By Mike Deak
AKRON – He’s fast. He’s really, really fast.
That’s about the best way to sum up the athletic asset that has been bestowed upon Tippecanoe Valley junior Rex Kirchenstien. And perhaps a more low key adjective, ‘busy’.
Kirchenstien was a showstopper on the track this past spring for the Vikings. Among what was truly a busy spring for Kirchenstien, he was part of lowering school standards.
His 10.66 in the 100 meter dash in a triangular meet with Culver Academy and Caston pushed him to a school record at the time, since then head coach Jenny Moriarty has walked the number back as it was hand-timed and wind-aided, deemed ‘unconfirmed’. He still ripped a sub-11, which was among the top times in the state at the time.
But officially, his 22.94 in the 200 dash the same meet was upheld and is now the school record. The same night, the 4×100 relay to which Kirchenstien was the anchor, posted a 44.50, which also broke the school record.
The 4×100 relay would go onto run a 44.10 at the Plymouth Sectional, which lowered its own mark, and just missed a week later in timing 44.11 at the Kokomo Regional. Kirchenstien wasn’t able to recreate his rocket ship feet in either of the 100 or 200 dashes in the state tournament, bowing out at Kokomo in both the 100 and 200 in the 11s and 23s. The 4×100 relay also made it to Kokomo, placing fifth, but its 44.11 about a quarter-second behind Northridge’s state qualifier.
OK, so Kirchenstien has the track acumen, which included placing second in the 200 and third in the 100 at the Three Rivers Conference Championships in what was a brutally cold and windy night. He also was named the sprints MVP for the Viking track squad on a team full of sprinters.
What elevates him up our list is that while he was doing all the track things, he also was a starter for the Valley baseball team. And he played for the Valley basketball team in the winter. And was a weapon for the Vikings on the football field in the fall.
Jumping between Smith-Bibler Memorial Field for track and the Valley baseball field, Kirchenstien had some major moments for Jarred Littlejohn’s baseball squad. A pair of triples and three runs scored helped Kirchenstien and the Vikings knock off Warsaw early in the season, and another two triples and three runs scored helped Valley blow past Fairfield.
For Death Valley football, Kirchenstien was a constant headache on the outside, often forcing teams to double team him on deep ball threat. For the season under coach Steve Moriarty, Kirchenstien had 19 catches for 471 yards and five touchdowns. His 24.8 yards per catch were among the premier receivers in the TRC and the area. He also made 31 tackles on the defensive side, one interception and had 259 return yards, most on kickoffs. For the season, Kirchenstien was one of seven Vikings to earn All-TRC.
In 18 games on the basketball court, Kirchenstien wasn’t a feature but was useful. He scored just 45 points, but offered 38 rebounds, 18 assists and 20 steals in a constant rotation in Chad Patrick’s lineup. He also was a 77 percent free throw shooter for the campaign.
It should be of note, to be fair, Kirchenstien is a triplet with Owen and Macy, and all three were All-TRC performers this spring. Owen twirled a minuscule 0.35 ERA to sit among the state leaders in the pitching category on the baseball diamond, and Macy was also a quality pitcher for the Valley softball program.