Mitch Mallek had a lot of options when it came to picking a sport to play in college, with wrestling, football and baseball all legitimate options.
Bradley Luetschwager had his heart set on continuing his tennis career, the senior at Stevens Point Area Senior High just didn’t know if it would be at the Division I or Division III level.
Up until recently, Sean McGibbon didn’t think competing in Nordic skiing at the collegiate level was even an option.
On the second day of the NCAA spring signing period, all three SPASH student-athletes got the answers they were looking for when they signed letters of intent in the South Commons of the high school.
Luetschwager will take his talents to Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) on a Division I ride, while Mallek will join Panthers teammate Cal Giese as a member of the Division II St. Cloud State baseball program.
In addition, McGibbon inked a LOI to compete in nordic skiing at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
“Getting this decision off my shoulders is like a weight has been lifted,” said Mallek, son of Tim Mallek and Nancy Roth-Mallek. “It’s a great feeling.”
Mallek admitted he looked into signing with Northern Illinois University for football after excelling as a safety before taking over the quarterback duties last fall.
Ultimately, the input he received from Giese, along with SPASH assistant coach and Huskies alum Lucas Suchon pushed baseball and St. Cloud State over the top for his college destination.
A three-year starter at catcher and second team All-Wisconsin Valley Conference pick as a junior, Mallek should fit in perfectly with the Huskies, according to his high school coach.
“St. Cloud is very lucky, because they are getting a great baseball player who really has a love for the game, and is good defensively and hits from the left side,” SPASH coach Kraig Terpstra said. “Now that he can just concentrate on baseball, I see a big upside.”
Luetschwager, son of Mark and Jean Luetschwager, was leaning toward competing at Division III Coe College in Iowa or UW-Whitewater until a trip south during the winter changed everything.
“I went down to Indianapolis for a winter tournament in February, and their coach (Brandon Currie) told me I had to apply to their school because he wanted me,” said Bradley Luetschwager, who also looked at Ferris State and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
“I definitely need to improve, but I think I have the tools to play at that level, I just need to put it all together.”
What the Jaguars, who compete in the Summit League, see is what they’ll get if you ask SPASH tennis coach Gary Baier.
“Bradley has the advantage of his size (and what we call a big (hitting) game,” his coach said. “Not only is he strong in singles, but he can be a great doubles player. The biggest thing now is to be more consistent, and develop a serve and volley game.”
McGibbon, who has pushed for skiing to become a varsity sport at SPASH, but has competed at the club level, can’t wait to see how much he can improve with the Phoenix.
“I really didn’t think I would be skiing in college, but I talked to a couple coaches and it turned out for the best,” said McGibbon, son of Mike and Patty McGibbon. “I guess I showed enough to have coaches interested, and I couldn’t be happier to be able to go this route.”