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Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Briana VandenLangenberg

By William Soquet

Contributing Writer

Name: Briana VandenLangenberg

Parents: Robert and Brenda VandenLangenberg

Activities: Dance, track and field

Instagram: @briana.vdl

Briana is the co-captain of the Thunder dance team and a four-time state dance qualifier as a member. She qualified individually for state dance this year. Briana also jumps for the Seymour track and field team, participating in both the long and triple jump.

You went to state dance as part of the Seymour team this year. How was the experience?

“It was once again probably the most fun experience being able to spend a whole weekend with the team and being able to spend a few more moments with them at the floor. We still have basketball games, but competitions are always a lot more fun. Being able to go for the fourth year in a row and being able to perform on the floor in La Crosse was an amazing feeling.”

You knew state would be your last competition. Did that bring extra pressure?

“I personally always put a little bit more pressure on myself, and especially with it being senior year, I pushed a lot harder than I would have. I wanted to go out with a bang and be able to come home with another trophy, and we accomplished that. So I’m really proud of the whole team.”

You also went to state as an individual. How was that different than team state?

“I would say it was a bit more stressful having to keep my energy high during the routines, but be able to contain some energy to be able to go back out on the floor later. I was nervous more for my individual than I was for the team, because I had faith in my team and I believed in them, that they would also be there to support me during my individual, but they were strong dancers in the team routine.”

How did you get started in dance?

“When I was 4, my mother put me in a dance club, because when she was in high school she had danced for a few years — she wanted to get me in to dance. It just kind of stuck. Probably halfway through my first year of dance, I was having so much fun with all the girls in my class that Monday night I was so excited to come home from school. I couldn’t wait for 6 o’clock because I got to hang out with my friends and do something that I enjoy. In middle school, I started to take it more seriously. Even though I didn’t compete, I was constantly practicing to do my best. I’d take up the whole living room practicing just about every night of the week. Then in high school, it just skyrocketed.”

How have you grown as a dancer throughout high school?

“I got a lot more comfortable performing in front of people. Coming into high school, I had never competed before, so my freshman year, I got a lot of nerves every weekend. Instead of people watching me and just enjoying what they were seeing, there were people watching me and picking apart everything we did. I think that I grew a lot more through just being able to not be as worried about people judging me. I think I’ve opened up a lot since my freshman year, and I’m more outgoing because of dance and having to spend nine months with the same girls.”

What made you gravitate to the jumping events in track?

“The jumping coach had always been trying to recruit dancers. With dance, all the leaps and everything, I thought it would translate well to jumping. I thought that I had long legs, so it was something that I could catch on to. I tried it once, and I’ve always been a person that tries to challenge myself, so having something that I could challenge myself and work on to perfect gave me something to look forward to at practice.”

What is the hardest part of the triple jump technique for you?

“My coach would probably say the second phase [middle jump]. I cut it short every time. Sometimes I get scared that the ground won’t be there, so I stop myself.”

What is a highlight of your track and field career?

“Not even in jumps, it would probably be taking fourth place in the 300 low hurdles [at a meet].”

Where is your favorite place to go out to eat?

“Buzz’s in Freedom.”

Which artists are at the top of your music playlist right now?

“Probably Lewis Capaldi, and then the rest are country artists. I’m a big Duke FM listener.”

What are some of your hobbies?

“I like to do art — all forms, including drawing, painting, traditional and digital. I also like to spend some of my weekends with my dad in the shop doing woodworking, which is the opposite of what you’d expect.”

Where is one of your favorite places you’ve traveled to?

“Potato River Falls. It’s somewhere in northern Wisconsin. There’s this big waterfall and then a mini waterfall. My mom wanted to take a waterfall tour one summer, so we stopped at a bunch and it was my favorite that we stopped at on the trip. It’s very pretty.”

Are you involved in any clubs?

“I am the S.A.L.S.A. (Student Association for Learning Spanish Appreciation) Club president, I am part of the S-Club — for students in Seymour who have academic or athletic letters  — and we volunteer throughout the community. I am also a member of National Honor Society.”

What do your plans after high school look like?

“I plan on attending UW-Green Bay, majoring in chemistry.”

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