A host of news and notes for area teams and athletes.
NorthWood Volleyballers Rising
A pair of volleyball stars from NorthWood recently completed a huge club season. Incoming seniors Maddy Payne and Caroline Mullet both competed for the NIVA Juniors team FRFR, a U-17 club made up of area volleyball stars from northern Indiana. Payne, a middle hitter for the Panthers and her setter, Mullet, helped the NIVA club to a 9-2 mark at the USAV National tournament in Indianapolis.
NIVA Juniors lost to clubs from Puerto Rico and Texas, but otherwise won its final four matches at the tournament, including a two-set win in a rematch over the Texas team that beat NIVA earlier in the week.
Payne, who is receiving a lot of volleyball attention heading into her senior season with NorthWood, led the Panthers with 309 kills as a junior, a 48 percent kill percentage, and added 51 blocks. Mullet was one of the top setters in the state, hoisting 867 assists (9 per set) and added 200 digs on the defensive end.
Valley Making Moves
Tippecanoe Valley will be looking to the diamonds for new guidance next spring. Both baseball coach Greg Prater and softball coach Daryl Shoemaker resigned following their seasons. Valley athletic director Gina Hierlmeier stated both positions are in the process of being filled, likely to be announced by the August school board meeting.
Shoemaker left Valley after the team staggered to a 5-18 mark and a first-round out at the Lakeland Sectional. A team with a lot of talent but in a Three Rivers Conference that had several state-ranked teams over the years, Shoemaker was just 1-8 in the conference in 2019.
Prater departs the Vikings after just two seasons, 19-27 in those two campaigns, and 12-10 and 3-6 in the TRC this past season. Valley did win a game at the Wawasee sectional this season, shocking Fairfield in the quarterfinals, before NorthWood ejected the Vikings in the semis.
In other Valley news, earlier in the month graduated senior Shayleigh Shriver was honored by the Indiana Football Coaches Association with the Hub Etchison Award. Given to the student of a football coach, Shriver was honored for growing up in a football house.
Shayleigh’s dad, Jeff, has served several football roles for Death Valley Football. As both an assistant and head coach for the Vikings on Friday nights, Jeff Shriver shifted roles in 2019 and became head coach of the newly developed Valley Unified Flag Football program, one that reached the IHSAA State Finals in its first season.
Shayleigh, who was a star volleyball player at Tippecanoe Valley, was honored along with Oak Hill’s Landry Ozmun during the North-South All-Star Game weekend.
Wawasee Bringing Back Familiar Coaches
Wawasee athletics filled a pair of coaching roles for its fall season with a couple of former coaches.
Wawasee announced earlier in the 2018-19 school year that Jon Reutebuch will take over the football program. Reutebuch, in his first high school head coaching role, had been a special team’s coach on the Wawasee staff before taking over as head coach. Wawasee finished up a tumultuous 2018 season 1-9 before Mike Eshbach resigned immediately following the season.
Inside the Hardwood Teepee, the volleyball program welcomes back Jeff Phillips to the sidelines. Phillips resigned after the 2014 season from Wawasee, citing needing more time with his young children after three seasons with the Wawasee varsity. Phillips continued to teach at Wawasee and remained active in the volleyball community, and begins his second tour with the Lady Warriors this fall, replacing Kayla Riportella after she guided Wawasee for three seasons.
Powell Continues To Show Great Face
Abigail Powell certainly made the most of her time at Triton High School. The 2019 graduate wrapped up her high school sports season as a state representative in track, then just weeks later, was named Miss Blueberry Queen at the Miss Blueberry Scholarship pageant at Argos High School.
Powell, who is heading to Purdue in the fall to continue in agriculture, was also named Triton’s Distinguished Young Woman in the fall.
Athletically, Powell was a standout basketball player and track athlete for the Trojans, specifically in track, where she was a state finalist in hurdles. Powell earned a 23rd-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles with a 47.82-second stop, her first-ever appearance at the State Finals after placing second in the regional. Powell won titles in both the 300 and 100 hurdles at the Plymouth Sectional.