Neuqua Valley’s Mark Gronowski lead the wildcats on the football field and is now hitting the court. Check out this Player Profile to learn more about the senior leader presented by Edgewood Clinical Services.
Our latest Player Profile features an athlete who always seems to slide under the radar. Before the start of the 2018 football season, Mark Gronowski won the quarterback job for Neuqua Valley following fall camp as a relative unknown. While the Wildcats offense was prolific at times, it was the skill position players like Will Chevalier, Isaiah Robertson, Brett Borske and Donnie Navarro that drew the accolades in recent seasons.
But by the end of the 2018 campaign, Gronowski proved that he possessed the skills as an athlete and as a leader to bring the Neuqua football program back to an elite level. The junior signal caller threw for over 1200 yards, while showing just enough elusiveness, running for nearly 300 more. Neuqua made it back to the IHSA playoffs after sitting home in 2017 as Gronowski was named first team all DVC.
Entering 2019, some questions still remained. Would the loss of running back Will Chevalier put too much pressure on Gronowski and would Neuqua be able to dethrone Naperville Central from atop the Dupage Valley Conference with Minnesota commit Sam Jackson leading its high-powered offense? It turned out that number 7 had the answers to those questions and more.
After committing to FCS power South Dakota State over the summer, Gronowski took his game to another level. Completing passes at a 68% clip, he led NV to a 9-2 record and the DVC championship. In the only regular season loss of the year, Gronowski went toe to toe with what may have been the best team in the state, East St. Louis. In the week 3 contest, he threw for five touchdowns and showed his much improved running ability as well, powering his way to 114 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns in the 50-48 thriller.
When all was said and done, Gronowski finished the year with 1,663 passing yards, 721 rushing yards, 27 total touchdowns, with 12 of them coming via the run. The Wildcats made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Following the season, the accolades came pouring in, Gronowski was named the conference co-offensive player of the year with Naperville North’s Matt Maschmeier and became the first Neuqua quarterback to be selected first team All State by the Illinois High School Coaches Association. Neuqua Valley’s all time leading passer Broc Rutter couldn’t help but be impressed by the level of quarterback play not seen since Rutter’s graduation.
With the winter sports season underway, Gronowski now finds himself in another contact sport, as a starter in the post for the Neuqua basketball team. Breaking the mold a bit of the quarterback on the court, Gronowski prefers to do the dirty work for the Wildcats, battling for rebounds down low and fighting for position in the paint.
The Wildcat football and basketball programs are certainly grateful that this talented senior has been willing to do whatever it takes to put his team in position to come out on top.
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