Hello, My Name Is: Alex Willfahrt

The Auburndale senior’s constant pursuit of improvement have the Eagles flying high.
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 9:40 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Auburndale boys’ basketball team saw their season end in the regional final last year. A 60-56 home loss to Colby was a bitter pill to swallow. However, it also lit a fire.

“I mean it was kind of a disappointing end to last year as we lost on our home floor earlier than we wanted to,” said senior Alex Willfahrt. “We only had one senior that was a starter so we knew we’d be pretty solid coming into this year.”

Willfahrt’s sentiment was echoed by the entire team. The group got together to put in work in the offseason, circling week one against Colby on the calendar.

“For sure when we played Colby coming out of the year, it’s like, we don’t want anything more than that,” said senior Lucas Yeske. “We just wanted to beat them after ending your season last year.”

The Eagles did just that, topping Colby 73-55 to start their 2022-2023 campaign. A loss in game two to Marathon wasn’t ideal, but it was also a reset. Auburndale proceeded to rattle off ten straight wins, a group display of cooperation.

“I’d say a lot of team communication, whether it’s going down or up, we want to communicate at all times,” said senior Trayton Weber.

Willfahrt points to one specific area as a point of improvement; defense.

“Our defense has stepped up a lot since last year,” said Willfahrt. “We’ve just done a really good job and gotten better as the season went on so far.”

The team’s defense has picked up as a whole, but Willfahrt will be the first to tell you that he’s made strides himself to get better in that area.

”I’ve actually gotten way better as a defender,” said Willfahrt. “I used to not be very good on defense at all, but I’ve gotten way quicker and stuff.”

Willfahrt’s always strived to get better. He emerged as a role player for Auburndale as a sophomore. Over time, he’s continued to make strides, now leading the team in scoring and assists.

“He’s gotten a lot better mentally since he was a sophomore and he’s fun to watch,” said Yeske. “He does things so smoothly that I don’t even know…he makes everything look so easy and it’s just mesmerizing to watch sometimes how he gets to the rim.”

It isn’t all a mesmerizing show. Willfahrt aims to lead by example.

“I just kind of learn from the upperclassmen, like when I was a sophomore, I learned from the seniors,” said Willfahrt. “I just try to pass that on as I keep getting older.”

Willfahrt isn’t the only leader. He’s one of seven seniors on the roster for Auburndale, a group that’s currently ranked #7 in D4. The early success is great, but it’s the end goal that keeps Willfahrt focused.

“It just feels like yesterday we were sophomores and stuff, just starting this, and it’s just been hitting me like, ‘It’s my last year. I’m not going to have a chance after this.’ said Willfahrt. “We just want to keep working hard every day.”