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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Athlete a spark plug for Wildcat offense

After a Wednesday practice in the PEIF’s practice gym, Steffani Stoeger, a senior on the women’s basketball team, headed to the weight room with the rest of her team. Instead of being tired and quiet, the 5-foot-7’-inch guard was cheerful and upbeat. It was just a typical day.

As a part of the women’s basketball team, Stoeger is accustomed to long days. She usually has three classes a day, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., then practice 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and weightlifting after practice three times a week until 6:30 p.m.

“So you get done at like 6:30 p.m., go home, you eat, get up, and you do it all over again,” said Stoeger.

Stoeger has been playing since second or third grade, and attributes her interest in basketball to her brother, who played in the driveway with her at their home in Hortonville, Wisc.

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Senior guard Steffani Stoeger led the team with 40 steals last season, and was second with 332 points. She is the highest returning scorer. // Justin Key/NW

“I can remember going to high school games, he’s five years older than me, I watched him play a long time,” she said.

Stoeger went to high school at Fox Valley Lutheran High School and was named to Valley 8 All-Conference First Team three times and was Valley 8 player of the year as a senior. She has lettered the past three years for the Wildcats.

Last year, Stoeger started all 32 games and had 40 steals, 87 assists, and 332 points. She was selected to the GLIAC North Division All-Conference Second Team and the GLIAC Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team. This season, she was also named as a member of the preseason All-GLIAC North First Team.

The team aspect of basketball is what Stoeger said she loves the most. NMU finished second in the GLIAC North division last year and fifth in the 2008-2009 season.

“I’ve been blessed with great teams here, and since freshman year known so many different teammates,” Stoeger said. “I’ve met so many great people through the sport.”

As a guard for the Wildcats, Stoeger said her weakness that she wants to work on this season is her ability to pull up and take a jump shot off the dribble.

“I’m more of a driving or three-point shooting person, so the midgame is not my strong suit,” she said.

Stoeger is also working to overcome an injury she suffered at the end of last season when she tore her meniscus, the knee’s shock absorber, in both knees, but still played on the injuries.

“My knees are pretty bad. I got surgery over the summer, I had both scoped, so I’m hoping they’ll feel better,” she said.

Going into this season Stoeger said her main goal is to win conference and beat the team’s second place finish of last season.

Stoeger said her most memorable moment playing for the Wildcats was against Hillsdale two years ago. The school was ranked fifth in the nation with the number one rebounder in the country. NMU was down by two, and Stoeger was at the free throw line with three seconds left in the game. The plan was for her to make the first free throw, purposely miss the second so teammate Angela Leckson could get the rebound, and pass it out to make a three point shot and win the game, Stoeger said. Stoeger missed the shot.  It grazed the rim and bounced over the number one rebounder; Leckson got the rebound, and passed it out to a teammate who made the three-point shot to win the game.

“It was crazy, it was awesome,” Stoeger said.

Stoeger is majoring in sports science and will graduate in May 2011. She plans to pursue her masters in sports science at NMU and serve as the graduate assistant for the women’s basketball team next year.

“I would love to coach in the future, but I’m also thinking about going to school for physical therapy after I get my masters,” she said.

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