During Maureen Steil’s time at Beaver Dam High School from 1973-77, she made a name for herself in a number of athletic pursuits, enjoying success in basketball, tennis, swimming and softball.
Steil set multiple records in swimming, advanced to the state tennis tournament as part of the No. 1 doubles team and finished as the softball team’s leader in stolen bases. She also finished as the girls basketball scoring leader in the Little Ten Conference her senior year and made first team all-conference both her junior and senior years.
It culminated in Steil being elected into the Beaver Dam Athletic Hall of Fame, which she will be inducted into Friday as part of the school’s homecoming festivities.
“I was thrilled,” Steil said. “Honestly, it’s been 40 years since I graduated, so it was just the fact that they remembered me was pretty exciting. I was absolutely thrilled. I’ve always been a very athletic person and playing for Beaver Dam High School was a real honor wearing the green and gold.”
Steil has always been a great athlete as well as a great leader, the latter of which her team’s noticed as she was a three-time captain of the basketball team and two-time captain of the swimming team.
“That was selected by my peers and that spoke volumes to me,” Steil said, “I think it’s carried over in my life now.”
Steil said she was both an emotional leader as well as a leader by example. And she’s still the record holder in the 100- and 200-yard yard freestyles. In her one season on the tennis team, as a senior, she was undefeated in the LTC and finished with a 15-1 record overall. In basketball, she was voted team MVP twice and was the leadoff hitter for the softball team for three seasons.
“I had a lot of fun in all my sports,” Steil said. “I think the relationships with my teammates and my coaches, I learned so much from that. You learn to deal with adversity. You learn to be a gracious winner or loser with sportsmanship.”
Her success in athletics has helped her have a successful professional career as well, as she’s currently the store manager at an Office Depot in Nevada.
“First of all, it made me adventurous,” Steil said of playing sports at BDHS. “I’m not afraid to try new things so instead of just staying in Wisconsin — and I love Wisconsin; it will always be my home — it made me be a little more adventurous when the opportunity came along in my career to move out to the West. I think because of my sports confidence and my athletics and overall self-confidence, because of that it allowed me to take the chance and move out west.
“It was hard to leave family because all my family is still back in Wisconsin. At the same time, it was an adventure. I think sports helped with that.”
Steil attended UW-LaCrosse, where she was a member of the basketball team from 1977-78 and joined the women’s rugby team in 1978 for three seasons.
Steil credited the work ethic she learned from her parents as a big reason for her success at BDHS and La Crosse.
“It started with my parents. My parents were very hard-working people,” she said. “They were very supportive of my athletic endeavors all through the years. When you go back to the early and late ‘70s, girls weren’t always encouraged in athletics way back when, like it is now. My parents, from the get-go when I expressed an interest in athletics, (said)... your schoolwork always has to come first. The second thing is, if you make a commitment to a team … you stick with that commitment. There’s no quitting.’”