Pair to compete in D1 programs
By Holly Neumann
Little Wolf High School now has a pair of NCAA Division 1 athletes.
Seniors Ryan Schuelke and Carlene Beyer signed their National Letter of Intent Nov. 13 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Stephen F. Austin State University, respectively.
Schuelke, the son of Greg and Jill Schuelke, will join the UW-Green Bay men’s golf team and Beyer, the daughter of Matt and Jennie Beyer, will attend Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she will be a member of the Ladyjacks women’s bowling team. “Today is a special day for Ryan and Carlene, their families, Manawa athletics, the school district and community,” Manawa athletic director Skylar Leibzeit said.
Of the nearly 8 million students currently participating in high school athletics in the United States, only 480,000 go on to compete in the NCAA and of that group, only a fraction will play at Division 1 or Division 2, he said.
“I chose this school because I literally felt like I was at home,” Beyer said. “It just felt like I belonged there.”
“I chose this school for many reasons, the first being that it is pretty close to home, so I still have access to come back easily if needed,” Schuelke said. “I enjoy the people there and they are very nice. From the coaches to the administration office, I got nothing but positivity when I went for my visit.”
Both students are passionate about their sports.
“I decided to pursue my golf at the collegiate level because I love competition and I am very passionate for the game,” Schuelke said. “I love meeting new people and making as many connections that I can. This is very important to me because I believe it built my character and it made me who I am today.”
Though bowling has always been a part of Beyer’s life, she admitted she never thought much about bowling at the collegiate level.
“After winning two state titles is when my focus on bowling in college really changed,” she said. “It made me realize that there are more opportunities for bowling in my future. I love bowling and I couldn’t picture my life without it.”
Each athlete got their start at a very young age.
“My career got underway when my parents first bought Keglers Bowling Center in Manawa in 2004,” Beyer said. “That’s when it all started. I didn’t join a league until I was about 8. In sixth grade, I was a part of the first middle school bowling team. Then, in eighth grade, the girls’ team went to state and we won.”
Beyer’s love of the sport grew even more after she won her first Wisconsin High School Girls State Singles Title and Manawa’s girls’ team finished runner-up in Division 2 in 2016. She also competed in the Junior Gold Youth Championships for three years.
“Going to Junior Gold is one of my favorite places to compete because I get to meet so many different people,” Beyer said. “Same with going to all kinds of different tournaments, these people are my friends and I get to see them over and over again.”
Schuelke got started at Cedar Springs Golf Course, which is owned by family members.
“My uncle has been giving me lessons from the time that I could understand how to swing a golf club,” he said. “He has taught me many things about my character and how to live my life, not just on the golf course, but how to live with a purpose.”
Schuelke said he enjoys golf because it is an escape from daily life and it’s relaxing.
“It is one of the sports that you can just throw on a pair of headphones and escape and just enjoy,” he said. “I had great experiences through high school traveling, playing and staying overnight at hotels.”
He tied for third in Division 3 at the WIAA state meet earlier this year and tied for ninth last year as a junior.
“Bowling in college is my next step to becoming a professional bowler,” Beyer said. “I want to become a pro to show people that even though you come from a small town, you can still become something great.”
Her main focus, however, will be to get an education.
“I haven’t really decided what I want to major in,” she said. “I do know that I want work with people.”
“My long-term goals in golf include performing well at the collegiate level and qualifying and playing in bigger events, such as the state amateur and state open,” Schuelke said.
Though he has not completely decided yet, Schuelke is considering a major in engineering.
Both students offered advice to younger athletes.
“I tell them they have to be dedicated if they want to become better and have a great positive attitude,” Beyer said.
“I would say even from a small school perspective, if you are passionate for a sport, pursue it,” Schuelke said. “You never know the opportunities that you may receive if you are willing to practice and put in work.”