Stegeman named WIAA scholar athlete

Suring senior among 32 honored
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Suring senior Katie Stegeman is one of 32 athletes statewide being recognized by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association for athletic and academic achievement.

The Scholar Athlete Award program winners were selected from 861 seniors nominated from across the state.

“We know this is not an award that is given out lightly or that every team gets one,” Suring basketball coach Shaun Wagner said. “This is a very big honor, and this is well-deserved.”

After this spring season, Stegeman will have 11 varsity letters to go with her perfect 4.0 grade-point average. She will graduate with four letters in track and basketball, and three in volleyball.

Heidi Gerndt, who has been Stegeman’s track coach, assistant varsity volleyball coach, athletic director and aunt, was part of the decision to keep her off the varsity volleyball team as a freshman.

Although the coaches agreed she could have played at that level, they believed Stegeman’s development might have been delayed if she did not gain the junior varsity experience.

It’s a gamble they believe has paid off.

“She came out as a sophomore very, very strong right off the bat, and I think that was because she got to play,” Gerndt said. “She got to play all six positions. She played the whole round. Up at the varsity level, I don’t think she would have gotten that.”

Stegeman also was a member of seven clubs, ranging from National Honor Society to Future Business Leaders of America to Environmental Club.

The biggest challenge for the senior was “just prioritizing everything that I need to do, and it’s kind of hard to pick between everything if you love everything so much,” Stegeman said.

Stegeman, who was described as a quiet leader by all three of her varsity coaches, helped bring unparalleled success to the school’s programs.

In volleyball, she led the Eagles to the sectional final game as a junior and a Marinette & Oconto Conference championship as a senior. On the basketball court, Suring also reached the sectional final during her third year with the team. In track, Stegeman, who plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, was a state qualifier in the high jump last year, placing ninth in Division 3 with a jump of 5 feet. She is now up to 5-2 as her personal best and eyeing not only another state appearance, but also the school record of 5-4.

“She’s been such a hard worker,” volleyball coach Tonia Kruschke said. “I see nothing but success for her down the road. She’s really brought some life back to our program, and I think that the girls that have seen her play and know her as a player, I hope she inspires them to continue to play.”

Wagner, who also teaches Stegeman in her most difficult class this year, AP Chemistry, respects the work she puts in in the classroom as well as on the court and track.

“She’s also very talented, not only in sports, but in the classroom, highly intelligent, very talented young lady who takes her education very serious,” Wagner said.

All 32 recipients of the WIAA scholar athlete award, first presented in 1984, will be recognized at a ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Jefferson Street Inn in Wausau. Four girls and four boys from each of the WIAA’s four divisions will be honored.

Each finalist will receive a medallion and certificate, as well as a plaque to be displayed in their school’s trophy case. The program will be webcast on the WIAA website.

After Stegeman’s high school career comes to a close, possibly at the state track meet June 2-3 in La Crosse, she expects to remember not only the accomplishments but also those she shared them with along the way.

“Definitely the number one thing I’m going to remember is winning conference this year (in volleyball), and then, I will probably remember my teammates more than anything else,” she said. “Just especially the seniors. We’re really close. Wins, they are good and everything, but it’s more important with the people.”

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2017 Scholar Athlete Finalists

DIVISION 1 – BOYS

Zachary Clayton, Oconomowoc, Oconomowoc High School

Cole Sandvold, Oconomowoc, Arrowhead High School

Calvin Schneider, Oregon, Oregon High School

Danny VandenBoom, Combined Locks, Kimberly High School

DIVISION 1 – GIRLS

Cami Davre, Whitefish Bay, Whitefish Bay High School

Caitlin Locante, Brookfield, Brookfield Central High School

Emily Luetschwager, Stevens Point, Stevens Point Area Senior High

Alyson Weum, Stoughton, Stoughton High School

DIVISION 2 – BOYS

Xavier Cummings, Hayward, Hayward High School

Adam Kinyon, Lomira, Lomira High School

Clark Otte, Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan Falls High School

Logan Walzer, Lodi, Lodi High School

DIVISION 2 – GIRLS

Bailey Eichner, Cudahy, Cudahy High School

Emily Hafemann, Hales Corners, Martin Luther High School

Brita Hovde, Madison, Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart

Lauren Tremblay, Hayward, Hayward High School

DIVISION 3 – BOYS

Cole Bay, Glidden, Chequamegon High School

Jordan Blanchard, Coleman, Coleman High School

Kamren Bornbach, Stratford, Stratford High School

Will Schwartz, Darlington, Darlington High School

DIVISION 3 – GIRLS

Amanda Kind, Marathon, Marathon High School

Brittany Schaller, Elkhart Lake, Howards Grove High School

Sydney Staver, Mineral Point, Mineral Point High School

Katie Van Scyoc, Markesan, Lourdes Academy

DIVISION 4 – BOYS

Caiden Haake, Pepin, Pepin High School

Anthony Hendrickson, Hollandale, Pecatonica High School

Sawyer Rosner, Phelps, Phelps High School

Logan Scoville, De Soto, De Soto High School

DIVISION 4 – GIRLS

Mackinzie Fall, Clayton, Clayton High School

Morgan Reinwand, Loyal, Loyal High School

Katie Stegeman, Coleman, Suring High School

Sydney Thompson, Mercer, Mercer High School