By Al Zipsie

Boys

This year's Stateline Sports Hub NUIC Multi Sports athletes of the year are Rahveon Valentine from Lena-Winslow for the boys and Emily Offenhesier of Stockton for the girls.Both are seniors and both won state championships.

Last year in the first year of the NUIC multi-sports award in boys went to Stockton's Hayden Fox and girls Makenzie Fink of Eastland.

Offenheiser was state champion in the discus and second in the shot put. She led the basketball team to the championship game and state runner-up.

Valentine was all-state in football (running back/defensive back) leading Lena-Winslow to an unbeaten season and football state title. He also won wrestling and track medals. He was state runner-up at 170 in wrestling (the team was state champions his junior year). In state track, he was part of second place 400 relay and third in the 800 relay and sixth in the 100-meter dash.

"People see his talent, but they don't see his dedication, work ethic, and heart," said Lena-Winslow track coach Austin Rickels. "It takes a special young man to take a community upon his shoulders who lives and breathes sports. I love this kid to death and the way he has represented the LW for all of us over the years."

Offenhesier was all-conference in volleyball and led the school to a state runner-up in basketball and was a state Individual champion in track. Her discus throw 151'8 was the best overall of any class. She will continue with track at the University of Missouri. "Looking forward to "Mizzou", Offenheiser said.

"It's just been amazing, people coming up saying what a senior year you had," said Offenheiser. "To experience two state tournaments in one year. A state championship game in girls basketball and just winning State in track."

The Stateline Sports Hub NUIC multi-sports athlete award is unique to a small town Conference like the NUIC. It's the small town and community pride for athletes in both boys and girls to play multi-sports, in many cases all three seasonal sports. Unlike in some big schools where athletes are more likely to do one specialty sport. In the NUIC, these athletes do all three. It's part of a close-knit community. The coaches at the schools also encourage kids to play all sports. It may take away from the one sport they coach a little, but with the small enrollments, they need these athletes to play as many sports as they wish.

"In an era of specialization, multi-sport athletes are the lifeblood of small-town athletics," said Rickels. "Our coaches, led by (Ric) Arand in football, coach (Kyle) Benson in basketball, and coach (Kevin) Milder in wrestling, promote this idea and are selfless within advocating for each other's program. Athletes like Rahveon open the gate of expectation for everyone else to play three sports. In fact, Rahveon has been a loyal 3-sport athlete for all four years. And the experiences he has helped create on the football field, the wrestling mat, and on the track, especially for the younger kids in our community, has been nothing short of remarkable."

"Being a multi-sports athlete not only makes you a well rounded as an athlete but as a well-rounded Individual with different teammates with different interest'" said Stockton girls basketball coach Tim Timpe. "Most college coaches will tell you that they love recruiting multi-sports athletes. Because enrollment numbers are lower in a small school, it is equally important for that school to have their athletes play as many sports as possible."

"I think it's what athletes in small towns do, "added Offenheiser. "Every sport helps with different skills and leadership. I don't think I would play all three sports if it wasn't for the coaches, friends and being such a close-knit community."

Top NUIC multi-sports athletes.

Boys list.

Rahveon Valentine. Lena-Winslow. Senior. Football/Wrestling/Track. Will be playing Division l football at Northern Illinois University.

"Hard work really does pay off, but without the help from coaches, family and friends. I would not be where I am today," Valentine said. "You get in what you put out, whether it's football, wrestling or track. It all starts with focus and a vision for success."

A.J Christensen. Forreston. Senior. Football/Track. All state in football as a running back/defensive back. Will play at Coe College. Double State champion in the 110 high hurdles and 300 Intermediate Hurdles.

Ian Kuehl. Lena-Winslow. Junior. Football/Wrestling/Baseball. Football all-state lineman and wrestling 285 state champion.

Reid Taylor. Polo. Senior. Football/Basketball/Baseball/Track. Not a three but a four multi-sports athlete. In the spring he ran track for Polo/Forreston Coop an injury kept him from placing at state in the triple jump. He also played baseball in the spring for Polo. Started on a good Polo basketball team and was All-Conference in football.

Austin Guy. Orangeville. Senior. Football/Basketball/Baseball. All-Conference in all three sports.

Zac Cummings. Aquin. Senior. Football/Basketball/Baseball. All-Conference in all sports and also would be on golf team if it wasn't during football season.

Maverick McPeek. Dakota. Senior. Football/Wrestling. All-State lineman in football. Wrestling State Champion at 220.

Jonah Diemer. Aquin. Senior. Football/Basketball/Baseball. All-Conference quarterback in football despite an injury that delayed start in basketball.

Kaleb and Kody Plattenberger. West Carroll. Seniors. The twins were on the varsity football team all four years. All-Conference and in baseball and starters in basketball. They will be playing football and baseball at Monmouth College.

Girls.

NCSASports

Emily Offenheiser. Stockton. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Track. Standout in volleyball and basketball and track where she won the state in the discus and second in the shot put. Both were NUIC all-time bests.

"Emily was a three-sport standout, and probably would have been a four-sport if the softball season was in the summer. said Timpe. "Emily should be proud of what she has accomplished in her four years at Stockton and is very deserving of this award."

Carmen DeVries. Lena-Winslow. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Track. State champion in the 400 meters and placed third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. Heading to Jamestown University in North Dakota for volleyball and track.

Rebecca Waite. Milledgeville. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Track. Medals in all four of her events at State track. Signed to run track at Illinois State.

Jaymie Prestegaard. Ashton/Franklin Junior. Volleyball/Basketball/Softball.

Madeline Prestegaard. Ashton/Franklin Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Track. Will play basketball at Vermont.

Ellie Packer. Dakota. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Track. Over 1,000 points in varsity basketball career. All-time NUIC record in the pole vault.

Paige Christopher. Senior. River Ridge. Volleyball. Track. All-Conference volleyball where she will play at Winona State. Track state third in long jump and fifth in the high hurdles, both all-time NUIC track records.

Katie Asche. Durand. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Softball.

Skylar Culbertson. East Dubuque. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Softball.

Tyra Clark. Pearl City. Senior. Volleyball/Basketball/Softball.

For more NUIC go to Facebook NUIC track records. The site is all school and all-time NUIC boys and girls track records. Several schools and all-time records were broke in both girls and boys this past season that just ended. Also for State hardware won by schools in the NUIC go to Facebook. NUIC Sports.

Two teams just missed state hardware this spring. Forreston in baseball and Orangeville in softball lost in theSuper Sectional.