WIAA awards: Borseth tells student-athletes to chase their dreams

WIAA awards: Borseth tells student-athletes to chase their dreams

Video

WIAA awards: Borseth tells student-athletes to chase their dreams

By

WAUSAU

Kevin Borseth was a three-sport standout athlete growing up in Bessemer, Mich., and a dedicated student who was civic-minded.

“I was just kind of the All-American boy,” the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball coach said. “Kind of like a hometown hero.”

It was a different life his freshman year at Lake Superior State University — as he struggled during his first time away from home. Borseth said he dug himself an early hole academically, and struggled on the basketball court, as well.

“I went from being the best player on my squad (in high school) to becoming the worst. I remember looking outside the basketball coach’s office to see who made the team. I was happy just being on the last player on the team,” Borseth said. “I had one butt cheek on (the bench) and one cheeck off. If anyone would have shifted to the left I probably would have been on the ground.”

But he dealt with the adversity and as a senior he was a starter on one of the best teams in the program’s history. He went on to a 32-year coaching career that began with a community youth team to his current time with an NCAA Division 1 program.

“I’ve had to move my family four times, and that’s extremely difficult — all while chasing a dream that started when I was a kid around your age,” the keynote speaker told the recipients of the WIAA scholar-athlete awards Sunday at the Jefferson Street Inn. “I always tell our players if you’re in a difficult time, just find a way, because there is a way to do it. If you are determined to do something, you can find a way. Chasing a passion is not too difficult.”

Thirty-two scholar-athletes from across the state were honored — four boys and four girls from each of the four WIAA enrollment-based divisions in the 31st year that the program has been held.

Local honorees were Wausau West’s Marissa Matushak, Nekoosa’s Lexi Brost, Assumption’s Mary Sigler and Owen-Withee’s Albert Goerlitz and Bailey Karaba.

The Owen-Withee cousins are the second and third members of their family to receive the award, as Goerlitz’s sister, Aleyna, was honored last year.

“When Aleyna got it last year, both Bailey and I set our eyes on it and said, ‘We want to do that next year.’ It’s just a big credit to our family,” Goerlitz said. “It’s a credit to how we were brought up.”

The scholar-athletes were selected from a group of 831 seniors nominated from 428 schools in the state. Sixteen of the honorees have a 4.0 grade point average, including Brost, Goerlitz and Sigler.

Brost is a member of Nekoosa’s volleyball, basketball and track teams, and had to be a master of time management during her high school years.

“You lose sleep, doing sports all the time and having to get your homework done, and you’re constantly busy,” said Brost, who will be studying veterinary medicine and playing basketball next year at St. Thomas (Minn.) “But to be here, it’s all worth it.”

Matushak, who has lettered in cross country, hockey and track since her freshman year and is headed to Minnesota-Duluth, said it takes self-discipline.

“There’s time you come home from sports so tired and everything, and you just have to push through it. Schoolwork comes first and it just takes dedication, especially those times you come home and all you want to do is go to sleep.”

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports