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Stevens excels at collegiate level

Margie Stevens, a Green Bay Southwest graduate, took the title of Freshman of the Year for her athletic performance at Wisconsin Lutheran in both volleyball and basketball. Submitted photo

By Tori Wittenbrock

Associate Sports Editor

GREEN BAY – Green Bay Southwest graduate Margie Stevens recently received the honor of Female Freshman of the Year at Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC).

“To be named female freshman of the year at my college is truly an honor because I know balancing volleyball and basketball has been very challenging but very rewarding in the end. It’s also a huge accomplishment and a sign that my hard work is being recognized,” said Stevens. “This wouldn’t have happened without my huge support system that’s helped me along the way, including my teammates, my coaches, my family and anyone else who has supported me throughout the season.”

Stevens earned the recognition based on her athletic accomplishments this season as a multi-sport student-athlete.

Why Wisconsin Lutheran?

Stevens said that for her the decision to remain in state for college was relatively simple.

“Honestly, I always kept my options open, but staying in Wisconsin felt like the right choice for me. The community and support system here have been amazing, and I’m really happy with my decision,” said Stevens.

Even after being a top performer in high school as a Trojan at the high school level, Stevens has been able to translate her abilities well to play at the collegiate level.

“I think playing basketball and volleyball in high school versus in college can be quite different — both mentally and physically. In high school, the focus is often on learning and developing basic skills, teamwork and enjoying the game,” said Stevens.

“The pressure might be less intense and balancing academics and sports was more flexible in high school. Physically, I think practices and games are demanding, but there is usually more room for growth and development.”

However, Stevens also said that she has learned that playing in college while facing other high level competitors has not been an easy feat.

“On the other hand, the competition is much tougher in college, and there is a greater emphasis on strategy, performance and winning. I believe student athletes face higher expectations and pressure from coaches, teammates and themselves at the college level. Balancing academics, sports and possibly a social life can be more challenging as well, but it is all very rewarding in the end,” said Stevens.

Because the level of play is higher, being among other top recruiter athletes from across the nation, Stevens also said that she recognized the demands on her body from playing two sports.

“The physical demands are also significantly higher. We often undergo rigorous training, conditioning and practice schedules. The level of play is more intense and maintaining peak physical condition is crucial. But, I believe that overall the transition from high school to college sports involves stepping up in both mental and physical aspects, requiring greater dedication, resilience and time management skills,” said Stevens.

Had some help

Because moving up to play in college requires so much hard work and dedication which can be mentally draining, Stevens said that she could not have done it without having everyone in her corner.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a strong support system. My family has always been there for me, cheering me on and offering encouragement. My friends have been amazing, providing a listening ear and keeping me grounded. And, of course, my community and mentors have been invaluable, offering guidance and support throughout the year. I couldn’t have done it without each of them,” said Stevens.

According to Stevens, however, a strong support system and dedication to her sports would not have been enough to take her to the collegiate level and to earn her Female Freshman of the Year honors.

“Making it to this level definitely required some sacrifices. I had to dedicate a lot of time to practice and training, balancing academics and sports, which was all very challenging, so I had to be very disciplined with my time management,” said Stevens.

“Sometimes, I even had to miss out on basketball activities to focus on volleyball, but in the end, all the hard work and sacrifices were worth it to achieve my goals and contribute to the team.”

Above and beyond

Although being a multi-sport athlete in college is extremely rare and difficult, Stevens said that she wasn’t always sure it would be possible.

“I had an idea that I wanted to try both sports, but I never really thought I would end up doing both at the collegiate level. It was all kind of up in the air for a while. But once I got here, I realized I had the opportunity and the support to pursue both volleyball and basketball, and I’m really glad that I did,” said Stevens.

Other accomplishments

Stevens was also a First Team All-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference selection in basketball after starting in 22 of 26 games in her debut season at WLC.

In Stevens’ first year with the team, the Warriors secured their 12th NACC Tournament Title, helped majorly by Stevens’ abilities as a forward ranking second on the team in points per game with 11.2, rebounds per game with 5.9, a field goal percentage of 50.6, 49 out of 68 free throw attempts and 23 blocks.

Stevens reached double-figure scoring in 15 games this past season.

“One of my biggest goals for next season in basketball is to improve my overall game and contribute more to the team’s success. Whether it’s increasing my scoring, improving my defense, or being a better team player, I want to make a significant impact and help us achieve our goals,” said Stevens.

Double threat

Stevens not only played two sports her freshman year, but excelled in both being only one of two athletes on the volleyball team to make appearances in all 26 matches this past season.

Stevens was also the third highest point earner, finishing second on the team in blocks with blocks at 44 and fourth in kills with 122.

“It was definitely a challenge to find a college that could meet all my needs for playing two sports. I was looking for a place with good coaches, a supportive team atmosphere, a convenient location, and scholarship opportunities. It took some time and effort, but I eventually found the right fit that allowed me to pursue both volleyball and basketball,” said Stevens.

However, Stevens said that through her challenges this season she has realized that her time as a multi-sport athlete may be coming to an end.

“Although I played both sports my freshman year, I realized I needed to stick with one sport and focus solely on basketball. It was a tough decision, but I felt that dedicating my time and energy to one sport would allow me to perform at my best and contribute more effectively to the team,” said Stevens.

“My experience on the volleyball team was invaluable. It helped me develop strong teamwork and communication skills, which have been incredibly beneficial in basketball. The discipline and work ethic I learned from playing volleyball have definitely carried over and made me a better athlete overall.”

According to Stevens, she has always been proud to try new sports and see where her athletic abilities take her.

“I didn’t really play many other sports growing up, but I did try lacrosse during my senior year of high school because it is a popular sport within my community so I wanted to experience it myself which I really enjoyed and had lots of fun,” said Stevens.

Going forward, Stevens said that she is planning on making the most of her time at home in the Green Bay area before returning to WLC in the fall.

“I haven’t made any concrete plans yet, but I plan to get involved with my community in Oneida and start working as well. It’s a good way to stay active and make a positive impact,” said Stevens.

“I’m thinking about using the summer to focus on training and improving my basketball skills. Plus, it would be nice to relax and enjoy some downtime before the next season starts.”

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