandenbush, Random Lake High School – 4. 0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 13 varsity letters in football, wrestling, golf and summer baseball...Team MVP in wrestling 1 year.

Essay
My experience as a four-sport high school athlete gave me a unique opportunity to build leadership and teamwork skills.  With so much time working with teammates, I learned how to support and strengthen a team in multiple ways. My teammates respected me, looked up to me, and knew I was there to assist in difficult situations. I built great relationships with peers and improved my teams. As a team captain in four sports, coaches and peers trusted me to be a leader who strove to help my teammates. As a student and athlete, I learned to set high expectations and goals for myself that I worked to accomplish with effort and commitment.  Anything less than an A, less than a textbook wrestling takedown, less than an outstanding golf shot, less than a perfect baseball pitch, made me drive harder to evolve, learn, and improve. I developed the toughness and work ethic that allowed me to push through challenges, injuries, and any opponent. The mindset I developed now radiates into all aspects of my life and gives me a unique advantage over my peers. Going to practices or games practically every day after school takes dedication, discipline, and perseverance to succeed in the classroom and in athletics. I work physically and mentally to consistently perform well in every academic course and in every game. I look forward to transferring my leadership skills and hard work ethic to the next level as I continue my education and sports participation in the future.

 

Dylan Schoenherr, Stratford High School – 3.89 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
11 varsity letters accumulated in football, wrestling and baseball...Individual state champion in wrestling...Member of two-time state champion wrestling team...All-conference first team in football 3 years...Team MVP in football-offense 2 years, football-defense 1 year and wrestling 1 year.

Essay
I think there are numerous amount of lessons that high school student-athletes learn throughout their high school careers. High school athletics and academics have taught me time management, discipline, perseverance, how to approach everything with a positive mindset, how to overcome adversity, and the importance of family. I have been lucky enough to be involved with three different, very successful sports programs. I think what made us the most successful was our family atmosphere and the bonds we created with one another. It’s a lot more rewarding when you can work together as a team and do it for each other and not just yourself. Another lesson I learned was that you should have a positive attitude towards anything you do. As with any sport, individual or team, it’s easy to stay positive and be excited about winning, but losing has taught me and progressed me more than anything. When you’re winning, you don’t look back at mistakes you may have made, nor do you look back at what you can improve on. Losing gives you that reality check you need at times to help you create a better routine and attitude, as well as teaching you how to persevere through unenjoyable times. As my high school career comes to an end, I am thankful for all of the highs and lows along the way as well as the attributes I have acquired, knowing that they will continue to benefit me for the rest of my life.

 

David Vannucchi, Luther High School – 3.88 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 7 varsity letters in cross country and track & field. Three-time cross country state champion...Two-time state champion in track and field...All- conference first team in cross country 4 years...Team MVP in cross country 3 years.

Essay
Throughout my high school career, I have learned quite a bit. It seems that every year leading up to a big competition, I’ve had some different form of adversity. My freshman year, I struggled with not living up to goals and constantly underperforming. Overcoming my insecurities taught me perseverance in all aspects of life. During the second half of my sophomore year, already having some success, I let the stress of performing get the best me; at the biggest stage, I fell short, despite being the favorite to win. It was hard, but during this time I learned to focus on the joy of running itself. When Junior year came along, I dealt with a much different situation. Being the heavy favorite to win took away some of the drive and determination that I had been so used to having. During the winter this became especially difficult. By the end of the season, I learned to surround myself with people who love me and solidified many relationships which remain strong today. I learned that it’s not always about running and focused on enjoying other aspects of life. It’s a common saying that sports are directly related to life. I believe that running is the prime example of this. I’ve learned that being successful isn’t about winning conference, state, or anything else; it’s about working hard when nobody’s watching. It’s about getting your head down and putting in the miles when you don’t have to. That’s what running is all about. 

 

Division 4


Lucas Bukowski, Green Bay NEW Lutheran High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
9 varsity letters accumulated in football, basketball and baseball...All-conference first team honors in football 3 years and baseball 3 years.

