University of Wisconsin senior rower and Marshall native Adam Wehking has been receiving recognition for his athletic achievements for quite some time now. In the past, it was local papers and coaches heaping praise on the former Marshall High School 3-sport athlete and class of 2017 graduate. Now, he’s forever enshrined in the inaugural class of All-Americans as recognized by The Intercollegiate Rowing Coaches Association (IRCA).
“It’s special,” Wehking said of the accolade. “A lot of guys before me have put in as much work, sometimes more, to earn what I have. To be recognized is truly an honor.”
Wehking captained the Badgers varsity eight this spring en route to an 11th place finish at the IRCA National Championships. Leading one of the nation’s premiere rowing squads takes an instinct of leadership and accountability, something derived from his upbringing in Marshall.
“It was instilled in me by my parents to never settle and to always push myself to be the best,” Wehking said. “That instinct was built on by sports as I grew up. One phrase I always remembered from a coach was ‘deflect praise, accept criticism.’ It’s a good thing to have goals and to reach them, but never settle.”
Back at Marshall High School, Wehking excelled at baseball, basketball, and football. He was named first-team all conference as a quarterback, defensive end, and linebacker in football, was named conference player of the year in basketball, and earned four varsity letters in baseball. He wasn’t just talented, he was a leader. Wisconsin rowing was far from his first experience of captaining a team: he held that honor for two years in football and three seasons in basketball as a Cardinal.
“He’s an example to the next generation of Marshall kids,” Wehking’s high school football coach Matt Kleinheinz said of his former quarterback. “He’s no different than them. He went to Marshall, now he’s the Wisconsin athlete of the year in a sport he didn’t even play in high school. He’s an example to those kids that they can do whatever they want.”
In addition to his All-American honors, Wehking was also named the University of Wisconsin’s Male Athlete of the Year. He humbly credited the size of both the men’s and women’s rowing teams as the driving factor behind his recognition, but his explanation of what it means to him shows he was more than deserving.
“In life, I try to be a class act and a kind person,” Wehking said. “It is important to give back. I’m involved in Engineers without borders. I believe it’s important to lead by example and never be afraid to ask questions and make yourself better.”