Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Elijah Meerstein, N.E.W. Lutheran basketball, soccer and baseball
By William Soquet
Name: Elijah Meerstein
Activities: Basketball, soccer and baseball
Parents: Mark and Kellie Meerstein
What was the journey like to get to 500 career assists?
“I knew right away coming in my freshman year that I wasn’t as big of a scorer as my brother Sam was. I watched Casey Verhagen from Sheboygan Lutheran growing up and I said that I wanted to go for the assist record. He had a good 7-footer in Jacob Ognacevic on his team, so I knew it was going to be tough. He was averaging 8.6 assists per game his freshman year. I knew it was going to be tough, but right away when I came in as a freshman, I said, ‘I want to go for the assist record.’ Three hundred was a good mark to hit, then I broke the school record at 454 my junior year, passed 500 my senior year and ended at 700.”
You’re also in the 1,000-point club. What is it like having two big accomplishments?
“I think it’s cool. I have two other 1,000-point scorers on my team in Tristian Lynch and Marshal Bukowski, so I knew this year, especially Tristian having a big year last year, I had to step up because people were going to start taking him away. I knew that this year, I had to score a little more, so I got in the gym in the summer and put in work. I knew I needed to develop my game a little further other than passing. I knew I needed to score to play at the next level, and it helped having a bunch of good teammates around me who always looked for the extra pass.”
You were recently named academic all-state. Was that a surprise?
“I had a good feeling about it, I got the elite academic all-state, which is awarded to only 15 people. Obviously, academics are a big part of my life — I’m valedictorian of my class as well. School is always a top priority for me. My parents have always pushed me to get my homework done in class, and then for the extracurriculars after school, I don’t have to worry about it. So it’s just using my time wisely.”
Describe your senior soccer season.
“I was a striker as well as a sweeper, so I played both sides of the field. I was a striker for the first half of the season, then one of our back line got hurt, so our coach put me back there.”
What was it like going from offense to defense?
“It’s very different. Offense, you don’t have to run as much as a striker. Sweeper, you have to run both sides of the field — coach would let me push up a little bit on offense as well, so I was always running. On the back line, you can’t mess up. On offense, you’ve got midfielders behind you, but as a sweeper, you’re the last line of defense. You always have to be on your toes and predict where the ball is going.”
What positions do you play on the baseball diamond?
“I’m our main catcher, I pitch, and I play shortstop, but I can play everywhere. Being from a small school, I have to work everywhere. But we only have a couple pitchers and a couple catchers. If I’m not pitching, I’m probably catching, unless there are a couple innings in a nonconference where I can play shortstop.”
What is the best aspect of your baseball game?
“I would say being a catcher, I’m pretty good. I’ve been a catcher since I was 7 years old. My cousin went to college to play baseball, he went to Iowa Wesleyan, so catching has been a part of the family. It’s a key role, and I know that it’s a big part of the field. It always helps as a pitcher knowing that you’re going to have a good catcher to go along with a good pitcher.”
Where is a favorite place to eat out after a game?
“Either Buffalo Wild Wings in basketball season or during volleyball season, we went out to Culver’s a lot.”
Who is on top of your music playlist?
“Morgan Wallen. I’m a big country guy.”
What are a couple shows or movies you’ve been watching?
“I love ‘Friends from Nickelodeon, and I’ve actually been rewatching the ‘The Last Dance’ off of Netflix.”
Do you have any pets?
“I have one dog, she’s named Skyler. She’s a collie mixed with something that we don’t know.”
What are a couple of your hobbies?
“I like farming, and the rest of my time is taken up by sports, which I’m not sad about. My uncle owns a dairy farm, so I go out there in the summer. It’s a family farm out in Wayside, so I go out there and I’ve been doing that since I was 5 or 6 years old. Love getting up in the morning, my cousins would have fair calves, so we would wake up at 4:30 in the morning, go feed them, and then be up for the day. When I was 8, I was out there for like three weeks straight, just helping them out with their fair calves.”
Where is a favorite place you’ve traveled to?
“We travel for AAU, but we also try to go on a vacation every summer. My favorite place that we went to would be Tennessee, going to the Country Music Hall of Fame and all that was super fun. Last year, we went to Arizona, which was really nice. We went out west one year, and I really liked that because of the warm weather. I got to go in the pool every day and not worry about the snow and the 60-degree weather in the summer.”
What do your plans after high school look like?
“I’m not sure yet — my major is going to be business and sports management/entertainment. I’m looking at Concordia [University Wisconsin in] Mequon and Grand Canyon University. If I go to Concordia, I’ll play collegiate basketball. If I go to Grand Canyon, I’ll play club basketball. So I’m still looking to play basketball in college, just depends on the level.”