Lettau going to SUNY Canton
Waupaca senior heading east to play basketball
By Greg Seubert
All Seattle Lettau wanted was a place to study nursing and play basketball.
She found both at a small college in New York State.
The Waupaca High School senior is heading to SUNY Canton, a state university of 3,600 students in Canton, New York.
“I always saw myself going to college and playing basketball,” said Lettau, who is visiting the campus with her family for the first time this week. “It’s been my dream to do that. I’m very excited to have the opportunity.”
Lettau recently wrapped up four seasons of varsity basketball in Waupaca. She started playing basketball in third grade at the Waupaca Recreation Center; later played on a traveling team; and eventually joined the Wisconsin Blaze, an Appleton-based AAU program.
“That’s really where I started loving the game and working hard at it,” she said. “I always felt like I had a natural sense for the game.”
SUNY Canton coach Chris Klassen eventually found video of some of Lettau’s games on a recruiting page.
“I was hoping to stay close to home at first, but listening to him made me want to play there,” Lettau said. “I could hear that he was a good coach. I’ve had many coaches in my time and I can tell if they know the game. He’s trying to turn the program around and wants me to help do that.
“He actually FaceTimed us and showed us the campus,” she said. “He had my No. 22 jersey hanging up.
“He definitely wants girls that know the game,” she added. “Looking at the team, they have a lot of post players, so I think he wanted a point guard like me to run the floor and control the game.”
The college will also give Lettau the opportunity to study nursing. She has worked as a certified nursing assistant at Bethany Home in Waupaca since last year.
“I’ve always wanted to go into nursing, so they needed a good nursing program,” Lettau said. “They’re in the top 10 of nursing programs on the East Coast, so that kind of opened my eyes. They have a couple of (programs), but the one that I’m interested in is a dual nursing degree in which you get your associate degree in three years and you earn your RN. In my last year, I would earn my BSN.”
Besides checking out the campus, Lettau will also get to spend some time with her future teammates.
“I’ll get to watch a couple team practices and bond with the girls,” she said. “It’ll be kind of exciting to see what kind of ball they play.”
Most of the team’s players are from northern New York, but its roster includes a recent transfer students originally from Ellsworth, Wisconsin.
Women’s basketball is a Division III program at SUNY Canton, which means Lettau won’t get an athletic scholarship. She can, however, apply for academic scholarships.
Lettau eventually narrowed her choices to three schools: St. Norbert College in De Pere; Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Michigan; and SUNY Canton.
“There were schools that saw my recruiting page from Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, all over,” she said. “There would be coaches calling me every night and talking to me. It was very exciting.”
Advice from a coach
Lettau didn’t have to look for advice when it comes to college athletics. She played for two seasons in Waupaca under Payton Mix, who played basketball and softball at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
“She knows what it takes to play in college,” Lettau said. “It’s hard work and it’s a lot of time in practices. She told me you have to work for it off-season, which I already do a lot.”
In the meantime, Lettau will continue to work at Bethany Home until starting the next chapter of her life.
“(Leaving home) definitely makes me nervous, but I’m so excited to go play basketball and go to college,” she said. “It’ll be a different experience on the college floor with a new team. That’s what I’m most excited for.”