The dawning of each sports season became a new and exciting chapter for Stoughton’s Brady Schipper.
He would prepare, compete and savor every moment, giving his all with supreme passion and determination, whether it was time to play football, baseball or basketball.
“When he was in that sport, it was his favorite,” said Stephanie Schipper, Brady’s mother.
Brady Schipper was the epitome of the talented, multisport athlete in an athletics culture that often emphasizes specialization among young people.
“Brady is the perfect example of what we encourage our student-athletes to strive for in this sports specialization world,” Stoughton athletic director Mel Dow said. “We encourage our kids that not everything you do has to be No. 1 on your list, but do everything that is on your list and enjoy it, and Brady has done this. Capture the moment while you have it.
“When you watch him practice or play, you can see that particular moment is his favorite. His successes support his efforts in all of the sports that he does. This balance has him always composed, yet explosive.”
The same could be said for Madison La Follette’s Tyra Turner, who, like Schipper, excelled in athletics and the classroom in high school and, like Schipper, is a University of Wisconsin commit.
Turner took competing in multiple sports to the next level during her recently concluded prep career.
She was a four-sport athlete each year and excelled in five varsity sports in all.
During her freshman and sophomore years, there was volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball and track and field in the spring. Gymnastics replaced basketball during her junior and senior seasons and resulted in a first-place finish in vaulting at the WIAA Division 1 state meet in March.
Such a hectic schedule was all she knew from a young age, so it didn’t really sink in until recently that it might be extraordinary.
“I thought, ‘This is what I should be doing, playing four sports. This is normal,’ ” Turner said. “I didn’t think about how over the top and extra it was. This is kind of crazy — 16 seasons of sports in four years. But I’m proud of myself for doing that all four years.”
For their efforts and achievements during their senior prep seasons, Schipper and Turner, respectively, were selected as the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Boys and Girls Athletes of the Year for 2017-18.
Hard work and dedication
Schipper, a preferred walk-on for football at UW, wanted to make certain his senior year would be a memorable one, particularly after a torn labrum in his left shoulder ended his junior season of football and forced him to miss most of the ensuing basketball season.
He wound up as a first-team selection in the Badger South Conference in football, basketball and baseball and a first-team choice in football and baseball and a second-team pick among the Large Schools in basketball on the Wisconsin State Journal/Wisconsin PrepZone.com All-Area teams.
“Our football and basketball teams had pretty good seasons and it was a lot of fun,” he said, taking a break from summer school classes and workouts at UW. “It was my senior season with all my teammates, and it was the last time you will be playing with all those guys. We had the same goal: To put in the work to have a successful senior year.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound Schipper earned Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and Associated Press All-State honorable mention recognition after rushing for 1,975 yards (7.9 yards per carry) and 25 touchdowns and scoring two receiving touchdowns.
The running back helped lead Stoughton to a 9-2 record. That included rushing for 205 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the Vikings’ WIAA Division 2 home playoff victory over Oregon. It was Stoughton’s first postseason victory in four state appearances.
Among other highlights, Schipper scored four times (three rushing, one receiving) in a narrow regular-season victory over Oregon and Schipper rushed for 364 yards on 34 attempts and scored five rushing touchdowns in a loss to Monona Grove.
The injury during his junior year occurred when he was racing down the sideline, tried to stiff-arm a Madison Edgewood defender and felt his shoulder push backward and out of place. He wondered how a potential college football opportunity might be impacted as he dived into physical therapy rehabilitation.
“It drove me to work harder,” Schipper said.
He wouldn’t take the opportunity to compete for granted.
“The injury did help me look at things differently,” he said. “It helped me realize how much I love sports and competing, until you have to sit out.”
Said Stephanie Schipper: “He really persevered through that. It was hard. His junior year had started so well. ... He showed he is mentally tough. I think it made him stronger in the end.”
During basketball season last winter, Schipper averaged 13.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range. His 38-point effort helped Stoughton give Monona Grove its only regular-season loss.
“Going into MG when they were ranked second in the state and when no one was expecting us to win — we played really, really well as a team — was definitely a highlight of the season, plus winning the regional title against DeForest,” Schipper said.