Essay
The greatest lessons that I have learned from my high school academics and athletics is how to cooperate with others towards a common goal and how to be a leader. Between my athletics and academics, I have learned how to effectively work with others to accomplish things. With athletic teams, cooperation is required between teammates. If each player is trying to do their own thing, the team does not play well together and can be easily beaten. Each player needs to play for the team, not for themselves, in order to be successful. Effective cooperation is required in almost any line of work. I have also learned to be a leader through the opportunities at my high school. Leading a team or group of people is not always easy, and effective leadership is needed to be successful. Many think that being a captain or leader means doing less work, but it actually means doing more work. Being a leader means making sure everybody is on the same page and working towards the same goal, which is not always easy to do. Being a team captain has helped me learn how to get people to work together and how to be an effective leader. This will help me later in life when I have to organize or run things. My high school experience has taught me to work well with others and how to exhibit leadership, which will help me later in life no matter what I do. 

 

Ty Guden, Edgar High School – 4.0 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
10 varsity letters accumulated in football, wrestling, and track & field. Member of state champion football team. All-conference first team in football 2 years. Team MVP in football-defense 1 year.

Essay
Throughout high school, I have been involved in numerous academic and athletic experiences that have taught me many life lessons that will assist me in my future endeavors.  First, being a conscientious student-athlete has required me to learn how to work hard, be responsible, and to use my time wisely. By doing so, I was able to keep up with class work, stay focused, get good grades and eventually earn the title of “Class of 2019 Valedictorian.”  Second, being a student-athlete has taught me the traits of leadership and integrity. Being a leader means you need to put the team goals first before any personal goals.  As the team captain in football and wrestling, I also recognized that values have a major influence on a person’s behavior, so I modeled honesty, strong communication, and a positive attitude at all times hoping to inspire my teammates.  Third, being a student-athlete has taught me the importance of setting goals.  I’ve learned that when setting goals determination, commitment, and follow-through are all important characteristics that helped me reach my goals.  I’ve learned that the path you take in reaching your goals and the lessons you learn throughout the way can tremendously impact your life. Finally, and most importantly, I believe taking risks, being ambitious, and reflecting upon what I’ve learned along my journey has gotten me where I am today.  I’ve learned to hold high values, be committed to my goals, and to never give up on reaching my hopes and dreams.

 

Noah Kollock, Almond-Bancroft High School – 3.94 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
10 varsity letters in football, basketball, and track & field...All-conference first team in basketball 3 years and football 2 years...Team MVP in basketball 3 years and football offense 1 year.

Essay
Academics and sports are great for what they actually are, the competition and learning aspects of each are incomparable to anything, but I believe there are many lessons that are taught through academics and sports. With academics, the greatest lesson that I have learned is the value of hard work. I have learned that the only way to become great at something, to learn a new idea, or to even do good on a test of the subject, I need to work harder than I believe is suffice for it. I have to come to class focused on the task at hand and ready to learn. The two greatest lessons that I have learned in sports is the value of hard work and the resilience and perseverance that one needs. I have realized that in life, if you want something, you have to go get it and work as hard as you can for it, because it won’t be handed to you. Even if you work hard and give every goal and task everything you have, life will still find a way to knock you down and try to break you. Everyone has something or someone that is trying to stop them from achieving their goals in the present in the future. The biggest lesson that I learned from sports and academics is that you have to get up off the ground and keep going and keep working harder than the force that is restricting you to achieve your goals. 

 

Jared Payne, Seneca High School – 3.96 GPA

Athletics Snapshot
Accumulated 11 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball...All-conference first team in basketball 3 years, football 2 years and baseball 1 year... Team MVP in football-offense 2 years, basketball 2 years and baseball 1 year.

Essay
Sports have always been very important to me, ever since I was old enough to walk. Throughout my athletic career in high school, I changed roles many times. As a freshman, I was definitely a role player, I looked up to the upperclassmen when times were tough. That wasn’t really a bad thing, as I learned about sacrificing playing time, sometimes points for the team to win. That was perfectly fine for me, being that scared little freshman. As I got older, I developed into more of a leader. I was elected captain of the football team as a sophomore, which was a great feeling knowing that 50 guys all thought of me as a leader. My junior and senior years, I have definitely developed into a leader. Being that upperclassman and having the younger guys look up to you is a great feeling. I tried being the best mentor and leader I could be. In the tough times, I tried staying positive because I knew those young guys were looking for my reaction. The friendships and memories I have built in high school athletics are going to stay with me the rest of my life. Sports have taught me that all good things do come to an end at some point. Although it is very tough every year to watch the seniors leave, life must go on and you have to do your best to make the next opportunity the best you can.