Kudos and Lessons

Kudos and Lessons



By Jerry Wadian



Being a reporter, I try to stick to telling what happened, and let the coaches explain the whys and technical explanations. However, I’m going to editorialize a bit because the end of the winter sports season seems to need some kudos passed out that won’t come out any other way. And, there are lessons for younger athletes and those considering extracurricular.

  As a kudos, consider the fact that Abby Reichter is the first TigerHawk to earn First Team All-UIC honors in NFV history! And, Emma Ney made the second team. The duo measures – somewhat generously for Reichter? – as 5’6” and 5’2,” respectively. In a sport dominated by six- and seven-footers, the two girls look small; yet, rival coaches elected them to the All-UIC Team. 

  I suppose the lesson for young athletes is: you don’t have to be tall to be successful in basketball! 

  For Honorable Mention, Makenna Koch personifies senior leadership! And a freshman, Alyssa Bohr (5’8”), made it, as well. Her stats are not earth shattering, seven points and four-plus rebounds per game. However, watch her play defense, and how she uses her feet to stop the other team’s scoring leader.

  I guess you don’t have to be the big scorer, or even big, to be successful.

  As for boy’s basketball, kudos to Lance Butikofer, the first TigerHawk to make First Team All-UIC, since Austin Callahan did it in the 2015-16 season; quite an accomplishment. A good, but not great, scorer at 9.5 points per game, the 6’4” senior also averaged 5.1 rebounds, led the team with 85 assists, and also blocked a shot per game. 

  Kole Johnson has always been instant offense leading the team with 12 points per game without attempting a trey, but this season he also led the team in rebounding, and added an assist per contest.

  It looks like doing a number of things well, can get be rewarding.

  The other second-team performer came off the bench! Brennan Imoehl was the sixth-man for NFV. He   just kept working and working, and before long the minutes just kept piling up. So did the stats, and by season’s end he was averaging 9.6 points per game and finished just one rebound behind Johnson.

  Kids, don’t worry about starting, just keep working, keep hustling, and you’ll get to play; maybe even make the UIC All-Conference Team.

  As for wrestling, Gunner Rodgers earned a second trip to the State Meet, winning a match. He was also a First-Team All-District performer last football season. In fact, he made the First-Team on defense AND as a kick returner! He’s also all of 138 pounds. 

What’s the old adage, “It’s not the size of the body, but the size of the heart.”

  Weston Fantz not only made it to State Wrestling, and won a match, the 160-pounder also ran cross country. He started because “it might be a cool thing to do.” Soon, he realized that XC was a great conditioning sport for wrestling. Not long after that he came to love the sport. By the end of his senior season, Fantz was a two-time All-UIC runner.

 Perhaps it pays to try something new like a sport, band, the arts, or speech because you never know what you might like and what other abilities you might have.

 One other winter season note came across the desk last week, a question about how many points Valley basketball star Kate Cline scored in her career. 

I had to total all of her points once she hit 1000; it came to 1140! A neat sidebar: When she started the sport in seventh grade, she could only make the B team!

  It must be true that if you work hard, listen to the coaches, and buy into the system, who knows how good you can be.


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