Seniors sign letters
Wandtke, Huettner to play football in college
By Holly Neumann
Surrounded by family, friends, teammates and coaches, Iola-Scandinavia High School seniors Kellan Wandtke and Bryce Huettner each signed national letters of intent Feb. 6 to play football.
Wandtke will play for Bemidji State in Minnesota, while Huettner is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Both players helped the Thunderbirds win the school’s first state football championship in November and Huettner broke the state’s all-time rushing record.
“I am very proud of both of these young men for getting the opportunity to play football again for another for or five years,” I-S football coach Scott Erickson said. “It shows the hard work that they have put in over the years to get to the level they are now. It shows what hard work can do.”
“This is so awesome,” said Wandtke, an offensive lineman. “It is incredible to get to this point.”
Wandtke recalled the first time he walked into the weight room as a seventh-grader.
“It was then that I realized what I had the potential to be,” he said. “All those years of hard work have paid off.”
He hopes the T-Birds’ winning culture carries over to Bemidji State.
“Obviously everyone likes winning, but not everyone knows that work that has to go into that,” Wandtke said. “I hope that my work ethic transfers over. I am excited to get with a bunch of like-minded guys that are ready to get to work and do some damage in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.”
Bemidji State, a Division 2 program, had a 7-4 record in 2018.
Wandtke, the son of Tim and Jen Wandtke, is considering a degree in sports management.
While Wandtke is heading several hours north of Iola, Huettner, a running back, will stay closer to home in Oshkosh.
“This is a really good fit for me,” he said. “Everything just felt right when I went and visited there.”
College football has always been a dream for Huettner.
“I love football,” he said. “I love everything about the game. I have seen myself progress and get stronger and faster. It has really helped me become the player that I needed to be to go on and play at the next level.”
Huettner not only broke the state record for rushing yards, but he also ran for 156 yards and scored three touchdowns in the T-Birds’ 43-14 win over Racine Lutheran in the WIAA Division 6 state championship game.
“I am trying not looking too far ahead,” he said. “First things first. I just want to get on the field at UW-Oshkosh and become a starter. Long-term goals, you always want to strive for the best.”
UW-Oshkosh is a Division 3 program that competes in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Titans were 6-4 in 2018.
Huettner, the son of Paul and Shannon Huettner, is planning to major in kinesiology and would like to become an athletic trainer.
Both players offered advice for younger athletes.
“Play because you love the game and never stop,” Huettner said. “Always do the best that you can and it will take you places.”
“You will never regret giving maximum effort,” Wandtke said. “Every day, strive to be better than yesterday. Do something to improve yourself. Be the best you can be at everything that you do.”
CORRECTION: This story originally indicated the wrong player was going to Bemidji State in Minnesota. The correct player is Kellan Wandtke.