Inside look at the WIAC Kwik Trip Athlete of the Week sponsors

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Gianna Fussell, Sports Reporter

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The WIAC participates in the NCAA at the Division III level.

According to the WIAC website, “The WIAC is widely recognized as the most accomplished DIII conference in NCAA history as evidenced by having captured more NCAA national championships (118) than any other conference.” The WIAC is comprised of UWL, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, and UW-Whitewater.

The WIAC has several sponsors including Culver’s and Kwik Trip. WIAC has been partnered with Culver’s since 2015 and partnered with Kwik Trip since 2019. Culver’s has had many different roles in their sponsorship with the WIAC, starting out sponsoring 14 championship events and the post-season, along with other programs.

In 2017, Culver’s extended their agreement with the WIAC, in which a WIAC article said, “The centerpiece of this agreement is that Culver’s is the ‘presenting sponsor’ of all WIAC championships and postseason tournaments.” Currently, Culver’s sponsors the WIAC Student-Athlete Spotlights.

During the 2022-2023 school year, the WIAC chooses student-athletes to participate in a question-and-answer session, where the answer is posted every Thursday. Some of these questions included, “What is your favorite menu item from Culver’s?” and “What is your greatest sports moment?” or “What causes do you care about?”

The WIAC chooses one male and one female from one of the UW System schools in the WIAC to answer these questions. The list with the Student-Athlete Spotlights up to date as of now can be found here.

In 2019, the WIAC partnered with Kwik Trip on a three-year agreement. The WIAC statement can be found here. This agreement is shown in the “WIAC Kwik Trip Athlete of the Week.”

Each conference sport has an athlete of the week who is nominated by the head coach of that sport. The student-athlete is then posted on the WIAC site, their sports webpage, and social media and highlights the student-athletes achievements from their tournament.

The WIAC site quoted Gary Karner, who was the WIAC commissioner at the time. Karner retired from his role as commissioner in 2020, after 24 years with the WIAC. Karner said, “The WIAC is extremely pleased to partner with Kwik Trip. This is an agreement that partners two of the most iconic brands in the state of Wisconsin. As the sponsor of this program, Kwik Trip recognizes the importance of celebrating the incomparable athletic success of the WIAC and its student-athletes.”

Teresa Clark works with Kwik Trip and is their partnership marketing manager. Today, in an email to The Racquet Press, Clark said, “Kwik Trip is proud to support the WIAC student-athletes. We celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of each student-athlete. We know part of the commitment of the student-athlete involves travel and our coworkers are glad to support them with our various food options and guest service.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, UWL junior and member of the Women’s Swim and Dive Team, Lauren Steien, was the WIAC Kwik Trip Athlete of the Week, along with UW-Eau Claire’s diver Sarah Dahlk. At the swim and dive meet versus UW-Oshkosh, which occurred on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Mitchell Hall Rich Pein Pool, Steien had won three individual titles; the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley, and the 200-yard breaststroke.

In addition, Steien also participated in the 200-yard medley relay, which also won for UWL. “To be able to represent UWL in our conference and receive recognition for it is really nice,” said Steien, “It’s important that student-athletes are recognized for their achievements, and Kwik Trip sponsoring that is awesome.” The WIAC Kwik Trip Athletes of the Week page for Steien can be found here.