The Wisconsin Dairy Athlete of the Month sponsored by WisSports.net (WSN) in partnership with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) aims to connect consumers with Wisconsin’s dedicated dairy farmers and the youth who grow and raise food for their local communities.
DFW and WSN are recognizing high school student-athletes who are actively involved on a Wisconsin dairy farm and participate in at least one WIAA-sanctioned varsity sport. Dairy is a vital part of the economy in nearly every Wisconsin county, whether urban or rural. Family-owned farms, dairy processors and dairy-related businesses generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity while contributing to local income and tax revenues.
Weyauwega-Fremont High School
Class of 2025
Gunst: I participate in volleyball, basketball and track and also in Club Volleyball. On my High School volleyball team, I was on the varsity squad as a sophomore and earned the Most Improved Award. As a junior I earned the Coaches Award and was voted as one of the 2024-25 team captains. I’ve been on the school varsity basketball team since a freshman. I’ve been on the school varsity track team since my freshman year. As a freshman I earned MVP in field events. My sophomore year I was MVP, voted one of the team captains, and was Second Team All-Conference in the High Jump and 4x200 Relay team. I will be participating on our high school girl’s flag football team that will be playing during half time at the Green Bay Packers game on December 17th.
How do you balance farm, school and athletics?
Gunst: Having grown up on a farm, you learn at a young age what it takes to balance everything. We work together as a team when it comes to getting the daily chores finished. On nights when I have games, my brother and parents will do chores and we catch up on other farm tasks on the weekends when the whole family is around. When I get home from practice at nights, I help get the daily chores done and in the spring and fall, I walk/wash our show heifers once I get home from practice. Once chores are done, I focus on homework.
What hobbies / interests do you have outside of dairy farming?
Gunst: I enjoy playing sand volleyball, attending cattle shows and spending time with my friends.
How else are you involved in your local community?
Gunst: In 4-H I’m serving as the secretary/treasurer. In my local FFA chapter, I’m currently serving as Vice-President and have participated in the Creed, Prepared and Job Interview Contest. I’m also in charge of numerous community service projects. As a member of the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association, I have participated in dairy bowl, dairy jeopardy and the speaking contests. I was honored to earn the Wisconsin Younger Member Recognition Award in 2023, and was chosen to represent Wisconsin on the national level, where I was one of six in the nation to earn the National Younger Distinguished Member Recognition Award. I am the youth representative on the Waushara County 4-H Dairy Youth Committee. I am a member of the high school Sources of Strength organization. I am a Student Council Officer.
ON THE FARM
Tell us more about your farm:
Gunst: Wilstar Holsteins consists of 12 heifers, from young calves to a few dry cows. Our nine cows are cared for on a farm near Brandon, Wisconsin. We assist them with classification and shows and other events they need help with. We have 20 acres of alfalfa and rent another 40 acres.
What is your farm story and how long have you been involved in the operation?
Gunst: Before our dispersal in 2019, I took great ownership in assisting with our calf-care program. I also assisted my brother in overseeing our show heifers. Other tasks I did on the farm included milking, cleaning the milkhouse, scraping the barn alley and bedding stalls, picking up hay bales, and lawn and landscaping maintenance.
What is your role on the farm?
Gunst: Today my brother and I oversee our heifer show program. This involves feeding special diets to our heifers based on their overall body condition. I also walk, wash, rinse, clip and clean their pens on a daily basis. We show our animals at the local county fair, district show, Wisconsin Junior State Fair, Wisconsin State Show and World Dairy Expo. We also lend a hand at the farm where our cows are cared for such as classification, at shows, and when they host special events on their farm.
Who do you farm with?
Gunst: I farm with my parents, Willis and Carla and my brother, Christopher.
Please share your most proud moments or farm achievements/awards?
Gunst: There are several moments that really mean a lot to me where our hard work paid off. Several years ago my brother and I showed a fall yearling that, early on in the show season, needed to lose weight. After football and volleyball practice, my brother and I would take turns walking her late at night, many nights fighting the mosquitos and bugs. The heifer placed fourth overall and was third junior for us at World Dairy Expo.
Two years ago I had a goal of placing in the top 10 of my showmanship class at the Wisconsin Junior State Fair. I placed ninth overall in the 15-year-old division and later in the day, that same heifer won her winter calf class.
This past summer, I was honored to be named a National Younger Distinguished Member Award recipient. There are only six youth chosen throughout the United States, and I was humbled to share this honor with my brother and cousin.
Gunst: I plan to major in ag business/marketing or communications or attend NWTC to get my associate degree in medical sonography.
One athlete will be selected from nominations received each month. Selected student athletes will be featured on www.wissports.net as well as DFW and WSN social media channels.
About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin's world-class dairy products. For more information, visit our website at wisconsindairy.org.