Another new category added to this years award show is the Newcomer of the Year! Check out the four young stars presented by Edward Medical Group.
There were several fantastic newcomers in front of the Naperville Sports Weekly cameras in Season 13. Some just missed the cut like Metea Valley sophomore QB Logan Fredrick and Neuqua Valley wrestler Reese Martin. While others just missed out because we saw just enough of them a year ago to lose eligibility in this category, like Waubonsie Valley basketball players Ahniya Melton and Ben Schweiger.
Jack Prock: Benet Academy Boys Basketball
Our first newcomer was a member of the varsity team last season, but Benet Academy senior Jack Prock jumped from a reserve role to being the 2nd leading scorer for the Redwings basketball team. BA typically has a deep and talented roster under longtime coach Gene Heidkamp, but few have gone from relative unknown to All-East Suburban Catholic Conference in one year for the Redwings. Prock averaged 11 points per game and knocked down 79 three pointers on the season as Benet went 24-9 and won a regional championship. The season ended for Prock and the Redwings not by a loss, but when the IHSA state tournament was canceled less than an hour before Benet was set to tip off against Hinsdale South in the sectional semi finals. Despite the disappointment, Prock’s breakout season helped the Benet basketball to yet another great season and showcased his skill set for scouts at the next level.
Abby Drendel: Naperville North Girls Basketball
The Naperville area sports scene is extremely competitive and it’s relatively rare for a freshman to get the opportunity to make a name for themselves right off the bat. But Naperville North girls basketball player Abby Drendel was the biggest exception to that idea this season. The Honorable Mention All Area selection played a vital role in Naperville North girls basketball’s breakout season. The Huskies won the Dupage Valley Conference with a perfect 10-0 record and won 25 games on the season. In the biggest moment of her young career, Drendel came through in the clutch against West Aurora by hitting a big layup with under two minutes to play before knocking down six consecutive free throws to ice the program’s first regional championship in 15 years. Fellow Huskie freshman Layla Henderson was also a valuable contributor at North. Coach Erin Colletti has to be thrilled to have both players in the fold the next three seasons.
Jadon Thompson: Naperville Central Football
Our next newcomer was definitely not an unknown, but more of an unexpected addition to the Naperville Central football roster. After being part of one of the best offenses in the state at Marist Academy, Jadon Thompson transferred to Central before the start of his senior year. The former Redhawk turned…well…Redhawk teamed up with the electric quarterback Sam Jackson to lead a high octance passing attack. Thompson hauled in 46 catches for over 650 yards and 6 touchdowns this fall, all tops on the team. A versatile athlete, Thompson also returned a punt for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown on the season. The senior transfer was a unanimous All DVC pick, All Area and Honorable Mention All State. Although Naperville Central fell one game short of the post season, Thompson, Jackson and teammates Bo Turner, Keon Green and Reggie Fleurima were a lot of fun to watch. Keep an eye out for Thompson as he joins the Cincinnati Bearcats receiving core whenever College Football is ready to go next season.
Antonio Torres: Waubonsie Valley Wrestling & Football
Our final newcomer nominee thrived in two sports and even on two sides of the ball in one of them. Waubonsie Valley sophomore Antonio Torres first drew eyeballs while stepping in for injured Warriors star Bryce Logan at running back. The first year varsity player scored three touchdowns in his 2nd career game in a win over Libertyville and two more in his first rivalry game against Neuqua Valley. Despite his success on offense, Torres received most of his accolades as a defensive back. An All Conference and All Area selection at DB, the young Warrior tallied 66 tackles and an interception. That would be impressive on its own, but Torres was even better on the wrestling mat. At the very competitive 170 pound weight division, Torres won the DVC, regional and sectional championships this winter. At his first ever state meet down at the U of I, the WV grappler won his first two matches, getting all the way to the semi finals. After a loss to state champion David Ferrante in the semis, Torres regrouped ended on a win, finishing his season with a 36-5 record and a 5th place medal. Not only was Torres one of the best newcomer in the area this year, he was one of the best athletes, period.
Check out other Award show nominees within Naperville Sports Weekly!