Laura Mahlum commits to Illinois Wesleyan


Student-athletes work hard in the classroom all day and all evening at their sport. Achieving one’s goals is no easy feat, and it takes a lot of sacrifices and requires a lot of hours to be put in.
Many athletes in high school have the goal to continue their sport in college, but according to girls varsity basketball coach, Babbi Barreiro, only 2% make it to the collegiate level. It is brutal work to become a collegiate-level athlete and can take a huge toll on the mental-physical state of an athlete, but there are a few athletes who tough it out. Athletes like senior Laura Mahlum, basketball player on the girl’s varsity team who recently committed to Illinois Wesleyan University.
“I started by picking up a ball and we had a hoop in our driveway. It was just something to do,” Mahlum said.
Her interest in basketball led to Mahlum joining Canlan in third grade and then joining the feeder program. In fourth grade she played for the fifth grade team, and later played at station middle school. She worked her way up over the years to eventually make it onto the high school varsity team.
“She’s what you would call a utility player on the basketball court. She’s probably not a point guard, but that’s about it,” Barreiro said.
Mahlum can play most of the positions on the court with ease, and her ability to take on any position helps her lead the team towards victory. Her wide range of abilities on the basketball court will be useful next year at Illinois Wesleyan. Mahlum’s work ethic isn’t only seen on the court, but also in the classroom.
“She juggles a lot of things. She works. She works hard in the classroom. She works hard to become an athlete and plays multiple sports,” Barreiro said.
Student-athletes are not only expected to bring good results on game day but are also required to excel in school. Basketball isn’t the only thing on Mahlum’s mind, she is also majoring in engineering, which she plans to pursue as a career.
“I decided on schools based on that and narrowed it down even further. I went on visits to those schools and then just decided which one felt right for me, and Illinois Wesleyan just felt right,” Mahlum said.
These responsibilities come with stress and pressure, which is why Mahlum found her group of supporters that help her to keep pushing forward even on the hard days.
“My friends are all super supportive and they’ll encourage me to do what I need to do to be the best I can be,” Mahlum said.
Even though basketball comes to Mahlum as if it’s her instinct, there are days when the pressure can become almost unbearable. Those days remind her of the sacrifices it takes to achieve her goals.
“There will be hard days or hard practices or rough games, but at the end of the day, it’s what you do and it happens. It’s just a roller coaster. So you gotta be in it for the ride,” Mahlum said.