Next Level Seniors: Varsity Kicker Nolan Ahmann Commits to Linfield University for Football


Lukas Werner

Ahmann’s biggest accomplishment is committing to Linfield University for football. “Even though it’s D3, it’s still like, you’re going to college for sports,” he said. “And that’s kind of a big deal. At least for me.”

Elsie Buczkowski, Editor

Almost his entire football career, from freshman to junior year, senior Nolan Ahmann debated if he wanted to continue playing football. Ahmann said that he would walk into football camps questioning why he was there, yet would leave, thinking, “that was amazing,” he said. 

This experience was one that showed Ahmann that he would like to continue the sport at the collegiate level, committing to Linfield University for football, becoming part of a select group of seniors at La Salle who are showcased in The Falconer’s Next Level Seniors series.

When Ahmann was in 8th grade, he visited La Salle, and was watching his older brother play soccer when he saw his friends playing football on another field. “I kicked my first football there and begged my mom to play,” he said. “She agreed.” So, Ahmann started his football career with a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) football team, called the Falcons. 

Ahmann is a kicker. He does place kicking and has “picked up punting a little,” he said. And, although he is exclusively a kicker on normal occasions, Ahmann played receiver in his last high school game, as “a lot of the team was on injury reserve,” he said. “So, we needed another guy, and I stepped up. As a senior, I feel like I had to, but it was fun.” Despite minimal experience in the position, he scored a touchdown. 

Getting to the skill level to play collegiately required “reps outside of practice and during the offseason because that’s when I could work on my form the most,” he said. “One of the bigger parts was doing camps. I only did two but that got my name out. A lot more than it had before.” Since there is little opportunity for being coached or getting playing time “outside of season in high school, it’s just me on my own,” Ahmann said.

To Ahmann, the best part about the high school football season is the team. “It’s like a second family pretty much,” he said. “It’s the biggest reason that I want to continue it into college, or one of the biggest, because I’ll still have that kind of family around me.” Ahmann believes that team dinners are some of the best memories he has, due to the friendly environment when everyone is around the table eating together. 

During Ahmann’s senior season of football, he strained his adductor at a football camp. He was out for three weeks and had to do physical therapy to recover. Even though he could not do any physical activity while in recovery, Ahmann still managed to be a part of the team. “I was still at every practice, every game, pretty much all the team meals,” he said. “So I was still really involved in the team, which still kind of showed me [that] I’d like to play still.”

While in recovery, Ahmann was “a helping hand to the coaches,” he said. During practices, he would hold the pads for other players during tackle drills. Ahmann also helped out by setting up the field before games and aiding La Salle’s athletic trainer Stephanie Morgan in whatever way he could.

After recovering from his injury, Ahmann decided he would like to take his football skills to the collegiate level. “Once I got through my injury, coaches started reaching out to me,” he said. 

One of the biggest factors in Ahmann’s decision was La Salle’s counselor and football coach Mr. Michael Link. This year, there was a change in the football team’s coaching staff, and Ahmann was one of four seniors on the team. He found himself much more involved and supported during his senior season. 

Mr. Link played football at Linfield — just like Ahmann plans to do — and encouraged him to pursue football at the higher level. “I saw how much passion he had for it and how he looked forward to football all the time,” Ahmann said. “And that kind of told me like, ‘Hey, this football thing can do a lot for me.’”

Mr. Link said that coaching Ahmann was a highlight of the past year. “I really enjoyed getting to know Nolan this year as an athlete, and person as well,” Mr. Link said. “I will miss our conversations during practice and him being such an integral part of the program. I wish I had a few more years to work with him and get to know him better!” He said that he is “very excited” to see Ahmann go to Linfield, and praised the kicker for his talent and great work ethic. 

Outside of football, Ahmann spends his time playing the guitar and enjoying the outdoors with his friends. His interest in hiking and exploring first began during the pandemic, “when the restrictions opened up and we could hang out with people,” he said. “Me and my friends tried to get out to swimming holes that you had to hike to. So that was just a blast.”

Ahmann first got involved in playing the guitar after taking guitar teacher, Mr. Otto Wild’s Beginning Guitar class sophomore year, and stuck with it because “Mr. Wild is a great teacher,” he said. Now, Ahmann is in Advanced Guitar. 

Academically, Ahmann’s favorite class has been Economics, taught by social studies teacher, Mr. Michael Doran. For Ahmann, the class solidified his plan to study finance in college. Ahmann is also open to the opportunity of pursuing other areas of study, like international business and Spanish. 

Ahmann has discovered that “sometimes it pays off to stick with things that might be hard, like football for high school was kind of a mixed emotion, but now I see that sticking with it was probably the best decision I’ve made because it paid off,” he said. 

Throughout high school, Ahmann said he has noticed positive changes in himself, saying he has not only improved in his football abilities, but also as a person. One of the biggest changes he has noticed is that he has “become a lot more social and outgoing,” he said.