Katie Mueller -
2012 Kevin Higgins College
Scholarship Grant Recipient
San Diego, CA (December 5, 2012) - Katie Mueller has been playing organized sports for as long as she can remember. First it was basketball where she starred on AAU teams from the sixth grade on. She also played hoops all four years she was at Catholic Memorial High School. Her team was good and so was she as she led CMHS to victory over the number one team in the state of Wisconsin in the regional playoffs. At 6’ tall, she was also a gifted volleyball player playing club and high school volleyball from the ninth grade on.
Excelling in the classroom seemed to be as natural for Katie as excelling on the court. She was one of the top students in her class finishing with a 3.9 GPA.
With what looked like a basketball or volleyball scholarship waiting for her, imagine if you were the coach of the women’s rugby team at Catholic Memorial and you saw Katie approaching you just before the start of the team’s first practice her junior year. Here’s how her coach John Waliszewski remembers that day.
“It was the first day of rugby practice last year. A tall and happy-faced 17 year-old hopped over to me to announce she’d like to join our team. This was a big deal. Katie is one of the best students and best athletes in our school, and now she wanted to join the newest team on campus. What excited me even more is that she is one of the most sincere and caring young adults I’ve ever worked with. Not only did she join the team, but Katie became a captain of the team her senior year, despite only having one year of experience. She is so well respected, works so hard, and communicates so well, that it was clear her teammates would follow her anywhere.”
Katie was named Catholic Memorial’s Rookie of the Year her junior year leading CMHS to a Wisconsin State Runner-Up finish. She won 20 Brickhouse awards that year for individual game achievement in performance or leadership by coaching staff and teammates. She was also named the team’s Defensive Brickhouse Award winner.
As captain of MCHS her senior year, she led her team to the Midwest Championship game as well as 4thplace finishes in both the 15s and 7s National Championship tournaments.
Despite her success on the rugby pitch, Katie and her family expected her to accept a basketball scholarship to college. But after a conversation with Penn State and U.S. Women’s National Team coach Peter Steinberg following her last rugby game those plans changed. After her strong season at CMHS Katie realized she had the potential to go to the next level in rugby. Her conversation with Coach Steinberg made it even more clear for her.
“Katie is exactly the type of person that USA Rugby is looking to identify and develop to help us compete at the World Cup and Olympics. She is a quality varsity athlete that has chosen rugby over her other sports.”
Penn State is receiving much more than a smart and gifted student athlete. They are getting a well-rounded individual who has given back to her high school and community. She was a member of the National Honor Society her senior year. She has been on her school’s Honor Roll without interruption since the 5thgrade. She won the Outstanding Academic Achievement-President’s Education Award in the 9thgrade. She was also featured in the Who’s Who in Middle School and High School in grades 6, 7, 8, and 9.
She was a Student Ambassador for Catholic Memorial her junior and senior years. She volunteered for the CMHS Open House and the CMHS Book Sale all four years of high school. She was a CMHS Girl’s Basketball Camp Coach in grades 9-11. She was a Peer Leader for the sophomore retreat her junior year. She was also in CMHS Leadership Development Program in 10thgrade.
She was a member of the Auxiliary to the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters her senior year. She volunteered at a number of community events, including: local retirees picnics (from grades 7-11); Charity Mania Booster Club Fundraiser (grades 11-12); Lionel Hoffer Scholarship Bowling Tournament (grades 5-9); Great Milwaukee Muster Volunteer (grade 12); Milwaukee Fire Department Family Campout Children’s games co-coordinator (grades 6-10); and Ronald McDonald House (grades 8-10).
Katie is the only freshman at Penn State that has started every A side match this fall and would have played every minute except for an injury in one match. She is already a leader on her team. Serving in the Air Force is her goal and Katie will soon be immersed in the ROTC program at Penn State. “I hope that my Air Force career and rugby career work together in that I can travel the world serving both my country and enjoying life while playing the beautiful game of rugby.”
Congratulations Katie on being named a 2012 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
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