February 2, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Few high school athletes ever reach truly great individual heights during their playing careers. For them it’s usually not about solo glory, but the success of the team and representing the school with pride.
However, individual achievements in sports definitely still deserve some level of recognition, especially when they have withstood the test of time for over 20 years.
Ryan Wietor currently holds the record for the most points scored in a career, 1,107, while playing basketball for the West Bend West Spartans from 1996-2000.
“When I played, there was no focus on individual achievements. The only thing I cared about was winning,” said Wietor. “There were no count downs to 1,000 points or to school scoring records like you see nowadays.”
Wietor also said he had no idea how many points he scored until after his playing days were over.
”I worked on my game year-round in order to help my team win games, not to set individual records,” he said. “I would gladly trade my points for a few more conference championships.”
Wietor spoke with pride about his drive and commitment to both his former school and the game of basketball, noting that unlike many players of the current generation he actually went to off-campus camps to hone his fundamentals, instead of simply relying on the games and team practice alone.
Wietor was also a soccer and baseball player throughout his high school life, which saw the same competitive drive to win games rather than be seen as a superstar.
Wietor was quick to praise his parents who “expected me to balance all of my sports year-round, and maintain good academic standing. It wasn’t an option and there were no excuses! I learned that really quickly in life.”
Wietor spent time at West Bend West as a teacher and coach, and has kept up with his alma mater’s sports teams since.
“I always look for teams to regain that competitive edge like we had. I much more enjoy watching teams compete, rather than just go out and play.”
Wietor said even now he is not focused on individual stats and performances.
After 20 years standing, West Bend West senior Aaron Tennies is merely one strong effort away from breaking Wietor’s career scoring record.
Ryan closed the interview by offering advice to the current crop of high school athletes.
“The greatest advice that I could give to high school athletes is not just go out and play, but go out and compete. Don’t read newspaper headlines about yourself. Do whatever it takes to help your team win. Winning is far more fun than any individual record out there.”
“There is a generational change that focuses more on participation over winning. That’s not the real world. The real world is a competition. If I walk into work each day looking to participate, I will lose my job. My boss expects me to win. Competing for West were some of the best days of my life.”