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Sports shaping Blugold's college experience, future career path

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: Mitch Stegeman is majoring in finance and management while also serving as a captain on UW-Eau Claire's track and field team. The student athlete is a four-time track and field All-American and a two-time academic All-American.

Mitch Stegeman was a standout high school athlete, but he had no idea when he came to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to study business that sports would shape his college experience and his future career plans.

A senior finance and management major, Stegeman is a four-time track and field All-American and two-time academic All-American who is planning a career in golf course management.

Stegeman, who came to UW-Eau Claire from Suring because “I wanted to go to the best business school in the state and UW-Eau Claire is exactly that,” says becoming a Blugold is “the best decision of my life.” “I’ve gotten so much more out of college than I expected; I’ve learned so much here,” he says.

After graduating in May 2024, Stegeman plans to work at a golf course in Arizona, and “one day run my own course.”

Mitch Stegeman 2

As a Blugold, Stegeman studied at Northern Arizona University for a semester through the National Student Exchange program, an experience he describes as life changing. NSE was the “best decision of my college career, and one of the best experiences of my life,” he says.

NSE helped him appreciate the importance of interacting with people whose experiences and viewpoints differ from his own, and it inspired him to consider golf course management as a career.

“UWEC is giving me the knowledge and skills to pursue my dream, but it’s also providing connections and experiences that’ll make my transition into life after college smooth,” Stegeman says. “NSE helped me make connections in Arizona, and people here are helping me build myself into someone who’ll be successful in the future.”

As a student-athlete, Stegeman is inspired by the people he meets on the track and in his classrooms, saying his coaches and professors have “greatly exceeded my expectations.”

“My professors’ knowledge about the subjects they teach is incredible,” Stegeman says. “Almost all of them had careers in business before becoming professors, so they bring real world examples to class. They’ve taught me much more than what’s in the textbook.”

Mitch Stegeman track and field

Chip Schneider, head track and field coach, is his “biggest supporter and mentor,” says Stegeman, who’s been on two college national championship teams.

“He’s an extremely knowledgeable and helpful coach, but he’s also interested in his athletes’ lives,” Stegeman says. “He helps me be successful on the track and in the classroom.”

Calling him the “definition of student-athlete,” Schneider says Stegeman is a team captain who “leads through example” and motivates his teammates. “We wouldn’t be the championship team we are without Mitch,” Schneider says.

Through athletics, Stegeman has found great friends and “awesome mentors for track and life.”

“My teammates’ dedication to their sport and academics keeps me focused on making myself a better student-athlete every day,” Stegeman says. “Time management and discipline are my biggest takeaways. I’m confident that whatever life throws at me, I can manage it. Taking things one step at a time and staying focused are important when balancing sports and academics, but also are great life skills.”