Chi-Hi's Kalien builds up reputation with record, versatility

CHIPPEWA FALLS (WEAU) - Tyson Kalien's teammates and his opponents know it. It just may be the worst-kept secret in Western Wisconsin.

"It" is the inevitable reality Kalien, a senior guard for the Cardinals, is going to score each time he takes the floor. There's also an expectation to perform that accompanies his talent, one that doesn't faze him.

"I only feel pressure from my own guys, because you know, we're all here together," Kalien said. "We're all out here working hard, trying to get the team to where we want it to be."

Just a few games into his senior season, Kalien has put together quite the start. He broke Chippewa Falls' all-time career scoring record of 1,059 points in a win December 6th against Eau Claire Memorial, a mark that Ed Wilkie had held since 1951. But all Kalien cared about was that his team won.

"It's a great record to have," Kalien said. "It's quite an accomplishment. I'm just glad we snuck out of there with a win."

While his talent and knack for scoring points in bunches separates him from most other high school players, Cardinals head coach Luke Madsen also said Kalien's character is something he doesn't see too often.

"He came up to every coach individually [after breaking the record] and shook their hands and gave them a hug and said, 'Thank you'," Madsen said. "And I don't know if every kid in that situation thinks to do that."

Kalien's list of accomplishments is impressive. In addition to being Chippewa Falls' all-time scoring leader, he's also the reigning Big Rivers Conference player of the year and a two-time all-conference pick. He scored 52 points in a game last season against Eau Claire North.

However, Madsen and Kalien's teammates know there's more to his game than just hoisting up shots.

"As a defender, he's really underrated," said fellow senior Zandy Stowell. "He does very well on that side of the floor, and he's a really good passer."

Madsen said several Division II and III schools are interested in having Kalien join their program in the future. None of it worries him in the present, as Kalien's sole focus is helping an experienced Chippewa Falls team reach its potential.

"We've all played together for really long periods of time, so we know what everybody else is all about," Kalien said. "That's nice to have a veteran group out there."

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