He finished his prep career roaming center field and hitting .508 for the Stoughton baseball team and was named a first-team All-Badger South selection, a second-team pick on the Wisconsin Baseball Central All-State team and a third-team choice on the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association All-State team.
As their oldest son grew up, people told Stephanie and her husband, Rob Schipper — who played college basketball for coach Bo Ryan at UW-Platteville, including being part of the 1991 NCAA Division III championship team — that he was a special athlete. He focused on the details; for instance, he often asked his mother to come rebound for him while he shot baskets, even when it was 95 degrees and muggy during summertime, Stephanie Schipper said.
“He worked on the little things that would make him better,” Stephanie Schipper said.
Schipper, who’s planning to study business and kinesiology at UW, played in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association all-star competition in June and said he plans to play in the WFCA Large Schools all-star football game July 21.
Dow described Schipper as a “high school Bo Jackson-type athlete.”
“I hope what Brady has accomplished can help others see that through hard work, dedication and passion is the road to success,” Dow said.
Special athlete right from the start
Turner had been accepted at UW, but decided recently that she will walk on in softball for the Badgers, choosing softball over track and field.
“I’m super excited,” said Turner, who’s played center field and whose speed could prove useful on the base paths.
That decision came after she had a senior year highlighted by her first place in vaulting at state in gymnastics; a third-place finish in the triple jump and seventh-place finish in the long jump at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet in June; and a second-team All-Big Eight Conference selection as an outfielder in softball.
From an early age, the signs were apparent to her parents, Carrie and Tray Turner, that their daughter was a special athlete. As a toddler, Tyra Turner went directly from crawling to walking.
“As a 3-year-old, she was pretty fast, pretty muscular and competitive,” Carrie Turner said.
Tyra Turner participated in numerous sports as a youth, beginning with gymnastics, soccer, softball and basketball. Her mother often coached Tyra in softball and soccer, which helped maintain some order in Turner’s constantly on-the-go schedule.
“We did not want her to specialize,” Carrie Turner said. “We wanted to give her the opportunity to do different things.”
Tyra Turner remained in competitive gymnastics through eighth grade, returning to that sport as a junior on the Madison United gymnastics team, made up of athletes from Madison East and La Follette.
Photos: Madison La Follette's Tyra Turner in track, gymnastics, volleyball, softball, basketball
Madison La Follette's Tyra Turner, the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Girls Athlete of the Year for 2017-18, played five sports in in high school: track, gymnastics, volleyball, softball and basketball.
After competing as a senior in volleyball in the fall, Turner and Middleton’s Karina Sabol tied for first in vaulting with a 9.60 score and Turner placed fifth in the all-around competition at the WIAA Division 1 state gymnastics meet in March in Wisconsin Rapids.
“She had a great year; she really did have a great year,” Carrie Turner said about Tyra’s gymnastics season. “I think she maybe surprised herself a little bit. I think she knew she had a shot to get back to state for gymnastics.
“As the season progressed, she got a little better and a little better.”
When the top finish was official, tears were shed and hugs shared with her family, head coach Hannah King and assistant Eric Arnold.
“State gymnastics — that was the highlight of my year,” said Turner, the Big Eight’s all-around champion who was the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Gymnast of the Year and also received All-Area recognition in softball and track and field.
King said during the gymnastics season that Turner had an amazing drive that allowed her to focus on whatever sport she was in at that moment.
During the spring, that was softball and track and field — which became even more complicated due to the inclement spring weather that led to numerous softball games in a week.
“It definitely got crazy at that point,” Turner said. “We had game after game after game. It got a little rough, but we stayed afloat.”
She said she hit about .480 for the Lancers, while also leaping to great lengths in the long jump and triple jump, an event she competed in for the first time as a senior.
She finished third (39 feet, ½ inch) in the triple jump behind La Follette teammate and champion Kiara Lee and was seventh in the long jump at the state meet.
Lee and Turner combined for all 26 of the Lancers’ points, tying with Monona Grove for fifth as a team in Division 1 in the girls meet.
With that, Turner capped her action-packed senior season.
“I was hoping it would work out,” she said. “I’m so grateful for what happened to me this school year and the past four years. It’s amazing.”