Where they are now: Nick and Jack Dykema
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE — Nick and Jack Dykema combined to win more than 200 tennis matches at West De Pere High School.
Both are alike in many ways on the court but different in the path they took after their high school days ended.
Nick started his career in 2010 as a freshman and went 24-5 and finished sixth at the WIAA Division 2 state tournament.
“I benefitted from playing tennis for West De Pere because of the opportunity I had to play No. 1 singles my freshmen year,” said Nick. “I was fortunate to face the best players in Northeastern Wisconsin despite having far less experience. I gained lots of confidence during that first year when I showed I could compete with the top guys in Division 2.”
As a sophomore, he went 24-2 but was unseeded going into the WIAA Division 1 state tournament, as West De Pere transitioned up a division.
Having arguably the toughest first-round matchup of the tournament against No. 10-ranked Felix Corwin of Brookfield East, he won the third set in tight fashion.
Though he lost in the next round, Nick showed he belonged.
As a junior, he was prepped for big things but an injury at state forced him to retire in a quarterfinal match.
“Whether it was making an error on the baseball field, missing a shot on the basketball court or hitting a bad golf shot, my dad always stressed the importance of having a short memory,” Nick said. “Tennis is as much mental as physical. No matter how bad of a shot I hit, I needed to press the reset button and be prepared for the next point and opportunity. The injury made me refocus for my senior season.”
He came back strong his senior season, winning 31 matches on his way to a third-place finish at state.
When the time came to make a college choice, he chose Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“Our training schedule at Marquette was demanding,” said Nick. “When I arrived my freshman year, our schedule included two or three hours of tennis a day, two 6 a.m. conditioning sessions and two other strength workouts. My fitness quickly improved because of our structured practice and training schedule. Also, my tennis game got better because I was consistently practicing with elite players.”
The Golden Eagles compete in the Big East and are consistently ranked nationally.
They played a schedule that included trips to San Antonio, Dallas, Las Vegas, San Diego and Denver.
During his four years, Nick was a part of some great individual and team accomplishments.
“We beat No. 54 Denver 4-3 at home,” Nick said. “We reached the highest ranking (No. 59) in program history following the win. I won my match 6-0 in the third set to keep our comeback alive. Individually, I beat Jakob Amilon from UNLV at No. 3 singles in Las Vegas. He went on to play No. 1 singles for the Rebels the following year and was named to the All-Mountain West Team.”
Marquette has stringent academics.
While attending, he majored in finance and economics and was a member of the Applied Investment Management (AIM) program.
In the AIM program, he managed $2.5 million of the school’s endowment in equity and fixed income portfolios.
With Milwaukee being the biggest city in Wisconsin, it also allowed Nick to enjoy some of its benefits.
“My favorite thing about Milwaukee is having two professional sports teams and the number of festivals and concerts I was able to attend throughout the years,” he said.
After graduating and completing his four years in tennis, he took his degree to the real world.
“I’m currently working as a senior financial analyst at Harley Davidson’s Product Development Center in Wauwatosa,” said Nick. “I’ve been supporting new product programs at Harley-Davidson for almost two years. Previously, I worked in institutional equity sales at a small investment bank in Chicago.”
Younger brother Jack equally as successful
Jack came along two years after Nick but was equally as successful as his older sibling.
After making it to state his first two years with mild success at the Division 1 level, Jack placed fourth overall as a junior in Division 2.
His biggest reward came as a senior where he matched Nick’s feat of finishing third at state.
“One thing that helped me throughout high school was my relationships with my friends and focus on school,” said Jack. “I was never one to play lots of tennis, which helped me never burn out when it came to college tennis. When I was on the court in high school, I was extremely competitive and never wanted to lose, so that helped me stay focused from my freshman to senior year.”
He received big-time offers coming out of West De Pere and accepted a scholarship to Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He moved up the lineup during his four years and enjoyed success with the Musketeers.
“My best individual win was against Cleveland State my senior year,” said Jack. “I consider it my best, not because I played my best, but it was the one time a match came down to only me in my four years at school. We were tied 3-3 going into my match, and I was able to win it 6-4 in the third set to clinch a 4-3 team win. My team stormed the court, which is something I will always remember. The best team wins were always any close conference match. The two that come to mind were Marquette at home my sophomore year or DePaul in Chicago my junior year. Both were extremely close and great wins for our team.”
Not to be outdone on the court, Jack also double majored in finance and marketing.
He said his favorite class was financial data modeling, which revolved around Microsoft Excel skills and how to use Excel to solve various issues you may experience.
Jack was named an ITA All-Academic Scholar during his senior season.
“As a captain my junior and senior year, I knew teammates looked to me for leadership, and that started in the classroom,” Jack said. “I worked hard at school, hoping my teammates would follow. Going into college, I knew I had four years of competitive tennis left, but to succeed beyond that, I needed to work hard in the classroom. Receiving the ITA All-Academic Scholar award my last three years at school was an honor.”
Jack has been out of school for a couple of years now, but he said he cherished every moment of his four years.
He currently works for CNH Industrial in Racine but lives in Milwaukee working remotely.
“I am in a finance rotational program where you have six-month stints in four different areas of finance,” said Jack. “After your two years, you move into a permanent role. I’m currently in my fourth rotation. The ability to work in four completely different areas for a large company like CNH has given me great exposure across the company as a whole.”
Nick and Jack are the sons of John and Lisa Dykema.
Editor’s note: To read about Josie Johnson, a senior tennis player at West De Pere, CLICK HERE.