GREEN RIVER – Growing up with Western Wyoming Community College in her backyard, Green River High School soccer star Michaelee Wisniewski always knew she was going to be a Mustang.
Whether that meant going to school as just a student or a student-athlete, either way her plan was always to attend Western.
However, she went halfway through her senior year before WWCC head coach Jeff Atkinson called her on the phone, asking her if she was interested in signing.
After four years of playing varsity soccer for the Wolves, this was the first offer Wisniewski received to take her talents to the next level.
“It was unexpected, yet very exciting when I got the call,” Wisniewski said of the coach’s inquiry. “I knew he attended a few of my games this year, but playing soccer in college was never a goal of mine.”
Wisniewski told Atkinson that she was honored and very grateful for the recognition, but she needed some time to think things over.
After talking with her family, she contacted Atkinson a few weeks after the season was over, informing him that she was verbally committing.
“I just thought to myself, why not continue to play the game I love?” she said.
She also said after talking with her older brother, Joseph Wisniewski, that their talk really helped her come to a decision as well.
As a current baseball coach who at the time of graduating high school was offered a baseball scholarship, he told his sister how much he would love to go back and play the game if he could. That every time he steps to the plate, it’s not the same feeling it used to be when he was actually playing.
“In that moment I knew I was making the right decision,” she said.
Wisniewski began playing travel soccer when she was only 7 years old. At the time, her favorite position to play was goalie. It wasn’t until a few years later, between the ages of 10-12, that Wisniewski started to outgrow the position.
“The older I got, the more boring it became,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be in the action, so that’s when I decided to move to defense.”
Ever since her decision to switch positions, you could say the back line has suited Wisniewski. Not only has she gone on to start all four years of varsity at GRHS, but as a senior this year she tallied one assist and was voted onto the 2019 all-conference team by the Wyoming Coaches Association. She also earned second-team all-state honors.
“It felt really good,” she said. “After my junior year I thought I was going to get all-conference, but I came up short. So to receive it my senior year was really special.”
This was the first time Wisniewski had received postseason recognition throughout her high school career. However, after the season she pieced together, not many people were surprised to see her name on the list, especially her former coach for the last four years, Tracy Wyant.
“Michaelee is an all-around great soccer player,” Wyant said. “Between her speed, tenacity and knowledge of the game, I have no doubt she will continue her success at the next level. She’s also got a strong leg to go alongside an accurate shot.”
Wyant also mentioned just how much Wisniewski has grown as a person over the last four-years.
Even though Wisniewski had always been a stud on the field growing up, it took a little while for her confidence to catch up.
“Going into my freshman season, I was super nervous,” she said. “I really wanted to make varsity, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be good enough.”
Fortunately for her, after stepping onto the field for the first day of tryouts, Wisniewski came across a familiar face, her cousin Chezney Mamalis.
“Seeing Chezney and having her on the field with me really boosted my confidence,” Wisniewski said.
Chezney, who is only one year older than Wisniewski, currently plays soccer at Sheridan College. After three-straight years of sharing the field as teammates, the two will finally reunite, only this time as rivals. Being the in the same conference, the two schools play each other twice a year.
“It’s going to be weird, but at the same time exciting,” Wisniewski said.”
Growing up and living down the street from each other, the two cousins have always been super close. However, Wisniewski knows when its time for these two teams to face off, as soon as the first whistle blows, Chezney is no longer a friend, but an opponent.
“I expect her play at the top of her game and for me to do the same,” Wisniewski said.
To make it even more interesting, Chezney plays forward for the Generals. So when these two teams meet, Wisniewski expects a battle between the two.
“That’s just a given,” she said. “Growing up the two of us have always been aggressive players, even more so toward each other.”
Last year, WWCC got the edge over Sheridan College. The Mustangs won the first match and tied the second. Each game went down to the wire.
“I really didn’t keep up with Western last year, but I know they had good season,” Wisniewski said.
Not only is Western coming off its best season in program history on the women’s side, but it was a season of many firsts for the program. After traveling to Denver for the Region IX tournament, WWCC advanced to its first regional championship. The Mustangs won that game, and it was also the first time in program history that the Mustangs defeated long-time rival, Laramie County Community College.
That victory sent the Western to its first ever district tournament. Then, in losing to Western Iowa Community Colleeg, the Mustangs came one win away from advancing to their first trip to nationals. At the end of the year, Atkinson and his girls celebrated the program’s first 13-win season.
“Last season was very special,” Atkinson said. “To have Michaelee join our team and be a part of what Western has to offer is very exciting.”
Now entering his fifth year as the women’s head coach at WWCC, Atkinson thinks Wisniewski is going to fit right in at the college level.”
For her freshman year of college, Wisniewski has set a few goals for herself, both on and off the field.
“As far as soccer goes, my goal is to hopefully become a starter,” she said. “I want to show the coaches and everyone there just how hard I am willing to work and that I deserve to be there. As for school, I’m going to be living in the dorms, so getting to know as many new people as possible is important to me too.”
While attending Western, Wisniewski plans to earn her associate’s degree in business. After college, her goal is to get into the music industry and work on the business side.
“I am not musically inclined, but I have always loved music,” she said. “To have an opportunity to work and be around music every day would be a dream come true.”