They come from all around the United States for
various reasons, but student athletes from Alaska, Missouri, Iowa, New York and
many other places come to Stevens Point and proudly wear the Pointers jersey.
There are 282 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
athletes on men’s teams. 24 percent of them are not from Wisconsin. Of the 230
female athletes, 23.5 percent don’t call Wisconsin home.
Almost every team at UWSP has at least one out of
state athlete on their team. Both men’s and women’s hockey have the highest
percentage of out-of-state talent, with 78 and 65 percent, respectively.
This is a common trend in Division I programs, but
it is becoming more prevalent in Division III programs.
Why would so many come to the small town of Stevens
Point to play their sport? There are a quite a few answers to that question.
Both senior golfer Olivia Schiefelbein, from Iowa,
and sophomore cross-country runner, Chandler Mellon, from New York, chose UWSP
because of its outstanding academic standing.
“I am a wildlife major. UWSP is the best for that,”
Schiefelbein echoed that sentiment, saying, “I came
to Stevens Point for the Natural Resource Program here.”
For most athletes, the level of talent involved and
the opportunity to play for a successful program are big reasons why UWSP is
“I chose to come to Stevens Point instead of a
college in my home state of Missouri because of the level of hockey played
here,” said Sean Gammage, a freshman defender on the hockey team.
Some athletes come to UWSP because of the great
coaching staffs that the university has assembled.
“When Coach Brooks called and was interested in
recruiting me, I looked into the school and thought it seemed like a great
opportunity,” said Josh Daley, a sophomore forward on the hockey team from
Many students have multiple reasons for attending
this university, like sophomore swimmer Tessa Hasbrouck.
Hasbrouck is from Petersburg, AL. She came to UWSP
because of its outstanding natural resources program, its small-school feel,
and the solid swim program.
“I wanted to go somewhere I had never been to
before, and Wisconsin was one of those places,” Hasbrouck said.
Considering the change in scenery and lifestyle to
their previous homes, it’s understandable that many of these athletes needed
some time to transition to the Wisconsin culture.
“Words used like ‘bubbler’ and ‘tennis shoes’ were
very foreign to me,” Mellon said.
“The biggest difference is the size of Stevens
Point,” Gammage said. “It was way smaller than St. Louis.”
Daley, a transfer student from Penn State
University, enjoys the small number of students. “I find it’s easier for me to
get around campus and have a better one-on-one relationship with some of my
teachers,” Daley said.
For Hasbrouck, she had to get used to many things,
coming from a small community of just 3,000 people in her town. “There were
more people on my swim team than there was in my graduating class,” Hasbrouck
“I had never spent time in a deciduous forest, had
never stopped a car at a stoplight and had never heard of Black Friday
shopping,” Hasbrouck said.
But one of the biggest changes for Hasbrouck was
the Debot food. “I’m used to eating a lot of seafood,” Hasbrouck said. “Debot
caused a major food-oriented culture shock.”
Even with all of the changes, the athletes agree
that the Stevens Point community is a very welcoming and friendly place to call
home for nine months out of the year.
“I have met and become friends with some really
great people up here,” said Schiefelbein. “The atmosphere around campus is
pretty cool, too. You get to know a lot of people and make new friends every
day,” Daley said.
“I’ve found that I’m particularly fond of cows,”
said Hasbrouck. “There are many more choices in Stevens Point, WI, compared to
Students love the atmosphere and friendliness of
Stevens Point, but everyone eventually misses home a little bit, and being far
away can mean missing it more.
“I really miss my family, especially my niece, my
dogs and close friends,” Mellon said. “Parents, grandparents and my brother are
a big part of my life,” Daley said. “It gets a little difficult at times not
having that chance to see them as much as I would like to.”
“I miss the ocean and the salty breeze, the nest of
mountains that surround and the glorious amounts of seafood,” Hasbrouck said.
“I miss sea kayaking, fog in the morning, watching sea lions swim and walking
through the harbor at night.”
Everyone in college misses someone or something
along the line, but there are support systems to make you feel better, and
that’s no different for the athletic teams.
“Playing on the hockey team here helps you through,
because it kind of puts you in a ‘family’ here,” Gammage said.
Being so far away from home, the athletes don’t get
to see family very often, but many have family in the area.
“I am only a couple hours away from my
grandparents, Schiefelbein said. “It is nothing to head down to see them for
the weekend, which is great.”
Sometimes families even travel to UWSP to support
their athletes. “Some of my family will visit here a couple times, though, to
watch some of my hockey games,” Gammage said.
remember, whether they’re just across the way in Minnesota or all the way from
Alaska, make our athletes, and all of the out-of-state students, feel welcome
here in our great state of Wisconsin.