The Perfect Energy: A North Athlete on Team Chemistry

Mya Koffie

Cliché as it sounds, anyone who knows Madeline Koshuta knows she lights up a room. A member of Appleton North’s Girls Volleyball and Track and Field teams, Madeline embodies welcoming energy and radiant kindness. Quick to laugh and easy to approach, she puts her entire heart into every encouraging smile. As a talented athlete, she also understands the value of positive group dynamics and the importance of teamwork firsthand. 

“My favorite part about being an athlete at North is the people you meet from it.” Madeline states that North athletes develop connections with their classmates on different teams, forging bonds “not only within your own sport. You also…become so much closer with [those on] other sports [teams].” She cites the Girls Volleyball Team’s state qualifier game as an example: 

“After one of our state games for volleyball – we had just beat Brookfield Central to make it to the state championship game -…we found out that football had beat Kimberly, which was a huge deal. They hadn’t beat Kimberly in almost ten years! Our buses all got back at the same time, and we all got out of the buses and started jumping around. All of our friends are on other sports teams, too, and it’s so much fun. There’s so much chemistry; it’s a good time.”

Madeline attempts to articulate how powerful that night truly was. “It was honestly really cool. It kind of felt like nothing was going on, you know? It was such a positive thing. It’s a great thing to beat Kimberly; it’s always great to beat Kimberly! The energy was perfect. I don’t know how to describe it. I can’t even describe it…it was great.” 

When questioned about who currently proves Appleton North High School’s most formidable athletic rival, Madeline confirms, “Kimberly. For sure. I mean, a lot of people would say the other Appleton schools, but we usually beat them,” she half-jokes, North pride breaking across her face in a defiant grin, “so definitely Kimberly.”  

The ancient North-Kimberly rivalry has stood the test of time; alumni from both schools can attest to it. Madeline even regards a win against Kimberly as one of her favorite memories from the volleyball season this fall.“Beating Kimberly to get to state was really exciting. They beat us earlier in the year, so to turn around and beat them was a lot of fun.” The competition between Kimberly and North encourages both schools to improve their athletic performance and give every game their all. 

North sports’ excellence stems from hard work, strategy, attention to all things technical, and – Madeline asserts – empowering group dynamics. “I would describe the bonds that you form with your teammates as irreplaceable… Not only are they so alike with you, with the sports you do, but also, you have so much in common.” She claims that the hours devoted to honing athletic techniques also build team spirit. About teammates, Madeline explains, “You both play that sport, and…you spend so much time with ‘those people’ that they start to become a part of your life. You see them every day; you do everything with them.” 

During the season, she views her team “as a family, almost. My coach would like to describe it as a family. He always preaches that to us. Like I said, you spend so much time with those people; you become so close with them…Everyone is just very supportive of each other. If you mess up, you know…that [your teammates are] not going to be mad at you…In that moment, they might seem frustrated with you, but when you’re on the court, you know that no matter what, when you’re off the court, those people will have your back.”  

Appeared in February issue of 2022.