Levi Van Lanen maintained a hairstyle from a different era for most of his senior year.
“It’s a full-fledged 1986 mullet with steps on the side,” Pulaski football coach Jerad Marsh said.
It fit Van Lanen perfectly.
The Pulaski three-sport standout tends to conjure up memories of a throwback athlete when you watch him compete.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was the only football player in the Fox River Classic Conference last year to earn first-team all-conference honors on offense, defense and special teams. It’s a rare feat to see in a conference featuring primarily Division 1 and 2 schools.
“I had my own style,” Van Lanen said about his hairstyle, which also could describe his play on the gridiron.
“I like to have fun leading up to games and stuff. But once game time comes it’s all serious, all business.”
Van Lanen is spending this week gearing up for one more opportunity to strap on a football helmet. He is one of 21 area players participating in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-star games Saturday at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh.
The event features a game for 8-player schools, small schools (Divisions 4-7) and large schools (Divisions 1-3). The teams are made up of top players from the Class of 2015.
The North-South 8-player game begins at 10 a.m. The D4-7 small school game will be at 2 p.m. The D1-3 large school game will kickoff at 6 p.m.
Although he excelled in all three facets of the game for Pulaski, Van Lanen will be playing mostly at outside linebacker for the North Large team on Saturday.
Van Lanen was also pretty dominant playing outside center for the Pulaski Roos club rugby team the last four years.
After helping the Roos win back-to-back Wisconsin Rugby Football Union state championships, Van Lanen will continue to play the sport in college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which finished as the national runner-up last year.
“After wrestling my freshman year I wasn’t planning on going out for (rugby),” Van Lanen said. “I was kind of shy yet. Then some of the senior and junior guys talked me into going out. I fell in love with it. It made an impact on me.”
It didn’t take long for Van Lanen to make an impact on the rugby pitch. His talent helped him earn a spot on Wisconsin U17 and U19 Select teams. He competed in a summer tournament in Colorado two times in addition to being invited to an all-American camp.
Van Lanen chose to play rugby in college although he had opportunities to compete in football or wrestling at the next level.
He broke Pulaski football records for career rushing yards (3,169) and touchdowns (35). He was a two-time WIAA state qualifier in wrestling, going 106-21 over the last three years.
“You only get an athlete like that every once in awhile,” Marsh said.
“He’s a pretty humble kid. He’s not real boisterous. He doesn’t talk a lot. He just gets everything done. … For as great as an athlete as he was for us, hopefully the things he does in the future will be greater. Wherever he ends up, he’s going to make that place and the people around him better.”
Van Lanen isn’t sure if his hairstyle will carry on at Pulaski. But he hopes the way he competed will.
“It was nice to be able to be somebody that everyone looked up to (at Pulaski),” Van Lanen said.
“But it was more about the people I’ve met and how much of an impact they’ve had on me. Hopefully, I’ve had an impact on other people in all my years playing sports and it lights a fire under someone else that they want to do what I did.”
Area WFCA all-stars
North Large: Troy Albrecht, LB, Bay Port; Dom Conway, RB, West De Pere; Jacob DeMille, DB, De Pere; Connor Konshak, WR, West De Pere; Andrew Luebke, OL, Ashwaubenon; Kyle Monroe, WR, Ashwaubenon; Gunnar Roberge, DL, Seymour; Levi Van Lanen, RB, Pulaski.
North Small: Jacob Diny, OL, Denmark; Isaac Mears, OL, Denmark; Mitchel Neubauer, QB, Southern Door; Montgomery Noffke, RB, Gillett; Mitchell Overbeck, OL, Southern Door; Hunter VanDerLinden, RB, Bonduel.
8-player South: Matt Andersen, WR/DB, Gibraltar; Chris Anderson, OL/DL, Gibraltar; Derrick Brungraber, OL/DL, Gibraltar; Byran Halona, OL/DL, Oneida Nation; Kyle Keehan, QB/DB, Gibraltar; Quenton Sundquist, OL/DL, Oneida Nation; Dante Thomas, RB/DB, Oneida Nation.