The DeForest Area School District recently announced that senior Alyssa Laufenberg is this year’s 2020 female WIAA Scholar Athlete.
“It definitely means a lot to win,” Laufenberg said. “It is awesome that I was chosen because I worked so hard to keep my grades up while being in various sports. All my hard work got recognized.”
Each year, member high schools of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association are invited to nominate one boy and one girl for Scholar Athlete honors. The program, which is underwritten by Marshfield Clinic, was launched in 1984 to demonstrate the positive impact of interscholastic athletic activities.
To qualify for WIAA Scholar Athlete recognition, a nominee must have earned at least four varsity letters through the first half of his/her senior year and must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Laufenberg was very active in high school athletics. She competed in three sports all four years, including cross country, basketball and track.
“I played volleyball and basketball coming into my freshman year and then I tried and fell in love with track,” Laufenberg said. “I decided I would do this the rest of my four years.”
Laufenberg had an impressive academic career at DAHS. She finished with a 4.0 grade point average.
“It was pretty hard to balance sports and academics,” Laufenberg said. “It took a lot of time management. I had to plan out when I had to do everything. It took a lot of hard work even when sometimes I wanted to just relax.”
Athletically, Laufenberg enjoyed her time in each sport. She did not have a favorite.
“I like so many different things about all three sports,” Laufenberg said. “I like the team aspect of basketball but also the individual aspect of cross country and track.”
After solid seasons in cross country and basketball her senior year, Laufenberg was excited about this spring’s track season. But the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season one week into practice.
“It has been pretty hard because I have been doing track all through high school,” Laufenberg said. “I have come used to doing it in the spring and now I don’t get closure. I didn’t realize my last meet last year was the final meet of my career. I’m thankful I got three years of it.”
Laufenberg thinks the pandemic will change the way athletes look at sports in the future.
“You would have never thought something like this would happen, especially as a senior,” Laufenberg said. “It will keep things in perspective for future athletes. You may never know when it may be your last week. It will change the way people look at things.”
Laufenberg’s most memorable tack moment came her freshman season when she was a part of the Norskies’ 4x800 relay team that won a conference title.
“That was pretty awesome to be a part of,” Laufenberg said.
The lost track season came after Laufenberg helped lead the Lady Norskies to a second-place finish in the Badger North Conference in basketball. The Lady Norskies advanced all the way to a sectional semifinal in the postseason.
During her senior basketball season, Laufenberg averaged 3.2 points per game, to go along with 31 rebounds, 12 steals and nine assists.
Laufenberg points to the influence of her parents as a big reason for her success athletically and academically.
“My parents were both successful people in high school,” Laufenberg said. “My dad won a state championship in basketball and that has been an inspiration of mine.”
Laufenberg will be attending UW-Madison in the fall and plans on majoring in pre-law and Spanish.
“I’m super excited about my next chapter,” Laufenberg said. “I hope that it happens this fall with all that is going on.”
In looking back at her time at DAHS, Laufenberg’s fondest memories are not about winning or losing, but the friendships she built.
“What I will remember the most in competing with all the people I have and all the friends I made,” Laufenberg said.