Not many collegiate athletes can say they ended their careers as a national champion.
Alexis Mauermann can.
A year ago last night, the Janesville native was part of the on-ice celebration after the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team captured the school’s fifth NCAA title with a 2-0 victory over rival Minnesota in Hamden, Connecticut.
The Janesville native was an integral part of that national championship team. She played in all 41 games during the season, tallying 17 points on nine goals and eight assists. The Badgers were 15-0-0 in games in which Mauermann scored.
The coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended Mauermann’s senior season at Wisconsin, two days before the 28-5-3 Badgers were slated to host Clarkson in an NCAA quarterfinal game at LaBahn Arena in Madison.
Mauermann said she and her teammates were disappointed in not being able to defend their title but they understand the severity of the situation.
“When we found out that our season was canceled, we all got together for one last skate and pickup game at LaBahn,” Mauermann said. “There were a lot of tears shed.
“But we also realized that if nothing else, we’re still the reigning national champions.
“And coach (Mark) Johnson was really good about putting things in perspective when he met with us to tell us that the season was over. He explained that it was a big world out there and that everybody was dealing with the same thing. It wasn’t just about hockey.
“The last thing he told us was to look at all the positive things we had accomplished, with the national championship being just one of many. We had come together as players and a team and done so many great things.”
Wisconsin ended the 2019-20 shortened-season ranked second in the country behind Cornell and won the Big Ten Conference’s regular-season title.
Playing in 36 gamers this season, Mauermann had 16 points on seven goals and nine assists, with one game-winning goal. She finished her UW career with 65 points on 34 goals and 31 assists.
The University of Wisconsin was on Spring Break last week, but classes resumed online Monday. Mauermann will graduate in May with a degree in Communicative Science.
Mauermann plans to pursue her Masters Degree in speech pathology, but will likely take a year off of schooling to play hockey. Her hope is that the NCAA awards another year of eligibility to the senior student/athletes that played a winter sport and saw their seasons cut short.
If that falls through, Mauermann has several other options to continue playing, including overseas or with the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). Her older brother, Ross, plays for the Fischtown Penquins, a professional team in Bremerhaven, Germany.
“I still enjoy playing and am not ready to be done yet,” Alexis said. “There was talk of maybe the NCAA allowing us another year of eligibility. That would be awesome, but if not, I’ll hopefully be playing somewhere. There’s (women’s) team near where Ross is playing, so that’d be kind of cool, too.”
For now, Mauermann is living back in Janesville as she puts a cap on her degree. She keeps tabs with her former teammates via Snapchat, FaceTime and text messaging. She skated on the same line and roomed with fellow senior Abby Roque,
“Like coach said, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude,” Mauermann said. “It didn’t just effect our team, it affected everybody in the world.
“When all is said and done, I’m still going to be a part of the reigning national championship team.”