By Cara L. Dempski
Between Colfax and Elk Mound High Schools, there are eight former prep athletes who are continuing their careers in college.
Lakken Meredith, Kori Buchanan and Marianne Scharlau represent Colfax well as volleyball players at UW-La Crosse and Jamestown University, while Abbagail Schotter is working her way through her first cross country season as a Mustang at Southwestern Minnesota State University.
[emember_protected] Mounders Jordyn Abramowicz and Hannah Flatness are playing volleyball at UW-River Falls and St. Catherine University respectively, while former Elk Mound football players Dane Lew and Noah Zurbuchen joined programs at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University.
The coaches for each player were contacted for updates, and the responses from each are listed here.
Meredith played her first season of college volleyball at Clark University this fall, and finished her freshman academic year there before transferring to UW-La Crosse. The Eagles’ head coach Amber Dunn said she is happy to have Meredith on her team.
“She is a great kid,” Dunn noted. “She certainly exemplifies all things Eagle volleyball.”
The La Crosse coach said the former Colfax player transferred to UW-La Crosse as a setter, but the Eagles did not have any open setting positions. Dunn indicated Meredith has transitioned into a defensive role, and has worked hard and committed to the role change.
Dunn expressed excitement about the former Viking’s future with the La Crosse volleyball program, saying Meredith is fun to coach and has some good leadership qualities that will shine through in coming months.
Meredith hit a season-high seven digs against Grinnell, Iowa, this season, and served for five aces against Elmhurst, Illinois.
Several attempts to reach University of Jamestown’s head volleyball coach, Jon Hegerle, were not answered prior to deadline, but some indication of Buchanan’s junior year with the Jimmies could be found on the university’s athletics website.
The former Viking logged 98 service points so far this season and one kill as an outside hitter.
Buchanan is a mathematics major.
Scharlau is also playing volleyball at the University of Jamestown, and is in her sophomore year as a Nursing student. The Jimmies’ website indicates she played as part of the junior varsity squad for the 2017-2018 season.
There were no statistics posted on the site for Scharlau.
Schotter’s college coach at Southwestern Minnesota State University, Dan Allen, is very impressed with her, and she is only one-third through her freshman year with the Mustangs.
“Abby’s freshman year has been great so far,” Allen wrote. “She’s a hard worker, and a grinder on the cross country course.”
Allen said he saw Schotter as more of a 400-meter to mile runner, and did not think she would be as successful as she has in her freshman season. He said his team is still young, and many of Schotter’s teammates come from backgrounds with lower miles and less intense workouts.
The Mustang coach believes Schotter’s transition with a big group of young students was paramount to her rapid adaptation, considering the big gap in prior training regiments, but is pleased with how well she handled the increased distance.
“I am excited to get her on the track and let her loose in the middle-distance events,” Allen said.
Allen indicated he sees a great college career ahead for Schotter, but knows she needs to keep making progress on her mileage and workouts. He noted anyone can be successful in the world of distance and middle-distance running, but runners can set themselves apart with a good work ethic, determination, handling severe discomfort in workouts and races, and recovering and staying healthy.
According to the Mustang coach, Schotter is ahead of the curve on work ethic, determination, and handling discomfort, and he said she has not yet suffered any injuries.
“Overall, we are one-12th done with her career, so we are still learning about Abby and where her ceiling is, but we are excited about her potential for years to come,” Allen finished.
Schotter’s biggest finish came in the six-kilometer NCAA Central Region Championship race, where she finished 164th with a time of 25:11.
Patti Ford, the head volleyball coach at UW-River Falls, was pleased to have Abramowicz on her team this season.
“Jordyn has all the technical skills and instincts as a player to adjust to the college game,” Ford noted.
The Falcon head coach said Abramowicz has been a good addition to the team, and has all the skills to develop into a top defensive player in the years to come. Ford indicated the former Mounder had a great freshman season, appearing in 15 matches to take 16 digs and pick up five aces.
Ford said the Elk Mound graduate has the ability to develop into one of the Falcons’ top defenders, and said Abramowicz’s role will definitely increase in years to come.
University of St. Catherine head volleyball coach was not able to respond to requests for an update on Hannah Flatness, who is a sophomore at St. Kate’s.
Online statistics from the Wildcat Athletics website indicate Flatness played 75 sets in 2017 and logged 92 kills, five solo blocks, and 54 block assists.
University of Minnesota at Duluth defensive coordinator John Steger said the Bulldogs redshirted Elk Mound graduate Dane Lew this season.
“It’s hard to give a true evaluation (of Lew),” Steger explained. “We are excited about Dane’s future here at UMD.”
The Bulldog coach said Lew has fit into the team very well in his first year, going through the process of most red-shirt athletes: practicing, learning the team’s system, and developing in the weight room.
Steger said he is looking forward to watching Lew compete for a spot in the spring.
Scott Underwood, head football coach at St. Cloud State University, had nothing but kind words for Noah Zurbuchen when contacted.
“With his success on the field and off the field in the classroom, Noah serves as a class-act type of player that the whole team can emulate,” Underwood noted.
The Husky coach said he recruited Zurbuchen because of his skill set as a cover corner. He said the former Mounder is a talented player, and he knew about the Elk Mound graduate’s good ball skills and ability to cover space quickly.
“He is a very impressive young man,” Underwood said. “He is quiet, but a very ‘even keel’ kid. During practice, he is very coachable and very conscientious.”
Underwood explained Zurbuchen is still learning the team’s calls and assignments, but processes the information well, and is willing to do the necessary work on and off the field. [/emember_protected]