St. Cloud Tech boys basketball coach Mike Trewick wishes that Jay Kedrowski would go to his mother a bit more for advice.
“Jay should probably ask her more questions about basketball,” Trewick said. “What a tremendous wealth of knowledge to have at your house. But my dad was a (high school) coach, so I know where he’s coming from.”
Kedrowski’s mother is Lori Ulferts, who was the head coach for St. Cloud State for 14 seasons before resigning in 2008. Jay, a junior at Tech, and his sister Jill, a sophomore, are three-sport varsity athletes. Their father is Kyle Kedrowski, who is an instructor/trainer for Minnesota Rural Water Association.
This fall, Jay is the starting quarterback for the Tigers football team and Jill is on the No. 1 doubles team in tennis. Both are a rarity in this day, playing three varsity sports in high school.
Jill’s doubles partner is junior Alexie Portz and they are off to 10-1 start for the Tigers Tech is 13-1 start and reached the Section 8-2A championship last year.
“We’re having a really good season,” Jill said. “Alexie and I have played together a lot. We played together last season and made it to state and it was really exciting. We’re hoping we can do it again this year as individuals and as a team.”
Jill started playing tennis in seventh grade after playing a lot of youth soccer. In summers, she continues to play in a Central Minnesota Youth Soccer Association high school league.
“She’s a very coachable person,” Tech tennis coach Paul Bates said. “She’s always willing to try new things. She listens well, works hard and she has a fun personality when she’s playing and competing.
“She brings a good aggressiveness to the game of doubles. She covers the court really well. She’s got a long reach because she’s a little taller (6 foot).”
Jeff, who is also a doubles player on the boys tennis team, gets a chance to see his sister play after he is done with practice.
“We play together occasionally and we’re not the best players, but we have certain abilities that we use to our advantage,” Jay said. “We both like to get to the net because we’re long.
“It’s fun. I like to see what she does and I’ll tell her what she did good in a match.”
Football games are one of the few times all four family members are at the same sporting event together the whole time. Jay has completed 41 of 87 passes for 522 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions.
“It’s been going pretty well, but I still get nervous,” Jay said of his first season as a varsity starter. “Our team is doing real well, we’re working hard and we think we can do better. There’s still potential, but we’re getting there.”
Trewick, who is an assistant football coach, said that Jay has had a steady season for the Tigers.
“He just doesn’t make a whole lot of bad decisions,” Trewick said. “If we need a pass made to this guy because of coverage, he does it. If we’re in the wrong play, he audibles and gets us into the right play.
“He’s a pretty heady kid. It helps to be about 6-5. He does not have a huge, super arm, but he gets it where it needs to go.”
Ulferts admits to being a bit nervous during football games, but said that the Tigers having the area’s leading rusher (Jacob Peterson) and a good protection from her son’s teammates helps.
“It’s nice to have Peterson and (senior quarterback) Jesse LaVoi and an offensive line to keep him safe,” Ulferts said. “Football is different than other sports in a lot of ways. But he’s got quality teammates and coaches.
“He’s a thinker. He’s into figuring it all out and it’s all very much a step by step progression with him. He’s outgoing, but he’s really humble. I’m really proud of him.”
Jay and Jill both said that their favorite sports are the ones that they are playing any particular season. For Ulferts, obviously, basketball is a bit different. She played college basketball at North Dakota and was a head college coach for 23 seasons, including four seasons at Minnesota-Crookston and five seasons at Minnesota State-Moorhead.
“It’s nice that you don’t have to make decisions; you just have to watch,” Ulferts said of being a parent and not on the sidelines. “I can’t deny that I miss it.
“But I still watch the Huskies in most of the sports that I can and many of our athletes are my students,” said Ulferts, who is a professor in the physical education department at St. Cloud State. “But for anybody who gets out of coaching, this is the way to do it. I love what I do and sports are still right outside my class door.”
Jay and Jill both said that they did not feel pressure to play basketball.
“(Our parents) really like us to be in sports, but it’s up to us,” said Jill, who saw a bit of time on the varsity basketball team last season. “They always encourage us and are there for our sport.
“(Mom) is laid back. If I ask for her help, we’ll go to the gym. But she wants us to ask her and then she’ll help us.”
Jay saw time in the starting basketball lineup for the boys team last season and is expected to have a bigger role on the team this season.
“I grew up around basketball and it’s a great sport,” he said. “I was also in swimming and a bunch of different (winter) sports growing up. But basketball worked out for me in the end.
“She coached us when we were younger and sometimes, it got to be a bit too much. But she wants us to come to her now and ask things if we want to know.”
Trewick said that he is hopeful that Jay’s football experience will help him this basketball season.
“I’m hoping this football thing opens him up a little bit,” Trewick said. “He had a great summer working. He made it to state (tennis) with the team as a No. 3 doubles player and had a good spring basketball.
“He’s really experiencing success. I don’t think Jay realizes how good he can be. He’s yet to figure out that he’s a really good player and coule be a really great player.”
In the spring, the siblings go in different directions with Jay joining the tennis team and Jill returning to the varsity lacrosse team.
“With girls lacrosse, there isn’t too much contact, but it’s fun and you can be aggressive,” Jill said.
Jay is likely to team up with junior Andy Foley as a doubles team again. Foley is also a basketball teammate of Jay’s.
“Andy and I have been friends a long time and it’s fun to see us work together on the court,” Jay said.
“Jay’s got great hands, which makes sense with him being a quarterback and on the basketball team,” Bates said of his tennis skills. “He’s a little more calm or mild mannered, but he gets things done. Part of that calmness helps him through pressure situations.”
Jay and Jill are both good students and said that their parents emphasize that acadmics comes first and athletics second. Ulferts said she is enjoying watching her kids develop through athletics and she’s grown a greater appreciation for high school coaches.
“It’s the most fun for me and my husband to watch them,” Ulferts said of her kids playing sports. “All the different teammates on all the different teams are quality people. It’s healthier to be a multi-sport athlete. Kids have plenty of time to play a single sport later.
“We’re very, very lucky that they are able to play at this level in three sports at a school of Tech’s size,” she said. “The high school coaches, I just admire them because they have kids of all different levels of ability and development and they find a way to blend it. Our children are extremely lucky to have the coaches they do.”
The feeling is mutual. Bates and Trewick said that the parents of Jill and Jay are very supportive.
“We’ve very fortunate to have a family like that at our school, whose parents are so supportive of the program and the kids,” Bates said.
“Lori and her husband are active in the booster club and don’t want to mettle,” Trewick said. “It’s a tremendous family with very supportive parents.”