Few high school athletes are fortunate enough to get recruited to play the sport they love at the collegiate level.
Even fewer have the opportunity to go through the recruiting process with a teammate.
With that in mind, Manitowoc Lincoln’s Alyssa Fischer and Alyssa Grotegut don’t need to be reminded how lucky they are to have one another both on and off the court.
Fischer, a junior guard, has garnered attention from a number of schools and has already received scholarship offers from UW-Milwaukee, Drexel, and Northern Michigan.
Grotegut, a senior post player, is considering the likes of UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Oshkosh and Lawrence University.
“It’s been nice to go through it with Alyssa since we’ve been friends since we were little,” Grotegut said. “Knowing that I have her, it’s a lot easier. I know I can go to her and she can come to me for anything.”
Not only are Fischer and Grotegut friends away from the game, but they form quite the tandem on the court, too. Fischer averages 18.5 points per game this season, a mark which puts her second in the Fox River Classic Conference in that category. Grotegut is second in the team, averaging 13.3 points per contest.
The two athletes are in the middle of journeys which are similar in some respects, but are different in others. Both Grotegut and Fischer have long had a desire to play in college and their experiences in high school have helped shape their aspirations.
“I decided right away at the beginning of the season when I realized that there were coaches actually interested in me playing,” Grotegut said. “It was like ‘oh, I can do it’ and that’s how it started.”
Fischer is fueled by the competition.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to play college basketball,” Fischer said. “Going through high school and seeing how the level of competition just keeps getting better…I just want to be at that next step. That’s what’s driven me.”
Both Grotegut and Fischer named team chemistry as one of the foremost items on their wish lists when evaluating a potential school.
“For me, I know the team is an important part,” Grotegut said. “I know that if I’m not going to get along with the team I’m not going to want to go there. The coach…can be anyone that wants to push me to get better and to help me improve so that the team can get better.”
Fischer has put on quite the miles as she has weighed her options but, in her eyes, that’s part of the fun.
“I’ve made a lot of attempts to make as many visits as I can, so that way I know what kind of style I want,” Fischer said. “I want to be able to connect with the coaches and the players. I’ve always liked exploring anything, so I guess close to home or far away, I don’t know yet. It’s just been really nice just to kind of explore.”
Each added that academics will also be a deciding factor.
On top of the three schools which have already made offers, Fischer has a list of 16 programs — a mixture of Division I and Division II institutions — which are showing strong interest. With that many intrigued coaches, it isn’t always fun and games, but Fischer takes it all in stride.
“It’s kind of stressful because coaches put timelines on things but, in the end, they’re with you in it,” Fischer said. “But otherwise, during the high school season, it’s really not as stressful as you’d think. I guess the hardest thing about it is trying not to make the wrong choices.”
Given that she is nearing the end of her final high school campaign, Grotegut feels as though time is ticking. But, like her teammate, she maintains a healthy sense of perspective.
“I feel like I have the pressure of making a decision right away,” Grotegut said. “But really, it’s in my hands. I don’t have to play if I don’t want to. Right now I’m just focused on the playoffs.”
While Grotegut knows she and Fischer are in control of their own destinies, the senior also understands what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to play college basketball.
“Not every high school player can go to college,” Grotegut said. “So being someone from a town like Manitowoc — we had Kali Hackmann (play in) college and that was a big deal — but Manitowoc wasn’t known for girls basketball, but now we’re starting to help put it back on the map. It’s nice knowing that you’re helping your high school out, too.”
The aforementioned Hackmann is now in her freshman season at Winona State where she averages 16.4 minutes and 3.4 points per game. Both Grotegut and Fischer said they have taken time to talk with Hackmann about the college game when the chance presented itself.
The pair was also quick to mention Manitowoc head coach Kate Deiters as a source of support and advice throughout the recruiting process.
“She’s so supportive,” Fischer said. “It’s nice to have her to fall back on.”
“And you can talk to her about anything,” Grotegut added.
Deiters, who is in her first year as the varsity head coach at Lincoln, has enjoyed being part of the process.
“It’s exciting. I’m extremely proud of them,” Deiters said. “I just think it’s a lot of fun, the whole process of it. I can’t wait to see where the future takes them.”
Each member of the duo will have their own decisions to make in the months ahead, but they continue to find solace when they step onto the court and, for now, that’s all that matters.
“Basketball is our safe place. We don’t think about anything outside of basketball or outside of the team and what’s coming up for us,” Grotegut said. “So, it’s really easy just to forget about life and the decisions you have to make. It’s really easy, actually.”