Small Town, Big Names: 10 Small School Athletes You Need To Know
I will do my best to refrain from any references to Journey songs, but there are a number of athletes from small towns across Wisconsin that are doing amazing things on and off the court. Growing up in a small town in Iowa, I know how it works. These athletes are wearing multiple hats from playing sports, to participating in a variety of clubs and activities whether it be music, mock trial, student council, or helping their family on the farm. They fit it all in and are such an important part of the community that is in almost all cases very supportive of what they do. This list of ten athletes are just a small sliver of what small town Wisconsin has to offer. Here are some names you need to know and keep an eye on for the volleyball season next Fall!
*In order to qualify, the high school has to be in a town of less than 5,000. And trust me, there are more gems out there, and I look forward to sharing their story in the future!
Aubree Bucheger – OH/DS – Class of 2020 – Oconto High School
Oconto – Pop: 4,513
Bucheger is an outside hitter opposite of Cora Behnke on the Oconto High School Volleyball team. Bucheger is a college prospect as an undersized, ball control outside with a definite future as a libero/defensive specialist. A key player since her freshman year, Bucheger has had 300 digs each year so far of high school with over 654 digs heading into her Junior season. Oconto was a state runner up in 2012 and is looking for a return to the Resch Center being just over 40 miles away from Green Bay.
Hattie Bray – Middle Blocker – Class of 2021 – Wautoma High School
Wautoma – Pop: 2,218
Wautoma, known for speed traps and record setting deer in Central Wisconsin is also the home of former Packer and Badger football player, Jared Abbrederis. Bray might be one of the next big athletes to come out of Wautoma climbing up on the list of prospects for the Class of 2021. Bray is becoming one of the top middles in her class and will be a go to in her area. Bray was on the Prep Dig Badger Region 15 Open All Tournament Team with her solid blocking and terminal hitting. Bray will also compete in track for Wautoma this Spring.
Emma Bruckshen – Outside Hitter – Class of 2020 – Howards Grove High School
Howards Grove – Pop: 3,261
Howards Grove won a state title in volleyball and basketball in 2016. Bruckshen would have been a Freshman, but last year for the Tigers she tallied 327 kills and over 100 digs. This club season she is one of the main scorers, along with Katie DiRaimondo, for FC Elite. Her game is evolving and she is turning into a true six rotation outside hitter. Howards Grove will have a solid group coming back and some incoming talent from the Class of 2022 where they will be making a push to get back to the state tournament in the Fall.
Jenna Chaussee – Outside Hitter – Class of 2019 – Chilton High School
Chilton – Pop: 3,828
Chaussee is a six rotation outside that had a breakout season for Chilton High School which is on the Eastside of Lake Winnebago. Chaussee pounded out 429 kills and also had 362 digs which resulted in unanimous All Eastern Wisconsin Conference Honors and Honorable Mention All State Honors. She will be back for her Senior year along with teammate Alysha Brickl who had over 700 assists for Chilton.
Olivia Olson – Setter – Class of 2019 – New Holstein High School
New Holstein – Pop: 3,129
Olson is an all around athlete that can play any position on the court. For her high school team of New Holstein she had over 200 kills and 200 digs last season, carrying her team to a 23-13 record. Olson plays club for Wisconsin Volleyball Academy where she is running a 5-1 offense as a setter. At 5’11, Olson puts up a solid block, plays high, and can be very offensive as a setter as well.
Katie Mattson – MB/OPP – Class of 2019 – Luck High School
Luck – Pop: 1,119
Luck is about 75 miles from Minneapolis, and a town just over 1,000. Mattson would be considered one of the top small school athletes in her area, that had a 22-8 record in 2017. Mattson is a 5’9 middle who had over 300 kills in her high school season. She is currently playing for Kokoro 17-1 that has established an extremely strong pipeline of Wisconsin athletes.
Bailey Neuberger – Outside Hitter – Class of 2019 – Marshall High School
Marshall – Pop: 3,938
Marshall is outside of Madison and is just coming off a state title in girls basketball. They also happen to have a solid athlete in Bailey Neuberger. Neuberger is an outside hitter for Capital Adidas 17. This past season at Marshall, Neuberger had 292 kills, good enough for 3.7 kills/set along with 200 digs. Neuberger was an Honorable Mention All State Selection in 2017. A definite college prospect she could be an instant impact at a Division 3 school, but has an upside to go bigger.
Jenna McNally – Libero – Class of 2019 – Grantsburg High School
Grantsburg – Pop: 1,341
McNally and Mattson might have all too much in common and could even be travel buddies being from small towns in Northwest Wisconsin and playing for Kokoro 17-1. McNally is a college prospect at libero. McNally is on track to have over 1,000 digs for her career with over 400 last year Grantsburg that made it to the sectional final before falling in four sets to Eau Claire Regis.
Morgan Radtke – Middle Blocker – Class of 2019 – Elk Mound
Elk Mound – Pop: 872
Between Eau Claire and Menomonie in Western Wisconsin there is Elk Mound, a town just shy of 1,000 residents. If you were to fit the entire town into a high school it might be a Division 1 school. With those small town comes the charm and the sports and activities are so exciting with community support. Radtke was named Dunn-St. Croix Conference Player of the Year as a Junior Middle Blocker with 397 kills for a hitting efficiency of .305 and 92 total blocks.
Brinley Wood – Middle Blocker – Class of 2019 – Cuba City
Cuba City – Pop: 2,055
Deep in Southwest Wisconsin lies an athletic powerhouse in Cuba City which is decorated in state basketball titles as well as success in volleyball. Wood was name SWAL Player of the Year for the Cubans who went 12-0 in league play and 31-7 overall. Wood, who will be returning for her Senior year, had 341 kills and 120 total blocks. She was also named Honorable Mention All State.